This week I've been thinking a lot about what we were doing last year for Christmas. Do you ever do that? We gave Kate a dollhouse and Henry a wooden castle. I was busy making this waldorf doll for Kate. I was literally sewing her eyes & hair on on Christmas eve while we watched "It's a Wonderful Life" (that's our Christmas tradition).I was so worried about sewing the eyes, well doing the whole face actually. Her skin is not as light as it's showing up in these pictures and don't show her pink cheeks but you get the idea. The face is one of the last things to get completed and after the hours & hours of hard work putting this doll together I didn't want to screw it up my putting a wierd face on her. The pressure! Some waldorf-style dolls have noses and I debated on giving her one, but didn't. I think if I make another doll, I might try it out. Doing her hair was my absolute favorite. Her hair is made from wool yarn and is a combination of purple, orange & different shades of brown. Kate wanted a doll "with messy buns on each side" so the hair had to be long enough to do that and it goes nearly to her feet. Pretty immediately after Kate got her doll last Christmas's she named her "Abby". There aren't nearly as many handmades for Christmas this year (read: none by me!) but that's how it goes sometimes. I have a feeling there will be plenty of 'making' come January when our lives settle down a bit.
Hope you are enjoying these last few days before Christmas!
The last of the swap gifts were finished off today and sent out priority mail. I made (3) of these stuffed animal beds; 2 went to Em's girls Ivy (9) and Yindi (4) and the other was for Faith's girl, Carys (4 1/2). The pattern comes in 3 different sizes and I ended up making the 'medium' bed. I found the pattern for these on pinterest the day after Chris left for his trip with all the gifts for the NZ children in tow. I think some of the girls would have loved these- oh well, maybe next time. I made an executive decision this week and bought Kate's princess dress. It would have taken me every night this week to make and finish it and there are just too many other things that need to happen now (thanks in part to a massive debacle today). I'm feeling okay about it. It's all the same to her and it free's up a lot of time for us to do things together, so I'm breathing, trying to slow down (is there such a thing?) and embracing it.
We made a quick stop at our favorite beach today after church staying just long enough to dip our toes, take in the fresh air and warm sun. Kate was not going to let go of the candy cane they gave her in nursery. The Christmas countdown is on!
We decided to make play dough this year as gifts for the little friends in our lives. We used this recipe and while we did add glitter we decided to skip the peppermint on our 2nd & 3rd batches. Henry nearly gagged when he smelled saying it "smelled like a hot dog truck" and wouldn't go near the stuff. I don't know if it was the type of peppermint oil that we used or what but I kind of had to agree. We tried being nifty and twisting it like a candy cane but it became a big jumbled mess (see above) when I tried putting it through the mouth of the mason jar so we quickly decided to turn the peppermint play dough into glittery snowballs which worked like a charm. Here's the playclay recipe
Mix water, salt, cream of tartar, and food coloring. Cook on low heat, stirring regularly for about 10 minutes. Add oil, then flour. Stir until playdough pulls away from pan and is no longer sticky. Dump dough on counter, let cool a bit, then knead until smooth.
Chris is finally home from New Zealand. He fell absolutely head over heels for the people and the country. He wants to move there (if they didn't have so many earthquakes- I say hey- we live in L.A- what's the diff??) He brought home a metric ton of chocolate. That is no exaggeration. Chocolate filled black licorice (the best!), chocolate covered pineapple, and yes, Em, he brought back some dark chocolate peanut slabs! With him home, I'm feeling confident with this weekends to-do list.
Have a great weekend! That little white snowball is smiling at you!
I've been a busy little crafting bee these last few days. Last year I participated in a Christmas Swap and when asked if I wanted to do it again, I just couldn't resist. The swap sounded great in September when I had nothing on my schedule :) The idea is that you make a small gift for about 15 kids and they ('they' meaning the Mama's) do the same so you end up getting the same amount of gifts back. I was so behind on my 'Christmas making'. While I've had many months notice to get moving & shaking I wasn't able to start crafting until this past Sunday. About 1/2 the families participating in the swap live in New Zealand and so I had to have 12 gifts made in time for Chris to take them on his flight to NZ. Initially I was going to make skirts for all the girls, but then had a change of heart and decided to go with more individualized gifts. Here's what I made this year: DIY Buton Flower Kit: I made (2) of these kits for sisters Bella & Tashi who are 10 and 8. Their Mother recommended something the girls could do together and I thought they might enjoy this. The kit includes everything they need to make their own flowers: wire, buttons, felt leaves and a flower to show the finished product. (I blogged original instructions here) Kaya is 7 and his Mother says he is a "math & science guy". I don't know where the idea for a checker board came from, but I'm crossing my fingers he likes it. The board is made from brown & red felt that was weaved together & sewn around the edges. I had just enough blue & yellow buttons for the playing pieces (phew!) The 'board' comes with 2 red felt pouches to hold the pieces. These books/journals are for Bodhi (12), Aria (10) and Stella (1o). All of their Mothers remarked that they liked writing or reading so this seemed like it might be a good fit. The covers came together pretty easily. Out of all the gifts I made for the swap, the only thing I had to purchase were the spiralbound notepads. Little boy Sage is 2 and his Mother said he would 'love anything'. These are small stuffed flannel elephants backed with felt. Arlo is 4 1/2 and 'a dreamer'. He gets his own pirate patch and hook arm (Henry now says I need to re-create this for him for Christmas. I'm taking that as a good sign :)Girls Ivy (3) and Ruby (7) each got a set of 3 felt donuts. Ruby's Mother said I really couldn't go wrong so I hope that's the case! Here are instructions if you want to make your own.
There were also (2) sets of bean bags that I somehow lost the picture for...
As hard as it was trying to think of things the children would like, I really enjoyed doing this. I hope they get a kick out of these. I have 6 more gifts to make for the families here in the states which I'll try to work on this weekend. I've still got a little bit of time for those.
I just heard on the news we are 16 days away from Christmas. This gift making was just the kick in the pants I needed to get my Christmas craft on. Kate wants a dress-up princess dress and Henry always gets a matching pair of pajamas for he & a friend. And then there are Christmas cards....every year I say we'll do them. I am not committing to anything.
Advent calendar is coming soon. We've completely jacked it all up- lol. For some reason we started with mitten #25 and then counted backwards but that didn't seem right and we realized we were doing it all wrong. Every night we couldn't remember which number we were on, so I'm re-stringing it and we'll be back in business soon. You are supposed to start with 1 on December 1st, aren't you? I need a nap.
Do you have any awesome holiday making activities I could do with Henry's 1st grade class next week? Comments are open, so if you've got a good one by all means, leave one!
December is here! I have a 1/2 decorated tree. I am missing one of our Christmas bins that has the rest of our ornaments & my holiday villages. I'm going to have to make another trip to our storage unit to see if I can find it. Charlie has pulled every last ornament off the bottom half of the tree so we've got that going on...I finally finished the children's advent calendar that was started...ahem... 2 years ago (hey, at least that's 4 days I don't have to worry about!) AND I have found a new favorite hot chocolate (Trader Joes Sipping Hot Chocolate). I'm trying not to feel stressed about the holidays but I am. There is a lot that I want to have happen and I'm stressing that I just won't get to all of it. Chris is heading to New Zealand soon and I'm trying to get as much done as I can before he goes. I'll be back soon with advent pic's!