Friday, December 12, 2008

An Assortment

If you find yourself behind in practically every area of your life, if responsibilities are piling up on your doorstep, what do You do? Sometimes I manage to do less than ever when feeling overwhelmed. Or worse, I decide to do something that makes very little sense and then it backfires anyway. Example: Last Christmas I packed our holiday decor and treasures as though for moving and everything has been stacked and stored in the deep, dark recesses of the garage. Inaccessible. I am continually regretting this and rationalizing what we don't actually need, but yesterday while in a fabric shop I said something out loud in an absentminded, innocent kind of way...We should make stockings. Maria, let's see if we can find stocking fabric. I couldn't find anything that really sparked my imagination and so, again, I resigned myself to letting go of yet another tradition, and took Maria's hand to leave. Maria started crying... not a wailing tantrum cry or an embarrassing phony whine... she had plump, warm tears slipping down her cheeks and she said, "But we didn't buy fabric for stockings. We have to quilt stockings for Christmas."

I am weak. I am susceptible. I want Home and Christmas and tradition and loveliness, and I have always been obsessed with some day having really, truly lovely homemade Christmas stockings. So why not now? Why not this year? We have the technology. We have the skills. We just need fabric, and a lot of free time, a clean house, paid bills, groceries, errands run... never mind! We chose flannel fabric with a snowman motif and reindeer, very folksy and snug. We came home and walked passed all the chores and duties waiting for my attention, and went directly to the sewing space at the top of the stairs. Let's get right to the point of this sad story... my stocking making career is a bust. They are rushed and poorly planned, and when I tried to find a template to trace, I found all of our old stockings!! Now I have 2 half finished and pitiful stockings and the 6 stockings we have had for 10 years that I bought on a whim, because we had no stockings, because whatever we had been using were packed from some other move!


Yes, that was a lump of coal. But I have something sweet and gingery to share too. I did promise an assortment.

On Wednesday Alex and William went to school with their homemade, customized gingerbread house and mill. Many students and even some teachers, with their own children, met after school and we had a decorating extravaganza. Max, Maria and I came with juice, chips for snacking, and more powdered sugar for the icing. Many of the other students were gingerbread novices and it was a lot of fun encouraging their inner elves to decorate with sugary abandon.

This school has the best staff and teachers. Their interest in the students and the lengths they go to to extend themselves is very refreshing. The principal, the custodian, the office staff... everyone came by or participated. It was a gumdrop, candy cane mess! Wonderful! We laid on some thick layers of icing and sweets. We made marshmallow snowmen and pretzel fences. It's a pleasure being creative in a supportive and enthusiastic environment.

William and Alex's mill is awesome. The wheel still turns... it actually spins marvelously! Can you believe that? A gingerbread mill, made entirely out of baked goods and sugary confections and it can move like a real, working mill. That is so cool. And now it is decorated and has snowmen in the yard and a snow covered, thatched roof.

The house smells of spice and sweetness.

For a few minutes I thought maybe this would satisfy our appetites for making gingerbread houses. We were immersed in this project over several days, and it was intense and messy (even though I was not technically involved.) But it's so much fun making these houses and playing with candy and cereal and thinking of new ways to fashion fences and trim... I think we'll have to make at least one more. And maybe we will finally give up the glue gun tradition!

The stocking fantasy needs more time, like a year or two, but there have been successes in the sewing room and the yarn obsession is alive and well. I made Maria a skirt, and I have several pencil/marker roll-ups ready to wrap. I finished the big quilt I have been keeping under wraps (big reveal soon.) There are many hats and scarves that I have fashioned with my handy crochet hooks. What else? Oh, yes... these balls, which are a bit wonky, but still fun to prepare and play with after.

Did anyone else catch all the amazing giveaways and creativity going on at "Sew, Mama Sew!"? They had a zillion links to talented and generous bloggers that were participating in Giveaway Day.
I meant to visit every single post, but that would have taken many hours of wild Internet cruising. Happily from the handful of sites I visited I actually won a prize! (insert picture of me jumping and looking giddy) Thank you Twiddletails! I bet Anina recognizes the fabric I used to make the ball Maria is holding... it's from a scrap bin at the fabric store I love! "Woodland Blooms" are lovely! I think the fabric series would be really nice for a pencil roll, and now, thanks to Tami, of Lemon Tree Tales, I have the actual pattern for making more of these handy pencil and marker carriers.

And now I am going to do a few of those chores and errands... I wouldn't want to find myself on anyone's naughty list!


tara said...

Where to start? That was a packed post. First, I love the brown dress and hat your daughter is wearing. I would dress my daughters like that everyday if they would me.
Second, pretzels on the gingerbread houses. Genius. I now have gingerbread house fever ala log siding.
And congratulations on winning something. I entered a few but didnt win anything.

campbellgirl said...

The gingerbread man in the lounger cracked me up! Your boys are amazing. You're ALL amazing. Cheers, D.

Anna Banana said...

Well...good to know that not EVERYTHING you undertake turns out amazing. Not that I actually believe that, but if you say so. I'm thinking of the future wives in the family. Your boys telling them, well you could just sew some stockings. I'm cracking up thinking about it.

mtnchild said...

Fat little 4-year-old tears, Awwww...

The gingerbread hou.., errr, mill came out wonderful!! Those boys impress me more and more each day.

Tiglizzyclone said...

Nice little gingerbread mill! Such creative boys!

Betty said...

That picture of Maria is absolutely adorable! That could be on your Christmas cards next year...or maybe this year? Love reading about your wonderful doings.

warren said...

Excellent gingerbread house! We made some tonight but they were much simpler...

I am glad you hit the fabric store too! You'll appreciate it each year!

village mama said...

What sweet pictures - I love the one where Maria's in the background eating yogurt! xo