The vacation that almost didn't happen

While I posted a smidge about the general awesomeness of the crafting cruise I spent eight days on, I have to tell you that it almost didn't happen. Sigh. It's always something. I wish I could tell you how we were packed and ready to go early in the morning, like most organized and time-conscious people are.

But, noooo.

While I was making lists and running around like a crazy woman the night before our trip, my dear husband was snoring in our bed, after he assured me he had everything under control. And by under control, he meant that he laid out every.single.item he wanted to pack on the sofa. Yes, every sock, every pair of boxer briefs, every item in his must-have first aid kit. I sat there wondering why he didn't just pack it all up in his suitcase like a normal person.

So I packed it for him. Little did I know what kind of uproar it would cause.

The next day I Nair-ed, shaved, scrubbed and moisturized every square inch of my hot, six kid-havin' body. Then I raced off to get a pedicure. If everything went according to plan, we would be out of the door with plenty of time.

When I returned with neon pink toenails, I discovered that my husband was in a tizzy because I packed his stuff and now he "had no idea where anything was". Needless to say, we were about five minutes from me wanting to stab him calling the whole trip off.

"You mean I get to spend eight whole days with this???? I can't wait--sounds like FUN!!" I roared.

I know, I'm precious.

After my Dad packed us all up in his car, we were already behind the gun. I started to get a little nervous. What if the ship sailed without us? That would suck. Hard. We were flying down the 605 south, headed to Long Beach when the traffic slowed to a crawl. There must have been an accident, my Dad said as he chain smoked his Marlboroughs. My heart sank.  We had about thirty minutes to get on that ship.

There is nothing worse than L.A. traffic when you have someplace to go!

One fire engine passed. Then another. And another. And ambulances! There was no way we could get off the freeway. We would have to just wait it out. This can't be happening. We were about 25 miles away. My stomach started to churn and if you know me than you know that stomach churn equals bubble gut. I looked over at Michael like, this is all your fault if we miss this ship! And ditto if I shit my pants!

I was like, really intestines? Really? 

It seemed like we waited forever. As soon as the police cleared the lanes, my Dad took off like a greyhound. He was determined to get us to Long Beach and send us off on that ship. But wait! I had to go soooo bad--you have no idea. I was envisioning sharting in my brand new Spanx (which I hated, by the way--I couldn't get used to the crotch opening at all).

"I am soooo sorry. I'm not usually this high maintenance." I kept saying over and over again.

Dad got me to a restroom at a Thai restaurant, and I felt really bad for those poor, unsuspecting Thai people because of what I did to their toilet. Stoopid nervous intestines! We hopped back on the freeway like bats out of hell and we made it with minutes to spare.

Made it, safe and sound onto the ship.

If you wan to see photos from the 6th Annual Crafty Chica cruise to Mexico, go to the Crafty Chica's Flickr photostream.


RIP Maurice Sendak

American writer and illustrator Maurice Sendak died today. Sad. I mean, yes he was 83 and all. But when I think of how profound Sendak's Where the Wild Things Are was to a generation of children, how iconic were the illustrations he created with his own imagination, I'm saddened that he is gone.

But the awesome thing about writers and artists? Even after we die, our words and our art carry on forever.

I didn't have to the heart to break it to Sol this morning, before he left for school testing. You have to understand, he has this special love for Maurice Sendak's story about the boy Max and his fantasy world of wild creatures.
This book is the one Sol treasures the most, and he keeps it protected high on his bookshelf.

Instead, I thought I would share a post I originally wrote back in October of 2009, when we saw the Where the Wild Things Are movie by Spike Jonze.


Where My Wild Things Are

I must confess. I don't remember Where the Wild Things Are, at all. I should say its the actual story, the words that I don't remember. I totally and completely remember the illustrations in the book. As a library loving book nerd, I would sit and flip through the pages over and over. It might be that I had this book before I could read. Nevertheless, it had a visual impact on me over the years.

