Friday, December 21, 2012
I received my Christmas ornament box from my sister the other day.
Jennifer is a fiber artist who lives very far from my home on the east coast.
She lives in Seattle, Washington... 3000 some miles away. Needless to say, we don't have much face time, sadly.
A year ago last summer, I made the overdue trip out to visit Jennifer and Scott.
One of the best parts of the trip was being in her studio... where it all happens.
She actually has a water view from her studio as her house sits up on a hill over looking one of the many, many water inlets around the Puget Sound.
While I was on this visit, Jennifer and I visited countless knitting shops in both Seattle and Victoria, BC. Jennifer already knew how to knit, but just needed to brush up on a few things. I reminded her of some of the basics and off she went!
So, not only has she knit many beautiful things since then, she's now creating little knitting dolls!
I had no idea until I opened the box.
How sweet and wonderful is this little knitter? And the walnut basket just does me in!
She sits on my kitchen window sill so I can be with her multiple times during the day. She looks up at me with her little grin, saying "take time today to knit.. just a bit!"
I love her!
Jennifer's needle felting is so beautiful.
Here's one of the little Christmas fellas from the same box. Both my husband and I think he looks like her husband.
(Although Scott has a red beard and I don't think he has that outfit...that I know of)
And this wise man and his camel!
And this cozy, woodland house!
And the felted Christmas stocking.
This little Christmas mouse is a new creation. I love his little ruffled collar and his hat!
But my favorite thing about him is that tail!
Jennifer had told me about this VW Van ornament.
She sells her creations yearly at the Seattle Convention Center. Seattle holds a huge craft fair of sorts during the beginning of the holiday season.
This ornament sold out quick. Buyers were telling her their VW stories. Making special orders.
So original and wonderful!
Jennifer... it's time to open your Etsy Store!
(only if you want to....no pressure... but just do it!!!)
Here's how she had them packaged for her booth at the craft fair.
Thursday's Child is the name of her business.
Ornaments from past Christmases...
These guys sit on in the bookcase and on the table in our front room, amongst our children's pictures.
Here are snowflakes she made us one year out of wire and beads. I hang them in a different place each year.
Love them hanging off the antlers in our foyer!
Half of Christmas is unwrapping past years, is it not?
We pull out the bins from the garage, the attic, the basement.
We unwrap ornaments, decorations, some made by our school aged children, some passed down from our own childhood.
We teach our children tradition. "Oh, I remember this one".. our kids always say.
This year, my middle son Walt looked at his kindergarten ornament with his kindergarten picture in it and reflected on how much he's changed.
He'll be off to college next fall. Yes, Walt... you changed.
But, our ornaments remain the same year after year. Some added to, few may break and find their way out of the storage bin forever. But, mostly our ornaments remind us of our past. Where we've been.
Thank you Jennifer, for giving us so many of those moments...
"I remember this one! Aunt Jennifer made it for me!"
Merry Christmas, Jennifer.
And may God's peace and love wrap around the families in Connecticut.. who are unable to unwrap their Christmas past this year.
May the Prince of Peace be with us all this holiday season.
Thursday, December 6, 2012
Yesterday, I finished decorating the fireplace mantel for Christmas with homemade pinecone garland.
I used local, cinnamon scented pinecones. 2 bags.
This year, I wanted to do something simple, edited...and I've had the idea of a simple pinecone garland in my head since the first cool day of fall.
At first, I was going with something a bit more sophisticated. I had some beautiful, gray velvet ribbon that I planned to use to "sew" the pinecones onto.
It was just too fussy.
After a few failed attempts with screw hooks, thread, and ribbon, I reached for plain old kitchen string.
I just simply wrapped it once around each pinecone, gently,
and then wrapped twice around a little finishing nail I put on the top part of the mantel at both ends and center.
The trick was to keep really good tension on the string.
I love how it turned out.
I don't think I'll add a thing.
Except if I finish those knitted stockings...
maybe by Christmas Eve.
Just in time for Santa.
Sunday, December 2, 2012
It's tree time!!
Well, next weekend is the actual time when we'll get our Christmas tree.
This is our first Christmas since I re-decorated the first floor right after the holidays last year.
The question of where to put the tree always provides for
problems opportunities for new furniture arrangements.
I designed this family room when we had the house built, complete with a wall of built-ins to house all the TV components and cd / dvd storage etc. I really didn't leave much possibility for other layouts.
I've tried some, but have always come back to dividing the room with the low sofa and the folded up table behind the sofa, acting as a desk of sorts.
Below is the family room shortly after I finished re-decorating:
Yesterday, we had the tree talk. Where to put the tree??
Since last Christmas...Truman, the puppy, has entered our home. Added to this discussion was full tree vs an oversized tabletop tree.
We concluded that a tabletop tree would provide less opportunity for Truman to un-decorate the tree and run off with an ornament or two.
(which worked out nicely for me.. I've been wanting to do a tabletop tree for a few years now, but the kids just give me the stink-eye. Now I have the perfect excuse!)
So, once we knew what size tree and where it would go, we started moving furniture....
and moved and moved... until I came up with this.
(I've cleared off almost all surfaces and will re-build with holiday and non holiday objects.)
I moved a larger pedestal table and a small chair from my front room into the family room.
The low, tight back sofa works well on the angle with the wing chair in the corner near the fireplace.
The controversial move is TV viewing.
The TV is housed in the right side of the cabinet. Now the small, brown chair sits in front of it. In order to watch TV, the brown chair has to be moved. Not a huge deal in that we're not (ok.. I'm not) big TV watchers (husband rolling his eyes at me in background).
I especially like how the rectangular table mixes with our dining chairs.
We usually have extended family over on Christmas Eve for a big seafood feast.
Having a rectangular table will make it easier to extended the table with our square card table(s) placed at the end of the table.
Our holiday decorating usually begins with my daughter making the traditional, calendar, count-down chain. (more chain here)
While I love the Christmas chain, sometimes it's like an hourglass... and I feel like Dorothy from Wizard of Oz...
...the chain reminding me of what I have left to-do before the hour strikes!
It just gets shorter and shorter.
Maybe one of the reasons I feel such pressure from the Christmas chain has to do with my GRAND ideas to start large projects in the month of December.
Normal people usually start their Christmas projects in August or early fall.
I wish I was one of those people - and I always promise myself to be one of those people.
My insanity project this year has to do with decorating my fireplace mantel.
I'm feeling the need to knit five new Christmas stockings to hang off the mantel.
...I saw these adorable stockings on Churchmouse Yarns.
It was mainly the colors and the handwritten look of "John" (my husband's name) and the different sizes of stockings, and the gingerbread man, and the tassels that got me. Ok... yes, it's everything about them.
I just ordered all the yarn last night. I already bought the Gingerbread kit last week.
I don't know what I'm doing writing this blog post when I should be making the dough as the Churchmouse pattern calls it, which is actually knitting the brown to felt for the gingerbread man (and more). So cute!!!
And, it HAS to be these stockings patterns and yarn from Churchmouse Yarns.
Churchmouse Yarns and Teas is located in one of the most charming little towns - Bainbridge Island, near Seattle, Washington.
My sister took me there a few summers ago. Everyone at Churchmouse was so fun and helpful. And, the shop is very inspiring.
So, to knit up some stockings for our mantel from Churchmouse would be fitting.
Also, planning on making a pinecone garland for the mantel.
So, that's my holiday foundation and the basic plan.
Now I just have to figure out how to get my husband to take the month of December off and hang out with Truman so I can knit, decorate, bake, shop and wrap.
What's your holiday decorating plan?
Cheers for now!
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