Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas in the Rear-View Mirror

Not all my haphazard Christmas projects came to pass--a fact which didn't surprise me.
I have traditionally made many of the items we present to family and friends, but I have a problem with being inspired until nearly the last minute; I'm not a 'Christmas in July' sort of person--summer and autumn are seasons for gardening and putting up produce.
In the days before Christmas this year I did suddenly recall an aborted plan to make a garland of cinnamon-dusted orange and apple slices.
I prepared the fruit in the dehydrator early in December, 2009, bought a bag of craft quality cinnamon sticks, a ball of twine.
In mid December 2009, J. decided to renovate our Wyoming house with the addition of a staircase to the attic--and the creation of a bedroom and bath tucked under the eaves.
All thought of a 'normal' holiday disappeared in a welter of sawdust, roaring power tools and excursions to buy flooring, bath fixtures, lights and paint.  Within a month, the house was under contract for sale and the retirement  move to Kentucky was suddenly something more than a vague plan for the future.

Last weekend I found the jars of cinnamon-fruit, newspaper wrapped and snugged into a carton marked 'fragile' where they have languished for two years.
The missing bag of cinnamon sticks needed to complete the project turned up this morning on a high shelf in the kitchen cupboard.
No matter.  I set the gleaming jars in a row on the buffet and removed the lids which allowed a lovely fruity/spicey scent to waft about.

Our Amish neighbors, the Yoders [who keep Dory the Cow] moved several miles up the road early in December.  J. supplies baled hay for Dory.  Joseph had round bales for his buggy horses which hadn't been moved.  J. and D. undertook to move hay two days before Christmas, lumbering up the road with old Snort'n Nort'n and the tractor.

When I worked at the quilt shop I stitched decorative pillowcases by the dozens.
These were created, practically on Christmas Eve, for our grand daughter in CO--a confirmed cat lover.

Having hauled out a welter of fabric, I put on my favorite holiday CD's, stoked the downstairs fire and turned out more pillowcases, gift aprons, a table runner---and----

----sueded catnip-mice for our 'grand-cat', Smokey.
One of the mice has a definite issue with a humped back!

Its a pity that inspiration/energy/time didn't hit me a bit sooner as I realized I was enjoying my fabric crafting---something which has taken a back seat to house renovating and gardening since our move.
By 10 P.M. on Christmas Eve I had rummaged out paper, ribbon and tape to wrap these belated gifts.
Gift wrapping isn't something I do tidily--give me a whole pile of fabric to turn into a quilt any day!
Our two old lady cats, Eggnog and Raisin grew weary of trying to oversee my efforts with crumpling paper and recalcitrant sticky tape.

Although we don't do many under-the-tree gifts, the living room became a sea of torn paper soon after the family arrived from next door.

Willis the Barn Cat came in to investigate. D. has decorated him with a fine blue bow.

D. is a clown [guess whose DNA provided that trait!]
He posed with his new jeans and belt buckle, having taken on J.'s straw hat and  pistol as props.

G. and J.--a family resemblance!

My gift from D. was a handsome cedar-roofed bird feeder and a huge sack of birdseed.
He hung it for me on the front porch.

Talk about silly! [I can only imagine the mayhem if this family took to drink!]
Daughter G. has a habit of trailing about with a bathrobe over an odd assortment of 'leisure wear' when at home and is prone to arriving at our house with the bathrobe very much in evidence.
We all scold her for it--which makes her the more determined to wear the bathrobe.
Devin, Jim, and I were getting ready to head next door for our late afternoon Christmas feast, when I had the bright idea of arriving in bathrobes. [Mind you, I'm not the family member prone to this sort of silly!]
J. hauled out his old terry robe, D. squeezed into my recent Goodwill find--a fleecy garment bedecked with moose and pine trees, while I wrapped myself in a quilted pink robe.
We trailed our way out to the car bearing hot kettles of mashed potato, Hubbard squash, a steaming gingerbread--and then trooped down the hallway to M and G's kitchen bellowing, "We Three Kings of Orient Are--Bearing Food We've Traveled Afar!"
The three of us were chortling with hiliarity [inspired by D.'s comments] and it was well worth the look of astonishment on the faces of his parents.

G. was still cooking in her bathrobe--so here is the gallery of idiots posed for posterity.

M. carves the perfectly roasted turkey.

M. added the poinsettia to G.'s decorating--a vivid touch.
M. and G. took over much of the holiday food prep.
At first I wondered, "Do they think I'm too old to bake pies and rolls and cookies?"
That query was quickly stilled with the happy thought that after decades of orchestrating special meals, the time comes to hand on the torch.
We are blessed to have another generation enthused about planning and baking.
I made loaves of bread which J. took round to some friends--D. and M. delivered trays of fudge and cookies.  There are--happily or otherwise--leftovers to keep us eating for several days!


  1. Love the bit about the bath robes and We Three Kings:) You obviously had a good Christmas!

  2. What are you like? This has brought a BIG smile to my face as I love to read about what brings a family together. Bless you all, bathrobes, cat-nip mice or whatever!!!

    BTW, I did an almost exact copy of your pillowcases for my daughters - another year I shall add the pretty narrow border, which does make a difference.

  3. What a nice, fun Christmas you all had.

    Have a nice last week of 2011 and have a wonderful 2012 filled with many blessings.


  4. Rowan: It has been a good holiday season. My bathrobe inspiration was completely out of character!

    BB; What am I like? The older I grow the more I confuse myself! Several of my cats like to 'help' with projects--I had to keep a close eye on my little mice.
    G. would keep coming round when I was making things for her--but I managed to keep her apron out of sight. I made Matt's out of camouflage material.

    FL; Our family fun has always been very 'homemade'--good memories.
    Your comments and blessings are appreciated.

  5. What a happy looking family. It looks like you had a very nice Christmas. Wishing you a very happy New Year!

  6. Jane; Thank you for your good wishes. We enjoyed our day and the weather was lovely--we felt blessed.

  7. Looks like you all had a great time.

    Merry Christmas MM and all the best for the new year.

  8. I can almost smell those opened jars festive ...even better for being a couple of years late lol. I love the photo of D and the decorated Willis ...and the father and daughter one. Sounds as though you had the perfect Christmas. xx

  9. It's nice to know we're not the only silly family around, loved the robes. Your pillow cases are gorgeous!
    Definitely looks like you had a very merry Christmas.

  10. That looks like a wonderful family Christmas! It must be very good to have your daughter and family nearby.

  11. I loved the pics and the story - and what a wonderful day of merriment and making memories for all time! How blessed you are to have your daughter so close to you! (Okay, I'm a wee bit jealous here!) I love the crafting that you did too - I must get back to those days. There was something very peaceful and comforting about them. Hope you're having a great week!