Spotlight Friday: scarves

It is starting to get a little nippy in the morning. So now is the time to pull out my knitting needles to start working on scarves and gloves and all this warm winter stuff.

So the other day I found some nice soft yarn and I couldn’t resist and bought it. I didn’t just buy it I had a project in mind. One of my friends had asked me to make a scarf.

Digging through my books and magazines I found a nice pattern for this beautifully colored yarn.

While I was going through my patterns some thoughts crossed my mind, about how long are people wearing scarfs, or did they have a different meaning, who was the first one to wear a scarf. Did they have a different function?

A scarf, also known as a Kremer, muffler or neck-wrap, is a piece of fabric worn around the neck, near the head or around the waist for warmth, cleanliness, fashion, or religious reasons. They can come in a variety of different colors.

This is what I found:

timeline_small

(source: http://www.scarves.net/blog/the-history-of-scarves-a-timeline/)

I can’t recall when I knitted my first scarf, but it has been many since. Some just plain in pattern or color and some with luxurious yarn. Some with a intricate pattern. Short ones, super long ones, cowl and triangle ones. So many options. Often quite a “quick” project, the thicker the yarn the faster it grows. Every year there is a new trend in knitting scarves. I usually don’t follow those, I like doing my own thing.

This is how far I got with my scarf, in one day:

wavy

Had a tough time getting the colors photographed.  But you get the idea.

This is how the shape will look like when finished: snapshot_2010-02-02_10-55-21_small2 The pattern is from Debbie O’Neill from the book “60 Quick Knits”.

I like trying something new. It took me a few unravelings (if that is even a word) to get the pattern down pat. The unraveling wasn’t easy because it is a fuzzy yarn,  once you knit it it likes clinging to itself. And taking those stitches out without getting frustrated is a little challenging.


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Hand Painted Silk Scarf, MADE TO ORDER ONLY, Choose your Colors, Jossiani by Jossiani

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Cable knit womens hood hat scarf peacock feather color
by YANKAcrafts

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Corduroy Cravat Handmade Keyhole Men’s Scarf Stone and Green Fleece Necktie by tlcHaberdashery

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Authentic African Kente Cloth Stole, Scarf, Made in Ghana, Multi-Color
by KenteFashionHouse

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SALE Argyle scarf, navy blue, green, upcycled, repurposed, very warm
by TheSassyGal

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London Scarf
by BellaEl

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Hand painted silk scarf – Butterfly wing- butterfly scarves- chiffon scarf by JoannaArtDesign

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Shearling Scarf with Leather Fringe Tassels – Available in Grey Beige or Black. by byloomandhyde

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Large Linen Scarf Fall Blanket Scarf | Fall Fashion Lightweight Scarf | Linen Blanket Scarf with Fringe by TwoSparrowsBoutique

 

Just click on the picture and it will take you to the corresponding shop.

What kind of scarf do you wear?

I like mine warm and long, so I can wrap them around my neck at least two times. I am a cold nature and always have cold feet and hands. I can’t stand having cold air sneaking down my neck.

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Spotlight Friday: compositions

I don’t do Halloween, I don’t like dressing up at all. I never liked it, even as a kid.I did participate in some Christmas plays in Elementary School, but only because I had to.

Don’t get me wrong, I love seeing other people getting all dressed up. For myself, it just makes me feel hm…don’t even know how to describe it…..not me!  I wouldn’t say uncomfortable, it’s just not me, not something I desire. I don’t like slipping in other rolls. I like doing me!  I love watching Theater plays or Opera, how people slip into rolls, and do it so believable. As a Teenager my friends and I had a Theater group, I was always in the background, organizing stuff, creating stuff etc. I didn’t want to stand on the stage and play someone else.

What I loved all my life and really miss living here is going to the Theater, a musical or a classical concert and here and there an Opera.

While I was living with my Grandparents in Munich, my Grandma and I went to the Muenchner Residez Theater at least 2-4 times a year.

