Friday, December 29, 2017

Happy Dance - Santa's Secret

Started: 5/1/2017
Finished: 12/28/2017

This is a Gold Petite kit from Dimensions that was my Christmas present to myself in 2016.  I stitched it as part of the Dimensions Kit SAL on Facebook and finished it three days before the SAL ended.

It's stitched on 18-count white Aida with the kit floss.  I can't say it was stitched as charted because, there are a lot of unintentional customizations especially in his beard.  I also ran out of several colors and came close to abandoning it a couple of weeks ago, but because of encouragement from the group, I perservered and finished it just in time.

Monday, December 25, 2017

More Christmas

In addition to the previous festivities in December, Janice and Kyleigh set up this centerpiece on their dining room table.  They do gingerbread houses every year, usually from a kit.  This year they decided to do a village instead.  One house isn't decorated, because some people don't decorate for Christmas.

Because of her performance in the Advent Service earlier this month, Kyleigh was asked to sing at the 5:00 Christmas Eve service. She and her two classmates did very well and received a lot of compliments.

Merry Christmas

This picture was taken a few years ago at Hobby Lobby. While we were checking out, Kyleigh spotted this nativity scene.  I'm not sure what she's thinking, but it's one of my favorite pictures of her.

We spent Christmas Day at Janice's condo.  David taught Devin how to make his Farmer's Omelet for breakfast while I stuffed the turkey and put it in the oven.  I'd made Kyleigh a shoe box stocking and she opened the presents in it while waiting for breakfast to be ready.  This is one of her presents.  Doesn't she look like Kyleigh in her school uniform?
After breakfast, Janice and Kyleigh and I went to church while David and Devin babysat the turkey.  It was a very informal service with carol singing, bible readings by members of the congregation and reflections by the pastor.  It was one of my favorite services.

Then it was time to open the presents under the tree.

Janice's tree surrounded by presents
Kyleigh, the elf handed out presents

Big thank you hug
Kyleigh in a box - this is the present that instigated the big hug above.

After a delicious turkey dinner, we spent the afternoon watching "Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy and relaxing until time for pie.  We got home around 5:00 and it was a very enjoyable day.

Friday, December 15, 2017

Christmas Fun

When Janice, Kyleigh and Devin came over to help set up the Christmas tree, Janice showed me some ornaments she planned to have Kyleigh's Girl Scout troop make when they were going to learn how to recycle everyday items into Christmas ornaments. One of the projects involved painting light bulbs and making them into ornaments.  I suggested that Grandpa might have some light bulbs he'd be willing to let her use.  I took this picture to show David what she did with them.

Kyleigh and I have a tradition that on the last day of school before Christmas. Since she gets off at noon, I take her to buy a couple of toys and then we go Stuff A Bus at the Honda Center.  There are several other activities there including a Video Games Bus and free food.  

This year the Stuff A Bus event takes place today and Kyleigh will be going home with her dad right after school; also school doesn't get out for Christmas break until next Wednesday.  So instead of stuffing a bus, we did something else instead, but it still involved shopping and donating toys.

I volunteer at the Ronald McDonald House in Orange and they're having a Holiday Party for all the kids who have families that stayed at the house this past year.  Currently, they're having a toy drive to provide toys for the party.  

I picked Kyleigh up after school yesterday and we went to Target to buy some toys.  She picked out five items--two for a boy and three for a girl--and I only went over my budget by seven dollars.  When we took them to the House, the Volunteer Coordinator took us to see their Snoopy Tree that someone had donated for the Christmas season.  Of course, I had to take pictures.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

WIP Wednesday - 12/13/2017

Again, I didn't stitch on this a lot this past week.  The backstitching is very difficult and frustrating and I've run out of 18500.  I'm trying to find a match in my stash though.  DMC doesn't work so I pulled an Anchor equivalent this morning that I'm hoping will work.
Last Week
This Week

Monday, December 11, 2017

Christmas Lights

Several years ago, we started the tradition of driving around to look at Christmas lights and displays.  The first few years we went to a neighborhood in Brea where everyone decorates.  For the past couple of years, Janice has looked up houses/neighborhoods in Orange and we've visited them instead.  David is our chauffeur (although he did get out of the car twice this year.)

The first place we visited is one we also visited last year, but I tried to take different pictures this year.  There is so much to see and there's even a Santa Claus who loves talking to his visitors and seeing the looks of amazement on their faces.

The tiniest train in the world
Close up
Here are some more pictures of some special lights.  We even stopped at a hot chocolate stand and received free cups of really good made from scratch hot chocolate.

