Tag Archives: Christmas


I’d love to be one of those writers who intentionally “takes time off” from blogging to “really enjoy the holiday season.” Truth be told, I just didn’t have time/energy/motivation to write over the break, and I’m OK with that.


(Jason refers to Christmas cards as “old-fashioned Facebook Likes.”)

We had all the kids for Christmas this year, which always carries the Potential for Disaster, or at least, Potential for Homicidal Urges. But it was fine! They got along well, and we have a big enough house where they can be physically caged, er, separated from each other in times of stress. I think they’re finally appreciative of the thoughtfulness of Christmas gifts, rather than just the volume, which is a tremendous relief. The biggest hit appears to be Settlers of Catan, which they played at least six times between Wednesday and Sunday. Ah, the sweet sounds of bickering over sheep and logs….


My mom and my brother came over for the holidays, and they seemed to have a nice time. (Yes, my brother is really, really tall.)


Right after Thanksgiving, I made an Epic Christmas Plan (no, seriously, I have a Google Doc with that title) and stuck to it. I listed two or three “big” projects each weekend, and smaller projects during the weeks leading up to Christmas. It made everything seem much more manageable and less overwhelming.


I listened to plenty of Pandora’s “Swinging Christmas” station, made ornaments with the kids, and spent a lot of time gazing at my tree. We also went to see the Hobbit movie, which I enjoyed.


(This goldfish is mesmerizing.)


By Saturday evening we had most of the Christmas decorations packed away in the attic, and on Sunday all the children decamped to spend the second half of winter break with their other parents.

A nice quiet has descended over our house. I have a list of projects to tackle in the week that the children are away, and I am mentally rubbing my hands together with glee at the prospect of crossing things off a list.

Mmmm… lists…..

I hope your holidays were festive.







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Amateur Sewing Night: Stockings Edition

I want to enjoy sewing, much in the same way that I want to enjoy running. But I find both activities very stressful, because I’m not naturally good at either of them. And yet I press on in both endeavors.

At least with the sewing I’m seeing some improvement.

Over the weekend I finally made everyone Christmas stockings. And when I say “finally” I mean “because I have intended to do so since Christmas 2007.” The problem was that I wanted to make everyone The Most Amazing Christmas Stockings of All Time, and yet lacked the time/skill/materials to do so. Once I scaled back my expectations, it was relatively easy. And, it turns out, free.

Back in 2004 I bought many, many yards a Waverly green toile and a Waverly green ticking stripe. I was going to “do something” with it, one day. Yes, this is the unofficial motto of hoarders everywhere. But now I’ve actually done something! Good thing I schlepped all that yardage through three moves.

I used this tutorial, which I found on Pinterest. I omitted the batting and the lining, because I didn’t have any. I decided to make the kids’ stockings with a stripe body and toile cuff, and the adults’ stockings the opposite.


The first one….. took some time. The cuff was way too big, and I had to rip out the seam and re-do it. But in about an hour, I had a reasonable-looking stocking. I used some red grosgrain ribbon I had on hand for the hanger.


The next four were comparatively easy, and I think I finished the last one in about fifteen minutes.


Then it was time to hang them up!


This would be a good time to go over the mantel I put together. I shamelessly stole, er, borrowed this idea (covering a foam board with holiday fabric) for displaying Christmas cards. Yes, that is more of the same green ticking fabric. The garland was free – a neighbor was getting rid of it, and I scooped it up. After wrapping it with a string of C7 lights I already had, I added a set of Christmas cookie cutters, purchased last year to make salt dough ornaments, and a tube of shatterproof shiny balls, purchased last year on clearance after Christmas.


I finished it by shopping my house, and came up with the candlesticks and a green pineapple finial. Total cost was $4.50 for the foam board.


It’s not mind-blowing, but it’s mine and it’s DONE.



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A Wreath of One’s Own

The first time I saw it, I knew it had to be mine.

I’m speaking, of course, of The Lima Bean Wreath.

I’m not sure why I was so drawn to it. Maybe because I knew it would look amazing against our black front door. The simplicity certainly appealed to me – I can’t tell you how many projects are billed as “easy and cheap” yet require you to have several hundred dollars’ worth of supplies “on hand.” Anyway, I was filled with burning lima bean conviction – I had to make it. I ran out of time in 2011, so I started early this year – in September, to be precise. I purchased a 16″ foam wreath form at Hobby Lobby (40% off) and two large bags o’ beans. Total cost: around $10.00. I already had a $5.00 glue gun and enough mini glue sticks to choke a goat.

My wreath form had squared-off edges, so before starting I asked Jason to round them a bit with his pocketknife. It took all of 5 minutes.

And one Sunday, while watching the Jacksonville Jaguars lose spectacularly to the Texans, I glued approximately a bajillion beans onto that wreath form. I started at kickoff:

By halftime, I was about 40% finished. Please note that Ron has moved to a chair on the other side of the room to continue his nap. This happened after the 54th time I accidentally touched the glue gun to my skin.

I completed the project around 5:00. For those of you playing along at home, that’s FOUR HOURS OF BEAN-GLUING.

Almost perfect. Since I was unable (ok, too lazy) to find a white wreath form, I pretty much guessed that I, like my All Things Thrifty predecessor, would be spray-painting this bad boy:

I had a can of antique white, and I applied two light coats. Frustratingly, the paint did not make it all the way to the green foam, but stuck to the beans.

Le sigh.

However, after extensive experimentation, I discovered that 1) you couldn’t tell from the street and 2) I didn’t actually care that much.

The wreath sat in my guest room until last night, when I finally hung it after mastering How To Tie A Bow:

My preeeeecioussssss.

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