Monday, December 23, 2013

Icy Weekend

Icy Weekend 7

Icy Weekend 3

Icy Weekend 1

Icy Weekend 9

Icy Weekend 8

Icy Weekend 20

Icy Weekend 15

Icy Weekend 14

Icy Weekend 2

An ice covered weekend (and the resulting lack of electricity) didn't dampen our Christmas spirit one bit.  There was hand sewing to complete, gifts to wrap, games to play, books to read, and beautiful sights to see regardless of what mother nature might have thrown at us.  Today we are thankful to have the electricity back on, for today we will  finish up our holiday preparations and enjoy our favorite Christmas movies together.    

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Winter Solstice

Well the first day of winter certainly came in with a bang...and a crackle and snap if you're listening to the trees all around us.  Even before we were in bed last night the world around us began to ice over.  We awoke this morning to everything glistening and the girls marveled in the beauty of icy covering.

  Solstice 2

Solstice 3

Solstice 4

Solstice 5\

While there certainly is much beauty to behold, having gone through a few ice storms in our days, Daddy and I began to prepare for the eventual loss of power that was likely to come.  As the tree branches began to droop lower and lower under the weight of their icy blanket we knew our time was limited and then just as predicted...

Solstice 6

It was Kinsley who questioned "why is the tree smoking?" and brought our attention to a troublesome branch at the back of the property.  And within moments the electricity flashed and the lights went dark, seconds later a transformer blew down the street as well.  

We are fortunate to have a heat source that does not rely on electricity and so our afternoon went on much as was planned.  Spending our afternoon sitting by various windows throughout the house working on and wrapping our Christmas presents for one another.  Happy when the lights came on only because it illuminated our tree once again (a very important aspect of Christmas cheer in our home it turns out).  

The power has since flashed on and off a few times since then so it is very likely we will lose power again before this storm is over.  And if that happens we will simply move from our spots near the windows and closer to candle light as darkness approaches.  Enjoying a simple (and thankfully warm) Winter Solstice. 

Friday, December 20, 2013

Mistletoe Kisses

This year has been a year of removing things from the dreaded to-do list.  In an effort to keep the holidays stress free and family focused many things were simply put off for another year.  Precious few things were absolutely necessary this year and anything else that was accomplished has simply been a bonus.  Many more moments were spent snuggling by the fire and watching the lights sparkle on the Christmas tree.  Many more hours of sleep have been had this season, and that, my friends, has been wonderful.  There have been moments of worry over not getting things done, of course, because that is simply how my brain seems to be wired.  Thankfully I've had some little reminders that those things simply aren't what matters and back to the tree we go.  

Mistletoe 2

We did add one new activity to our season this year, a hunt for mistletoe.  We've never had mistletoe up in our decor and for some reason this year it felt like the thing to do.  We certainly had never gone out and gathered it ourselves either.  Daddy assured us that he knew just where to find lots of mistletoe so off we went on the hunt.  It turns out, however, that Daddy might have been just a bit mistaken.  We trekked through lots of woods searching high and low for our desired greenery without much luck.  Thankfully there were lots of other beautiful sights to keep us in good spirits and willing to go just a bit farther.  

Mistletoe 3

Mistletoe 4

Mistletoe 8

Mistletoe 1

With a slight change in location and just as we were about to give up we finally spotted it.  The girls were happy to gather themselves each a basket full of mistletoe to bring home, though we were a bit disappointed that ours didn't have any of the pretty white berries attached. 

Mistletoe 5

Mistletoe 7

I'm not sure that gathering mistletoe will find its way into our annual Christmas activities but for this year we certainly did enjoy it, and the loads of kisses (and even more giggles) that have resulted from having it.  

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Last Customs

With the last custom orders delivered yesterday, in person even, I am officially closing my Etsy shop for the remainder of the year.  It's time to focus on family and fun for the holidays.  We have several holiday parties coming up and a lot of fun planned too.

It's always a bit bitter sweet for me.  While I am more than ready for the break and change of pace, I do love creating for everyone.  The realization that so many of my creations will be waiting under Christmas trees to be unwrapped or handed out as Solstice gifts is so fulfilling, and a bit humbling as well.  I feel incredibly blessed to be able to do what I do on a regular basis.

Ballerina Set

Ballerina Doll 5

Pirate Girl 3

Owl Doll 1

Since these were custom orders and have all arrived at their homes I can safely share them without ruining any surprises for anyone.  I do have a few fun gifts and projects that I'm dying to share but have to wait a bit longer until they make it to their new homes.  

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Leaf jumping weather

The weather this week is absolutely amazingly beautiful.  It's hard to believe we're in the week before Christmas, especially considering the snow that has only just melted away. We certainly didn't expect to be able to jump in leaves again like we did just a few weeks ago.  We were out for quite a while today soaking up the sun and enjoying creating memories just like these again...

