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Posts Tagged ‘Christmas’

Temari: Christmas Quilt

I actually made this temari last year and have been saving it to post this holiday season. This one is done entirely by wrapping the thread around the ball in a specific pattern, as opposed to stitching, so the making process involves a lot of pins to hold everything in place until the end. But the final result is nice, so it’s worth it!p1020638

Pictured here with one of the Santa Clauses I inherited from my grandmother’s collection.

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Merry Christmas!

 

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Christmas Tableau 2012

This is my new faux-vintage ceramic Christmas tree, which I bought this year to replace the one my Grandma Ritchie used to have that I missed when we were going through her Christmas collection. Pictured here with the Santas I inherited from her collection. (The one in the back left is mine, but I swear I’m not starting an enormous Santa collection of my own. Probably. Maybe.)

Tree and Santas

Tree and Santas

Merry Christmas!

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Temari: Christmas Spirit

I actually finished this temari over Thanksgiving, but I was super busy after we got back, so it took me a while to get the pictures taken. This was a test pattern for a new class Barb is planning to offer online. The original was “Desert Spirit,” done with accent colors of blue and orange, but for the Christmas variation, she switched them out for red and green. The lime green, rather than a more traditional piney green, give it a kind of fun, modern twist.

Christmas Spirit pole view

Christmas Spirit pole view

This ball is on an unusual division, 20 faces built off of subdivisions of a simple 12, so it ends up with two big hexagons at either pole, then six pentagons surrounding them, and diamonds around the obi line. (The 6-5-4 descending order of shape sides pleases the mathematical part of my brain.)

This ball will be great for an online class, because it features a sampler of kiku stitch variations. In the hexagons at the poles, you can see the design uses the ribbed kiku. Each of the six pentagons below that have their own designs as well, four of which you can see in the equator view shot below:

Christmas Spirit equator view

Christmas Spirit equator view

As I worked on this, it became clear to me that not all of my pentagons were as even as they could have been, giving some of the kiku designs in those shapes one rather elongated point, but since I’m keeping this one for myself, I don’t mind. Here’s another one of the pentagon designs not visible in the photo above. Note the elongated point towards the diamond intersection.

Christmas Spirit pentagon view

Christmas Spirit pentagon view

I think if I do another version of this one, I’ll probably do swirls in the diamonds instead of the straight stitches. The straight stitches do look nice, but getting all the thread through that center intersection gets kind of hard towards the end. Overall, though, I really like this ball and hope to do some smaller accent balls to go with it so I can have a whole Christmas set!

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O Christmas Tree

Over the course of the week, I have finally succeeded in getting our Christmas tree up! Last Saturday, it got bought and brought home and put in the stand. I stalled on putting the lights on because Mark has a very specific way he likes them done, and I was hoping he would be inspired to do it himself, but this turned out to be a pretty busy week, so I ended up doing it on Thursday.

Mark’s way, for those who are curious and don’t already know, involves wrapping each individual branch of the tree in lights from the trunk out to the tip and back. This always takes forever, as you might imagine, but this year it was a particular challenge because our tree has some very… interesting branching patterns. The sub-branches appear to go in completely random directions, leading to sort of a twisty tree, rather than a classic orderly one. There was one sub-branch that actually grew backwards over its main branch, back past the trunk, and then out the other side of the tree. Needless to say, I didn’t actually wrap every single branch, but I must have done pretty well anyway, because I used up every strand of lights we owned.

Just the lights

Just the lights

By the time I was done with the lights, though, I couldn’t face doing anything else to the tree because I was already so tired. But it was a good thing I procrastinated the ornaments, because the next day I met my mom for some final shopping, and she had my childhood ornaments in boxes for me in the car!

Now with ornaments!

Now with ornaments!

Our family has so many ornaments now, they won’t all fit on my parents’ tree, and they get a really big one. Surely having all my ornaments out of the set helps solve some of this problem! One of the reasons we had so many ornaments was because my dad’s sister, my aunt Janice, made every person in the family a new ornament every year. She was a brilliant needleworker, and loved needlepoint especially, so we got some truly gorgeous ornaments from her. Here are a few:

Two Santas

Two Santas

The Christmas Koala

The Christmas Koala

Who doesn’t love a holiday marsupial?

