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Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Shoe lacing with fold over elastic- slip on easy!

This is by request of a friend of mine who saw this photo I posted on Facebook

No tie elastic lacing - foldover elastic

I laced up one of my pairs of sneakers with foldover elastic to make them easy to slip on and off, and have been wearing them like that for a week now, going for walks, etc- they've been holding up well. I did have to tighten the elastic a bit, but haven't had to tie my shoes, and they don't come untied. Plus I love the bright cheerful colors and plan to do this with the rest of my Chuck Taylors. It's less expensive than most no tie methods, and has a lot of options because there are so many colors and prints available for 5/8th inch foldover elastic. I got mine here- DIYSuppliesAndKits on Etsy

So cut about a yard of elastic per shoe, and start lacing following the diagram below. It's shown with each side in a different color to make it easier to follow.
Ladder lacing with elastic
Be careful not to twist the elastic, and adjust it so it's all wide and flat across the top of the shoe. 
Adjust the lacing to be comfortable after it's tied, and tie in a square knot on the underside between the two eyelets. Put a drop of glue into the knot to secure it. Trim the excess and put a light coat of glue on the cut ends to seal. I use PVA glue (Elmer's Glue All or Aleene's Tacky Glue type). 

Now I need to find the perfect elastic for the Wonder Woman shoes my dad got me! 
The last couple of weeks I've been very busy with my mom and dad's place. Packing things, deciding what gets donated, what we want to keep and getting my son all moved in. It's hard packing up a life, and deciding what goes and stays, and Dad never could do it with mom's things so it's a lot of stuff to go through. It has it's good moments. Finding old photos, or things I remember from childhood, but there is still a whole lot to go through. My daughter, who never really knew her grandmother (mom died when she was 2) but has heard all her life how much she looks like her has found that she and her grandma have a lot of the same taste in clothes. She was absolutely thrilled by a long red wool coat and finding her grandma's hats. William has been seeing photos he never knew about that have him with his grandpa. We are getting it done, but that's why I haven't been updating. I did finish the Color By Numbers Mandala coloring book too in the last month. 

Monday, January 19, 2015

Heart lock and key printable gift box

Love is the key to the solutions of the problems of the world. MLK

I hope you enjoy this heart themed box to print and make. Click on the image for a larger version, print on card stock, cut out, score folds, fold, glue.

So how are we doing? Still hurting. Christmas, William's birthday, Dad's birthday without Dad... it's hard. There is still so much to do at his apartment, and I was working on finishing up a coloring book. Staying busy. We laugh though, laugh at memories, laugh at life. We are treating each other gently, and saying "I love you" an awful lot.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Elastic watch band

super easy quick watch band for a cheap watch update

This doesn't count as a tutorial, or even really a craft because it's too simple. But I'm really happy with it. My husband and I have been taking walks together, at the mall because it's really too cold and slippery to walk comfortably outside, and today I was wishing that I had a nice, old fashioned watch instead of checking my phone to see how long we'd been walking.

So I stopped in at Claire's at the mall and they had all sorts of clearance as usual. Including Christmas watches for 2.00 each.

So I cut the band under the watch face and it out of the watch pins, then cut a 9 inch piece of elastic and thread it through the pins, wrapped it around my wrist for a comfortable fit, tied it in an overhand knot, trimmed the ends, and there it is- a watch that I can slip on easily, is really comfortable to wear and it isn't a Christmas watch anymore.

If you haven't used foldover elastic- it's the same stuff that a lot of trendy ponytail holders are made out of now- and a pack of 4-5 of them costs a few dollars. But you know what? You can buy 5 yards of foldover elastic for the same price, cut it, knot it and make the ponytail holders the size you need. For me, that's "Fit around my wrist" size. For my daughter, it's a bit larger because her hair is so thick. Plus when you buy your own fold over elastic you have all sorts of options for colors and prints. I got the ones shown above from DIY Supplies On Etsy.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Thomas Wayne MacGuire

From left to right, that's my Dad, Thomas MacGuire, my son, William, my mom, Carolyn Bradley, and my Grandma, Holly Bradley.

Three of them are together again now on the other side, and I keep going back and forth between being happy they are together again, and being sad for us because while they are just a thought away, it feels like a very far distance since we can't be hugged by them, hear their voices except in memory.

On December 22nd, things looked like they were improving for dad. He was in the hospital, but he was clear, coherent, focused on getting better and he was feeling pretty good. He spent the whole day with the grandson who was the light of his life, and they said I love you to each other a whole bunch of times. We also went to visit for a few hours and also said I love you to each other a few times. Then after he went to sleep, his numbers crashed, and he was gone very quickly after that. We had time to call everyone in the family so we could be there to say good bye.

This is really, really hard to write. But it's not going to get any easier is it?

Once upon a time, a social worker was followed into a bathroom at a party by the woman who ran the local Equal Rights Commission. She wasn't the sort of person who did things like that, she was a hippie from comfortable family in California, and had two kids from a previous marriage. But lots of people had tried to fix these two up on a date in the past and she was curious about him. She came to Alaska as VISTA volunteer and fell in love with the state.

