Category Archives: 25 Days Of Maple Hoo Christmas

Felty, Beady, Sequiny Nostalgia, In Tree Form

There are few things on this planet that make us happier than our “heirloom” (read: “in battered, tattered condition, because they were perhaps loved too well when we were children”) Bucilla Christmas tree ornaments.

Santa Ornament

Reindeer

Tin Man

Boomer made the three above either before we were born or when we were very young. As we got older and she began imparting her crafty knowledge to us, we used to regularly raid her sewing room to dig out the Bucilla ornament kits she had buried under piles of other UFOs. Many a giggly, preteened summer afternoon was spent dreaming of Christmas, still months away, while snipping out little pieces of felt and affixing sequins to them with tiny glass beads. Truly, nothing spells Christmas for us better than that.

In our adulthood, we have often stared longingly at the scant few Bucilla items at our local Michael’s and felt horribly depressed that they just don’t make those projects like they used to. There’s been a void in our lives where felt and sequins and holiday cheer used to be.

Enter: “Fa La La La Felt”. Making our beloved Hooters H. Puffnstuff gave us the chance to discover that it is very easy to create a felt project… and just add your own sequins. A couple of weeks ago we dove in and made our own Bucilla-esque creations:

Pookie's owl

Pookie’s owl

Schnookie's bird

Schnookie’s cardinal

11/02/2010

Boomer’s cardinal

We shipped those three ornaments off to our friends at the Attic Needlework in Mesa to be included in their annual ornament auction to raise money for cancer research. And, um, we completely neglected to pimp the auction here… it’s over now, so if you were interested in bidding on any of the ornaments there, too late.

Anyway! The cardinals above were sort of self-designed, heavily modified from the “Fa La La La Felt” bird template, and, encouraged by my mad felt free-handing skillz, I decided the next project to tackle would be a Christmas tree. And behold! I am delighted with the end result:

Sequined Tree

Sequined Back

November 18 2010

Sequin Star

It doesn’t quite have that early ’80s Bucilla elan, but it’s getting closer. We’ve got a huge store of felt now, and buckets of sequins. The sky’s the limit, and our Christmas spirit is abundant!

[Posted by Schnookie]

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25 Days Of Maple Hoo Christmas: Day 25

Christmas day at Maple Hoo is all about taking it easy, kicking back, and hanging out in our pajamas while we enjoy good company and play with all our new toys. (That’s the spirit of Christmas, right? Playing with new toys?) This year we didn’t even bother with a fancy dinner, because that would mean Schnookie would have to spend all day in the kitchen while Pookie and Boomer played with the new Wii game (De Blob is awesome, in case you’re wondering). No, that just would not do. So instead, we took a suggestion from Kristin and had easy, munchie snack food to nibble on all day.

December 25 2008

The day started with mimosas and cranberry-vanilla coffee cake. Then we graduated to champagne-and-Grand-Marnier cocktails to go with our high-end pigs in blankets (the “high-end” part being that we used nice breakfast sausages from Whole Foods instead of hot dogs. Yeah, we were living large) and mac & cheese bites (baked in mini muffin pans). Then, during the second half of our bad Bond movie marathon (we watched Moonraker on Christmas Eve and Octopussy on Christmas), we enjoyed a warm leek and goat cheese dip with crusty bread and crackers (there was talk of making crackers ourselves, but that petered out), and then we chased everything with peppermint hot chocolate. It may not have been the peak of gourmet, but it was sure delicious and fun. All in, it was a perfect holiday!

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25 Days Of Maple Hoo Christmas: Day 24

No, we’re not very religious here at Maple Hoo, but we do have at least a little Christ in our Christmas.

Creche Nativity

When we were kids we had two creches that were the funnest part of putting out all our decorations on Christmas Eve. It was like playing with a dollhouse, arranging all the little figures around their respective mangers.

Creche Visitors

Now, one of the creches was a gift from friends of our father’s family; they were the kind of people who collect creches from all over the world, and gave us one from some Polynesian locale. It was made of bamboo. It did not artfully survive being manhandled by four children, and is in no shape to be put out every Christmas.

Our other creche was from Boomer’s family, and is adorably like a 3-D version of the illustrations in a children’s Bible.

