Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Emma Tales: Chapter V

Emma Pillsbury: Lovely Lass

Chapter IV
Canada is NOT in Scotland

The Plaid Challenge

It's International Day at McKinley! All the faculty members have been assigned countries and the students have signed up to participate. Why on Earth would you want to spend time on schoolwork in your free time? Extra credit and a day off from classes to eat eclairs, sopapillas and crème brulee, that's why! Anyhoo, adorable Emma has been assigned Scotland and she has done her due research on all things kilt-ish. So, she gives the kids their assignments--decorations, food, dancing, costumes, music and sports--and looks forward to the big event.

The kids totally bring it: delicious nibbles, great entertainment and a Braveheart presentation… Freedom! Hold the phone. Stop. Be kind, rewind…Sweet, clueless, Brittany bounces by in what would be the PERFECT outfit, if it weren't for...

"But, isn't Canada in Scotland? Mike Myers is Scottish and he's from Canada. He always wears Canada hockey shirts, and remember when he ate haggises and his dad wore a plaid skirt at his wedding. And then, his dad sang “Do you think I’m sexy?" because Rod Stewart is Scottish, too. That’s what my cat said”

"That was a movie. But, that’s an easy mistake to make. In real life, Scotland and Canada are separate places," Emma says. Oy. Emma squeezes her eyes shut and blinks them open, squeezes and blinks, squeezes and blinks. Rubs them with her fists and and even clicks her perfect Mary Janes, "there's no place like home, there's no place like home"...she's not dreaming! Fer real? Think about it. If it were a dream, Brittany would know on which continent she lives. The End.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Emma Tales: Chapter IV

Emma Pillsbury: Daydream Believer

Chapter IV
Puh-puh-puh, Puh-puh-puh, Pillow Fight

The Nighttime Challenge

Brenda Castle is having a sleep-over and Emma, who has never been to one, is soooo thrilled until she learns that Sinister Sue is also invited, that is. Holy-I'm-gonna-get-my-bra-frozen! Despite the possible danger ahead, Emma jumps at the chance to see Coocoo Bananas' abode. Will there be rotating beds? Zen gardens? A Tiki-themed underground bunker? Emma is dying to know. Brenda's house does not disappoint. She has bamboo papered walls and shelves of Elvis plates, a leg lamp and a shag carpet walled bathroom. She greets the girls with a tray of Jello shots. Hooray! Baby Jello! After a brief Come-to-Madonna meeting (and Sue explains the baby Jello to Em), the girls leave their baggage at the door (okay, steam trunks) and trade their school clothes for jammies, or in Brenda’s case, lounge wear.

They TP Figgins house (If you wanna see your gnome again, you'll put Shasta in the vending machines!) and play Bloody Mary--after a few of their own. Pillow fights ensue. They order 2 dozen pizzas for delivery to Kin's house-- the pizza guy has it programmed in his nav system. Emma learns she's as light as a feather. Sue teaches them the Physical choreography, and Brenda tells their fortunes, (Figgins and Sue? Signs point to no.) Sue tries to wangle Emma into a game of Truth or Dare. Emma cites the Kin debacle and tells Sue her dare days are ovah. Emma shows Sue and Bren the magic of foam rollers. They decide to become blood sisters, but Emma almost faints, so they mix their nail polishes together and paint their pinkies with it. While exchanging dating horror stories, Emma’s the first to fall asleep. Sue and Bren put shaving cream on her hand and tickle her nose with a feather! She jumps up from her bed. It was all a dream! Or was it? **pulls feather from hair** The End.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Emma Tales: Chapter III

Emma Pillsbury: Noble Nightingale

Chapter III
Will Has the Polka Dots

The Polka Dot Challenge

Yikes! Will missed school! He caught the icky polka dots (that's chicken pox to the Pillsburys) from none other than ridiculous Rachel getting all up in his grill (don’t stand so, don’t stand so). After spraying Rachel down with Vanilla and Blossoms Lysol Spray (disinfecting can be pretty), waiting 15 minutes and repeating, Emma decides to help Will get his groove back. So, she packs her favorite train case with all the necessary polka dot fighting items: calamine lotion, rubbing alcohol and cotton balls; gently suggestive reading materials; a stethoscope for looking at, I mean listening to, Will’s chest; some mittens to keep him from scratching the dots on his dimples; and his favorite ice cream treat, Dippin' Dots.

She arrives at his house ready to take care of Mr. McGleemy when, what the cardi clips, Scary Terri opens the door! Terri says she knows how to take care of Will best. Oh really, Fake Preggers McPreggerson? Where were you when he almost forgot to Purel (it’s a verb now) after he used the public-use pencils in the teachers’ lounge? Who stood up to Sue when the performance-fleece-wearing cheerio sponsor dissed Will’s totally adorable houndstooth vest? Emmalicious, that’s who. "It's true, Emma," Will confesses, "she does know how to take care of me best." WTC!!!! Hold the phone! Did that just happen?!

Suddenly, they hear calliope music coming down the street. Is it the ice cream man? What kind of ice cream truck plays ABBA? Like a flash mob, the New Directions flood the street in matching white jumpers doing a mash-up to Waterloo. It’s fabulous! Will jumps in, then Terri, then Sue, then Kin and Figgins, but Emma doesn’t know the steps! They’re dancing around her, bumping her from every side. She falls to the floor and opens her eyes. She’s sprawled on her office floor! She fell asleep at her desk! Whew! No more popsicles at lunchtime! The End.

