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Category Archives: Holiday Magic

Spring Has Sprung

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How time does fly! March did seem to come in like a lion, and then roared right into April. Now we’re here, in the middle of Sprummer, counting down the weeks until school’s out. Craziness, I tell ya!

The wreath up there is something I whipped up right after Spring Break, when I realized that Easter was going to come and go before I ever finished thinking through all my grand ideas for a Spring wreath. So one day, instead of emptying out yet another box or basket or cupboard [yes, I'm still at it, but at a much slower pace], I sat down and started winding yarn around a wreath form that had been sitting on a shelf. The whole process was pretty improv. I had a couple of the flower petals sewn together, waiting to be glued onto hair barrettes. Since they’ve been waiting over a year, it really didn’t bother me to re-purpose them. And yes, the yellow centers are straight pins — dual purpose! I wanted to put a bird on it, or a bunny, or a little ribbon banner of some sort, but my two hours was up and there was no way I was coming back to tinker with it. Sometimes,  “done” is totally enough.

I’ve been working on several other projects this month, which I look forward to sharing soon. One of them was so exciting, but probably only to me [spoiler alert: it's a bedspread]; I’ll let you be the judge.

 

Happy Valentine’s Day!

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Romantic plans for the evening: Chick Fil A dinner; Olympic viewing; tasty raspberry pie cookies*. Wishing you love this Valentine’s Day!

 

*Yes, I totally cheated and Pillsbury-ed the crust. There’s still plenty of love baked into these little beauties!

Love is In The Air

The second her teacher said, “Wear your prettiest Valentine dress on Thursday!”, I could tell by the look on my girl’s face that I was hosed. See, she does not have a Valentine dress — not a specific one, at least. Silly me, I thought that her favorite red and gold sweater dress would do just fine. It’s red, it’s gold — it has short sleeves! Short sleeves rule!

But no.

“Mom, I need a dress for my party.”

The next morning:

“Mom, don’t forget my pretty dress. Oh, I can’t wait to wear my pretty dress for the Valentine party!”

Oh boy.

Okay, so a mom who is not super cheap would just mosey on down to Target and get whatever glittered heart madness they’re churning out this year, but I’m not always that mom. It was cold yesterday. So, so cold. Better to hit the fabric shelf and see what I could come up with…except I didn’t want to make a dress. More importantly, I don’t know how to make a dress. My only trick is attaching a skirt to a t-shirt, and I didn’t like any of the options on hand.

And then

I took one more look in her closet and found this:

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A $6.00 H&M dress with a spot on the front. Well! This looked promising! After a quick peek at the Pinterest files, I came across some reverse applique instructions, cut a sleeve off of one of my old shirts, and was off to the races. A couple of hours later, voila!

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Best of all, the young boss loved it! (I wasn’t sure it was going to fly, since she’d already said that the red and pink tunic she was wearing would be “crazy” for her to wear, due to the black and grey in the color scheme. Imagine!)

Bolstered by this success, and drunk with ideas after the whole Pinterest perusal, I also cranked these out for the kids at my AWANA table:

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They were…well, less than enthused, but I bet they’ll use them sometime. Or leave them to get smushed up at the bottom of their bag. I really am trying not to overthink these things. They certainly weren’t going to be any more excited over the stuff that I’d thought about doing two weeks ago and never did, so there we go.

Two more bookmarks are in the works today for the two at my breakfast table. Theirs will be stuffed into new books, so that ought to be worth something. Not that they wouldn’t prefer them to be sticking out of the top of a Lego box, but come on. Speaking of Legos, we saw the movie on Saturday and thought it was terrific. I think Kevin and I laughed more than the kids. Anyway, one of the great points the movie makes [spoiler alert, but not really] is that there are so many creative things to make with those little bricks that aren’t on the instruction pages. True! But then what’s with all the movie tie-in sets? I mean, I know what’s with it — cha ching! — but it really offended my sensibilities.

 

Move ‘em Out

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This year I foolishly ended up with several different types of teacher gifts instead of one good assembly line offering. Well, these things happen. Also, due to the craziness of the girl’s preschool (they follow the same calendar as the elementary school…except when they let out three days early for Christmas break. And finish up in the Spring a week early…and start back in the Fall a week later), we have kind of a rolling delivery schedule going this week. Actually, that worked well with the variety of gift situation, so all’s well that ends well.

Here’s hoping it ends well. I keep remembering more people, and have to shuffle around and make things work. But it’s a good problem — we have a great community!

