Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Creatively Christmas 2014

While I haven't been blogging...
I HAVE been making.

Much of my making was Christmas gifts.  However, I have a bunch of patterns to share for things I've created and projects I'm in the midst of.  So if I keep on blogging you will have that to come...

Here are some snippets of our Christmas:

One of my favorite moments is on Christmas Eve when most everyone has gone off to bed and only the indoor Christmas lights brighten the room.  Under the tree is loaded with gifts.  It's very quiet, it's totally serene.  I have to stop myself from taking photos to try to make that special time hold still...

Once the morning arrives and the crazy kids awake (4 of these kids are mine, 2 are my sisters and the one at the top of the steps is my youngest sister who is 20 years my junior - so she is lucky enough to get to be part of the batch of kids yet), the Christmas crazy begins.

For the past several years it's been my goal to use all non-traditional wrappings.  My attempt is to use no paper wrapping at all.  Most of my wrap gets re-used from year to year.  In these photos of the wrapped gifts you can see a variety of wrappings: old clothing, sweaters, pant legs, shirts, skirts etc... made into wrap bags and tied with re-usable ribbons.  Only the handmade paper gift tags get tossed.  Also in the mix is mailing envelopes (you can see one on the far right with a tree drawn on it), handled shopping bags (which are then given as part of the gift), flannel backed and plastic table cloths (which I buy at the dollar store and re-use year after year - works great for bigger gifts), paper grocery bags, the paper and bubblewrap that comes in the shipping boxes from amazon, etc.... Once a gift is open the family returns the clothing bags, ribbons, etc... and I store them in a box to re-use the following year.

For my little niece Maisie, my husband and I co-created doll beds and bedding.  Maisie has three dolls (handed down from her mom, my sister).  There is a blond, brunette and red-head doll.  My husband fashioned them beds that stack in bunks or come apart as separate.

We trash pick wood and re-use old furniture quite a bit.  My husband probably didn't buy anything new to create these beds - he fashioned them all from the odd bits of wood and molding strips already in his garage.

Likewise - I did my part to dress the beds.  After all, these dollies needed a bit of soft and warm for proper sleeping:

Each doll bed had entirely handmade bedding (by me).

An old ikea curtain provided the means to sew hand-tufted mattresses stuffed with leftover couch pillow stuffing.  Atop the mattress was a double-sided flat sheet (easy for a toddler to make up the bed).  Once the doll was on the sheet she'd need a place to rest her head so I sewed a pillow and a coordinating pillow case (to match the sheet and other bedding).  Most of the sheets and pillow cases were made from thrifted vintage sheets.  Atop the doll were then a quilt and a blanket.  The quilts were all handmade (sewing machine made) by me.  Each quilt had a traditional pieced side and a more modern side.  Then, each doll received a crocheted blanket.  There were three total bedding sets, one each with a pink, orange and green theme.  My sewing machine was in the shop for 6 weeks before Christmas and I just barely got it back in time to complete the bed sewing.  WHEW!

I hope Maisie will love the doll items for years to come.

And then there were the hats.  My daughter got 4 (because I like to make hats in front of the TV while watching sappy Hallmark Christmas shows)!  The first one is slouchy and kinda Rasta in an acrylic-cotton blend.

Then there was the acrylic-wool blend purple and turquoise slouchy.  I should have photographed all the hats before giving them so you could see the actual hat other than just seeing it perched on a head with all the detail missing.

 This one was again, wool acrylic with a  very chunky yarn and a pattern I got from Moogly blog. Consequently - the white hat was my personal favorite and I might make one for myself.

This final hat was a beret with a pom pom - of course which you cannot see!  It's made from 100% Peruvian wool in a double green/blue twist.

Finally, I winged one final hat - in royal blue with red and white accents in my son's college colors.

It's an unwritten tradition to wear everything you get on xmas morning - so my son has a bow tie, a football jersey and a crochet hat all together.

An annual tradition is for each kid to have a crochet college bunting to hang in the dorm room.  This one is for the son on the left to hang at his college, Shippensburg, and has two little ships wheels included (I made up that ship wheel pattern and will share it).  I also used the capital letters pattern from moogly blog.  Do you love that blog? It's one of my favorites!

Remember what I said about wearing everything you get - take a crazy pj outfit and start adding hats and purses and OH MY!

