It’s Christmas Eve today (yay!), which means today is the day that Sweetie and I head home to spend Christmas with my family. Can’t wait! My family is a family full of traditions, especially Christmas traditions, and our annual Christmas Eve arrival (followed by Christmas Eve pizza – of course! – and, most importantly, my dad’s reading of a very special story) is something I look forward to every year.
The cats will be alone on Christmas Day, but they’re not overly concerned – we had our own pre-Christmas celebration here at the house this morning and over the weekend. There were tiny little reindeer antlers. There were gifts to unwrap and catnip mice. And they even snuggled up with us for a bit to watch White Christmas (my absolute favourite Christmas movie ever.)
And, on that note, and in case you’ve never seen White Christmas, I wanted to sign off for the holidays with the lyrics from one of the songs from that movie. In all honesty, 2012 has been a bit of a bear. While there have been some really amazing and wonderful moments this year, it’s also been a really hard year for a few of my friends (and, well, for us too at times.) I think this song is really good advice for us all…
Count Your Blessings (Instead of Sheep)
When I’m worried and I can’t sleep
I count my blessings instead of sheep
And I fall asleep
Counting my blessings
When my bankroll is getting small
I think of when I had none at all
And I fall asleep
Counting my blessings
I think about a nursery and I picture curly heads
And one by one I count them as they slumber in their beds
If you’re worried and you can’t sleep
Just count your blessings instead of sheep
And you’ll fall asleep
Counting your blessings
That Irving Berlin guy was pretty amazing eh?
Sending so much love out to my friends and family over the holidays. I hope the next couple of days are filled with good food, the lively and familiar company of family and friends, and lots of lovely surprises.
Merry Christmas all! :)
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My traditional Christmas gift of choice for friends has always been baked goods of some sort. Last year I made fancy little chocolate truffles, peanut butter cookie reindeer, and chocolate cookie bark.
I didn’t take any pictures of last year’s treats, but luckily my friend (and happy cookie recipient) Shawn did.
And it got Instagram-ed. :)
(Related confession: I haven’t yet figured out Instagram. I should probably work on that eh?)
This year, I’m skipping the somewhat time-consuming (yet adorable!) pretzel-antlered cookies, and the crazy delicious (and rather pretty!) chocolate truffle balls, and I’m going straight to the bark. Partly because it’s everyone’s favourite. Partly because I haven’t had time yet this year to make multiple Christmas-tin offerings. (Has the Christmas season been insanely busy for anyone else this year? Or is it just me?) (Maybe it’s just me…)
My bark recipe? It’s Kraft’s. (Shhhh… Don’t tell!) And it’s absolutely delicious.
In a nutshell, bark-making looks a bit like this:
Add this (plus a wee bit of peanut butter)…
Drop (or dollop, if you prefer) randomly on wax paper…
Make super swirly…
Refrigerate and break into pieces. Poof! Bark!
The most important component (that isn’t listed in the ingredients?) LOVE. And a dash of Christmas cheer. And a pinch of merriness.
(Cheesy? Yep. True? Yep again!)
But, if you ask me, even more important than the bark itself is the bark delivery mechanism. If I delivered delicious cookie bark in a plastic baggie, would it be just as delicious? Likely. Would it be as special? Absolutely not!
Last year I packaged up my Christmas yumminess in pretty teal canisters. And they were cute with a capital C.
(Thank you again to Shawn for immortalizing the pretty multi-tin package I left on his front porch.) (And yes – I’m a bit of a Christmas cookie drop-and-dash kinda elf.)
This year I’ve moved beyond my tin-lined comfort zone and stepped things up a notch. I’ve moved on to glass containers. Fancy eh? Cue “ooooohs” and “aaaaaahs.”
I found these glass jars at HomeSense for $3.99 each. $3.99!
And with a wee little bit of yarn wrapped around the middle, and a couple of coordinating pompoms attached (I chatted a bit about my pompom obsession HERE), the once rather utilitarian glass jars become cheery bark-ready vessels.
I think they’re even cuter once filled with super swirly bark…
Yep! I’m pretty pleased with how they turned out. :)
So there! Dear friends, please consider this your 2012 Christmas-baking delivery preview. Coming shortly to a front porch near you!
Very shortly, in fact. Only six more days to go! :)
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My newest Christmas obsession? Pompoms. Yep! Cute little fluffy balls of brightly coloured yarn make me happy. Call it nostalgia for those socks with the little squishy yarn balls at the heel from my childhood. Call it the world’s easiest little diy project (if you have razor sharp scissors, that is… I figured that part out super quick!) But I love them. And I’ve been pompom-making like a little pompom nut around here.
And I’ve been following THIS pompom-making tutorial, courtesy of Bella Dia.
First pompom lesson learned? Natural does not equal better. The red “value” yarn I purchased makes far superior poms to the green “au natural and wholesome and good” cotton (it’s the fabric of our lives, you know.)
Apparently Zooey Deschanel agrees.
The red superstar pompom-making yarn? It’s 100% acrylic.
