Tuesday, December 11, 2012

merry making

There is so much to make during the holidays and so little time for it. But I must remind myself that the gifts will all get sewn up, they do every year. 

With a new nephew on the way, this season brings lots of making for him and his mama. Bibs and wipes (and all sorts of things I don't want to give away here) are in the works. My little guy is getting some new bibs too and a special pair of pants made from Mama's old snuggly sweatshirt.

There is still that tree skirt I want to whip up, if I can decide on which wool plaid to use, and more felt roses like the ones I made here are cut and ready to roll, literally. 

It's funny, if I focus on all I have to make I don't get stressed about all I have to buy, and wrap, and hide. After all, these are the special gifts and I don't mind spending all of my free nap times on them at all.

Friday, December 7, 2012

a holiday yarn wreath

This project has been on my list for at least 2 years and I am so happy to finally see it hanging on our front door. It was (almost) free and easy too! Here is how it all went down.

I initially got in gear with a little help from my MIL who gave me this yarn. She got it on clearance in a big bag of yarn with other colors she needed for Halloween projects. Hello inspiration.

I picked up a foam wreath with a half off coupon, it costs me about 3 bucks. That is where the spendy train ends, everything else I had on hand.

Let the wreath wrapping begin.

I used this tutorial by Danielle at Take Heart. She uses a straw wreath but I had my reasons for choosing foam, I'll get to those in a minute.

Although time consuming, wrapping this guy once wasn't enough. I wanted him to look bulky and warm, so I went around again.

Then it was on to the felt flowers. These were easier than I expected. Can you believe they start out looking like this?

I had intended to use all cream flowers but I quickly ran out of cream felt and had to switch to a festive red. These happy accidents are the spice of life when you are a reclaimist.

I liked making the flowers so much that I made one into an ornament for my neighborhood ornament exchange. Now I'm thinking of making more to use on holiday packages.

This project called for a lot of hot glue which I wasn't super comfortable with. The space between the storm door and the front door gets really warm, even in winter. I didn't want to see all of my handy work dangling from strings of hot glue. So I used it sparingly and then moved onto long straight pins.

The pins worked great. Not only were they way less messy but they also allowed me to play with the placement of the flowers before committing to a location. Hooray for the foam wreath.

Once I decided on a spot I just had to push the head of the pin all the way into the flower so that it wouldn't be seen.

I did the same thing for the leaves. I just used a yellow head quilting pin so it would blend better.
Recognize that green felt? It's scraps from Desmond's Godzilla costume.

I had these glittery pinecones too. I bought them at an after christmas sale YEARS ago and used them on xmas packages but loved ones kept giving them back to me. So, I hung them on the tree and they made pretty ornaments until I clearly needed them for my wreath.

 I attached them all with hair pins that I had in my bathroom stash of girlie stuff. Because what else am I doing with hair pins?

I am so pleased with how secure everything is...and beautiful. I can't believe I had all this stuff.

YAY!!!!! For finally tackling this easy wreath project!
 It makes me smile every time I walk through the door.

Monday, December 3, 2012

trimming the tree...twice

When we last left off our house had been transformed into a winter wonderland. Desmond and Dana were admiring their handy work and the tree looked beautiful...for a couple of days.

I happened to notice while nursing that the tree seemed to be leaning a little forward. Not an optimal direction if an almost 10 foot tall tree needs to lean.

There was some tinkering and...the tree stand broke.
 Note the tree being held up by our wall in the picture below.

This may have had something to do with the fact that it was a tree stand for a smaller, normal size tree, up to 8 feet.  Within a day we had a new tree stand for the appropriate size tree and all we had to do was switch tree stands.

Yep, Dana lifted the adorned Christmas tree while I quickly switched the tree stands. Desmond was safely out of harms way. 

And this is ultimately what happened. When you have a toddler that needs your attention it leaves only one person trying to steady the tree and make it straight, that obviously didn't work out too well for us. Thankfully Dana wasn't hurt even though the tree fell directly on him. And he is even managing to give me half a smile in his sickly state, did I mention he is sick while all of this is happening.