In a house full of teenagers and twenty-somethings - this group gift was a HUGE big hit and they cheered for about 5 straight minutes.  The gift was a card game called "Cards Against Humanity" which is a very inappropriate version of Apples to Apples.  They have been wanting this crazy and very non-PC card game for a while.  Yes it got played that night - and I and my hubby joined in.  It's very inappropriately funny - but those of you with high morals or young kids would be abashed (I have neither the high morals or the young kids).

A few years back I suggested that the Christmas dinner meal be a casual one.  Since everyone stays at my home for several days before and after Christmas, things are a bit hectic... I figured an easy meal would help with the strain and stress of heavy cooking duties and it does.  Here is our Christmas table in which everyone dresses as he or she pleases, pjs are welcome.  We have 3 pots of soup (2 vegan since most of the family is vegan, and 1 organic but not vegan).  This year we had vegan veggie, vegan creamy broccoli and organic chicken noodle.  Typically I also provide a salad and this year it had arugula, baby kale, baby chard, baby romaine, baby spinach, organic tri-color quinoa, heirloom rainbow cherry tomatoes, roasted yam, dried cranberry, homemade sweet and salty pecans and balsamic dressing.  Often there is homemade bread but this time we had a few organic store-bought.  One whole grain and one with rosemary.  A big pitcher or pomegranate iced tea, some alcoholic beverages and the meal was a done deal.  I don't have fancy dishes enough for everyone, so each third of the table had their own dishes pattern. 

Around mid-day we had eaten some hearty appetizers: peppered salami and sharp cheese for the non-vegans and all the rest was vegan: hot salsa with chips, bread with spinach artichoke dip, anti-pasta salad with olives, peppers, artichokes and mushrooms, roasted veggies with cauliflower, carrots, onions and zucchini, tapenade with crackers, hummus, salted nuts... and a variety of other things that kept us fully satisfied with simple to serve type food.

 And a big bonus this Christmas for me?  I got to sleep in a bedroom and in a bed while the guests were here!!!!  Usually I have to give up my bed and my bedroom and I end up sleeping on a couch or a floor (as does my hubby).  But this year we re-did the "boys" room that was rather teenage boyish and yucky and turned it into a bedroom that we could offer to a guest. SO I then got to sleep in an actual bed in my own room.  And that was Christmas bliss.

I love to make and to give gifts at Christmas.  I don't as much like getting gifts.  However, my hubby gave me two bottles of wine, two yummy little boxes of chocolate and two new indoor scarves... all good stuff!

How was your Christmas?  What are your traditions?  Do you celebrate another holiday or a different religion?  If so, what do you do on Christmas when others are celebrating with lighted trees and holiday wrapping?

Next up - all the making and creating that's been happening for the past 6 months... to include some new free patterns for you!  TA TA and Happy New Year's Eve!  Sher

Monday, December 29, 2014

And Half the Year Later...

I haven't blogged since July- that's almost half the year.

The blog sat.  From time to time it called my name, got added to my to do list, and thought about in my dreams.

Do I care if I blog only for me - or do I blog for others or is this whole experience just a public journal interspersed with a personal pattern catalog?  Do you want to come along for the ride? Do you miss me - or even notice when I'm gone?

Should I stay or should I go.  Does anyone hear my words, like my posts, know my blog thoughts?

Would I be missed, would my patterns be lost on little slips of paper and my crafty ideas waft out of my brain without a mention?

Am I weighed down by my blog or lifted?

I still don't know.

I'm not ready to quit- I don't want to create a set of blog rules for myself, but I am not ready to end my blogging authorship.

Sometimes I write blog posts in my head and they never make it to the keyboard and the world wide web.  Sometimes I forget my own blog even exists in my RSS reading list -because it's never bold anymore, begging me to click on it to see my latest updates.

I read the blogs I follow pretty much every day.  I know the writers, the authors, their families - they don't know me at all.  I visit their lives, see the scenes inside their houses, follow their patterns, create along side them - day in and day out - but they have no idea who I am, that I'm here - that I follow - that I know them.

It's a strange world the blogging world.  Kind of weird and kind of wonderful.

So almost 6 months since my last post - I muse.  Do I stay absent or do I become present.  I don't know.  Maybe blogs are just something I read and write and follow so I can justify the time to drink another cup of coffee...

Fondly, Sher
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