It’s a beautiful place.

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I still remember the first time we went there. It was an late afternoon play, because it was also for kids.It was cold, close to Christmas and it was snowing on the way there. The Opera was “Haensel und Gretel”, the music was written by Engelbert Humperdinck.

Just a little sneak peek.

The opera premiered in Weimar on 23 December 1893, under the baton of Richard Strauss. With its highly original synthesis of Wagnerian techniques and traditional German folk songs, Hansel and Gretel was an instant and overwhelming success.[1]

Hansel and Gretel has always been Humperdinck’s most popular work. In 1923 the Royal Opera House (London) chose it for their first complete radio opera broadcast. Eight years later, it was the first opera transmitted live from the Metropolitan Opera (New York)

I felt all grown up, I must of been 12 years old. My grandma had sewed me a new black skirt and a white blouse just for this occasion. I really enjoyed sitting in those fancy old seats in the bottom.

cuvillies-theater

I remember when it was intermission, everyone went into the halls outside to grab a drink or a snack. My grandma usually got me a glass of orange juice while she had a glass of champagne.

In my early twenties when I moved back to Munich to finish my degree and then started to work there I picked up this habit again. I found some like minded friends to go watch plays or musicals.

Getting dressed up and being excited about what we are about to watch.  Usually we went to the Deutsches Theater downtown Munich. I remember my first Musical there was “West side Story”. Most of the times you could buy a CD on the way out, which I mostly did. So I can relive some of these wonderful evenings.

In later years I also traveled to other big cities in Germany like Frankfurt and Hamburg to go and see Musicals there.

I think I need to do some digging into our Musical scene her and expose my kids to this kind of environment as well.


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The Soprano – original 5 x 7 acrylic portrait by CastleOnTheHill

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1800s Colmont Paris Opera Glasses Mother Of Pearl And Abalone Shell Geivroz Paris Theater Glasses by PowerOfOneDesigns

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Round Cufflinks by Cufflinksforyou2

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Bead loomed movie portrait pendant Lon Chaney as Phantom of the Opera by CatsWire

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Purple Feather Gold Phoenix Masquerade Mask/ Laser Cut with White Rhinestones Venetian Masquerade Mask by ForbiddenIdentity

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CURTAIN CALL – Piper Bags – ITALIAN MANSCRIPT COLL by RUPiperDesigns

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BALLERINA by LAUTIR

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Vintage Hard- covered Music Book- Cole’s Library of Familiar Music- Opera Selections
by ScrapPantry

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Times Square at Night – Broadway Theater – New York Home Decor – Colorful Office Decor – Fine Art Photograph by citiesoftheworld

 

One of my favorite Musicals is still Phantom of the Opera. I read the book, saw the movie and saw the musical twice.

This is one of my favorite songs

Andrew Lloyd Webber did a wonderful job on all his Musicals.

I might just have to dig out my cds and start listening to them.

What is your favorite memories about going to a play, musical or opera?

Spotlight Friday: pineapple

I write my posts during the week, so they can post early Friday morning. Usually I sit down on a Thursday after dropping kids off in School and after making my breakfast and put a load of laundry in the machine. This week I was hoping to spend Thursday morning/ lunch time with a friend, so I will have to move my writing to a different day. But after this unexpected half week off ( due to Hurricane Matthew ) I am off my game. Plus my ITP decided to show it’s face again. I am so fatigued today that I can’t even get off my couch, my brain slightly foggy. Pondering all morning on what I could write about. I have an idea, than poke at it for a little while and then disregard…..hm…not interesting enough…. yeah, no… can’t find enough research material on it….. Still have not decided what to do about Etsy canceling it’s treasuries.

After finishing my Santa wreath, I kind of hit a crafters hole as well. Not enough creative juices flowing. So I just keep knitting away on my Stethoscope cozies.  Some with just one button as closure (picture on the left) and some with the two little legs that snap around the Stethoscope tubing ( picture on the right). I have to reinforce the snaps with felt, so they hold up longer. Knit doesn’t like to be poked and tends to slip. In order to get those snaps in I have to pull out my trusted hammer.

