Friday, December 12, 2008


So.... this year at my church, as a congregation, we are decorating a Chrismon tree. A Chrismon is a handmade ornament with a design that symbolizes Christ. The name is derived from the words Christ and Monogram. Originated in 1957 by Francis Spencer, the daughter of Lutheran missionaries, Chrismons are used by churches of several denominations to decorate their sanctuaries.

I started out with my pattern, a fleur-de-lis, some left over white polar fleece and gold lame.

My first attempt failed miserably. I tried to use my serger to put two pieces of fleece together, but I couldn't really get into the curves, nooks, and crannies like I needed to. My serger has a knife that cuts the fabric as it is being stitched, so my fleur-de-lis started looking more like the Bat-Man symbol.

Attempt number two only yielded slightly better results. Stitched on my old trusty cheap-o sewing machine, it looks more like it is supposed to, but the fleece was too stretchy and the cut aways made it all janky looking.

The third time's the charm - well, sort of. I ditched the fleece and found some old craft felt. Using a slightly more stylized pattern, this (what I'm calling successful) Chrismon has the handmade feel, but also adheres to my secondary world view of going over the top (my primary world view being hospitality).

There's always a huge mess after unbridled creativity (I so totally need a dedicated "project room" in my house).

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Stockings were hung by the chimney with care...

So.... along with my spectacle of a Christmas tree, I decorated the mantle with greenery, lights, decorations, stockings, and collected figurines.

I bought new stockings this year (because I needed three that coordinated, instead of just two).

So Santa would know who's stocking was whose, I personalized each with a small photo frame ornament. Hopefully, Santa would have figured out that the high-heeled boot stocking was Rachel's without the photo, but he's awfully busy on Christmas Eve.

I love the little frame I found for Rachel's picture, and the picture of Travis is pretty cute too (especially on that stocking with all those sequins).

Here's a close up of some of the figurines on the mantle. They are Byers Choice Carolers. The boy was given to me by my friends Patrick and Monica. A caroling Jack Russell Terrier sits next to him.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Nostalgic Spectacle

So.... I'm essentially finished decorating for Christmas. The past few years have seen the big tree in the living room with gold decorations, but I was inspired a couple of months ago to change things up. I'd move the gold decor to the smaller (dining room) tree and use the big tree as a backdrop for my more sentimental ornaments. The idea was to have a nostalgic tree, one similar to my childhood. Of course, I sometimes cannot leave well enough alone, and my sweet, endearing, memory-laden tree was transformed into, what else, a Nostalgic Spectacle!

First things first: colored lights! Last year on the big tree, I blew a (non-replaceable) fuse on the extension cord (snaked through the middle of the tree) that was apparently overloaded with too many strands (five days before Christmas). This year, I have 1300 lights on two separate extension cords, plugged into a power strip, plugged into a remote controlled outlet. Yes, you read that right... a remote controlled outlet - no crawling under the tree, no clap on - clap off, no blindly stomping through the tree skirt to find the toe tapper switch, just a simple push of a button and the blinding fury that is my Christmas Spectacle illuminates the living room!

The idea was to make the special ornaments the "star attraction" and just have simple glass (or plastic) Christmas balls as the "backup dancers." Well, a couple of trips to Hobby Lobby with all their Christmas decorations on sale for half price gets you a whole lot of "backup dancers."

At one point during the decorating, I said to myself, "That looks really nice - just enough." Of course, I had yet to add a single metallic berry, shiny pick, sparkle wand, glitter crinkle, or glass grape, and it's not like I can add just a couple of those things. I proudly stand by the fact that the statement, "He just didn't go over the top enough," has never been said in reference to me.

I started collecting Mark Roberts Santas a few years ago, and I usually use one of them as the tree topper; however, in the spirit of nostalgia, I used a not so expensive, not so collectable Santa as the topper, and he totally works to bring the theme together.

Actually, I bought this Santa four Christmases ago at Wal-Mart. He was the very first topper on that same big Christmas tree (which I bought on sale) in my first house during my first year in private practice.