We had a lovely trip "up North" to celebrate Christmas with my family. We stayed poolside in a hotel so it was a wonderful break from the tedious winter cold. We hang out for a few days in our bathing suits and shorts looking out the big glass windows at the thirty-eight inches of accumulated snow we've had already this year. Back home and back to reality, the weather has been all we talk about these days. Such crazy weather. Record snowfall leaving us all to wonder where to shovel it, where to park our cars and leaving most roads single lane only. Then a huge thaw, snow dams on rooftops and many damaged homes. We did not escape this new assault of the weather. Ice damming on my gutters caused melting water to pour into my basement (once again) leaving me to (once again) shuttle boxes around to dry space. And now, we are bracing ourselves for a deep freeze.
We decided we needed to help those poor confused birds who sit on branches outside our window. We always leave all the seed heads intact on our perrenial flowers so they have something to eat come winter, but the snow has easily buried anything for them to munch on. So we made a half dozen peanut butter pinecones with seeds for them.
With a twist of floral wire on the end they tie very easily to the branches. The boys have been enjoying watching the birds feast...we may already have to make more for them.
We are still happily in our pajamas, quietly enjoying the mess of Christmas all around us. I love this last day of the year...the dreaming, the planning, thoughts of the fresh start that comes with the opening of a new calendar. I love looking back on last year, all my goals, I laugh as not one was accomplished, but I don't really care. It's the dreaming that I love.
One thing that has been on my mind ever since I read Lisa's post about crafting for ourselves is that I would like to spend some time creating for our home. She has a flickr group dedicated to posting inspiring things you make for yourself and I began to think how very little I do make for me. So I decided that for the first week of the new year, I'd like to try and create something useful for our home. Anyone care to join me? Just for one week...seems like a manageable goal.
For starters, I was thrilled to re-discover this beautiful yarn in my stash while moving boxes around in my basement yesterday.
Araucania Nature Cotton. I bought it at Loop Yarn shop while I was studying at Lifeways in Milwaukee. It is soft and thick and just perfect to knit some face cloths for my boys and me. Now, just to find a good pattern for these...any suggestions?
We're still deciding if we will attempt to go out tonight...the roads have all turned into ice rinks and safety is always a concern. Whatever you do, where ever you are, I wish you all the best as you too close out 2010. Many blessings to you in 2011.
We were hit with a super snowstorm last Saturday and my head is still spinning trying to keep track of which side of the street to park on. Plows have been coming through daily trying to clear the snow away. Any storm that can delay and MOVE an NFL game is worth noting. Did you see what it did to our Stadium? Considering that it's still officially autumn, I can't wait to see what winter brings!
So the boys and I have had a few snow days which meant we stayed in our pajamas all day, read lots of books, made cookies and of course worked on ornaments. I finished all the fish I started making two weeks ago. Made from my favorite wool felt in every color I had, sequin eyes and lace. I dug out a huge old spool of vintage lace I found at the thrift store a while ago, it is quite aged and has lots of brown spots on it, but I just love it! So each of the fish got (what my boys call) a "tutu".
I made them for a swap, but of course could not mail them in time since we were house bound...I'm not even sure the post office was open! While I was stitching away on these, my boys made almost every one of Cassi's advent ornaments. Have you seen them? I especially loved making the mini lanterns, the jingle bell flowers, and the poinsettias. Since I never throw away a single toilet paper tube or egg carton I had plently of supplies on hand. How grateful I am for these instant resources.
School is out until the new year and I'm ready to slow down a bit. The last few days at the preschool were extra crazy with all the snow, trying to finish up projects and then on top of that, three birthday celebrations!
Here are some of my own peace photos from the holidays...
...this one is from Christmas Eve. The calm before the huge winter storms that blasted us
... this one from New Year's Eve. We had a quiet night with friends and went on a peaceful mile walk at a nearby nature center. The paths were lit with luminaries and although the temperatures were below zero, the glow of the candles warmed us inside.
...another finished cross stitch project from here
...jack frost has been at our door ALOT the past two weeks...we're looking forward to a little above zero heat up
...embroidered felt PEACE banner...just fooling around with stitching letters
I love the whole fresh start/clean slate/new ideas that come with the New Year. Here are some things that other people are doing that have inspired me...