Random: does anyone else immediately think of Meryn Cadell’s song “The Sweater” whenever the words “100% acrylic” come up?
I do. Every. Single. Time.
My favourite part of the song:
Now if the sweater has, like, reindeer on it
or is a funny color like yellow… I’m sorry,
you can’t get away with a sweater like that
Look for brown, or grey, or blue
Anything other than that, and you
know you’re dealing with
someone who’s different
And different is NOT what you’re looking for
And yep! Apparently it’s Youtube Day around here. Fun, non? :)
But I digress. Back to my happy little Christmassy pompoms…
The red acrylic yarn makes perfect perky and fluffy pompoms. My green cotton pompoms rather closely resemble miniature Oscar-the-Grouch-es.
But, just like my favourite garbage-can dwelling monster, they have a certain cuteness too. They’ll do. :)
What am I planning to do with the above-mentioned pompoms? I have plans. Don’t you worry about me! I’m not about to become some strange pompom-obsessed yarn hoarder. Promise!
And what ARE these plans? To be announced very very shortly, I hope (since Christmas is only 12 – TWELVE! – days away, and red and green pompoms are pretty holiday-specific, if you ask me.)
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We put our tree up last weekend. Our house is now officially Christmas-sified. Yay!
My favourite part of the room? Our tree. :) Most of our Christmas tree ornaments were either gifts or purchased during our travels (favourite tradition: buying a Christmas tree ornament whenever we go somewhere special.) Our decorations don’t match. They’re a hodge podge of colours and sizes and shapes. But they’re meaningful to Sweetie and me, which makes them perfect for our tree.
We have our stately (and rather smiley!) Queen, who traveled home with us from London…
And this festive little moose in his rowboat came from Newfoundland (my absolute favourite place on earth)…
My friend Sandra gives us a cat ornament for our tree every year (so our tree is full of cats… which is rather fantastic, if you ask me.)
And this pretty glass orb belonged to my grandma Dorothy…
Hanging ornaments that are meaningful just makes our tree feel that much more special. Yep, even if our tree isn’t carefully coordinated or flawlessly decorated, it’s perfectly us. :)
There is, however, one Christmas item I DID purchase for myself, willy nilly. And it may very well be my most favourite Christmas decoration of all time.
Yep. That’s right: Santa riding a cat on wheels. It’s completely ridiculous and I love it.
And that displaced green star (poor thing keeps getting moved from room to room) has finally found it’s Christmas fireplace mantel calling…
Speaking of which, my fireplace mantel makes me happy. It still needs stockings (hung by the chimney with care) – I’m currently on the prowl for new, pretty, grown-up (ie: non-Dollarstore) stockings. And it still needs some pretty new garland (I’m working on that – stay tuned for a garland update shortly!) And I have a few other mantel-adornment plans up my sleeve. But it’s a start. And I’m so happy to have a fireplace to decorate this year (albeit, a fake one.) And, well, everyone needs a portal (of some sort) for Santa. :)
And, of course, kind-faced old Father Christmas keeps watch over the entire room from his place of honour at the top of the tree.
So there. Those are our halls that have been decked with boughs of holly. Or cat-riding Santas, if you prefer. Yep, I am most definitely in the holiday spirit now! Afterall, ’tis the season to be jolly! And to roast chestnuts by an open fire. And to build strange talking (and rather presumptuous) snowmen in the meadow.
Fa la la la la, la la, la, la! :)
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This weekend it snowed here for the first time this winter (although technically it’s still fall, I think), which, as you can imagine, meant that Operation Christmas truly began chez Sweetie and Joy (since snow just makes everything feel Christmassier and cheerier and happier!) (At least until New Years… soon after that I’m totally done with the snow and start looking forward to spring.)
Even my newly acquired little driftwood star got Christmassied up a wee bit…
Yup. We’re all getting in the spirit around here. (Pictures of cats wearing tiny little reindeer antlers to follow shortly, of course.)
I’ve now lived with my DIY kitchen art attempt for a week now, and I’m still not loving it. At all. :( I’ve decided that it’s the blue “inner-matting” (I should seriously coin that term, eh?) that’s throwing everything off. Yep – the blue is making me… well, blue.
So I delved deep into my scrapbook paper pile once again, and pulled out a sheet of lovely Christmassy red paper. And squealed just a little. Because that’s what I do. (Kinda freaks the cats out a bit, but it keeps them on their toes.)
And after a few minutes of cut and paste (I’m president of the International Society of Cutters and Pasters, btw), I had this…
Which looks like this on my wall…
Which makes me a very happy girl. :)
So am I done with this project now? Probably. I mean, I could be really rather persnickety and say that the red is a little more tomato-ey than I’d prefer (which, really, is quite true.) But it’s BETTER. Much better. And I have a gazillion other fun projects I’m just itching to start. (Do you see that as foreshadowing? Let’s call that foreshadowing. :)
Happy one month (less a day!) till Christmas! Hooray! Bring on the merry!
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