Thursday, December 9, 2010

Hope, Peace, Joy, Love

In just the past week or so, I have been seeing a great number of Christmas garlands of all kinds; and while they are all so beautiful in each their own color and design, I was also working on one of my own.  Inspired by the patterns to be found at The Royal Sisters blog, for the tree, the star, and the heart,  I decided these were what I wanted for a Christmas garland for my kitchen this year!

Here you see everything lined up, each getting decorated simply with little silk flowers, buttons, or beads.  As you can see by the boxes, I'm in the middle of Christmas decorating the house, much of it done, and much still to BE done!

Once I got this bit of embellishment done, I had a little trouble deciding what kind of garland I wanted to hang my ornaments on.  At first I thought to hang them on just one long strand of crocheted chain stitches.  In fact, I tried it in several colors, not sure why I didn't like it...  I only knew each time that I just DIDN'T!  Next I wondered if a pine garland might be nice, but I thought that would be too heavy and dark for the simpler look that I wanted...  Then I remembered a garland I found HERE.  I had fun hot-gluing both red and green peppermints together, approximately 85 of them for mine!  It really didn't take too long!

Here you see where I hung them on the wall just above my kitchen cabinets!..  I believe "soffit" is the proper term.  I wish you could see it in person.  I really love how this came out!

But between the lighting I had to work with, and my amateur photographer's skills, such as they are, these photos will have to do!  My own camera has now officially bit the dust, interestingly enough, right around to almost the exact date it's warranty was probably expired...  so I thank Dear Daughter for letting me borrow her camera for this post!...  Thank you Baby Girl!

Because of the broken camera, I was unable to show this next project sooner, but here it is for anyone who might still be interested, for either this year or next...  First inspired by the tradition, as Tasha Tudor explained it in a t.v. special I saw and LOVED on PBS one year, I finally got around to making my own Advent wreath!  Traditionally made with evergreen boughs, I chose to go with what other material??... YARN of course!

Using a wire wreath form I picked up at a yard sale...

Yes, for only TEN CENTS!!!...  I first wound my yarn, much as you would for making a pom-pom, except I chose not to cut the ends.

I made many little "bundles" like this, then tied them to the wire form, till I was happy enough with the fullness of the wreath.  This took less than one skein for the 10" wire wreath I used.  (Actually, if you do not have a wire wreath form to work with, I don't see any reason why you couldn't just cut a wreath shape from heavy cardboard!.. Then you could glue the yarns to that!)

Ha! Can you tell I'm using my own camera here, before it broke?!...  Next, I crocheted 4 little pine cones for my Advent wreath, which you can find the directions for HERE!

I attached the pine cones by tying them onto the wire form, between the yarns (sorry, they're hard to see in my photos, I know), and then I added some simple silk flower and ribbon bows to complete the look I wanted.  I went to my local dollar store, picked up 4 small glass candle holders for the outside candles, and one taller glass candle holder for the white candle in the middle.

The doily you see is the one I crocheted using the 1918 pattern, in the October CAL, over at Crochet Galore!  Standing nearby, are a family of dolls that my brother and SIL gave me for Christmas one year! 

Most traditionally, the 4 outside candles are 3 purple and one pink;  but I have seen many people use blue candles, and even burgundy/maroon colored ones instead.  Some people go with all white candles.  I could not find ANY purple ones, so I then chose to go with blue candles.  I've heard that blue candles are the preferred color by some, because it represents the night sky, by which the wise men followed a star, to find the baby Jesus!  I liked that, and may just go with a little darker shade of blue for next year!