Anyway, the Wellness Pack — which includes a tissue pack, tea, tasty lozenges, lip balm, hand lotion, and hand sanitizer — from last year made a reappearance for the preschool teachers, but this year I traded in the cumbersome jars for sleek zip-top bags. So much easier to assemble and transport! These are out the door, and we are left with only two more deliveries this week. Things are happening.

Speaking of Apples…

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…my other oldest one didn’t fall far from the tree. This is his creation. Well, it was a team effort, but he designed and stitched it, so it’s his!

At the beginning of December, he brought home a letter explaining that they would be researching a country — in class, and no home research would be allowed — and would then be responsible for creating an ornament (at home) based upon that research. They would also present their findings and their ornament to the class on the 17th. The research paper would be coming home on the 4th. Oh, and the ornament needs to include of a minimum of five materials in its construction. So, I — good mother that I am — signed the letter, posted the info on the fridge, and waited for him to bring home the info and his idea on the 4th.

Fast forward to the 11th, when he casually mentions that the project is due next week. Oh, but wait! Isn’t there supposed to be some paperwork coming home? You say you’ve been carrying it around in your backpack for a week?! And I promise you, it wasn’t until that very moment that I re-read the note and connected the dots: the 4th was a week ago! And the 17th was Tuesday! And we had no ornament!!

Luckily, he had his idea firmly planted in his mind. Our country was Finland, so I was thinking about Lapland reindeer and there is this whole thing about a mean goat. Thank goodness he was stuck on the bird, because it was sure a lot easier.  [According to his research, our Finnish friends traditionally put out a sheaf of wheat for the birds on Christmas; they get to eat first. This was Joey's favorite fun fact.] Best of all, I buckled down and made him do it on Saturday night, so it was good and done come Tuesday.

Clearly, though, I need a better system for my “reminders”.

That’s Me

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When Bridget was a baby, it was widely agreed upon that she looked like a plump and rosy little apple. Once she was about six months old — long past the screaming colicky stage — she reminded my mom and I of the Happy Apple of my youth. With that in mind, I set out to find the perfect little apple ornament for her second Christmas. Man, I searched high and low, but never found anything that fit the bill. Then the thought occurred to me: Hey, Genius — what are you looking for? You MAKE ornaments!!

Riiiight.

So, I made an ornament, and it wasn’t exactly what I’d wanted, but it was much closer than anything I was finding online. Success!

Do you know that blasted little apple was still sitting in my to-do pile, waiting to be finished? Because, you know, adding the loop to the top — that’s hard. Oh my gosh! I have no idea what is wrong with the sorter in my brain! Bridget came across little Apple a couple of weeks ago (and she knew it was an apple, which was another victory) and wondered why it wasn’t finished. Yeah, we’re all wondering the same thing. The next time I was at the work table and it caught my eye, I threaded a needle, ran the twine through, and knotted it up. Jingle BAM! It’s on the tree. And she was so surprised, which was a little hilarious, but these kids know me. But maybe they don’t!

Maybe 2013-14 is finally going to be the year when things get done. Maybe?

Seasons Greetings

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Well, hello.

Needless to say, I seem to have hit one of those patches where I could either do something or talk about doing something, but not both. One of my main goals going into 2014 is pretty much the same as it has been for the past two years: to use what I have, get rid of the rest, and use great care before bringing in any more. This here wreath is actually a good example of putting that plan into action. Last year, I set out to make a new wreath for the front door, but couldn’t settle on anything I really liked. Actually, I thought I was so clever: Instead of just making a pretty yarn wreath, I’d kick it up a notch by finger crocheting the yarn first to give the wreath more texture. Ooh!

And then I saw someone else had the same genius idea; it took the wind out of my sails a little. Yeah, that’s as childish as it sounds, but it’s true. Anyway, this year’s version was inspired by the tinsel wrapped one on Alisa Burke’s [a user-upper extraordinaire] wreath wall. Once I started wrapping the tinsel, though, I realized that I didn’t have enough — this piece was one that didn’t make the cut for going on the mantel — so I went ahead and dug up some chenille yarn to wrap the rest. The trees and star were cut off of the wreath we’ve been using for the past few years. I love the way it turned out, and it would have only taken a day to complete had I not waited an extra week to heat up the hot glue gun.

Heating up the hot glue gun is hard. Almost as hard as whipping up the cookies I started three days ago. We’re not talking plum pudding, here — this should not be taking three days!

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