We're finally in the holiday swing of things, and things are swingin'...the girls and I visited the homeschool coop we belonged to last year for their holiday performances (think "Deck the Halls" on piano, one-finger style, and "Jingle Bell Rock" on violin...it was very cute) and to share in the making of gingerbread houses. Or in Ani's case, to get totally lost in a game with her little friend Sawyer that involved mice and dogs and rivers and lots of running. It was nice to see folks, and also nice to not feel like we missed going on a regular basis.
We picked Papa up in the afternoon and headed out to a tree farm to cut down our own Christmas tree. I have such mixed feelings about this, but the idea of cutting our own was so exciting for the girls, and it seemed like one of those things a person should do once in their childhood...I have to say that the little voice running through my head sounded a lot like the duck from Babe who runs around the barnyard shouting "Christmas is carnage!" Ah, well. Our little pine is quite lovely and is still standing after 24 hours with cats.
Today was about secret errands and trying to get things wrapped and ready for mailing (not all done yet...). While Dan and Eliza were out for a while this afternoon, Ani and I made wrapping paper, inspired by this post on this beautiful blog called Red Bird Crafts. She LOVED this project.We didn't have a snowflake stamp, so we cut one out of a potato, and used an old parsnip from the bottom of the "rotter" in the fridge to make little polka-dots as well.
And of course, the thumbs got involved...
And soon after, the feet, but I was too busy holding a giggling girl while she pranced across the paper, and plopping said girl into a bath to take photos...
My favorite things adorning the tree just now are the snowflakes Dan and the girls made last year and again this year, and the little origami balloons that you can just pop over the stringed lights. We did this years ago in Seattle, and it is just magical, that glow. My sister-in-law asked if I could post a how-to on this, and I made an attempt to photograph every stage and got terribly frustrated (the camera of course cooperated on photographs of some of the gifts we're making, but I can't post those, as they haven't yet been given!). I did a quick search online, and there are many tutorials for "origami balloon" that should do. (Here is the first one that pops up on google; it looks accurate and easy to follow) Here are a few shots that seem to have worked out.
I was struck, as I looked through the pictures, by how much my hands look like my grandmother's. Same shape, same short fingers...I've been looking at these hands all my life, and they are suddenly a big woman's hands. A little dry, not very fancy, but strong and ready to work, massage, streeeeeetch to make the octave on the piano, or fold some little delicate pieces of paper into little balls of light.