Monday, December 26

Christmas Traditions?

This was our first Christmas as a family of three and it got me thinking. So I thought I'd ask around for ideas and suggestions! Here goes...



What kinds of traditions to you share with your family? Do you bake cookies together? Look at Christmas lights? Do you do the same thing every year? - We don't really have any traditions yet, except traveling to see family and participating in traditions at each home. I did like making Baby B's "pickle" ornament and would like to do something like that every year.


How do you keep the focus on Jesus? Reading the story together Christmas Eve? Baking a birthday cake on Christmas? - He is the reason for the season, after all. How to you keep that in the forefront of the celebrations? - I definitely like the birthday cake idea.

 
What do you do about Santa? Do you do gifts from him & leave out cookies and milk? Do you read the story but point out that it's just a story? Have St. Nicholas fill the stockings and take credit for the rest of the presents? Leave Santa out of it?


How do you do Christmas gifts? Do you do a lot or a few? Open them Christmas Eve or Christmas Day? Put them out Christmas Eve when the kids are asleep or ahead of time? - I love looking at them under the tree ahead of time, but now that we have Baby B I think it would be really fun to surprise him by putting them out the night before. I've also heard a few gift mottos that I like - "Something the want, something they need, something to wear, and something to read" and "3 gifts because Jesus got 3 gifts."


We got a free pass this year because Baby B is so small and we spent our time traveling to see our families. But we may need to be a little more prepared for next year. :) So fire away! I'd appreciate any & all thoughts & suggestions!

Friday, December 23

Merry Monsters!

I just finished making a few stocking stuffers for Baby B and little gifts for some of his little friends! If you crochet you still have time to whip a few up to hide in stockings for Christmas morning! (Baby B's friends, look away! :)


Little boys love little monsters, right?


And so do their little friends?


I sure hope so! I used the tutorial by Crafty is Cool to make a whole...herd?...flock?....of monsters. I started with a set for Baby B, using the nice monster-colored yarns I found at a yard sale this summer. (the red one was my prototype. Note to self: 8mm eyes are too big. go for the 6mm.)


They were pretty fast to put together, once I go the hang of it, so I made a few extras for Baby B's friends. (I made them different heights by doing more or less rows of stitches)


I gave them each a unique expression using plastic safety eyes, white felt, and black embroidery floss.


Here are the little guys watching me working and waiting to get their mouths....


Then they were stuffed with polyfil to be nice, squishy little friends.


Some of them even have feet! And I added a felt tooth here and there. Oh, and I put love in the stitches.


You could also add little hairbows to make girl monsters, but all of these monsters are for little boys so no hairbows here!


They will be a fun way to fill Baby B's stocking for Christmas. And they will make cute tiny gifts for his friends! And of course when they grow up being best friends they'll get together every weekend to play with the monsters because of the love in the stitches. Might as well dream big, right?


Here is the link to the tutorial again, if you want to make your own little monsters. And now for the star of the show....

"hey, where did my apple go?!"

"oh, here it is."

"I think it will fit if I open my mouth thiiiiiis wide."

hmmm...nice try, Baby B. You leave the cutest teeth marks in that apple!

"what's this white stuff?" - Baby B's first snow!

"I'm afraid I'm too fluffy...."

"These mittens won't stop me! I'll get  you yet, Santa!"

"Gotcha!"

We're having a lot of fun celebrating with decorations, gifts, yummy food, and time with the family, but more importantly we're celebrating the wonderful gift that is the true reason for the season....

"She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins."  -Matthew 1:21

Remembering this season that we are blessed beyond words. Merry CHRISTmas to all!

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Tuesday, December 20

Wrapping Things Up

My presents are wrapped and under the tree! Here's how things went down this year....


After doing some pinterest research to make a wrapping plan (see the original post here), I gathered the supplies to get the job done. I picked up brown paper from Dollar Tree (it was with box tape and packaging supplies), saved up a few newspapers, made salt dough gift tags (see the tutorial here), and pulled out my stash of ribbons (I always pick some up in the after Christmas sales for the next year - red, green, and white are my staples.)


