Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Mailbag & Reader Show & Tell, The Holiday Edition!

I'm home! Light the lights, cue the choir, and snuggle the kitties, folks, 'cuz we have a LOT to catch up on.

This will not be a cruise recap, but first let me say thank you - again - to all of you on Facebook for the help last week. With John sick and me panicking, there was no WAY I'd have made it to our family's vacation without your flood of encouragement and advice. Even John had given up, decreeing we were staying home - and so was amazed to find me packing for us both later that night. So anyway, thank you. I owe you guys.

The cruise was still incredibly hard, and unfortunately I hit some new lows, but three things got me through the week: Xanax (beautiful, beautiful Xanax...), my family, and, during the brief times I was able to log on through the ship's wifi, stuff like this:




And amazingly enough, this Mario tree by Brandy has a playable game system in it:

 [I know it's hard to read; just click to embiggen]

They built a custom stand to embed the TV & console. Here's a progress shot:

And here's the top. Brandy cross-stitched all the ornaments herself!
  ::happy sigh::

I love geeks.

And before I share my final favorite tree post, here are answers to the two questions I've been asked most this week:

And now, drum roll, please, because this last tree by Brook Johnson is my favorite - for I think obvious reasons:
 Potter perfection!!

I can't even describe the happy feels this gives me. Brooke used my floating candle tutorial, found a pot to use as a cauldron base, and then found and/or crafted some absolutely brilliant ornaments that I fully intend on stealing. (Plus now I want to stick a full-sized broom in mine!)

Like these tiny cauldrons with color-changing LEDs:


I won't spoil the rest; just click on over to Brooke's blog to see - and bring a bib for the drool. Trust me.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have a tree to finish.  :)


  1. I couldn't leave a comment on Brooke's blog, but she should be able to fit an eye-hook (screw with a circle instead of a head) on the back of the doe to hang it. Poor thing looks like it is being hanged. I love her ideas, especially the owl with the glasses. It'd be kind of neat to find owls that each look like one of the characters and have a "Harry owl", a "Hermione owl" and a "Ron owl". Hobby shops that sell D&D figures would have something similar to the "Mountain Troll", oooo so many new ideas!!!

    1. sorry about that. comments should be fixed now! and yes, the poor doe does look like it's got a golden noose around its neck. lol. i just couldn't think of anything to hang it by at the moment. i might have an eye-hook lying around somewhere. thanks! :D

  2. LOVE! So I just moved in with my boyfriend... he's part geek, just like me :)
    A) Next year I'm going alllll out for Christmas - this year I just didn't have the time what with moving stuff from storage and my old house... but NEXT YEAR! (You'll be part of my inspiration for SURE).
    B) I cannot wait to make the spare bedroom into our geek office (two desk for gaming, mine big enough for alllll the crafting and scrapbooking!!!). And now i'm even more excited that our room will have its own geeky christmas tree. YAY!

  3. Welcome back!
    Maureen S

  4. Jen, just a reminder that although you may have had lows this week, you also had amazing highs -- you got yourself, against the odds, on to a cruise ship! Please be easy with yourself and don't forget to remember the strides you made. Glad you guys are back, safe and sound, and enjoy the rest of the holiday season!

    Thanks for all the wonderful eye candy.

  5. So much fun!! Here's to us geeks!
    Unfortunately I too, did not put a tree up this year. A lot of stuff happening in my life, and a tree just couldn't find its way out of the closet, but I have so many cool ideas now for next year... and the year after that... and the year after that.
    Thanks Jen, Mary, Larissa, Rikki, Brandy & Brook for the inspiration!

    --Piper P from Washington State

  6. Also, I'm impressed that you went on a cruise. You couldn't get me to go. Ever. I'm proud of you that you pushed yourself to go, even with John almost throwing in the towel.
    I've been on a few ferries in my life, and I HATED them. Even if it is only an hour or two ride. I'm the one hanging on for dear life to the railings hoping no one talks to me. haha... So, here's to you and your strength.

  7. I knew you could do it, and you did it!! I'm so proud, Jen. I'm sorry there were still low points, but I hope that the high points outshined them enough to leave you willing to give something like this a go again. Life is beautiful, in so many ways and so many places.

    Merry Christmas, dear! I hope it'll be a great one.

  8. If it helps, we also used to deliberately keep a set of wooden ornaments that were especially for little paws to play with; that way the lower portions could be filled in with hanging cat toys and anything breakable went up above. We went through a period of tying the tree to the wall with fishing line tethers as well, but i don't think the cats ever tried to climb it, so it wasn't necessary.
    Congrats on surviving the cruise and having some fun in between the waves of stress. That was a mighty big hurdle there, and i think we're all happy to hear you cleared it. Also, now that you have that memory of having gotten through that trip ok, i imagine it'd be just a little easier to do it again, should you choose to do so. Victory!

  9. I use the "hang ornaments cats can play with at the bottom of the tree" strategy. I have 3 cats, but only 1 is interested in playing with it. She's always pulling ornaments off, so this year, I hung a bunch of unbreakable ornaments at the bottom. She's made a nice little pile of ornaments behind the tree so far!

  10. So proud of you! <3 Merry Christmas!

  11. I am sorry about the bad moments on the cruise. But hopefully it left you feeling accomplished and with good memories as well. I love that you have highlighted reader creativity in this post.


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