Thursday, December 31, 2009

Like I need a reason to paint my face

Way to go Huskers. Nebraska routed Arizona in the first Holiday Bowl shut out.

Well worth painting my face for.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Anybody else feeling the magic?

After seeing the Alice in Wonderland trailer, my sister showed me this video:

Two Weeks - Grizzly Bear from Gabe Askew on Vimeo.

This video reminds me of a Thomas Demand exhibit I saw at the Museum of Modern Art in New York a few years ago. I remember having the same feeling then as I do watching this video: I have got to make something.

Anybody else itching?

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas

Hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas. I can't be happier when mine starts with my sister and my daughter and an "A Christmas Story" marathon:

Thursday, December 24, 2009

My Secret Santa adventures

Not only do I enjoy having a Secret Santa, I LOVE being one. The only downside this year was I had so little time and my execution wasn't as clear as I'd preferred. The theme I did for my recipient was "Believe". He is a big Angels fan so I put up red and silver tinsel as well as pictures of key players and the manager advising him to believe in Secret Santa. Unfortunately my big decoration became sort of this hot mess of a collage of giant peppermint candy and Japanese cartoons. One of my friends said it reminded her of the prop in "Saw":

Day 1

The second day I fulfilled my recipient's wish for Stephen King books ("The Shining" and "Different Seasons" paperbacks) with a bonus steak and hash brown breakfast burrito from Del Taco.

Day 2

My recipient said he was a rap fan so the third day was a mix CD of old school stuff--"White Lines" holla!--and new non-rap songs like Phoenix's "1901". He also said he liked food so I tossed in some crazy snacks (like Octopus crackers) from the Korean grocer including one featuring a hip-hop mascot who was down with the honey-dipped crackers. And I "capped" it off with a Kangol baseball hat. Does anyone remember when Kangol was the big label in rap?

Day 3

My recipient had wished for a dashboard hula girl but I couldn't find one locally and at this point it was too late to order one so I did one of my favorite things--made a t-shirt:

Day 4

As luck would have it, I offered another Secret Santa my services and made his recipient (obviously a Glee fan) this shirt:

Day 4 Bonus!

And on the final day, I had planned on getting the specific CD my recipient had on his wish list. I had reserved it at the local Borders but I got an e-mail on Wednesday telling me that they had sold it as an online order! I tried a bunch of local stores--even my friends tried to help me out when they were near some specialty stores--but to no avail. So I ended up giving him an errand for his final gift:

Day 5--the final day

My recipient was a good sport and still enjoyed it--hooray!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Can't wait until March

What is it about Tim Burton and Johnny Depp:

that wants me to make something magical?

Wagon wheels

Instead of bagels, I shared "wagon wheels" from a local bakery to celebrate my ill-gotten Survivor gains:

Sweet, sweet victory.

Monday, December 21, 2009

I Survived

My name is CraftyMama.

and I won this year's Survivor Pool. Thank you Oakland for overcoming a 12 point spread over Denver.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Final gift from my Secret Santa

It was a thrilling ride to the end. I was thrilled when I discovered my Secret Santa was someone that I was a Secret Santa to a few years ago. Here was the grand finale:

Solar-powered kitty bobbleheads!

Sigh. Sad that Secret Santa has come to a close. I loved it--thanks to my Secret Santa!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Thursday's gifts from my Secret Santa

What can I say, I love getting e-mails from my Secret Santa:

As promised, a delivery came:

And inside? Christmas melodies from Chris Isaak, a very cool votive holder and candle, a small flask of Orange Blossom perfume, and two chocolate Santas (I already ate one by the time I took the picture):

Can't wait to see who my Secret Santa is!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Wednesday Visit from Secret Santa

Hopefully I mastered the screen capture because I've got to share this awesome e-mail from my Secret Santa this morning:

The attachment was a picture of a friend at work named Erika. Given the ransom note style, it begged the interpretation that my assignment was to off Erika--but my Secret Santa set me straight:

Turns out, I simply had to see Erika who had a note for me. Inside was a picture of a file cabinet and instructions to look in the second drawer, where I found this:

And inside the clever wrapping paper (Baseball Furies, holla!) was this:

Sigh. Kind of starting to get bummed that Secret Santa is almost over!

My Secret Santa's Tuesday visit

I wish I could figure out my print Screen issues because the e-mails I receive from my Secret Santa before each gift so far have been priceless and I'd love to share them. Anyhoo, this was in my mailbox:

It's an awesome keychain in the "Ugly Doll" vein and a scratcher (unfortunately I didn't win):

But is it really losing when I've got RDJ's handsome mug to console me? Cat sound!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Secret Santa has started!

I got my first day's gifts from my Secret Santa--but first I received this e-mail. Unfortunately I couldn't capture the pictures (can someone tell me how to do that? I used Print Screen and it didn't do it) so I put a brief description in parentheses:

From: santa claus
Sent: Monday, December 14, 2009 10:42 AM
To: Frances Lee
Subject: It's a Dirty, Dirty World

Good Morning, Frances.

Please consider the following:


(Picture of Tiger Wooods)

and ...

(Picture of Lindsay Lohan after a night of partying)

and ...

(Picture of factory spewing pollution from its stacks)

and of course there's ....

(Picture of befuddled George W. Bush)

and (ewww)...

(Picture of Mickey Rourke)

A Girl Needs Some Refreshment!

Please proceed to your mailbox to receive
some relief from this dirty, dirty world ......

"Guarateed to engender epiphanies and other related phenomena!"

From Secret Santa of course!


So I looked in my mailbox and found these!

