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Thursday, December 29, 2011

Things the Beadboys Have Used as Ornaments on the Tree

Various toys
A spoon
A fork
A bowl
My car/house/office keys
Scraps of paper
Used tissues
A pair of Diego underpants

Friday, December 23, 2011


Chocolate-Peppermint Thumbprints (the Martha Stewart website does not have the recipe yet):

Pan de polvo:

Misshapen Pepparkakor (from Prairie Moon, in 2005's Christmas Ornaments):

Mint M&M Cookies (my own "recipe," by which I mean the Tollhouse cookie recipe with m&ms instead of chocolate chips):
They'd be prettier if I'd added the m&ms in one by one after the cookies were partially cooked, but that would have been too much labor on a Monday night.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Christmas Pudding

Mr. Beadgirl's father is from England, so this seemed an appropriate ornament for the Bead-in-laws:

It is made from wool felt and hand-sewn, although had I used the machine (it's in the shop) I think I would have been able to stuff it more firmly. The design is from the 2009 issue of Holiday Crafts.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Monday, December 19, 2011

Dear Jane Part Deux

Beadmom liked my Dear Jane quilt so much she hasn't stopped talking about it. I had a few squares left over so I thought I'd make some more so she could have her own Jane. But she's running out of wall space . . . what to do? Bags are always useful, so I used nine squares for each side. I used a heavyweight iron-on interface to protect the stitching and add heft to the bag. A three-inch piece of doubled fabric serves as the bottom and sides, so the squares don't get distorted when there is stuff in the bag. I lined the bag with a cheery yellow batik, Beadmom's favorite color, and I used strips of black webbing for the handles (fabric wears too easily). And just in time for Christmas!

Good thing Beadmom is skeptical of blogs, and never reads mine.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Jumping on the Bandwagon

Monkeys, and in particular sock monkeys, are very popular right now. My cross-stitching allotment is being taken up by the Three Kings so I could not cross-stitch this and this (this year), but what about making the actual monkey? I don't knit, so these adorable guys were out of the question, but I do sew.

I took two pairs of this:

And turned them into this:
I added buttons for eyes, to match the eyes of the Beadboys. Astute viewers will notice that one monkey's arms are inside out; oops. I'm a little apprehensive as to how well these will hold up given the rough play the boys subject everything to, but the monkeys will look adorable peering out of the top of stockings on Christmas morning.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

O, Christmas Tree

The Beadboys tend to clump ornaments together on the lower third of the tree, so over the next few days I need to shift some of them around.

Friday, December 9, 2011

I Forgot!

Beadmom needlepointed this for me a few a years ago. She even picked the branch it hangs from from her backyard and spray-painted it gold (she has always been one for twigs and branches in her decor, a habit that drove Beaddad crazy.)

Thursday, December 8, 2011

We Three Kings

As I wrote earlier, the Mill Hill kits inspired the decorations for the mantel this year:
The main pieces are my Santos from Puerto Rico. Santos are wooden carvings of saints and other Catholic figures. Originally devotionary in nature, they are now a big part of the art and culture of the island. I've loved the Three Kings ever since I was a little girl, so when I started my own Santos collection, that's whom I gravitated to.

My first set, bought by me on one of my trips to P.R.:
A triptych style Beadmom gave to Mr. Beadgirl the Christmas we got engaged:
And Beadmom's, which she gave to me when we moved:
Poor Balthasar -- his present broke off, and no matter how many times I glue it back it falls over.

I also have another cross-stitch Three Kings:
This was a pattern from the defunct British magazine Needlecraft that I made in the 90s.

I also have some of their camels. A Prairie Schooler design:

An ornament from one of those international fair-trade-type stores (made in India I think?):

And a felt camel, from I forget where:

The pillar candles to the right of the mantel are my Advent Wreath:
Pillars last a lot longer than tapers, and they are harder to knock over -- an important consideration because of the Beadboys and the Beadcats.

Once, when I was a little girl in P.R., I remember coming back late one night from a holiday outing with my family and my godfather and his wife. I was half-asleep when my godfather pointed out the car window to a house which had plastic statues of the Kings on its front yard. "Look!" he said. "Those are the Three Kings, stopping at that house to deliver presents. But they saw us driving by, so they are pretending to be statues." I spent the rest of the trip staring intently at other statues on other lawns, trying to catch a glimpse of the Kings moving and giving themselves away.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Felt Garland

This idea came from the winter issue of Stitch, and was super fast to make. I freehand cut a bunch of circles between one and two inches, then ran them one after the other through the machine (chain-piecing) until I got the length I wanted. I occasionally added a smaller circle of felt on top, and afterward sewed on a few buttons by hand. I'll have to remember this -- I can easily make garlands to match any color scheme (this one, darkish but vibrant, is to go with my Three Kings).

Friday, December 2, 2011


I got all excited when I saw Mill Hill's Three Magi kits -- the Three Kings are my favorite Christmas . . . symbols? Characters? Iconography? Anyway, I snapped up the kits in the fall, and once I finished the Paisley Pumpkin Melchior became my next cross stitch project.

Beadboy2, upon seeing him: "That's one of the kings that gave Jesus presents. Is that ice cream?"

The kits have also served as my inspiration for the mantle this year, which I will use to display my various Three Kings.

If I want to complete the trilogy by Christmas, I'd better get cracking on Gaspar.