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Thursday, December 16, 2010

The post in which I am both snobby and crafty. Sort of like Martha Stewart.

This is kind of a long one.  Sorry.  But I think it's pretty good and is refreshingly unrelated to pregnancy or babies, I SWEAR.  

Part I. Snobby Rebecca-Martha
It's that time of year again...everyone is eating lots of naughty food, the mall is crowded, and suburbia is being smothered by expensive holiday decor from Sam's Club.  I can handle the first two things; naughty food is usually delicious and eaten in fun social situations, and, because I don't have a so-called "job" anymore, I can go to the mall when most people are at work.  The holiday decor is becoming something of an obsession a slight problem for me, though. 

Don't get me wrong; I LOVE Christmas lights.  When we drive by the nearby mall in mid-November and I see a work crew starting to wrap each branch of each tree with little white lights, I start squealing and excitedly smacking Jeromy on the arm (always a great thing to do to your spouse while he is driving).  I never get sick of seeing those trees all lit up.  I even enjoy over-the-top Christmas light displays like this:

Sure, it can probably be seen from space, and the person who took the time to plan and execute this set-up is probably a little bit nutty, but there is no denying that it took time and energy and holiday spirit. Most of all, it is magical and bright and twinkly and SPARKLY.  I can never have too much sparkly.  

Now here is where I will probably offend someone.  What I HATE HATE HATE and pretty much want to run over are the #%$ holiday inflatables.  They are dopey and floppy and cartoonish.  When people turn them off during the day, the inflatables lay on the ground like some kind of terrible parachute accident.  They are in NO WAY pretty and sparkly.  I don't know what's going on in your neighborhood, but in our neighborhood these things are breeding like a particularly tacky breed of giant rabbits.  Case in point, a house down the street.  Last year, they had this:  

It irritated me, but I could avert my eyes.  Then THIS year, the inflatable suddenly had a mate and adopted child:
The homeowners must have been strolling the aisles of Sam's when they  suddenly experienced a slow-motion/mushy music/shaft-of-light-from-the-sky moment when they turned the corner and saw the perfect match for their Hammock Santa.  I can hear them now: "ANOTHER tropical Christmas inflatable???  It must be fate!"  So Hammock Santa was saved from his loneliness by Sailor-Hat Snowman, who came complete with a wreath-bedecked lighthouse AND a lobster and starfish in Santa hats.  A match made in heaven! I suppose they do get a tiny bit of credit for trying to stick with a theme.  Like one-sixteenth of a point.  

Oh, but THEN.  One of the homeowners must have woken up in a cold sweat with the overwhelming and perhaps somewhat justified fear that the neighborhood might think that they don't take Christmas seriously.  "What if people think we don't KNOW the reason for the season???" the wife probably moaned to her husband.  So they found a little surrogate child for their happy inflatable couple: the glittered white wooden manger scene cut-out.  Although it clearly looks different from its adopted inflatable parents, the decor child is clearly safe and loved nestled between them. Until the wind knocks it down.  Every. Single. Night. 

Not to be outdone in the inflatable-but-also-religious department, the people across the street from this one put up an INFLATABLE manger scene.  Oh yes.  It even had a donkey.  Sadly, I was unable to get a picture of it, because they took the thing down.  Probably the homeowners were upset that the whole manger was always blown over on its back, causing Baby Jesus' head to thump on the ground in a most unholy fashion.

Come to think of it, I have actually had almost 3 months to get fully whipped up in my Inflatable Holiday Decor Fury.  The Halloween decorations are almost as bad as the Christmas ones.  I was completely horrified when I saw THIS ugliness in the yard of one of my favorite houses in the neighborhood:

The picture really does not do it justice. What you are seeing, besides an enormous inflatable jack-o-lantern, is a nearly full-sized inflatable hearse carriage being driven by the Headless Horseman.  Inside, Dracula is laying in his coffin, but pops up his head every 5 seconds or so.  Definitely minus 10 points for not sticking to a theme.  Not even Disney has tried to weave giant jack-o-lanterns and the Headless Horseman and Dracula all together in one storyline.  

I don't remember how it came up, but i mentioned my crusade against inflatables at Thanksgiving this year.  One of my cousins gave me a knowing look and said, "Oh, just you wait until you have a two-year-old.  You will be out walking and PRAY that every house will have an inflatable or two.  Kids LOVE them."  I have to admit that this idea had not even occurred to me.  I had been thinking of myself and not The Children of the World.  But now it is duly noted: inflatables make kids happy.  HOWEVER....can't we contain them in heavily-fenced Inflatable Zoo or something???

Part II. Crafty Rebecca-Martha
In less-ranty news, this week I spent about 12 hours over the course of 3 days adding to my Housewifey Skills in a very fun and helpful Basic Sewing Class at The Stitch Lab.  I would highly recommend this place to my local readers.  It's this cute little old house in South Austin that is full of fun fabrics and is set up perfectly for small sewing classes.  It's very Austin.  And look what I made!!!
Day 1: Cute little drawstring bag
Day 2: Pillow with piping

...AND a zipper!
Day 3: Tote bag
...with lining, a pocket, and a snap!
I still have a lot to learn and practice, but I feel like I made some serious progress towards earning my Martha wings!

BONUS: Q&A With Rebecca
 Q: Rebecca, are you a little bit terrified that the neighbors whose holiday decor you mocked are going to somehow stumble across your blog and come after you with inflatable clubs?
A: Yes.  
Q: Do you apologize to any of your friends/family/readers who choose to decorate their homes with holiday inflatables?
A: I guess so.  But I also might be tempted to get them a subscription to Martha Stewart Living.
Q: Now that you have awesome sewing skills, can you sew me a tea-pot cozy? 
A: No.  I can do drawstring bags, and maybe pillows and totes.  Baby steps.  But even if I COULD sew a tea-pot cozy, I would refuse to do so on principle.  Same with toilet-seat covers.
Q: Are you outrageously proud of yourself for writing an entire blog post that didn't mention pregnancy or babies even ONCE?  
A: You better believe it.  Gold star for me.


  1. Ok, 1 gold star. BUT, I like to hear about doctor!

  2. I love what you made in sewing class! That pillow looks amazing- lots of gold stars for you!

  3. Your sewing classes are paying off! I'm impressed/jealous! You'll be knitting baby booties in no time. RE: inflatables - I hate seeing them all deflated during the day, but then again I think almost all Christmas decor looks tacky and sad during the day. And yes - kids do love the inflatables!

  4. Ha ha, I actually DO want to take their knitting class at some point! I think the next thing I sign up for will be the baby quilt class (of course) and the curtain class. They have a bunch I want to take...

  5. I actually just visited the quilt store up here - you gotta go if you have time! (High Country Quilts) The baby quilt fabrics will blow your ever loving mind!!! It did mine and I'm not even gestating! So, as per my usual M.O., I bought a bunch of fabric for projects I may never actually get around to. Although, I do think I'm making it a priority New Years resolution to tackle some sewing projects - especially since I'm unemployed...

    P.S. Where are you taking classes?

  6. I have been waiting for my mom or a sewing savvy friend to come over and teach me how to make a pillow!! I have the fabric and stuffing, and just need the skills! Your pillow is super fancy! I like.
    My neighbor has an inflatable. We only have one neighbor, and his house is decked to the nines, and I put lights on ONE tree in our yard just so I didn’t feel like scrooge.