Unicorn and violin

Unicorn and violin

The violin is from the time when I played the cello, and I suspect it was one of the closest patterns she had to looking like a cello. I’m not actually sure who gave me the unicorn, but I love it.

Mailbox ornament

Mailbox ornament

The mailbox ornament isn’t the most sophisticated example of needlepoint, but I actually remember helping her put these together! Given that I was 4 at the time, I’m not sure how much help I really was, but I have very few clear memories that I know are from that age, so I think that’s pretty cool. I’m not sure if you can see, but they have little tiny packages inside them, too. And a little fake pearl for the handle to open the mailbox door, which will really open and close.

Dana House ornament and Santa stocking

Dana House ornament and Santa stocking

The metal ornament there in the center isn’t a Janice ornament, I grant you, (though the Santa stocking on the left is,) but my brother and I also got a number of ornaments from my mom’s friend’s kids in Chicago (really, it was the moms sending things back and forth for each other’s kids, but the cards always said they were from the kids themselves.) Their family lives in Oak Park, so one year, or possibly two years, we got ornaments from the Frank Lloyd Wright museum. This one was deemed mine automatically, because it’s a design from the Dana House.

I’m so happy to have all my ornaments! Now the tree feels like a real Christmas tree.

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Wrapping Paper

I haven’t been able to get a Christmas tree yet, so I’ve been having to find other ways to get more Christmas in my life. This afternoon’s project: hand-decorated wrapping paper made from a recycled paper bag and some Sharpies.

Wrapping paper

Wrapping paper

The three designs (though I hope you can tell this just from looking) are jingle bells, holly, and pine cones on branches. I think I like the pine cones best. (Click the pictures for much bigger versions.)

Pine cones!

Pine cones!

If I can figure out what I did with the stamps I bought last year, I’ll do another one with snowflakes, because I have some really pretty pearly white ink to go with that stamp. I’m hoping they’re packed away in the box with the tree decorations, so I’ll hopefully find them this weekend.

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More catch-up posting! If this ends up not making sense, it’s because my brother caught some virus of doom and gave it to me and my dad right before he went back to the mountains. I forgive him, though, because he will have to suffer through it sleeping in a cold tent in the mountains at his wilderness camp job, while I sit in my heated apartment and drink tea.

A very quick recap of what I did during my 11-day break from work:

  • Friday, Dec. 21: Solstice Party at my aunt and uncle’s house here in Raleigh, which was full of liberal festivity and fabulous food, as always.
  • Saturday, Dec. 22: Fly to Michigan to see Mark’s family, with the shortest and smoothest security procedure I have ever experienced at our airport here. It was kind of eerie.
  • Sunday, Dec. 23-Tuesday, Dec. 25: Various low-key holiday things with Mark’s family, including finally getting to see Stardust; meeting his mom’s new dog and his sister’s new SO; looking at his stepfather’s most recently forged swords; going to the combined family Christmas party and baby shower for his sister; and of course, opening presents.
  • Wednesday, Dec. 26: Fly back to Raleigh, again experiencing an amazing lack of delay and hassle, even in the much larger Detroit airport.
  • Thursday, Dec. 27-Sunday, Dec. 30: Dinner at various relatives’ houses in Raleigh pretty much every night, with occasional present opening and much general visiting with what out-of-town relatives managed to get here this year.
  • Monday, Dec. 31: No wild partying, drinking, or revelry to speak of. Mark and I watched some TV, I read, he played a video game, and at 3 minutes to midnight, we flipped to a network station to watch the ball drop and felt very glad we weren’t in Times Square.
  • Tuesday, Jan. 1: Went over to my parents’ house to say farewell to my brother, ate their leftover New Year’s Eve food, plus the traditional black-eyed peas and greens, “watched” football (read a book in front of the TV.)
  • Wednesday, Jan. 2: Back to work, stricken by cold of doom

(more…)

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