Post Post Post Christmas Post.

Though technically, the holidays are long gone, the winter has really only started around these parts. The days are calling for indoor inspiration. And we had a chance to do some pretty fun things that I'd love to share in case you are looking for a little incentive to shake up the daily routine.

Thanks to the wildly popular advent calendar, there was a lot of making in our house in December (some will argue too much making...) and there were constant project piles on every available surface. Particularly around the sewing machine and oven. What was so great this year was how much more the making involved the whole family. It's hard - it's sometimes a drag, really - to have to plan something every day for a month and come home from a long day of work and school and find the energy to do things besides curl up on the couch and read books together. But it is clearly shaping the kids' perspective of what Christmas and holidays are all about and the focus is on other people and doing things. I have to repeat this to myself often to remember why the hell we do things so much the hard way sometimes. It pays back. 

 We received a gorgeous box of citrus for our fruit share in December. Much of the clementine and orange rinds were made into candied citrus peel.

 Of course, gingerbread men were on the menu.

 The solstice was celebrated over two days in our house, the first night was at a neighborhood solstice bonfire and the second was a candlelight dress-up dinner at home. We donned our finest and tried to keep K from blowing out the candles the entire time.

I had helpful reminders whenever I tried to slack off on advent activities.
Yes, we remembered the popcorn string. After the tree came down in January, the popcorn and cranberries were taken outside for bird food.
 Another surprising hit activity in our house was the making of wrapping paper and cards. This went on all night. We had enough wrapping paper to wrap six families' worth of gifts.

The cookie and candy-making was in full force this year. The 2011 roster included:
These peppermint-coconut lip balms were made for M's preschool teachers. Making the balm and whipping up a few hand-stamped labels took less than one hour for a beautiful gift he was incredibly proud to give. This great idea comes courtesy of SouleMama.
 My biggest project was to make a pile of recycled sweater mittens (I took a class with this terrific lady to jump start my making and it was worth every penny, but you can find her free tutorial for the mittens right here). The ones above are a father-son pair for J and M. These are easy but not-so-fast when you are a beginner sewer like me. Also, you can end up with kattywompus mittens that you wind up giving anyway because they took you so damn long to make. I'm all for wabi-sabi gifting.

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