Hair-pulling Homemade Christmas

We are a week away from The Big Eve and I’m starting to wonder if I can actually chew and swallow this big huge bite of Christmas I’ve taken on. Yesterday I sequestered my three oldest children in separate rooms of the house and decided it was time to get this homemade Christmas nonsense checked off my list.

Harrison found a great teddy bear tutorial that I mentioned last week. Our bear is polar so I had planned to use white thread. Unfortunately my white bobbin is lost somewhere under the layers of rice and Christmas fabric and quilt batting and office paper and paint projects and pajama fleece and empty diet coke cups from the base gas station. I had to use red instead.

Biggest. Blessing. Ever.

I’ve been sewing for years. I have worked on and invented costumes and stuffed animals and quilts and formal wear–how hard can a little bear be?

It was the left arm. I sewed it on wrong and had to carefully pick through the fragile fleece to find the red stitches. So I looked it over and pinned it on again. Wrong. Picked it, sewed it. Picked it again, sewed it again. Wrong wrong wrong. Harrison finally turned Elf on the computer because he was bored to death and slightly frightened watching me curse under my breath while trying to delicately rip the arm off the bear.

The fifth time I finally figured it out. I spent more time unpicking that one arm than we did sewing all the other pieces together. He finally asked if he could just “push the gas pedal” and let me feed the fabric into the machine to avoid any more delays.

Once the bear was mostly finished (head still needs to be attached) I gave him the rest of the night off and got June (6) started on her project, painting Harrison’s old wooden chess set pieces. She’s so easy and loves her independence, I set her up and three minutes later she kicked me out so she could work “alone.”

There was no getting around it: I had to face the music and coral Rex into doing Georgia’s gift.

Rex likes to have his own ideas. I knew that going into this, but in order to keep him from making Georgia a toilet-paper tube dinosaur launcher I knew I’d have to feed him my ideas until he spit them back out again.

“So Rex, can you think of anything Georgia likes?”

“Hmm, she likes my animals,” he said.

“Yes…um…hey! What about babies, do you think she likes babies?”

“Oh sure! Georgia loves babies!”

“What a great idea, you can make her something for her babies! Hey, does she have a baby bed yet?”

“Well…no…but I want to make–”

“Good thinking! You can make her a baby bed!”

“Wait, but I don’t want to make Georgia a present! I want to make Harrison a present!”

And round and round we went. I finally forced him into boots and a coat and outside to the back yard where “his” project for Georgia was waiting. I know I could have let him make her something with straws and duct tape but I really wanted him to think about something she would like, not just something that was fun for him to do with his recycled craft supplies. I had picked up a slightly broken whicker basket from the side of the road last week and bought a can of pink spray paint. Once he finally realized he could use the spray painter his qualms flew out the window and he got down to business.

Then he went and got two bags of cotton balls and informed me that he wanted to fill it with cotton balls so it would be soft and cozy. Cotton balls. Seriously. Kill me now. I asked for it.


  1. After watching the Coke commercial about early parenthood and remembering the gift giving for children – I’m OK with this stage of my life – an empty-nest! You got me all twisted and anxious remembering!!! Then I breathed a sigh of relief because I had already done it – and I survived. Carry on Annie!

  2. Meh, let him fill it with cotton balls. She won’t love him any less.

  3. Annie, I want to see pictures. You are an amazing mom. My kids would love to be able to make their siblings gifts, but I’m too uptight about messes… you are awesome.
    But seriously, I want to see some pictures.