Thank goodness the soap was labeled--I might have eaten it--it looked like a solid block of delicious white chocolate or Parmesan Cheese at first glance to me!

Thanks Secret Santa!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

How Psyched am I for Secret Santa?

How awesome is getting an e-mail like this? I can't wait for tomorrow!

From: santa claus
Sent: Friday, December 11, 2009 11:57 AM
To: Frances Lee
Subject: A Picture of Your (Secret) Santa


secretsanta.jpg image by swiftian
HO-HO-HO, Frances! The fun begins on Monday!!!!
Love, (Secret) Santa

Thursday, December 10, 2009

To do this weekend, for sure

I have GOT to take down this bad boy:

Oh, and what's that on the table behind him? Why it's this--a fresh Christmas wreath!

Anybody else behind in their holiday decorating and shopping? Thankfully I think we're doing a clean and lean Christmas so I'm pretty sure I can wrap up the shopping in one day. Besides the wreath, I also have to assemble the Christmas tree--wow, Christmas will be here in two weeks and one day--I better hustle...

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Playing with Photoshop

With a little guidance from my blogging mentor, I was introduced to the world of Actions in Photoshop. I am still a complete novice when it comes to Photoshop but with the help of Actions, I kind of look like I know what I'm doing. Actions are like little programs that goes through a series processes to get a certain look, like this fun vintage look of my friend's two adorable boys:

Here's nice one that turned a color picture of my friend's son into a beautiful black and white:

And here's one of my friend's oldest (I can't believe how fast time is flying!)--this Action is more of antiqued version of black and white:

There are a lot of Actions for sale out there but this awesome set is available for free at The Pioneer Woman's website. Thank you Pioneer Woman--these are totally cool. And of course, thanks to my friend's beautiful boys--they make handsome photo subjects!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

That time of the year

And I haven't even started! The girl gave me her wish list today:

What the heck is an Acekard? I'm sure she'd prefer a good book, like a biography of Madame Curie, right?

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Is it just me?

Or does this Kay Jewelers commercial really miss the mark?

Where to begin? How about the setup? The commercial opens up on a crack of lightning as it reveals a lonely abode in the middle of the woods. Sound familiar? Maybe because it's reminiscent of the opening of Scream. Anyone else smelling the burning Jiffy Pop on the stove? Anyone else yelling Run, girl, run! at the screen? It doesn't help that the man's low vocal tones read more creepy crank caller than soothing sweetheart.

The kicker of course is, after another crack of lightning, the frightened female reactively clings to the man. He slyly chuckles, I'm right here. And on a dime, he drops his smile and tone, and channeling a voice better suited for a character dubbed "The Collector" or "The Obsessed One", menacingly murmurs, And I always will be.

OMG! Girl, why aren't you running? Grab a flaming log, throw it behind you and run down those stairs and into the woods!

What is it with this commercial? Does our obsessed kidnapper need to shave? Or is it the tight angle that does him no favors? I guess the angle is meant to capture her reaction but of course, coupled with his dark tone, her face reads as nervous trepidation. And I know it's not just me because even the guy who posted the commercial dubs it "Every Kiss Begins with...STAB!"

The only thing that briefly relieves us is the canned footage of the Kay jewelers store in some milquetoast mall coupled with the catalog page of the featured necklace, somewhat ironically entitled "Love's Embrace". Why don't they just ice this cake and call it "Love's Lock" or "Love's Grip" at this point? When she responds, Don't let go...ever, is anyone else thinking Stockholm syndrome?

Run, girl, run.

Ech. Good luck with the sales on this one, Kay.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


To be honest, I was somewhat dreading seeing Precious: Based on the Novel "Push" by Sapphire, a movie that every in-the-know filmgoer with street cred "must see" because it's such a "crushingly real" piece of filmwork. The description alone is overwhelming: an illiterate, friendless, obese 16-year-old girl named Precious lives in Harlem with a mother subsisting on welfare. Wait, there's more! Her mother is abusive in pretty much every way possible and Precious is pregnant with her second child. Oh, one more detail. Both pregnancies were conceived in her father. think you'd rather catch Old Dogs instead? I get it--not exactly the nachos-and-Milk Duds storyline one usually looks forward to. I went somewhat pulling myself by my hair ready to sop up my hope and humanity off the floor with soggy tissues after watching it, armed with DVR'd episodes of "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia" as a chaser if necessary.

Wow. All I can say, if you were pushing off seeing it like me, I advise you step up to the mic and order yourself a ticket. This film is so well-crafted, well-performed, well-written--I give it an A.

It's not a stretch to believe that all the characters exist in reality, including Precious (whether as two or three girls or a composite) as well as her mother, teachers, fellow classmates, etc. The performances of all the actors are outstanding. Sad to say, the most fantastical element is probably the alternative school she attends where the class size is less than 10 students. When the reviewers say this movie is inspiring, don't expect that Precious wins the Nobel prize or loses all that weight and gets discovered as a supermodel. The movie remains grounded in reality when it reminds us that rewards and goals in life aren't always fabulous wealth, fame, glamour, etc., but are often realistically much simpler.

Not to say I didn't cry watching this movie (holy cow, there were points I wanted to sob out loud) but I also laughed. The movie gives us bites of levity and hope to prevent it from becoming the totally despairing picture it could be. This movie, coupled with Mo' Nique's outstanding (yes, Oscar-worthy) performance, should also be credited with allowing us insight of, and even sympathy for, Precious's abusive mother--a character that is often and easily written off as simply villainous.

The tag line for this movie is "Life is hard. Life is short. Life is painful. Life is rich. Life is....Precious." This slogan is apt--this movie brings it. See it. And be sure to bring tissues.