Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Christmas 2011

It's now pear blossom season in southern Oregon. The weather is warming up and the trees are blooming. So naturally I'm writing about Christmas. I know I'm late in following up on My Handmade Christmas but it's still worth sharing. All in all it was successful. I didn't do everything that I planned to do and I did a lot that I hadn't thought of at all. As I planned, I made the blue plaid bear and the road sign scarf. The scarf was easy once I asked my grandmother for help. The bear was not so easy. I'm still working on my skills with following a pattern. I cut a lot of corners and didn't really read much of it at all. But it came out cute. Not very durable, but cute.
I also made an in-door play fort. It's a big piece of heavy fabric to throw over the table for the kids to crawl under. You may have seen one before. They're pretty popular among sewing moms these days. I made my own pattern for this one. Well, actually I just rolled out the fabric and started cutting. I didn't even hem the sides. I probably will some day but it wasn't a requirement to do to have it done by Christmas. They love it., and I love to here my kids actually laughing and playing together.

 I crocheted my son some really cool fingerless mittens and some pink ones for my niece. It was just a strait cylinder. I skipped a few stitches for the thumb hole and stitched around it a few times. I'd like to put the pattern up for sale on my etsy shop soon so look out for that if you are interested. I actually made my nieces too small the first time so I think I’ll give the little ones to my baby girl this year.

One of my favorite things to do was to paint two adorable( if I do say so myself) little wooden train ornaments with the kids names painted on the bottom. I bought the trains at Michael's craft store and I used regular acrylic craft paint. I coated them with some Mod Podge to make them glossy. The kids each got to hang there own train on the tree though they often took them off again to play with. It was precious.
  Now, my kids were not the only ones treated with homemade goodness. I made some delightfully festive gift baskets for family and friends. If you follow this blog you may know about the spiced plum preserves and the strawberry syrup I canned last year. Well. As was planed, I gave them all away with many other sweet expressions of my Christmas cheer. We had chocolate dipped spoons (for hot coco) rolled in crushed red and green M&M's and pretzel rods wrapped with a string of caramel and chocolate dipped (also with M&M's). There were various flavored chocolates made simply by melting down chocolate chips, adding flavors like raspberry extract and pouring it into candy molds.
 The banana bread was extra moist and flavorful with extra bananas and tied with a piece of Christmas ribbon. The caramel apples were a challenge. I melted the caramel in one of those little warmers that sometimes come with a crock pot. So rather than dipping the apples, I spooned the caramel onto them. Next, I striped them with chocolate. I just filled a zip-up sandwich bag with chocolate chips and melted them under hot water, cut a small piece off the corner and squeezed it out. The oranges are pierced with whole cloves. This was both decorative and added festive spice to the oranges. I delivered the goodies in red and green baskets wrapped in red plastic all from the dollar store. It was a sweet and wholesome Christmas season. I hope to have many more just like it and I hope that I have inspired you to create and to share your Christmas love with charity and gifts from your heart.

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