Then I got down to business. I wrapped each package in either brown paper or newspaper then tied it with a ribbon and attached a salt dough tag (I wrote the names on the back of the tags and tied them on with raffia).




If I had more than one gift for a person I would bundle them together, usually wrapping the larger gift in brown paper and the smaller gift in newspaper.



I like to put most of my gifts in boxes before I wrap them. It makes them look tidier and more substantial under the tree.





This is one of my favorite combos. I love the mix of the two papers with a green ribbon. And that little tiny  bow I had to make after I accidentally used a too short ribbon. Now I really like it. :)


And that was pretty much it. I kept it pretty simple and natural and I love how each gift turned out a little different. I also love how they all work together once I piled them under the tree.





I did mix things up a little and use this fun Rudolph paper to wrap any gifts for kids or white elephant games.


Now I really feel like my tree is done. And Baby B is having a grand time playing with the gifts. He hasn't got any open yet, but he likes to untie the bows and chew on the tags (yuck!)



Are your presents wrapped yet? Do you put them under the tree early or wait until Christmas Eve?

Saturday, December 17

Winner Winner Winner!

The three winners (chosen via random.org) are...

#20 - lemony lucy

#7 - Lindsay (The Craftafarian)

#13 - Jeannie D

I'll be contacting the winners soon with more info. If you didn't leave an email address, please contact me at morelikehome(at)gmail(d0t)com within 48 hours to claim your prize! And I wanted to say thanks to Binks for the tip about traditional pickle ornaments. Who knew? And what a great idea to use our "pickle"!

Thanks to everyone who entered!


And remember, if you didn't win you can still pick up some earrings in our Etsy shop and we are offering 10% off your order (with the code RUDOLPH10) through the end of the year! Merry Christmas!

There's Always Next Year

I've been pinning some great stocking ideas on my pinterest and planning to make one for each of us this year. That was the plan. Fortunately there is always next year. But first, let's look at my inspiration....




I LOVE the sweater stockings and wanted to make some for me and the Mister. So I started by picking up some sweaters at the thrift store and printing Martha's (we're on a first name basis) stocking pattern (from here). First lesson - you have to buy sweaters that are actually wool. The idea is that the wool will felt and give you nice sturdy fabric to work with. This red & white sweater did no such felting and was unraveling like mad while I was trying to put this bad boy together. Long story short, I still feel like the vision was there but my execution was a disaster. This ended up being mostly hot glued. No shame. Sometimes it's best to admit defeat and grab the glue gun. You couldn't tell by looking, could you? Say "no."


After I threw that train wreck together I started my second stocking. It did felt in the dryer so I had a much easier time handling the fabric. Lesson #2: Sweaters are very thick. I made it farther than my first attempt, but the way I planned my stocking resulted in so many layers that I couldn't possibly sew through them. Fortunately by this point I was better prepared for my adventures in stocking-making and had the glue gun handy. Sigh.


So they are both technically put together and hanging up. But I think I'll be starting over next year. Probably with normal fabric. I was thinking about making Baby B a stocking using onesies, but I don't think that will happen before Christmas either. Oh well. There's always next year. :)


Have you had any Christmas projects fall through? Are you giving it another try?

Thursday, December 15

Decking the Halls

We put our trees up the weekend before Thanksgiving. And then I very slowly decorated them over next few weeks. Might as well drag out the Christmas festivities, right? But, they are finally up and I finally have pictures, and here we go. My Christmas trees and various other decorations. 2011.


We have a big, beastly tree in our living room. As in touch the ceiling, can't see around big. And it is wonderful. Even more wonderful, this tree was gifted to us as a hand-me-down a few years ago. And yes, we put it up in our 600 sq ft rental the last few years. We had to move half our living room furniture to the basement during the Christmas season to make room for this whale of a tree. True story. Totally worth it. :) Anyway, now it has a new home in our front window.


