How did that happen? I was planning the perfect Christmas Eve post, I blinked and it was New Years Eve! Note to self for next year - do not ever think you will have time to write a blog post on Christmas Eve. Despite my best attempts at improved organisation I still didn't get to bed until 1:30 Christmas morning!!
So why do I have time to write a New Years Eve post? Will and Pippa are tucked up in bed and I am manning the home front. Rob and Madeleine disappeared at about 8pm to see the 9pm fireworks - I can hear them rumbling as I write this post. Madeleine was so excited to be sneaking off with her Dad to do something so grown up.
Maybe next week I will write about the wonderful Christmas time we had and share some of the highlights but tonight it seems appropriate to look at the year past and the year to come.
The Year Past
Without a doubt, the highlight of 2010 was the arrival of this little bundle of joy on April 22nd:
He is loved by all. He only has to look at Madeleine and he giggles. If Pippa is upset, her first response is "I want to cuddle Will."
Welcome to your family Will. We are so glad you found us. We couldn't imagine life without you.
My other great joy has been witnessing the beautiful relationship that has developed between Madeleine and Pippa.They are a team. They giggle at night in their shared bedroom. We occasionally reprimand them, but mostly listen secretly from the hall way to their chatter, their shared imaginary stories and their mischief. They watch out for each other. They comfort each other when they are hurting and know how each other works only like sisters do.
Talking about teams - there is Rob and I. (I can't find a recent photo of the two of us!) We have been very lucky to spend a lot of time together this year. No grand dinners or grand holidays. Just lots of hanging out, being parents, tag teaming and making each other smile when the going gets tough. I don't think I would have survived the year without him and Madeleine, Pippa, Will and I would certainly not have had so much fun. He is a man of infinite patience, kindness and love.
The Year to Come
I am not one for grand New Year's Resolutions but here are a few ideas I'd like to see through in 2011.
Lets talk about what counts - Sewing!!!
I am thinking that 2011 will be a year of Japanese inspired craft.
The cloths for children are so pretty:
The adult cloths look so wearable. (Rob gave me this book for Christmas)
And the embroidery patterns are sweet without being cutsie.
I'm tempted to say I will make a quilt - something fresh with lots of white, lots of bright colours (maybe turquoise and red) and some sort of circle design. I like the idea but I have never been good at long term projects.
I saw this chair at the Prints Charming Market Day and fell in love with it. Something similar is definitely on my list of projects for 2011. I have to admit I bought enough charm packs to cover a whole lounge suite!
Well, Madeleine and Rob have arrived home safely from their adventure. I can see the twinkle of the fireworks in Madeleine's eyes. I have just tucked her in to bed and it wont be long before all in this house are asleep. I hope to sleep through the coming of the New Year. Maybe it will set a precedent for the year to come - lots and lots of nights of unbroken sleep.
The week before Christmas is often an overly busy time for us. This year, it feels perfect. The weather is magnificent, the jobs list is being done and we are having fun along the way.
Will's Christmas stocking is completed:
The Christmas cake is baked. Every year Belinda Jeffery saves the day with her recipe for a delicious last minute Christmas cake:
The last stitch has been completed on the handmade gifts:
There has been plenty of time for hanging around:
For catching up with friends:
And for jumping on the trampoline until your hair is full of static:
We've danced to Christmas music with Grandma:
And discovered new stories with a favourite Auntie:
For me, this is what Christmas is all about.
Amidst the whirlwind of Christmas preparations this week, I've learned a few things;
My alter ego, who lives in a parallel universe, has finished all her Christmas sewing, has her handmade gifts wrapped elegantly under her perfectly decorated tree, has a carefully designed, non-stressful plan for completing her Christmas cooking and has a sewing space that looks like this:
My reality is actually this:
This is an extensively cropped photograph. I am too embarrassed to show you a wider view.
As the deadline of Christmas approaches, every spare moment and probably quite a few moments that shouldn't actually be considered spare, are being channeled into trying to complete my Christmas sewing list. There are many consequences - we are eating a lot of left overs (who has time to cook?), our house looks like a bomb has gone off (who has time to clean?) and I am feeling very tired (who has time to sleep?).
In an attempt to protect my mental health and the mental health of my family over the next week, I hereby commit to stop sewing on Sunday 19th of December and not sew after 11pm on any night between now and then.
So, it's time to rationalise the sewing list. (Warning, if you will be receiving a gift from me this Christmas, please stop reading now)
The completed list:
- Madeleine's dress
- Pippa's dress
- Will's fabric blocks
- The family's Christmas Eve pyjama pants
- Niece's t shirt and skirt
- Nephew's softies
- Nephew's matchbox car bag
- 2 babushka doll cushions
- a knitted headband
The I think I can get these done list:
- Will's Christmas stocking
- Will's hat
- Drawstring bag for the softies
- Finish a laptop bag for Rob
- 2 tissue box covers
The I am sorry, I will have to make this for you another time list:
- Will's Quiet book (first birthday, perhaps)
- Madeleine's backpack (I'll aim for a 2011 return to school gift.)
