Monthly Archives: December 2014

Cookies, a shepherd, and a meme waiting to happen

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cookies

These are the gluten-free Christmas goodies I made for our after-Christmas-pageant family dinner. Chocolate-covered peppermint meringues, roll-out sugar cookies (from the book 100 Best Gluten-Free Recipes), pralines, and chocolate-covered bourbon balls. I made chocolate-chip and oatmeal scotchies for the gluten-eaters among us, too.
shepherd

Here is a picture of my little shepherd right before the pageant. He had one line and took it very seriously. His big sister was one of the star narrators and I was proud of them both.madsantaAnd my little Santa Baby in the same fleece Santa suit both my other children wore. She’s just a meme waiting to happen, don’t you think?

 

And more goodies!

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earrings
Earrings designed and strung for a friend (actually these were a holiday-season birthday gift). flower-hat

A crocheted hat for a small friend.

tagsAnd simple but sweet homemade tags. I don’t do anything fancy with my gift wrapping, but if I can stick a handmade tag on it then somehow the gift feels more lovingly packaged. This year I used scrapbook paper and craft punches.

Excitement is running high at my house! I’m baking goodies every day and I have almost all the wrapping done. I’m loving the age my kids are this year, and that as they get older the holidays seem to be both more relaxed and more exciting at the same time. We’ve got a routine to fall into and an expected schedule of when we’ll see our extended families, and without having to fret over the big picture events we can concentrate on the fun stuff–and just sitting back and letting it all happen. I don’t know if I’ll check in next week or not; merry Christmas to you and yours!

 

Christmas goodies

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mittens

It’s looking like full-time crafty Christmas around here! Baby Daphne has started removing tags from gifts and either eating the tags or sticking them to the hardwood floor. Not helpful. Let’s just hope that if any of the gifts end up with the wrong recipients, they aren’t awkward and can be easily switched back! For example, anyone over two would surely be disappointed to receive these tiny mittens I knitted.snowflakes

My kids made snowflake ornaments out of craft sticks to give as teacher/leader/coach gifts. Using glitter with children is something I try to avoid on principle, but it went pretty well and I self-medicated with cookies after it was over.
soapThis is the annual batch of homemade unscented soap for my brother, and another scented batch I made for myself and to share. I used cold process recipes from the book The Everything Soapmaking Book. I like to try different recipes every year, which is really completely useless unless I make a batch for myself because I’m sure my brother has no notion or opinion about the benefits of tropical oils versus olive oil, lard, or soybean shortening, though I think he appreciates the soap. This year’s batch is a blend of four different oils with some castor oil stirred in at the end for extra moisture, and mostly lavender scent in mine. Now it is curing in the basement playroom and makes the whole space smell nice!

 

Christmas embroidery

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I’ve been a busy elf. Not the cute kind with the ears and the pointy shoes, but the kind with dark circles under her eyes who knits after everyone else goes to sleep and occasionally skips real meals in favor of bourbon and cookies. But a happy one! I love this time of year and try to relax my standards for everything else instead of aspiring to holiday and household perfection.

I bought a set of dishtowels to use as hostess and similar gifts this year. They seem to be a nice weight for both actually drying dishes or hands but not obscuring the embroidery. I like to actually use my towels–not just hang them up for show–and I assume my recipients do too. I put the embroidery design directly onto some of them, and then one I did like an applique and sewed it onto the towel. I like how both turned out. I’ve blanked out the names in some of the pictures so I don’t spoil my own surprises.

The pillowcases are for the throw pillows in my living room. I was down to just scraps of fabric that match this room, so I made what I had left go pretty far on these. The embroidery files on the pillows and one towel include the adorable deer file which is free on Emblibrary this month, and a set of vintage-inspired designs I bought. I colored in the Santa with permanent marker to make him stand out a bit more. Don’t want Santa to fade into the background!

Christmas is coming

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polaroid-swag

We’ve been getting into the Christmas spirit around my house! Dorothy drags around a shopping sack full of little bits and projects she’s crocheted or sewn and then wrapped in homemade paper. She’s amazing! I ordered favorite photos from our past Christmases from Fotobar, which makes Polaroid-style prints on chipboard. They make a sweet and simple decoration clipped to green twine. We’re all enjoying the memories of our previous holidays, and our snapshots of all three kids as babies in the same Santa suit are particular favorites.mess2 messEverything else is a mess! I’ve got piles of fabric and snips of yarn everywhere. Hostess gifts, mittens for a cousin, homeschool papers, new Christmas pillows for the living room…it’s all somewhere in the disaster of my workspace and seems to be seeping into the rest of the house as well. Tis the season, right?

A hat and scarf set for Nana

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moms-set moms-set2I hope my mother doesn’t mind appearing in this blog post! I didn’t actually intend to inflict a posed photo on her, but happened to catch her trying on her new set in this bottom photo and thought it was nice, so I’m including it unless she asks me to take it down. I was going to knit my mother some fingerless mitts for her birthday, but she didn’t know it and bought herself a pair on Etsy. Apparently all instances of me knitting or intending to knit fingerless mitts are just destined to somehow go wrong. Anyway, I crocheted a hat and scarf for her instead. I’d bought the nice hand-dyed wool at a fiber festival a few years ago and never found quite the right project for it, but the colors look great with my mom’s green coat and greener eyes. She’s the best, and she deserves a lot more than a hat. There are very few other single factors in a woman’s life that can make as much of an impact to her quality of life–at basically any age–as having a great mom. If my girls think half as highly of me some day I’ll be lucky.

On a lighter note, we’re having one of those Christmas years where the tree needs to be up on a table where small toddling monsters can’t pull it down. Worth and Dorothy don’t remember having small trees before; they only remember being able to chose large trees the last two years. I’d like to say they were concerned about the safety of their baby sister and understood the charm of the small tree year, but in reality Rob finally offered them $2 each if they’d just shut up and act happy about getting a little tree. That worked. Merry Christmas indeed!

Sweater pants

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longies

One decent photo of sweaterpants, minus baby.longies4

One unhappy baby in cute sweater pants.

longies3Back end of cute baby in sweater pants, at my in-laws’ home, with a small chip on the lens of my camera fuzzing over most of the actual pants.
longies2And baby taking steps in cute sweater pants, which have come untied and are sagging.

Fortunately, all other aspects of this project went better than photographing these pants on the baby. These have been in the works for a long time; I started knitting them when I was pregnant, then got bored and wanted to finish things she’d wear first, and I finally picked them back up recently and finished them off. They are made from this longies pattern out of Knitpicks Swish yarn, back when it came in a multi pattern, with two solid Swish colors at the bottoms of the legs because I was going to run out of the multi.  I won’t use them as true longies (like, as a diaper cover) because they are made of washable wool, and because I’m kind of entrenched in my BumGenius routine anyway. These are just for warmth and cuteness. The fit is just adorable and the pattern worked up nicely. I may undo the cuff ribbing and add another stripe when she gets taller because I think the waist and bottom would stretch to fit her for a while if the length were increased. They are so soft and cozy; I want to snuggle her all the time!