December is HERE!

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Frugality has taken over Christmas this year, and I am loving it. We are all totally caught up in the holiday spirit, and each of us has at least one room that we are now forbidden to enter for various top-secret reasons. We are keeping things as simple as we can out of both necessity and a desire to tone it down and find more meaning in the crazy season that is Christmas in 2011. As a result everyone is enthusiastically crafting and baking and learning many new skills in the process. My husband is hiding out in the basement, from where we can hear copious sawing and hammering well after the girls’ bedtimes. I believe a Playmobil-sized log cabin is in the works. Very cool. I am even KNITTING, the alpaca wool scarf that will probably take a year to complete.

The scarf that might take all winter to finish.

The ones who are really embracing all of this craftiness are our daughters, who, like all kids, just want to learn and do what the grownups are doing. It has always fascinated me how children are such little sponges, soaking up knowledge and experiences at speeds and levels that boggle the adult mind. Kat, who is a whirling dervish even on a slow day, will sit at the craft table for hours, patiently following the instructions in one of the great craft books I have gotten at the library.  Right now we are loving Big Fun Christmas crafts & activities by Judy Press. Lots of simple projects for crafty but small hands.

Kat actually asked me on the weekend to sit down and knit in the room with her, telling her little sister that this was quiet craft time, not time for being silly. This from a girl who only stops talking and moving when she is sleeping.

I am really not much of a seamstress yet, but I can hand sew just a tiny bit. Last week both of my daughters decided they wanted to learn to sew, so we got out my basket and did a little sewing class. They loved it. I made up a small sewing kit for each of them that has fabric scraps, coloured threads, buttons, and their own needles. Ava, who is four, gets a plastic darning needle, but she doesn’t care and it is much safer. On Sunday we did a project that involved cutting out mini mittens and gingerbread shapes out of fabric, taking two and sewing them together. In the gingerbread case Katherine stuffed him, embellished him with jewels and voila, she has completed her first sewing project. What makes him special is that the fabric came from a little plaid flannel shirt that both girls wore when they were babes.

This gives me all kinds of ideas. We have a closet full of clothes in many sizes, all too small for our girls now. There are certain items that are too dear to give up, just because when I see that item of tiny (well, my giant babies were never REALLY tiny, but small) clothes, I picture the babe in it, with the facial expression, the baby smell, the moment in time, the whole thing. I can’t let that go. But, what I could do is turn that little sweater or flannel overalls into something to keep forever, like a stuffie. A stuffie is a quite irresistible new name for a stuffed animal. First on the chopping block is a pair of supersoft double-sided brown flannel overalls, size 3-6 months. Those will soon become a series of gingerbread men for the tree. Do you love it?? I am loving this idea.

Kat's sewing kit

By the way, I finally got the ginger crinkles baked. Ava and I tackled that today, and the house smelled gloriously spicy and warm. When I took a bite of that cookie, soft and crisp at the same time, it was pure pleasure. Thanks, Nanny. You baked the best cookies!

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2 responses »

  1. doesn’t Christmas get better every year with kids? we are busy making little homemade Christmas cards for the neighbors, and I am going to try the cookies as well. I am trying to focus on the DOING, not the GETTING things, and the kids love it too – even just making hot chocolate and driving around looking at lights!

  2. Stephenie, Love your stories as always. Your story about Nanny Taylor and her cookies made me cry as I to can smell her cookies baking in her old wood stove that was her pride and joy.
    The girls remind me of you in many ways. Emma, a neighbour and former teacher of yours always looked forward to your Christmas gift because it was always something “homemade”.
    June made “Nanny Taylor’s Cookies” for Uncle Kenny and she said they were really good.
    Looking forward to the next story. Love Mom

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