Thursday, December 31, 2009

the year ends...

I do apologize for being so brief and rushed here, we really try to keep the computer off as much as possible during this holiday season, but I have been wanting to check in here and say hello, and also had this sudden realization that I didn't want to be posting anymore Christmas pictures once December ends. (Except for handmade gift posts, I still have all that to get to, and hope to return later next week with some pictures...)

Yet this is the only real Christmas day picture we have! Simple and sweet though, just like our day.
This evening I realized we had not taken any pictures of the tree either, so I took just a few...

I have been having the thought of bells in my head lately... time to ring in the new year!
Wishing all of you the best for this year to come!!!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

vintage christmas love

Some of our most treasured Christmas ornaments are the ones that I have from my childhood. My mom sure knew how to make Christmas wonderful and magical for us. That is one of the reasons that we make an effort to get past the horrible commercialism of the holidays and create some of our own special magic for our girls.

Here are just a few of the ornaments I remember from so long ago, now hanging on our own tree this year. There are more, handmade ones too, but we have not finished decorating yet.

And now this year we have something so special to me that I can barely stand it! This wooden tree is from my grandpa's house, I remember it so well, it means so much to me to now have it in my home. The girls were delighted when we brought it out. The little woman with the broom (Mrs. Claus?) was always my favorite. (Too bad she is not facing the camera...)

And here are the girls in their new winter dresses. I gave them to them on Winter Solstice. I ended up making a jumper style dress for Chloe... she is so long now that I didn't have anywhere near enough fabric to make a long sleeve down to her ankles dress like she wanted. But she seems to be very happy with this one. And Chessa loves hers so much, she says she is never going to take it off. I actually cheated on her dress... the bodice part was already done, sitting in a box of fabric for about 7 years! I have made a similar dress of darker green fabric for Chloe when she was 2. Apparently I had cut out a light green one but never finished it! (Kinda pathetic, I know.) So I just added some extra fabrics to the bottom to make it long enough. Both dresses are flannel, so soft and cuddly!

And in one last bit of news, dear Linda from Natural Suburbia is having a wonderful giveaway on her blog. Such beauty this sweet and talented woman creates with wool! There is just a bit more time to enter, so if you have not already done so, you should go quickly check it out. (Although I do think it would be nice if I won, since tomorrow is my birthday, I will be 37!)

Now back to the sewing machine...

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Winter Solstice

When all around is dark and still within the winter night,
The sun will rise within my heart and shine a warmer light.

(excerpt from a verse by Margaret Meyerkort, found in Let Us Form a Ring)

Wishing you all the most wonderful winter solstice blessings!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

WIP Wednesday

Although really it is past midnight, so I missed Wednesday...

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

St. Lucia!

It was magical... hearing our daughter's footsteps upstairs, knowing that this was the special moment she had been waiting for, wondering if she would really light the candle all by herself... must have drifted back to sleep, suddenly the door opened, and the most lovely Lucia child greeted us.

She led us upstairs by candlelight, our tea was waiting at the table... it was 5:30 in the morning!!! She told us that the first time she woke up and checked the time it was 4:30! Thank goodness she decided that was a bit too early. It was snowing, we could tell even in the darkness, as we waited (a long time) for the sun to show its light. A wonderful way to start our day.

We were not able to start making the crown until Saturday evening! So while it may not be perfect, I am fairly impressed that it got done at all. And Chloe says it is her most favorite thing in our house, so at least she was pleased!

We did have our quiet Sunday evening Advent celebration too. This weeks story was the festival of animals. But we did not add anything to our nature table... we took it apart instead, along with most of the rest of our house. We are painting. You are more than welcome to consider us crazy for painting just 10 days before Christmas, but this is the soonest we have had any spare time. Everything should be back in order in a day or so. Hopefully!

(I am going to try to check in tomorrow to share a quick peek of my current embroidery project.)

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

WIP Wednesday ~ Embroidery Love

Well, I was hardly aware that today is Wednesday, but I think I can manage a little WIP update... we have been quite crafty here these days, with quiet hand stitching to bring some extra moments of peace.

My first little project came about quite suddenly... I was trying to remind myself how to do blanket stitch, and after just a few stitches I realized I was creating the ornament I would send to Nicole for her wonderful new project, The Wellness Tree. I really felt such joy as I worked on this, I hope it can bring some of the same to the recipient.

And the reason I was doing the blanket stitch... I made one of dear Rachel's sweet little bird ornaments. Perhaps you have already seen this in the latest issue of Living Crafts, and if so you can probably tell that I altered the pattern a bit. Fortunately Rachel knows me very well, I'm sure she would not be surprised to see that I was incapable of following her pattern exactly. (patterns, recipes, sure, I suppose I could follow them if I really tried, but...)

This little tree came about when the girls needed Christmas trees for the dollhouse people. I decided to add some embroidery to my tree, but the girls just needle felted their decorations on. (actually I did Chessa's needle felting, but she laid out the wool.)

Now I guess it's time to get started on that Lucia crown!

And by the way... we got almost 3 feet of snow!!!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Our Second Week of Advent

I have found it interesting to be having many of the other special days in December occurring on Sundays... so each Sunday when we have our little advent celebration we are also celebrating St. Nicholas, or for next week, St. Lucia! So the St. Nicholas part of our day was not much more than a story and special cookies in the afternoon. I had though about giving them their winter dresses as a gift for that day, but then I realized that I was not remembering our tradition of them receiving their dresses for the winter solstice. We did decide that next year we will make honey cake and have apples and nuts. And the girls would like to leave out their shoes and see if they perhaps get an orange, or even chocolate.

In the evening we read more Tiptoes Lightly... the Festival of Plants. (Actually I have to pause and tell you about the chapter before... Jeremy Mouse meets the spirit of the olive tree. She weaves the life of the tree. I really love it.) So then there is the festival of plants, and they all gather together and say the Plant Blessing, and then they plant the Year Tree, and then they dance the Weaving Dance.

And we now have pine cones on our nature table, and two dried flowers that I always think are wintry with their whiteness.

Oh yes, and the Snow Queen visited the fairies the night before the festival,

and the girls would tell you that King Winter has arrived here!

They were playing outside nearly half of the day. I almost got pictures during the day... but it didn't quite happen. Snow in the dark evening is nice too though.

(I think there is an inch or two more since I took this picture just a while ago...)

(It was fun taking the snowy pictures in the dark...)

It is really becoming winter...

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

First Days of Advent

Welcome December!

This will be only the second year that we have officially celebrated the entire Advent season. And to be honest, when this past Sunday arrived I was not feeling quite ready for it. Thank goodness for those small traditions that had already been created.

Our main Advent festivities occur on Sundays, when after dinner, with girls in pajamas, we gather around the nature table and have stories by candlelight. We read from the Tiptoes Lightly book, and follow along with fairies and gnomes as they celebrate the festivals of the season.

Our nature table follows along as well, starting off somewhat bare, with just a few crystals, drifts of snow... though here it is with candles as well, just after reading our first story.

We also have a winter tree which has adorned our table for several years now. Especially treasured as it was made by Jason... I love the cold icy feeling of the clear glass, very appropriate for our winter table I think.

Wishing you all a warm and wonderful Advent season!