Thursday, December 8, 2011

Christmas is coming.

Finishing the kitchen in September/October was wonderful because it meant I got to accessorize my new burnt-orange walls with fall decorations.  I loved the bookshelf decorations, and kept it up well past Thanksgiving:

Now, we've moved on to a season that's slightly less compatible with those lovely orange walls.  You're probably thinking red and green.  True, that won't go well with orange; but for now I've got a nice mix of purple, pink, and orange.

If you're confused, perhaps I can remind you that it's not Christmas yet.  Christmas is coming.  Adventus.  (Latin for "coming").  We're celebrating Advent, preparing for Christmas.  I honestly can't give you a great explanation as to why the colors are pink and purple, but then again I also couldn't do very well with explaining red and green for Christmas, either.  I do know that the Church uses purple during times of repentance and reflection, which is exactly what this time is designed to be.

I've become quite frustrated, this year in particular, that our culture has not only over-commercialized Christmas, but has totally revolutionized the timeline.  It seems common these days to celebrate Christmas (or at least be totally immersed and obsessed with preparations) from the day after Thanksgiving until December 25.  And then, abruptly, on the very day commemorating the Nativity of Our Lord, people think it's over.  

In reality, now is just the time to be ready.  Not with presents and cookies and ornaments, but with our hearts.  And on Christmas day, with our readied hearts, our joy should just begin.  The twelve days of Christmas begins on December 25.  Trees don't have to be out on the sidewalk on the 26th.  

Granted, I don't think it's wrong to have decorations out in early December, and I'm not advocating for a December void of Christmas music.  I just regret the attitude that bull-dozes any spiritual preparation.  Be very sure that this is not meant to be a holier-than-thou post.   In reality, it's as much a reminder for me as for everyone else.  It's easy to become caught up in the flurry and frazzle of December; worrying constantly about the things to be done and the presents to be bought.  But it doesn't have to be that way, and my simple decorations are my reminder of that.  Simply, calmly, and with great anticipation we can prepare for the One whose "advent set thy people free."  (Lyrics from On Jordan's Bank the Baptist's Cry)

P.S. On a totally materialistic note, aren't my pinecone trees fantastic?  I wanted to make some after seeing a picture, and my Nanny (grandmother), who has an enormous collection of pinecones, acorns, and other natural items to make beautiful wreaths, helped me to bring my vision to light over Thanksgiving.  I love them for their natural beauty, but also because of the special time I shared working with my Nan!  I also have some plans to bedeck them a little more when Christmas comes!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011


As the weather continues to turn toward cold, I am excited about the prospect of a cozy house.  Last year this time, the only warm & fuzzy that we had came in the form of dust bunnies.  All of the year's progress certainly contribute to a much warmer, homey feeling (having walls tends to do that), and I'm having fun with craft projects that further my vision of a warm, welcoming, and comfortable home.

To that end, I have FINALLY finished a blanket for the living room couch.

I found a great tutorial at for a faux chenille blanket.  She describes it much better than I will be able to, and she also has a great tutorial in case you are interested in making one of your own, so go check that out here.  Basically, it is several layers of flannel with many (MANY) rows of stitching.  All but the top layer of fabric are cut, and once it is washed, the edges fray and curl up, leaving a very soft chenille-like blanket!

Now that I look back at her tutorial, she does mention upwards of 10 times that it is a time-consuming project.  Somehow, in my excitement to tackle this project, I missed the warnings about how long it would take, but miles of sewing later, I'm very excited to have it done!  I'm happy with the fabric choices, which tie together the colors of the den, living room, and kitchen (brown, green, and orange).  This blanket not only keeps us warm, but it also is the first step in the accessorizing that makes the orange and green walls a little less circus-like.

Please ignore that striped pillow, it came with the couch, and it needs to go ASAP.  Some new throw pillows will hopefully be joining the blanket as part of Operation: Cozy sometime soon.  Also a new lamp, another chair, and hanging family pictures around the "family tree."

So although we haven't yet reached my final vision, it's reassuring for me to look at pictures from last year.  Here's a shot from last December.  I remember I was really proud of the red fabric "slip cover" draped over the twin bed.  It made a nice temporary couch, but not half as cozy as what we've got now :)