“Handmade Holiday” Part Two

I was born into a do-it-yourself kind of family.  We love to tell the story of my parents’ home.  My mom and dad were engaged and in their twenties when they began looking for their future home.  Dad liked the plot of land along the river.  It was a camp with two tiny bedrooms, a little kitchen, and a space that was sort of a living area with just enough room to turn around.  The realtor shook his head and asserted that they “could never actually live there.”  Dad (of course, no one called him that then!) had other ideas.  He bought the camp.  He made lots of drawings.  He made lots of plans.  They married in May, and they moved into the camp despite my Grandma’s concerns.  My mom got to work sweeping out dried leaves that squirrels used as bedding, and she sewed curtains for the kitchen window.  Dad wasn’t trained in building a house, but with books and friends and a heap of common sense, he turned the camp into a home.  He needed a basement, so he dug a hole.  He needed heat.  The furnace broke; he literally tossed it into the driveway and installed a wood burning stove.  That was just the beginning of a life of DIY.  That kind of life has definitely rubbed off on me.  I hate the idea of hiring people to do things, and fortunately, we’ve been able to avoid that so far.  (Thankfully, I have a husband who is always willing to learn and to try, a dad who loves to help, and a father-in-law who is handy as well.) 

I have been taught–often simply by observation–to value work and effort and creative problem solving.  I learned very early on that creating things with my hands  and my imagination is fun and rewarding.  Even when the cookies burn or the stitches run crooked, I love the sense of play that comes with cooking and crafting and fixing.  I especially love sharing these creative pursuits with family members–making cards with Mom (or just admiring hers), reminding my sister how to knit (even though she has decided that sewing is her thing).

When I get wrapped up in all the wonderful things that I read on other people’s blogs and I’m feeling all giddy with inspiration, I sometimes forget that this urge to create and discover and build a life of creativity came a long time before I discovered blogging or got a library card to a well-stocked urban library.  My mom and dad, along with my grandparents taught me to love doing things myself–sometimes out of necessity, sometimes just for fun.  Oh, the stories I can tell!

This Christmas demonstrated that the people who love me know what I value and support my efforts even when I fall short of the holiday perfection that I planned.  By my calculation, too few of the gifts we gave were homemade, but the gifts I received said, “We know you.  We love you.  And we know that you can do so many things.”  Thank you, precious family.

My parents gave us a cute little one-pint ice cream maker.  We made dessert on New Years Day!

Dad bought me this gorgeous Dutch oven in our extended family gift exchange.  I am totally in love!

Mom and Dad gave me Artisan Breads EverydayCan’t wait to get baking.  My sister and her hubby gave me Molly Wizenberg’s A Homemade Life: Stories and Recipes from my Kitchen Table.  You can learn more about Molly at her wonderful blog, OrangetteI’ve placed her on my Links list to the right.

And the yarn.  Ah!  It’s heavenly.  My sister and my brother-in-law gifted me with this sweet, sweet cotton, especially chosen for a dear little summer baby.  I’ve been browsing patterns, and I’m looking for just the right tiny something.

I had trouble capturing the perfect, baby green of this yarn, but these shots come close.  Doesn’t it look soft?  It is!

6 thoughts on ““Handmade Holiday” Part Two

  1. Shelley

    I LOVE reading your posts! This one almost made me cry! Such memories.I too love that we can share such memories. It’s amazing to see time and time again how much you and I have in common. I mean it’s no surprise we come from the same cloth. 🙂

    I remember the camp! I remember when Aunt Renee and I rolled down the hill together. And your dad found a nest with baby moles on the hill while he was mowing. I also remember the “science projects” in the refrigerator from the previous owner! ha ha

    I love that you, Aunt Renee, Kristy and I have the creative gene. (i get it from both sides…like you…Uncle Chet has it too or he wouldn’t have been able to build such a beautiful home. I love their house!! I even sleep better there than at my own house. :))
    Such a calm no drama B&B. 🙂 Filled with a lot of unconditional love.

    I too learned exactly like you did. Gram taught us so many things. Your mom and dad taught me so much also. And, of course, all my grandparents taught me how to make it with little money. I love that we still have the one foot in the door of good old fashion ways of life. I am so glad that I have a house now and I can get back to my creative self. 🙂 I miss making cards, knitting, flower arranging, writing and all kinds of things I love to learn and make.

    Honey, I miss you and love you soooo much! You and your sister mean the world to me…you’re like my nieces rather than my 1st cousins. Not too many families are as close as our family is.

    I am so proud of you~ YOU ROCK! 🙂


  2. Kristy

    Hello dear sister!

    I’m so glad to hear how much you loved and are inspired by your Christmas gifts!

    I’ve been reading my new sewing books trying to pick my next project. Maybe I’ll have a snow day soon so I can begin.

    Talk to you soon! Love, Kristy

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