Firstly, back in August we decided to sell our house and move to a new place ... not too far away from the old house really, but boy does it take a lot to prepare a house for sale! And how all-encompassing is moving? ... emotionally, logistically, financially and did I mention emotionally. We only moved a month or so ago, and we're exhausted. It's the first time we've sold and moved, so we've learned lots throughout this process, and we definitely have a new found respect for those who need to move regularly for work commitments or other reasons. This is what our dining room looked like in the lead-up to our move ... I think we're pretty lucky we didn't lose either of the munchkins in the piles of boxes towards the end there.
Then we picked our last crop from our veggie garden, kissed our house goodbye (literally ... we're a little nutty like that!) and moved to our new home.
We didn't waste any time, and in an attempt to help the girls adjust and make the new house feel like their home, we got straight into the painting. Each of them chose their colours (well, Hannah had a little help ... I had to adjust her colour choice from "rainbow walls Mummy" to mauve walls with the promise of some rainbow stickers).
We have since also had new carpet laid, so it was fun to just paint away without worrying about making a mess on the carpet. The girls loved the painting, and Bethany's edging work was definitely the best ... she's a perfectionist, that girl, and with painting it totally pays off!
Then came all the end-of-year fun like this gorgeous ballerina's little ballet concert. This included a Rapunzel-themed costume which she thought was the best thing ever! We love our ballet because it's really low-key and just lets little girls be little girls without the make-up, big concerts, big concert rehearsals or expensive costumes.
Since June, I've been working on a Christmas swap, the Santa Sack Swap hosted by Cheryll at Gone Stitchin'. This was my second year doing this swap, and I'll definitely be signing up again next year. It's a really fun one. When I signed up back in June I had no idea that we would be packing up and moving, and I did have a small panic when I remembered that I had committed to this swap which would be due to post off just the week before we moved, but to be truthful, this swap kept me sane during the craziness of moving. It was lovely to have a project to work on here and there during that time.
I was partnered with the lovely Noela, and she sent me the most amazing package of goodies. The girls and I had a brilliant time opening them and marvelling at Noela's very impressive handiwork.
She made this beautiful patchwork tote, which will be just perfect for carrying around some crochet projects I have planned for this coming winter. The fabrics are just lovely, and ric-rac ... I love it! Noela is clearly a very experienced patchwork and quilting expert.
My favourite part though, is the beautiful embroidery on the front of the tote ... just perfect given our recent move.
Noela also gave me a gorgeous pin-cushion and sewing caddy complete with a cute little pair of embroidery scissors ...
... the cutest little snow man christmas decoration ...
... a little felt bag with another amazing embroidery (I'm a beginner embroiderer, and Noela's beautiful stitching just left me in awe!) ... this was Hannah's favourite ... I'm sure she loved it because of the bag, and not because of the goodies inside, right!?! ...
... a beautiful embroidered monogram mat ...
And Bethany's favourite ... a gorgeous Christmas wall hanging, with the most adorable appliqués. Bethany carried this around the house to find the perfect position for it to hang so that everyone entering our house would see it. She just loves this one!
These are the goodies I sent to Noela. She indicated she would like a stocking this year, so that was my starting point, and the rest just followed!
A Christmas Stocking ... (found the free pattern for this via Pinterest, and thought it was cute for something different!) and a little coordinating Christmas dove decoration.
A Christmas Apron ...
A little shopping list folder, in which I also included a sewing kit ... for those times when there's a wardrobe malfunction whilst you're out and about ...
Some crocheted coasters ...
And a little monogramed zipper-pouch with matching tissue holder (oh, and this is the front of the little folder)
Noela has written to tell me that she loves her goodies, and has put some of them straight to use. I'm so glad she liked them. Aren't swaps just the best thing! The idea of making something for a stranger and making a new friend in the process is just awesome I think.
Shortly after this, we then celebrated Hannah's 4th birthday, just 2 days before Christmas, and she is stoked to tell everyone "Do you know I'm 4 now!".
Even though we've been extra busy this year, I did manage to find some time for our annual Christmas baking treat for friends and family. It doesn't really feel like Christmas for me until some baking is underway. This year I made caramels ... they're chewy, smooth, buttery and terribly unhealthy. Pinterest helped me out and I found this recipe. I just wrapped these little morsels in baking paper squares and popped a handful into tiny christmas gift bags for each recipient. Yum!
So, whether you've had a busy time like us, or if you've been able to slow down and fully enjoy the joy of Christmas time this year, I wish you all the most blessed of Christmases, and a fantastic year to follow. I'll be setting up my new sewing room over the coming weeks, and then I have lots planned including a few new tutorials for the new year, so stay tuned.
Oh, and this beauty is taking pride of place on display in my new sewing room. Isn't he lovely!