A Crafter's Life

Attempting to Embrace Christmas and Holiday Baking

If you are new to this blog, here is a little background – in December 2018 my husband died. In December 2017 my beloved mother in law died. In December 2017 my greatest dog love of all time, Sassy the Highly Opinionated Miniature Schnauzer died. My late husband’s birthday is in early December and our wedding anniversary is in late December.

So as you can imagine December is always a challenging month for me. Christmas was always my most favorite holiday (I enjoyed planning for Christmas starting in June or earlier); but my husband died 12 days before Christmas 2018. To add to the unfortunate event, I found him on the floor next to the Christmas tree.

I know this seems like a very morbid opening for a blog post but I just wanted to provide background/perspective for the rest of this post, not to scare you away from reading any further!

After making it through the 3rd anniversary of my late husband’s passing, I realized that I wanted to “take back Christmas” and I was tired of being unrelentingly sad during December. Christmas was my favorite holiday and I needed a way to enjoy it again and not associate it with one of the darkest times of my life.

So we got a Christmas tree and I decorated for the holidays more than I’ve done since my husband passed.

A got a little creative on how to make the TV more festive by adding holiday bunting…

My partner John and I decorated the tree with the collection of ornaments we kept from our previous lives and some new ones we’ve purchased together. Most of my ornaments are schnauzer themed…

Whole lot of schnauzers trimming the tree

John also hung Christmas lights on the front of the house and I placed a Christmas wreath on the front door for the first time together.

In addition to making the house holiday festive, I also did a bunch of holiday baking in anticipation of having John’s immediate family over for Christmas Eve (Originally we had planned to go to the East Coast of the US to spend Christmas with my family, but there is some virus raging…have you heard of it???).

I made Molasses Crinkle cookies, Crispy Chocolate Chip cookies, Lemon Squares, and a Pumpkin Roll.

Here is the messy kitchen during my baking fest:

Here are the cookies I made:

Here are the yummy lemon squares I made:

You’ll see one of the lemon squares above has a bite taken out of it. Well I had to make sure it was not poisonous!

I used my cookbooks for the cookies and lemon squares but for the Pumpkin Roll I used one of my blogging buddy’s (In Diane’s Kitchen) recipe which had awesome directions and worked out very well: Libby’s Pumpkin Roll

Here is the pumpkin roll in progress (this is the second time I’ve made it and I am getting better at the whole jelly roll process):

And the Pumpkin Roll ready to serve our holiday guests:

We also did the “Hot Chocolate Bombs” again this year (see post from last Christmas about these – December, Christmas and “Bombs”). This year for our “Hot Chocolate Bombs” we had awesome chocolate sprinkle like things to decorate them from my blogging buddy in the Netherlands, Emmely @Infectious Stitches (see post The Itty-Bitty Hat and Fun Surprises in the Mail).

Here is the whole Christmas Eve dessert spread which includes a bakery bought Lemon Meringue pie and store bought handmade marshmallows:

We did have an actual Christmas Eve meal before the dessert (smile). I set a festive table along with English style Christmas Crackers at each place setting. Of course I forgot to take a photo of the holiday table but use your imagination.

I’ll close this post with a picture of my partner John getting ready to make the gravy for the Prime Rib he made for Christmas Eve dinner, while wearing the paper crown he got from his Christmas Cracker:

A Crafter's Life, tierneycreates

From T-Shirt to Throw Pillow

The Christmas holidays are upon us and as one of my partner’s Christmas gifts, I decided to recycle several of his old T-shirts that no longer fit/were worn out into throw pillows for his “Man Cave” in our daylight basement.

Here is the first one I worked on – I used flannel to border the T-shirt (which I added fusible interfacing to first) and for the envelope back:

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Here is the next pillow I worked on (my partner is a Whiskey connoisseur) and I had trouble focusing while making the pillow because it was so outrageously funny and so unlike his personality:

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He was pleasantly surprised by the pillows (I gave them to him early so he could enjoy them for the holiday season). Here they are set up in the “Man Cave” (where we also like to sit and watch movies):

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Postscript

We also have our Schnauzer-themed Christmas tree up. I am lucky to have another Schnauzer-aficionado in my life. Yes we did include his ornaments too but the tree is “strongly Schnauzer” 🙂

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Every tree needs a “Schnauzer Angel” topper, right?

Thursday evening we had a quiet evening by the tree wrapping presents, drinking hot cocoa and eating grilled cheese sandwiches before the holiday madness begins.

Now it is holiday parties, out of town family members arriving for a visit; and then hosting 25+ people at the house for Christmas eve (my partner is the oldest of 7 children and hosts Christmas eve dinner for his family and extended family).

Quite the different Christmas holiday than I had in 2018…and I am feeling very blessed and cozy.