#handmadechristmas

Long ago, in a galaxy far, far away, before I had kids,  I enjoyed crafting. The process of deciding on a project, getting the supplies and then putting it all together for a purpose. So fun. I loved thinking, “wow, look what I made with my own two hands.” Then I got married, had kids, and time for crafting was non-existent. Such is life.

Before I moved to Idaho and and before I met my husband, I had a teeny, tiny adorable apartment in my hometown in California. The building was a house in an old, beautiful section of town that had been renovated to hold three apartments. I loved it. It had a laundry room in the apartment but I didn’t have a washer & dryer so I instead put all my craft supplies there. I had a dresser (that I had painted and stamped all over) that kept my stuff: one drawer for my paints, another for my stamps & brushes, etc. I didn’t crochet, knit or sew, and I still don’t, but I would love to learn! Paint was my preferred tool then, but I have developed a deep love & admiration for my glue gun since that time.

But then I sold most of my stuff and moved to Idaho and my crafting fell by the wayside.  I did some things over the next few years – I made my bridal veil, I decorated Christmas trays one year when we were broke & barely getting by, and occasionally I would paint a yard sale find, but no big projects.

Then, flash forward about 7 years after my youngest was born, and I couldn’t remember what a personal hobby was much less recognize what *I* wanted to do. The kids had gotten older, a little more independent, and they didn’t need mom every second of every waking hour. It was in this time that I realized I had forgotten some of the integral parts that made me who I am, or who I was, before I became a mom-monster. Something had to be done.

So, first, I started reading blogs. That’s how I found my friend, Joni, who I am constantly in awe of for her incredible crafty talents (forgive her lack of new posts – she’s a mom of wee ones again, but she does post a lot of crafts on Instagram). She had a lot to do with pushing me towards being crafty again (whether she knows it or not).

This was my progression:

  • I liked writing so I thought I would give that a try (and here you are – still working on that one).
  • Then I played around with jewelry. I like simple beading but don’t have the patience to make the really intricate stuff.
  • Then I started playing with felt. So pretty, so versatile. I’m still crushing on it big time.

I jumped into felt in a huge way and decided I was going to do almost an entirely handmade Christmas this year. Every moment thereafter was about making ALL THE THINGS I could with felt. I’m not an expert by any means, but I got better the more I played with it and I just loved the process if creating something for someone in particular. I customized according to what I thought fit them, their style and their personalities best.

Here, in no particular order, are some of the things I have made in the last 2 months. There were quite a lot I didn’t get pictures of in my rush to finish and mail packages. Others I photographed and later embellished and mailed without re-snapping a pic. But I think you’ll get the idea.

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For my niece and her first solo apartment (this one is still my husband’s favorite)
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This ended up going to one of my sons’ teachers. My son loved it and chose it for her. I really just wanted to make something with a rainbow.
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For my in-laws. Love.
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For my mom & stepdad. It looks a little lopsided in the pic because of the way I had the wreath turned, but I think in real life it’s straight. I hope. Eek.
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Ornaments! This one was for my niece and I made one, with their initials, for her, her husband and three kids, and my nephew, his wife, and daughter. I hope they liked them! I meant to write my name and the date though and totally forgot before I mailed them.
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For my dad & stepmom. My stepmom really likes gold, silver and pretty, shiny things so I tailored this for her specifically.
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For my brother & sister-in-law. Simple and beautiful.
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BOISE STATE BRONCOS!! I had an idea to make a wreath with BSU colors and I loved it. I had a choice of BSU fans to give it to and I choose my boss and his wife. I’m told she’s putting it in her classroom. 🙂
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For my sister-in-law, Susan. Susan is going through cancer treatment right now and I thought this tote bag would be great for her trips to the hospital. Her favorite color is purple, and her next round of chemo starts on Monday. (Pray for her, please).
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This was for my Grammy. I actually embellished it quite a lot after this pic was taken. I add more roses to the sides to balance it more and a few more shiny little “ornament” balls. I adore my Grammy.
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Hey, that’s me! And one of the first pins I made. I think i gave that one to my mom – but I honestly don’t remember!
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My niece. Isn’t she adorable? She was totally cool with wearing this hat too. She’s the daughter of my sister-in-law with cancer. Love you, little girl baby.

Pins, wreaths, ornaments, hair accessories – I loved making it all. I’m having so much fun doing this that I think I’m going to continue past Christmas and make MORE THINGS. I’m carving out a crafting corner in my house as a permanent residence for this on-going project and I couldn’t be more excited. The boys even had the idea to get me craft supplies for Christmas because they are enjoying the things I’m making as well.

