Thursday, December 29, 2011

Art of the month: gifting

There was a good amount of sewing that went into this year's festivities.  Beginning in November with birthdays I was making for my loved ones.  There was of course more on the list than got finished (one of the things that was nixed was Elliott's stocking, despite working on it right up to the last minute.  We used a fill in one for this year.)  I was happy to have at least made what I did this year and I know that as I vow each year I'll try and start earlier in 2012 and have more gifts ready earlier...we'll see how that goes.
For my sister's birthday I made my fourth birthday banner. 

This one was done in blues and greens and I modified the top to have the ribbon included rather than sewn over the top of each triangle as I did previously.  And I also decided that after several years of using a banner myself it definitely needed it's own drawstring bag.

The next birthday gift was for my nephew's first birthday.  Another area that I had worked on before my bibs.   I have given bibs to several little people on their first birthdays because it is just about the time that big eating messes seem to happen.

Four bibs and a carry bag for two wooden puzzles.  This fabric was found while thrifting and I still have some left over.  Such a great pattern for little ones.
And my gift for Heidi Joy was a clothes pin apron based on this tutorial.  If you look closely you'll notice where I deviated from the directions.  But it was well received and I hope to make one for myself in the spring. 

Our family was gifted some lovely handmades as well this Yule.  I certainly feel blessed to have such crafty ladies in my circles of family and friends.  I hope your holidays were full of thoughtful gifts as well.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011


a little boy turned four around here. 

I would rather like to stop the pace of these years in many ways.  It seems like just yesterday that this and this happened.  This year brought a true understanding of the scope of a Christmas birthday...presents, cakes, parties and repeat.  And this carol singing, Santa loving, big brother is just getting smarter and more himself each day.  Love you Ky.  Happy fourth birthday.

Thursday, December 22, 2011


I posted details of our family craft for 2011 at Pagan Parenting.  Enjoy.  And Happy Solstice.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Book of the Month: December

For a little holiday inspiration I checked A Homemade Christmas: Creative Ideas for an Earth-Friendly, Frugal, Festive Holiday by Tina Barseghian out of the library last week.  It has some wonderful projects and ideas for simple gifts, decorations and celebrations.  Some of the ideas I liked were making Herbes de Provence blends for gifts, a list for stocking the pantry over the busy season, recycling your holiday cards into place mats, and directions on making homemade snow globes. The book is divided into 5 sections focusing on Greeting, Trimming, Cooking, Giving and Celebrating.  An easy read with fun how-to's it can help any one get inspired to make their holiday a simple one. 

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Top Ten Holiday Albums 2011

I love the holidays and I especially love holiday music.  Since childhood the familiar tunes have rung through our home for baking, wrapping and caroling.  My tastes have changed since my spiritual leanings have but this list has something for everyone who loves Christmas music.  You can find my top ten holiday movies here.  Please feel free to add your own must haves in the comments.

10.  The Rat Pack Christmas Album.  These songs are classic renditions of many favorites.  Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr. sing out White Christmas, Jingle Bells and Winter Wonderland along with one that I've come to love Let's Start the New Year Right.

9. Dolly Parton & Kenny Rogers' Once Upon A Christmas.   Growing up with country music meant that I perused several country holiday albums as a kid.  This one sticks with me because of the original songs like Christmas Without You and With Bells On.  The twang of Dolly and Kenny is homey and simple which makes for a good album.

8.  Elvis Presley If Every Day Was Like Christmas.   Another album from my childhood although we listened to Blue Christmas on vinyl.  But when I was linking to these the reviews for the cd version were negative so this album has all the songs I loved plus some others that sound nice.  Blue Christmas has to be one of the best songs Elvis ever sang and Santa Bring My Baby Back to Me is pure fun.  

7.  Melissa Etheridge A New Thought for Christmas.  I mentioned this album last year and it is really a nice departure from the typical albums with the classic songs.  Her rendition of O Night Divine is refreshing and focuses on the solstice.  This album rocks the holidays.

6.  Loreena McKennit A Midwinter Night's Dream.  Besides the cover art this album has some lovely old time sounding songs.  Gloucestershire Wassail, Good King Wenceslas and Coventry Carol are great and I love her originals Snow and Seeds of Love as well.

5.  Canned Heat Christmas Album.  Are you looking for some bluesy songs to get you dancing and grooving...then this is your album.  Deck the Halls, Boogie Boy ( Little Drummer Boy) and more get you out of your seat and moving.  This is not your grandma's Christmas carols.

4.  Santa Baby!  Various Artists.  The above album is similar to the compilation I have but it isn't the exact same.  I wasn't able to find it to link to precisely.  But if you happen to find it it's good.  Eartha Kitt's Santa Baby, Patti Page's Boogie Woogie Santa Claus, Louis Armstrong's Zat You Santa Claus all terrific and not the repetitive songs that can grate on your nerves sometimes.

3.  John Denver & The Muppets A Christmas Together.  I just discovered this one this year...funny since it was originally released in the 1970's.  Sweet and funny it's a perfect album to share with kids and enjoy.  The Twelve Days of Christmas version here is charming.

2.   Michael Buble Christmas.  His voice is like butter I tell you.  Great arrangements on this album, I love the style of old meets modern in the way he sings.  Holly Jolly Christmas is a favorite and the guy version of Santa Baby, very meterosexual! 

1.  Aimee Mann One More Drifter in the Snow.  There is just something about Aimee Mann's low and moody voice that exemplifies the holiday season.  Firelight, snow gently falling, drinking something warm - just a few things this album conjures for me.  Her version of You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch is good for kids and adults (and really I'm impressed that she included it) and What Ever Happened to Christmas is contemplative and serene.  This album is a great way to pull some reflective quiet into a hectic time of year.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

around here

there is wrapping, sewing and craft fair attending, parties appearing and lots of tea drinking.  I'm sleepy these days and unfortunately grumpy as well.  I'm sure the spirit will get me out of the funk eventually.

slowly we are putting things up, making cozy and trying to be present in each little bliss moment of the season.  This holiday is my favorite and I post lots about it every year.  When I'm grumpy I try to focus on the little things that make me happy like the brilliance of red leaves on an oak tree, the warmth of flannel on a cold night and the play of an almost 4 year old with his teddy bears.