My Green Velvet Life

Where everything sticks.


July 2010

Visitors from Planet Shinius

As a follow-up to my recent post Thriftie Gifties, my grandkids are very excited to share their ideas for used bags.  We even roped in my almost 12-year-old grandson.  Most of the materials we used were recycled but we also added pipe cleaners and sticky back foam shapes (which stuck very well).  The cute hair strips and shiny ears are pieces of packaging stapled onto the bags.  Stapling worked really well for edges where little fingers can’t reach on the inside.  The pipe cleaners were simply punched through  the material.  Ideally, you could push the pipe cleaner through one hole and push it out through a second hole, then tie or curl.  Most of these, however, were simply twisted on the inside to stay–not recommended for little hands.

Thriftie Gifties – dedicated to Mom.

Out of clutter find SIMPLICITY.
From discord find HARMONY.
In the middle of difficulty lies OPPORTUNITY.
     — Albert Einstein (1879-1955), US (German-born) physicist

I don’t want to scare you away by saying the word “crafts”.  I am really not a crafty person at all.  Not artistic either.  I am actually quite sloppy and in many ways even impatient.  This is exactly why I love organizing, cleaning and poetry.  I can find simplicity in the midst of chaos.   And the coolest thing about it is that in the process of finding simplicity, I am being creative.  I am creating simplicity.  A basic statement, but really think about it.  Creating simplicity!

What does all of this have to do with my Thriftie Gifties title and my mom?  When I was in grade school, I was invited to quite the shin-dig of a birthday party, at least it was in those olden times.  (I am almost 50 in case you’re wondering.)  The entire class was invited and they even had a clown for entertainment.  My very busy mom of eight (last baby brother not yet born) somehow managed to buy a lovely, modest gift for my birthday friend.  I don’t remember a thing about the gift, but what my mom did with it stuck with me forever.  We had no wrapping paper in the house.  I was mortified.  My mom went to the messy stack of newspapers in the corner of the living room and pulled out the funnies.  By then I was in tears.  She assured me it was a very neat idea.  I did not believe her.  I hated her.  Of course I had no choice but to nervously march into the party with my ridiculous funnies-wrapped package.  What did all the kids say?  I don’t even remember (because they probably didn’t even notice).  I do remember being mad at my mom for a long time.  Yet . . . deep down . . . just a little . . . I was proud that my mom was so darn smart!

Well of course she was smart.  Wouldn’t our parents and grandparents be rolling their eyes at how nowadays we “re-purpose” our old bath towels, etc. and then write glamorous blogs about it?  I’m sure many people have used nothing but newspaper for wrapping paper all their lives.  Simple ingenuity has always just been about playful common sense.  It’s there for everybody.  A game we can all play.

So in memory of my mom and all of our smart elders, I’m sharing some fun gift bags you can make for absolutely free.  A reminder that I am a bit sloppy and impatient.  I am happy getting the idea but not so much making it look perfect.   If my amazing, artistic daughters would have been in charge of this project we’d have Martha Stewart squirming.  Tonight you’re stuck with just me.  But that’s okay.  I’ve shared the simple idea and hopefully thrown in a few harmonic thoughts.  Just do your own thing.  Decorate with magazine cut-outs or search the junk drawer for string and doo-dads.  Whatever.  It’s now your opportunity . . .

Save, wash and dry all kinds of paper/foil/plastic bags.  (This drives my hubby crazy!)  You’ll need to turn them inside out, unless you want to be super funky and leave as is.

For bows and ribbons, you can use almost anything.  I am fond of cutting (or just tearing as I did here) pieces from the ends of bags.  May not be very strong though so be careful when tying.  The best thing ever is large dog food bags.  The material is super sturdy and looks cool too.

For bows, just scrunch the material, then tie with whatever.

Use the fun dog picture or turn it over for silver.

Stryofoam sheets from shipped products is fun stuff to.  I made a bow but it ended up looking a little strange.

Oops I think it’s a headless angel (an idea for future post?)

Purple bow helped a little (or is it now a headless angel with a purple bow?)

Okay hopefully by now you get the idea!

Bits and pieces of fascinating possibilities.

Love Life. Or What?

Every child begins the world again. –Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862), US author, naturalist, historian & philosopher (I really like him!)

