Monday, December 29, 2008

Let It Snow

The last two weeks have been a little crazy! I know getting ready for Christmas can be a little chaotic some years, for some people every year, but this was crazy. It started snowing. I know for most of the country that is normal. Well, a flake or two here would be normal too. I live in a part of the country where at the first flake of snow everyone rushes down to the store to stock up on things in case they get snowed in. Here, I think most people think if the ground is white, then you are snowed in. 1/2" of snow fall is on the high side of normal. Well, we had 22" piled up here. Not so normal for here. It was beautiful!
I took these pictures when we had about 4 inches.

The icicles were amazing. This was the view from my studio. But the snow didn't keep me down. The first day of snow, the brakes went out on my van. They were gone, suddenly, peddle to the metal, gone. That's what kept me down. Tow trucks were so overwhelmed with work they were only towing if you were stuck in the road. Thankfully, I was able to get the van home. So I walked to places close to me or took the bus. All that took a lot more time, time I wanted to devote to Christmas preparations. So I made some choices. I stayed home more, bought some thinks on line, and had a more relaxing season. I kept saying "slow down". "Enjoy". "Remember what this is all about." I guess I needed to have a little push in practicing what I was saying. I didn't have to dig out my van like everyone else. I wasn't going anywhere. It was a good thing. Then.....some pipes froze. Just the pipes that go to the laundry room. Gerry was gone, so dealing with them was for me to do. The problem came several times during the last two weeks. Now the pipes wear a nice wrap of heat tape if it ever gets that cold here again.
Soon all the decoration will be put away until next year. I will miss several angels hang around. Each have different styles of copper wings, vintage cotton dresses with pin tucks and antique lace. Each, one of a kind.
Old St. Nick will visit well into January. Some things are just fun to have around longer than the other decorations.
When Christmas is over I kind of have a let down. I've been so busy making things and cooking - suddenly nothing, or very little - - - for a couple of days. There are three birthdays in our family before New Years. But, usually before I get into more gift stuff, I want to do something for no reason.....just for fun....just because. This time it's lavender filled linen laundry bags. Mmmm, the aroma of summer.I had some pieces of linen that I cut in rectangles 5"x 12". I folded the rectangle in half, and sewed two sides with 1/4" seams. Now it's a bag 4 1/2" x 6". I poured 1 cup of lavender in the bag. Then folded the top over twice, and sewed over the folds to close the bag.
Now they are ready to throw into the dryer. Everything smells so fresh and sweet. Mmmm. Love it. It's not too strong or overpowering. When I use to use laundry sheets, I would sneeze, no matter what kind. Now I just use lavender bags. I doesn't bother me The guys don't mind, it's such a light scent. Each bag is used many times.

The first birthday gift is a taggie for a first birthday. The body is a light green micro fleese for babies. It's edged with triangles, forming a sawtooth edging in two colors of satin.
Little ones love to hold them when they don't have their big blanket with them.

Hope you have had a wonderful Christmas, taking time to show more love to family and friends. Building memories. Giving some of the abundance we have been so blessed to receive.

Friday, December 12, 2008

More Decorating

Gerry and I finally went out and cut some greenery . I have holly and cedar in our yard, but I wanted some fir too. Now I've been doing more decorating. I always have lots of greenery around.
I put it over pictures, with festive primitive ribbon.

Garlands over doors.

Inside and outside.

Around the Nativity.
The Nativity sits on top of the buffet in the dining room. I hang starry fabric on the wall and sheer over the stars with angels in the folds.
I made the copper angel several years ago .
My oldest son made the stable using cinnamon sticks many years ago. The floor of the stable is scattered with sandalwood and star anise and anise seed. The aroma is wonderful. Not the usual for a stable. The Christmas village is arranged. Carolers sing, couples walk, children throw snowballs. Each house shines brightly in the candle lit room.
The stockings are already hanging, ready for all the little fun things that fill them each year. Not so many this year. I've made crazy quilt stockings for each child.
Our home is almost ready. There are a few more things to do. I'm enjoying the moments, and the memories. Most of the decorations are older, so as I set out each item, conversations and and expressions are in my minds eye. So many happy times, then and yet to come.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Re Inspired