When I heard about the movie, I was excited to see it. I knew that the "Max's" of my family would enjoy it, too. So off we went to the drive-in, where every family with more than three children watch movies.

It was a perfect, fall, Sunday night. The drive-in was pretty empty, the chil'rens had their snacks, everyone was bundled in their blankets. Everything was good. It's hard for me to concentrate while at the drive-in, but when this movie began...I can't explain it, it just captured me from the moment it began. The story, the images, the soundtrack, I loved it.

It was almost magical.

I watched the wonder on my kid's faces. It was a mixture of horror, worry, humor, interest, awe. My two "Max's", Diego and Solomon, couldn't take their eyes off the screen, they were so enthralled by the story. I also suspected that their Daddy had a little bit of "Max" in him, too.

I have to say, it really captured my heart. Unbeknownst to me, it captured my son's heart as well. When it ended, Sol came over to me quietly, put his head against my chest and he just started sobbing. It touched him so deeply. Then, of course he made me cry! He laid there for a long time, crying.

What is it, Sol? Why are crying? I asked him.

Its just so sad. He said.

How do mean? I wondered.

Because he had to leave the Wild Things. That makes me sad. But then he left his family, his mom. That makes me sad, too. Then he started crying again.

Aaahhh, to have children who are so emotional, who feel things so deeply. Solomon went on to explain how much he would have liked to have been Max...to play with the Wild Things, to build those cool forts. But to be with the Wild Things meant he had to be away from his family. And that made him sad.

It was so sweet. What was even sweeter was how his brothers and sisters rallied around him, hugging him, patting him on the back, trying to make him feel better.

And that, I guess, is the struggle. To live out the wild rumpus that goes on in their mind...yet to be in the present, with their family who loves them. Yes, that is a struggle indeed.


DIY: Design your own wooden bangles

I am alive and well and I'm happy to say that I survived living on a cruise ship for eight whole days. I never did acquire those sea legs everyone kept talking about, though! Fresh air was my best friend on this trip. So were my daily piƱa coladas.


I met so many amazing people and we had plenty of adventures happen on the Crafty Chica Cruise 2012. I thought I would share all of the cool projects and techniques I learned over the next few weeks. I was a little out of my element as I delved into the world of rhinestones, glitter, shrines, milagros, resin, DIY silkscreening, Decoden, dye cut machines and fabric, all guided by the lovely Kathy Cano-Murillo. But I dove in headfirst because that is the type of chica I am. I'm so glad I did because I learned so many things that just blew the roof off my artistic mind! My creative juices are flowing. Abundantly!

One of the first projects we worked on were DIY Bangles. Simple, unfinished wooden bracelets in various sizes and shapes. They were the perfect blank canvas to make something amazing and unique. The possibilities are limitless--I saw artists using fabric scraps, paint, glitter, markers, you name it.

My poison was markers. Specifically, Tulip's fabric markers. I know the surface was not fabric, but all the amazing colors that came in the set made me do it--they were so rich and bright. Don't judge me! I couldn't help myself--and hey, I was on a cruise ship, away from my vast collection of non-fabric markers at home. But seriously, these Tulip markers did not disappoint. I'm also working on another pair of TOMS using these same Tulip fabric markers which I am dying to share!

But anyhow, about these really cool bangle bracelets...

Getting started.

It helps to have a hot man to look at from across the table occasionally.
I didn't make any preliminary sketches, I just created some organic shapes and created several small patterns.
I like to incorporate natural shapes as well as geometric shapes.

Love the hearts.
Oh la la.
Once I finished the design, I applied a generous coat of glossy Collage Pauge. This sealed my artwork and gave the bangle bracelet a nice shine to it. I'm so impressed with myself, since this is the extent of my "jewelry-making" thus far. This would be a fun project for a girl's birthday party or craft group. Oh, and it would make an amazing Mother's Day gift, too, don't you think? So simple and you can make it as unique as you are.

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