Wednesday, December 30, 2009

in which I brag on my dad

I'm super preoccupied with planning my son's 6th birthday party.  What with this and Christmas there's not been a lot of crafting going on around here.  I have definitely been neglecting this blog, so I thought I'd take a minute to share with you my favorite Christmas craft this year... and it wasn't made by me!

This is my dad.  Well it was my dad in High School.  What a handsome guy!

Ok, this is really my dad now... still a handsome guy!  He is a man of many talents. He can do anything mechanical or building-related that he puts his mind to... literally.  He constantly surprises me at the things he is willing to undertake, and he never fails to surpass my expectations in the end.  For example, he has single-handedly:  added on to the upper story of my parents barn; dug the basement for their home with his very own bulldozer; designed and built a unit that burns industrial waste with almost no toxic emissions; designed his dream home and built it;.... the  list could go on but you get the idea.  So this Christmas I'm not sure which was more amazing - that he managed to shock me with one of his talents, or the actual outcome of this talent.  As I said, my dad is very mechanically inclined, but it turns out he's got some serious artistic ability as well!  My mom asked my dad to paint her a background for her nativity scene.  Paint it.  Like with paints.  My dad doesn't know how to paint.  He's never painted in his life.  Or he hadn't yet.  My mom left him with 2 canvases, some oil paints and the supplies to make a home-made easel.  8 hours later she had this:

(click 'em for detail!)

Now this may not be a van Gogh, but tell me that's not amazing!  When we went to visit my parents house to drop something off before Christmas my mom casually mentioned that I should check out dad's new painting.  I asked her where he bought it.  I thought it was FOR him, not BY him.  I think my mouth hung open for a couple minutes after she pointed out the signature.  I always assumed I inherited my crafty talents from my mom, who ran her own craft store when I was little, but it turns out it must come from both sides!  I'm so proud of my Daddy :)

(oh, and the mantle in the photo... that's the hand-hewn beam from an old barn that my parents tore down in order to use the wood for both the interior and exterior of their home.  Seriously.  No wonder I like to make stuff)

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Little Monkey

Sorry to have been MIA for so long.  I really am here, but holiday preparations for home and work are keeping me too busy to blog much!

My friend Cristi wanted to keep her baby girl warm and in style this holiday season, so she ordered a divine baby hat with interchangeable flowers (yes another - I think that makes 7 or 8 I've made so far this winter) and a DARLING monkey hat.  I previously didn't have a hat pattern with ear flaps, so it is a nice addition to my pattern repertoire!   The best part was the photos she sent me of her daughter wearing the hats that were small enough to fit, but large enough to last the season and into spring :)  I hope to post the photos when I get her permission - I'm not into putting other people's babies on the internet without parental consent!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Cute Kangaroo

photo courtesy of VintagePatternHouse on Etsy

I found this sweet vintage pattern on Etsy to make for a friend who requested a Kangaroo for her expected baby girl.  She wanted a standard Kangaroo color.  The pattern was interesting, my first knitted ami.  I think if I were to make it again I might make a few changes, but it was a pretty good pattern.  One of the cutest things was that the little Joey is removable so as the baby grows she'll get to play with a baby of her own :)

Thursday, December 3, 2009


The Advent season is a little different for us this year.  The kids both know the true meaning of Christmas and are happy to celebrate that, but struggle with knowing there is a day coming soon where we get presents.  I figured this year was finally time to do an advent calendar.  It helps the kids easily know when Christmas is coming without having to ask mommy!  I also wanted it to be a reminder of what the season was about - Jesus' birth and a season of giving.  I went cruising craft blogs to find an idea that would be easy to do but didn't involve candy.  My favorite idea was the simple paper chain.  Easy to do, and the kids could help make it.  I also took another idea I'd seen a lot - including a simple activity or game that is winter/Christmas related.  We ended up with this:

25 paper chains made from Christmas wrapping paper, each with a game or activity glued inside that the kids get to "discover" when they tear the chain off.  Unfortunately I didn't think about the fact that Eli can read, so he's done a little looking ahead :)  I think next year we'll have to fold the papers over or glue them backwards so there's a little more suspense!

So far we've done these:
Make gingerbread houses
Make a gift for your teacher
Play "guess what's inside" (trying to guess what's inside a wrapped box)
Make paper snowflakes

giftcard holder for Eli's teacher

giftcard holder for Anna's teacher



We've got these left:
Read a Christmas story
Write a letter to someone and mail it
Make an ornament
Watch a Christmas movie
Read the story of Jesus’ birth
Make cookies
Make snowman pancakes
Drink hot chocolate
Take a walk outside
Write down things we’re thankful for and thank Jesus for them
Help someone else
Draw a nativity scene
Make snowmen (craft)
Sing Christmas songs
Light a fire
Bring a treat to a neighbor
Call a relative to tell them we love them
Draw and decorate a Christmas tree
Act out the 3 wise men following the star
Play “guess the song” (hum a song and have people guess)
Make Christmas wrapping paper

As you can see, its a lot of crafts, but Eli and Anna just love that type of thing.  I threw in some snacks and games to mix it up, but we're a crafty household for sure!  Not all of it is related to giving and Jesus, but the Christmas season is also about celebrating with family.  This is helping connect with my children in a real, meaningful way, and hopefully building in them the anticipation of the Christmas celebration that will carry on into their own families some day!