For years ( that's lots of years), I've handmade gifts for my children, friends and now grandchildren. Sometimes they are GREAT gifts, you know that kind that get the " OH WOW!" when opened. Sometimes "oh, nice." I always try for the first kind, but don't always get it. So this year, there is a little anxiety in thinking of what to make for the grand kids. After soooooo many years, it's hard to thing of something new. How do the designers do it????
This fall Alicia Paulson of Posie Gets Cozy, published her book, Stitched In Time. This book is full of ideas and projects, all with a whimsical air. There were projects that were new and then some projects that were not new, just a new flavor, a new updated presentation. I was inspired, or re inspired to make a few.
First project was the superhero cape. Each project I varied a little. This project I used a half circle instead of a quarter circle. I just liked the fuller look. I think most kids like lots of fabric billowing out behind them. Here we have Superhero of the universe, and Superheroine of the flowers.
Alicia's instructions were clear and complete, so putting the project together was fast and easy.
Next project was a pillow case. Actually two. One for a little boy who likes bugs. One for a little girl who likes pink. For the girls case I used some Daisy Kingdom fabric I had from when my older kids were young. For the case hem I used satin and embroidered their name - another change.
The third project was the grow chart. Sorry, it doesn't show well here. The 12 blocks going up the chart have a light block in them - so I was imagining bricks. At the bottom there is a double door, at the top in a window. Then a tape measure sewn through the blocks. The only change I made was using washed wool to edge the chart instead of bias tape.
I hope Alicia doesn't mind the changes. I think that is what's great about books like this. The author inspires us to be creative so that each person makes something unique.

How are your projects coming for your gift giving? I have more to do, so must leave for now. Hope you enjoy you gift making!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Christmas: Simple Memories

Well,'s a start. I have a few decorations up. It's has been really nice, enjoying the slower process. Most of it is done on my own time, instead of the short hurried time when everyone can get together. Other years more family has been involved, which it GREAT, but then I'm directing, there's more hustle and bustle, all the personalities - fun times, precious moments, memories, and exhausting being in the center of all that. Even though it is busy, I try to keep things simple. It is the family times, memories, what we have in our hearts that make Christmas. Next Sunday all the family that is in the area will come and we will have a tree decorating party. We have done this for many years, one of those family memories. As we decorate, the kids remember years past, and laugh over their ornaments they made and so lovingly have hung every year. There is one Snow White ornament that is affectionately fought over every year. It is one person's tattered treasure and most others abhor it. Outside, wreaths adorn every window, garland is swagged along the porch railings. The posts are circled in dark red ribbon. Inside, a light in each window, the old tradition of welcome, and lighting the way for travelers. .

The sugar cookies are ready for the grand kids decorate.
Peanut brittle and other goodies are ready.

My work areas are stacked with sweets. We have a big family and many friends who will eat most of this....thankfully.
Cranberry garlands are swagged over the cupboards.

Blocks, giving word to the message of the season are set.

Reindeer visit.
Today I will go and harvest pine and fir boughs to make wreaths and garland. There will be sprigs of green and holly tucked most everywhere. The house will take on the aroma of winter Christmas. There will be bowls of cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, cloves, and star anise scenting every room. There are still the Christmas village, Nativity, angels, etc. to set out. As I'm decorating, I'm thinking of making memories for my family. Thinking of the peace we can experience because of what happened so long ago, the precious gift we have been given. That gift is always at the center of our celebration.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Slowing Down the Crazyness

I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving! I did. This time of year SOOOOO much is happening. We want to think of others. Help others have a better holiday season. Especially connect with family and have more meaningful times with your immediate family. In achieving this, things can get a little crazy. There are a few things that I usually do that I will be cutting back on, such as blogging. So....I will be here off and on, as it seems to have been going lately. I'm always so happy to get back to visit. I miss the humor, inspiration, and cleverness of all of you.

We had a lovely time Thanksgiving day, hosting 25 people. Here we are getting ready to fill our plates. We brought in four tables from other rooms and lined them up through the dining room and into the living room.
When we are all stuffed, we clear everything, and play games. It's a good time to have fun together and talk about what is happening in each others lives. It seem like no matter how much we talk, there is always more to say.
Later, the pies and other desserts come out. There is so much, I always take some to friends later and share the bounty.

As we begin the last month of this year, take time. Remember what this season is all about. Think of ways to enrich this season for your family and friends. Most of the gifts I'm giving this year, as in years past, will be handmade. So I'll be busy finishing those projects. I'll share a few along the way. Enjoy December! The season of giving. Remember what we have been given and rejoice in it.