Knit Garland

Mandy of SewSpun spun a peppermint yarn a few years ago. Despite loving it at first sight, I couldn’t justify buying it since my knitting time is so limited these days. When it went on sale in March of last year, my resolve gave way and in a week it was on my doorstep.

For months it sat around while I tried to decide what it should be knit into. I thought about knitting a purse, a bath mat, a cowl, a stocking and a scarf. In the end, I went with my first instinct, garland for our Christmas tree.

The garland is just a simple 3-stitch i-cord. It took no time at all to knit. I was able to finish it while we drove around town visiting family for Christmas.

Unlike the wood beads that I had been using as a garland, the yarn garland can be seen from a distance.

My only complaint is that the yarn garland is too short. It won’t wrap around the tree more than once. I need more Christmas colored yarn.

Making an Army

Of gingerbread men and women!

The Ninja cookie cutters were a gift from my cousin, but you can get your set here. They were a hoot to decorate.

The recipe for the gingerbread cookies that I use year after year came from a book that was gifted to me many years ago when I was still a kid in college. It was perhaps my first cookie cookbook, the Pillsbury Best Cookies Cookbook.

Elly helped of course. The decorating set I bought from Pampered Chef were just perfect for her little hands.

The cookies she decorated are featured below. I especially love the trees.

Merry Christmas!

Sunday Snapshots (of an early Christmas)

Last night, our dear neighbor joined us for dinner, cookies and gift exchange. As soon as she walked in the door, Elly was ready to unwrap the presents. Our neighbor barely had time to take her jacket off and sit down before Elly was ripping the paper off the presents.

She opened her gifts.

She opened our neighbor’s gifts.

She opened our gift.

She is a girl who loves presents.

Christmas Cookies Galore

We are swimming in cookies now.

I have only baked 3 batches myself.

Buttermilk sugar cookies (drop style with green frosting on top)

Cranberry chocolate cookies

Dan’s favorite, the Highland Shortbread cookies

Thanks to the cookie swap with the Mom’s Club, I look like a baking goddess though.

I still have one more batch of cookies to make because Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without my gingerbread men.

Growing up, we always made sugar cookies and I still do make them during our get together with friends, but I could take them or leave them. A few years ago the gingerbread men took their rightful place as my favorite cookies to make. Why?

Because the gingerbread men are so much fun to decorate and to personalize!

Another Wreath

Because one wasn’t enough.

All the jingle bells that had been hot glued to this wreath  were removed. Frankly, everything was removed. There was no way I was keeping that hot mess. Maybe I’ll try again soon to make an ornament wreath. After I make some Christmas cookies that is, but I digress. I was telling you about the new wreath.

A coat hanger looked like the perfect wire to hang the jingle bells on, but I was having trouble making it into a circle. I asked Dan for help and he mocked my choice of wires. Husbands are great, aren’t they? Then, he cut me a length of insulated copper wire from his supply on his tool bench. At first, the wire he cut was too thick for the bells to slide onto, but once the insulation was stripped off, it was perfect.

Elly helped me load the 60+ bells onto the wire.

At the top, I just twisted the wires together and curved one end to form a hook. Easy.

The queen of crafts has a full tutorial here on how to make a similar one though I think hers is smaller, but you could just make it bigger by cutting a longer strand of wire and using a paint can rather than a soup can.

The color on most of the bells are faded, but that is because I bought them used on eBay for a dollar plus shipping. Gotta love eBay. Besides, I like the dull finish. It offers the wreath a little color without overpowering the yarn wreath.

Sunday Snapshots (of dim sum)

It was Elly’s first trip into Philly’s China Town and her first experience eating dim sum.

Oddly enough, it wasn’t her first experience in a China Town for we had visited the one in New York City when her aunt and uncle married in September.

She was fantastic at dim sum!

She ate great from shimp and pork dumplings to sweet pork rolls and fried egg rolls. Her favorite was a sweet bun stuffed with pineapple.

After dinner she started getting a bit bored and wanted to go outside to run and play. We solved that problem with presents!

Christmas can never start too early.

Shrinking our Furniture

Living in a small house has taught me a few things. It has forced me to keep a tight fist on the number of our possessions lest we not have space to sit down. I keep a donation box in my basement and at least once a month, I schedule a pick up from Purple Heart.

Living in a small house with small rooms has also taught me that tall furniture is akin to a brooding giant standing in a corner; they both make me feel cramped and nervous.

Thus, the 6-foot-tall bookcase in our living room had to go. Yet, we desperately needed the storage for Elly’s bedtime books, toys, our games and etc. Enter the wooden cubes at Just Cabinets. Since they are perfectly square, they look the same standing up as they do lying down. I plan to lay them on their side and build a pyramid. Cute, short and functional.

The only downside to the cubes is that they come unfinished. At first, I wasn’t concerned, but I had only forgotten how much work goes into staining and sealing furniture. It has to be cleaned, conditioned, stained, sealed, sanded and sealed again. It took me a week to complete one bookcase.

True, the pile of books looks worse than a brooding giant, but I was too impatient to wait another week or two while I stained and sealed the next 3 cube sections.

Because I couldn’t resist, here is the latest cute picture of Elly.

I love how the balloon keeps her modest.

Wreath Making

Last year, I bought a basket full of red glass ornaments. They had called out to me. When I got them home, I stared at them for a while, but no bright ideas came to me. So, up in the attic they went. When pulling all the Christmas decorations out, I spotted the ornaments. I knew exactly what I wanted to make with them.

Instead my wreath looks like this.

Go ahead. Say it. It’s a hot mess. Either it needs more ornaments or it needs to be thrown in the trash. I haven’t decided which.

Unwilling to give up on a wreath idea completely, I pulled out the yarn strands and came up with this.

The bells were crocheted by my MIL a few years ago. She made them to be ornaments, but I don’t think she’ll mind.

Elly was excited over the wreath too and asked to be the one to hang it up.

Sunday Snapshots (of Santa)

Elly and I went to a Christmas party today with the Mom’s Club.

Santa made a special stop to visit us.

There no pictures of Elly with Santa. As soon as Santa arrived, Elly screamed and ran into the kitchen. When I picked her up and brought her back into the room that Santa was in, she spent the entire time convincing me that we should go upstairs, or in the kitchen or anywhere but where Santa was at.

Though for the record, she did love the book that Santa gave to her.

Did you guess who was Santa?

If you said Dan, then you were right.

Mismatched Fabric

After a few months of searching here and there, I found 2 replacement chairs for our dining room set.

The wood finish matches perfectly.

Though the fabric is lovely too, it does not the original gold or my bright, vibrant fabric.

I do have fabric that is more subtle than the bright orange and turquoise fabric, but I really love the bright colors and I wanted to tie the colors of my kitchen into the colors of the dining room without painting the walls turquoise. Dan is opposed to the walls being painted turquoise. He can be so stodgy sometimes.

What if I reupholster each of the remaining chairs in a different fabric? Is that too kitschy?

You’ll notice that none of the options listed above include reupholstering the new chairs. It’s for good reason. I can take a seat cushion off of a chair, wrap new fabric around it and staple it to the underside. But, I cannot reupholstered a chair as detailed as this. Check out the trim work on the chair.

These chairs were professionally upholstered and will stay the way they are until I learn a whole lot more about upholstery or until I make them slip covers. Maybe a hot glue gun could attach a trim like that. Perhaps, but I’m still not brave enough yet. Give me time.