Tag Archive for Christmas

Christmas Crafts 2012- The Year of the Crochet Hook

3-IMG_0101My crafting,  crocheting fest this year continued with another great pattern I found, but this time on the Lion Brand Yarn website.

My Mom told me about this website, and they have tons and tons and tons of free patterns for both crocheting and knitting.  And the patterns are for all skill levels.

The pattern that I used for quite a few homemade gifts was called Family of Beanies.  It allows you to make many sizes from one easy  pattern.  The yarn that I used for this beanie pattern was a soft, thick yarn, Hometown USA.  A great, soft yarn.

I made beanies for the Montana family, beanies for my son and his girlfriend, beanies for my son-in-law and grandson. beanies, beanies, beanies


Then Travel Man said, “Where’s my beanie?  You know sometimes my travel takes me to the cold weather.”  So I’m off to the store tomorrow to get some gray yarn.  Travel Man’s favorite color.  I guess you know what I’ll be doing for New Year’s.

Evans beanie turned out so cute I made him a scarf to go with it.

Photo credit to Elaine Zee.

Photo credit to Elaine Zee.

Such a ham for the camera. He’s was pretending he was cold and freezing, totally set up this pose himself.  His ensemble was blue and orange for the Chicago Bears, of course .

Then the football rivals in the house got scarves in the Green Bay Packers colors.  This was some great yarn, variegated with the team colors.  No switching colors required.  The surprise here was my daughter had no idea I had been working on this gift.  You see I did most of the work in the car while Travel Man was driving us around doing our errands.


All in all I got everything finished that I set out to make before Christmas Day arrived.  It’s always fun finding projects to work on that will be given as gifts.  And I’m discovering it’s great to find a pattern that is universal that can be given as a gift to the girls or the boys.  Maybe next year I’ll make everyone some socks or mittens.  Stay tuned for Christmas Crafts 2013.

Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow…..


This year for some of the Christmas gifts and doo-dads I was giving I got totally hooked on crocheting.  I have never gotten into knitting, just a crochet girl at heart.

I found the pattern for this little beauty on Red Heart yarn’s website, and it was soooo easy to make I could hardly contain myself.

Every time I sat down to watch tv I was making a snow flake.  Each one only took 15 minutes or so, and then I was on to the next one.

When my sister was here visiting in November I sent her home with a dozen little flakes to make a garland to string across her front window.

1-photo (2)Then for Christmas day I taped an ornament to each person’s gift.  I loved sharing my little flakes with everyone.

Funny thing though, when you do a project like that you never make any for yourself.  I’m thinking I need a garland for my front window for next year.

I’m off to crochet. Happy trails everyone.

So, are you a knitting or a crochet person?

Christmas Eve 2012- The Renee Version


‘Twas the night before Christmas

and all  through our abode

all the creatures were waiting

for the Christmas Day Party to unfold.

The children were cozy

and snug in their rooms,

they’re dreaming of Angels Stadium

and can’t wait until baseball season resumes.

With Travel Man in his pj pants,

and I in my sweats, we’d just settled down

for a good power nap.

(I don’t power nap well,

that’s a travel man thing)

 Up on our roof top

there was such a big clatter,

I was hoping none of the kids

had jumped up there

to see what was the matter.

Away to the patio door

I shuffled barefoot,

opened the blinds,

and squinted my eyes

to take a good look

(I forgot my glasses).

When what to my wondering eyes

should appear,

the dog and the cat

were outside drinking a beer!

What I meant to say was,

I saw Santa’s sleigh sitting

out by our pool

with eight cute little reindeer,

just playing it cool.

There was  little old driver

with a flashy, Hawaiian shirt,

 and I knew in a moment

it was our California Santa,

is he wearing a grass skirt?

Next Santa took roll call

he called them by name,

to be sure none had

jumped in the pool to play a game.

“Where’s Dasher, and Dancer?”.

“Wake up Prancer and Vixen”.

“Finish your ice tea in a hurry”,

he called to Comet, Cupid,

Donder and  Blitzen.

To the top of the patio cover,

to the top of the wall

now dash way,

dash away,

dash away and

please don’t fall.

So up to the top of our roof Santa flew

with the help of his reindeer,

and I’m guessing Rudolph was there too.

And then as I listened

on our rooftop I heard

Santa and the reindeer

stomping  around,

now what could have occurred!!

I walked out in the hallway,

took a peek around the bend,

and there was Santa standing

in the living room,

is this a dream,

will it ever end?

He was dressed in his Hawaiian shirt,

khaki shorts, and black boots.

I’m pretty sure I saw his socks,

they were black too it was a hoot!

A big bag of presents

he had flung on his back.

Surely there was no room

for a new car,  we’d call Mack!

His eyes how they sparkled,

His dimples so happy,

His cheeks looked a little sunburned

His nose was so like a cherry. (sunburned too)

He had a cute face,

and a little beer belly

it shook when he laughed

like a little bowl full of grape jelly.

He was chubby and plump

such a cute little elf,

I laughed when I saw him,

trying to keep it to myself.

