21 February 2013

December, Part 1: Getting Ready for Christmas

Well, it looks like I've got some photos to add to the blog, starting back in December.  So here goes:

Getting Ready For Christmas:

Wreaths for Christmas:  I started to make a paper flower wreath like one I had seen at a friend’s house.  I thought it was really cute, and it looked pretty easy.  I found the directions online, and it turns out it is easy, but it takes forever.  No, seriously, it takes way longer than you would even think it would – I read online that it would take a long time, and I thought that meant I’d do it for a couple of weeks, an hour or so a night while watching tv.  Nope, it took much longer than that.  But I did end up making two of the flower wreaths, one for me and one for my parents for Christmas (it’s kind of tricky trying to do homemade gifts when you live in the same house as someone, but it worked out because I just made my mom think I was only making one wreath for myself, and every time I’d make a little progress on one wreath I’d go hide it in my closet and pull out the other one).  I used pages of the old dictionary that we had as kids to make the flowers, and once I was done I added pins with pearl heads to the center of each rose, just because I thought they were pretty (but pushing the pins through the dried hot glue that I had used to attached the flowers left my thumbs hurting for a week).  And I found some pretty ribbon and lace to hang it with.  I’m pleased with how they turned out, and I like the fact that they aren’t just for Christmas – they can hang up year round and go with most any color scheme in a room. 

For Michael’s parents I tried another kind of wreath.  I had seen this idea at my friends’ house in New York and always thought it was cute.  So I looked online for instructions, and this glass ball ornament wreath is pretty easy (but the balls do fall off if you’re not careful, and they can be a pain to get back on).  But I thought it turned out pretty cute and festive. 

And if I ever get motivated to make another wreath, this will be the one.  I found this idea online after I’d already started with the others, and I think it’s really adorable:

We had fun picking out a Christmas tree together with my parents and brother.  And it turned out to be quite a pretty tree. 

And I had a lot of fun putting together the boys’ Christmas gifts!  We wanted to make them each their own little hiking bag, but it was just going to be too expensive to pay like $30 for a nice backpack for each boy, plus have enough left over for some really fun outdoor gear to go into each bag.  But in the beginning of December we went to a craft day at Camden’s school where the kids had fun making Christmas cards and decorating ornaments, and they happened to be handing out free backpacks at that event – how perfect!  So we got the backpacks for free, and we were able to put the money towards cool things to go inside.  Each hiking bag ended up containing a couple flashlights, a head lamp (which actually came in really handy when we ended up going to the Mud Caves a week after Christmas), a big rope and a length of cord, a mini first aid kit in a plastic container that can double as a waterproof case, a little compass, a couple of granola bars, a “bug jar” (actually a paint brush holder, but with a special lid that screws off or has a smaller opening that pops open or closed, it’s perfect for bugs), and a zipper-close pillow case to hold the ropes (so they don’t just take over the whole backpack once the ropes come untied), about 10 extra batteries for the flashlights, and some carabineers to attach their water bottles to their bags.  And I got some fabric paint and painted each boys’ initials on their bags (the stencil I got didn’t work well, so I just had to free hand painting the letters, but I think they turned out fine).  And when the boys asked for suggestions for gifts for their brothers, I suggested a few other fun outdoors things that could go into their bags too, including a whistle/compass/magnifying glass, a bug jar with three different containers for bugs and magnifying glass lids, pocket knife, a little folding saw, a towel that dried really quickly and fits into a little bag, and a cool little pocket saw that looks more like a piece of wire than a saw and is supposed to be safe to the touch (too bed the pocket saw got a kink in it and broke in half the first time it was used – but everything else has held up pretty well).  The boys liked the bags, and were excited with the little extra gifts to put inside them.  The granola bars didn’t last until the first hike after Christmas, but the boys have enjoyed taking their hiking bags with them on every outdoor outing, and the band aids have come in handy too. 

Later on we decorated the Christmas tree together, which is always fun.  I especially had fun taking pictures of the boys helping Michael put the lights on the tree.

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