Tag Archives: Christmas

Christmas ornaments

6 Jan

I like the thought that even though our families are in far flung and disparate spots of the world, when we put our Christmas trees up we look at some of the same ornaments. So, I try to make some. Last year was a bit of a cop out – one of those mini frames with the Turtle in it. The year before was crocheted Santa, Rudolph and a Santa. Very cute, if I do say so myself.

This year I discovered the joy of felt. Ever so much easier. Especially with this super tutorial.

But, what good is one? Six is a good number for decorations, but I didn’t have the imagination, or the time. So I decided to match the previous set and make a Santa and a Rudolph.

The first poor Santa came out a bit gammy

His head is rather an odd shape and his beard is, well, I don’t know.

Take two looks like this:

I love the Rudolph buttons and the head isn’t half as odd when the hair  meets the hat. Still not sure on the beard. It’s a bit low. But cute nonetheless.

Rudolph was the easiest to manage. The only embellishments he needed were a nose and a mouth. Oh, and antlers. But at least adding the antlers meant I didn’t forget the ribbon. I cannot tell you how many times I forgot to add the ribbon and had to pull out the stitches for the snowman and the Santa.

I added some bells too. What’s a reindeer without bells?

I tried a Christmas tree too, but didn’t really like how it turned out.

It looks nicer in this picture than in real life.

Then I tried a gingerbread house, but I got a bit overwhelmed and gave up after cutting out the pieces. Maybe next year.

A Handmade Christmas

31 Dec

I love making things. I do. What I love even more is when you have not just an idea of what to make, but also someone you can give it to.  There’s nothing worse than spending hours slaving over something only to get a halfhearted thanks and have said item disappear forever into the abyss of unwanted gifts. So choosing what to make and who to make it for is a stumbling block in and of itself.

This year I decided to make presents for my Mother and sister (yes, the males in my family were almost completely neglected, but I honestly can’t think of presents I can make (easily) for a grown man. I just can’t).

For Mam I decided to make a cardigan. Well, I decided to make it for myself, then a few rows in I thought it would suit her better, so the rest of it was made with the intention of giving it to her. (Maybe that’s what I need to do, start making things, then decide who to give them to after I have started, hmmm).

When I tried it on, the Turtle said “I like your nice jumper Mama. You is look like Granny.” So perhaps I was right in thinking it was more her style than mine. It’s always nice to have these things confirmed by a three year old though 😉

The good news is that it fits! The sleeves are the right length. Not only that, they are (likely) of equal length too (unless Mam has one arm shorter than the other). So the gauge was ok and my confusion/frustration with the measuring tape was unwarranted. Whoop! I even blocked it. Not a normal occurrence in this house. And no mean feat. The en suite is full of carpet and the guest bathroom is too small. Add in someone who doesn’t really know what they are doing, and well, I’m lucky I didn’t flood the house or something. That’s the good thing about making things for other people, you go the extra mile and finish it according to the instructions, rather than throwing your hands in the air at the final step and saying “Sure, it’ll do!” and living forever with that wonky bit that drives you crazy!

The other good thing is that she loves it. There was a lot more enthusiasm for it than the usual shop bought tat that I usually send. She even  modeled it for me (webcam) and there was talk of handwashing it! (Unheard of in our house!) So I know she likes it!

For my sister I made a bag, from some jeans. Apparently this caused some confusion and she attempted to try them on?!? And a cowl/scarf. More confusion. She thought it was a shawl. To be fair, I think I cast on too many stitches, but not THAT many.

Still, it apparently caused a great deal of hilarity. So that’s something.

And so that the men weren’t entirely left out, I sent my sister’s step son this hat

I actually made it for the Turtle, but he already has a hat with earflaps – a $5 nasty acrylic Cookie Monster one – so he apparently doesn’t need any more. And well, it’s not cold enough for woolly hats here. But I defy you to look at this hat for more than five minutes without your hands starting to itch with the desire to make it. Go on. Make it! I need to find more people I can make it for.

What did you make?

“No, that’s enough”

21 Dec

The Turtle went to see Santa on Saturday. And for the first time he didn’t freak out (well, he wasn’t that bothered his first Christmas, but then he was only 5 and a half months old).

