Tuesday, December 15, 2015
This weekend, I worked rather feverishly to finish crocheting facecloths for the small Bears' teachers. They aren't especially complicated, it's just that I left them a little too long and had a bit of panic when I realized that school lets out for the holiday break after Thursday, not Friday like I'd thought. Oops. I'd been planning to send the teacher gifts into school on Friday, so I had one fewer day to finish up. No problem, though. I'm staying cool as a cucumber this holiday season, remember? Yes. Luckily, the facecloths were fast and easy to make. I used patterns from Sarah's lovely blog, Ball Hank n' Skein. Sarah offers four simple and pretty washcloth patterns for free on her blog.
The cloth on the left, made with I Love This Cotton in Rosy, is crocheted in the Grit Stitch pattern. The cloth on the right, in I Love This Cotton's Taupe shade, is made with the Hdc Shell pattern. Both were easy patterns to work up, but like Sarah, I think the Hdc Shell is my favorite. I just like the grid-like design to the stitch pattern. I like the Grit Stitch too, though, especially the way the stitches seem to move diagonally across the design, and also seem to move in and out from front to back. "Grit" seems like a good name for it. I think both will be effective and comfortable to use. The taupe cloth is slightly larger than the pink one; I think I worked too loosely. It's about eleven inches square, while the pink one is about ten inches.
I bought each teacher a bar of fancy bath soap at HomeGoods, my favorite place to buy special toiletries (mostly for other people; I'm an Ivory Soap kind of gal myself). I tend to avoid specific scents (i.e., lavender or roses) when I give a toiletry gift. It's hard to know exactly what another person will like, isn't it? I think this one is a good choice; it's soft and light, just clean-smelling. I hope they'll like it as much as I do.
I tied each bar and facecloth with ribbon, and we'll put them into gift bags with handmade cards to deliver to the teachers on Thursday. Do you like to give handmade gifts to teachers? I really enjoy it. It's very popular here to collect money for teachers, but I prefer to make something most of the time. I used to be a teacher myself and my favorite gifts from students were the simple ones, handmade or baked or found.
In other news, I'm absolutely elated to say that I've finally reached a point in life where I can put delicate things on the tables in the living room, and not live in fear of having them bashed by toys, books, cups or whatever else a little person might decide to wield. I've been putting seasonal arrangements on the coffee table in the living room, keeping them low so that they don't interfere with conversation. I usually have some kind of runner on the coffee table to protect it (they haven't totally lost their roughneck ways); the current runner is a reversible patchwork one I sewed from fat-quarter bundles about 12 years ago, with one side autumnal and the other Christmassy. I have red taper candles in glass holders, with my centerpiece in the middle. I used my centerpiece for the first time last year and was really happy to take it out again for this holiday season. Would you like to see how I made my centerpiece? It was so easy. You can make one in a few minutes.
I started with a large glass plate, about 14 inches in diameter. You could use any kind of plate or platter; I happened to have this one from years ago, when I used it with an arrangement of pillar candles nestled into those flat glass marbles (another casualty of parenthood; who wants hundreds of marbles sitting two feet off the floor with a toddler in the house? You're just asking for trouble).
I used these items for my arrangement, all of which I found in the seasonal floral department at Hobby Lobby. From top left, in the order I used them: artificial pine boughs, sparkly artificial berry picks, natural pine cones (you could certainly hunt for these outdoors instead of buying them), and small glass ornament balls.
First, I put my pine boughs on the plate with their stems at the center. My boughs have flexible wire stems, which I shaped into hooks by bending them slightly. Then I hooked the stems onto each other, to help keep them from shifting outward when I put the other pieces on top.
Next, I poked my berry picks through the hooked stems of the boughs, making sure the picks lay flat on top.
I placed the pine cones on, around and under the boughs and picks, spreading them around somewhat evenly. I think I'd rather use smaller pine cones for this, but the selection was limited. I'll look around the neighborhood for small ones, such as from cypresses or spruces, to add to these big ones for next year.
Lastly, I scattered the glass ornament balls around the arrangement, tucking them in and around the other parts. (You may want to add the balls after you've already moved the plate to the table; they can easily roll off at this point. And don't forget to save the box your ornaments come in, so you can store them safely).
My centerpiece adds sparkle and shine to the coffee table. The best part? They've been looking at it with their eyes and not their hands. It's a Christmas miracle!