I’ve changed my look…
Well not my look, but the look of my blog. I wanted to go with something a bit more user friendly.
And with the changes comes a new name for my blog…… “Just Call Me Jiji”
~me, pretending to be me. ~now, where did I put my cape?
I discuss my life, my family; the issues we face, the things we enjoy doing as a family, and the things I enjoy pursueing by myself
With this new look, you, the reader get to go straight to the content you are interested in.
This is what I write about and why I write about it.
My Home Page – All posts in chronological order starting with the most recent. My blog tells my story and the story of my family; warts and all!
Hello World – About me, this is who I am, or at least who I try to be.
Disabilities and Special Needs – I discuss those disabilities and differences that we, as a family face on a daily basis; and the treatments and accomidations that accompany them.
DIY – I’ve always loved using my imagination and being creative. I love the feeling I get when I see something and think, ” I can do that” or even, ” I can make something out of that “. It’s taken me a long time to amass some measure of confidence, but I am ready to admit I do have some talents.
Home Life – For me, home life means family life, after all, home is where your heart is.
Travels – I love to travel! And I especially love to plan our trips. I get a little high off of finding great deals and planning out little side trips. We love amusement parks; especially ones that we can get wet in.
Just For Fun –
So here are a few more pieces I’ve made….
….wait what were YOU thinking?
Once the Holidays are over I plan on jumping right into my New Year’s Resolution to build up my inventory for my Etsy page Always Branching Out.
Let me know what you think. I am always open to new suggestions…
(Click here for more wood)
In a previous post; Gettin’ my Creative Juices Flowin’ I wrote about my various talents, and things I have tried my hand at, with the latest thing being wood burning.
I recently took up wood burning for the sake of my sister, Suzy. She is getting married in May, and asked me to use my creativity to make a few things for her. She had some basic ideas of what she was looking for and showed me a few pictures of things she had seen on Etsy.com. But she pretty much gave me carte blanc to come up with my own vision of things. I toured Etsy, which by the way is now my favorite artsy-fartsy site, and I found inspiration and ideas all over the place.
My self-imposed deadline was this past Sunday for her Bridal Shower. I managed to get everything done that I had wanted to (thanks to a few 3am bedtime). As usual I pushed myself to accomplish a bit more than necessary. It was important for me to put so much into it because I want Suzy to know how much she means to me. She may be Ron’s sister by birth, but I have known her since she was 15 years old, and I have watched her grow into an amazing young woman that I am proud to call her my sister too.
It was her intent to reimburse me for any purchases I needed to make for these creations. But I refuse to accept any reimbursement, I want to make this my gift to her (and Eddie) from one sister to another.
I am so happy for the both of them. And I wish them the best that life and marriage has to offer them.
As a result of her asking me to do this; she has unknowingly given me a gift as well. Because of her, my enjoyment of; and desire to; create art, has once again been rekindled. I find myself sketching new ideas and getting inspiration from the things around me. I have really enjoyed being creative again.
I am also pretty proud of the outcome on most of what I have made. I wanted to give her options so I made different versions of the items she wanted for variety.
These are the his and her hangers she had asked for. She really only asked that I somehow write the word Bride and Groom on these hangers that she provided to me. I wanted to give her the option of dressing them up with the flower I had made using two other flowers and Swarofski Crystals and the bow tie I fashioned with cardboard and black ribbon after I simply woodburned the hangers;
Another item that she had asked me to make was a cake topper. She had seen my very first attempt at wood burning a tree design and had decided that she had wanted it as her cake topper. Since it was my very first attempt, and I wasn’t happy with all the mistakes I had made I refused to let her have it. Not only was it a scrap copy it was also on scrap wood. This is the initial piece she had seen;
It was the smaller one she was interested in using, but I really did not like how it came out. I was also concerned with how 1 dimensional it would be.I made a new one similar to this on a better piece of wood; I liked the way it came out;
And although I am pleased with the art, it just seems so flat for a cake topper. So I came up with the bright idea that I would have to make a woodcarving of a tree to make it more 3-dimensional. Yes, I did say wood carving. Here are 2 I managed to make without nicking a major artery in the process.
