Do you want the good news or the bad news first. Well, I'll just assume you're like me and always want the bad news first...
I've lost my camera. It's gone. Poof. Nowhere. I suppose it's somewhere but it's keeping that location to itself. Which means no more pictures until I scrounge up the money to buy a new one... which will be a few months. Which is very, very sad because it's December, which means presents, which means projects, which means lots of stuff I would really, really love to post pictures of.
The good news is, it's December, which means presents, which means projects, which means I am very, very busy.
I'm attempting a handmade Christmas this year. I started out thinking of making one or two things but once my hands started making they just couldn't stop, so the handmade Christmas was unintentional. I've really enjoyed it. I've been learning new skills like hand embroidery and pattern making. It's amazing all the things you can do at home.
I know lots of people talk about making things 'in house' as a cost saving measure, less money spent, more in your pocket. That's somewhat true. While it does cost less money, it takes way more time to make everything than to walk into a shop and buy it. I ran the numbers for the Christmas apron I made based off the pattern I drafted (see last post). If you paid me minimum wage for the time it took me to make the apron (not to mention create the pattern) it comes to $41.25. That's pretty much what Mary Jane's Farm was charging and I didn't include the cost of materials. I would argue that if I was really good at this sort of thing, it would take me less time. I would also argue that the value of learning that I could draft a pattern and learning how to work out all the kinks through the production process was more than the value I would have received if I had just paid $40 for the apron and had my five and half hours of time. But that's just me.
I've also been learning how to host people. We've invited several people to celebrate Advent with us in our home every Sunday this month. It's exciting and kind of intimidating. I'm a quiet person, I don't like being around a bunch of people. But I love Advent. I love the waiting and the daily reminder of what Christmas is about and why it's the best time of the year. I really want to share that but to do that I have to get over this whole 'I don't really like being around lots of people' thing. I'm trying to keep it simple: people come over, people share a pot of soup and talk, we all move to the living room where the Advent wreath is and read the official Advent scriptures, light the candles, talk about the subject of that particular week's Advent candle and why it's important, then do whatever fits the mood: sing, talk, sit in contemplation, leave in silence, whatever. I need it to not be stressful... Christmas shouldn't be stressful. It's God's work, all He asks is for us to come and see. If our houses aren't perfect, that's okay, if our cookies aren't perfect, that's okay, if our hearts aren't perfect, that's okay, if we refuse God, that's not okay. Hm... I'm vaguely reminded of something I thought of in the car on the way to Thanksgiving but I can't remember what I wanted to say, I can only remember the feeling and mood, something about how the verse says that Jesus stands at the door and knocks and we always think about this polite little man politely knocking at the door... but maybe He's standing at that door and pounding... perhaps it will come to me later.
In any case, I've been trying to put my heart into Christmas. To be gracious and open to others, to make my gifts personal and full of effort and love, to craft and create. To put Christmas in my heart where it belongs.