I always start with lights and recently learned the trick of pushing lights back in near the trunk in addition to having them farther out on the branches. It gives it a whole new dimension of light. After lights I put on a red bead garland (I found it after Christmas on clearance at Michael's a couple years ago). It's kind of a play on traditional tinsel or garland, but a much cleaner look. And I like the smooth texture and bright color it adds.

 
Then I stand back to admire my work. Ahhhh...twinkly goodness.


Then thank Baby B for his help. Thanks, Baby B.


This is where things got really slow for me. The decorations. I pretty much had the box by the tree for a straight week and put a couple ornaments on it everyday. It as slow, but I think it actually kept me sane. It was kind of fun to make the decorating last so long, and I could work on it for 30 seconds at a time while Baby B was distracted by whatever I could find to distract him with. :)


But I finally finished and then added some presents underneath. But more on that later. :)


I don't have any specific theme for this tree, just a mix of ornaments I love that have special meaning to me. I will say, there are a lot of birds. They are my favorites. My sister gave me this little birdcage last year. 


Most of my decorating happens in the living room, since that is where we spend most of our time. I gave the top of the entertainment center some love this year and documented it with these badly lit photos. You are welcome. I put my nativity in the space above the tv, complete with little bitty Christmas trees I found at a yard sale. There were Christmas trees in Bethlehem, right? It even has a bunch of animals and a baby Jesus that comes out of the manger, which is a very important detail for me. I don't know why. Interesting story about the nativity. I got this nativity as a wedding present from a good friend, but since we were married right after Christmas we actually got several nativities and such. Not needing so many, we returned several along with some of the other many decorations we received. That probably sounds terrible. But back to the story... one of the sets we returned was none other than this beautiful, favorite, from a best friend set. And since it was after Christmas, we got like $5 back for it. I seriously spent the entire next year regretting that decision. And planning to go back after Christmas the next year to try to find it again. And thank goodness we found it (at least a very similar one) the next year on clearance for like $5. I was SO happy. I went straight home to check it out and make sure it had all the pieces and nothing was broken. I was taking the pieces out ooohing and aaaahing the whole time...when it happened.... Baby Jesus took a dive. Yes, I dropped the most important part within minutes of opening the box. And I broke his arm off. Fail. Moral of the story = don't return the nativity in the first place. But don't worry, I glued it back on and you can hardly tell.


What's that? Less talking and more pictures? Right.  I also have a garland with lights ($1 at a yard sale) and stocking holders (2 reindeer & a Christmas tree, $5 each from Target & Menards after Christmas sales) up there.


The newest addition is the berry wreath from last years after Christmas sale at Target. I think it was about $5 too? You many have noticed, I never buy anything before Christmas. I wait until after and buy things cheaper for next year, including back up lights!


This space is finished off with a mini tree ($0.25 from a yard sale last weekend. It was covered in gold decorations that I pulled off to keep it looking more natural. I say as I put up my fake trees. Ha.) I also stuck the vases of sticks from our progressive dinner centerpieces up there to fill in the space.


The extent of my bathroom decorating = festive washcloths & a sprig of berries. You win some and you lose some. :)


Of course Baby B has a tree (another hand-me-down) in his room too! I took the colorful approach here with fun lights and I have felt to make him some colorful (unbreakable!) ornaments...which may or may not happen before Christmas. But it still looks good without them. Pictures show us a lot of things we don't normally see, like when I look at this and go "Oh, I guess I didn't put any lights at the top of the tree."


And the final tree (our newest hand-me-down. We've been blessed to never have to buy a tree!) is upstairs in our master suit. This is the closet to a theme tree we have just because I used all white lights and pulled all the white decorations from our collection to put up there, including a whole pile of ceramic angel ornaments I made in college.


There are also some white balls, snowball garland, and a big white bow on top. The lights are have cool big round bulbs instead of the traditional shape. They look like party lights. :)


That pretty much sums up our decorations thus far. Are you finished decorating? What do you like to do? Do you go all out or keep it simple? Do you do themes or mix it up? Tell me all about it!

And it's not too late to enter my giveaway to win a pair of handmade fabric button earrings!


Find the details and enter here!
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