The tops of the trees are interchangeable. Personally I like the balls on the top, but the tree slice can be further personalized. Perhaps with a simple scroll design, green leaves, or their names in a heart in the upper portion and the year in the smaller heart on the tree trunk. Suzy also asked me to make Mr. & Mrs chair signs. These are similar to ones I have seen on Etsy;
I have often heard;
“you are so talented, you should start a business”.
That would be WONDERFUL, I’d love to do that.
The question is; how? I have no business sense and the coin purse is empty. And you know the old adage; it takes money to make money.
And then, there is the lack of confidence in my talents
It’s not that I do not believe that I have any talent, it’s just that I feel there are people out there that are so much more talented than myself.
It doesn’t stop me from enjoying the creative process though. And sometimes I even impress myself with the outcome 🙂
My creative talents have included:
Drawing – it’s been a while, I did a lot of drawing as a child and in my teens. I have only recently taken it up again. I even tried some creative drawing on the computer to make some matching t-shirts for our trip to Disney;
Trip Planning – YES I definitely consider trip planning a creative talent!! And I do it well, especially when traveling with a highly sensory child with ADHD/ODD. Accommodations for travel require quite a bit of creativity. Like the badge I made for him to wear that clearly outlined the rules with a visual prompt.
Event Planning – like my DIY wedding where I made everything from the centerpieces to the floral arch to the ring box to the 150 hand-painted Champaign glasses I made to give as wedding favors to each of my guests.
Enough people told me that I should go into business selling my Glass Painting that I decided to give it a try. I successfully sold a few pieces but in the end I wasn’t making enough money to cover the time, effort, and money it took to not only paint each piece , but then to pack everything up and transport them to a little craft fair, where I paid $60 for a table, only to sell a couple of pieces that maybe made me $40, and then have to pack it all back up and bring it back home. It just didn’t pay.
I also have helped to plan a few showers, my sister’s wedding, and quite a few themed birthday parties for kids. I love doing it. Especially the themey stuff
Leon’s 2nd Thomas Birthday Party – he didn’t know how much I put into this party but I had fun doing it
Leon’s 5th Pirate Birthday Party – yes my spoiled little child had 3 parties and 3 cakes
Leon’s 8th Lego Birthday Party;- this was a really fun party!
If I knew how, I would love to make money as an event planner.
Photography – …is another talent I have. More specifically I have an eye for. Ron, often tells people that I am a photographer, and it bugs me, because I am SO NOT a photographer. I WISH I was, but at best I am a photo enthusiast. The difference being that although I thoroughly enjoy photography, and have an eye for capturing great shots; I pretty much have no education in photography at all.
I can really relate to the guy in this Panasonic Lumix commercial:
..see it’s not me, it’s my camera! (which btw is a Canon)
…plus some creative digital photo editing too.
Basically I am just winging it.
When Leon was born, my love for photography grew, and my need to share it grew too. I started showcasing my photos on my smugmug website for all my friends and family to see.
(btw -gardening is NOT one of my talents)
As a result I was asked by two different sets of friends to photograph their weddings. Of course I said yes, it was an honor to be asked. I never expected to be paid, but when one of the couples thanked me with $1000.oo check , it gave me the confidence to try to make some money doing what I loved.
I got a few jobs and made some money, but most of my jobs were for friends and I had a hard time charging them, so that didn’t last too long. I also needed better equipment in order for my photography to live up to my own standards.
In general I don’t know that I am so much talented as I am creative and crafty
And recently I have been inspired to try a new craft;
I was honored when my sister -in-law asked me if I could make a few things for her wedding. She pointed me in the direction of Etsy.com where she had seen a few things she had really liked. I was already familiar with Etsy, but I had never really perused the wedding category. One of the things she had pointed out to me, started to get my creative juices flowin again. It was something that I have tried my hand at before, but I didn’t really feel that there was a big demand for it. But with the trend of weddings being a bit more green, the rustic look of woodburning seems to have become a bit more popular.
Woodburning – is now a talent I am trying to cultivate. And I am really enjoying it. And who knows maybe I can even sell a few pieces on Etsy….
Besides what else is there for this SAHM to do?…uh, besides taking care of an ADHD child, managing my Fibro, keeping track of $800/month medicines, PTA volunteering, School Newspaper editor and author, caring for my 3 year old niece, plan playdates, etc.., etc…, etc… …oh yeah and maintain this blog.
