Anticipation.

I don’t know about you, but the Christmas anticipation is practically killing us around here. The final few days are especially hard because we are experiencing a (relative) lull in our activities. After a very stressful last week of school that involved me getting sick, Josh getting sick, me getting sick again, and–worst of all–the baby getting sick for a few days, we are finally healthy and back on our feet. Since we’re staying in Florida this year we sent all our family presents back to Washington, which forced me to get things done early to avoid paying a fortune for shipping. I completely shocked myself by coming in on time for just about everything — I think I only had to send two packages priority while everything else was ground or parcel post. This feels especially triumphant when compared to last year’s fiasco, which involved paying exhorbitant amounts for 3-day delivery on all our presents and then being thwarted by colossal snowstorms in the Northwest which held up the mail for a week.

I did lose quite a bit of sleep (hence the illness, I think), but at least it wasn’t the night before Christmas. Man oh man, have I been productive lately. You know how there are times when you feel like you haven’t gotten much done but then you start making a list of every little thing you’ve accomplished and realize that it all adds up to quite a lot? This has been one of those times. Since the beginning of November, I have painted and cut out 3 collages, sewn 9 baby presents, sewn 6 adult presents, finished one small graphic design project and four big ones, sold a heap of stuff at a consignment sale, wrapped a great big pile of presents, and shipped 8 parcels. The apartment is a bit grubby but hasn’t fallen down, there are festive Christmas decorations scattered about, we have clean clothes to wear and food to eat, and the baby is remarkably happy now that she has recovered from her cold. Hah hah! I kind of can’t believe that all this has been possible with a 6-month old baby in the house. I feel so empowered right now.

Now that the presents are pretty much done, husband and I are turning our attention to the Christmas Feast. We’re going solo for the first time this year–Christmas is a slightly awkward holiday to spend with another family (although we did have a lovely time with a family from school last year) and now that the household has three people we thought we could justify starting our own dinner traditions. And oh, what traditions they will be! I don’t know that we will have the exact same theme every year, but Christmas 2009 is going to be as Dickensian as we can manage in Pensacola, FL. The menu so far is: goose, chesnut stuffing, roasted potatoes with cheddar, brussel sprouts with chesnuts and bacon, Christmas pudding with custard sauce, and hot buttered rum. We’re making everything except the Christmas pudding, which we found at our international grocery store…I just didn’t think I’d be able to pull off an authentic one.  We’re even going to light brandy and pour it over the top. I have always always wanted to try that. 

I took photos of most of my sewing projects and plan to take some of our dinner, so after Christmas there will be lots to look at. In the meantime, I have a ton of pictures from a photoshoot yesterday with my gorgeous friend Natalie. We both have Nikon D40s and she had the brilliant idea to go on a photo date where we shoot pics of each other and our babies (her baby, Isla, is two months older than Camilla). It’s kind of like pretending to be a professional photographer but with none of the pressure. :) Some of my photos are below, and when she gives me the ones she took of Camilla and I I’ll put them up as well.

Merry Christmas to all! I hope you have a wonderful day celebrating the birth of our Savior.

(Sorry this post is so long, but I can’t resist adding a few photos of my own baby. Camilla has been making the funniest faces lately and I finally captured them on camera. She was very patient through the whole photo shoot, but you can tell exactly how she felt about it!)

Contemplating her paci.

Thanks for the stupid headband, mom.

Little buddies.

Swingin' solo for the first time.

New pink hat.

That face.

Modern fairytales.

I am spending my days sewing like a maniac whenever the baby permits, but of course I can’t show you any of that stuff until after Christmas. Humph. I’m a little short on sleep (okay, a lot short) but everything is turning out pretty well and I have ripped out remarkably few seams. For me, seam ripping is one of the least productive-feeling activities imaginable. So as long as I’m sewing seams that get to stay sewn, I feel like I’m making progress.

However, I remembered today that I do have some new art that I haven’t shown on my blog yet so I’m not without eye candy. I made these three pieces in November for a show at The Storm Cellar in Moscow, ID (show date TBA). I have been wanting to do some collage really badly and this was my first attempt that wasn’t part of an elementary classroom project.

It was kind of a huge pain since I had to decide on my concept, make the drawings, decide how to group the pieces, make a color scheme, paint a bunch of pieces of paper, transfer the drawings, cut them out, and then assemble the final pieces. Plus, a couple of these pieces + backgrounds were painted multiple times since I didn’t like the first version. It’s a ridiculous amount of work for something that comes out looking relatively simple, but I think I’m okay with that. I even have plans for a couple more…

Hansel and Gretel.

Hansel and Gretel

Goldilocks.

Goldilocks

Snow White Rose Red.

Snow White, Rose Red

I believe that prints will eventually be available on the The Storm Cellar’s website and the originals will also be for sale at the store. The colors are a little off on my monitor…they look better in print and in real life!

[I should also mention that the characters are based on photos from The Sartorialist, which we bought as soon as it came out. If you have a copy, can you spot the originals? ;) I got the idea for the set when I was flipping through the book a few months ago and some of the figures seemed as though they lived their own fairytale lives in NYC or Paris or wherever. My copy is full of sticky notes marking different photos as Sleeping Beauty, Prince Charming, Little Red Riding Hood, and a cast of other characters just waiting to be collaged.]

Catching the holiday spirit.

Sorry I haven’t posted for a while…I am working as madly as possible on some presents which of course can’t be shown until after Christmas. My mind has been chock full of ideas since October but there is a little issue with the time it takes to bring them into being. The poor baby was also a little under the weather this week and wanted to be held a lot, which is of course the first priority. So other things are getting squished into the evening after she goes to bed or into the 4:30-5:30 am morning time slot that she has taken to liking again. I figure that if I have to be awake while she practices rolling in her crib I might as well cut some fabric, right?

I realize that I never even said anything about Thanksgiving, which turned out to be a truly lovely holiday for us. We were stuck in Pensacola miles from family and I didn’t have particularly high hopes, but we got an invitation to Josh’s principal’s family celebration and had an absolutely fantastic time.

Thanksgiving with the Trotters.

Sometimes it’s really hard to spend a major holiday with someone else’s family because they just do everything a little bit differently than yours and you can’t shake that awkward feeling. Well, this wasn’t one of those times…we had a blast.

The requisite family photo.

I only have these couple of pics, but hopefully you can tell from the smiles that we were enjoying ourselves. (No, Camilla doesn’t wear the stripey tights all the time…I’m just getting maximum mileage out of them before she gets too big. Wouldn’t you?)

Since this is the baby’s first Christmas, I want to squeeze all the fun out of it and we put up our fake tree the day after Thanksgiving. I know it doesn’t smell as good as the real thing, but it’s re-usable, very cost effective, and I like being able to make a spontaneous decision that I must put up the tree right this instant and only have to go as far as our storage room to make it happen.

Oh, we also found our Santa hats. We now affectionately refer to the dog as “The Christmas Beans.”

The Christmas Beans.

And Camilla is “The Christmas Baby.”

Too bad these photo shoots always end the same way…

How it inevitably ends.