When I first started writing this post to share with you, it was much closer to the beginning of December. Now, it is much closer to the end of December, or at least it will be by the time I finish writing it. So, yes, my title is a little iffy because it should look a lot like Christmas now, but I’m still keeping it.
In my world, we celebrate Christmas. And Christmas needs snow. And coldness. That’s because I have always lived in a northern seasonal part of the world, aside from my first six months of life spent in Kansas. Despite my needs from Mother Nature at Christmas, there are plenty of years where I have had to accept a green Christmas because snow seems to come later in January these days than my youthful memories recall. But a warm Christmas is rare. Very rare.
This year, I was getting worried. It was warm as we headed into December. I’m talking 50 and 60 plus degree weather. Now, I always say there is a positive to every situation, so it was wonderful for decorating outside and for going outside to get our Christmas tree and for finishing up the last bits of yard work that tucked us into our house for the next few months. I could wear a tee shirt. I could wear flip flops. But, it was sooooo odd. It’s not normal to be putting up Christmas decorations in that kind of warm weather.
I’ve mentioned that I love tradition but I do not like doing the same things year after year. That can create a bit of a pickle but I make those two opposite desires work together at Christmastime by combining old and new. I realize that is not a difficult concept. It seems brilliant to me.
Because of the warmer temps, I could not bring myself to use some of the snowy, frosty, wintry type decorations that often find their way around my house this time of year. Nor, the heavy red and green super loud Christmas colors and decorations that I usually love. I was stumped and wanted to enjoy the process, so I took some time to see what Christmas felt like this year. It really felt like seashells and pastels but I do not have any of those tidbits in my decorating bin and was not going to buy any. I did manage to decorate our outside with candy canes and lighted winter trees but when it came to the inside, I wasn’t feeling candy canes and jingle bells. Then, an ah-ha moment came. I would decorate more with lights this year and have a bit of a quieter decorated home. I love ambient lighting and lights at Christmas-time are one of my favorite memories and feel good moments no matter the weather.
It worked! Our home is finally decorated for Christmas and I am enjoying it. And now you have to sit through some pictures of my quieter holiday decorated home…
We do believe. We believe in lots of things.
You just can’t go wrong with little lights.
I love a cozy glow.
And I gotta have my whimsy. I guess a few candy canes inside aren’t so bad.
It also is now seasonably cold and we have had a few snowflakes floating around, so that helps too. Yes, I do miss wearing a tee shirt instead of getting bundled up, but not too much. This time of year needs a coat. I truly love the seasons and the changes that come with each one of them.
And I’m not the only awkward bird, as I heard from other BFF’s that they were out of sorts with our warm weather and needed some seasonal chill for the holidays too.
Okay, now that I am decorated, here are some random thoughts…
I previously mentioned a homemade Advent Calendar that involved more than the usual chocolate, candies or messages. My idea needs some tweaking because it is not a cheap gift. All of my grand ideas for small gifts begin to add up to a pretty penny. Maybe a 12-days of Christmas calendar would be better, and realistically much more practical, since most adults are busy these days and keeping up with a 24-day calendar may just add to the “one more thing” feeling that comes along this time of year. I’ll work on it and share it with you next year, or maybe in my someday to be finished cookbook.
I discovered this snack in my grocery store and it became one of my “token” gifts for the season. I love to find gifts that people can use up to cut down on the “too much stuff” feeling or when I am not familiar with their personal pleasures and interests. These “Woats” come in a few flavors and I ended up going back to the store for more to fill some gifting needs.
And I love love love this scent from Yankee Candle. It’s not too overpowering and sooooo smells like yummy cookies.
“Snowflake Cookie”. Ahhhhhh…..
If you have been with me for a while, you know that this time of year usually brings on the Christmas Crazies for me. (If you are a new BFF, then you won’t know anything about my stories because they all mysteriously disappeared this fall. Every one of them. If you have been with me for a while, then you are tired of hearing me lament my lost blog content. I just needed people to know the basis for this story. Really.)
Every year, no matter how hard I try to avoid them and implement new ideas, the Christmas Crazies find me. I can lock the door and they wear a disguise and find me. I can “unfriend” them and they don’t care. My attempts never work.
The Christmas Crazies are the point in the season where I don’t want to buy one more thing. I don’t want to race around finishing my list that seems to keep growing instead of shrinking. I start to feel that the “to-do’s” and the “buy mores” take over and that takes away the fun of the season. I feel like I am going crazy. Not having fun anymore.
So, I stop. I take a break and get my balance back. Then, I can finish what I need to finish or redo my list and come up with some new plans. Ones that keep me more balanced.
But this year…I have not had them yet. Can it be that they won’t come? Could my year of practicing balance end on a balanced note? Wouldn’t that be something?
Now, to clarify, I am not sitting around in my fluffy slippers eating bon-bons. No, it is still a busy time and there are definitely tired moments. But I have managed to pepper in some downtime and fun moments and have not felt the crazies yet. My secret this year, I think, was that I was 80 percent finished with my holiday to-do list by the end of November and another 10 percent finished by the first week in December so that all I have left to do is the last 10 percent. There’s still a week left, so I do need to keep an eye out for the Christmas Crazies. They may be letting me think I won and then they will pounce on me while I am feeling quite smug and unprepared for them.