I love Halloween! It ties with Christmas as my favorite holidays..
Both are fun and festive! Christmas lets me get my shopping on and Halloween lets me get my costume on.
Last weekend we enjoyed yet another Halloween Celebration. I say another, because this year is no different from any other year, where we attend many different Halloweenie events.
Traditionally Leon gets to go trick-or-treating at least 3 times each year. First Leon starts his candy collecting in PA at Ron’s parent’s summer retreat, a campsite on the Delaware river, that they have been seasonal members of since Ron was Leon’s age, that hosts a costume parade, trick or treating, and a Halloween party at the close of the season in the end of September. His second T.o.T. collecting is usually at Pumpkin Park, a local amusement park that opens itself up for safe trick or treating every year, however there was scheduling conflict and we did not get to go this year. And lastly we always enjoy having a few friends meet up at our home for a light snack before we roam the neighborhood on Oct. 31, forcing our kids to collect candy for our – umm I mean their enjoyment.
This year we have a packed Halloween schedule once again. In September, we had fun at the campground as usual. Leon wore a grim reaper sort of costume because as much as he wanted to be Emperor Palpatin from Star Wars, I knew the make-up involved in it would try his patience and his sensory issues. So I nixed it for the campground. He enjoyed himself none the less.
He’s the one all in black
Two weeks ago we went upstate to enjoy the fall scenery and do some apple picking as described in my previous post.
The 3 of us collected twigs, acorns, and leaves and put them together; and Leon snapped this photo.
Last weekend I spent Friday and Saturday putting our costumes together. I’ve always enjoyed making costumes and dressing up in either couples costumes or coordinated family costumes, and luckily Ron and Leon enjoy it too. Our theme is usually determined by what Leon chooses to be and then we work around that.
Being HUGE fans of Tim Burton’s Nightmare Before Christmas, it was only natural that we would portray characters from the movie. I am the Lovely Sally, Ron is Jack Skellington the Pumpkin King, and Leon of course is Oogie Boogie.
Putting costumes together for Jack and Sally was simple enough. Ron’s was completely store-bought and in the interest of saving money, (along with having an excuse to wear my leather corset) mine was put together from pieces of clothing that I already own (with the exception of the wig which I borrowed). Leon’s costume of the other hand was something entirely different. Oogie Boogie is not a readily available costume, in other words it had to be made. And Leon was very specific about it looking true to character.
I spent four hours creating Oogie’s head on Friday and about five hours creating his boogie, I mean body on Saturday. It turned out truly amazing if I do say so myself, I am quite pleased with the result!!!
“You’re joking, you’re joking,
I can’t believe my eyes”
– Mr. Oogie Boogie, Nightmare Before Christmas
We wore our costumes to a friend’s Halloween party Saturday evening and had a blast! Leon’s favorite part was getting to watch Nightmare Before Christmas and Scooby Doo with the other kids. My favorite part was the look of surprise on people’s faces when they found out Oogie Boogie was not store-bought. Well, that and getting together with friends.
On Sunday, Ron’s parents joined us at a street fair. We went in costume to participate in a costume parade and enjoy the farmers market and a wonderful musical group, The Bari Koral Family Rock Band. They were terrific but we had to leave early, Leon was having an off day due to the previous night’s activities.
Ron, Leon, my niece Kiera, and myself
You will notice that I did not go as Sally in the pictures; instead I was an eco-friendly witch. I felt that it was more appropriate daytime attire, and it gave me an excuse to wear my green dress that just happened to match my green witches hat that I had received as a gift from my sister a year or so ago. Hmmm.. Do you think she was trying to tell me something?
This whole week continued to be about Halloween festivities for us. Leon’s school hosted a pumpkin patch for the students during recreation time on Wednesday. He was happy to come home with a pumpkin, a pint of apple cider, and some candy corn. We decorated the pumpkin when he got home from school
It’s Not So Spooky Snoopy!
On Friday, Leon went to school in costume, as did the majority of the other students in his school. The principle, whom I adore as y’all know; led a costume parade in front of the school, and invited the parents to come and watch.
