I try not to miss out on opportunities to dress my three kids alike while they are still willing. It does get a bit harder, though, as they get older and their ages more diverse. This year I chose red t-shirts for all three (Children’s Place offered free shipping on all orders for months last summer/fall. Wish they’d kept that up!) and created ornament shapes out of a gender-neutral striped print. I machine embroidered their names on the front and then attached the ornaments to the shirts with fusible web and zig-zagged around them with the sewing machine. I bought Daphne an adorable tutu made by an Etsy crafter, but sadly she refused to ever wear it again after the picture. So I guess I have a used Christmas tutu for sale! The shirts, at least, got worn many times over the holiday season by all three kids and I used these cute pictures for my holiday cards.
If I’m going to catch up on my projects, I’m going to have to go back to where I left off, before the holidays. So here we go! I shared previously about my project to lighten and brighten my family room. The centerpiece of this room refresh was a new fireplace surround built by my brother Cameron, of Howard Homescapes. I wanted to keep my limestone fireplace but I wanted it prettied up a bit, and for the mantle to be more than a simple slab stuck up on top. I started a Pinterest board to visualize what I wanted in a new mantle. My brother and I sat down and he did sketches of the new design.
He did the carpentry work over a few days and then I put on the paint. I’m so pleased with the result. The fireplace now looks like furniture that goes with the rest of our room, but I didn’t lose the traditional stone that came with the 1960ish addition on the back of my 1940 house.
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.
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.And 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?
A crocheted hat for a small friend.
And 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!
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.
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.
This 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!
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!
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. Everything 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?
I 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!
The time has flown since Christmas! Daphne was a bit fussy but we had a good holiday. Dorothy got a book of sewing projects made from socks and collected all our cast-offs to get started. She made a little toy for herself and one for her brother on the first afternoon. Cute!
Daphne wore a dress I made her on Christmas. She was adorable even if all the activity made her a bit fussy.I love to see her in the little things I made before she was born, such as her dress and shoes. My grandma made the pretty Christmas quilt she’s lying on.
After Christmas Daphne donned the home team spirit-wear handed down from her older brother and sister. I think I’d made the little cap for her brother. Her team lost the big game but she looked sweet anyway!
January always seems to fly by. We’re getting back into our activities, reorganizing a bit to make things run more smoothly. New chore charts on the fridge for the big kids (thanks to Etsy for some really cute customizable and printable ones), some desk reorganization, prepping for the upcoming birthday season (Rob, Worth, Dorothy, the two grandfathers and both my nieces have first quarter birthdays), and a full line-up of homeschool field trips and Girl Scout activities have us running around full time. Now that I can find everything on my desk again hopefully I can snap some photos of the projects we’ve been working at as we’ve had the chance. Happy new year to all!
These photos are from October, back before the computer died. I made a baby sleep sack or bunting, or whatever you want to call it, and a sweet little elfish hat to go with it. I bought this yarn in 2008 when we were just starting to entertain the idea of a second child. I thought this warm. soft alpaca would make a darling bunting and hat for a baby of either gender. But then somehow I never even got around to starting the project for Worth, so it’s a good thing I had a third baby and was able to use this yarn! I based the sack around the Zodiac pattern on Ravelry, but kind of did my own thing with it. The hat, likewise, is just a typical knitted baby beanie, but at the second-to-last decrease I stopped decreasing and just added length instead. The sack is beautifully warm and wonderful for cozy days at home, but unfortunately isn’t car seat friendly, so it hasn’t gotten as much use at it deserves. The hat she is wearing constantly, because we figured out that when she’s stuck to the front of me in the mei tai and is wearing this hat with the tip sticking up, it looks just like I’m babywearing one of Santa’s little helpers and it makes every single person I encounter get a big grin on their face. It’s like my tiny Christmas gift to all the other Costco shoppers.
And speaking of the baby and Christmas joy, I couldn’t resist using her sweet face on our gift tags this year. I used craft punches on photographs, then stuck them to card stock with a glue stick. Add a quick little rubber-stamped message, and I have the cutest gift tags ever. 🙂