Saturday, December 31, 2011

Christmas Joy

Ahhh, it's been a WONderful Christmas holiday here at the Hearthroom.  I think because I was working so hard at getting things done and getting things ready, that once Christmas Eve arrived I was so ready for everything to slow down.  Christmas Eve is time to sit and savor the moments. 

Moments with little ornaments that you only get to visit once a year that hold special memories. 

Enjoying the beauty of fresh Meyer lemons that I truly hated to use because I loved to see them glowing that gorgeous, rich yellow every time I came into the kitchen.

A quiet moment to enjoy the Meyer lemon pudding cake that I finally gave in and made with those little beauties. 

Time to make everyone's favorite family breakfasts. 

Little chocolate ornaments for packages and the trees.

Adoring those little hands that could not resist the little, chocolate ornaments.

Resting with the beauty of little crocheted stars. 
You can find them here

Being totally THRILLED with my very much last-minute crocheted peppermint garland.  I'm so glad I made it because now I can't imagine my feather tree without it.

Enjoying the wintry feel of The Window with icy looking willow branches.

The glowing little church in the window.

Watching the children marveling at the perpetual motion Santa.

Savoring every second of free time to enjoy relaxing, reading and playing in big boxes.

 Seeing the simple beauty in the fire starter bundles we made. 

Loving the sweet coziness of making a Christmas bed in front of the fire for the kids.  Hoping it makes special memories for them of laying there to look at the Christmas tree they decorated, twinkling away in the warmth of the fire.  And lots of bouncing of course.

The joy of Christmas traditions:  Adorenaments.

These ornaments are wonderful for keeping us mindful of the meaning of Christmas.

Moments of familiarity of each little ornament and it's story inside.  Young Man very much looks forward to these every year and so do we.  They definitely have a special place in our hearts.

Revisiting favorite stories.

Carefully and so gently pulling out the treasured hand-made decorations that Young Man has made over past Christmas holidays. 

There really isn't anything more beautiful or heart-warming to a mother as being able to glimpse these treasures each time you walk into a room and remember how small the hands were that made them.

The fun and joy of  making goodies for our friends and neighbors.

Happy moments of delivering our goodies and wishing our friends a Merry Christmas. 

Having a break from our busy routine and having everyone home to enjoy a slower pace is priceless.  It's just been very good. 
 And necessary. 

And now that everyone is happy and relaxed it's time to get into this box of scrummy yarn and get to rippling again.  I have SUCH a long list of projects planned.

Ripple needs to grow along steadily...

A really FUN flowery scarf has been started from some yarn I received as a gift...

I have a number of hat patterns that have been worrying me for a year and I cannot WAIT to try...

I have started some VERY colorful stars to make a bunting of colorful fun for Sweet P.'s room...

I'm feeling the need to make ANOTHER baby sweater....

 Crochet leg warmers to prove to one of our favorite waiters that his customers CAN get pedicures in the winter and walk across the street to have coffee at his grill while their toes dry...

I NEED to make the curtains for our classroom...

I MUST finish a baby shower gift that is so close to being done...

And I just simply want to create very colorful things to put and place around our home... 

I know it's winter, but it's time for renewal - a plan for spring and things to come.  I think it will involve color and grannies.  And maybe stripes and clusters...

So now I need to go and think about the New Year.  It's New Year's Eve and even though I'm not one for resolutions, it's a good time to check in with one's self and see what needs some attention going forward.  Maybe I should just save myself some time and trouble and ask Hubby!

So I'm hoping you have some Christmas moments you can cherish.  And I hope you are looking forward to the New Year.  A new year ahead F U L L of possibility and opportunity. 

And yarn.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Preparing A Christmas Home

Hello again!  Thanks for checking in on us.  Here at the Hearthroom we are slowly and joyfully preparing our home for Christmas.  As you know, I have to try to make our home feel special for the season.  It's still an on-going process with a pile of Christmas lights in the floor by the back door and crochet garland still nesting inside my yarn basket. 

It seems our days are a flurry of activity.  No matter how I try to prepare it seems that we are constantly moving and doing.  Schoolwork, housework, still more leaves to rake and lots of busy-hands activities and play time - all make the days pass in a blink.  Add in the wonderful things we do that hold so much meaning for us here at Christmas and I have to find ways to slow it all down and be more mindful.