We aren't sure which happened first, the tree fell and broke the stand or the stand broke and the tree fell. Alas, broken tree stand number 2, but that wasn't all that was broken.

Honestly, I almost cried over a couple of these, like the teddy bear that I gave my grandmother when I was in elementary school, or the cheerleader that my mom had made to look like me. I am remaining optimistic that a couple can be repaired.

It is important to mention that before we made this foolish attempt Dana asked me if there was anything I would be heart broken over if it broke and I only removed Desmond's first ornament. He saved the glass balls from our travels. Hmmmm.

Wait, neither of us grabbed our wedding ornament?!?! Thankfully it made it through alright.
After the fall, everything came off of the tree.

As God is my witness, I'll never be hungry again!
Sorry, I couldn't resist a little Gone with the Wind humor.

Naked, our tree leaned in the corner for several days until we purchased yet another tree stand. A different one this time, although all 3 were made in the USA to my delight.

Then on Saturday the reinforcements arrived, the Grandparents!

It took three generations to get this job done right.

Yay! It took a week but we finally have a sturdy and beautiful tree.
My vote is for a smaller tree next year but I don't think I'm going to win.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

holiday transition

On Thanksgiving Day our house looked like this, Fall and natural-ish:

And by Sunday afternoon it was full on holly jolly around here. 
How does it happen so quickly for all of us?

There was even an early hand-me-down gift under the tree.

This is my brother in 1974 with his birthday loot. My folks say I played with the giraffe too, but there are no photos and I only remember that awesome green tricycle. Yes, they lead tested it and we are good to go. And of course, Desmond loves it.

It still seems a little dangerous to me but no more so than the ever alluring, giant, lighted pine tree in our house. Looks like I'm going to seriously be on my toes until January.

Yikes, the madness has begun.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

snakes and snails

Tough kids need to wear hats.
Even boys with favorite toys such as sticks, rocks, and the occasional daddy-long-legs. But no store bought hat will suit a boy who loves to ride on the back of mama's bike and play in the gravel drive.

I found this tutorial by I am momma hear me roar and thought it's rugged boy style matched up perfectly with my rough and tumble little guy. 

I had everything I needed in the studio, of course.
Here is the breakdown:

Gray knit top; old sweater of Grama's
Gray t-shirt that reads Acid Mothers that was mine before I met Dana (re: a long time ago)
Monkey wearing glasses tee; Desmond's from this past summer that was badly stained and headed for the rag bin
Stripey jersey top that I thrifted and wore so much during my pregnancy it wasn't worth storing for the future
Old sweatshirt remnants line the ears
Scraps from a jersey shirt make the bias-tape-look-alike trim

I added some intentionally sloppy hand stitching as the tutorial suggests and I am so pleased with the results. I can't wait to make him another one next year.

Uh oh, looks like the bright orange cord has caught his attention, yikes.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

fall, fall, and more fall

 There is lots of Fall happening in these parts. Even with the Halloween decorations and costumes packed away, Fall marches on. Thanksgiving has been moved to our house this year keeping the Christmas spirit at bay for just a little longer, thank goodness.

Everyone is out of the house in that last embrace of tolerable weather after the heat of summer and the freeze of winter.  There is a scramble to get things done around here, pick the last of our cherry tomatoes and winterize the garden, bake muffins from fresh picked, Carter Mountain apples, and trying my hand at some pumpkin bread, which was a delicious success by the way. I can't believe I had never baked bread before.

Although I miss my hometown the most in the Fall I need to reflect on some good local folks here. Folks that delivered 12 bales of straw for free because we don't have a truck and asked nothing in return.   I know some of you think you have the best local produce stand out there, but I know our neighborhood has the best. So, thank you once again Berry's, you continue to make our spring, summer, and fall every year.

How about you, anyone else out there in love with the folks who stand outside in all kinds of weather to bring us fresh produce?