My, my, what a busy season! As we mailed out the last of the rush toy orders on Monday, with nothing else awaiting completion behind them (caught up for the first time since before Dec!) we all breathed a sigh of contentment after such a good season and a bit of relief as we turned our thoughts towards our own homemade gift exchange. With only a week to Christmas, it's hard to be first thinking about what kinds of handmade gifts to make for all of your siblings. I'm been known to think 'big' when it comes to Christmas and also start crafting in July to get everything done. Not so the case this year. I'm trying to limit my big dreams into small and practical. I hate to say, 'quick' but it's the truth! Just as the "Boys Stay Out" and "Girls Prohibited" signs were hung on the girls' room and workshop doors, a few more orders started trickling in. Even today, just four days from Christmas, we're still pausing and setting aside our work to complete orders. As terribly grateful as I am for the work (it's a huge dream come true and answer of prayers for our family!!), lately I have been contemplating our really quiet handmade Christmases past. Because everything was home/handmade, we weren't at all involved in the Christmas rush/shopping season and stress! And that was nice... really nice. Now, with being the proud toy shop owners that we are, that puts us right in the middle of rush orders and slow postal service. Stress. I guess you could call it, the real world? lol. It's a good experience for us, though. We were getting a little too spoiled there, I think. ;)
Shingling a Little House on the Prairie dollhouse.
Theresa has knit three of these Ingalls family sets since we've gotten home!
Anyway, as if all that isn't a good enough excuse as to my absence from this blog, we've also been baking Christmas cookies, making cards and ornaments and weaving pretty wreaths of the pokiest sort... (that's Johnny's wreath pictured at the top of this post!)
Speaking of which, take a look at our tree this year! It's beautiful, it's big, and it's POKY!!
Yanking her through the front door...
And Johnny said it was too small... (*rolling eyes*)
Isn't she a beaut??
And only two broken bulbs so far this year! I think that's a new record! We'll see if it holds out. ;)
I like these cute wooden ornaments we've been making. They don't break. (It's a snowman packing a snowball. The other side says, "watch your back" and yes...
But definitely, my favorite ornament this year...
..is a tiny little bird's nest we discovered a few days after putting up our tree (it was hidden so well!). Amazing, beautiful, natural decoration and a reminder of the recent life in this tree!
The girls and I made these last year, figuring (quite sadly!) that our family may now be complete, it seemed like a good time to make one for everybody.
(Okay, so I just stuck this picture in here because it was cute! ;)
(Same with this one! ;)
But actually, that me reminds me, we had a big birthday on the 16th. Miss Donnie is now 3!!
She had a really fun birthday.
She also got a really cute, hand painted wood farm set from Lizzy and Johnny (she's opening it in the first picture.) And, as is my little tradition, Lucy also got a new outfit!
(Gosh, she looks so grown up here! A poor excuse for a baby that's for sure!!)
We're so festive with our little hats ain't we? :)
(Ooo, forgive the mess! Birthday party, Christmas decorations, pine needles, crafting.. etc. etc!)
I excited the little kids with stringing lights into my big wreath over the kitchen table. It's the little things. ;)
Momma and I hung our homemade wreaths in our homemade home, beside our homemade curtains, over the boys' homemade furniture and our homemade pillows. (Love! :-D)
Lizzy did a great job decorating the Nativity set this year, with fake snow, straw, evergreen and pine cones. Mary and Joesph arrived from the far windowsill this Sunday. Now we're just waiting on the baby! :)
The kids are fearing a white with speckled-green-Christmas. They miss not being able to sled off the garage roof or and walk over the fences. What are you southern people doing with all our Christmas snow?? :)
I know I've been saying this a lot lately, but since I probably won't be back until after Christmas...
MERRY CHRISTMAS to all my wonderful readers!!
Your walls are gorgeous. It's cordwood, isn't it? That's the most beautiful wall I've ever seen. All of your homemade goodies are so nice, but those walls, mmmmmmmmmm.ReplyDelete
brenda from arkansas
Lovely post, Mary! Your house is beautiful.ReplyDelete
I am in Canada and we don't have any snow, either! In fact it's been raining all week. It looks more like April outside than anything else. :(
I definitely understand what you're talking about with the stress of owning a toy shop over the holidays...our shop's sales were much lower this year than last and to be honest, I was relieved! Last year was just crazy and I was so stressed out...and inevitably (this year as well) there are a few customers wanting to know why their packages haven't arrived yet, and you just *know*, blaming US that the postal service is slow this time of year. We are also in the process of redoing an order which was apparently lost...gotta love the post office, in whatever country! :)
Merry Christmas Mary and all of you!
What a beautiful tree!! And I LOVE the Little House people!! So cute.ReplyDelete
Merry Christmas, y'all!
@ brenda from arkansas-ReplyDelete
Yup, that's cordwood, but without the traditional cement motor. We used cob (like, adobe) with the materials from our land. It's natural, breathable and quite comfortable to live in with all it's thermal mass qualities. Keeps the house a consistent 70' year round.
Thanks for dropping in! Hope to see you around again. :)
Mary, thanks for the explanation. Are you saying that heating and cooling are not required? How thick are the walls? Is there an old post with more info on this? Did you wing it on the construction, or have some kind of reference book to study before starting? I'm just blown away.ReplyDelete
brenda from arkansas
No, we do have a heat source. It's a handmade wood burning stove (also made from cob) called a rocket stove. For cooling during the summer, we simply open the windows at night and close them during the day. The walls are 16" thick. Yes we studied up a lot, both on cordwood and on cob. We built a test wall first and heavily abused it to see how it would hold up. We opted to build a timber frame to support our roof and not ask anything of the cobwood other than the filler. You can see pictures of the process here (including our rocket stove): http://www.home-n-stead.com/page13/files/category-house-construction-.html
We gained confidence after our house turned out so wonderfully, that, when we decided to go with cobwood for our little barn project, we opted to make the walls self supporting (no corner posts) and also load bearing (holding up the roof). Using mostly materials from our land, that project was only $500 total! Pictures from the barn process: http://lundkids.blogspot.com/2010/11/our-little-cobwood-barn-project-is.html
Happy to answer your questions. Thanks for your interest! :)
Happy New Year!
Oh, Mary! I've read through both links and I'm in awe, and overwhelmed. That's a lot to digest. I've saved them to my favorites for further review. I just heard of rocket stoves maybe a month ago, and I can't think of anything bad to say about them.ReplyDelete
You have a beautiful home. Happy New Year to you too.
brenda from arkansas