It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

I absolutely love this time of the year! As you can probably tell from the photo (left), we collect Nutcrackers for display...our collection numbers 45 at the moment...and putting them out & about is one of the first things we do when we start decorating for Christmas. You can see only a few of them in this photo, as they not only cover the mantle...they have spilled over onto the entertainment center...and onto the sofa table in front of the bay window.

You may not notice it, but take a good look at the lower right portion of the photo (you may have to click on it to enlarge it)...see the white figure? It's difficult to make out, but that's a ceramic of the Holy Family, made by Thomas' Mom more than a decade ago. Mrs. Adsit passed on in January 2002, but we keep her memory alive when we display this, along with the ceramic nativity set she made for us (which is also displayed on the coffee table, but not visible in this photo).

The right-most stocking hanging on the mantle is Thomas' -- which I made for him our first Christmas, 1976. And, hanging to its left is the one he made for me that same Christmas! Those stockings and one brass ornament are all that we still have from that first Christmas after we married. That year, we made salt-dough ornaments for our tree...which unfortunately did not survive a stay in a hot attic several years ago in GA. I still tear up when I remember finding the "crumbs" of those precious, could-not-be-replaced ornaments.

The angel on the top of the tree (above photo) and Maredith's stocking are from the era of needlepoint-as-my-primary-craft, both dating to 1979-80, I think. The majority of the ornaments on our trees are keepsakes...either hand-made, year after year, or collected on our travels. The "main" tree is a Fraser Fir from the North Carolina mountains, ordered on the internet from When we lived in NC, we would go to Boone the weekend after Thanksgiving and cut down our tree, right at the source...oh, how I miss that.

Of course, why limit yourselves to just one tree, right? We also have a couple of artificial trees in the house: one is my Sheep Tree (photo, right) which is in the front/dining room window, and one is Mom's little "tabletop" Santa tree, on her entertainment center in her bedroom. [Mom always, always wanted a "tabletop" tree when we were growing up, but we never, never would allow one less than 10 feet tall in our house with the 12-foot ceilings...silly woman!] I've collected sheepies for years...and years...and, I love to display all the ornaments on a separate tree, 'cause they sorta get lost on the main tree. Of course, this house has a small-ish dining room, so it's a bit crowded, but we'll manage. The angel on the top of the Sheep Tree is from our trees when I was growing up. It, and one sparkly-silver ornament, remind me of happy Christmases in Henning.

Speaking of Nutcracker(s), Thomas and I managed to get to the Fox Theatre on Thursday (despite the sheet and ice storm) to see the Joffrey Ballet's STL production of The Nutcracker. I thoroughly enjoyed the evening, I had been looking forward to this for weeks...I was so glad that Thomas (a) made it home from Wisconsin in time and (b) was willing to brave the weather to get us there and back safely. We've missed this Holiday tradition for several years now, for one reason or another...and I needed a good Tchaikovsky fix! Plus, I got to wear my Christmas Shawl for the first time...even though it was so cold that I had to wear a coat over it. Still, I felt so festive!

Making this evening possible was the installation of our Life Line system for Nana/Momma/Edith. You know...the commercial: "I've fallen and I can't get up." But, it's no joke, is it? While she continues to recover from her recent hospitalization...slowly but surely...she is still pretty fragile, especially when it comes to her balance. So, her Home Health nurse recommended this service to us, and now we all feel a little less stressed. Breathe!

I can't show pix of my most recent finished knitting projects (FO's) just yet, as I've been working on gifts...and I never know who might be reading this...tee, hee. Anyway, here is a photo (left) of my finished Design Your Own Top Down Sweater from my recent class at Knit 'n Caboodle in St. Charles. [Ted E. is wearing the matching Tam o' Swatch, which I borrowed to wear the other night to The Nutcracker.] I'm glad I took the class, and I have already signed up for another class on Cables starting in January, taught by the same instructor (who is very, very knowledgeable...and patient). But, I'm not so sure I like the technique of knitting the whole sweater at once (too bulky by the time you get the sleeves done; and when you have to frog, you have too many stitches to remove and redo)...and I just plain missed my seams, where lots of stuff can be "hidden," like JOINS of new balls of yarn. Plus, my sweater is too big, even though I measured, re-measured, and had the experts still came out like an oversized sweatshirt. I know I should knit another top-down right away, and I would probably get over these objections...but, I can't generate any enthusiasm for it yet. Ah, well.

Time to get the Christmas newsletter printed out...and those cards signed, sealed, labeled and stamped. And time to make some fudge, some cookies, and some Nuts & Bolts (Nana/Momma/Edith's version of Chex Mix). Oh yes...I love this time of the year!


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