I Had a Crafty Little Christmas

Monday, December 28, 2015


This was a holiday of crafting. I started before Thanksgiving. Dear daughter, Kailin, came down for a weekend and we crafted all day, and crafted all night. Sort-of like the song. She made chapstick and candles in pretty little teacups.


Chapstick.  And why would you want to make your own?  Because it’s as smooth as silk, and smells like heaven.


Candles in little vintage teacups!

I made houses and birdhouses, and trees, and more houses.  And then we tried our hand at making little trees out of sisal twine. I admit, it’s a bit of work, but in my opinion, they are wonderful. And, you can dye them any color your heart desires, although my heart mostly desired green with green glitter spray.


One of the birdhouses, and a teacup candle and a little box to hold the chapstick.




I got so excited about the birdhouses that I made some for Thanksgiving using leaves from the yard for the roof.


The beginning of the sisal trees.  They are twisted and ready to be dyed.


Drying after having been dyed.


One of the little trees.



A small forest.


Don’t ever let anyone tell you that time and practice don’t make things better.  I’m not even going to try and guess how many trees I ended up making.  It was a lot.  These were the last ones I made.  They are infinitely better than the first set.

My original plan/project was to make some ornaments for son Justin’s Crank (bicycle shop) Christmas tree. It usually goes up right after Thanksgiving, so my thinking was that an early start would put me ahead of the game. (That would be: All done by Thanksgiving) I made a few paper Christmas tree’s using recycled Christmas cards. I have a small manual die-cut machine, so I purchased a tree die and got to work. And when I had finished them, it seemed that a few birdhouses might be a nice addition, and the little houses would also be fun. One thing led to another, and I had my own personal sweatshop, staffed by me alone. This activity went on long after Kailin came down, through Thanksgiving and dangerously close to Christmas. I did have Justin’s things finished shortly after Thanksgiving, but the story of the bike shop is fodder for another blog post.


Trees, birdhouses, and the beginning of the houses.


A house I made for my dear Mother-In-Law


Another house

To say that I had a mess of epic proportions is a gross understatement.   All flat surfaces, in the entire house, were occupied.


I’m going to own my mess.  This is the dining room.


The kitchen

To add to this excitement, at this same exact time, Dad decided to start rug braiding again after a 30-year hiatus. In addition to my great mess, Dad had his own thing going on.


Rug braiding.  It involves a lot of sorting.



I took Dad to the Goodwill bins.  He looks for wool blankets, coats, and jackets.  I look for everything else.  (Yes, I do help Dad, but I tend to look for other useful things, and trust me on this:  there are MANY other useful things there.  We are probably not good candidates for the minimalist movement.)


Loading up the goodies we found.

I have set up a permanent sewing residence on my Mother’s formal dining room table, so for Dad, that flat surface was not available for his activity. This left him no other choice than to overtake the kitchen table. Which he did. As a point of clarity, yes, I do have spare tables that I refer to as my “catering tables.” These were in use in various rooms of the house to accommodate the spread of our artistic endeavors. We ran out of room. Craig and I ate our meals were standing up. Dad sat in his recliner with a TV tray, and ate in front of the TV.




Dad, sewing the wool strips together with his sweet little sewing machine.  Yes, it’s an old Singer Featherweight, and belonged to my Great Aunt.  He refers to it as a brand new 85-year old machine, as it doesn’t appear that she gave it much use.


The rug in progress.


Dad’s hands…….stitching the braids together.

Under no circumstances am I critical of this or look at this in a negative way. Given the right circumstances, I might just choose this as a preferred lifestyle, but I’m not going to talk about that, either. I am a great fan of busy hands and minds, and the artist in me has no problem with any of this.

I was, however, a little concerned as to how I was going to be able to pull off the “Annual Christmas Miracle.” This is a feat that involves the complete clean off of the dining room table and an emptying of the dining room (of all my sewing/crafting stuff) so that Christmas Eve dinner, Christmas breakfast, and Christmas dinner can be served and eaten in the dining room on my Mother’s dining room table. It’s is a throwback to the old days when this was the designated and actual use of this room. I do it for my Dad. In many ways, it feels like the least I can do for him.

I’ll just give this story its beginning and its end. The middle part involved much crafting and a Herculean amount of work. I finished the ornaments for Justin’s shop, made various other things for family members, made even more houses, AND managed to clean up the dining room on December 23. I made the deadline with time to spare. (And then, I collapsed. I’d say that wasn’t really true, but I wouldn’t be telling the truth.)

The moral of this story:

Thanksgiving is a sprint. Christmas is a marathon. It happens every year. Pace yourself.


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