But that is just endless knitting in the round, without massive thinking, it’s just automatic knitting. Which is good while watching TV.

I guess my body tried to give me a warning sign about this massive energy plummet before hand by pulling my creative juice and I didn’t realize it….

I already did a post about knitting and how long mankind has been knitting etc. so I didn’t want to bore you with it again.  There are a lot of talented people that can work quite a magic with some thread and needles.

And then all of a sudden, while I was raking my brain…. I was like “oh my gosh, I totally forgot my pineapple plant.”

We love eating fresh pineapples and this summer I decided to try to plant one from the store bought pineapple that I had gotten.  I did not research on how to do it the best way, I didn’t find a quite minute that day. So all I did was cut the top off like I always did and  jut put the “disc” with  all the leaves still attached into a flower pot. And wow this plant took off. The first few days I watered it, because it was sitting right next to my rain barrel, but over time it got less and less water. It still thrived.  After the Hurricane I decided it needed a bigger pot. I knew I had to take it inside over the winter, because we do get frost quite a bit even though we live in South Carolina, and pineapples don’t like frost.

I don’t know what I was thinking when I put my plant in to this big pot. We live in a small house and every inch of this house is taken. Plus I only have two windows that are facing south and getting good sun exposure. And they are in my bedroom. I made it work. But if I want to plant more, so there will be a bit more pineapples to eat in 2 – 3 years, then I need a better solution. For right now we will see what this plant does and go from there.

If you have ever visited the South you might have noticed that pineapples get displayed in all kind of variations.  At the front entrance you can either see a flower arrangement with pineapples, on doormats or doorknobs.  When we first moved here I had no clue what it meant but I noticed a lot of pineapples everywhere, even some out of concrete on top of a fence post.

Throughout the Southeastern seaboard the pineapple expresses the “welcome”  to ones home. The fruit symbolizes those intangible assets we appreciate in a home: warmth, welcome, friendship and hospitality.

There are several histories recorded regarding the pineapple as a symbol of status, the most popular being that of Christopher Columbus. According to historical document, Christopher Columbus discovered the pineapple on his second trip to the Caribbean (most specifically Guadeloupe) in 1493. Preferring the sweet taste of the pineapple and several other tropical island fruits to cannibalism, Columbus and his men embraced the fruit. They returned to Europe, where the pineapples became a symbol of great wealth, as European gardeners were not able to grow the fruits in the correct conditions until well into the 1600s (first recorded in the Duchess of Cleveland’s hot house in 1642). Honored and distinguished guests were gifted the extremely fashionable pineapples by royalty.

The Colonial pineapple trade in the late 1600s and early 1700s solidified the pineapple as a status symbol. Pineapples were not only expensive, they were fragile! The sea voyage from the Caribbean to the colonies rotted most of the fruit during the hot and humid voyage. Hostesses scrambled to have the expensive, prickly fruit adorning their tables, and the trend grew. Pineapples have graced tables ever since — even continuing through the 1950s in America, where pineapple upside-down cakes and gelatin molds abounded. Their popularity eventually gave life to the host of architectural or ornamental pieces that you see today (i.e. door knockers).                                     (source: http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/a-brief-history-of-the-hospitality-pineapple-200667)

ok so I just watched this video…. I guess I didn’t do it the “right” way. But it still started growing. What I heard the first time is how to get it to grow an actual fruit. Guess I will have to dig more into that.

My other project I have standing in my kitchen are three avocado seeds that I am hoping to turn into trees. Our house is slowly turning into a jungle…hahaha… don’t know if hubby is realizing this.


