Sunday, December 16, 2012

Christmas in a Jar

Confession: most of my Christmas decorations are still packed. Usually I can't wait to put my keepsakes out on display.  Despite this funk, I find myself still enjoying doing things for others. I came across this idea trolling through tumblr. Christmas in a jar! What a great alternative to the traditional plate of goodies. 
Luckily for me, my parents have a dehydrator. Drying the fruit became a labor of love. It took days and days. I watched carefully to make sure the fruit didn't over dry and brown. I am beyond ecstatic with how it all turned out. Beautiful! I can't stop admiring these apple, orange and lemon slices.
Then the challenge became finding the spices. Who knew cinnamon sticks were so expensive!?! And tis the season for cloves to be completely sold out. A little whole all-spice, ground nutmeg and bay leaves. Mmmmm!
Once I had all my ingredients gathered I set out my jars and began the assembly. 
Every item was decoratively placed in the jar. And then rearranged. And rearranged. I really enjoyed putting these together.
Time to finish them. Coffee filters are very inexpensive. (And we'll have enough to make these jars every year for the next 50+ years.)
 Desiree hand lettered the tags, then printed them on brown paper.
Tie them up with some string and DONE.
I didn't have enough stuff left over to make up one for myself. I'm not sure how WONDERFUL the concoction smells, but if it is anything like it smells dry it must be DIVINE.

If you were lucky enough to get one from us, will you please let us know how it smells? (I reduced the cloves by half, because they can be very strong and some people don't care for the scent.) If I can find cheaper spices, making these may become a yearly Christmas tradition.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Santa. One for you, and you, and me.

My Mom made this Santa over 30 years ago. It is one of the few Christmas decorations that has survived and still manages to make it out of the attic every year. He's just missing the bells that used to be on his boots. Isn't he ADORABLE? I love him. Every year when he gets unpacked Mom says, "Someday I'll make another one." She was never really happy with the fabrics she chose, but at the time she was a young married with little money. A few years ago I uncovered the pattern. And since then every year have said, "I'm going to make my OWN Santa." Well . . . last year we set aside Thanksgiving weekend to each make a Santa. That's 3. One for Mom, one for Desiree and one for me. 
 We bought our fabric before the big weekend and I pre-cut it so all we would have to do is assemble them. I also crocheted little circles to use for cheeks.
Beards are tricky things!
Face and arms DONE. Now to stuff the body!
Desiree was never too excited about this project, but she walked right into the fabric store and chose hers in 5 minutes. I secretly had her type of Santa in mind for my own, but let her have first fabric choice.
Mom wanted hers to match her living room. She also went a little bit crazy with the fringe for Santa's beard.
My Santa is still missing the pom pom for his hat because I can't find the right color yarn to make it. I named him Thaddeus.

I absolutely LOVE the fact that we all used the same pattern, but each Santa has his own personality.
And somehow my Santa turned out to be the shrimpy one. Appropriate since I am the runt of the family.

It took ALL weekend to finish. There was some minor swearing, but memories were made nonetheless. Now I'm the one saying "Someday I'll make another one."