Christmas has its challenges when it comes to children -- how does one achieve that delicate balance between giving gifts without fostering materialism? While we're probably far more conservative than average, it's still easy to get carried away. There are so many toys that I know our children would love!
This year, we tried to augment current "collections," or upgrade toys that they already love but have outgrown. And always books -- this year Rosa got A is for Annabelle, Little Man got Curious George and the Firefighters, and they jointly received The Tale of Three Trees and Journey (which is now one of our favorites; it's delightfully whimsical, and surprisingly "well told" for having no words!)
Rosa's other Christmas gift included play food, a new apron, and a little tin tea set. She has this Stephen Joseph kitchen set (a gift from her "Mumsy") so a few accessories seemed like a good idea.
The apron was simple -- I used a little canvas apron (via the Publix Preschool Pals club) as a template, rounding the bottom edges for a more feminine flair. A little bit of trim, bias tape, and a wee pocket later, it was ready! All done in less than one nap time.
|The pink polka-dot fabric came from a visit to Denver Fabrics about seven years|
ago! It's a lightweight canvas, perfect for an apron.
For play food, I settled on a slightly breakfast theme -- pancakes, eggs, strawberries, and orange wedges. I'd like to branch out over time, but I knew those particular foods would go over well (and I already had the necessary felt!). I also stitched a simple grocery bag, loosely following the instructions from Sew Magical for Baby -- I reduced the size to be more suitable for little hands, and kind of winged the construction process. It's a hard pattern to mess up!
And then, a week before Christmas, I found the tea set of my dreams while browsing World Market's website -- searching for "tea tins," I came across their Floral Tin Tea Set. Rosa is fascinated by tea, but I'd thought it would be a while before she was ready for a tea set due to my aversion to plastic sets and the
|The orange wedges are a bit primitive, but I'm very fond of my seeded strawberries!|
And here's a snapshot of the wee little lady herself on Christmas morning -- she lost no time in serving out steamy cuppas (though for some reason she insisted on removing the tea pot's lid before using it. Hmm.).
I was less involved in Little Man's present, simple by nature of what it was! We went with a Robin Hood theme for our outdoorsy boy, which meant a bow, quiver, arrows, and a felt cap. Pablo had made him a small PVC bow and a single PVC arrow about a year ago, but it was time for an upgrade. This time Pablo made a nicer PVC bow with more shaping, and applied a shoe polish "stain" that looks like a real wood grain. I fashioned some black leather into a grip which was glued/stitched on. Oh, and Pablo made eight wooden dowel arrows, complete with fletching and carved nocks. Plenty for a young marksman!
The quiver was also made out of PVC, slightly flattened into an oval shape. We covered it with pleather (resorting to some interesting techniques to finish the bottom!), and riveted a leather strap to the top and bottom.
The felt hat, of course, was my domain! I used this free tutorial for Little Man's Robin Hood hat, printing it out at 80% -- the size is perfect! I may make a sturdier version in the future (his is just felt, and rather thin felt at that), but for now it's just right. Little Man has been wearing this ensemble almost non-stop since Christmas, especially since we recently watched the old Erroll Flynn Adventures of Robin Hood movie as a family.
Lessons learned this year? Get an earlier start! In fact, this year I really want to be more prepared for gift-giving events in general. Birthdays and Christmas are quite predictable, so why not be ready early and avoid last-minute stress?
But overall, considering the innumerable cups of "tea" I've been served and the frequent archery exhibitions I've been invited to view, I'm pretty sure we can count this year's Christmas gifts a success!