- Pippa's little felt dolly (It will become a random Mummy loves you present.)
- Lizzy's dress ( It will become an unexpected surprise from a loving Aunt.)
Well, that's a weight off my shoulders. I'm off to bed to catch up on some much needed sleep!
I have been making bags like a crazy woman for the last couple of weeks all in the name of the Green Grocery Bag Challenge. As you can see from the photos I've broadened the brief a little, but I'm fairly confident that Christmas 2010 will be paper-wrap free.
Below are a selection of the bags. If you are on our gift giving list, don't look too closely - you might just spy your present's wrapping!
There's been way too much Bah Humbug in my corner of the world this week. Since our return from Hawaii, I've had the worst case of the Christmas blahs. You know the feeling - too much sewing to do, too many presents to think about, a Christmas menu to organise, decorations to put up, the guilts because I haven't really yet embraced Christmas craft with Lizzy. In reality, I think I have been reading way too much Martha Stewart.
The strange thing is I love Christmas. The time with family, the carols and music, the weather, the food and even the cricket are things that I look forward to every year. So right here, right now I am publicly committing (assuming of course that anyone out in cyberspace is reading this blog) to a serious change in attitude. My plan of attack looks a little like this...
Some Christmas Felty Inspiration
Grab yourself some felt and your box of embroidery thread and revisit all those stitches you used to do in high school craft classes - running stitch, chain stitch, blanket stitch, french knots and lazy daisy!
The whole family can join in. Pippa (age 2) made the star on the right with just a little help from her mum!
If you've still got some time, make some decorative garlands. The lucky recipient of your beautifully wrapped gift can use the garland to decorate their tree next year! Cut yourself a stack of felt stars. Pick your favorite decorative stitch on your sewing machine and whiz them though fast leaving the sewing machine running to create lengths of thread between each star.
PS If you live in Sydney and can't remember all those stitches or haven't conquered your fear of using a sewing machine, come and do our Christmas workshop. We will show you how to make all these projects. Details can be found on our Timetable of Classes page.
It's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas around here. Lizzy is learning new Christmas songs at school, the weather is warm and the scent of gardenias is in the air. This year we're trying to make our family festive season just a little tiny bit green.
As much as I am embarrassed to admit it , for a long time environmental concerns haven't really been on my radar. While I've talked the talk, I haven't really walked the walk. I've left lights on, driven when I should have walked and although I've always recycled, my approach has been somewhat haphazard.
Recently though I've been confronted by the amount of stuff my family of four consume and am trying to make a tiny difference to my corner of the globe. Our three chickens - Mrs Bennett, Kitty and Lydia eat an enormous amount of scraps and provide us with three delicious eggs everyday (as well as hours of entertainment for Martin and Lizzy. ) We don't use sandwich bags and throw-out packaging but reusable fabric snack-bags and containers. I am trying to remember to turn out the lights (truly, I am). We walk whenever we can and are generally a bit more conscious about the choices we make every day.
As part of this new commitment, I'm excited to participate in the Green Grocery Bag challenge this Christmas. You can read about it here, but in a nutshell it's all about having a paper gift wrap free festive season. Instead of using metres of single use wrapping paper, you wrap your gifts in reusable fabric shopping bags instead. How's that for a great ideas? I'm really enjoying making a variety of types of bags at the moment , so I thought I might broaden the brief and wrap gifts in handmade zipper purses, handbags, snack-bags, pencil cases, wash-bags, drawstring bags and trinket bags as well as grocery bags in order to make the wrapping suit the recipient. I'm also trying to make everything out of my stash.
There are some great bag making tutorials out there - Noodlehead's Scrappy Bag Make-Up Pouch is fantastic and I think my two youngest nieces will find their gifts in Lemon Squeezy's Mushroom and Owl Lunch bags. (If you know them - shhhhhhhh - it's a secret!). You can find a pattern for a fabric green bag here.
I know it isn't going to change the world, but you know what? You have to start somewhere. And if I can sew AND tread a little more lightly on the planet at the same time then in my books that truly is a win-win situation.
The animals came in two by two, hurrah, hurrah......
These softies are destined for two homes. The first set will be sent to Pip from Meet Me at Mikes for her annual Softies for Mirabel Project. The second will be a Christmas gift for my nephew. Each set has a little drawstring bag home.
These sweet little patterns are from maggierama.
If you have the urge to make a softie, send it off to Mirabel. I am sure they know of someone who will give it a lovely home.