First of all, I have to apologize for these absolutely awful photos! Ugh! What can I do?, it's late, it's the darkest season of the year, I have no energy to put more time into making the photos right, so here it is.
The important thing is that after years of wanting to make an advent calendar for my boys, I finally did it! I had a small window today between my teaching and picking the boys of from school to do it. I furiously painted paper tubes willing them to dry so I could assemble the piece before school ended. They were BEYOND excited when they saw this hanging in the dining room. The kisses and hugs and thank yous I received were far beyond the gratitude I would have ever expected from them.
Advent calendars were not part of my tradition growing up, but it's hard to be involved in the on line craft world and not be exposed to the many, many wonderful varieties of advent calendar ideas to create. Oh the possibilities!
The paper tube advent calendar is not my original idea but there were several different blogs that had posted a tutorial and I just didn't feel like researching who came up with the idea first. I put my own spin on it anyway. One person tried stapling the tubes together, another tried tying and a third went with hot glue. I wanted my calendar to have a "big reveal" at the end as you check off the days, I wanted to be able to spin the tubes...so I attached them together placing a large brass brad in between to connect them.
Each day, as we get one day closer to Christmas, the boys get their surprise and spin the tube until the tree is revealed. My paint job is a bit crude and hurried but it is effective and has brought so much joy to the season for my guys.
Happy First Day of December!! Cheers and blessings on the season! xx
We are a two language two culture family which means we celebrate a blend of two different traditions during each holiday. It's still ingrained in me that once we ring in the New Year the seasonal festivities come to an end.
But each year as we ease into January, my boys can't wait for Three Kings Day. Yesterday, we attended the annual Reyes Magos party with the families from Spain like we've always done. Nothing has changed except all the children have grown so much since last year. The hot chocolate was thick and rich like pudding and the roscas de reyes bread used to soak up the chocolate was as sweet as ever.
The boys were anxious to get home to write their letters to Los Reyes, after which we set fire to so they were free for the Wise Men to find. (However, we couldn't bear to burn their precious letters so sneakily switched them out for some impostors).
Then the traditional plate of carrot (for the horse), hay (for the camel) and peanuts (for the elephant) were left next to a shoe of each boy. In the morning...presents!
The boys received some very fun games! Anyone ever played The Settler's of Catan? It came highly recommended (by the wise men, of course!) and we can't wait to play. We should have plenty of time tomorrow though...as of Friday our Governor made a statewide mandatory closing of all schools due to severe cold temperatures. Half of the U.S. will be affected tonight...we are looking at -28 degrees. Naturally, opening the preschool in the morning is out of the question. So pajama/game day it will be. Feliz dia de los tres reyes!! (if you celebrate). And for all my neighbors-stay warm tonight!!
Wishing you all a festive, merry and warm holiday!!!
Love this photo my sister posted to facebook. I'm the one with the big mouth! with my mom, sister, brother and foster brother...I often wonder about those foster brothers who lived with us a year, and then... where did they go? Where did they end up?
Another blast from the past...found this in some papers from high school!
There is some damage...it survived time and a flooded basement, but it's still a wonderful piece. This artwork by the very talented Marcellus Hall, circa 1982.
Merry Christmas and Joyous Holiday wishes friends!! xxx
This is what we made at the preschool this week. The children traditionally make a water color painting card for their families along with an ornament or treat of some kind. This year they made these adorable cinnamon stick ornaments. The kids had so much fun picking out buttons and gluing the piece together (although some hot glue teacher supervision was needed as well).
I've been getting emails and comments about why there have been less of my Friday preschool craft posts here and the answer is quite simple. My teaching partner wanted to try handwork this year. So we switched roles and I'm now in charge of snack. It's a nice break for both of us.
I did a little ornament swap with Aunt Peaches. If you don't know Peaches, she is one glitzy gal...and she is crazy about flamingos. The top flamingo is the one I made for her. Nothing too sparkly about needle felted wool so I added as much angelina fiber to it as I could to give it a little shine. Not too visible in this photograph. The one I got from her is the bottom photograph. I love her brass legs, long and skinny, sticking out amid the fluff. I also loved that we both used feathers.
It never quite feels like Christmas until I make a few ornaments.
I've been making myself a little crazy getting ready for Friday's Holiday Fair at my preschool. Knitting, stitching, stitching, knitting. I made these little santa ornaments for a swap last year and never got around to posting them. They are sweet and easy to make and there's a pattern and a how to, here.
Mine were all hand-stitched and made of new felt and sweater felt.
Last years tree (haven't put one up yet this year).
...we ate Rosca de Reyes (delicious bread) dipped in thick hot chocolate...
...we took down the tree, and I finally finished my holiday greetings and thank you cards.
I really like to make the cards although I spend so much time on them they undoubtedly get in the mail much later than they should. These trees were made with wool felt...I felt a little wistful adding a strip of wool felt "snow" at the bottom as we have none. It has truly been one odd winter...it's 45 degrees right now! (???)
One week ago I looked at different ideas and challenges I'd like to try for this new year, and have decided that one I am going to commit to is Take a Stitch Tuesday. How wonderful to have 52 new stitches to add to my somewhat limited repertoire of what I now use. The first weeks stitch is "fly stitch" and I've just begun experimenting with this new (to me) stitch. I loved searching flickr for inspiration here are some favorites.
When we saw my dear friend Amanda last weekend, she brought the boys the most unexpected and beautiful gift. She gathered bits from nature and from her farm and put them together in such a magical way. Simple treasures that bring so much joy.
bird nests full of horse hair from her mother's barn
a sweet gathering of herbs wrapped in twine from her kitchen window
and beautiful smooth large seed pods she collected from her travels to set the nest on
Lovely bits to hold and look through and wonder about. We even found remnants of baby blue shell in one of the nests. These are quite safely perched on our nature table now and bring a smile to my face every time I look at them.
I've been enjoying the peace and the slow pace of these past few days. The peace that comes when the busy time of the holidays have calmed. The days have been full of family and friends and long walks by the lake, there has been lots and lots of knitting and coffee drinking and enjoying the twinkling of lights as I sit by the Christmas tree. I have become entranced watching my boys moving gracefully about the living room completely immersed in their imaginative play, unaware of their audience. This is truly a beautiful time of the holidays.
We spent a few days out of town had a lovely Christmas with my family. I hope your holiday was Merry and full of love. xx