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Wood Pineapple Dangle Earrings
by WoodWearByAndrea

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PINEAPPLE JASMINE–All Natural VEGAN Deodorant by LuckyGirlBoutique

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Pineapples handmade burlap summer tote bag
by My Apopsis World

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Dangle Pineapple Belly Button Jewelry
by Bitsoffthebeach

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Dark Blue Oval Doily, Pineapple Lace Doily by Buscia

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pineapple body spray by normasbathandbody

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Pineapple Print, Pineapple Wall Art, by VividAtelier

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Be a pineapple | Pineapple Decor by KNOTnNEST

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Pineapple Necklace – Hand Stitched Pineapple Pendant by Cocoshoopla

 

If you have ever visited Charleston South Carolina, you might have seen the beautiful pineapple fountain that is located in the Waterfront Park. Beautiful place to hang out.

d7d7be6023249d6604a55da19840306b

I just found a Canadian on Youtube who grows pineapples a different way. I might have to try that one the next time. Sadly the pineapple season is over and I will have to wait.

 

Let me know about your pineapple growing experience. I’d love to learn a few new tricks.

 

Spotlight Friday: …. my thoughts are somewhere else….

I am sitting here debating what I should write about. It doesn’t seem right to enjoy this still relatively nice weather at the moment. A light breeze, a few clouds and some sunshine, while the people at the coast line are evacuating their homes, to get out of Hurricane Matthews path. The kids got out of School on Tuesday and shortly after High School got out I heard the first rumors of School being canceled for the rest of the week. I went on the internet and found our Governors address to the people and she had mentioned all the school counties that are closing, Lexington was one of them.

hurricane_matthew_garz

Shortly after, I got the call from the School district, yes no School for the rest of the week. They need the buses and Schools for the evacuees. Our High School is one of the Shelters from the Red Cross. Over 1 Million people are estimated to evacuate from the SC coast. They have to go somewhere, at least 100 miles away.  So the Midlands it is. But the hotels are booked for a Gamecock football game this Saturday.

Wednesday morning when I went to go grocery shopping the traffic got stopped for the School buses, so they could all get on the highway the same time. It was a weird feeling to see this long line of yellow buses, all empty getting on the highway. On one side it was , “yes, they are going to go help those poor people that don’t have cars, living in old folks homes, hospitals etc.”  On the other hand it was “oh my, all those poor people have to pack up just a few things and leave, hoping their home will still be there when they get back” And as well this thought has crossed my mind “boy, am I glad we are not any closer to the coast”

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Our buses arriving in Charleston. A big thank you to all those drivers that put their life on hold to transport all those people and bring them to a safer place.

So many mixed emotions. The stores are stocking up for all the extra folks that will be here for the next few days. You read comments on the internet like “why are we already evacuating when the storm is still so far out and we don’t even know what will happen?”

“why are the kids getting out of School for this?” etc.  But I think this was a wise decision, to get out of harms way. You can’t evacuate this many people in only a few hours. A trip that usually takes about 1 1/2 hours took many people 6-7 hours, even with highways being reversed.

This makes me feel kind of guilty. Knowing a lot of friends down in Florida facing a very hard situation and a lot of friends along the SC Coastline are in the same boat.

There was this picture of the storm on the internet that was really scary. A picture from October 4th.

hurricane-matthew-skull-map

My hubby has been very busy the last few days. He works for the VA Hospital and they are getting all the patients from the VA in Charleston. Wednesday he left home about 8:30 am and didn’t come home until after 10 pm. And he said he was not the last one to leave, some still stayed behind because some patients where still on the road. Thursday he left at 9 am to go to work telling me ” don’t know if I am coming home tonight late or at all. I’ll give you a call” And out the door he went.

You can feel that everyone is waiting to see what is going to happen. A lot of people are on the edge, still recovering and rebuilding from the flood that just happened a year ago, the first week in October. I know of a few people that decided to ride the storm out and stayed put.

While writing I got to the conclusion that I will not do a spotlight. My thoughts are all over the place.

