Thursday, November 1, 2012

We are Thankful

I decided that we needed to start a new Thanksgiving tradition this year. Our old traditions of eating too much, arguing about politics, and watching football are fine, but somehow they don't really capture the spirit of the holiday. So, I decided that we should make a wreath of thanks. I was inspired by this give thanks tree that I saw on Dixie Delights:

You make a bunch of paper leaves and you choose something that you are thankful each day, write it on the leaf, and stick it to the tree. Brilliant. But, I read the brief tutorial that Amanda gave to make the tree and she lost me at a "width" of cream felt. I started to panic because I don't know what a "width" is and I'm sure that if I pop into our local Hancock Fabrics and ask for a width of fabric, the ladies will laugh me out of the place because they will know that I have no clue what I'm doing. Also, I figured that in between Halloween, several birthdays, a school fall learning celebration for the girl that I'm working on, and the usual sports and activities, I had approximately one hour and 17 minutes to spend on the project.

I immediately thought of a wreath. Since my success with the Halloween wreath, I consider myself the wreath queen of, well, the family, anyway. The Girl might take me down someday in a "Great Santini"-type one-on-one-wreath-off battle, but until then I'll reign supreme. Getting back to the project, I went into the study/junk room/catch-all room/don't-open-the-closet-or-you'll-be-buried-by-throw-pillows room, and pulled out one of the three willow wreaths I have left from my Tarjay excursion. I'm recently obsessed with burlap and decided that the wreath had to be burlap. I mustered up my courage and went to Hancock. I tried to act all nonchalant as I walked past all the sewing-type things that I don't understand. I found the burlap without asking anyone and dragged the bolt over to the cutting table and asked for two yards. The lady asked me what I was going to use it for and I told her a wreath. She gave me a look that was skepticism combined with pity. I also picked up some pieces of brown felt, just in case.

After some trial and error, I decided that the easiest thing to do would be to cut a strip of burlap and wrap it around the wreath. Of course, because the children are always swiping my scissors, I had to go on a hunt for my fabric scissors (only called such because they're actually somewhat sharp). I didn't find my scissors, but I did find this:

How does the Baby/Audrey the Moose come up with this stuff? When I see a smushy styrofoam toy, my first thought is not, "Hmmm, let me cut this up with my leopard scissors." But, I guess I'm not a three year old with a scape moose to blame.

Also, Audrey must have been shooting craps while destroying the little fellow:

So, I cut a strip of burlap and also cut up the felt into strips, as well:

I wrapped them around the wreath, alternating the felt and the burlap so that it looked like this when I was finished:

Sorry I don't have any pictures of the actual process, I was only about 30% sure it would work and even finished, I'm still not entirely sure. I hot glued the end of the burlap to the wreath and then set out to make it look a little nicer. I tied a burlap ribbon (told y'all I was obsessed) around the top to hang it and finished off with a little bell we got when we rode the Polar Express a couple years ago:

When the Baby got home and confessed to absolutely nothing with regard to the the doll evisceration (be glad that she's on our side, folks), I put her to work on the leaf aspect of the wreath. I made a cardboard template and cut around it to make some leaves:

Then my child laborer stuck the hook part of some velcro dots on the backs of the leaves. Little fingers are so good at doing the delicate work:

Because I have a compulsive shopping problem when it comes to the $1 area of Target I had some maple leaf-shaped felt coasters (?) that we also velcro dotted. We put all the leaves in a glass vase and decorated it:

The final part of this project is a list so we can keep track of what we are thankful for each day:

So, this is how it would look with a few leaves stuck on:

I figure that on Thanksgiving, we'll go through the whole list and read everything for which we are thankful. So, for November 1st we got these responses:
The Girl - my life (awww)
The Boy - the iPad
The Baby - flowers (and scissors, apparently)
Me - that we're in a safe house with electricity
The K - our family (double awww)

My response was such because I've been reading and hearing all the coverage of just how horrible things are in New Jersey. The pictures of the devastation at the shore, Hoboken under water, gas leaks threatening to burn what is still left standing are all heartbreaking. My step-mother sent me this picture last night:

This is the house that I grew up in from age 13 until I graduated from high school. Mom sold it in 2009. My bedroom was just to the right of the porch gable. The tree crushed the front porch and tore the  gutters off the roof above the master bedroom. Thank goodness no one was hurt. I received many pictures just like these of the destruction in my little 1 square mile home town. I am so thankful that all my friends and family are safe, but cleaning up from a storm like this will take years.

I hope that this Thanksgiving we won't just say we're thankful for things, but that we will be genuinely thankful for all the lucky things in our lives. Of course, we'll still have the football and the eating too much, but I hope that the wreath will be a new tradition that everyone will enjoy. Happy Thursday, everyone.

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