Thursday, December 22, 2011

December Cheer

Today is The Winter Solstice and we will be having a yummy winter meal by candle light tonight. We will also be reading the book "The Shortest Day: Celebrating The Winter Solstice" By: Wendy Pfeffer. (this book is listed in my book list on the right hand side of the page) I will share photos on Monday. Today, I want to share how we have been enjoying this most wonderful time of the year.

You know how the holiday season seems to come out of nowhere and just kind of blindsides you? I think about it year round, trying to gather little gifts throughout the year to save for December, yet somehow every single year I find myself asking, "How the heck can it be Christmas time already?" Then panic ensues as we try to gather up all of the must have adornments (wreaths, trees, amaryllis, more lights, etc) and also try to find moments to slow down and enjoy each other. 

This year we set up our Christmas Tree in our living room, which was still not completely painted after a long process of renovating it. Since we wanted to make sure that we had our tree up in time to enjoy it and not get one at the last minute like we have done in the past and end up with a tree that is a sorry looking, lopsided, dried out mess among the few remaining at the lot, we bought before we were truly ready to put it in our living room (we were not going to fall into that trap for the second third fourth year in a row). So, we had an evening of decorating, listening to holiday music (songs like my all time favorite Christmas song) and enjoying our time together. We set the tree up in the middle of the living room with the expectation that paint on the window sill would be dry the next day and we could move the tree then. 

The next morning we woke to a tree that was beautifully decorated laying on the floor amongst several beautiful ornaments, shattered to pieces. 

I tried to convince myself that since the ornaments are only things and we should not be so invested in things when we there are so many more important things in life. I decided that I would not let the fact that ornaments that I had been saving since I was a little girl were broken bring me down. We had to clean up the mess, stand that tree back up and make some ornaments for it. 

I wanted to try to create some ornaments that were representative of the year we've had "traveling" the world while staying home. I decided that the best way to do this was to use salt dough and yes, you guessed it, Sculpey. 

We started out with the salt dough ornaments, using the recipe of one part, one part, two parts... one cup of salt, one cup of water and two cups of flour. We rolled them out, cut them using cookie cutters and then before putting them in the oven, I decided to try out a method that I found on Pinterest. We stamped them using rubber stamps. This way, when they came out of the oven (a few hours later) they would not need to be painted. I have a rubber stamp that is an image of the earth and I have some lovely Asian stamps with dragons and Kanji symbols for "Happiness", "Harmony" and "Love".

Eliana made the leaf and I made the star and tree.  

I also made one with an A.
Of course we made a few traditional style ones too (the shell ornament in the background with the beads is one that we made two years ago, we made several and they are still among my favorite ornaments) 

For the second part we used Sculpey. As you all know by now, I use Sculpey for a lot of projects, like this one and this one (there are so many more it's almost embarrassing. I have tried to steer away from the Sculpey a little bit, but it just seems to often be the best option for creating something with littles.)
So, since we have done so many projects with Sculpey, we had a lot of "left overs" hanging around. I pulled out the supplies and we got started. I thought that we should make each one somehow representative of one of the countries that we have learned about this year, but the kids didn't like that idea. Aiden wanted to make a pyramid which we decided was suitable since there are pyramids in Mexico (though his real intention was Egypt... which we have not yet "visited" in our travels). Eliana made a Mati, this time in green (see the Matis that we made when we learned about Greece here). Eliana and I together made a shamrock to represent Ireland. Then I let the kids make whatever they wanted while I worked on an ornament that was representative of Pakistan, my idea was not very creative, but I struggled with several ideas before I settled on the green and white "PK". I also made a clog to represent The Netherlands, and Eliana decided to make a mini clog as well, with a pearl on the toe. 


These are the ornaments that the kids made when left to be free and create. Aiden made the two rectangular ones and Eliana made the other three, the one in the top right corner is a bear incase you were wondering... isn't it lovely? I love these creations that my littles made, they make me happy. 
We didn't cover all of the countries that we learned about, but we got a few and I think those, coupled with the salt dough ornaments, will fill in our nearly naked tree just fine.  

I hope that those of you who celebrate Christmas have a very Merry one and that you are filled with delight and joy.

There's still time to make suggestions for our 2012 "Travels".


  1. OH!!! That's so sad about the tree. Milo pulled our tree over when he was 1 and broke most of my childhood ornaments. After that we got a cast-iron tree stand and I put away the remaining glass ornaments for 8 years (this year I also tied the tree to the window frames with fishing line because the stem wasn't long enough to fit snugly in the base). I love all the ornaments you made, especially the ones the kids did with the beads.

    Right now I'm sitting in our hotel room watching snow fall down on all of today's plans, listening to my husband playing christmas songs on the ukelele in a VERY small space and trying to avoid having to make a puzzle with Zephyr and feeling not Christmas cheery in the least.

  2. Andrea, We also always tie our tree up, but had planned to do it after we moved it, we never dreamed that it would topple in the night while everyone was sleeping.

    Sorry to hear that your vacation is not as pleasant as you hoped. Maybe you can sing along with the ukelele music and that will help boost the spirit :)


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