Monday, December 15, 2008


If you ask Dan, he'll be the first to tell you how much I love traditions. I love that William will eat his birthday cake on the same plate every year, I eat one black eyed pea on New Year's - every year, I love that we sing Happy Birthday to Jesus every Christmas Eve, I love my birthday picture of me holding up my age on my fingers every year, I love pictures with holiday characters (Santa, Easter Bunny, etc.), and the list goes on and on.

So I decided that our family needs to not only continue some "old" family traditions from when Dan and I were children, but also encourage new traditions that William and his siblings can enjoy through the years.

I love to needlepoint. It is my most favorite thing to do for myself (besides getting facials). I love how relaxing it feels, I love how quiet my surroundings become, I love the unlimited creativity of the fibers and textiles at my fingertips, I love how I can stitch on the go - anywhere, anytime, and I love that my Nana shared the same passion for needlepoint that I do. She's not with me anymore, but the needlepoint is my connection to her. I know she loves everything I have made over the years and for that, my hobby is priceless.

So back to traditions. I decided that since I love to stitch, I would make ornaments each year for Dan, William and my future kids. Each ornament can be a token of something they accomplished during the year, perhaps a favorite toy, sport or even a design that might prompt a memory from the current year. Who knows, it might just be an ornament that's in my bag of tricks and has nothing to do with anything! Point is, these ornaments are for each person and a labor of love from mom. I hope that someday, my kids will have their very own collection of ornaments that tell the story of their life. And in turn, they will keep the tradition alive by hanging their ornaments on their own family trees someday. TRADITION! Man I love it!

Here are my ornaments for Dan and William this year. Dan gets a fisherman and William gets a snowman on a sled. Last year, William got a "My First Christmas" ornament and Dan, well he got his huge stocking for the mantel:

Here is William's mantel stocking with the nutcrackers and Dan's mantel stocking with the wildlife:

Most people ask me if I ever sell my needlepoint or if I can make them something too. If you are a needlepointer, you know the answer is most likely NO! It takes hours and hours of my time to complete the largest projects (such as stockings) and each one is an expensive labor of love. I make everything for me, or for my family. I want my creations to be my little mark on the world that my children will love and like tradition, keep my artwork within their families for years to come.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

A Jolly Happy Soul

I saw a picture of these bad boys in a magazine and decided to give it a shot. I happened to have all the supplies on hand so it was a great project on a rainy day! I decided to make one for each child in William's preschool class, so I used candy appropriate for a 2 year old. However, you can run wild with ideas and use any candy you want.

I especially think the hats would be super cute with any candies you can dream up, such as taffy, peppermints, DOTS, and even a Hershey kiss. I thought about using the Hershey kiss as the hat and keeping on the red and green paper. However, like I said, this batch is for toddlers, and I certainly did not want them to eat the wrapper on the kiss! I think my gum drops were a good solution. If you have pretzel sticks, you can poke them in the sides for hands!

What you need:

Solid cookie for the base (I used oreos)
Large marshmellows

Black icing

White icing

1 orange slice or 1 orange Swedish Fish cut into thin strips
1 match or 1 wooden skewer

You stack 2 mellows together and secure with white icing. Secure that form to the Oreo with the white icing. Then take another big mellow and cut 1/4 slice off. Tear that piece in two and easily shape the tiny torn piece into a circle. Secure that little circle to the top mellow. Poke a hole in the face with the end of a match or skewer. Gently slide the orange nose candy piece into the hole. It should stick. Then top with any candies for the hat.
Again, you can add pretzel hands or even licorice whips for a scarf.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Wordless Wednesday (I am learning how to do collages)

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Monday, December 8, 2008

Gaylord National Harbour Christmas

Sunday night we headed over to the Gaylord National Harbour and Hotel to see the Christmas exhibits. There are several things going on inside the hotel though out the month of December, but we were there just to walk around and see the decorations. There were Christmas lights everywhere, a huge glass tree in the foyer and a Christmas marketplace. It was quite dark inside so that the lights would really glow (very cool), so it didn't make it easy to take good pictures. William's favorite part of the entire event was of course, the enormous and VERY elaborate train display. He was glued to the tracks for about 20 minutes!

Just as we were walking up to the fountain, a water show started! It was GREAT. The water in the fountain changed colors and danced up and down to the tune of different Christmas songs. It was really beautiful to watch up close.

After about 1.5 hours of looking around, William was pooped and ready for bed. The trip across the Potomac was a huge success!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

What A Hoot!

I found a program for toddlers at the Arlington Nature Center, so William and I went to check it out today. The class had 8 toddlers who were all around William's age. We started out looking at the turtles and snakes inside their cages and William really loved the bubbles coming from the aquarium pump system. He chuckled every time a few bubbles popped up in the water - "mama, bubbles, wow!" We then headed outside for a toddler nature hike. This was basically an 8 minute outdoor walk around the parking lot and over a bridge to explore pine cones, leaves, and an Owl nest. We returned to the nature center and read a story about Owls along with a visit from a REAL OWL named Mr. Owl of course. Mr. Owl has a broken wing so he lives in a cage inside the nature center where he can have 24 hour care. Mr. Owl was a little shy at first and then spread his wing wide and hooted once! William was intrigued. Once Mr. Owl left the scene, William did an art project with the other kids. I was in charge of the glue, but he did everything else himself. I was really impressed!

We had a great time and I plan on signing him up for each class throughout the winter. Not only will it get us out of the house, but we'll both learn a little something about our friends in nature.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Santa's got my back...

I went in to Babies R Us to buy this:

And I came out with this:

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