It was just so adorable to see them all dressed up and enjoying themselves. Our principle by the way dressed as Sponge Bob, which I thought was great. So did the kids, they just love her! Leon was excited to come home with his “crabby patty” prize for scariest costume. Funny enough, Leon did not wear his Oogie Boogie costume. The student’s were not allowed to wear masks, so he donned a previous year’s costume, Jedi Luke Skywalker. Which, isn’t a scary costume, however, knowing my SPD son and his issues with clothing, I allowed him to wear a pair of skeleton pajamas as a costume underneath his Jedi costume, in case all that extra fabric was too much for him. So he went to school and marched in the parade as a Jedi; but by the time the principle got to his classroom afterwards he had stripped done to his bones, won scariest costume, and came home as a skeleton.
That same evening the PTA hosted a Fall Harvest Costume Dance. We really, really wanted to show off the Oogie Boogie costume, and even though masks were not permitted, I allowed Leon to walk in as Oogie, knowing that my extremely hyper-active, run wild as soon as he hears music, ADHD child would take it off within 10 minutes of getting there. I was right, of course, and Leon spent the rest of the evening as a break-dancing skeleton. Which is quite funny to watch! Ron and I attended in costume as well. Ron as Jack, and I as the Green Witch, once more – I figured my leather corset would raise more than a few eyebrows in a school setting.
CIt was very nice to see some of the other parents wearing costumes as well! My favorite adult costume was the Sleestak! As for the kids, the home-made Sally was great, as was the Mini Mad Hatter, the Peacock, and my favorite Little Witch in Training (just because she is the sweetest little girl).
Sleestak and Jack rev up the dance floor
The funniest part of the evening was when the DJ called the Sleestak and Beetle Juice over to help lead a dance. Funny because, he was pointing at Ron (aka Jack Skellington) when he said Beetle Juice.
You could not see his face under that mask but I am sure Ron was cringing every time the DJ (who was really great with the kids) said Beetle juice, which he said a lot. At one point Beetle juice, I mean Jack; I mean RON was asked to lead the conga line.
I am very lucky to have a husband who is such a good sport (and doesn’t mind working up a sweat! – that is a rubber mask he was wearing). I think he really enjoyed it too, the notoriety, not the sweating.
On Saturday, Leon and Ron started their day early. Aside from Leon’s first Drawing class, they went to the Boy Scout Jamboree for the day, which being scheduled for Halloween weekend had to of course include a Halloween parade. Unfortunately they missed the parade, but they enjoyed the day none the less.
Happy Birthday BSA!!
When they returned, we got ready for a party at the haunted house across the street. Our friends (who are also our neighbors) go all out on Halloween. The outside of their r home gets totally transformed a week or two before Halloween, and is ever-changing. The house draws a lot of on lookers. This year the theme was a Cannibal Cafe and aside from the typical masked persons scaring the bejeebers out of passerbyers, including one who chases them down the street wielding a real chainsaw (sans blade); they added a new character to the mix. The zombie chef was working up his magic for the crowd, offering up; grilled upper intestines (because the lower ones taste like crap), liver and fava beans, fried fingers, leg of Sam, eyeballs, s.o.s. (shit on a shingle), and “The Exorcist” special. He was a crowd pleaser for sure.
The Spooky House day & night
(click pictures to enlarge)
Sunday, Halloween; was a very long day for sure. We spent the morning preparing for a Pre-Trick-or-Treat Get Together at our home. I planned games for the kids to play for prizes, including the ever popular mummy-wrap game which was a ball. The kids enjoyed a few crafts, some games, some chicken nuggets and cupcakes, and spending time with each other, at about 3ish we set out on our merry way, around the neighborhood. Keeping up with the kids was a task and a half. We managed to hit quite a few houses, some of them more than once, before we made it back.
Trick or Treat!
(click pictures to enlarge)
We had been invited back to the “cafe” across the street to enjoy yet another party because this year they decided to host a party on both nights of Halloween weekend, rather than just their usual one party on Halloween night.
The second night was by far more crowded and busier than the first night, with both the invited guests and the passing onlookers. The live entertainment was a huge draw. Even Ron got in on it as kids high-fived him and asked to take pictures with him.
Ron enjoying the spotlight
And now I get to suffer the Day After Halloween Hangover….
….that’s okay I got the cure