Voting, Great Gifts, and Other Bloggy Stuff

Well it has been four days of voting and I’m already laughing.

While Conversing with Strangers has the early lead (as expected), Stupid Animal Battles is in SECOND! I never thought anyone would vote for that one! Although I will admit there was a flurry of votes for that topic in the “Other” category after I said I wouldn’t put it on the February poll, so in hindsight I should have expected this.

Votes as of February 4, 2011

And then, in third, is the “Other” category. Sheesh. I mean, I love that everyone has their own ideas. That’s the point. Haha and so, four days into voting we have a new category: Cooking. It’s now on the poll because it gathered four votes in the “Other” category (congrats).

Also gaining votes in the “Other” category:

  • Skipping to Work
  • Stories
  • Photos and Stories for Each Year of Your Life

Congratulations Cooking you have a place on the poll

Also, I’ve done some thinking and I’ve decided to upgrade the theme this month from simply Gifts for Under $5 to Great Gifts for Under $5. Because anyone can come up with a lame, cheap gift. But I want to supply excellent gifts for cheap.

And the t-shirt pillow TOTALLY counts. It’s awesome. I admire it every day. EVERY DAY.

Christmas Morning Mug Huggers [Gifts for under $15? I’ll give you $5]

When I become fixed on an idea I tend to.

  1. Talk about it a lot
  2. Research it a lot
  3. Read a lot of books and/or blogs

During my last fixation, I even took a budgeting course. That was new for me. Actually, no it wasn’t. Nevermind. I forgot I went to French Camp one semester.

Right. So this last round of obsessed researching follows exactly the same patterns I usually get into. So this intro was basically for naught.

My point: on my latest quest/obsession/fixation/project I stumbled upon an interesting blog. I read a few posts and figured I’d keep an eye on it to see if anything useful popped up. And when I saw this one I thought, Yeah! Gifts in a jar for under $15!

But then I read the post (actually, I skimmed it) and thought…I can do better.

Mug Huggers

Introducing arbyn’s Christmas morning mug huggers!

Here’s how you can make arbyn’s Christmas morning mug huggers too

  1. Acquire mugs from anywhere but a store if you can help it
  • I recommend grandparents, friends of friends, or your local workplace
  • Don’t steal
  • Go through your stash yarn (or fabric, ribbon, etc.) and find some good colour combos to go with your new-to-you mugs
    • Find a great pattern and get crafty
    • My pattern is pretty straightforward: Thirty stitches for 30 rows, then add a border
  • Also find some buttons
    • For my project I tried to scavenge from old purses and my meagre collection but resorted to purchasing a bag of about 100 buttons from a thrift store for $2.99
  • Find little gift baggies
    • You could definitely sew them—hand stitch even
    • I found mine pre-made at a dollar store for $0.75 each
  • Collect little packets of hot chocolate and sample sized Bailey’s, or whatever type of hot drinks strike your fancy
    • I have a large tin of Starbucks hot chocolate and I divided it up into single portions, and I found sample-sized Bailey’s for $3.99 each
    • You could also pick up some single-sized instant coffees or teas
  • Put it all together and voila! A lovely way to welcome Christmas morning, so long as the recipient has access to hot water
  • I suppose the good that came from the whole “Gifts in a jar” thing is it unlocked some sort of permissions inside my mind, which didn’t seem to think homemade gifts were appropriate. I know, right? But all I can ever think about for homemade is knitting and I didn’t want to knit all my gifts.

    (OK we all know that’s not true.)

    My compromise was to only knit part of the gift. And I think it worked out alright.

    When I decided this was the direction to go, it was pretty exciting. I didn’t want to spend much (most of my friends are officially skipping Christmas, so really I was just trying to create a special token) and now I had direction.

    Oh, and I’m completely aware that I’m spoiling the surprise.

    …or am I?

    Now the surprise will be who gets arbyn’s Christmas Morning Mug Huggers!?

    Irony in the Fullness of Time

    A small part of my job involves writing radio scripts for some 90 second spots and back in mid-October I had to write some advent and Christmas reflections.

    And I thought to myself…piece of cake.

    On a side note, that reminds me of the Mardi Gras “Three Kings Cake,” which is a gaudy sparkly cinnamony type cake thing with a plastic baby Jesus doll hidden inside. The thought kind of makes me cringe.

    Anyway, so I wrote up the scripts and thought no big deal. Really, no big deal.

    I remember some of the words still:

    When I say the words, “Christmas is coming,” what comes to mind?

    For some I’m sure the thought of Christmas rapidly approaching fills you with dread, reminding you of all the gifts left to buy and the decorations to be hung.

    For others, however, the anticipation of the coming celebration warms your heart…

    Actually I can’t remember any farther than that. Mostly because it’s too ironic.

    All that to say last night I ate my words, not my cake.

    On a side note that reminds me of another time I ate my words.

    For you see, I was relaxing and enjoying my first breath of what I believe I used to call “down time,” when a Christmas commercial came on.

    That’s not the weird part. If I saw a commercial NOT mentioning the holidays I would fall over in shock. No, it was the wording of this commercial, which got to me.

    OK I will admit what the word was, but you can’t make fun of me. I don’t fully understand why I had such a huge physical reaction but, honestly, the “feeling of dread” was alive and well on my couch last night.


    There, I said it.

    I heard the word and I completely freaked out. My stomach twisted and I honestly felt a moment of panic because I was reminded that I was not, in fact, shopping for Christmas, and I only had two weeks in which to gather the most fabulous gifts for all my family and friends with basically zero budget.

    I said basically. I’m afraid to look at what the actual numbers are.

    I’m in need of a Santamiracle.

    Doesn’t have the same ring to it.

    Anyway, the larger campaign I’m afraid of is Sears: Be the Santa you want to be.

    It is so stupid. So very, very stupid (and yes I mean the campaign and my fear). And yet, I. am. terrified.

    And honestly, I’m wondering just what I was thinking writing a script like that. IS it actually possible to focus on why we celebrate Christmas when there are only two weeks left until Christmas?

    Reality-based Robyn knows it is but maybe it’s a bit harder to focus when you’re fighting to park at the mall on a Saturday afternoon days before the big day.

    Dreading-on-the-couch Robyn wants to knit all her gifts this Christmas. Do you think there’s still time?