Browsing articles from "December, 2011"
Dec 30, 2011

Paper Christmas

It started, as so many things in my life do, with something I found on Twitter. A man I follow decided to organize a Secret Santa with his Internet friends. To keep it simple, he limited it to handmade gifts.

This was going to be great. I was going to get extra presents! I love extra presents! All I had to do was figure out what to make

So began several days of fretting. I tried googling my recipient, but she didn’t have any sort of web presence that I could find. Not even on Facebook. So, instead of being able to look for clues as to what she would like, I had protracted text brainstorming sessions with friends before I finally sort of settled on a sort of winter diorama. I wanted to give my Secret Santaee a box of winter. I thought it would be a fairly cheap, simple project.

I can be so silly sometimes.

After many trips to my local paper purveyor, a few lost Xacto knives, and lots and lots of glittter, I ended up with something close to my original idea.

I didn’t want this post to be just photo overload, so I condensed the making-of process into one photo. Oh, and I dumped an entire cup of coffee onto my real camera, so this is my attempt at gussying up my iPhone photos.
Box of winter

What I wanted to do was send my recipient a box of winter. I, as I’ve said before, have really missed the cold and the snow this year, so I was trying to send my Secret Santa person something of that feeling. So, they got this box:

And when they opened it, it looked like this:

The best part of this whole Secret Santa thing, though, was what I got in return. Uh-this:


If you don’t recognize this, you’re obviously not spending enough time reading the archives of this fine blog. Seriously, what are you doing between my posts? Anyway, that right there is a drawing of my desk, copied from a photo I posted here about a year back. I squealed. I’m going to frame it. And also sleep with it under my pillow. This is the perfect personal but not too personal Secret Santa gift. And it makes me wish that my Secret Santaee was easier to Google. Oh well. I love it. Oh, there’s also a drawing of the Hancock Building on the second notebook (which I also love, since I used to go to school within sight of it and also worked in the building for a few months), but I forgot to take a photo of that one because I was squealing and calling my mom.

So. That’s the first part of my Paper Christmas. The second part came from a desire to find something really custom and interesting for my sisters for Christmas. I wanted to do some Etsy shopping, but we exchanged gifts two weeks early and I ran out of time. It occurred to me about two days before Christmas (Observed) that if I can make gifts for strangers, than I can make gifts for sisters. And so I did.

Melissa really loves Alice in Wonderland (and is a lot like Alice in all sorts of good ways) so I made her a paper Alice with her classic blue dress and some tiny mushrooms. And beefy arms. I’m sorry about that, Alice dear.

This last one is what I believe to be my greatest achievement in things I have cut out of paper. It’s my favorite thing I’ve made in a long time. Elizabeth and I have both (separately) been watching Doctor Who this year. It really is a wonderful show. I will evangelize you if you stand still long enough. Anyways. The Doctor flies through space and time in his little blue box of a spaceship. It looks like a 1940s* police call box, but do not be decieved, his ship, the TARDIS, is bigger on the inside.

I made Elizabeth a paper TARDIS. Behold:


I considered stealing it but I did not. It looked really cute in my living room, though.

Did you make any of your gifts this year? Tell me about ’em!

I wish you a very happy new year, and I’m going to leave you with this, because in an Internet that contains sleeping kittens and sneezing pandas and babies who recite poetry, this is the cutest thing that exists right now:



*Edit: I am ashamed. It’s actually a 1963 police box. Thanks Marc, for pointing that out to me.

Dec 9, 2011

I would really like some snow. Please.

taken from Metal Cowboy's Flickr stream

It will not snow.

I need snow. It’s sort of like one of those mermaid movies where the mermaid (who has recently turned into a human, obviously), hasn’t been around water recently, so her gills have started to reappear, except instead of being iridescent green, they’re now a sort of sickish gray.

My snow gills are gray.

We’ve had a few flurries, and I heard a rumor that there was actual snow in downtown Chicago last week, but I’ve seen almost nothing in the suburbs.

There is a growing flock of Canada geese who, instead of continuing south like reasonable birds, are taking over the parking lot at work. They think they’ve found their tropical paradise.

I went Christmas shopping on Michigan Avenue last Saturday, and I did not need a coat.

I’ve been watching the weather reports, and we’ve had a few snow storms predicted, but nothing’s materialized.

I’m starting to get anxious.

You know how after the Flood, God sent a rainbow as a promise that he’d never destroy the world that way again? Snow is sort of my rainbow. Give me a minute: I know I’m not making meteorological sense.

I’ve always loved snow. I was always happy to see it, no matter what time of year it happened to fall. But it wasn’t until a few years ago that it became as important to me as it is now.

It was my senior year at Moody, and I think I had just done badly on a test. I know that’s not really the end of the world, but I was miserable. I felt like I had wasted opportunities and time and like God had given me this gift of an education and I had squandered it. I left class, and instead of heading back to work at the yearbook office, I left campus. It had started to snow that morning, and there were already a few inches on the ground. I was wearing little fabric shoes and my feet were soaked almost immediately, but I had to walk.

I walked faster and faster, and as I walked I counted every mistake I had made in the past four years. Every missed opportunity and broken friendship and wasted moment. The faster I walked, the more mistakes I could remember. I was overwhelmed.

I stopped.

The snowflakes were huge. Nickel-sized. When I stood still, I could watch the snow on the ground get deeper. I was used to the noise of the city, the sounds of the traffic and people. But with that much snow, all those sounds were muffled. It was 2pm on a weekday in Chicago, and the whole city was silent. Everything, the wrought iron fences, the street lamps, the buildings, was covered in snow.

That was when I realized that if God could silence and transform a whole city with just a little frozen water, then there was nothing that I could do that he couldn’t make beautiful by covering it with a layer of redemption.

I could breathe again. I watched the snow for a few more minutes, then I went inside and put on dry socks.

Snow is my rainbow and my ebenezer and my reminder of what the Gospel means.

I am tired.  And I could use a refresher course on redemption. And I would really like it if it would snow.