The process of making and giving these presents was so rewarding for me. It helped me to recognize my talents – other than working & mothering – and that I can be creative in this realm too. Special thanks has to go to Pinterest, though, for all the wonderful design ideas. I can’t wait to play around and create new designs! And if you normally get gifts from me you can pretty much assume, going forward, they will be along these lines so I hope you like them. 😉

Happy crafting!

XOXO,

Stef

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From me to you

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!

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We are having a wonderful time on our vacation/family visit. I hope you all are having a great holiday as well.

Don’t forget to count your blessings!! I’m thankful every day for those up there and the hammy-ness of this one down here:

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XOXO,

Stef

I don’t even LIKE white chocolate

We’ve had “management training” courses the last two days at my office. These classes consist of me and half a dozen other managers/supervisors hanging out in a conference room eating candy, playing with toys, occasionally watching videos and talking about how to be better at our jobs.

The important thing here is the candy. (Obviously).

But I do have to say spotting a Martin Sheen lookalike in one of the training videos was cool. It turned out to be Martin Sheen’s brother.

Back to the candy.

I’m not a huge candyholic or anything. I mean, I like specifically what I like and that’s it. (Usually dark chocolate, and especially See’s. Just FYI since, you know, ’tis the season). Wink.

But yesterday the instructor (a totally sweet and knowledgeable gal named Karen) dumped a bag of peppermint candy cane kisses on the table.

I was unperturbed. I don’t even like white chocolate. (It’s not REAL chocolate, you know).

But the other people around me started trying them and flipping out. So I thought what the hay and I tried one. That was the beginning of the end.

Crunchy and smooth. Minty and chocolatey. Perfect combo.

I think our class nearly finished off the bag. No kidding. (By the way, just FYI, the men in the class were so much worse than the ladies at shoveling it down!)

Anyway, to make a short story long, TRY THESE:

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Musings

I haven’t posted in a while. I feel like my posts always need to have a specific purpose – like I need to have a reason to say what I want to say. But I don’t think that’s true, right? I can just say what’s going on in my mind. That would be the purpose of this blog. It’s not private but I also don’t think anybody is reading it so why not?

I ask a lot of questions. It’s just my way of talking. Some are rhetorical and some are not. Your choice. 

I’m still thinking about my mom & stepdad’s visit. It was so awesome to have them here! Sometimes my mom drives me crazy but this time I was much more tolerant. It was easier for me to just appreciate her for who she is this time. Maybe I’m growing old? Maybe I’m just lonely and needed her here. She takes care of me, loves me unconditionally, doesn’t get mad at me if I’m snippy and as I get older I am learning to appreciate her unconditional love more and more. 

I keep thinking about an opportunity that came my way and then, just as quickly, passed me by. It would have been so very good for us, in many ways, but there were some definite detriments. Could I have done it? Yeah, I think so. It’s daunting but I think I would have found the strength and ability when needed. But its gone so it’s better to just let it go. 

I’m falling behind on everything right now. I can feel myself escaping because I can’t handle the sheer volume of stuff I need to do. They aren’t all unpleasant tasks so I’m not sure what my problem is. Maybe a little bit of depression? I hear that’s common at the holidays – though usually I’m happiest at Christmas time. My favorite time of year! This year I can’t seem to get excited. I feel bad about myself because of so many different things and I’m having a hard time seeing past all my internal recriminations. 

Some of the people closest to me in my daily life are going through stressful times. They are ticking time bombs: unpredictable and capable of reacting in any way and at any time. I feel divided in two – I’m either the equalizer or I’m the time bomb myself.  It’s been proven, by a bunch of scientific psychologists, I’m sure, that in the dynamic between two people there is one person who dictates the relationship at any given time. The other person equalizes or provides the balance. If one person is emotionally unstable (at that moment) then the other person acts as the counter-weight. If the other person doesn’t equalize then we see incredible things happen – like those people who lose their minds and beat the crap out of each other, rob banks, or drive off cliffs. 

What’s my point? Just this – if someone equalizes all the time then when do they get to express their emotions? Do they just suppress it and then it comes out later in myriad little rebellions? Or at inopportune times? I don’t know the answer to that. Where’s Dr. Sweets when I need him?  Yes, that was Bones reference. I freaking love that show. 


People are so complex. I love Bones, and the West Wing, and the Stieg Larsson books, and Jane Austen, mostly because of one uniting factor – they talk about people and what makes them tick. If I ever write a book it will be about people, relationships and how they react emotionally. 


Speaking of escaping, here’s a little thing I wrote a while back:

Watch me, watch me!
See how I sigh?
And roll away my eye?
I just caught myself in a lie!
See me, do you see me?
I run and run and run
For me, that’s the key
To not come undone.