He walked straight up to him (Santa was on a couch in the back of the room) and said “How does that sleigh work anyway?” Santa was a bit taken aback and mumbled something about sitting in it and holding the reins.

Then it was on to the important business.

“What would you like for Christmas?”

“A Thomas scooter”

“Anything else?”

“No, that’s enough.”

Love that.

I love too that his nervousness shows only in how he holds his hands, and also in his refusal/inability to get any closer to Santa.

“Would you like to sit on Santa’s lap?”

“No, I’m is scared of him”You can almost see the fear.

Nevertheless, later, when Santa was nowhere in the vicinity he said “Santa is a great man, is he?… a great man.”

Advent Activities

7 Dec


I have great notions of making an Advent activities calendar. Great notions altogether. Look at this. Isn’t it pretty?

Still, just because we don’t have the accessories, it doesn’t mean we can’t do the activities.

So far, we have:

  • been to see a Christmas movie – Arthur Christmas. The constant refrain? “I don’t like this theater. I want to go home.” It would seem that when you bring a country mouse to the big city movie theater, well, it freaks him out. More than a bit. The small, cheap theater from now on then.
  • done some baking. Christmas should involve lots of baked goods. There are plans afoot to make mince pies, Christmas cookies and perhaps a pumpkin pie (the Hallowe’en pumpkin is still looking balefully at me from its prime spot in the kitchen).
  • collected pine cones, to be painted, glitterified and adorned with shiny things later in the week.
  • gone on a walk of the neighbourhood to see the lights. “Oh wow Mama! Look at that!” He was over awed by the lights (which were fairly unspectacular). We might go a few more times. It’s a nice after dinner activity, even if it is a bit cold (California cold, so not really, but we’re wimps now!) He was concerned that Santa wouldn’t come to our house if we didn’t have lights up. “Is the Christmas light man coming to our house to put up the lights?”, “If the Christmas light man is Daddy, yes.”, “Daddy!! You have to put up the lights.” Love that child.

We missed the Christmas parade because we were all sick.

So left to do, we have:

  • making snowmen and Santas with cotton balls
  • painting the patio doors in the kitchen, with tempera paint (mixed with dish soap).
  • decorating the tree/watching the Hubby out up the lights
  • “write” a letter to Santa, and watch his message from Santa. Portable North Pole is soooooooooooo cool!
  • maybe do a gingerbread house
  • some doily snowflake shennanigans
  • Christmassy colouring in/stickers (you can’t go wrong with stickers)
  • make Christmas cards
  • meet Santa – maybe get a picture where he’s not crying!!
  • the Hubby’s work Christmas Potluck party (where there will be an abundance of pasta dishes, and maybe a bouncy castle)
  • Christmas books

And that’s all I’ve got. But, I reckon we’ll be redecorating the tree every day anyway, so that will keep us busy!

Christmas spirit

23 Dec

…is in short supply this year. I am running low on it anyway, despite my best efforts. Dread family visits and the accompanying stress all you like, then when there’s nobody here? You miss them. I think that if the Hubby wasn’t working it wouldn’t be half as bad, but I am 5 hours in to (at least) 80 of the next 96 hours I will be spending by myself (with the Turtle!) and am feeling a tad maudlin. Just a tad. It didn’t stop me from buying Guinness for Santa. And we’re planning to have Christmas dinner on Tuesday (the first day we’ll be able to sit around and watch the turkey cook, as is traditional 🙂 ). The presents are wrapped. The Turtle has picked up a startling number of Christmas songs and sings them over and over and over.

Regardless, I have been plowing on, trying to build our Christmas traditions and make thing s enjoyable for all of us. This is only our second Christmas together in our own home. The Hubby came over to Ireland to visit us for the Turtle’s first. So we are still establishing things. There seems to be plenty of baking and crafting. The ornaments on the tree are almost entirely handmade. There’s singing and old (from the 30s and 40s) Christmas cartoons.We have a small stack of Christmas books we work through almost daily too – Joseph is now (and probably always will be) “Jofuss” and crackers have become “Nutcrackers”.

