On any given day you are most likely to find us communing with the gnomes and the fairies Under The Old Oak Tree

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Christmas Cards and Gift Wrap

Christmas is going to be here before we know it!  I've been busy for months working on handmade presents for family and close friends. For details on the gifts we are giving this year, see my handmade holiday posts.  My goal is to get all of the presents done by the end of November so that I can focus on decorating, baking, celebrating, honoring old family traditions and starting some new ones as well.  Most of my knitting is completed. During December I may work on knitting a few gift items, but for the most part they are little things to supplement larger gifts.  If I get some of them done great, if not, they won't be missed all that much.  What I do need to get really busy with this week is sewing.  I have plans to sew several items for Daddy and W.

I'm thinking that means one of this week's tasks is going to be starting to draft this year's Christmas letter and and get our card address list updated.  Maybe I'll have Daddy start printing out some address labels this week too.  We always try to do a photo card.  The last two years have been of all three of us, but I'm thinking this year we should probably just feature the young man of the house.  His Grammy has purchased several nice holiday outfits for him, so once I have all of them, we will choose one and start taking some pictures.  Last year we used our Christmas tree as a backdrop, but I'd like to get the pictures done this year before it's time to put the tree up so, I'm debating what would make a good setting for his holiday pictures.  Also, last year we got a great deal on our photo cards from SeeHere.  I think we paid something like $2.00 for 50 cards (including shipping).  It was a fantastic deal.  I'm hoping there is a similar deal from them this year since I have already designed the card and just need to insert the picture of W.  I'm also including a picture of the winter scene needle felting I made this fall on the card.

By the way this 12x12 needle felted wall hanging is currently for sale in my etsy shop.

As for gift wrapping, we have decided to try to make reusable cloth gift bags for as many things as possible this year.  I have a few styles that I have collected over the years already.  My aunt always sends gifts to W in cotton drawstring bags with Christmas prints on them so I have quite a few of those at this point.  I also have one that I bought at a craft sale last year that has a contrasting piece of fabric at the top and an attached ribbon.  The benefit of this design is that it can be used to wrap a box similarly to how you would wrap with paper.  Over the past 6 months or so I've been trying to give gifts in cloth bags when possible and have usually just made a mitered bag with a very wide hem at the top and done with a decorative stitch.  I then have put in the present and tied a pretty bow around the bag.  My mom and I have been collecting some Christmas fabrics for a while now, so we need to start sewing on some of these bags pretty soon.  I anticipate still needing to use some boxes and wrapping paper this year to supplement the bags, but hopefully much less than we have in the past.  I figure we can add a few bags each year form now on and buy the fabrics we want to use on clearance after Christmas from now on.

Edit 11/18/10-

I ordered our Christmas cards from SeeHere  three days ago and they arrived today.  I used the best deal I could find this year which was 25 free cards ($4.95 s&h) and then ordered 10 more at regular price.  With tax our 35 cards came to just over $10.00 which isn't too bad.  Our Christmas letter is written and I am waiting for my mom to send me some extra pretty paper she has to print it on.  My hubby and I have also compiled our card list and are working on gathering up addresses.  We need to get stamps this week and print out our address labels (these are are the hubster's responsibility too) and we will be ready to send out our cards by sometime  in early December.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Happy Halloween!

Just wanted to share a quick post with you all about our Halloween last night.

We had a great time but everything felt very last minute and  I wasn't nearly as organized as I would have preferred.  I usually try to carve pumpkins on the 30th, but didn't get it done.  I also had to spend a couple hours finishing the head for my husband's longhorn cow costume on Halloween itself.  My mom made the costume, but didn't quite get it finished before she had to send it (I received it on the 30th)!  That left me to finish it in a panic.

W's costume was pretty easy.  He was a cowboy (a very cute little cowboy if I say so myself).  My mom lives out west and had purchased the chaps, vest and boots for him from a western wear store before he was even born, and sent him his (3rd maybe?...we seem to go through them) cowboy hat  a couple of months ago.

After I finished the cow head I had to carve pumpkins.  I frantically carved three of the four jack o' lanterns in the hour and a half before trick or treating began.  They may not be my best jack o'lantern's ever, but I'm pretty happy with how the turned out.

I also very quickly made these cute little luminaries to put on our walk.  They were inspired by these from Moment to Moment.

And  I just have to share one last picture of my guys...the cowboy and his longhorn cow back from a long walk trick or treating!

BTW the Great Pumpkin came to visit W last night and left him a couple of lovely Halloween books, some pretzels, once piece of candy and some play dough that W got trick or treating.  For folks out there who give out play dough, pretzels and other non-candy items, this mama thanks you!  It's really nice for the Great Pumpkin to be able to give these items back for a child to enjoy without causing havoc in our home and sleep schedules with sugary treats!

Also, be sure to check out our family's November gratitude tree on my Counting Our Blessings page.


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