-in an effort to maintain an orderly home and with hopes of seeing people more often a friend of mine has decided to have an open door policy...she asks that when in the neighborhood, stop in and say hello...no appointment, no phone call, just stop in for a visit. We do too little of this in today's world -Julie is starting Artful Thursday's I love the idea of ending the year with 52 cool artful things that you've made -Karin has started a zig-zag quilt piece along (in my dreams) -and then there's the 25 book challenge for 2010 (I think I read just one book of fiction last year) -and from Lucia, I learned about the color+color challenge on flickr-which I decided to join. Don't know how I missed hearing about that group...it's in its fourth year already. But I love a photo challenge...and I've already discovered how lovely it is to click on the group page and see all the same color scheme at once...inspirational for sure!
I'd love to hear of more creative ways people are challenging themselves this year!!
Some of my personal goals for me and this blog this year are
-learn to use a sewing machine (!!!!!) -give my blog a much needed face-lift...as much as I LOVE,LOVE,LOVE my hand-carved wooden flower buttons, it's been my banner for far too long and I'm sure it's getting boring... -In my heart, I feel I'm a doll-maker...I've made some attempts in the past, but I'd really love to explore doll-making...even if I only make one this year
That seems like plenty for now...I hope everyone is enjoying a fresh start and enjoying much peace in their lives in the New Year.
Our last project of the year at the preschool was the children made gifts and cards for their parents. We made wool sweater wreaths based on Cassi's tutorial.
The one change I made was we used pipe cleaners instead of the heavy gauge wire. It worked very well. The wool squares stay in place a little easier for them too.
The littler ones were fine with just putting on a few squares, but they still looked pretty cute.
We also made little cards to accompany their gifts.
These were made by folding card stock in a tri-fold and then cutting a little "window" in the first two folds. We then glued white tissue paper to the inside of both windows, then glued stars cut out of more tissue paper to the inside. The first two folds were then glued together sandwiching the stars in between. These look so pretty with a candle behind them, or open in a window so the sun can shine through.
I'm getting ready to bundle up the boys and head out for a walk in the snow around the lake so we can enjoy the Christmas lights. It's almost five and it's dark already.
Last weekend Jen hosted another one of her fabulous pARTy's. It is so great for my soul to spend an evening with other women who have a passion to create. And I love that I can actually sit down, and start and finish a project in one evening. Doesn't happen too often with two young boys always within arms reach. This time we made these sweet and colorful pocket organizers.
If you're not familiar with Jen's work, she creates beautiful books and albums and journals and cards. Just peek around her etsy shop and you can see. She is a master with paper and I always love to learn her techniques. Like this binding of the organizers pages...just brillant!
We also made paper wreaths.
These were quick and fun. Kind of reminded me of the felt ornaments I made a couple of years ago...but no sewing! Read about her inspiration behind creating these wreaths and her very clear instructions on how to make these here. Also, Anna made some beautiful ones that you can see here.
Peanut was my test crafter to see if I could bring this project to the preschool for the kids to make. At five-and-a-half he did very well, but he's grown up imitating my stitching hands and probably does better at this kind of activity than most kids his age. While I think this is such a sweet reindeer, I'd like to say I've learned my lesson, and won't be asking my three and four-years-olds to try this. So I thought I'd share it here. It would be fairly easy for older kids.
I read about this project in an old craft magazine. There was no author and no pictures so I have no idea if this craft has a copy-right or not. I did a google search which led me to this glove reindeer, but I think it's safe to say mine is quite different.
Here's what we did:
Gather supplies: stretchy glove, fake fur, holiday craft berries, black beads, brown scrap felt for ears, white for eyes, matching thread, wool for stuffing and a bit of fabric for a scarf (or maybe knit one).
Start by stuffing the four fingers with wool. These will become the antlers. Once they are somewhat firm, tie the index and middle fingers together at the base with your matching thread. Repeat with the other two fingers.
Next stuff the hand portion of the glove which will become the head and tie that off at the wrist of the glove. The thumb should have no stuffing at all.
Trim all the loose threads. Next, wrap the thumb around to what will be the back of the head. Secure in place with needle and thread passing completely to the front-or face-of the reindeer.
When you pull the needle to the front, stitch through one of your small circles of white felt (the white of the eye) and stitch on one of the black beads for the eye. Repeat for other side.
Cut the brown felt into two, one-and-a-half inch long tear drops with a flat end. Fold the narrow end in half and stitch together.
Then attach to glove directly below the antlers on either side.
Cut a one-inch square piece of the fake fur and stitch into place between the antlers.
Guess I forgot to photograph the last two steps...next add the nose. Pull one of the holiday berries from the batch leaving the wire stem in place. Poke the stem of the berry through the front of the face and once it reaches the back, crimp it and secure the wire by bending it back into the reindeer.
Add scarf and you're done!
(With the mosaic maker I can make it look like we made more than one)