Gift wrapping is one of my very favorite things to do.  Tim always makes fun of me because he thinks I spend too much time wrapping gifts.  But I can't help it, I love doing it.  Sometimes I end up liking the way I wrapped a gift better than the actual gift itself...

Each year, I come up with a theme for all the gifts we give.  I love coming up with a new theme each year.  Last year I used old grocery sacks and leftover yarn, giving all the gifts a very textured look.  This year I needed something less time consuming than the yarn wrappings, but still aesthetically pleasing.  I also wanted to consider earth-friendly options, when reasonable.

Here's what I came up with:

TA-DA!  I was inspired by the really cute polar bear pics I stumbled across in the LIFE online picture archive (thanks Jennie Orr for introducing me.)  Each gift was adorned with a cute polar bear, and a "merry christmas" tag that I typed on the typewriter at work.

Materials used:
  • Reused newspaper from the recycle bin at the Pourhouse
  • Reused scrap paper from work used for printing the polar bear pics and typing the tags
  • Glue stick
  • Scotch tape
  • Hemp to tie packages together (leftover from my junior high hemp bracelet phase)
  • Black acid free scrapbook paper (not recycled or reused, but leftover from other projects)
So even though I could have been a bit more eco-friendly than I was, I am still very pleased that I didn't have to purchase anything to wrap my gifts.  I also love how they look!  If you have any creative gift wrap ideas, let me know!  I am already planning for next year...


my chair.

Greetings blog czars.

I wanted to take a moment to introduce you to a fixture of life at Hotel Feltonia - my chair.

 (chorus of "oohs" and "ahhs")

A lady who used to share our building at work, decided to join a religious order.  Before she got thee to a nunnery, she sold all her possessions.  This chair was one of them, and I was kind enough to offer her a new home.

I love my chair.  I love the color and the fabric, I love that it reclines, I love that it's not too big nor too heavy.

However, it has become a source of marital contention for two reasons: 

1) My husband thinks I am ridiculous for purchasing another item of furniture for our home because, frankly, we already have too much stuff.

2) When he comes home from work and wants some wife cuddle, I refuse to leave my chair because I love it so much.  (I mean, seriously, look how happy and comfy I look in my chair with my slanket!)

So, this past weekend, I was pretty much camped out in my chair because I was battling the onset of a cold/sinus infection and indulging in my drug of choice (Grey's Anatomy) when my chair unexpectedly attacked!  While I was in the reclined position, I reached over to the coffee table for a tissue, and the chair suddenly snapped into the upright position.  My upper arm got caught in the chair and I struggled to get the chair to return to the reclined position so that I could be released.

My first response was panic, and all I could do was utter little gasps of "ah ah ah ah!".  Then the pain came, and it was pretty painful.  After I released myself from the chair's grasp, the shame started to wash over me.  I had just been the victim of a couch potato casualty.  My excess arm flab had become a safety hazard.  I could hear a spandex-clad Billy Blanks jeering at me from inside the TV, "You wouldn't have them arm flabs if youda just got them wangs out (1) like I told you."  Touche, Billy.

To the right is a picture of the bruise that the chair gave me.  Gross.

When I told Tim about my recliner injury, he said, "that's what you get for not cuddling with me."

I guess Tim won this one (2).



(1) "Getting your wangs out" refers to an exercise in which one extends both arms to each side like airplane wings and then circles them around (not like airplane wings).  It is a colloquial phrase - please do not look it up on urban dictionary.

(2) Marriage is not a contest...except for when I win.


christmas illuminated

I think I have said it before, but Tim and I love Christmas!  So much, that I thought I would write some more about it.

For those of you who don't know, my husband is a regular Clark W. Griswold when it comes to Christmas, particularly Christmas lights.  One of his favorite traditions from childhood is hanging the big bulb Christmas lights around the house with his dad.  He loved it so much that when he went to college he continued the tradition (1), and when he decided to propose to me he did it with Christmas lights (2). 

I also grew up with a love of Christmas decorations.  I always had my own tree that I would decorate in different ways each year, and even bought some cheesy light-up angel for my dorm freshman year.  We are two peas in a pod when it comes to Christmas decorations. 

This year, I thought I would walk you through our Christmas traditions.

First, we went Christmas tree hunting with the Felton family the day after Thanksgiving (another tradition).  Below is a picture of Tim's brother Dan and his son Alex helping us find a perfect little tree for our house. Next to that is Tim's brother, Nick, posing next to another one of the candidates. 

We finally found the perfect little guy, and brought it back to Bloomington the Sunday after Thanksgiving.  We got back in the early afternoon so that we could start decorating right away.  Tim put up the tree and I baked some gingersnaps and made tea.  Then we pulled out all the lights and spent the rest of the night checking fuses and measuring gutters.

The next evening, we decorated the tree.  Josh, Tim, and I got out all our ornaments, and took turns putting them on tree.  This way, we all got to see each others' ornaments and say, "Ooh, that's a nice one," or, "Good placement."  It was a Feltigan tradition in the making.
A few years ago, Brett's Christmas gift to us was about 15 boxes of Christmas lights and an angel tree topper dressed in red.  Tim loved the lights, of course, but the angel seemed a little odd (mostly because of her unconventional red dress).  We placed her on the top of our tree this year, but added an IU symbol to make her red apparel seem more appropriate.  Also, you may be wondering where the yellow contruction paper rocket ornament came from.  It is leftover from the year we didn't have any ornaments and asked our friends to make some from construction paper.  It was really fun, and we tried to save them all, but only a few survived the move.
The next day, after troubleshooting some extension cord/outlet issues, Josh and Tim finished the lights outside.  To the left is a picture of them reveling in their masterpiece (Josh is hugging Tim, but its hard to tell)!  Tim was on a serious high after that.  He started walking around the house exclaiming, "We need some Christmas lights here, on the ceiling maybe," and, "Wait, I'm concerned because the kitchen doesn't have any lights yet."  I had to remind him that Al Gore was already judging us, and that Josh just might crank the thermostat down a few degrees for every strand of lights he put up.

Finally, we ended up with two trees (upstairs and down), outside lights, a strand around the garland above dining room archway, a couple strands for the Christmas cacti, and a strand for the glass head.  You'll have to come by and experience for yourself the wondrous holiday spirit that is bursting forth from our little home.


(1) In college, Tim dressed in Brett's coveralls to stay warm while hanging Christmas lights.  When he got the coveralls on, he started talking to himself in some hillbilly accent.  He developed this character of some redneck who strings Christmas lights for a living and hung all the Christmas lights as this character, mostly for his own entertainment.  When Brett came out to see how it was going, Tim responded only in character.  Brett was extremely annoyed by this behavior.
(2) Here is a picture of Tim's Christmas Eve proposal!