Fall decorating … mom style.

by Jennifer Dyer

Fall has arrived. BC (before I had children) I used to decorate each season. Table linens, wall hangings, floral things, and more.

As most of you can imagine, life has changed. A lot! Most of my decorations didn’t survive the early years of children and the multiple moves, but the hearty ones in the attic called to me yesterday. “Let us out!”

“No!” I said. I will not. No time, no energy. Besides, some of the Christmas decorations are still out, which makes me early for that season.

But I thought about how much it means to eldest when I make any effort to make things decorative.

I gave in.
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I put out two tablecloths, one old floral garland, and one turkey. Mission accomplished. And I think it turned out rather well. The orange color of the lightsaber on the mantle really sets off the fall garland, don’t you think? And the Christmas decorations on either side of the lightsaber lend a touch of … something, right?
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Laughter aside, eldest really did perk up when she got home. Who knew a few things could make such a difference?

Even Rachel got into the spirit with her orange duct tape strips. How fun is that?

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Easy Star Wars toy trunk

by Jennifer Dyer

I’ve had these two steamer trunks for over two decades. They’ve served as coffee tables, storage, and benches. I have covered them with fabric to match rooms and even put bench padding under the fabric to make them more comfortable. With this last move, I needed a place to store my Star Wars toys–I mean the kid’s Star Wars toys… I thought, why not make it obvious?

So, I bought two yards of Star Wars fabric from JoAnn Fabrics and went to work. This latest project took me less than an hour.

Basic steemer trunk covered in Star Wars fabric
The front of the Star Wars trunk

Starting on the lid, I glued fabric along the inside seam using Mighty Mend It bonding agent (see pic below). (I’ve also used a hot glue gun.) Think of wrapping a tricky present or making a bed. The fabric goes around the sides and front, with small triangles in the corners to gather the extra fabric.

Inside rim of trunk lid

I then glued the fabric down by putting lines of glue around the edges of each surface, starting with the front of the lid. For the lid’s part of the clasp, I put glue around the metal section of the clasp then locked the trunk down so that the glue would bond the fabric to the trunk. (see pic of trunk clasp below.) After this bonded, I worked my way across the the top of the lid, the backside of the lid, then the back. (Think of outlining each rectangular surface on the trunk with glue and pressing the fabric down.) I kept going around the bottom and back up to the front.

Trunk clasp

The clasp on the front side of the trunk was a bit tricky. I had to cut a slit into the fabric so it would go around the metal clasp. Instead of cutting a rectangle out of the fabric, I cut a slit in the fabric the same length as the clasp and cut little snips to the left and right of the top and bottom of the slit I’d cut. (My cuts made a shape like a capital letter I.) This helped me get the fabric around to the backside of the clasp so I could glue it down. I made small triangles of the excess fabric at the corners and glued those down too.

Fabric glued to inside of the trunk.
Inside the trunk

The sides gave me a bit of trouble until I decided to wrap them like a present. I made triangles from the top and bottom sides of the fabric then glued them to the side of the trunk. (If you need more visual, I linked to this video. At 2:08, starts wrapping the ends of the boxes, using the method I used on the trunk.) I then cut a rectangle of fabric and glued a seam all the way around the sides, so that no ragged edges showed. I glued this over the edges of the triangles and under the trunk handle, so that trunk could be easily moved. (The last time I covered the handle, but didn’t like that as much.)

Side of trunk

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Urban Fantasy. Paranormal Romance.

Been book shopping lately, online or in a store? Seen any book fairs? I’ve done all three in the last 24 hours and found it quite educational. Stephenie Meyer still reigns as queen of the YA genre, at least from the volume of books offered for sale. Even at the local library her books are still on the hold list. But other writers such as Maggie Stiefvater (Linger) are not far behind. The other tables and shelves I saw were lined with hundreds of other titles revolving around vampires, fairies, werewolves, witches, and wizards. Oh, and don’t forget the romance intertwined in almost all of the stories. Even humorous romance maven Janet Evanovich is adding to the Paranormal Romance genre.

Why?

First, let me say that we were created by a supernatural and extraordinary God. A desire to seek the paranormal and fantastic is built into us. Think of one of the stories which has survived and thrived over the last four decades: Star Wars. Perhaps you’ve heard of it? Lucas filled his tales with super-human and heroic characters, and all the other writers in the Star Wars galaxy have never stopped. Through the Star Wars galaxy so many of us, boys especially, were able to live out a deep desire to be fantastic, to be heroic. I even kept my Star Wars action figures in my doll house. Who wants to play with boring dolls when there’s a Chewbacca and Princess Leia around?

But, in the words of my writer friend Kevin at Guys Can Read, what’s up with the major romance themes? Yeah, a lot of the stories are fine, but team Jacob and team-other-hot-guy? (I would like to point out that there’s not too many Team Mike shirts around…) Why all the hype over the romance angle?

It seems to me that the x chromosome comes with the natural desire to give and receive love. In fact, I’ve heard many psychologists say this is one of a female’s greatest needs. Boys want to be heroes. Girls want to be loved. Generalizations? Definitely. Room for crossover? Certainly. But does it hold true most of the time? Hmm. Love to hear your thoughts.

So, read on, friends, but beware the slippery slope. More on that later.

Oh, and just bought Linger. Hope to share and chat about it soon.

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