I just added a new link to my site.  It’s for National Right to Life.  I think now is a good time to tell my readers (who I suspect so far consist of my sisters and daughters and maybe my curious hubby–all who know this already):  I love life and I love life for all people, especially for beautiful little babies.   I’ve never known one who wasn’t a perfect little human.  Sadly, many unborn have very poor prospects of a happy, healthy life if their mothers choose not to kill them.  Yet we all know many adults who’ve had the best of everything: attention, money, education, etc. but who still have very sad prospects of ever finding that health and happiness.  At what point do we decide who is worthy of living?  I had my oldest daughter three days after I turned 17.  I did not for one instant consider killing her.  Now there were a few times–probably when she was around the ages of 13, 15, 17–that I figured if I could’ve justified it so many years ago why couldn’t I justify it now?  Just take her down to Planned Parenthood and explain that she’s ruining my life.  Easy solution.  They can suck her brains out and throw her in the garbage can.  I wouldn’t even have to deal with the messy body.  Anyway, all the worry and fuss over a hormone induced teenager was surely enough to affect my health and well-being.  We certainly didn’t have much money, and I was trying to go to school when my kids were teenagers, plus a full-time job and a terminally ill mother.  What the heck.  Why not just throw in her two sisters as well?  I could always have more children when my life was more stable.

Okay I’m being dramatic.

Please consider this: How can we save our broken society with love and peace if we say it’s ok to mass murder babies?  How do generations of young adults and children now live with the knowledge that they exist purely because they made the don’t-murder list?  To me it seems they might have deep fears, not only about our ability to take care of humankind but of society changing its mind about their life-worthiness.  To me it seems a warped paradigm for their journeys of life.  Try asking one of them about it.

Baby (21 weeks) holding doctor's hand during a procedure in the womb to correct spina bifida.

And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt. -Sylvia Plath (1932-1963), American poet, novelist & short story writer

I can do this.  I can write a blog.  I am smart.  Thank you Sylvia.  I just wish you would have taken your own advice and used it about life itself.  It makes me sad to think of all you have given the world yet cheated your own children. The worst enemy to life is self-centered pain.  Each of us must use our pain for others.  Learning to heal is the whole point of living.  And by the way, it takes guts to live (although you can improvise).  Sylvia, I’m sorry I just can’t get over the selfishness.

I have the blog bug.

My messy mind is having so many thoughts about how I want my blog to reach people.  I am now thinking of breaking off into 2 or 3 more blogs.  Yikes I don’t even have this one fully fledged!  Not sure about things tonight.  I will sleep on it.  I really think I need to stay focused on my original content goal: EVERYTHING, which is one messy place–writing, poetry, quotes, decorating, movies, pictures, flowers, life, card making, music, organizing, computer & software issues, love, loss, vintage finds, books, crafts, food, health, family, frustrations, restaurants, thoughts on the universe, fun bargains, travel ideas–though most of my modest trips consist of visiting with my family, recycling and . . . cat hair.  But my organizing nature is tempting me to branch out.  Does anyone else have this curse?  One accomplishment:  I learned how to put the lovely worn green background on the page.  A little confidence booster.

A little flower-mercial while I’m working on this site. View is from my kitchen.

I will be the gladdest thing
Under the sun!
I will touch a hundred flowers
And not pick one.
— Edna St. Vincent Millay, “Afternoon on a Hill”

Construction Zone: Junkie at Work

Please be patient with me. I’m still building this site and obsessing over organizing my links, etc. I’m an info and organizer junkie, which makes for some pretty serious run-ins on the 24 hour time limit of each day. But I hope to use my skills (obsessions) to help others by sharing cool/helpful Web sites and other information. Please check back often for new links. I’ll try bring a touch of simplicity and clarity to your hectic world.

Could there be a greater miracle than for us to look through each others’ eyes for an instant? –Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862), US author, naturalist, historian & philosopher

We’ve been celebrating the birth of Binkie, my sixth grandchild, who arrived on July 20. I am reminded of the amazing creatures we are every time I look at her little face and see so many people–her mom (my daughter), her dad, brother, sister, my hubby, my other daughters, her paternal grandparents, and even myself. Plus ancestors we’ve never met. Just think! Your very own face could show up in a tiny newborn, hundreds or even thousands of years from now.

Links Oh My

I’ve barely started adding my favorite links to this blog site and I’m starting to worry that I might have too much stuff to share. We’ll see . . .

Celebrating the freedom to be.

We had fun making a banner for Independence Day. All you need are colored paper, pencils, glue, scissors and glitter and yarn, string or ribbon. Just let everybody make their own glitter stars (paper can be any size or shape you want), and once dry, attach them all together on the yarn. This can be adapted to any theme. We even made a pink and purple one for my new granddaughter. At our house we keep things simple. When you have a dozen or so complicated characters running in and out you need to focus on EASY. I learned this at an early age. My parents had 9 kids. My mom was the oldest of 15 kids and dad’s family had 11 kids. When big families get together, it’s all about eating peanut butter & jelly sandwiches and sitting in any nook or cranny you can find. Yay crazy fun! And there’s always room for one more, so go out and join a big family if you don’t have one of your own.

Create a free website or blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: