We have had the most wonderful day today!
This morning, while I volunteered at the clothing and toy exchange, Zander and his daddy went for a nice walk at the beach. I felt happy knowing that they had something fun to do while I was busy and that they were getting some fresh air outside.
I also felt happy seeing Zander’s former toys and clothing going to homes where they will be used and loved again, and I was delighted to find some great “new” stuff for Zander there, as well, which I wrapped this evening after he went to bed.
My favorite toy find was a wooden Miracle Pounding toy by Plan Toys. I have always felt good about buying from this environmentally and socially responsible company, and I feel even better about re-using something that they have made and knowing that when Zander is done with it, we will pass it along to someone else who is ready to enjoy it. My favorite clothing finds were an adorable Kavu outdoor vest and some items by Hanna Andersson, both good companies that use eco-friendly natural fabrics. We also brought home some gorgeous wrapping paper that was donated by the owners of Post San Juan. But best of all, it was just incredible to see so many friendly faces and feel the strong sense of community with which this island is blessed.
Actually, no, that wasn’t the best part. The best part was that out of literally dozens of delicious-looking varieties of baked goodies, my vegan cupcakes were the first to “sell out” at the bake sale! Now that’s vegan outreach at it’s finest.
Although he spent a good hour and a half in his “bed” today, Zander didn’t really take a nap. From the next room, I could hear him talking to himself and to his stuffed bunny for the better part of that time. When he finally began to call for me, I gave up and took him out to run a few very important errands, such as picking up the book Llama Llama Holiday Drama from the library because we were finally next in line on the waiting list. When we got back home, it was time for dinner, followed by an early bath and bedtime, so no cooking or craft projects today.
That said, this seems like a great opportunity to talk about some fun things that are easy to make at home, like the wreath we made on Thanksgiving Day. It was unusually windy that day; so windy, in fact, that little Zander was blown to the ground a couple of times, which was fun for everyone. We went for a nice long walk that morning along the bluffs on the southern part of the island, and on our way back, Zander started collecting fallen evergreen branches and bringing them to me. I realized that this was a great opportunity to bring that fabulous smell into our home and also have fun making a wreath together, so I enlisted his daddy’s help in carrying the branches.
Here is our finished product:
Our wreath may not be fancy, and it’s a little bit lopsided, but so what? We had a great time making it, and it makes our whole house smell lovely. We used craft and beading wire as our base, but you could use just about anything, such as a wire coat hanger formed into a circle and some thread to hold the branches together. You could add ribbons or flowers or pine cones or beautiful red berries, or just leave it “plain” green. The important thing is that you laugh a lot while doing it and smile every time you look at it hanging on your wall (or door, or wherever you choose to hang it).
I love making homemade things for the holidays, and another example is Zander’s stocking, which I made for him last year. This was my first ever felt project, inspired by my friend Sarah, and I loved it. It was so incredibly easy to make. I just sketched out an idea of what I wanted the stocking to look like (using things that Zander really likes, such as his “fur-siblings,” our two black cats), then drew each item (including the stocking itself) onto the appropriate color of felt, cut it out, used fabric glue to temporarily hold it all in position, and then stitched each component onto the base using embroidery floss and an oversized needle.
Once I had completed the design on the front of the stocking, I sewed it to the back with the outsides facing in, then pulled to reverse the stocking inside-out (this simultaneously concealed the seam and revealed the design).
My final holiday craft idea for today is this little snowman, who stands about 9 inches tall:
I made him years ago, and he remains a family favorite. This project is simple enough that you could easily enlist the help of a young child to make one of your own. Keeping in mind that it’s important to give your snowman its own unique personality, all you need are:
– a large white athletic sock for the body
– a fuzzy black sock (or whatever color you like) for the hat (you could also add a fuzzy pom pom to make it more playful)
– various sizes of buttons for the eyes and/or buttons down the front of the snowman
– some tiny beads for the mouth
– a miniature fake carrot (which you can buy at most craft stores) for the nose
– a hot glue gun
– a needle and thread
– some cotton or polyester pillow stuffing
– some beans to weigh down the bottom of the snowman (underneath the stuffing) to keep him standing upright, and
– some sort of scarf (I knitted mine—my first ever knitting attempt—but you could just as easily cut out a piece of soft fleece fabric or something similar to use for your scarf).
You put the beans into the white sock first, then stuff in the pillow stuffing to make the body. Sew the white sock slightly together about 2/3 of the way up to create a neck (or you could even just add a rubber band around the outside of the sock, and then cover it up with a scarf), and add more stuffing for the head. Sew the top of the head shut, then cut off the toe of the black sock and glue it on top to create your hat. Glue on the face and any other decorations and add your scarf, and you have a friendly little snowman!
Here’s his side profile:
Super easy, and ours has lasted for over a decade now. Maybe sometime soon, Zander and I will make him a little friend. For now, I am signing off to get some sleep!