He was a slight man with a beard and mustache, and smart blue eyes that flashed with laughter about everything. He had come to Alaska with his mother in 1963, Driving a lot of the highway from California himself. He was a fighter from his birth 3 months premature in 1948. He was a survivor with college degrees in a couple fields dealing with human behavior and psychology.

First, let's get one thing straight, my dad? Was a straight up outlaw. He hated authority figures, and wouldn't eat his vegetables. When I was a kid, he left that straight job. He dealt drugs, his best friends were a pimp and another criminal whose crimes I've never been sure of, but did spend time in prison. They were raucous and loud, they lived for the moment and the moments were fun and chaotic and they loved each other so much. They were utterly loyal to each other, and they watched out for Mom, me and my brother. We were a family. Mom, Dad, Uncle Paul and Uncle Merrill.

Outlaw or not, my mom had notoriously wretched taste in men. My Grandfather's reaction to Mom dating Dad was to tell her, unequivocally, that he was the best relationship she had ever been in. Even then, Dad's guiding principles were honesty, honor, loyalty and love.

Dad said that living on the edges was like living in a foxhole, you had to know who your friends were, and how much you could trust them. He could have trusted them for anything, they could rely on him the same way. But my brother and I didn't know that. We knew our family was different than most. We knew most families didn't have incredibly expensive locks, or parents who were home most of the time and still had money, we knew that most parents didn't get mad when you opened the very heavy privacy drapes in the living room or warn you that the phone might be tapped, but we didn't know WHY our family was different.

We also knew we were wanted, we were LOVED. That's important. I never knew until adulthood how important that was. My closest friends grew up in more traditional families but never had that absolute certainty they were wanted and loved. My dad went proudly to my dance recitals with my mom and uncles. If they scared the other parents, they didn't care. They were there to see me, not to impress or make friends. They paid attention to the things I wanted, the things I needed.

When Dad decided to get out of that life, Paul had moved to take care of someone who was in trouble, and Uncle Merrill was out of state I think or in prison? I don't recall which exactly. But he and mom got on methadone, and kicked their habits. It was a pretty huge transition. We went from having money to spare to being very broke. We moved out of our home into a series of apartments. But my parents were there in a way they hadn't been before. Sure, we weren't riding snow machines for fun anymore, but my parents were very consistently there. They needed to be at that point. I was getting sick a lot. Somehow we all made it through.

So, you can see by my description, that my parents were flawed. Funny, wild, unpredictable, loving and they always tried their best in their own unique ways.

Then something happened.
William was born. My darling, beautiful first born child.

My parents fell in love, and settled into a team whose first priority was that baby boy. When he was 3, I made the decision to give up my son to my parents because they loved each other so much. It seemed like the best thing for all of them. It hurt of course, but it was the best choice.

It really, really was. My parents loved him so much. They changed for him, mellowing, they weren't as wild. Mom would take walks with William to wishing wells and let him spend rolls of pennies. Dad would do anything for his boy.

When Mom died, my grandmother (her mother), told me fiercely "I know you can take William back, don't you do it. You leave him with his grandfather. You have Emily and Michael. They (William and Dad) need each other."

Dad loved Grandma like she was his own mother, and she loved him like a son. She also told him never to cut his hair and he never did. Grandma followed mom after just couple months. Dad was devastated.

The single thing that pulled him through the other side was William. William nagging him to eat, William having things to show his Papa. William's need after losing the grandma he loved so much while he was also trying to take care of his Papa.

Dad and I got very close after Mom was gone. I made the point of talking to him daily. We got to know each other a lot better. We talked about all sorts of things.

Now, to be honest, my taste in men was pretty bad too. But Dad LIKED Michael from the first time he met him. That like turned into genuine love. Dad respected Michael and Michael felt the same way about him. Michael truly fit into my nutty family like he was always supposed to be there. Even though Michael was so straight and "normal".

Back to honesty, honor, love and loyalty. See, those were never just words to Dad. they were the guiding principles of his life his whole life. If you couldn't be honest, he couldn't be your friend. If you didn't stand for something, he had no respect for you, but if he loved you, he was absolutely loyal and expected the same in return. That's the common ground that Michael and Dad had, and it was the basis for a relationship that turned into one like Dad's and Grandma's. Dad was our Dad, he loved Michael like a son.

We had such fun, we made the point of doing it. Of doing things as a family, going to museum exhibits, trick or treating with the kids together, we did a lot in the following years as the children grew.

The photo above was taken this last July at a summer fair.

The last month since Dad's diagnosis with cancer, to Dad dying has been really, really hard. It's had some good moments, and we have a lifetime of memories and love.

I need for everyone to understand one thing, that crazy, flawed, wild, incredibly good, generous, kind man? He was the BEST dad I could have had. His relationship with William was something so special, so wonderful. The love he gave to all of us.... he gave us the best of him, and in the last few weeks has said over and over how lucky he was to have this family. Not just a family, but this family specifically. All of us. We will miss him so much.

But we won't forget how very lucky and blessed we were to have him.

See, family isn't about blood. It's about love and commitment. He never told people I was his step-daughter. We were just all his kids.

I love you Dad. Thank you.


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