Archive for the ‘holidays’ Category

Even More Sharing the Gifting

Let’s wrap this up, shall we?

First off, a tea towel I did for my mom:

IMG_7245

I had a very difficult time deciding on something for Mom, and when I saw this pattern I just fell in love. Hope she likes it.

I also gifted her this little cross-stitch; pattern here. I did not follow the pattern exactly – I used the colors I had on hand, and outlined in gold which came out fantastic!

Christmas Cardinal

An additional gift for my sister-in-law was this little brooch. I am SO proud of it. Who doesn’t love buttons?

Button Tree Brooch

For those of you curious about how I embroider on felt (I’ve had several questions): I trace my design onto tissue paper and pin it onto the felt, hoop the felt, and stitch away through the felt + tissue paper. On this particular piece, I removed the tissue paper once I had the outline of the tree done, and then just filled it in (all stem stitch on this one). So far, the tissue paper method “works” for me, though I’m sure there are other ways of doing it!

OK, I think that’s all for Christmas. Whew!

I am your bear. Grrr… (More Sharing the Gifting)

My brother and I have a joke about bears going back to Conan’s old days in the ’90s. I can’t remember the exact context or skit, and youtube isn’t helping me. I’m pretty sure it was a guy in a bear costume that said “I am your bear. Grrr…”. Anyway, lil’ bro and I took that and ran with it and would say it to one another at random times. Inside joke thing that’s probably not translating to “funny” on the blog. Anyway.

This small backstory just to highlight that when I saw a polar bear picture in my boys’ Planet Earth coloring book, I just had to make my little brother an ornament. I think this little bear is pretty cute. Sorry for the picture being slightly fuzzy.

I am your Bear. Grrr...

Anyone else out there ever turn to coloring books for embroidery patterns? I might have to stitch up some Star Wars goodness soon and my boys have 3 coloring books full of possibilities.

Pjotr for Christmas

Do you subscribe to the Follow the White Bunny newsletter? If you don’t, then you should – as a subscriber, I got this wonderful freebie pattern of Pjotr in Paris, and stitched it up for my brother’s girlfriend this Christmas:

Pjotr in Paris

I stitched this on felt and turned it into a door hanger/lavender sachet. I was inspired by dream pillows over at GardenMama but, as bro’s GF has dogs that could be tempted to chew something with a scent, I thought it would be safe from harm if it was given a nice little hanger.

I loved using lavender, which I purchased on ebay. Next year I hope to grow my own. The lavender made everything in my Christmas-stitchin’ stash smell wonderful!

Merry Christmas!

We’re going to be busy with holiday merriment, so I won’t be blogging for the rest of this week. I wish you a merry Christmas or, if you’re not into Christmas, hope you’re enjoying the winter holiday. And I leave you with this little poinsettia I finished up yesterday:

Poinsettia Ornament

A Snowflake for the Teacher

Snowflake for the Teacher

Is it still common to give Christmas gifts to teachers? I remember doing that during my childhood, but so much has changed since then. However, we decided to give Monkey’s teacher a Christmas gift. She’s a wonderful teacher – it’s her first year teaching, but he’s having so much fun in kindergarten and learning so much. I’m so thankful that he had a great teacher starting out – it’s so important to have a good start since he will be in the education system for quite a long time.

Anyway, I asked Monkey if he wanted me to stitch an ornament. He said yes, and agreed on a snowflake (so quick to stitch, very important since his last day of school before break is Friday!). He picked the colors, and wanted a star for the middle. I’m very happy with the results, so happy in fact that I probably have not stitched my last snowflake…

Great Idea Thursday: Make an Advent Calender

I don’t have time for it this year, but I’m so making an advent calender in advance for Christmas 2010. I wish I could do it now – there are so many good ideas floating around, so I’m going to link to several for your crafting pleasure:

Barefoot Shepherdess uses a nice garland treatment that’s especially good for young ones. Here’s a second pic of this project.

Wild Olive is offering some teeny-tiny freebies to make your own Advent ornaments. These would be a pretty quick stitch.

Roxy Creations provides a traditional presentation that has some really cool details. Click here.

If you have a lot of matchboxes lying around, here’s a great way to upcycle them.

That’s what I could find at the moment. Are you making an advent calender? I’d love to see it! Comment below!

Done over the Weekend: I’m Hooked on Ornaments

I have been trying to keep myself from going overboard on Christmas ornaments. They can make a quick, easy project. In fact, I might keep craftin’ on ornaments throughout the year whenever I need a quick project – I’d love to do a bird series, for instance. Anyway…

My sister-in-law reminded me that we were invited to an ornament swap in a couple of weeks, and I (of course) wanted to make my own. I finally settled on my own design, and opted for simple and elegant:

Noel Ornament - Detail

I am not fond of working with the metallic thread, but that gold metallic makes a difference, doesn’t it? I mean, if you can’t go all-out on Christmas ornaments, really, when can you?

Are you busy craftin’ for Christmas?

