A Christmas Without a Tree

This year presented a year without a Christmas tree, which has only happened one other time in my life that I remember anyway, but I’ll get to that in a minute. This year I opted not to put up a tree because we were closing on the new house on the 18th and would be moving over the next couple days afterwards. Once we got moved in, Greg asked if I wanted to get a big tree to put up, but I declined. The tree we used in the RV was only 3 feet tall, which is all that would fit. Being that none of my kids live in the area and none of them have been to my house for Christmas since I moved to the Nashville area in 2009 I didn’t see the need to have one. I had already sent all the gifts, which had been delivered a week ago.

On Christmas I got the following two pics from my two daughters of the grandkids. The first pic is my Louisiana bunch who don’t look that happy when they were opening their gifts on Christmas morning. Maybe mommy got them up a little early. I remember getting my parents up by 4 am to open gifts as we were always so excited to see what we were getting. Afterwards they would tell us to go back to bed, but we would sit in our rooms and play with all our stuff. The good old days.

This pic is of the oldest grandson and oldest granddaughter from Florida. I can’t believe my oldest grandchild will be 17 years old in a few days. I wonder where the time went and how he could be this old, which in turn makes me feel really old, but then I remind myself that I’m not that old, I just started early. Matter of fact, when I was his age I was waiting on the birth of my first child who I had five months after my 17th birthday. I grew up real fast and don’t wish that life on my worse enemy. Life was hard for me due to my own choosing, but I have come a long way since then.

I mentioned in the beginning about a Christmas without a tree. It was Christmas 1992. I had three kids, (7 years, 3 years and 21 months). We had moved to Graceville, Florida for my husband at the time and my self to attend bible college. We actually moved in on Christmas Eve. No idea why we moved in then as classes didn’t start until January some time, but I know we always done things backwards sometimes.

Anyway, we arrived on the 24th of December and didn’t have any presents for our kids as back then we didn’t have much money. One of the couples that helped with the move handed my husband a box right before they left and said, “do not open until the kids go to sleep”. We had no idea what was in the box. We unpacked as much stuff as possible to give the kids beds to sleep on, but we didn’t have a Christmas tree as we always picked a live tree and had no time to do that during the move. Matter-of-fact we didn’t even have the stuff to cook Christmas dinner, but things were fixing to change.

No sooner had we finished unloading and reality started setting in as people started knocking on our door bringing us a turkey, cooked pies and all the fixings for a Christmas dinner. I couldn’t believe the generosity of people who I had never met before. It was a blessing in disguise and God knew what we needed and he provided.

Once the kids were in bed we opened that box that the Hawkins had given us (I still remember their names, but have no idea where they are now) and again was overwhelmed by the generosity of others. The box was filled with presents for our children. As a parent, I can’t express how this made me feel. Even though we had presents, I said to my husband, “but we don’t have a tree” and he said, “it’s okay we don’t need a tree…the reason for Christmas is not about trees anyway, it’s about Christ.” And because of that, we unpacked the nativity scene and set it up so we could share with our children about the real reason for the season. It wasn’t about trees and gifts, it was about Jesus and being with family.

I don’t know if my children remember that Christmas or not as two of them were really young, but it is one that I do remind them of on occasion as even though they are adults now with kids of their own, I want them to remember what Christmas is really about and teach their children the same.

I hope all who reads this post will remember why we celebrate Christmas and glory in the things you do have instead of longing for the things you don’t.

A Blue Dress for My Granddaughter

A few days ago I posted about my daughter asking me to sew a dress for my granddaughter for Christmas, although I was planning on sewing one up from myself. In the end everything turned out for both of us as she chose one color dress and I chose another. I went with a navy blue with dainty flowers using the same pattern as the previous dress. As I stated before this pattern is one of the easiest I have ever sewn. The fabric content was also a little different.

I couldn’t forget about her American doll, so not only did the granddaughter get a dress for herself, but she also got one for her doll as well.

Finished doll dress

Finished dress for granddaughter!

UPDATE: Once Christmas got here and she opened her gifts all the work involved was worth it to see the smile on her face. Notice the cat shoes on the doll…they were so cute and she is a big fan of kitty cats.

Successful gift giving!