Leaf Day 1

Leaf Day 3

Leaf Day 6

Leaf Day 9

Leaf Day 4

Leaf Day 5

Leaf Day 13

Leaf Day 15

Leaf Day 14

Monday, December 16, 2013

Cherished Ornaments


Without a doubt one of my favorite parts of this season is decorating the Christmas tree as a family.  We all look forward to it so much each year.  Everyone has a favorite ornament that they have to put on the tree themselves each and every year, in just the right spot.  It's hard for Mama to pick a favorite ornament though, I certainly couldn't pick only one.  All of our ornaments have been carefully chosen by us over the years.  Many were handed down from my childhood, and a great deal of them were handmade by friends and family.  Each ornament placed on the tree holds a special memory for me.  I've been trying to photograph each ornament on the tree and upload them to my Flickr account so that we'll always have a record of them.  It's slow going and I still have many many more ornaments to capture.

And each year that number gets just a bit bigger as we choose a new family ornament that represents that year for us.  Sometimes all four of us pick and individual ornament to represent a major event or a memory we don't want to lose for the year.  

2013 Ornament 1

This year the family ornament came from a sweet friend of mine.  I have been looking all season for the perfect Nativity set for our home, finally ready to upgrade the girls from the Little People set we've had while they were small.  I simply couldn't find the perfect set this year and when this ornament arrived I nearly cried.  It is perfect for us.  Simple and lovely, yet so meaningful.  I will keep up the search for the perfect Nativity set but this ornament most certainly filled the void this year.  

The girls also chose their new ornaments to represent their lives in 2013.  This is such a fun part of the tradition, they are always so excited and can't wait to find the perfect one.  This year their choices were easily made as to what they wanted to represent, then the hunt was on for the perfect ornament.  

2013 Ornament 2

Kait this year chose a little ballerina to be her ornament.  She has wanted one for ages as she has watched Kinsley hang her ballet ornaments on the tree and this year she finally got one of her own.  This first year for her to be in dance has been wonderful for her.  She loves every minute of it and takes it quite seriously as well.  (I didn't even notice until just now that she placed her ornament on the tree without removing the tag.)

2013 Ornament 3

This year Kinsley had a bit of a tougher time deciding.  This has been her first year as a Daisy Girl Scout but also she visited Legoland this summer which was a big event for her.  In the end she decided on Girl Scouts and we found the perfect ornament picturing caroling girls.  Two of her favorite things she declared.  

Each year as we place the ornaments on the tree we look fondly at the memories behind each ornament, no doubt this will evoke the same emotions in years to come.  

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Christmas Kittens

While there is certainly a lot of crafting going on around here that I can't share with you just yet, there are a few things that won't ruin any surprises by being shown.  These little Christmas kittens aren't going out to anyone on our gift giving list so I can share them without worry.  They've been sitting and patiently waiting their turn to make it into the Etsy shop.  

Kitten 6

Kitten 7

Kitten 5

Kitten 4

Kitten 3

Kitten 2

Kitten 1

Another pattern from Bit of Whimsy Dolls that we absolutely fell in love with around here.  A few of these kittens have already been adopted but there are still several waiting to find new homes.  

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Christmas Crafting

Those rare moments when we aren't outside rolling in the snow we are all gathered around this table elving our little hearts out.  So much goodness is being created around here lately.

Letters to Santa are being created, decorations colored for a visit to the local nursing home, ornaments being made for family, and so much top secret gift making that just can't be shared quite yet.  Always with cups of hot cocoa nearby of course.  Lots of running about and whispers (that are sometimes louder than speaking voices) in an effort to hide all the handmade goodness being created.  Such a busy time for these little elves.

Santa Letter 1

Santa Letters 4

Santa Letters 3

Any time "Mama's markers" come out for a craft the girls are sure to dive right in.  I certainly can't blame them, I can't resist all those bright colors either.  We need to pick up a few more blank ornaments on our next trip to the craft store, the girls really want to decorate more to give as gifts.  

Ornaments 4

Ornaments 1

Ornaments 6

Ornaments 5

Ornaments 2

I love the little reindeer thumbprint ornaments.  We used the same method as we did on our Christmas cards last year.  We simply dipped our thumbs in regular acrylic paint and printed them right onto the ornament.  After the paint has dried the embellishments are easily added with Sharpies.  I love how simple it is to complete, even for little crafters, yet the end result is so cute.  We have the year on the reverse side and I just might go back and add our names under each print.

Ornaments 7

Ornaments 8 

We also needed some new gift tags this year, and with all the gift making going on around here we'll likely need a few more before it's all over.  We used a free printable from Raggedy Scrappin for our tags, I thought they were so cute!  Since the girls colored them rather than using premade tags they are almost like a little gift themselves.