Our Handmade Holiday, which we began in earnest last year, was quite lovely.
We drew names for one another so we could focus on creating a gift for each member of the family. Last year this is where it started and this was along the way here and here and this is where it ended here and here.
When I asked my children this year how they had wanted the holidays to be they enthusiastically said, "We want to draw names like last year and have a special date with you and Daddy."
So that is what we did.
Our Holiday was full of secret projects, closed doors with signs that read, "Elves working...DO NOT OPEN!!!" and whispers about "how to" without telling who someone had drawn.
There were loud noises coming from the garage as well as sewing machines whirring in the back round. My knitting needles click clacking furiously in the end.
Full and fun.
The Big Daddy drew my name this year. Lucky me.
I love to have candles on the dining room table for all the seasons. Big tall drippy candles and short fat handmade candles in a variety of holders. Though I love all candles these holders may still be my favorite.
What I don't love is "chipping off" wax from every surface. The wax that gets stuck on the table, plates, and goodness knows the tablecloth. So my request in October, I started early, was a slab of wood with feet to put in the middle of the table that would allow for the rolling, dripping wax. Something that would make chipping the wax off optional.
Do you know what? The Big Daddy created this fantastic gift. He even listened when I said, "I would love to have bark on it as well". I have a fondness for bark on pretty much anything. So he did it.
The love that he put into this project is what makes me smile and the fact that this is so much better than I could have even imagined.
One thing for sure is I felt like the luckiest mama on the block when I opened this. We have used it every night since. And I suspect, will continue to for years to come!
My oldest girl took to the sewing machine for her brother. She made a book cover for the guy who loves to carry around books at this point. A pencil case to hold well pencils and various treasures. He was quite proud of his presents. There was even a bookmark tucked inside. How simple.
I loved seeing my girl do this project completely on her own. All she wanted was the velcro for the pouch and she was off and running without any help from me. Even I was surprised on Christmas morning to see what she had created.
Oh, also in her spare time she decided to make gifts for ALL of us, ahem.
There were hand-knit washcloths. Stitch markers for this knitter. And an assortment of other treasures she whipped up. No wonder she had all those bags of things squirreled away in her room.
She has big plans this girl of mine. Big plans and a big heart.
My oldest boy, my woodworker, thought of this idea for his littlest sister.
A wooden stacking ring from some of the candle holders he had in his workshop. With a little help from the Big Daddy they spent a few days on this creation.
Sounds of saws and sanders emanating from the garage. We knew they were out there but had no idea what creation was being made.
That is what I find so fun. As the children get older there is less involvement and more surprise and wonder at what their little creative selves come up with.
Once he cut the pieces he rubbed them all down with beeswax. So, not only do they look so cool with the rings from the inside of the wood but they smell delicious.
My girl loves it.
She's taken to carrying it around the house with her for things to stack at a moments notice.
My four year old LOVES to watercolor. So for his gift that seemed a natural choice. Plus, he drew his big sister who LOVES to write letters. It seemed for this year to be the perfect match.
He set right to work and created a unique set of cards and postcards. What I enjoyed most was sitting with him after he had spent a few days painting and asking him to tell me about the paintings.
He knew, of course, what every one of them was. An angel on horseback. A fire breathing dragon. A swan. A dragon's tail. A smiling Turtle. A woodpecker. A person pushing a wheelbarrow. And, the one that made me laugh the most was, A vacuum.
I believe I had as much fun labeling them as he did painting. They were bundled up with bakers twine and tucked in a bag to await Christmas morning.
His excitement in giving this gift to his sister was the most beautiful part about it.
The creative aftermath...
The next gift was for my sweet four year old from his littlest sister. Who, no matter how much I pondered, I realized was a bit young to make anything herself. So with some help from this mama we created a bag for her brother.
He loves elephants after seeing them at the zoo last year. He is even referred to, in our house, as the "elephant washer". We being the elephants and him doing the washing. When I found this fabric I knew it had to be used.
He had been wanting a bag of his own to carry more books and toys around like his older brother and sister.
I also tucked a hand-sewn fish inside, as he loves to grill things up in the play kitchen, that I found at the local handmade holiday market. Think rainbow trout with ribbons along the sides.
He has since been seen loading the bag to capacity. Which makes me glad I did the extra strong seams!
I drew his name this year and of course I had to knit something. Something Big. Something scary and thrilling all at the same time. Unfortunately, the light has been non-existent and with a few sick children we have yet to do a photo shoot but its on its way. Hopefully this week.
I hope your holidays were all that you wished them to be and that the New Year is off to a great start.
I myself feel a bit behind the ball already. But, I'm hopeful that all the lingering pieces of 2011 can be finalized and let go so that we can focus on the Beautiful Year of 2012.
I'll be checking in here more often I promise. It's just been well, full. You know?
Let's chat soon,