Sewing for my Granddaughter and more

My daughter approached me about sewing matching dresses for my granddaughter and her best friend as a Christmas present. In addition, she wanted a matching dress for each of their American Girl dolls. At first I was hesitant as I had already planned to sew the same style dress as a gift from me so I wasn’t sure I wanted to commit to doing it, but in the end I give in deciding that she could always use an extra dress and this would be special since her best friend would have one that matched.

The pattern I was using I had sewn for her a couple times last year and she loves it because it has pockets and I love it because of its simplicity. The sleeves are included in the bodice so you don’t have to add sleeves. There are only 3 pieces to cut out: front, back and pockets. However, there is another option to the dress that includes doing the bodice in one color and the skirt in another, so if you do that version there would be 5 pieces. The dress is designed to be cut from knit fabric. I sent my daughter about 20 different choices of fabrics that I was willing to sew and she picked the color she wanted. I made these dresses by taking the girls measurements and determining what size to cut the pattern from. The pattern is from Annelaine Patterns called Clementine and can be purchased online. (I don’t get any kickbacks from this company and just sharing because it is a fun and easy pattern to sew and comes in many sizes). My granddaughter had gone from needing a size 7 to a size 10. I was able to use the size 7 from last year for the best friend. I ordered extra fabric just in case and ended up using it to make another dress for my other granddaughter in a size 4.

The pattern for the dolls is only 2 pieces, front and back. Once you cut out the pattern, sew the shoulders together, then the side seams. All that’s left is folding in the neckline and hem and sew. I done these in a zig zag stitch for the doll dresses.

Both doll pieces

Doll piece just needs neckline and hem completed

One of the girls dresses with shoulders and side seams complete. Just needs neckline, sleeves and hem completed.

The completed doll dresses

The granddaughters completed version

The one for the best friend

The one for the other granddaughter

Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas

Christmas was a little quiet this year. It started out with just me and the puppies but ended with me joining Greg in Knoxville. We had a great evening with his parents and then a remarkable night with just the two of us talking and opening up about things that married couples talk about. It was a very special night. The next day we took a drive up to Cades Cove and were lucky enough to spot a few deer. The drive there and back is always a treat as you never know what you might see. Traffic was a little heavy in Pigeon Forge and even worse in Gatlinburg, but it was still fun to get out and enjoy some time away from the house and hustle and bustle of our normal day life. We came home on Friday and continued to have a great weekend.

I hope all of you had a wonderful Christmas.

Our decorations in the RV!

Cades Cove, December 2019

On the ride to Cades Cove, December 2019

Madison telling Santa what she wants for Christmas, 2019

Jackson and Ryan wishing everyone a Merry Christmas!

 

Crafting with a Cricut

One of my favorite things in to make crafts. I love turning an object into something beautiful. I might not always get the outcome I was hoping for, but it was still worth the effort that it took to try. This year I was at a new job with new co-workers and wanted to make something special for all 13 of them. Two of the 13 are my bosses, so I made something different for them.

I have spent countless hours creating and attempting to make my stuff look half as good as what it looks like on Pinterest. When I bought a Cricut I thought it would make it easier. Not sure I have succeeded in that, but I still give it the old college try every now and then. This year was no different.

For my two bosses I wanted to do something a little bigger for them, so I went with a potholder and added a bag of brownie mix and a whisk. My direct supervisor is always bringing in sweets that her young daughter bakes, so I thought that would be something she could also share with her family. I was also thinking the boss boss could do the same as she likes to bake as well.

For the co-workers I went with a painted or glittered ornament with the old red truck design with a Christmas tree and the words, “Merry Christmas” on it. It took a couple tries to figure out how to get the paint to stick to the inside of the ornaments, but once I figured that out the rest was easy. You can find anything on YouTube, and it has become my friend here lately as I watched several videos to figure out the best way to do this while receiving the best results.

I also used my Cricut to design a couple of blankets for my girls. I hadn’t planned on doing anything for children as it is hard enough to figure out what to do for the grandkids, but when I seen someone posts what they had done on Facebook, I had to recreate it and do my version. I think they turned out pretty good. It’s funny what you can do with a $2.50 fleece blanket from Wal-Mart.

Who knows what I will end up making next year, but for now my Christmas gift giving is complete for 2019? Hope you all have a VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS!