Dec 282011
 

Tree2011 183x300 Highlights Christmas 2011

What we like best about this time of year is building happy memories and being with family and friends (like the Christmas Oatmeal Boxes Grandmom used to put together or the Mrs. Weasly Sweater I made for my best friend for Christmas 2007). We were fortunate to have the opportunity to be with our family, share lots of smiles, give out a few surprises and create some wonderful memories.

XmasFavThings2011 Highlights Christmas 2011

Christmas morning the three of us, Teacherman, Angelgirl, and Me, had a lot of smiles and Santa was very good to us.  We take our time and open gifts slowly, sip coffee (Angelgirl sips hot cocoa) and wear a Christmas hat on our heads.

By noontime we headed out to make the rounds and visited my sisters (who live across the street from each other). First on the left side of the street we brought Mom along and gave gifts to my niece and two nephews. Then crossed the street to visit with my other sister,  (my mom lives there too), and my brother (who arrived a bit later about mid-afternoon).  We called my other brother, who is in a nursing home in Arkansas, to wish him a Merry Christmas.  He really enjoyed the Christmas package we sent him (it included a Christmas Oatmeal Box).

Mom was spoiled with a huge stocking and lots of packages to open – from little gifts and treats to big surprises.  I think this was her biggest Christmas ever.  Her big gifts included a cd player and a notebook (computer).

I usually get my nieces and nephews gift cards, but like to present them each year in a unique way but putting together a “themed” gift bag or basket.  This year theme was baking – I got my brother and sisters the Big top Cupcake Highlights Christmas 2011 with a couple of cake mixes, icings, and cake decorating sprinkles, and cookie cutter set.

However for my one niece and nephew instead of gift cards, they had a “Cake Boss” Christmas Extravaganza – they LOVE the Cake Boss.  I got them Buddy’s two cookbooks, Buddy Valastro Talking Bobblehead Highlights Christmas 2011, and Cake Boss mixing bowl set.  But the biggest gift (that earned us the honor of being the world’s best aunt and uncle) are tickets to see the Cake Boss Live Show (March 16th in Trenton, NJ) – they are VIP tickets so there is a meet and greet after the show.

Xmas 2011 Presents Galore Highlights Christmas 2011

I’m so looking forward to seeing the smiles when we get to meet the Cake Boss in March – it is going to be a memory for a lifetime.

Dec 262011
 

Yule 20111 Celebrating the 12 days of Christmas

Our Fireplace – Decorated for the Holidays

Celebrating the 12 days of Christmas – Yule – Winter Solstice.  The time between Christmas and New Year’s we are fortunate to have the time off from work and school to be together.  We will be visiting with friends, going to see a movie, and enjoying other fun things together.   I am also using this time to clear away the old, plan ahead for the future, and energize my motivation for continuing to improve my inner landscape and future spiritual goals.

The days following the Winter Solstice (Yule, Christmas), the longest night, are an inbetween time, filled with centuries of traditions and magic from many cultures and religions, a time that is not a time (out of the ordinary, existing outside the day to day rules and routine).  In ancient Babylon, these days were seen as the time of a struggle between chaos and order, with chaos trying to take back over the world and many traditions for this time of year are associated with driving away evil spirits for the start of the new year.

The origin and counting of the Twelve Days “is complicated, and is related to differences in calendars, church traditions, and ways to observe this holy day in various cultures.  in most of the Western Church are the twelve days from Christmas until the beginning of Epiphany  (January 6th; the 12 days count from December 25th until January 5th). In some traditions, the first day of Christmas begins on the evening of December 25th with the following day considered the First Day of Christmas (December 26th). In these traditions, the twelve days begin December 26 and include Epiphany on January 6.”

No matter which days one decides are best for celebrating the 12 days of Yule it is an good time for reflection, gaining wisdom from the previous year and setting goals and magical intentions for the upcoming new year.

Rather than making “resoultions” that if not met by year’s end or are abandoned within a few weeks of the new year’s start which can lead to giving up, guilt and negative feelings of self worth, I will be focusing on small, doable steps that are part of a broader overall plan. I will also allow myself to be flexible, realistic, and adapt as life unfolds and circumstances warrant.

What I will be doing during the 12 days of Yule:

An overall life review – what have I neglected, are there goals I need to discard or new ones I want to add; what habits and practices are positive and life affirming for myself and family, which ones need to be discarded, added or tweaked.  Followed by a simple new year’s eve ritual to give thanks for the previous year (embracing the mistakes, the ups and downs, both the good and bad times, releasing the old hurts, stress, negativity) and blessings for the new year (clearing the way for a fresh new year and welcoming the new lessons to be learned, the good and the bad times, opening heart, mind and spirit to wisdom and love).

Setting a focus for 2012 – to add meaning and overall purpose for the upcoming new year, I will be focusing on a theme for the year and settting an overall flexible plan that is on going to manifest my overall them and positive steps forward. I will kee my plans reasonable, with doable small steps for the upcoming year, and visualize and set forth intentions, followed by real world activity to manifest my goals.

My overall theme for this year is organizing – this has been my goal for decades, and in the past I’d always feel bad that I didn’t “finish” getting my entire house done and my life organized.  But realistically in the past my health and pain levels and lack of time (since I work full time and other life demands that require my time) made it impossible to get the entire house and my life organized to perfection, so I was setting myself up for failure.   This year my health is much better and since losing over 170 lbs my pain levels are very low.  However time constraints and the massive amount of organizing that needs to be done are still obstacles.  But rather than set a goal of getting the entire house done I will set as my goal to consistently work on  much smaller tasks that I can achieve, such as a bookshelf at a time or a few boxes sorted each month, etc.  Each small accomplishment will one more step to the larger goa, and I can feel positive about each one along the way without beating myself up if the house isn’t “perfect” and completely organized within a self-imposed deadline.

Tips For Resolutions and Goals:  keep goals simple and doable (break down big goals into smaller tasks); make sure your goals are realistic within the time frame you’ve set  (i.e. don’t set a goal like save a $10,000 dollars in a year if your expenses and debt are overwhelming – instead set a goal of paying down debt and creating a budget; don’t set a goal of building a website in a year when you don’t know anything about computers – instead set a goal of taking a computer class); don’t overwhelm yourself with too many goals and tasks; create categories to organize your goals (i.e. self improvement, home, work, family, spiritual, community, etc.) with only one or just a few goals in each category; be gentle with yourself and adjust your timetable as needed. Build in positive feedback and rewards for yourself along the way.  For example to help change your inner landscape and clear away inner obstacles create daily positive affirmations, inspirational music to listen to, inspirational amd empowering books to read.  Create positive feedback in the physical world, for example take a big positive step to start off the year that will create a positive environment for smaller changes to continue reaching an overall goal; create a symbol of your goal that you see daily; give yourself positive rewards along the way as you complete tasks.

Wishing everyone a healthy and happy new year filled with bright blessings, Lady Rose

Dec 242011
 

Holda Holda the Yuletide Goddess

Holda

As with many ancient goddesses, Holda is complex. Also called Hulde and Frau  Holle, she goes by a variety of names and takes different forms, depending on  locale and culture. In her form as a beneficent and noble White Lady, Holda is  beautiful and stately, with long, flowing golden hair, which shines with  sunlight as she combs it. She wears a white gown covered with a magical white  goose down cape. At Yuletide, she travels the world in a carriage and bestows  good health, good fortune, and other gifts to humans that honor  her. She not only is connected with Winter Solstice itself, but also with the holiday season that continues many of its customs, the 12 days of  Christmas–from December 25 through January 6.