We are checking lists of things to give, things to make and things to bake.  We are still stringing lights and adding touches here and there.  And we are still making Christmas tree ornaments.  That came about kind of last minute when Young Man wanted to choose how to decorate the tree this year.  Since we really felt the need to limit glass ornaments this year, we let him choose a huge bin of shatter proof blue balls of various sizes.  He also chose blue lights.  This is almost painful for me, as I love traditional colors and themed trees, such as nature with birds, or victorian with lots of pearl.  But I'm so happy that he wants to be involved in the choosing and planning that all my blue-light-phobia went out the window.  I did beg that we could add a smattering of green and pink and have a rather modern looking tree.  He went for it.  Then it seemed necessary somehow to use Stash On Hand to make some small crocheted ornaments, just for fun you know...

And it's such a happy thing to see little hands trying to manipulate the hook.  Sweet P. really enjoys going through the yarn bin.  Of course, there are some yarns that  I keep more protected, but what could be better for a future crocheter than to start feeling scrummy yarn now?

And then, do I even need to tell you how my heart skipped a beat, how I leapt for joy when Young Man himself said, "Hey, show me how you do that."  It's just such a good feeling to look at these little ornaments on the (very blue) tree and know that the young hands helped (or at least tried).

I will come back to share some glimpses of what we accomplish here in the Spirit of Christmas. 

In the mean time, I wanted to share this little shot with you.  We very much enjoy all things outside here and one of our favorite outdoor activities is Geocaching.  Are you a cache seeker, too?  We love heading out to hunt and find goodies hidden all over the great outdoors.  If you are a cacher, you know what I'm saying.  So check out this picture...  Can you see it?  It's right there!  We were on a hunt for a micro cache and we were fairly determined to find it.  Can you spot it? 

 Do you give up?

Are you sure?  I know you must not be one for hints...

Ok, here it is:

  It's great fun to try these tiny challenges, but of course the little people enjoy finding boxes full of swag.  Regardless, it's a great time to spend together wandering in the woods or even learning new towns.  If you've never tried it, you really should.

So in an attempt to make my days less of a blur I will go now.
So many things compete for my time, but I truly want to just enjoy my kids and the time of year. 
That means I have to make the most of every minute. 
Did I mention I have to shop for a vacuum?  Isn't this the perfect time for the vacuum to give up?
Just after we brought a live tree into the house...
I hope your days are clear and purposeful. 
I hope you are very happy where you are.
I hope to meet you back here to share some of the things that mean Christmas to us.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Prettiest Little Recycling Project!

Do you have a great many catalogs or old magazines around the house?  Are they piling up and you haven't put the recycling out yet?  Good.  You're going to be needing them to make some super cute trees!

I was recently gifted a Christmas book from my grandmother.  She knows I LOOOVE all things creative and handmade, so she always provides me with new inspiration.  This idea came from  Southern Living's 2011 Christmas book. 

As you can see by the cover there are MAANY scrumptious ways to celebrate Christmas involved in this little book!  There are recipes, decor and craft ideas.  But the one that grabbed me first, (probably because it seemed like the simplest thing in the world to do with littles running around...)  were the trees.

Here are a few of my 'naked' Christmas trees.  They are quite cute just as they are, but I decided to add little pretty things to mine.  See my can of spray paint there?  Shiny excitement in a can!  Oh, the things you can do with a little spray paint!

So go gather up your pile of catalogs and old magazines and put in a good movie.  Get a hot cuppa to keep nearby and start folding pages.  It's that easy!  You may find that your littles will want to hop right in and fold along with you.  And that is just great because you will have more trees to play with!  And their little hands will be very busy for a period of time actually making something. 

I liked to use books of various sizes.  I love the tall trees, but the shorter ones are so cute and fat.  They were made using some of those smaller cooking/recipe magazines.  I found that if you fold two books of the same size and then put them together you will have a much nicer, rounder tree.  Otherwise, you may have a 'flat' side on the back.  Of course, that's ok too since some will sit flat against a wall on a mantel. 

We took our trees outside and gave them a little spray.  Then we arranged the crochet trimmies and buttons that we wanted to use for our decorations while the trees dried.

The Button Selection Process was of extreme importance here.  The whole jar had to be dumped to get a proper look-see at what was in there so we could collect up all the best ones!  And did you know how well and how fast buttons go sliding across hardwood floors?  Amazzzzzing! 

Look at that CUTE little FAMILY of TREES!!!  Are they not adorable?!  Are they not the CUTEST little trees ever?!  I mean especially since they are a virtually free craft idea using Stuff On Hand and the gazillion books that come in the mail. 