It feels so eerie, so surreal. Even my cats seem to know that something is going on. One is constantly coming to the window and crying.

I wish it was all just a bad dream and I will wake up soon. So my thoughts are with all those people that have to make that hard decision to leave their home , with the ones that decided to stay put and with all the people that are going to go out and help, rescue, fix and save.

While I am thinking of all those people, I am keeping my fingers crossed. Hoping they will stay safe.

 

 

 

Christmas Mouse

A few weeks back I saw a post on FB saying it was 100 days until Christmas. Wow, that’s not much time, I thought.  Time for me to think about gifts for friends and family. Because when you make handmade gifts one thing you don’t have enough of is time.

While one night I couldn’t sleep I thought of my mice and what I had created so far. It was quite a few over the last years.

Some of them you can see here in my collection  (they are not in chronically order, but a little get together of my mice)

But I thought, I have not made any Christmas themed mice yet. I mentioned that to my friend while we where strolling through our Craft store. One of our favorite places to go.

“oh, I would like one, would you make one for me???” is what she said.  Excited to get the chance of making one, I said ” sure, if you buy the supplies”

Which she promptly answered with “what do we need to get?”

So off we go to buy all the essentials.

ring

This was our starting point, a Styrofoam ring, big enough for one mouse and a Christmas tree.  The tree we had saw while we where roaming the Christmas aisles earlier.  So we went back to pick out the nicest we could find. Some decoration for the wreath, some yarn and other little nick knacks.

At home I got right to it. First I had to cover the ugly tube wreath.  It always takes a while until I figure out how many stitches it will need. Every yarn is different, it will stretch different, either needs smaller or bigger needle size to cover up proper. strip

This “tube” knitting I love doing while watching TV, because you don’t have to think while doing it. No counting, no decreasing or increasing. All  I need to pay attention to is the length, to fit around the whole wreath.  I chain it off and start looking for my mending needle. Cut off  a super long thread and start stretching and sewing, while making sure the seam stays in the back. Not always a easy task. Yarn often has a mind of its own.

sew

Ok, now that was done. I had to figure out how it would look best. The tree on the side or better in the middle. And how am I going to attach it? Needed a little pondering on that, but came up with a solution.

chriswreath

Don’t ask my thumb, but I hit it a few times. I decided just gluing it to the wreath was not sturdy enough.

But first I needed to get started on my mouse. I usually start out with the head, nose first. Then attach the body and get knitting in the round, build up the little belly, stuff it and sew it shut. Then I make the ears, first the outside, then the inside and sew it together. And make another one. The arms get knitted right out of the body, as well as the legs. I usually do them last, because I’d like to know what or who the mouse will be so I can make the right colored shoes for them. Or sometimes the mouse needs to be able to stand and then I have to add wire while I am knitting. I am pretty sure I make funny faces while doing that, because it’s a pain in the behind.

So I finished my mouse body. Then of course he needed some Santa pants. Let me go back to the internet real quick and see how the should look. Ah yeah, I need red and white for that. I pick up the stitches around his belly and get to work, fiddle around until I have all the stitches evenly on my needles.

When I get to the tail I make sure there is a whole to pull it through. Because who want their tail stuck in their pants?

What I don’t like is always hiding away all those loose ends.

santas

But I want him to look nice, so getting my sewing needle and scissors and sew all those threads into place.

What else does a Santa mouse need?

Oh yeah a coat.

Yikes, this mouse has quite a belly on him. Well he needed to, he is Santa. But not much fun to get the right size for the coat. santajack

I hope the bottom is wide enough and will go around his jolly belly. And not too wide on the top. We will see, first I have to sew those pesky threads in again.

santajack1

I usually attach the sleeves after I have put the jacket on. Like that they don’t get too long. It would be easier the other way around. But I like a challenge and want to have it look right.

