Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Til This Time Next Year

This Christmas was filled with family, food, and laughter. I can't remember a Christmas that was more crammed with people and good things to eat. It was overwhelming in every way possible, but I wouldn't trade it for the world.

One thing that made it more interesting was the huge amount of snow that God blessed us with! 12 beautiful inches! And boy, it made driving really interesting. But somehow, we managed to get everywhere we needed to go. There were lots of fun memories made this year...

My wonderful siblings. They never fail to make me laugh (and cry).

My parents got the fattest Christmas tree in the world. It reminds me of the Ghost of Christmas Present. I feel like it should be holding a fried turkey leg or something.

Elsie serenaded us with some beautiful music, and dancing.

As insane as I can be, I always manage to keep it in for photos. My sisters, on the other hand...

We made Pyroghies (you can spell it however you want, apparently) for dinner on Christmas Eve. Don't ask me how or what, I just know they were filled with potato and fried in butter and onions. That's all I need to know.

There was apple pie (made by me!) for dessert...

Lots of hubbub and commotion occurred around the kitchen (the men always run away at this point, I wonder why?).

Iain, the Coffee-Mug-Model, made an appearance in a striking argyle sweater.

My hubby got to immerse himself in his favorite hobby for a while.

And of course, there were lots of naps.
Merry Christmas!

The One Thing I Want to Remember...

A candle-lit path that led to a barn where we celebrated Christ's coming surrounded by family, farm animals, music, and lots of laughter.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Handmade with Love

I have a soft spot in my heart for hand-made gifts. I think I was unusually blessed growing up; I have a Grandmother who was Minnesota's answer to Martha Stewart and my Mom is also an incredible seamstress. I grew up sewing little clothes for my dolls, and receiving lots of handmade gifts.

One year (I think I was about 5), my Grandma Judy gave me an incredible doll. She was handmade, from her little cloth feet to her pretty painted smile. She made her hair out of twine; she wrapped the twine around pencils and somehow it became these beautiful, springy, spiral curls. I named my doll "Hope."

Ironically enough, my little brother decided one day that it would be a great idea to spray some perfume on my doll's face, which caused the paint to run. So now Hope looks like she is crying. I should have named her Sorrow.

Well, I decided to carry on the tradition to the best of my ability. I hope I become the kind of person that people want to receive handmade gifts from... (I still feel bad about that HIDEOUS scarf I made for you in college, Jenni! Just try to remember the loving thoughts behind it and not the huge, gaping hole in the middle!).

First, I made a pillow for a good friend of mine. It is needle-felting done with wool on silk.

I also added some vintage pearl beads to add some contrast and make it a little more glamorous.

Next, I wanted to make a gift for this little cutie-pie:

Sissy, my littlest cousin.

I decided to do a kitchen-y theme for her, because she loves to cook with her mom. (Aunt E, if you are reading this, no giving away the surprise!). So I sewed up a little apron for her:

I also found a little wooden spoon and rolling pin and tied some cute ribbons on them. I forgot to take a picture, and I'm bummed because they looked really cute!

So, what (if anything) are you hand-making this year?

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Christmas Unwrapped

Yesterday, some gifts came in the mail. A package from NewEgg for my brother (he wanted a computer mouse, how exciting!), and a package for... ME! (A gift from Hubby, of course).

I think I know where it is from. And I am ecstatic. Here's a clue: the root of the name is the Greek word Anthropos, meaning: man, mankind, humankind, etc. But in real life it just means AMAZING! INCREDIBLE! TERRIBLY EXPENSIVE! ENOUGH TO MAKE A GROWN WOMAN CRY! (http://www.anthropologie.com/)

I promised Hubby that I would not look at the package or (Heaven forbid!) open it. I also placed my own stipulation on the mail gathering, because I have a package coming in the mail for him too. (I know you are reading this, Hubby, no clues will be given here!).

Last night, we were sitting around, watching How the Grinch Stole Christmas (Jim Carrey version), I was wrapping more presents, and Hubby was reading. We both were chatting at one point, and we were suddenly overwhelmed with the childish urge to open our gifts. I'm not sure who started it, maybe it was on both of our minds.

Hubby looked at me with a gleam in his eye and said, "You know, we could open them tonight. Just our gifts for each other..."

I paused. I drank in the moment, the possibilities. I pictured myself voraciously tearing into that brown package, laughing hysterically as packing peanuts swirled around my head. I pictured Hubby tearing open the pristinely wrapped gifts that I have so thoughtfully picked out for him.

Why wait? Christmas is right around the corner anyway, next week will be so busy, why not spread a little Christmas Joy around our house? We're adults, we can do that, right?

But then, in a flash, the moment was over. Once again, I was an adult. An adult who has seen almost 24 Christmases. An adult who knows that some things are just worth waiting for, that sometimes the waiting is what makes it so special.