Creche

This creche is also in bad shape, with every figure spiderwebbed with repair lines from where they have been dropped and broken, but it’s at least not just a heap of unrecognizable pieces of bamboo. Also, the packaging we keep it in is pretty remarkable. First, there’s the newspaper the individual pieces are wrapped in for storage:

Creche Newspaper

Yup. That’s the New York Times from Thursday, January 5, 1989.

And then there’s the tattered old box everything gets put in for its 11-month stay in the attic:

Creche Box

Last year Favre discovered he could just wedge himself into the box, and slept in it all December. One evening, while laughing at the big, fluffy cat curled up in the little, beat-up box, Boomer exclaimed with no small surprise, “That’s my father’s handwriting!” Her father passed away when she was 16. The box, clearly marked “CRESHE”, is dated December 1962. We might not spend our holidays in person with our extended family, but they’re certainly here in spirit.

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25 Days Of Maple Hoo Christmas: Day 22

You know those clip-on bird Christmas tree ornaments?

Glass Peacock

We love those. Boomer likes to say they look like farting birds, with their little stiff sprays of “feathers” sticking out of their derrieres. Because we’re classy that way.

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25 Days Of Maple Hoo Christmas: Day 21

Our Christmas traditions have been through a lot of reinventions since our father died 15 years ago. For a few years we didn’t do anything, then we spent a few years trying to make our trees as fancy as possible, in response to our entirely-too-handmade-and/or-threadbare childhood ornaments, and then we swung back into heavy nostalgia for the tattered favorites of our youth. Now we think we’ve struck a pretty good balance. Our ornament collection (which is a lot vaster than what got hung up this year) runs the gamut from the ’70s-tacular and pretty well battered…

Patchwork House

It’s a gingham gingerbread house made of out cloth-covered styrofoam and yarn, of course. And no, it wasn’t made by one of us. This bad boy was purchased. Nice work, Boomer and Dad!

…to the very, very pretty and modern-day.

Cardinals in Snow

After decades of providing all the felt-and-sequin ornaments a tree could ever hope for, Boomer has settled on this decidedly not handmade one as her favorite. Can you blame her?

No, we’re never going to be invited to put Maple Hoo on some themed-Christmas house tour, but that’s okay with us.

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25 Days Of Maple Hoo Christmas: Day 20

We’re getting closer! It’s almost time to open the stack of loot! But “almost” isn’t close enough, so we still have to bide our time basking in the glory of the tree, and wishing for a white Christmas. Sure, most of our friends on the interwebs are reporting all kinds of big snow events, but the best we’ve got is this:

Fuzzy Snowman

I dunno. Does that count?

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25 Days Of Maple Hoo Christmas: Day 19

We’ve been falling terribly behind here in our countdown to Christmas, but that’s because we’ve been justifiably distracted by a new craft hobby (more on that after the holiday). We’d had visions of lovingly photographing and documenting every one of our favorite ornaments, but that’s been totally derailed. For starters, our tree actually looks really good mostly bare:

Ornaments on Tree

But we’ve still managed to dig out a bunch of our faves. Today, let’s take a look at the Arizona specials:

Gourd Hummingbird

This is made out of a gourd of some kind, and Boomer got one for each household between us, KtG, and herself back when she was still in Scottsdale. Now, of course, we have two of them, but we kind of think they’re ugly (don’t tell her), so we only put one up each year.

The other ornament tradition to come from our time in the desert is the handmade ones from The Attic.

Mouse with Candle

This little crewelwork mouse is one of about six hand-crafted, embroidered ornaments we’ve acquired from The Attic’s annual ornament silent auction to benefit breast cancer research. When we were still living there we’d head down to Mesa on the late November night of the affair and enjoy snacks and drinks with our fellow needlewomen, but now we have to just call in our bids ahead of time. We didn’t win any this year, but the auction still raised thousands of dollars, so we consider it a success. (If you’re at all interested in participating in next year’s event, by the way, as either a contributor or just to bid on some of the lovely items up for auction, check out The Attic’s website. Or you can sign up for Jean’s awesome newsletter [which is basically just a regular hit of cross-stitch crack in your email inbox] to get all the latest news and notes from the center of the stitching universe.)

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