Tag Archives: Christmas

Handmade Christmas

I’ve been waiting for the last gifts to be gifted and received to post the projects I made for the holidays.

Cigar Box turned Correspondence Kit for Colleen

Cigar Box turned Correspondence Box

Cigar Box turned Correspondence Box

Cigar Box turned Correspondence Box

Cigar Box turned Correspondence Box

With much thanks to Kinchie for nudging me along to get this done and helping with the details!

Tea Towel Headbands, which I put together with help of my mama. (God bless her patience. I hate turning tiny things like this.) I love the idea of having a little towel on your brow when you are working out, gardening or running down the field playing frisbee. You want to look cute, but you don’t want your hair in your eyes. And if it sucks up a little “glisten” along the way, even better.

Tea towel headbands

Tea Towel Headbands

These were paired with my 2008 Christmas music mix. If one doesn’t get you out on your bike, hopefully the other does.

And finally, Amy Butler wide leg jammie pants. I made these in fleece and added a t-shirt to make pajama sets for eight friends.

Amy Butler wide leg pants -- fleece

Amy Butler wide leg pants -- fleece

Amy Butler wide leg pants -- fleece

And to all a good night! The Christmas tree is down, the Valentine’s heart is going on the front door and I’m looking forward to a rockin’ 2009.



Stretchy Pants Means Christmas!

Christmas dinner

We ate so much food during our Christmas break, by the time the official meal rolled around, we weren’t that hungry. The main culprit? Carmines on Penn. So, so good. Like it makes me wish I lived in Denver so I could have dates take me there regularly kind of good. I think we would have stayed to continue eating there if we could have. We extended our one meal there to left-overs for two days. Four star recommendation for you Denver folk.

Christmas dinner: Honeybaked Ham

So when we sat down for a last meal before I flew home, our plates were less teaming than the usual fair. Also, because we were celebrating at my brother’s house — none of the traditional Christmas dinner foods made an appearance: sweet potato casserole, creamed corn, green beans, butter rolls, pie, etc.

But there was ham. Ew.

Christmas dinner: my plate.

Thankfully I talked Cody into grilling me a steak instead. Elk steak, to be precise, with a sweet potato on the side. The one benefit of having an outdoorsy brother is an endless supply of game. These steaks were so incredibly good. He marinated them and then stood in the snow to grill. I was pretty fond of the antelope spicy sausage too.

Christmas dinner: Fruit salad

And in lieu of pie, there was a nice fruit salad. It was a great meal. I like that we put tradition on hold for a year, although I tried cooking up a new family routine. After we finished our stockings Christmas morning, I put in my dad’s new copy of Nacho Libre.

While Cody did in fact like the stretchy pants I made him for Christmas (Amy Butler wide leg lounge pants):

Showing Raja his new pants

Camo fleece, no less

New jammies

Raja seems entranced. “Where did my dad’s legs go?”

Pretty much sums up how happy he is with me

Alas, he was not a fan of the movie. He watched the first five minutes before storming off alone.

My sweet dad

My sweet Mama

My parents, however, have good taste and thought it was hilarious.

“I am worried about your salvation and stuff…”

“Don’t judge me because I believe in the science!”

We said these lines about a dozen times, laughing our butts off. A new Christmas tradition is formed, stretchy pants and all!


Que Viva La Sticky Bun!

Christmas Morning Tradition

While I foolishly poured myself a “healthy” bowl of granola and yogurt, the family prepared to dig into a Christmas morning tradition…

Christmas Morning Tradition

Christmas Morning Tradition

Christmas Morning Tradition

Christmas Morning Tradition

Christmas Morning Tradition

Christmas Morning Tradition

I only ended up eating half a pan…And I wish I could do it again this morning. If there is one thing that signals the holidays in our family, it’s the scent of brown sugar, pecans and doughy white bread baking in the oven. Sweet heaven, these were good.


And a Partridge in a Pear Tree…

If I'm good...

Wrapped and ready


Well, it isn’t necessarily a “pear” tree — my brother is calling it an atheist tree per his “custom” — but it is pretty and we are together to celebrate. Plus, my grandma shipped us a giant box of Harry & David pears, so we’ll eat them by the tree and call it good enough.

Hope you are having a lovely Christmas week, with time to also enjoy family, good food and great weather. I bundled up today and took an hour walk on icy sidewalks for a change of pace. It was lovely to have time to think, be exceptionally cold and enjoy a new view. I adore Colorado. Tonight my dad arrives and the four of us will fall into full-family vacation mode: movies, lots of good food, movies, presents, endless teasing and eventually tears as the planes part later in the week.

For now, time to enjoy what I’ve got. Much love to you and your family!


Two Turtle Doves

Christmas goodies

The culmination of Jars of Renewal — four Christmas baskets filled with homemade goodies being delivered today.

I was reading scripture I’ll be teaching at church this morning and it specifically mentions two turtle doves. Coincidence? Nah. Amazing is more like it.

So, Joseph and Mary had to pay God two turtle doves when Jesus turned 30 days old to officially buy him back from the Lord — per Jewish tradition. Isn’t that fascinating? I didn’t know anything about this until I was researching Simeon and Anna and how to present, once again, a daunting topic to children. Today’s I’m to speak of Anna’s grace.

Christmas goodies

This got me thinking — grace. It’s a concept I’ve only recently begun to understand. How should I explain this to a gaggle of noisy, Christmas-hyped children? I started thinking about ways I experienced grace as a kid, even though I didn’t recognize it then.

