It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Sometimes, in Winter, after the animals have stopped their midnight games of chasing each other through the house and tangling up all of my yarn, after all the lights are out, after my cassette stops playing, when the night grows very still, I lay in bed and I swear I can hear the snow falling outside. I love Upper Michigan!

I awoke to the sound of my neighbor kids laughing and playing in the snow with their dog. What a pleasant awakening! I couldn’t see out the windows very well because of the snow buildup, but I suspect they were building a snowman, or perhaps an entire snow family–there is certainly enough snow. And I suspect they will be here later in the day to get some sled time in at the Sand Pit behind our house.

Jenn and I may go snowshoeing behind the house today, but it’s hard to say. We still have a blizzard warning in effect until 1Am tomorrow, and out here, visibility can become non-existent without warning even when we’re not experiencing blizzard conditions. But I really want to go! I’ve been waiting to snowshoe all year!

I also wanted to get some photos of the Lake today. She is, very likely, raging in her fury today. We have a coastal flooding alert, too, though; which means that part of the Lakeshore will be closed. I may still brave it for a few minutes if there are pictures to be taken. I now have John, Kristin, and Erin asking for snow photos–John, because he loves snow photos, I guess; Kristin and Erin because they are a bit homesick and want to see the first big storm of the season.

Speaking of snow photos. I may try to do a collection of photos this winter. Every year I take the same photos–trees, the lake; trees, the lake; trees, the lake. Not that this is bad, because I love the trees and the lake in winter! I think I could photograph the trees and the lake and never get weary of them. But I suspect that I should challenge myself. So what if I keep taking the photos of the trees and lake that I so love, but also take photos of, say, every snowman I see? Or snow-covered mailboxes? Or fences? Or cars? Just a thought. It might be nice to change it up a bit and have a goal. :)

In the meanwhile, I’m working hard to get my Christmas gifts done. I’m starting to doubt whether I’ll make it in time! Kristin’s family will be waiting to celebrate Christmas until she is home in January, so I could have waited to finish theirs last…but…I…didn’t know that until after I had already made theirs. Heh. Anyway, my family keeps growing, and I am far poorer than I have been the past several years; so I decided to change the way I do Christmas.

Instead of buying individual gifts for all of my siblings (six), plus their spouses or significant others (five) plus mom (one), plus all their children (eight), I decided to transition to family gifts. Maybe this seems impersonal, but I think it’s a good plan. I always give each of the families a tin of chocolate covered pretzels; last year, I gave them homemade hot chocolate mix, too–the kind mom used to make when we were little. This year, I am going to make a goody basket with the chocolate covered pretzels, some homemade hot chocolate mix, and some homemade caramel corn (another great recipe from our childhood!). And the gift itself–which probably won’t seem very impressive, but remember, I come from a family of bakers and chefs (Pillsburys, to be sure!)–is a set of oven mitts and trivets. Oh, I can see you all dying of boredom already. Hehe. It’s not a fancy or fun gift, but it’s a practical gift, and I like them. I’m knitting them super-huge with wool yarn, and then I am felting them. They are actually superbly cool, for being such an impersonal gift. At any rate, I think my siblings will like them.

In addition to the one-family-gift rule, I’ve decided that I need to be encouraging my nieces and nephews to write more. Not that I don’t TELL them to write–because I do, but that I need to facilitate writing for them. So each year, the nieces and nephews will also receive a journal from me. This year, as you know if you read my blog, I am attempting the blue jean journals. I’m really excited about this, in spite of the fact that I’m not nearly as creative as I thought I was. I’ve got three almost finished, and will be working on the other five this week. Hopefully I’ll have them done by next week…maybe? We’ll see!

Joel and Erin are pregnant, which poses the big question. I know the lil one won’t be able to write in her own journal for a few years; but perhaps I should still make one, starting this year. Her mom and dad might write in this year’s journal about the pregnancy and their anticipation of her arrival. I’m not decided on this yet. I don’t know if Joel and Erin would even want to do that.

Anyway, I’m excited. I have to finish knitting the oven mitts for Jesse and Sara, and for Mom, and then it’s Felt Time! I’m soooooo excited. And yes, I realize how geeky it is to be excited about felting a knitting project. All I can say is…I’m proud of my geekiness. :D And, I’m excited about the journals, because I have a GREAT idea for the Hannah journal. I think. ;) The thing about it is, it’s hard to know how great the idea is until you’ve tried it and either succeeded or not. I bombed two attempts last night. Hopefully, the Hannah idea will work.

Speaking of which, I suppose I’ll go make a sandwich and get cracking on that journal! Christmas is only two weeks away!

Pax Christi, everyone! Enjoy the snow!


Blue Jeans for Jenny

You forced my hand. I have to blog about it now.

Anyway, I’m not trying to be funny with all that “it is, but it’s not” stuff. I just didn’t want to let the cat out of the bag. :P

I learned this year how to make fabric-covered journals, which–I know–sounds kind of dorky. It’s actually cool as snot. But since I’m a journal freak, and I’m always telling my nieces and nephews to “write, write, write, write, write it down”, I decided I would make them each a blue-jean journal for Christmas.

Needless to say, the “tear holes in them” idea is probably not going to work.*

I have eight journals to make, for four girls and four boys. The girls’ are going to be easier, I think, because there’s a lot of pretty things you can do with jeans–painting and sequins, as you mentioned, also embroidery, etc. But what about the boys’? Even the two younger boys’ journals won’t be difficult, I don’t think–they have younger, more natural interests still, you know–ships, trees, et cet. But the older boys? Uhm…I’m at a loss.

My goals are:

  • to use a belt buckle
  • to use different colored jeans
  • to stitch, paint, or design somehow each child’s name and the year on the cover
  • to use a butt pocket
  • to have some sort of lock/closure on each journal

Any ideas? I’d love some creative thoughts on this.

Pax Christi.


*I’m rethinking the holes. I might could make it happen…if I put another piece of material under the hole. The glue should be enough to keep the hole from fraying . Hmmmmmm. I think I might add this as a goal.