I had fun crocheting different colors of trims for these little guys.  I started out thinking the traditional colors would be best... gold, white, red.  But somehow a bit of pink got in there. 

Then that led to the pink and green tree, which I LOOOVE.  Then it became more fun to find buttons that were flowers or butterflies since we were gettin' kinda girly...

This tree in the center has the button garland.  I strung lots of buttons (especially red and shiny ones) onto my yarn and as I crocheted a chain I slipped  buttons up and hooked around them.  I added a button after every eight chains.

So as of yesterday we were up to 46 catalogs here in the Hearthroom.  I'm sure they're not done coming yet, so I'll probably go make a few more button garlands and crochet doo-dads to dress up a few more trees.  Two of these little trees have found new homes, so I'll be needing to add to the family.

If you celebrate Thanksgiving - I hope you had a Wonderful one.
We have so much to be thankful for here in the Hearthroom.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Itty-Bitty Crochet Decor

I haven't forgotten about sharing my recycled paper craft with you.  I'm just trying to finish them up before the big reveal...
 So here is a bit of my button garland and crocheted goodies to decorate my little recycled paper project...

 One more little shot...  Oh, those cute little hooky pieces!!!

And then I end up with something like this... But you do deserve much better pictures so I am working on finishing that up for you! 

In the mean time, the Rippling has been slow.  Very slow.  I do love it and really want to spend some more time with my new blankie, but just now I've been into crocheted button garlands, etc...

And making a couple of cards for some of my lovely SCS friends.

Just sweet notes to say hi. 

So I hope to get very comfy with my Rippling later and hope to finish up my recycled paper beauties to photograph for you!  

 As soon as I find a dash of energy to do it all.  You know those kinds of days when you get frightening phone calls from family?  The kind that involve medical terms and symptoms?  It's been that kind of day here.  And honestly, I think all is well, but in the process I feel like I've aged a year today.  And I will continue to pray for these dear people that I love.

Hoping all is well with you and your loved ones!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

An Historical Adventure

Not that our adventure was historical by any means, but rather that history was our adventure. 
 I just LOOOVE going back in time (you know what I mean).  Visiting places of importance and trying to get just a glimpse of what it was like, what it felt like for the very people who lived in that place, at that time, making monumental and trivial decisions alike.  

Did we walk in the very footsteps of George Washington or Martha? 
What little children really slept in that little wooden bed frame on the floor?

And isn't that an idea that could be considered here in our home?  Instead of enclosing our littles into cage like cribs, providing a safe little bed low to the floor where they can easily curl up when tired or step out when ready.  Deserves further thought at least...

As promised, a few of our favorite memories from Mt. Vernon

 It just needs to be experienced.  I only wish that you could have longer to tour, time to linger.  I wish the tour was a little more informative.  I know it's one of the most visited places in our country and they have so many people to accommodate, but I just wish there was more.

Of course not everyone ponders the same things that I do, and then there are many who are much more thoughtful about things than I, but I would love to be able to just sit quietly in these rooms.  I would love to have more time to look at mouldings and trims, paint colors and woodwork, the furniture...  To imagine the people walking through this home performing daily activities.  To have the time to envision what it was like to sit in these rooms, at the dining table or at Mr. Washington's desk, all by candlelight.

Not to mention the beauty that surrounds.  You really should visit.

And as I sit here, Hubby grumbling in the background about gloves that are absent from the Hearthroom's hearth (because I put the filthy things out into the garage, of course)...  I am pulled back to reality.  I'm enjoying a really rich cup of coffee as I write this.  A wonderfully thoughtful person gave a bit of Ugandan coffee to dear Hubby for us to try.  It really is a wonderful treat.  Even if it is accompanied by a Tootsie Roll.

The trick or treating stash is really ridiculous this year.  Young Man does not devour candy like some, so that really isn't such a worry.  It's my addiction to Tootsie Rolls that seems to only occur at this time of year, every year.  That's my concern.  At least I have a good cup of coffee to go with it.

And as it's Harry Potter Weekend on TV, I am totally comforted by familiar sounds, music, and voices from these movies that I will leave on for the duration.  Even though I have seen these movies more times than I can count, I love the familiarity of them.  I know, it's a simple thing, but there you go.  I adore the story. 
 The whole 7 book, 8 movie thing, deleted scenes and all. 
I love your comments...