I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas

I know. It’s July. But I’m already thinking of Christmas.  I start early!

Last year I made the tough decision to not unpack all my boxes of Christmas decorations. Yes, all my garlands, ornaments and the Christmas village stayed in their boxes. The train set was not put under the tree. I just didn’t have the energy to unpack, decorate and then pack it all up again a month later. I couldn’t think about protecting all those things from the hands of two little girls who would un-decorate quicker than I could catch them. I thought if Buddy The Elf could make his home look festive with paper crafts, so could I!

So, all that we took out were the Merry Christmas sign (I made out of an old fence board) and Snowman (my sister made for us out of the same old fence!) for our porch and the Christmas twinkle lights. We did go and cut down a tree….I tried going without that one year when our oldest daughter was a baby and that was too much of a sacrifice! I love the smell of a tree (and no, the evergreen fragrance candle did not work)!

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DSC08299_cropThen I got out paper and and my paper cutter! We made the rest of our decorations. I probably spent $10 on paper and cellophane. I used wrapping paper, ribbon, cellophane and toilet paper rolls for the candy ornaments (which could be filled with real candy for Christmas Eve!). The rest were one inch paper strips stapled into shapes of ornaments and hearts. We also made paper chain garlands to hang around the windows and snowflakes out of old rolls of fax paper (it’s nice and thin to cut!).  I remember making the heart decorations in school the winter we spent in Sweden.

Our oldest daughter really enjoyed making the decorations. I had fun as well! She loved helping decorate. I brought out our box of supplies when family came over also.

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Here’s what the tree looked like when we were done. You can see some of our snowflakes hanging off the candle holder on the ceiling. I just used mono-filament thread to give it an airy look.

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They would move around the ornaments on the tree and redecorate. And after a few days  the girls had ripped and torn apart some of our projects. Oh, well! Notice the bottom half of the tree is bare!

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At the end of the season we were able to just toss everything but the lights. The pack rat in me wanted to save them, but I knew that was beside the purpose of having a homemade Christmas!

I got all the festivity without all the stress!

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I’ll Hold You In My Heart (’till I can hold you in my arms)

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Four Years ago (was it that long ago?) I started piecing a Grandmother’s Flower Garden quilt. It’s all made of one shape–a hexagon.  I had never tried paper piecing before! I started out using all the odds and ends in my box of fabrics. Then my sister bought me some when I ran out and so did my mom. It seemed like it would take forever to finish!  I imagined working on it throughout my pregnancy and holding my little baby in it.

I was on bed-rest during my 5th pregnancy due to complications and needed something to do while lying on the sofa and this seemed like the perfect time to try. But baby Karin was born a week later…straight into heaven. She never got to be wrapped up in her quilt.  I’m still working on it, though it grew to be a twin sized blanket.  I have it pinned and I’ve started quilting the pieces together, sewing around each flower by hand. It’s become a therapy for me to hold it. I almost don’t want to finish it….maybe that’s why I’m taking so long. I think of her when I sew and how special this quilt is to me.

Someday when it’s done and I’ve placed that last stitch in it, I may enter it in our local fair for others to see and I would title it simply Karin’s Quilt. And maybe, someone would think of Karin and that she must have been a special person to have a quilt hand sewn for her.