A Few Little Things

Christmas and New Years flew by in a blur, and now I’m battling a nasty stomach bug, so I’m not feeling up to much. I just thought I would share a few little things with you. First, Christmas. It was small, on my part, very small. I whipped up a couple of little felt lovelies for my daughters. With life and our future living situation still up in the air, and living out of suitcases for the last month, I didn’t want to add too much to the toy load, but I did want to give them a little something to make this Christmas special. First, my older daughter is OBSESSED with horses.

So a little felt horse finger puppet was an easy choice.

My younger daughter’s tastes are a little more simple, so I went with a nice little felt ball. It’s fun to chew on and to throw.

With the year before me a complete unknown, I decided to ground myself with a few goals (resolutions) that I want to make happen. I even wrote them down, in a nice little word-collage, but of course, I forgot to photograph it, and now it’s dark, so I decided to let the post go without a picture. My goals are mostly small, but after all, it’s the “small” things that make life wonderful.

Anyways, I hope you all have a wonderful week. Hopefully I’ll be feeling up to posting something for real next week!

100th Post: A Giveaway and a Psuedo-Stitch-Along

Welcome November and the holiday season! I love this time of year. In risk of being redundant, I will tell you that this is my 100th post here at Beauty All Around, and in honor of that I’m giving away a little something to you, my esteemed, devoted readers. I just wanted to say thanks for joining in my efforts to create a beautiful life all around me. I love hearing from you and knowing that you’re there. Thank you!

So, what is the giveaway? Well, I have been working on a project off an on for a year (yes, one of those) and I’ve been dying to share it with you. So when I started getting close to my 100th post and thinking that I wanted to give a little back to my readers, I decided I would really share this project with you.

So here it is, a project that we can all do together. A 24-piece nativity set. Hooray! I hope you’re all as excited about this as I am. I’ve drawn and redrawn these little guys at least a dozen times now, and I finally think they’re ready to share. I had originally intended this to be simply an embroidery pattern, but as I was making it, I thought of several other applications.

My favorite non-embroidery idea was to print these out on cardstock, color them (get your kids involved with this!), cut them out and then glue them onto popsicle sticks for a set of nativity puppets to use when you share the Christmas story with your family. They would also be great as Christmas ornaments, printed on paper or embroidered. One other idea I had was doing CitraSolv transfers (like the great tutorial here) of the template  to wooden blocks for a blocky nativity set. I bet you can think of other ways to use these, too.

I chose to make a 24-piece set so that this could also serve as an Advent calendar, with one piece being added for each day leading up to Christmas. In order to make it up to 24 pieces, I had to include a couple extra characters beyond the standard family,  wise men and shepherds. The set includes

  • Mary, Joseph, and Baby Jesus;
  • 3 angels;
  • 3 shepherds;
  • 3 wise men;
  • Anna (read about her in Luke 2: 36–38; I decided if the wise men are included in the nativity, even though many believe they didn’t get there until Jesus was a toddler, see Matthew 2:11, I would include her, too; since she was a witness of the baby Jesus when he was just 8 days old.)
  • Simon (read about him in Luke 2:25–35; included for the same reason as Anna)
  • 1 sheep and lamb;
  • 1 goat and kid;
  • 1 cow
  • 1 donkey;
  • 2 camels;
  • a star; and
  • a manger.

Here’s a little preview of the template:

My original idea for the nativity came from several areas. I knew since I’ve been married that I wanted the nativity to a be a focal point of our Christmas decor, since the nacimientos were a big part of Christmas for my husband growing up. I knew I wanted to make one, but I wasn’t sure what form it would take until I got an idea looking at a wood-block nativity that my aunt had made. I like the overall idea of a sturdy nativity that kids could actually play  with, and I also liked the simplified figures, but I didn’t want to do it in wood (I confess, it’s mostly because I don’t know how to use, or have access to, wood cutting implements). Also, I didn’t want any decorations to become dangerous projectiles, since I wanted the nativity to be something my kids could safely play with. So I decided to make fabric blocks, with just enough weight in the bottom to make them stand upright.

To make it a decently ambitious project (and hence why I only have 3 pieces semi-completed), I decided to make each piece double-sided so that there was a front view and a back view. Though it’s more labor for me, I really think this adds a nice dimension to the finished pieces.

What do you think?

Would you like a copy of your own 24-piece nativity set template to color, embroider, or transfer? I am giving away a copy of the 18-page black and white nativity template to the first 20 readers who leave a comment with their e-mail address. You can now purchase the full template in my brand new Etsy shop. I will also be giving away a 3-piece template of Joseph, Mary, and Baby Jesus to the next 50 readers to leave a comment with their e-mail address. After that, I’m hoping to make the full template available for sale in my soon-to-be-opened Etsy shop . Should I throw one more thing in? Sure, why not? I’m also giving away this (completed) prototype of Mary, Joseph, and Baby Jesus to one reader, who will be selected at random from all the comments (US residents only, sorry, if someone international wins, I’ll definitely give them the full template, and choose a different reader for the prototype set).  I will leave comments open from now until Monday, November 14th at midnight, and I will announce the winner Tuesday.

So here’s where the psuedo-stich-along comes in. I would love to see you guys using these templates to stitch up a great set of nativities. I know, realistically it’s very unlikely that any of us (me especially) will have the full 24-piece set ready for Advent, but I think it would be great to see how far we can get in the next (almost) two months before Christmas. If you would like to join in the stitch-along, I would love for you to share your photos of your work in progress in the Nativity Stich-Along group.

ps. I’m linking this up on skip to my lou and at the weekend wrap-up party..