This is part of a village in a man's garage.   He collects cans of food from visitors and last year over 1600 cans were donated.
 The next two are at the same house (not the one above though).  The figures are hand painted and represent various different Christmas characters.  There were a lot more than what this picture shows.
 This next picture shows that even the backs of the figures were painted.
 This tree is on the roof of a house and is much brighter in person.

Happy Dance - Skating Hedgehog

Started: 12/4/2017
Finished: 12/10/2017
This is the second part of the free cover kit on Cross Stitch Crazy #236.  I used the materials in the kit for the stitching and finishing except for the fact that I somehow got my colors mixed up and couldn't tell which was which, so I substituted the grays from my stash.  Also, there were only two of the three blues included and I couldn't tell the light one apart from the grays so I substituted those too.  I'm glad this kit included the DMC numbers.

This was also designed by Margaret Sherry.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Glee Performance

Kyleigh typically participates in a music/dance class during the fall semester.  She started with Twisting Tots in preschool, then Mini Glee and now is in her last year of Glee (for third and fourth graders.  All of the various classes had their fall performance on Friday night with 160 kids (both male and female participating.  Kyleigh participated in the opening and closing numbers as well as two other numbers.  One good thing about this teacher is that every child gets the chance in every number to be in the front row.

The teacher assigns each child a color for their t-shirt and they wear black bottoms.  Kyleigh and her friend, Elena turned up in the exact same outfit, right down to the tennis shoes.

Here are some pictures of the Glee dancers.  (My pictures didn't come out so these have been borrowed from other parents.)

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Two more Advent Events

If you haven't noticed before, our church is very active in outreach events and those involving the school children.

Tuesday night, Janice and I went to Advent by Candlelight put on by our Women's Ministry.  Volunteers each hostess a table for 10, providing table settings, centerpieces and dessert.  For the first time this year the ministry provided dinner as well. The theme this year was Angels.   We each received an angel Christmas ornament and a jar of apple cinnamon jelly--and it was all free.  There were readings from the bible and about angels, hand bells, and flute and violin solos as well as sing-a-longs about angels.
Janice and I are at the second table facing the camera

Looking in the other direction--we're again at the second table.
 On Wednesday, David and I went to the Advent Service put on by the first, second and fourth graders.  Kyleigh was a shepherd and we were able to get really good seats right in front of her thanks to Janice.  You can see the backs of our heads in the first picture.

I'm sure that those of you who know us personally will realize that David's attending the Advent Service is really special.  I've been going to this church off and on for over 32 years and he's never once set foot in it (except for the pastor's office where we were remarried in 1990).

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

WIP Wednesday - 12/6/2017

I'm back with an update on Santa's Secret.  I only stitched on it for about an hour a day for five days this week--the backstitching is driving me bonkers. 

As of 11/27/2017

As of 12/6/2017
There's more than a week between the two pictures, because once I finished the cross stitching I set it aside until December 1st.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Happy Dance - Caroling Hedgehog

Started: 11/27/2017
Finished: 12/4/2017

This is part of the free cover kit on Cross Stitch Crazy #236.  I used the materials in the kit for the stitching and finishing except for the fact that the kit was missing the darker purple so I replaced it with some from my stash.

This was designed by Margaret Sherry and there is also a skating hedgehog included which is my current small WIP.  Please excuse the fact that it's not centered;  it's just sitting in the card.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

We Have a Christmas Tree

I have been buying my Christmas trees for the past several years from the Lutheran High baseball team, but the player I'd been buying from graduated and I didn't realize it until it was too late to get one last year.  This year I called the Athletic Department and they had someone contact me so I was able to get a tree.  Unfortunately, this player is a senior, but I spoke to a lady at pick up and she put me on her list to contact next year (her son's a sophomore so I'm set for the next two years).

We picked the tree up on Friday night and Devin, Janice and Kyleigh came over to help set it up on Saturday.   This is the main reason that we need their help with setting up the tree.  All of our Christmas boxes are kept in the attic above the garage and it's nice to have help getting them down.  Kyleigh is rearranging the boxes; she didn't actually hand them down.  We let Janice do that.
Adding the stand
Unwrapping the tree

Cutting off the bottom branches
Ready for lights
Ready to decorate
My mother-in-law gave us the tree skirt over 40 years ago and it still looks as nice as the day she gave it to us.  There's only one decoration on the tree; Janice added the snowman as she walked out the door.