Fa la la la la la la la la

I finally sent out this year’s Christmas cards – digitally. We’re goin’ greener (and cheaper) this year. We used Hallmark’s Smilebox and I was pretty pleased. Every year I want to include pictures of the boys in our cards, but by the time I get the pics made, I end up not printing enough or not printing them at all…I guess I’m not very organized about the holidays! But Smilebox was great – you can include anywhere from 1 to 100s of pictures, and there are a lot of designs to choose from. For a small fee, you can print them and send without ads – but I am cheap, so I sent the free version (sorry, friends and family!). Plus – no paper! I hate mailing cards that will likely be trashed, so everyone gets a nice holiday greeting from us, and my conscience is clear.

We’ve been doing other homey/green stuff for the holidays too. The boys and I made ornaments out of Baker’s Clay, which I highly recommend. It makes a ton of ornaments! We didn’t paint ours, as was done in the linked example. Instead, I used expired food coloring (which I keep around for crafty things like this). When mixed in the dough, it produced a marbled effect that I liked very much. We made all kinds of shapes – my favorites were the stars, but I also liked the sharks and turtles (done with Playdough cutters)! If you do this, don’t let the kids or canine members of your family eat any of this stuff – the ingredients might be edible on their own, but there’s way to much salt in here to be safe for consumption.

Make Your Own

We also made ornaments out of pipe cleaners – mainly candy canes, but a few hearts and snowflakes too. Really easy and fun, and if you have extremely mischievious boys like ours, who disassembled the tree tonight (not kidding), then you don’t have to worry about anything breaking – these can take a beating, and if they break, you can just make more next year!

I am also doing some homemade gifting, but I can’t blog that – it will spoil the surprise!

We’ve also been playing a lot of Christmas music. The Monkey knows (most of) the words to Jingle Bells, so I finally have someone to sing while I play the piano! I have such wonderful memories of my mom playing Christmas music on the piano when my brother and I were young – Jingle Bells, Silver Bells, Silent Night, Winter Wonderland, and many more. I think, to me, that has always stuck as our biggest holiday tradition from my early childhood. She hasn’t played in years, so now I have her books, and I love playing the songs for the boys now.

How are you celebrating the holidays?

Paper Flowers

Happy Halloween, ya’ll! I hope everyone is having a good one. We hit a local trick-or-treat today and the boys already have a lot of candy loot.

For Spanish class this week I had big plans; unfortunately, Monkey had a 104F fever that thwarted – or postponed – my plans. In Mexico, instead of celebrating Halloween (though our culture has spread so that some in Mexico do celebrate Halloween) – a different holiday is celebrated (November 1st and 2nd) – The Day of the Dead, or Dia de los Muertos. The timing could not be better for our class as we are discussing “Familia” – family. Raise your hand if that seems weird. Let me tell you why it’s not.

Although many of the symbols of Dia de los Muertos – graves, spirits, calaveras (skulls) – appear in our traditional Halloween celebrations, the Day of the Dead is not about ghosts and goblins or trick-or-treating at all. Instead, it’s about honoring your relatives that have passed on. Altars are created with the dead relatives favorite things and food, pan de muerto (bread of the dead) and flowers – real and paper. So the plan for the class, following a brief discussion of the holiday? To make paper flowers:

Paper Flowers

They were really easy to do, and fun for my boys. I still plan to do this next week for the classes. I cut out 160 pieces of 8″x8″ tissue paper, ya’ll. The instructions are:

1. Layer four or five pieces of 8″x8″ tissue paper.
2. Accordian-fold the tissue paper (for the preschool class, I pre-folded 15 of them as this was hard for Monkey to do, and I did not want to turn class into a discussion on the techniques of accordian-folding).
3. In the middle of the folded paper, cut a small V on both sides.
4. Twist pipe cleaner around the Vs, and leaving the “stem” down, pull out the tissue paper until it appears like a flower.

More information on Dia de los Muertos can be found all over the ‘net. Start here.

Peter Cottontail arrived, with all his friends…

Boy, did we have an Easter weekend. The boys have more candy than they can fathom, due to an Easter egg hunt at playgroup, followed by an Easter basket from their Granna, followed by our local municipal “egg hunt” (in which there weren’t so many eggs to hunt, as there was just candy thrown around on the football field*), followed by an Easter basket from their Nana, followed by Easter goodies from their aunt, followed by Easter basket from me & BHE.

And somehow the Easter bunny was never mentioned. This was probably OK, because I’m not big on the mythology and the Monkey DOES NOT like bunnies at all. I didn’t really talk up the egg-laying bunny, and then I did the unthinkable:

 I forgot the Easter baskets this morning.

Monkey woke up with a seriously runny nose, and was just plain worn out, so Bear and I went to church while BHE stayed home with Monkey (Bear now has the runny nose too – lovely). With all the getting ready for church, helping with breakfast, and worrying about runny noses, I didn’t remember a thing about their Easter baskets until I was sitting with my sister-in-law in our Sunday School class and it dawned on me what had happened. The boys got their baskets – filled with a book each (Thomas for Bear, Reptiles for Monkey), a monster truck each, and a candy filled egg each (Reese’s cups for Bear, M&M’s for Monkey) – right as we got home for church, and the big bunny wasn’t mentioned at all. What was I going to say – “Oh, this bunny hopped up and told me that he forgot to drop this off, enjoy!”? I don’t think so.   

We had hoped to go see Horton Hears a Who! today, but unfortunately with Monkey being worn down with (maybe) a cold, that didn’t work out.

*This worked out well for Monkey, as he could select only the suckers and skip the candy he didn’t want.