We have managed to make cookies, eat cookies, make more cookies, and eat more cookies. Drive around to look a lights. Watch some holiday shows. Sleep under the Christmas tree with the lights on. Eat more at our church holiday breakfast. Reflect on the religious and spiritual parts of the season. Shop for those who need an extra hand. Go caroling in our community.
We watched the movie “Elf” and I chuckled through the whole thing. Will Ferrell cracks me up.
I have not managed to keep up with my loosely labeled exercise routine.
I did manage to fit in some time to make handmade gifts. I do so love corn bags so I made some as gifts.
I have loved corn bags for over twenty years and use them hot and cold. There’s nothing like heating one up then heading off to bed. Tuck it under your neck and you’ll be drifting off in no time. These are not the ones I made as gifts. These are some of mine. I didn’t take pictures of the ones I made as gifts. It never occurred to me.
And these are for my wee ones. We keep them in the freezer as “boo-boo bags” and they solve about 90 percent of our mishaps. It’s a standard question when someone gets hurt to ask, “Do you need a corn bag?” They always do.
I also have fallen hard for designing fabric so I combined those two loves and made corn bags using my own fabric designs as gifts. Swoon! But, as with all good stories, the plot thickens.
I filled my newly sewn fabric bags with corn that I had on hand and they just smelled musty. Even after microwaving them to sanitize them they still stunk. When I pondered the purchase date of my corn, I realized that it had been around for a while since I purchased it last year when I made corn bags for some craft shows. It’s a big bag of corn.
I am not on my someday dream hobby farm with chickens and who knows what else is around to eat up my corn. So, I had to scrap those bags, buy new corn, sew new bags and start over. Ahhh set-backs. How boring life would be without them.
Below is one of my latest fabric designs. Years ago, I stitched up a black crow fabric decoration and I just love that little guy. I have a soft spot for crows because they like shiny things and are a bit “too much”. We’re kindred spirits.
I thought I had taken a picture of it to share with you but I guess I never did. I won’t bother trying to do it now because it will end up being January before I have this post ready if I have to dig it out of the fall decorations box and take pictures.
Before my first child was born, I thought I had another month to go before I would be a new mom, so I stopped at the library and took out an insane amount of books to copy sewing patterns that caught my eye. (I hadn’t sewn anything since high school. Don’t ask what I was thinking. Of course, you may not be surprised at all since I often take on more than I can chew.) I managed to copy the pattern and then my wee one arrived. I had to return all the books to the library immediately. And tuck the pattern away for another day. Or years.
It was a few years later when I managed to make the crow. It still makes me chuckle so I decided to create a fabric in his likeness. I have plans to change the background color and try a smaller size. Now that I have a giant bag of corn that I know will get musty if not used sooner than later, a New Year’s goal is to make more fabric so I can make more corn bags.
I also have a New Year’s goal to dust off this kitchen buddy and spend more time getting to know it. We have had a rocky start to our friendship because the moments we have had together require too much difficulty cleaning, in my recollection. And because we do not get together often, I have to read the instruction book every time to figure out how to use it again. High-maintenance. But, I said that about my kitchen stand mixer and can’t believe I was so lazy. It’s an amazing friend in the kitchen. I also said that about making pie dough and it is not that difficult, as long as you like the rustic look, which I do.
Here is some exciting news and a great gift idea in case you still need something for a gift, but you’d better not wait too long – my “Happy Moments Coloring Book for Big People” is now available on Barnes and Noble.com in addition to Amazon! Happy Dance! Fa-la-la-la-la!
It’s not the same old grown-up coloring book filled with teeny tiny sections to color on every page or geometric shapes. No Sir Ree Bob! There are pictures of a bubble bath, a cozy fireplace with popcorn, your favorite pizza joint and a quiet relaxing spot on the lake. A cozy city apartment has some teeny tiny coloring moments if you like teeny tiny coloring moments. There are hot air balloons over a field. It’s a coloring book for big people that I designed to be full of my happy places, my happy thoughts and my happy moments.
Plus…for each picture, I share a way to make a moment that matters. I also share the story of how I came to create a coloring book for big people in the first place.
Dare I say spell-binding?
For a coloring book like you have never seen before, you can now find it in two places…
And before I leave you, let’s put our heads in the clouds for a moment…
I have taken the time to appreciate the sunsets.
And the sunrises.
And the amazing cloud formations that fill the sky.
And the sun when it actually arrives from the East.
I will wish you a happy holiday, however your celebrate your holidays and send you winter wishes, if you do not celebrate a holiday. We have our first official “family shindig” for Christmas this year since my mom and another set of relatives are heading out to be with us. Normally, we have just one set of guests at a time. So my free moments will be spent getting ready for the upcoming hoopla. You may hear from me post-Christmas, but it’s more likely that we will be back in touch after the New Year.
Make lots of moments that matter and I’ll see ya on the flip side!
Happy New Year!