And when we finally get to have Christmas dinner, there will be sausage stuffing. And probably brussel sprouts, even if I loathe them with a passion. And potatoes of every ilk, even though I am the only one who eats them. Oh and parsnips (which are ridiculously hard to find). Roll on Tuesday!


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For those of you lucky enough to celebrate Christmas on the appointed day, with your loved ones around you, Merry Christmas. And don’t forget to enjoy it, even the bits when everyone is driving you completely and utterly insane. Because that’s what Christmas is all about, surely!

Christmas craft kits

19 Dec

The Turtle is a bit young for complicated crafts and I’m a bit too disorganised. So when I was at the craft store last week I picked up a few kits (the craft store is a dangerous place to be when your child is sleeping, not roaring to be let out.You buy everything. Everything). These little wooden ones came with markers and glitter! I ❤ glitter!

Isn’t he pretty?

The Turtle loved them too (I sent his to the grandparents before I took a picture). He’s starting to colour with a purpose. Tongue out and everything. So cute!

These ones are paper. They came with little pointy sticks, to scratch the paint off, to reveal shiny business underneath and ribbons to hang them up with. Pretty cool!

This, though was a disaster. And yes, I do realise that it says 6+ but the Turtle loves sticking things to other things and both me and the Hubby had a go at it too. This is as far as we got. I was the one who tried the big chunk of them together. The Turtle and the Hubby went for individually. Still no go. It may have to go in the bin, much as I loathe waste, I think I loathe this yoke more!

Santa Claus is coming to town!

18 Dec

Yep, he will be coming to this house.

I do not think of it as a lie. It is a part of the magic of childhood. And one of the perks of being a parent.
It’s my job to make his childhood as magical as I can. And I will.

Of course he was frightened out of his living life out of him today, but all costumed people are to be treated with suspicion when you are 2. He did come around a bit and managed to give Santa a high five and wish him a Merry Christmas. Then when he came home he wanted to “talk” to Santa (on PNP).

Santa is magical.



This close!

18 Dec

We were this close (holds thumb and forefinger a smidgen apart while hand shakes with indignation), this close to having a noise-making-toy free Christmas. So, so close.

Then we got this. An interactive talking map for a two year-old. Honestly? After 5 minutes I wanted to set it on fire. Well, I really wanted to exchange it for something else. But then the Hubby took it out of the box. And that plan went up in smoke.

I may be an ungrateful mare, but both sets of grandparents asked what they should get the Turtle for Christmas. And we told them. (Duplo). And they bought it and left it here after their visits. Grand, I thought, that’s Christmas sorted. There’ll be a big pile of toys, but it won’t be overwhelming.

I was wrong.


My first Christmas cake

17 Dec

Look at her! Isn’t she a beauty?

Well, ok, she’s a bit flat and I have no idea what those green fruit are. And she’s a bit pale. But other than that? Not too bad at all. I mean I have no idea how it will taste, but after all of the effort (and most of that was just decoding the recipe) it had better be good. Or people should at the very least have the good grace to lie to me about it 🙂

Next stop, mince pies! And perhaps some gingerbread people!

Most random thing on a Christmas tree

16 Dec

You can buy an awful lot of random things to put on your tree over here. Cartoon characters, sports team paraphernalia, just pure randomness. It doesn’t sit well with me, and I try to avoid them if I can. Having said that, the combined pester power of the Hubby and the Turtle has led to us having an Elmo and a Crush (turtle from Nemo) on the tree. Still though, I try to only have traditional things on the tree, baubles, bells, stars, snowmen, Santa, stockings etc.

And yet . . . I think I can win the prize for the most random thing on a Christmas tree. Ever. Pretty, isn’t it? But what is it?









It’s a Japanese scrubby thing. For in the bath. Called a “tawashi”.

And how did that happen? Well, I was on Ravelry and I searched for Christmas ornaments to make. And my friend the tawashi came up. And I thought “Ooh, pretty” and put it in my queue. It wasn’t until I had finished making it that I looked at the page properly and went “Huh?” But it’s pretty and it’s staying up there. I may even make some more 😉


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