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We have a Christmas Tree! There have be several years that we haven’t put up a tree. Those were the years that we didn’t have any kids in the house. The oldest was with his mother and the youngest hadn’t come along yet. We spend Christmas morning at my mom’s so we didn’t see the need in putting one up. Besides, the Christmas Cactus put on quite a show back then, and it was more than festive enough for us.

Hubby thinks that if he hides behind this one, perhaps the others won’t see him coming.

The greatest part about the tree is the hunt. The ever elusive “perfect tree” must be stalked across all of the available fields. We have one family farm that we have found to be very reliable for growing fine trees. We are not particularly set on any one variety. We have had Douglas, Grand, & Noble firs as well as Spruce trees in the past. Some are more friendly than others. One year my sister & I had one we named Sid Vicious. The needles were horribly pokey and made decorating it less than fun. This year we have a Noble and Mom ended up with a sheared Douglas fir.

The farm we buy from has a nifty tree shaker. It is designed to shake out most of the dead needles before you drag it in the house. Personally I think it is to remove any wayward squirrels, but that is probably because I have see Christmas Vacation more times than is healthy.

While I was in working on some Christmas cookies, Dad and Little Miss decorated it up. They had fun with the lights and ornaments. Well, the ornaments are still being moved around at least as high as the short one can reach. The tree has made the house smell wonderful. Mix the smell of the tree with the cookies and it certainly is starting to feel like Christmas.

 

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I found the pattern for the first of my first Funky Friends on sale at Joann’s. Little did I know that the $1 Simplicity pattern I bought on a whim would go so far, and make so many friends, both human & stuffed.

Blue Horse, Blue Horse

We needed a blue horse for the Brown Bear, Brown Bear book by Eric Carle to replace the plastic one that had been spray-painted blue and was starting to loose it’s paint. This was the first pattern that I found that didn’t involve fake fur. The fleece does make the animals easier to keep clean which is very important when dealing with the “birth to three” set.

I had some trouble with the assembly of the hooves. I checked out the website that was printed on the envelope and discovered the world of the Funky Friends Factory. I e-mailed the designer, and at no time did she make me feel like the dolt that I was. At some point during assembly I had turned the rear hoof pieces upside down which is why they didn’t want to fit the hoof pad. We continue to correspond via e-mail off and on. She is very sweet, and it looks like her business is really starting to grow.

Em’s Friends

As you can see these pets are really designed to be played with and loved. This is the cast of characters that have managed to stay at our home. They are played with on a regular basis, and although their stuffing has shifted a bit over the years, and whose hasn’t, they are still great playmates. It is about time for them to take a “spa day” though. A bit of a diet, (unstuffing), a nice soak in the tub (washer) and a trip through the sauna (dryer), followed by a nice massage (restuffing) will certainly perk them up a bit.

The latest batch of Funky Friends are for birthday and Christmas gifts for my daughter’s pre-school friends.

Birthday Ponies

Two of these ponies are headed for the twins who have very different personalities and the yellow one will be a Christmas gift.

Crocodile

This guy will be for one of the three boys in the pre-school class. They are horribly out numbered in there by the girls, but they are holding their own. I imagine this crocodile will find hours of enjoyment as a side kick to a infamous pirate captain or a daring explorer. The croc has already attempted some marvelous feats of tail-hanging from my cutting table. It was a good thing he was boxed and wrapped last night. Who knows what adventures he would have found overnight!

Reyna’s Giraffe

This sweetie of a giraffe is for Fabian’s little sister. He has been “frenemies” with Em for a couple of years now. We are never sure what the status of their friendship is from hour to hour. Such is the life of pre-schoolers. His little sister is just about the cutest thing and she is a firecracker! I have already had a request for another giraffe. It may just show up under the Christmas tree.

If you are looking for some great & easy gifts that will be loved and played with, check out these patterns. You can even download them directly to your computer so you don’t have to wait for them to be shipped! I even have a few more on my Christmas list. I am really digging the new anteater pattern and hope it shows up in my stocking!

Back to the sewing machine!

Update: 12/2/2010
The kids were thrilled with their new friends! Apparently the ponies were a huge hit. They were not turned loose all evening and went to bed with the girls. This morning they were seen around the breakfast table helping themselves to the girls’ cereal. Because breakfast is the most important meal of the day for a good side-kick. The red one has been named “Strawberry Ice Cream” and the other “Rainbow Dots”.

The crocodile was also a hit, but since his new owner is a bit shy, I did not get the full run down of all of his activities since arriving at his new home. It did sound as if there were some pirate capers involved ala “Peter Pan”.

Thanks Pauline for designing such great friends for our kids! I love giving them, as they inspire such imagination in the kids who receive them.

Yeah, I’m a bit late with this one. The photos were so pretty I had to share them though.

For only the second time in my memory we have had snow before Thanksgiving. The last time it happened, I was in high school and we thought Sony Walkmen cassette players were cool, it has been a while.

The snow as pretty, but the sub-freezing temperatures that followed over the next few days were not.  We were prepared with heaters for the stock tanks and we bedded the barns with fresh shavings and splurged with some straw. The straw is nice for them to snuggle down in, but it is a pain to pitch out later. The wood stove kept us toasty warm. By Thanksgiving it was warming up and turning most of the snow to slush. Friday morning saw warmer weather and rain. So it was pretty while it lasted. I am sure it won’t be the end of the snow we see this year.