Wishing everyone a safe, joyful, healthy and blissful holiday blessings, Lady Rose

 

Related Posts:  13 Gods Associated with December 25

Dec 222011
 

13 Holiday Greetings 13 Holiday Greetings

Holiday well wishes to one and all

  1. Blessed Yule,
  2. Joyous Winter Solstice,
  3. Io Saturnalia!,
  4. Happy Humanlight,
  5. Seasons Greetings,
  6. Happy Holidays,
  7. Happy Kwanzaa,
  8. Happy Hanukkah,
  9. Merry Christmas,
  10. Feliz Navidad,
  11. Joyeux Noel,
  12.  Joyful Boxing Day,
  13. and a Happy Festivus for the rest of us! (Seinfeld fans will get that last reference).

And for something really unusual there is always Krampus Day (he travels with Santa)!

Bright blessings and Yuletide Joy to all, Lady Rose

Related Posts You Might Enjoy:
13 Holidays to Celebrate in December.
13 Gods Associated with December 25.

Thurs 13 #8

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Dec 202011
 

KellySweaterDec2007 1 Mrs Weasley Sweater Christmas Gift

The Mrs Weasley Sweater is the best handmade gift I’ve ever made.  I enjoy crocheting and go through bursts of making a ton of items for a few months, than usually take a year or two off before getting the urge to crochet again.  It is always extra special when I can make something special for someone as a gift, especially when I know they will really and truly love it – and I knew this Mrs. Weasley sweater was going to be a a big hit with my best friend Mama Kelly (she is has big a Harry Potter fan as I am and Mrs. Weasley is her favorite character). 

Christmas 2007 Mama Kelly’s Mrs. Weasly Sweater – I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed making this sweater for my dear friend Mama Kelly and she looks awesome in it – it is so HER! I was even more thrilled that I managed to actually get it done in time to give it to her for Yule 2007 (since I didn’t even start it until the beginning of Dec.). I was thrilled I managed to get the sizing just about right (since my crochet projects prior to this had been much easier type patterns like blankets, ponchos, scarves, etc.).

I managed to find a box big enough to use to wrap the sweater in (a big American Girl box that we had), inside I also covered it with lots of tissue paper, and added on top of the tissue paper a printed out photo from the movie of Mrs. Weasley in the sweater that I added the message: Happy Yule from Mrs. Weasley!

It was so hard keeping the secret too. But I knew if I posted even a hint about making something special that Mama Kelly would some how guess, but I wanted her to be totally surprised so I managed to keep it a secret.  A lot of folks were almost as excited about the project as I was.  All the ladies I work with got to see it in progress and the finished sweater when I had it done.  They couldn’t wait to see photos of Mama Kelly wearing it. They were all keeping their fingers crossed for me that I would win the bid on the buttons (the auction on ebay was not an easy one to win and I almost lost them!) – everyone agreed they were the “perfect” buttons (though I did get a few other buttons on auction just as a backup in case I lost the bid).  Here are some closeups:

 

KellyJustButtonCropped2007 1 Mrs Weasley Sweater Christmas Gift

I started making the sweater Dec 16, 2007 finished it by Dec. 24, 2007 – except for the last rows of trim along the front where the buttons would go since I had to wait for the buttons to arrive to know how to place them and where to put the buttonholes. I won the button ebay auction a couple of days before Christmas, and they arrived Dec. 29 so I managed to get the whole thing completed by Dec. 30. The body of sweater took 9 balls of Vanna’s choice yarn (dusty rose), and for the arms I used 13 different colors (two different brands of soft yarns to get the color variety I wanted – Caron Simply Soft and Red Heart Soft Yarn).

I wish I had taken a picture of her stirring the big pot of yummy soup she was making while she was wearing the sweater – she really did look like she belonged in a magical home like The Burrow.

Do you make handmade gifts?   What is your favorite kind of gift to make?

Bright Blessings, Lady Rose

Note: Pattern Info.: “Coat of Many Colors,” from Crochet Cabin (cost $7).

pixel Mrs Weasley Sweater Christmas Gift