We did not unwrap the gifts. After the moment of insanity was over, we looked at each other, giggled a little, and went back to our respective diversions.

The presents will sit under our tree for a little while longer. I think the mystery of their unknown treasures will help us to dwell on the season as we remember that Christ brought us the greatest gift of all. It's a gift that we know we have received, but we can't open it yet. Instead, we live in the glorious expectation of the unwrapping, the unveiling. The day that we will finally look upon the face of our Savior, Jesus Christ.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Holiday Tours- A Patchwork Christmas

I am linking to the hundreds of wonderful house tours already listed at thenester.com. I'm so excited to share my imperfectly wonderful home!

It is truly time for Christmas. The snow is glistening outside, the little townhome I share with my new husband is decorated with things borrowed, things given, things lovingly hand-crafted. You see, this year we have a sort of patchwork Christmas. We are celebrating our first Christmas as a married couple, and we are patching together two lives, two families, two sets of traditions. Some traditions will be kept, some will fade away with the memories of Christmas past, and some new traditions will be gracefully stitched into our lives.

In keeping with the patchwork theme, we decided to forgo buying lots of new Christmas decorations, and instead we chose to "beg, borrow, and (not) steal" the things that we needed. So without further ado, we invite you into our home.

A tree with many borrowed ornaments, and a borrowed tree-topper (from my wonderful in-laws).

I gave it a new coat of paint- it looks so pretty and dainty on top of our 4 foot tree!

Some old burlap trees smothered in tulle for a fresh new look...

A birdcage decked in tulle, a handmade flower and vintage button graces the coffee table.

Some old couch cushions got a facelift with slipcovers made from an old sweater!

A centerpiece made from a milk-glass vase and some leftover trimmings from the tree. The colored table runner was a gift from my mom, and my mother-in-law stitched up the yellow one for our wedding.

Some glittery, crafted sticks adorn a shelf over our sink (I couldn't bring myself to take a picture of the sink... too many water spots!).

Some hand-painted candlesticks that I purchased on a trip to the Ukraine a few years ago are placed on top of our china cabinet next to a picture of my grandparents.

A wreath I found at Goodwill for 2.99 (I saw a similar one at a store on sale for 24.99!). And finally, more glittery, snow-kissed branches made their way onto my dresser too...

We plan to buy some new Christmas ornaments and decorations once the holidays are over and everything is on sale. But I will always remember this patchwork Christmas and how much fun it has been to create our very own celebration.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

A Crafty Christmas

Well, I promised to write yesterday but never got around to it because we were so busy getting ready for guests! We had some dear friends over for a dinner and a Christmas movie. I love having people over, it's one of my favorite things to do.

I got home from work early last Friday and decided it was the perfect day for some Christmas Crafting. I am all for simple, easy, elegant decorations. I love how it looks when people really deck their houses with all sorts of decorations, but when it comes to my home I tend to go with more simple, understated ways of decorating. Maybe it's just because I am ridiculously lazy and cheap...

So, without further ado, here is the step-by-step of my simple little project. (Note: This project was inspired by my lovely sister, Elsie).

First, you must start off with one of these.

It's coffee, or go-juice. It's not really vital to have coffee while you craft, unless you are me. I find that it gives me energy, keeps me excited about what I'm doing, and helps me to get things done a lot faster. So it's a must for me.

Next, I gathered some supplies.

Some sticks that were stolen (with permission!) from my in-laws.

White spray paint.

And.... (drumroll please)... GLITTER! I feel like a small child whenever I say that word. It seriously sends happy shivers down my spine and makes me want to shriek like a little girl. Glitter just makes everything wonderful.

So, can you guess what happened with all these items? It's really not that hard. I probably don't even need to break it down into a step-by-step and insult the intelligence of my fellow bloggers, but it's way more fun this way.

First, I spray painted the sticks white. I must add, it was almost below zero that day and my finger kept freezing to the nozzle of the spray-paint can. Winter crafting in Minnesota can be brutal.

After the sticks had dried, I used some of the incredible Aleene's Tacky Glue and smeared it on the branches with my bare hands like a kindergartner. I did not eat any of it, though.

This part took a while, because the sticks had a lot of little branches and I tried to get the glue all over for the ultimate in glitterization. (New word! Write it down!).

Then, I dumped, sprinkled, patted the glitter on until the branches were simply crying out for mercy.

Now, the sparkly, snow-kissed branches are gracing the shelf above our kitchen sink. I think these are generic enough that they could be used well into the winter months, so I plan on keeping them there until I see the first signs of Spring.

I filled another vase with them and set it on my dresser as well.

I don't think I have posted any pictures of our bedroom yet...

The branches fit in perfectly with our icy blue, soft gray and brown colors.

I have been making a few Christmas gifts this year. I plan on posting about them soon, but here is a sneak preview of one...


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