Friday, November 25, 2011

Thanksgiving turns into Christmas

We spent our Thanksgiving dinner in Colonial Williamsburg, enjoying turkey and fellowship with some friends.
Our host was just getting off from work - about 90% of the time I see him, he's dressed like this. :)

Before dinner, we strolled around the streets of Colonial Williamsburg. The sun was setting and cast a beautiful glow on everything. It's such a lovely place to visit!

I was feeling pretty good about myself because I had just assembled some Christmas decorations for our front door. The kids collected pine cones and painted/glittered them, I hot glued the ribbons. Not bad, eh? Snow covered pinecones when it's about 70 degrees!

Yep. I was pretty happy. Then I saw the Christmas decorations going up in Williamsburg. Wow. At the risk of sounding un-thankful on Thanksgiving day, these make my creation look like a 2nd grade craft project (ok, it pretty much is!). I know these are done by professionals, but still. Gorgeous. This year the decorators have gone beyond the typical fruits and seed pods. Just look:

wheat, clove-studded oranges, lavender and cinnamon sticks (or cattails??) I love how they chose the wheat instead of greens - it stands out against the red so well
turkey tail, pine cones, & green apples - simple yet striking
this is the more traditional fruits and seed pod wreaths
my favorite: antlers, pheasant feathers, holly berries and cotton pods

Now I'm really in the mood to start my Christmas decorating! I'll have to go back to CW soon when they finish putting up all the decs to see what other ideas they've come up with. This could turn into a fun kids' project - making wreaths with objects found in nature only.

Saturday, November 19, 2011


It's a lovely fall day here! Give the boys a rake and a leaf pile, and they're entertained for hours.

Wrapping up some unfinished projects today. Here's the latest, a pair of crayon monster totes inspired by this tutorial. Two of my nephews who turn 5 will be getting these as birthday gifts next month. It was so much fun making these! The faces are furry fleece. I think I watched too many episodes of The Muppets as a kid.

My own 5 yr old can't keep his hands off them, so I guess that means I better make another one as a gift for him, too! I think I'll try to revise it as a composition notebook cover for him.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Gift Preparedness

The onslaught of the holiday season calls for preparedness, much like getting ready for a hurricane. Be prepared. Make lists. Stock up on supplies. Have a plan. I used this holiday checklist last year. I liked it so much I printed this year's checklist as well. Blank ones are here.

Oh, the crafting is really swinging into high gear lately! There's quite a few *unfinished* projects I'm in the middle of, gifts for Christmas and birthdays. There is an unusually high number of birthdays around the holidays in our circle, plus a newly adopted niece to welcome into the family. Lots of reasons to celebrate!!

With so many projects to do, it is time to be ORGANIZED. For me, this means figuring out my "dead" time and filling it productively. I can knit while reading words aloud for a spelling test. Sewing is best done after the kids are in bed. Projects for my own family members are done in secret while they're away swimming at the Y. This makes for a lot of pick up and put down of projects, so I like to keep all necessary supplies and materials. It's easy to pull out a tub or basket, work on a project for 15 minutes, then quickly pack it up.

Here's one project I'm working on, based on the Shepherd's Delight pattern (Ravelry link). Stranded knitting is quickly becoming a favorite of mine!

Preparing for Christmas

I know, Thanksgiving isn't even here and I'm talking about Christmas. But an important day requires some forethought and preparation, especially if you're busy chasing little ones. How do you make Christmas meaningful beyond the presents and sugar? One way we've enjoyed is by tracing the spiritual lineage of Jesus all the way from Adam through the Old Testament prophets to Mary, Joseph, and Jesus.

I made these felt magnets with little fingers in mind. They are stuffed with a cotton ball and the magnet is INSIDE so I wouldn't worry about someone prying it off and swallowing it! Yes, there's a fair amount of work here, but we've enjoyed these for years and they've held up well! It took me 3 years to make maybe if you're diligent and get started now you could have a complete set by Christmas!

Here are the people represented, reading from left to right, top to bottom:

Spirit, Adam, Noah, Abraham
Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses
Passover, Rahab, Gideon, Ruth
Samuel, David, Elijah, Isaiah, Jeremiah (chains - it's hard to see in the photo)
Jonah, Esther, Daniel, Zachariah & Elizabeth
John the Baptist, Mary, Joseph, Jesus