Monthly Archives: November 2014

thanks for giving

I am currently boycotting the holidays, as it’s too tough without my mom here. But I know she’d want us to make some good no matter what. She was always able to be there for others, no matter how sick she got. So no matter how sad I may be, I’d like to make her proud.

Last weekend, Ray and I threw a Friendsgiving Dinner for the friends who have become family. Providing the food, we asked our friends to help us support the Plymouth Area Coalition for the Homeless with their Food Pantry and Holiday Fund. Here are some photos of the loot we’ll be donating tomorrow for the holidays! Pantry items for everyone and gifts suitable for teens, the population the PAC specifically asked us for help with. So excited with the outcome!

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like emeril, bam! tons of pasta, cake mixes, canned goods, and cleaning products!

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some books, games, and sports stuff. i picked out the rockin’ soccer ball!

Before my mom passed, she had bought 16 seasons tickets for the Providence Performing Arts Center, to Cirque Dreams Holidaze, a magic show, and Blue Man Group. She used to buy the tickets every season and then sell them to friends so everyone could sit together, but when the tickets arrived in the mail, I didn’t know what to do with them. I decided to mix it up. I do admit that I gave the tickets for the Cirque show to friends of my own to keep a little tradition.

However, the magic show tickets are all going to Special Olympics Massachusetts, an organization my mom and I volunteered for together for years so it holds a special place in my heart. I’m hoping some special families get to enjoy the show together!

second and third row seats!

second and third row seats!

I was hoping to give the Blue Man Group tickets to Hasbro Children’s Hospital in Providence, and after contacting them, they found an organization for me that is somehow more perfect. My mom would have loved giving these to children in need, but they’ll be going to the Tomorrow Fund to benefit children with cancer and their families. My mom would be giving a big “thumbs up” to all of the above.

My mom was the most generous and selfless person I’ve ever known, and I am so thankful I got her as my mom and role model. I honestly feel bitter without her, but I was lucky for however short a time she was on this earth. Not everyone is so fortunate.

Before I break into a panic attack thinking about her, I’ll get to the point of this post. Go do some good. Go do something for others who might not have the means to do it for themselves. Even if you’re struggling too. Give your time, give your funds if you can, and give your heart.

“Your work is to discover your world and then with all your heart, give yourself to it.”

Happy Thanksgiving (even if I’m boycotting it) and thanks for giving to whatever charity feels good to you!

Tori

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being crafty: nautical wreath

Update! Here’s the final product on our door for the holidays!

in love with the final look and am feeling very martha stewart-y!

in love with the final look and am feeling very martha stewart-y!

For comedic effect, here’s the entirety of the original post:

I have been having a harder time dealing with the loss of my mom than before. I’ve retreated from teaching Zumba and cleared my schedule so that my full-time job is my only obligation. I’d like to start doing things for me. Like writing again (I took a break. Thinking hurt.) or going back to ballroom or ballet (even if it takes a drive into the city). And then, there’s DIY. Yeah, like Pinterest.

Here’s my first try at something crafty, in honor of this girl’s blog entry: a DIY nautical wreath.

First up, the ingredients or materials or whatever the technical term is. Half inch thick sisal rope. I got this one on Amazon. Scratch that. I got this one, then ran out, and needed a second. So two of these. No jute was necessary in the making of the project. Glue gun. A wreath form. Hands of steel. And patience.

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ignore the jute. i was going to use it, but decided to be more plain jane. and add another package of rope. i learned..

Start hot gluing. To get a good foundation, I used dabs of glue at every point the rope hit on the inner circle. Don’t glue down where the rope hits on the outer circle since you’ll end up moving it around.

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the wreath form was covered in plastic. those little pieces are like wood chips. and manipulating them made a mess. coconut tried to eat them all…

After finishing the first time around, I realized something from grade-school math class. The circumference of the inner circle is going to be less than the circumference of the outer circle. So while you have the rope touching all along the inner circle, it will have spaces where the wreath form is exposed on the outer circle. Which is why it was great I didn’t glue it down. Try to get each rope wrap (made that up), perpendicular to the wreath form, because otherwise it starts getting unmanageable. Then to cover those bald spaces, take the rope around a second time.

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round and round… note those little wood chips. those are the suckers coconut kept trying to eat when they hit the floor

Your first pack of rope will run out if you’re anal about covering up the bald spots like me. I wanted this sucker to look substantial and heavy-duty. Of course, you could just buy 100 feet of rope, but that would be harder to manage, as you have to pull the rope through the center of the wreath with every single rope wrap. Have no fear, OCD’ers. The seam of where the two ends meet gets covered with rope.

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that would be the exact rope i bought. you will need two of the 50 foot variety

Take some hot glue to the middle of the rope at the end so it doesn’t look so frayed. But otherwise, it’s no big deal. Start your next hunk of rope right where you left off.

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the blasted end that ended up not being a problem whatsoever

I ended up going around one full time to cover as much as the base as possible, a second time to fill in the bald spots, and a random-rope-wrap-here-and-there third time to give the wreath texture and to make the loops. When you decide you’ve reached your last rope wrap, leave that one a little loose as well as the rope wrap 4-6 inches before. You’ll use these to make knots. Without even cutting the rope, make a knot at your last rope wrap. I actually looked up nautical knots and have no idea if mine was legit. But it seems sturdy. so finish the first knot, make the hanger, then repeat at the rope wrap 6 inches from the end. Have the rope exit the back so you never see it, and then chop off the rope.

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my attempt at knots

I put some hot glue into the knots in hopes they’ll hold better and let it dry for a bit. I’ll be honest, the knots took me a lot longer than they should have, and I redid them several times until deciding they were done. But here is the end result! It’ll go outside once A) I have a wreath hanger and B) it has stopped torrentially raining outside – not because I’m afraid this won’t hold up, but because I’m just cold. I’ll add a photo of it on our door when it’s up!

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voila! yes, that’s currently hanging on a kitchen cabinet. no, it’s not staying there.

Here are some pointers. Really, just things to look out for. Keep an eye on the animals.

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She liked the wire and the rope.

No, for real. These buggers were obsessed. I imagine if you have kids, they can be distracting too.

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she loved the wood chips and the rope. freaking tug-of-war

Last word of advice: protect your hands with a thick hand cream before, during, and after. It’s basically winter in New England, the air is dry, my skin is cracking as is, and the wreath form and rope were a little painful at times. But I think the end result is worth it. Ray and I love anything nautical and like the things in our house to be more modern than not, so I think this foots the bill.

Enjoy!

Tori