Tuesday, December 9, 2014

How To Have Less Stress During The Holidays

This is just a start.  

Meals and Dinners
Not all food has to be made from scratch.  I made an apple pie for Thanksgiving that was no better than the pre-made one at the supermarket and the market one was much cheaper.  It sounded good that I made it from scratch.  Yeah, right.  Never again!

Don’t take on all the food yourself.  If meals extend beyond family members, ask people to bring a dish or two (vegetables, dessert, juice, etc.).  Who cares if they are offended and don’t come next year.  Good.  It will be less food to buy and prepare. 

Stop having a huge sit down dinner and instead have each guest bring an appetizer.  Set out a buffet.  Everyone can get what they want and eat as much as they want.  It can still be festive, fun and less formal.  The kids will love it too.  There will still be leftovers for people to take home or for the dog.
Start decorating a bit earlier than last year.  Don’t do all at once.  Do something each day and it will add up.

Invite people over to help do it with you.  My brother did this under the guise of “it’s a family tradition” and all he provided was a dessert!  He got away with it. 

Decorate every other year.  Is it really time to decorate again?  I just put the stuff away from last year!
Amazon.com with Amazon Prime for free shipping.  Forget the malls.

Buy gift cards
Instead of lots of gifts, take a family trip

Keep to a budget for gifts

Watch out for aggressive advertising and sales saying that a certain gift will “make” the holiday or create a special feeling for you.  Or that “..Kids will love you more..” if you get them that certain high dollar item.  That’s Bull!
Get a good picture from the past year and make it into a 4x8 photo holiday card.  Get only 20 and limit to only those you really want to get.  $18 at Snapfish and you can pick up at Walgreens the next day.  Buy some forever stamps so they will always be good and you won’t have to go out and buy 5 or 2 cent add-ons each year.
Don’t watch any television!  You won’t get sucked into buying things you or others don’t need or have to return on “boxing” day.

Use the time you would have spent watching television to decorate, make cookies, or buy gifts online.  You will be amazed at how much you get done when you don’t watch any TV.

No sports, no Jimmy Stewart, no Charlie Brown for the 20th time, and no Rudolph for the 30th time.  It will take some guts but you will get much more peace this season.  And…you won’t miss it!  Guaranteed!

Instead of wasting time watching football or basketball, go outside and play it with your family and kids!  It will burn off some of that food you ate too much of.  Cold temps or snow is no excuse to stay inside too.
Saying No
People will ask you to do all kinds of things during this time.  Some people are experts at this.  Be Alert.  Politely say “No” and no reason is required.  No one will care that you said no as they will just go and ask the next person on the list.  Only do if you absolutely really enjoy it.  

Monday, December 8, 2014

Rustic 3 Leg Stool

When talking with a friend of mine at work, he mentioned he was looking for a small nightstand made out of wood.  He said he went to a few stores and did not find anything in his price range or anything he liked.  I asked him if he would want me to build something.  Well after a week or so the project turned from a fine wood piece into making something very rustic.  I came across some free logs at a local tree farm that were set out for firewood.  I walked the shores of the Delaware river and collected some interesting driftwood.  The only requirement I had was a height of around 18".  This is what I came up with.  The legs have 1.25" round tenons that fit into holes drilled at a 10 degree angle.  I drilled out the tenon hole in the top of the legs with a 1.125" hole saw.  I turned the tenon dowel on my drill lathe and glued them into the legs. The tenons are just friction fit into the holes in the log top. Not sure what will happen when the wood dries.  It may wind up with some splits but my friend does not mind.  This is the first time I have worked with wood in this way.  I was lucky to find a nice long piece of driftwood where I could get all three legs from the same piece.