  • That immediate sense of relief and joy diving into a cold pool on a scorching day
  • The first time I held my baby brother
  • That breath-taking moment between jumps on a giant trampoline
  • The smell of wet desert
  • The sneaky joy of catching your parents in a private look and witnessing their love
  • The ocean or Grand Canyon for the first time and that moment when you think, “No! It can’t be!”

Grace is easier to understand as an adult — I find myself feeling that spiritual presence when instead of being characteristically impatient, I take a deep breath and keep listening, don’t flip the person off in traffic, stop to speak to a homeless person in need of conversation as much as change.

Here goes nothing!


Four Calling Birds

Latest Nudu completed

Latest Nudu completed

So, in the last two days I’ve learned some very interesting things from you…

1. We all have baking failures and some of you are so hungry for homemade goodies, you’d consider eating burnt chocolate chips off a pan with a spoon. Wowie. Let’s work on this. I see lots of improved baking in our futures.

2. You are sticker freaks. Who knew? Scratch & sniff, puffy, googly eyed, etc. I love it. The sticker book tutorial did not happen last night. Instead, I went caroling again. I will get it done this weekend, in time for anyone who wants to make a quick Christmas gift. I promise you the entire project will take less than 1hour. If you want to prep, get about 1/2 a yard of two types of cotton fabric, some ribbon and a box of wax paper. We’ll meet back here for sticker book class on Saturday.

Latest Nudu Completed

In the meantime, I’m so, so happy to have this nudu complete. I love working on these, and I swear I learn a little something every time. For example, this one? A bit greener than I thought. But the nubbies are getting closer to the actual size I’m looking for. You may also notice that fabulous scarf I’m wearing?


That’s a Finny original. She sent it to me several years ago for Christmas and I’ve worn the tar out of it. Got to love handknits that hold up.

Latest Nudu Completed

This baby has been shipped and received. Plus, the recipient even said he was happy and sending the other part of payment. These are huge improvements from the last one. Yet another perk of getting an official Etsy account next year — payment received before service.

One final point of humor I have to share. Out caroling last night with Rebecca, we were having a conversation about yarn. I told her I am currently working on one last scarf that is being knit out of baby alpaca yarn. It is so soft and gorgeous. (The guys at the bagel shop yesterday morning — where I was frantically knitting between bites — were commenting how sad and cold those baby alpaca must be running around the Andes, shaved slim.) In the middle of my alpaca story, Bec looks at me and says, “Isn’t that what they use to run up Everest for climbing teams?” To which I respond, “Um. No. Those are sherpa. And by the way, those are people.”

For whatever reason, this made us giggle like nut house escapees for about an hour. Got to love the end-of-the-season stress reliever.

Latest Nudu completed

Happy Friday!


P.S. Inquiries for Nudu caps: Email: africankelli at gmail dot com. I’ll be happy to create one of these for you. You pick the color and size. They cost $250 and take two months. They are entirely handmade. Thanks!

Hit and a Miss

You know those days when absolutely nothing seems to fall in your favor? Yeah.

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Two trays of chocolate chip cookies that flopped. I think it was a bad mix.

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Brownies with a fudge swirl that apparently were pretty sticky too.

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And lemon bread that I didn’t let cool long enough. Holy Moses, there was some bad baking happening around here tonight. Thankfully, there was a bit of good too:

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A little brown, but edible lemon muffins.

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Fat-free pumpkin brownies for my new trainers.

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Good ole’ full fat brownies that came out okay, plus a dozen peanut butter cookies and two dozen cranberry cinnamon cookies. I am certain I still have enough to make my cookie platters to deliver Friday.

Next time, more patience and PAM.


Where are those 5 Golden Rings Already?

Things are still a wee bit chaotic at chez moi. I’m working a ton trying to meet an end-of-the-year challenge grant and also trying to prepare for the holidays. The grant has me more frenzied than the holiday, but both have created a crazy monster. I am running on fumes, but thankfully the end is in sight. This weekend I’m taking some time to teach a cooking class to a few high school and college-age girls and not stressing about the post office, checking account balances, wrapping paper or how I’m going to get a sled’s worth of gifts to Colorado.

Really. I’m not thinking about these. I’m not. I’m not. I’m not!

Okay. Maybe a bit.

I’m also thinking about how happy I am to have completed the following in the last 48 hours:

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Scarf knit from Bunny Print Italian Merino — Tahki Stacy Charles

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Several more jars of nutty granola for stocking stuffers

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Transforming canisters into cookie containers to hand out later this week

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The one problem with this batch was too much chocolate. I realize some may not think this is a problem, but the recipients will have to either heat up the jar or hack at the seeds to  enjoy the sweet, salty deliciousness.

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I stole Finny’s label idea and bought some of these Martha tags for my final Jars of Renewal projects. While this is a step down for her, it is a huge leap up for me. I usually make my tags with a felt tip pen and whatever I can stick to a jar. These are much nicer; good work Martie!

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I’ve created a slew of jarred goods for my holiday baskets. I didn’t realize what a variety I had until I went through my pantry and pulled things out to be labeled. This has been a fun project. I’m looking forward to baking a bit this weekend before distributing the goodies.

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And finally, a quick sneak peak into some of my favorite things from 2008 that I’m gifting this year…

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And a partridge in a pear treeeeeee!