Traditionally the candles are lit in a specific order, leading up to Christmas Day.  I have found many variations, but being there seems to be no absolute or mandatory setup, here is how I see it.  The first blue (or purple) candle, lit on the first of four Sundays before Christmas...  this year, being November 28th, represents hope.  The second candle, in blue, was lit on the 5th of December.  It represents peace. (though I've found the second to be also referred to as "the way", and that the second and fourth candles may be symbolized vice versa.) Some refer to it as the candle of preparation.  It seems to be a matter of preference.  I, myself, prefer peace...  The third candle, the rose-pink one, sometimes referred to as the "shepherd's candle", represents joy, and will be lit on the third Sunday of Advent. The last blue candle will be lit on the 4th Sunday, December 19th, representing love.  The white candle, in the middle of all the other candles, is known as "the Christ candle".  It stands for Jesus Christ himself,  the "reason for the season"...  the lamb of God, sent to wash away our sins.  It is lit on either Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, or both if you so choose!  As all the candles are lit, throughout the season, the one most common and agreed-upon theme/symbolization that the Advent wreath represents is that Jesus is "the Light", and he brings light to the world!  Amen to that!

Well, back to the topic of crochet...  onto another project I decided to take on recently, which was dressing my dolls for the holidays!  Inspired by the pattern that the very talented Darlene Cutler designed, which you can find HERE, I whipped up a couple of little Christmas sweaters for my Cabbage Patch dolls!

These sweaters, in Christmas greens and reds, were so quick and easy to whip up, but DO pay attention to her note about adding extra rows to the back.  I found this to be quite necessary for the sweater to fit well.  Still, I loved the pattern, and I'm tempted to find more dolls and teddy bears, just to crochet some more sweaters!..  Oh, but by the way, Bev, over at One Yarn After Another, might very well recognize the pretty baby poncho on the brunette in the middle!  That's her talented work right there!...   And Leann, from The Old Parsonage, might remember my mentioning little "J.J.", short for Justin Jerome.  He, on the left, is the first Cabbage Patch Doll I ever had.  My mother gave him to me.  I couldn't even guess how many years ago...  I can only remember it was right around the time when they first came out...  Whenever it was exactly, it became a major phenomenon for it's time, and for every doll lover and collector out there!  Coleco reported sales at $600 MILLION in 1985!  The hoopla has since died down, as most fads do, but new Cabbage Patch dolls are still available under the company name of Hasbro.  As for myself, I still can't resist picking them up from yard sales whenever I find them, bringing them to a new loving home where they can still be appreciated!

Between being so busy, and not having my camera, I have not had the opportunity to talk or post much about the Advent Swap I'm in this month!

I've had so much fun opening one little gift a day, from Emma at her blog, Land of Emma!  She too likes to craft and crochet, and it's been a pleasure to get to know her more throughout this event!  Here you see a small tree I set up in my bedroom, with her gifts setting underneath it!  (Pammy Sue, from Scotty's Place, might recognize the very pretty crocheted mandala that my tree is set on!  That's her talented work, as you catch a glimpse of it here!)

(Recognize the ribbon on my tree, Emma?!)

Well, here are just a few of the beautiful things
that Emma's given me for Christmas, so far!

Love these handmade ornaments, 
hung on the biggest tree in my house!

...And here are a few more things, so far!  There's a new recipe I can't wait to try, and some beautiful fabric, some very pretty doilies...   and I've been complimented for this very pretty winter scarf already, shown in lovely shades of grays and pinks!  Thank you Emma!!

That's about it for now, I guess! (ha! ha!  Lots of reading I know, but I hope you enjoy your visits here!)...  I have so MUCH to do, and barely the time to do it all!!!  I'm hoping to start some Christmas baking today!  The weather has quickly and steadily gotten colder and colder around my neck of the woods, and firing up the oven sounds good to me right now!  I have heard about everybody getting snow already...   and quite a bit of it too!  It's not a sure thing, according to the weather man, but it sounds like we'll be getting a share of the "white stuff" this coming weekend! 

I hope everybody's enjoying the holiday season, and I guess I'll get to post again, when Dear Daughter can lend me her camera again!!   For my next crochet project, I'm working on a simple Christmas throw pillow for my living room couch, inspired by this tutorial.  

Keep warm, and keep safe, 
as the cold weather conditions progress... 
And if I may add, 
most especially at this time of year, remember.... 
 "Peace On Earth, good will toward men."

"THAT'S what Christmas is all about Charlie Brown."