Wishing all who celebrate today a Merry Christmas!
May you be surround by family, friends, and love all around.
OK, are you guys all ready for Christmas? I am about as ready as I’ll ever be. The pillow I’m working on for Noah might not be done in time, though If that’s the case, I’ll give the boys their handmade gifts on New Year’s Eve — I just need a couple more days. But maybe I’ll rally tonight and get it done, who knows?
Anyway, today I’ve just been puttering around the house. I folded and put away a few baskets of laundry, made homemade pizzas for lunch (Hawaiian for the kids and Chicken Cordon Blue for Drew and myself), and finished up some last-minute gifts.
The kittens had the right idea, I think
Drew took the boys to the comic store for a while this afternoon and brought home dinner, which meant no cooking for me! So I think I’m going to indulge in a cup of tea and a cannoli and see how far I get on that pillow.
Do you have a Christmas tree decorating tradition? Ours is to hang up all of the ornaments while Christmas Vacation plays in the background. It’s something Drew and I have done since our pre-kid days, and every year without fail we laugh at all the same parts.
While I love the idea of a real tree, the reality is that our artificial tree just makes more sense for us. We can put it up whenever we like (in our case — last weekend, even though we didn’t decorate it until today). We can use it for years. We don’t need to water it. And honestly I love that it has glitter on it. Find that on your local tree lot
This year, the ornament hanging went much smoother than in years past. The kids all listened, and there was minimal frustration. We have some very old and very fragile ornaments that they’re not allowed to touch yet.
And yes, there was hot cocoa. (The grown-up version had a little extra “Christmas cheer” thrown in!)
Over the next few days we’ll move ornaments around until it’s just right. I had planned on making a popcorn garland this year, but I just didn’t have time last week. Our old garland is at least 30 years old. Have you ever seen 30-year-old popcorn? Yeah, and I thought the ornaments were fragile. We strung it up last year, but this year it’s staying in the box.
This early in the month, it’s still a work in progress. And I really need to find our tree skirt!
One of the best things about the holiday season is getting cards in the mail from family and friends. I don’t care if they say Merry Christmas, Season’s Greetings, Happy Holidays, or something different. It’s the sentiment that matters to me, the thought behind the cards and not the verbiage. And if my family loves checking the mailbox every day, I can only imagine how great it is for our servicemen and women to get special mail at this time of the year.
Enter The Red Cross’ program: Holiday Mail for Heroes. It’s a great way to get your kids involved and help provide a service to others. The cards are delivered to veterans, military families and active-duty service members at hospitals and installations around the world.
There are, of course, guidelines to ensure everyone’s safety and to make sure the program is successful. From the Red Cross Website:
Every card received will be screened for hazardous materials by Pitney Bowes and then reviewed by Red Cross volunteers working around the country.
Please observe the following guidelines to ensure a quick reviewing process:
Mail your cards to:
Holiday Mail for Heroes
P.O. Box 5456
Capitol Heights, MD 20791-5456
Cards will only be accepted through December 7th, and any received after that date will be returned. This is a great activity for a scouting group, a class, a playgroup, or even just for a family activity (maybe start a new tradition to write out cards after Thanksgiving dinner).
I’m sure each and every one is appreciated.
It’s Election Day! I’ll be voting this evening, as my polling location is adjacent to the library and I’m working there for a couple hours tonight. Every year we have an election day raffle to help support our little library, so the hours are extended to correspond with voting hours. This year I decided to whip up this sweet country Christmas garland for the raffle. It’s such a fun project (not to mention instant gratification), that I just had to share it with you!
For the garland, you’ll need:
There are a few patterns out there for these granny-style crochet Christmas trees. I modified and merged a few patterns to come up with a shape I liked, but by all means use your favorite!
Ch = chain
SC = single crochet
DC = double crochet
Sl St = slip stitch
Start with a magic circle.
Round 1: Ch 3 (the Ch 3 always counts as the first DC stitch), 3 DC, ch 2, 4 DC, ch 2, 4 DC, ch 2. Slip stitch to the top of the beginning ch 3 st. (Three clusters of 4 DC and three ch 2 spaces.)
Round 2: Sl st over to the first ch 2 space of the previous round. Ch 3. 3 DC, ch 2, 4 DC in this space. *Ch 2, 4 DC, ch 2, 4 DC in next ch 2 space. Repeat from * in the last ch 2 space. Ch 2. Sl st to the top of the beginning ch 3 stitch. (Six clusters of 4 DC and six ch 2 spaces.)
Round 3: Sl st over to the first ch 2 space. Ch 3, 3 DC, ch 3, 4 DC in the space. *Skip three DC of the previous row. SC in the next (fourth) DC (this will be the DC immediately before the ch 2 space). 4 DC in the next space. Skip three DC of the previous row. SC in the next DC. 4 DC, ch 3, 4 DC in the next space. Repeat from * along the second side of the tree. Ch 1. 4 DC in the next ch 2 space. Ch 1. Sl st to the top of beginning ch 3.
Tree Trunk: Turn work. Sl st into first DC. Ch 3. DC in the next 3 DC stitches. Turn so that the front of the tree is facing you. Ch 2 (counts as the first SC). SC in the next three DC stitches of the previous row and top loop of starting ch. Finish off and weave the yarn end into the back of the tree.
I hope that was clear. (Yeah, clear as mud, I’m sure!) I’m certainly no expert in writing out patterns. Oh, and if you don’t want to use a magic circle, you can certainly start with a Ch5, and connect the beginning and end with a slip stitch and then work out of the center of that loop you create. I just think the magic circle is neater.
After you accumulate your little stack of trees, it’s time to assemble the garland. You’ll need 9 trees (you could also use 11 if you want them closer — up to you). You’ll need 9 (or 11) 7ish-inches x 1/2 inch pieces of homespun fabric. And you’ll need your jute.
Take a piece of fabric and form a loop. Stick the bottom of the loop through the topmost hole in your tree (1). Lay the jute over the two fabric ends (2). Pull the ends through that loop (3). Then just tighten up the knot until your tree is securely attached to the jute (4).
Repeat this for every tree you’ve crocheted. Then slide the trees around until you have the spacing you want and voila! You have a quick and easy Christmas garland to hang across your mantle, the front of your entertainment center, across a mirror, wherever!
If you make this project, be sure to post a link in the comments. I’d love to see your creations!
As you could probably tell, I’ve taken a little break from blogging and instead scheduled some posts for this week. We had a wonderful holiday here! Both sides of the family came over for dinner and I think everyone really enjoyed themselves.
I received some very thoughtful gifts including books, a sock knitting kit, jewelry, hand-felted brooches, cookware, and a few other things. Drew was very excited about the dehydrator I gave him (though I still think I’m more excited about it)! He’s been wanting to try his hand at making beef jerky for a long time. It’s a favorite snack and as I’m sure you know — it can be pretty expensive. Making our own will be cheaper and healthier. There are so many things I want to try. In fact, I’ve even started a Pinterest board for dehydrator recipes!
And while in previous years, the chaos of Christmas morning was enough to make me seek a migraine treatment, this year was a lot calmer (though still full of excitement). The boys got plenty of fun toys and so did Laura!
The day flew by and then, just like that, it was over. It’s school vacation week so the boys have had plenty of time to try out their new toys, watch movies, and just relax as we wind down the year.