Thursday, November 14, 2013

Thanksmas or Christgiving?

Raymond and I hung Christmas lights on my duplex last weekend, and last night I turned them on. No shame! Unlike some people, I have no problem mixing Thanksgiving and Christmas. What's the difference between last night and next weekend, anyway?

Every year at Christmas my family visits Silver Dollar City in Branson, MO. These are just a few of the thousands of trees covered in twinkling lights. We used to go over the Thanksgiving holiday, so it's possible my parents felt the same as me about combining the winter holiday love. I'm thankful we were able to go last December, as it was the last trip we made with my Dad and gave us all some wonderful memories (including snow!).
It's not that I don't love Thanksgiving -- I do -- but I don't see what's wrong with extending the Christmas season and making Thanksgiving part of it. I love Christmas so much that I want to enjoy the lights, tree, and warm candlelight longer than four short weeks. Besides, it takes at least one of those weeks just to get all the decorations out of the box.

Last year my parents and little sister spent Thanksgiving with me in Dublin, Ireland. The pub we stopped in for dinner had this "Thanksgiving" special! None of my family ordered it, but I had been in Europe for three months already and wanted a taste of home. It was delicious, as was the red lemonade in the picture, something you can only order in Ireland.
Last November only confirmed my opinion about merging the two major holidays when I was in Europe and the German Christmas Markets went up the first or second week of November. England obviously does not celebrate Thanksgiving, which allows them to enjoy the German beer, hand-crafted sweets, and carnival Christmas festival for at least two or three weeks longer than it would culturally be allowed in the USA. Tell me, what's wrong with celebrating Christmas for as long as possible?

The German Christmas Markets in Europe can go on for miles! Raymond and I had the chance to visit three or four different markets while in Europe. Birmingham had the largest outside of Germany! Oh, what I would give for some of those Christmas sweets or German beer here in Kansas...
Tomorrow I will take more glittery Christmas goodies out of their boxes and joyfully place them around my small duplex. In a couple weeks I will enjoy a delicious spread of food for Thanksgiving, including all my favorites (my mom's turkey, cream corn, Raymond's mashed potatoes, and LOTS of pie). And all the while, my phone will play Christmas songs that not only make me happy, but also very, very thankful.

Monday, November 4, 2013

DIY Thanksgiving Yarn Wreath

Welcome to November! I hope you had a great Halloween and enjoyed an extra hour of sleep on Sunday morning. I know I did!

Halloween was interesting. I did have a lot of Trick-or-Treaters, and the little ones were so darling! Unfortunately only about half of them actually said "trick-or-treat" and only one in five said thank you. I think next year I might put a sign on the door that says "don't bother if you're over 10." Think that would get my tires slashed? Did you have similar experiences with kids at your door?

Here's my DIY Thanksgiving Yarn Wreath

I originally planned on making this wreath for October but never got around to it. I love having something on my front door and hung a ghost up instead. When the ghost had to come down it was time for me to actually complete this project.

Unfortunately I was not thinking ahead enough to take pictures while I was working on this, but it's REALLY easy and anyone can do it!

For this project you need:

A foam craft wreath
Fake flowers
Pins (I used pearl pins because they are pretty but any old pins will work)

Here's what you need, plus the foam wreath and flowers of your choice. Like my colorful rug?

First, pick out your foam craft wreath or reuse one you already have. This wreath can be whatever size you want. I picked mine up at Hobby Lobby with a 40% off coupon making it a grand total of $3. I've occasionally seen these even cheaper at Walmart. If you haven't downloaded the app for Michaels and Hobby Lobby, do it now! You can have an infinate number of 40% off coupons without looking through the ads every week!

This is what I used, found at Hobby Lobby.

Next, pick out whatever colors of yarn and flowers you want. My mom gave me these from another project, so they were FREE! Before you spend money on yarn make sure you ask your mom, gma, aunt, best friend who knows how to knit -- someone probably has extra yarn they would just give you to get it out of their craft room. If you have to buy some, you do not need expensive stuff and you do not need a lot. I used four colors and when I was done it barely looked like I had touched the rolls.

Now for the assembly:

1. Start by tying your first color around the foam (tie it to itself, don't cut it!). Start wrapping. It's that easy. Wrap the yarn until you like how much is covered. I used about the length of my finger but mostly just eyeballed it. If you want to be really particular you can use a tape measurer. Sorry, I forgot to take pictures of this part!

2. When the first section is long enough, cut it and partially knot it to itself. I used an under-over-through type knot but it doesn't have to be extremely tight, because now you tie your second color to the loose end. Tada! Both are secured. 

3. Wrap, tie, repeat. Do this all the way around the wreath. When I got to the end I wrapped a large section with brown because I knew it was going to be covered with the flowers anyway.

You're almost done! Make sure all your knots are tight and cut off the loose extra yarn. Next, rip your fake flowers apart. Seriously, don't get super expensive ones because you are just taking the flower petals off the green plastic stem. You can use fabric flowers if you're crafty and have time to do that. 

4. I dismantled three or four of my fake purple flowers and stuck a pearl pin straight through the middle to hold it to the wreath. I've done this before on a couple other projects and it has always worked like a charm.

Congratulations! Your wreath is done. You can jazz it up with other crafty things like letters or ribbon if you want, but I just hung it up like this. You can also secure the yarn/flowers with a glue gun if necessary. I love how it turned out, it's a great addition to my front door for the month.

Let me see your pictures if you give it a try, or I would love to hear your your tips and suggestions to make this better. I'll be trying something new for Christmas in a few weeks, I can't wait!