So now that’s done, I still need a Santa hat. My friend requested a little bell to be on it as well. OMG….where did I put my little bells???? I had really tiny ones at some point, but where did I put them, don’t tell me I gave them away! Well I didn’t find them. But I found a golden little jingle rolling around in my key chain drawer….phew, just the right size. This will work just fine.

Ok, so how far are his ears apart?  I don’t ever sew them on the same spot. Gives them their own personality, plus the heads are never the same size. Due to different yarn, different stuffing and the tension while I am knitting.

Picking up stitches, knitting a few rounds…… ah…. forgot, I was supposed to start with the white thread. Unravel.  Start again. Hm…this looks too small…. unravel ….pick up stitches again, knit a few rounds…. aghh…this looks too big…unravel…pick up stitches, knit. Ok this looks like it could fit.  Change over to red and start decreasing. Ugh….why did I pick this mohair yarn, it’s so fuzzy and it likes clinging to itself.  I lost track of my decreasing. Oh crap, no it’s lopsided. ….unravel again… fix it.

And yes, there is threads again, that need to be tucked away neatly. hat

Holding it to the head, seams to fit. Maybe I’ll stuff it a little bit. While sewing the hat to the mouse I think “shouldn’t of stuffed the hat, it’s all wandering up to the end of the cap. And it’s so not cooperating while I try to attach it to the head.

I think I need a break, stupid  Santa hat.

Let me surf a little on the internet to get some inspiration on how I could do the belt, or does Santa have buttons?  Oh no, it’s a belt. Where did I get the idea of buttons? Sometimes you second guess yourself while doing stuff.

Hm, what could I use for his belt, let me go through my ribbon box, see if there is anything in there that would fit. Oh yeah, I like this one, let’s see how it looks. Oh and for the belt closure?  Na…. I will find that tomorrow, I need some sleep.

So the next day while I was going through my beads, I found a few that I thought could work. I asked my kids what they thought would look good. nowhiskers

And this is how Santa looks dressed, in his pants and jacket. While I was looking at the pictures I noticed something…..MY MOUSE DOESN’T HAVE ANY WHISKERS YET…… how did this happen??? Had to fix that immediately , can’t have a mouse with no whiskers.

After that I sewed Santa Mouse to the wreath.

chriswreath1

With his little bell on his hat, whiskers in his face and belt and buckle around his belly.

What should I do next? My friend hat picked out a few felt forms that she wanted on the wreath. So let me lay them on there to see how it will look.

It looked ok, so I glued them on.

ohnepres1

 

And then I wanted some presents under the tree. Yes I could just make some little cardboard boxes and wrap them with paper. But anyone can do that. I wanted them to be knitted. Ugh….why do I do that to myself?

pres

I tried the first one, knitted it like I learned in Geometry how you build a cube out of paper. And then stuffed it with fiber fill. It looked more like a wonky cube to me. So yeah, that would do it. I knitted another one and glued it on card board and then cut it out and sewed it together. Well while it was a good idea I shouldn’t of pulled harder on some sides than on others. It ended up as a little out of shape box.

I showed them to my friend and told her, that I am still working on some more because those are a little funny.

She said “no I like them, they are rustic”

Ok, so let me get some ribbons on them then and see how they will look.

Hahaha….that was a task of it’s own. The ribbon didn’t want to stay where I had planned it to be. I pulled out my weapon. …..my sewing needle and some thread. If you don’t want to stay where I told you to, I will sew you to the present. That’s what I did. On one I even created one of those bows that has a few loops.

Place them on the wreath and sew them to it was my last task. I thought.

I was not quite happy. I thought something was still missing.  Santa needed to have something in his hands.  Called my friend again. “Do you mind if Santa is holding a glass heart?”

Off to go find the right one and attach it to his hand. Now he is done! Now I can bring him over to her house.

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So there you go, now you saw how much time and processing goes into making one of my mice wreath. I love creating those mice, each of them is unique. Has it’s own personality. But because of it it takes me a little longer because there is a lot of undoing before I get it right.

I hope you enjoyed the little insight.