He saw me watching him,

out of the corner of his eye

gave me a little wink,

and I thought I might cry.

He didn’t say a thing to me,

just got straight to work,

filling our stockings,

and I thought I saw him smirk.

He placed his finger

on the side of his nose,

gave a little nod and

up the chimney he rose.

He ran to his sleigh

and gave the reindeer a jerk

“Let’s go boys,  we’re busy”,  he said

“We’ve still got lots of work”.

And as Santa was leaving

our California paradise

I heard him yell loudly,

“Man, California is Nice!!”

Merry Christmas Eve to all,

and to all a good night.

** This is my personal adaptation of Clement Clark Moore’s, “Twas the Night Before Christmas poem. Clipart shown here is available from Microsoft Word.

Are you Ready?


Presents wrapped, cookies all baked?  Are you ready for tonight and tomorrow?

I have been working on lots of crafts, and baking.  I really can’t share any of my crafting goodies with you all until after Christmas Day.  I don’t want to give away any secrets you know.

My favorite cookies to bake are always sugar cookies, and spritz.  Love the buttery deliciousness of both of these cookies.  The recipes that I use are from a Betty Crocker cookie book.

Nana Joan’s Sugar Cookie-

* This is a recipe that we cooked growing up.  Always a favorite at Christmas time.


  •  3/4 c. shortening (use part margarine or butter)
  • I highly recommend using only butter.  Butter makes everything better!
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2-1/2 c. flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  •  Mix shortening, sugar, eggs, and flavoring.  Beat until creamy.  
  • Add remaining ingredients and mix thoroughly.
  • Chill the dough for at least 4 hours.
  • For painting the cookies before baking use evaporated milk and food coloring.
  • Bake at 400 degrees on ungreased cookie sheets.
  • Baking time is 6-8 minutes

And the recipe for the Spritz cookie which require a cookie press go like this-

1-DSC01107Spritz Cookies


  • 1 C. butter or margarine, softened (I recommend butter only!)
  • 1/2 c. sugar
  • 2-1/4 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 tsp. almond extract or vanilla


  • Heat oven to 400.
  • Mix margarine and sugar in large bowl.
  • Stir in remaining ingredients.
  • Chill the dough for a few hours.
  • Place dough in cookie press, and form desired shapes.
  • Decorate with colored sugar or candies.
  • Bake on ungreased cookie sheets for 5-8 minutes until set but not brown.
  • Immediately remove from cookie sheet.
  • Makes 6-7 dozen cookies.
  • Freeze any extras if you have them.  These freeze well.
  • Great cookie to mail for the holidays.

Oh,  and this is what my sweet baby granddaughter was doing while her mother and I baked our little hearts out last week.


Wishing you and yours the Merriest of Christmas seasons.  I hope each and every one of you has a splendid time with your families near and far.

Christmas Tree Follies from Years Past…..

So in Southern California we occasionally experience Santa Ana winds.  These can be very strong like they were this past week, with the winds up to 100 miles per hour. The winds are either very hot or cold.  Now if your asking yourself what this has to do with our Christmas tree  just keep reading.  This past week was a very, cold Santa Ana wind, but it reminded me that in December we always seem to have some kind of wind event.

Three or four years ago I decided we should get a live tree for Christmas.  Up until this point we had gotten a few live trees, bought an artificial tree, and this particular year (I think it was 2007) we opted for a live tree again.  Now, what you need to understand is that the Santa Ana winds are extremely, extremely dry.  There is not enough Chap Stick or lotion on the globe to keep a person from feeling dried out.

So, we headed out for a live tree, found a suitable specimen, and brought it home.  Travel Man graciously got it in the tree stand for me and brought it in the house.  He doesn’t really like to do the decorating, but he does like it when the finished product makes the house look all festive and merry.

Before the Winds Tree

So the tree got decorated with the usual lights and ornaments, and we proceeded with our merry, festive Christmas activities.  A few days later, here come the Santa Ana winds, dry yucky winds.  So our lovely, live tree starts to become a fire hazard.  After two or three days in the house Travel Man and I notice the tree feels like a kindling stick.  The tree cannot drink enough water to keep up with the dryness.

So, we made a bold decision.  We had to replace this tree.  We did not want to have such a fire hazard in the already too dry house.  So off we trudged to pick out a new live tree, and once we got to the store we decided to look at the artificial trees, and “just see what they had”.  You all know how those decisions go, you’re just going to look around, see what’s available, and have no intention of buying.  So after a few minutes of browsing the artificial trees I found “the one”.  It was a great tree, it came in the box pre-lit, all we had to do was assemble and decorate.  I was in for this decision.  It didn’t take much to convince Travel Man, and off we went with a new artificial tree for our Christmas celebration.

After the Winds Tree

After the Winds Tree at Night


 So, for all of you Southern California folks who long for the aroma of a real tree, just keep it simple and buy yourself a wreath. Our Christmas tree follies since 2007 have been fairly calm.  I’m just glad Travel Man took pictures of this event for history’s sake.  Happy decorating everyone!

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