Monday, December 6, 2010

A View from the Tippy Top

I love decorating my Christmas tree and I often get lots of compliments on it!  I think one of the things that makes my tree look so "put together" is its crown-- the tippy top.  A tree just isn't a Christmas tree without a topper.  My tree is very narrow and my ceilings are pretty low, so I can't make a fabulously grand crown with fruit and ornaments and giant angels, but I can still dress it up-- and you can, too.

You don't need to be a fancy designer-- just a cool chickadee with a couple designer tricks up your sleeve. I've never taken decorating classes or anything, I just pick up ideas whenever I see a beautiful tree at a department store, in a magazine or in a catalog and I have a whole file of clippings to prove it!  So, I thought I'd share an easy way to fancify your tree top featuring an awesome trick that I came up with on my very own.  Enjoy!

Step 1: Gather the Materials

Once you've chosen your theme and color palette, shop for pretty wired ribbon about 3" wide (think grand!) and some glittery floral picks, branches or anything you can add that will coordinate with your trimmings. The best "extras" have long stems that you can just stick into the tree without having to wire them on. Buy 4 or 5 spools of ribbon-- it's always better to have extra than not enough. And you probably don't want to have to run to the store mid-trimming only to find out it has sold out of your ribbon!

Step 2: Make the Bows

(click image to enlarge)

To make a topper like mine, you need 3 or 4 large bows. I make multiple-loop bows with 4 or 6 loops-- depending on the thickness and width of the ribbon. These bows are about 10" wide with 10" tails cut on a diagonal. I prefer shorter tails that don't hang all the way down the tree, but just enough to curl nicely at the top. That way there's more room to show off ornaments. If you need instructions on making multiple-loop bows, check out this Container Store tutorial-- that's basically how I make mine, but I don't do the little loop at the beginning.  The center of the bow won't show anyway so there's no need to hide the wire.  If you look closely at that second picture above, all I do is pinch the center and wrap it tightly with wire.

Step 3: Assemble the Hoop

(click image to enlarge)

Shh, here's the best part-- my super-secret McGuiver-style tree-trimming trick.  This technique allows you to attach all the bows to the tree top while keeping the top branch free for Grandma's favorite angel topper. All you need is an inexpensive embroidery hoop and some wire, pipe cleaners or twist ties. Use the wire to attach each bow to the hoop, then fluff up the bows.  Taddah!  You've just created a gorgeous bow topper that you can reuse year after year!

Step 4: Crown the Tree

Now, all you have to do is place the hoop around the tippy top and let it sit on the top branches. Step back, walk around the tree and adjust the hoop so it sits properly and doesn't lean to one side.  The top branch is now free to add your own tree topper!

Step 5: Dress the Tree!

(click image to enlarge)

Along with the giant bows, I try to find some fun sparkly extras to stick up at the top to draw the eye upward. I found these super cool picks that have curly wire covered in brown sequins. They came as tightly wound coils, but you just stretch them to make cute boingy spirals.  You can either stuff your picks into the bows so they stick up, or under the bow so they hang down. Since my sequined picks were bendable, they looked best cascading under the bow.

Finally, you can add your traditional tree topper to the tippy top like I mentioned before, or just fluff up the bows to hide the top branch. Voila! You have a beautimous tree top and all your friends will think you had it done professionally!

When you are ready to store your decorations, find a box that is big enough to hold your bow hoop without crushing it and use scrunched up tissue paper inside each loop to keep the ribbon from creasing. You'll be glad you did next year!

Check out these fabulous tree tops by truly talented ladies. Thanks for allowing me to share your pics, chickadees!

click on Sue's photo to read her post

click on Annette's photo to read her post

Kraphti Dez's amazing over the top tree toppers

Special thanks to Annette at, Sue at, and Kraphti Dez

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Emma Tales: Chapter II

Emma Pillsbury: Dazzling Deb

Chapter II
And the winner is...not Kin

The Red Carpet Challenge

The invitation arrived. Emma is the 2010 CDC Everyday Hero and her presence is requested at their annual gala! She's over the moon! This is the perfect opportunity to lobby for hand sanitizer machines in every classroom. This is big. She wastes no time creating her ensemble, choosing a 1960s vintage gown that perfectly highlights her peaches 'n cream (not Herb) complexion and accessorizes as only a Pillsbury can. Emma is flawless. The only thing missing: an escort.

She considers her options. Dr. Jesse? No. It's just too uncomfy with the whole Mr. McGleemy thing. Her brother? Unfortunately for Emma, he has a rowing club dinner. Mr. Pillsbury? He's chasing mummies with Dr. Hawass. She's out of choices. It comes to this...

“Kin, you can come to the gala with me. I'll meet you there. Just don't sit at my table or look at me. I'm gonna wear gloves so you can't see my arms, K? And another thing, Kin, just because they're technically pants...”

The evening is here. Emma graciously accepts her award and gasp! She trips down the stairs! Horrified, she scrambles to her feet and runs out the door, breaking her heel as she goes. She jumps in a cab and runs inside her house before her self-imposed curfew. The doorbell rings. Oh no, it’s Kin with her heel! Pretend you’re asleep, pretend you’re asleep. The doorbell rings and rings and buzzes and beeps and sings. Sings? Her alarm clock! Her Sesame Street alarm clock! (I had one and it was awesome. Don't judge.) Thank goodness for Big Bird! She sits up in bed and shakes it off. It was a dream! Thank heavens, it was all a dream. The End.

WWEPW Idol Red Carpet Challenge: And the winner is...not Kin
And the winner is...not Kin by melgarzaallen featuring caparros shoes