Thursday, January 6, 2011

Christmas, Presents and the New Year

What a holiday!

I know, I know, it's been a while since I posted, but between making Christmas and spending some well needed quality time with the hubby (who had almost two weeks off!) it's been a little hectic. Hence, there will probably be a lot in this post!

Gee, where to start?

Typically, the holidays aren't the greatest for me. Holidays are cursed in my family. I won't bore you with all the details, but I will tell you that even with the difficulties, Christmas was always the best. My grandmother always made it special. We always had a very decorated tree, Bing Crosby crooning, and wonderful homemade desserts. I think she embodied the idea of Christmas. She always loved to give presents to people, even to those who should have gotten a lump of coal.

But then two years ago on December 29th, she passed away. It was hard enough since this wonderful woman raised me and was in every way but biological my mother, but did it really have to happen right after Christmas, her favorite time of the year? Maybe for her it was the best thing, to be surrounded by the people who loved her at her favorite time of the year, but for me it was cruel. The joy of the season has this dark cloud over it.

But this year it was different.

For Christmas Eve, presents I made, and Doctor Who crafts I'll be making, click the link!

If you've never read/watched Charles Dicken's A Christmas Carol, there's a scene where Scrooge's nephew Fred is having a Christmas party with friends, plenty of food and laughter. And I always wanted a Christmas like that, but never really happened. It happened this year. My hubby's chef invited us over for dinner on Christmas Eve. Having no plans and no family this year we accepted. Besides, how many people have a food gold medalist cook for them?? ;) He warned us not to eat anything that day, and omiword, he was not kidding.

Let's start with the hors d'oeuvrs: shrimp cocktail, clams, mini crab cakes, an assortment of anti-pasta, a crab ball (crab and cream cheese) and a few different kinds of cheeses including 5 year aged cheddar, aged provolone, gorgonzola, colby jack, and cranberry stilton with a bunch of crackers.

Then came the real food!

The first course was a fish soup made with sea bass. It might not sound good, but it was delicious. The second course was sea bass with smoked paprika, tarragon butter with roasted tomato. I should say that I love seafood, but I'm typically not a huge fan of fish. I like lobster, shrimp, crab, calamari, clams, etc. But this was my favorite course of the evening. It just melted in your mouth and the flavor was incredible. Actually, I think it was my favorite thing that I ever ate! The third course was a lobster ceaser salad, which was also delicious. Then the final course - I wasn't kidding that it was a lot of food! - was pasta with Chef's special tomato sauce and crabs, lobster, scallops, shrimp, clams and stuffed calamari (I think there was more, but that's what I know for sure). Amazing. My problem was I was so full at this point I couldn't eat as much as I wanted to.

For dessert there were about, oh a dozen, different kinds of cookies, flourless chocolate tort and Larry, the guy hubby works directly under, brought a strawberry tart and tiramisu. Oh my. A LOT of food! It wasn't just the food, but also the company. Okay, I have to admit, I'm not very good around people. My family never really interacted with people and I tend to withdraw around people I don't know. And this happened and I hope they didn't think I was rude. But I still ended up talking to some people and having a wonderful time. 

Ok, so onto the presents! Like I said earlier, I made a lot of the presents that I gave out. And I'm pleased to say that they were a huge hit! 

Let's start with my brother, CJ. I didn't get a picture of it, but I've been working on a scrapbook for him. A few years ago, he found a box full of baby pictures and was upset to find that there quite a few of me and only one of him. So I've been collecting pictures of him from when we were little. When going through my grandmother's house, getting all my things out, I found about a dozen baby pictures of him, including ones from the day he was born and the card they filled out for his crib in the hospital. So this year I had to give it to him. He was so surprised to see those pictures and was so happy to have all those special pictures in one place.

What he told me he wanted for Christmas was a fleece scarf. He has a leather jacket he loves and wear all the time, but it's not very warm around the neck and upper chest. I think he was suspecting just a plain old scarf, but of course I wouldn't hear of that. His favorite colors are black and red and he loves dragons.I found a dragon stencil online, traced it and cut it out in red felt and then using Steam a Seam, attached it to a black scarf I made. He was thrilled, especially with the dragon.

For Joy, I was a little stumped. She's the type of person she wants something useful, so I kept debating between making her something or giving her a gift card. But then I remembered that she liked a dress I made for myself and decided to make her one. The pattern I used is McCall's 6127. 

I have to say, I LOVE this pattern. It's easy, but super flattering and I think it's very versatile. Not only have I made two dresses, but also two shirts using this pattern. But that's for a different post. :) And with purple being her favorite color, I used some purple fabric that she actually gave to me.

I also made her some jewelry to wear with it. I forgot to get a clear picture of it, so this will have to do. I used gray beads and a silver connector. I also made matching earrings, but don't have any pictures of them. She loved it! She couldn't wait to try it on and show everyone. 

Hilary's gift was rather last minute. She saw my Weeping Angel Christmas tree topper and thought it was really creative. She had been searching for a topper of Mary holding baby Jesus and couldn't find one anywhere, so asked me if I could make her one for next year. Pssh. Why wait for next year?

This was a slight challenge for me because I couldn't find any baby dolls small enough to turn into Jesus. So I ended up sculpting his head out of clay. It's not bad for a first attempt, but I think I'll stick to trying to find dolls next time, lol. I used a Barbie doll and a water bottle for Mary (see my Weeping Angel tutorial on how I attached the Barbie to the bottle). I repainted her face so it was more natural looking instead of bright neon green eyes and hot pink lips. The dress and headdress are all my own patterns. 

Finally came Lynn's present. She and her husband just finished putting together their kitchen and the theme is apples. What would be more appropriate then a apple apron? The pattern is my own. For the apples, I drew them out, cut them out of red fabric and attached them with Steam-A-Seam (can you tell I love this stuff?). The lettering I found on clearance at Hobby Lobby and it was perfect for what I had in mind. 

I also made her a Tardis necklace. The pendant is made out of Shrinky Dinks. It was one of my first attempts using the stuff.  I drew the Tardis and then painted the back of it. 

That does it for Chritmas presents. But speaking of the Tardis, that brings me to my newest projects. I just signed up for a Doctor Who Craft Swap on Craftster. My partner sent me her list of wants and I have many, many ideas floating around in my head and I'm excited about doing them! I really don't want to give anything away in case she wanders here, but I've been browsing and have some good ideas. Trust me, I'll keep you posted. ;)


Anonymous said...

Goodness, I want a Christmas feast such as you had! >_<

The gifts are amazing! Love the Mary topper also. :)

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