Thursday, November 29, 2007

A Little Progress

I have not gotten much accomplished today, but I did get some done on this baby quilt. The fabric is from the Chocolate Lollipop collection by Anna Maria Horner.
As usual, I think I'll like the back better than the front
I've given in and ordered some more fabric --from Z & S Fabrics-- because I just couldn't resist.
I bought in half yards, which I will no doubt regret, sampling from Joel Dewberry, Tina Givens, and Denise Schmidt's Katie Jump Rope line. Sometimes I worry about my inability to stay strong where fabrics and books are concerned; I give in to temptation way too easily.

This is what I need to order:

I don't think of myself as a terribly materialistic person. Until I succumb to the urge to own more books and more fabric. Thank goodness for libraries. They do help solve my problem because with books it is not the acquisition for the sake of ownership; I just want to read them. Fabric is another story. You cannot borrow and return fabric.

Anyway, back to Unplug the Christmas Tree. I find Christmas more and more a matter of money and material goods. Commercialism and advertising pressure. Stress. And most of the people I talk to seem to feel the same. (I do want to point out that I have not brought this up in conversation AT ALL this year because I'm still trying to become complaint-free. But I have been around several times when the topic was discussed, and may have slipped up by agreeing whole-heartedly with someone else's complaint.)

However, since all of the above listed items involving pressure, stress, and materialism do bother me and one of "solutions" to the need to complain is to find a solution to the problem. In other words, it isn't a complaint if you add "and this is what I'm going to do about it." So I've been looking for practical ways to avoid the stress that sometimes ruins much of the Christmas Season and Unplug the Christmas Tree may offer some good ideas for relaxing and enjoying and for taking time for the spiritual aspects of the season.

I've found some other things that have helped relief my pre-Christmas stress, but I'm off to bed now, maybe I'll remember them tomorrow.


  1. i gave up on all the buying of christmas season. i find it strange to be pressured into gift giving. i feel much more free. my whole family dropped the stress of the season and now it is just a time when we have some days off to get together with some food and wine and stories.

  2. For me it's about maintaining balance. As I wrote on my blog already, I've simplified the decorating. I still like to give gifts to my kids and grandkids and am managing it by having a budget per person and shopping mostly online. Yet it still is overwhelming because all this is on top of our already hectic and busy lives. I used to get much more stressed out over it because my expectations were just too high. Since I've realized that no, I don't have time to bake and make candies like I did when my kids were little, and I can't have the perfect house and parties, I feel more relaxed. I suppose now it's about just continuing to simplify and cut back on the spending, and to focus on the true meaning of the whole thing, and enjoy each other.

  3. I too try to keep Christmas simple. My decorating is simple, and I shop by catalog or on line, although I know this is hard on the local economy.

    Like you, I think I'm only materialistic about books and fabric. The way I look at it, if that's my only extravagance, it's not so bad!

    Oh, the mice! We have an immigration crisis of mice every fall. I guess it's the price for living in the woods. Traps do the trick eventually, but what a mess.

  4. jude -- That sounds like a great idea. Everyone has so much now, it isn't as if you need anything. I love buying for the kids, though, especially books that I want them to have; but they have so many toys that a few more don't mean much.

    Connie -- I know. I'm paying attention to everyone who is scaling down, and I've scaled down on the decorating every Christmas for the last few years. When the kids were little, it was so much fun, and now that there are grandchildren, I'm enjoying it more again. Still, I'm looking for a Christmas that celebrates the entire season in a more personal way. As you say, simplify, cut back on spending, and focus on the true meaning!

    Kay -- Shopping on line has been a great stress-reliever! I enjoy getting out at least once and looking in the local stores, but don't want to fight crowds to buy anything.

    Fabric and books are good for the hands and the mind, so maybe they really don't count as extravagance.
    As long as we use the library, and not Amazon or B&N!

    I heard the mouse last night, late, but didn't see him. Jane Ann's suggestion about the newspaper sounds like a good idea--wrap it all up without looking and toss it.

  5. We are serious about keeping Christmas simple, especially in the gift department!

    Let us know if you find any blogworthy tidbits in your book.

  6. The pressure and excess of the winter holiday season has NEVER made sense to me. We are like Jude's family except we skip the whine ...

  7. heh. of course I mean w-i-n-e. The positivity challenge is weighing heavily on me as the holiday season unfolds and, clearly, that got the better of me as I was typing ;)

  8. Rian -- The presents (decisions, price, location, color, style, etc.) can be the worst, so keeping it simple there goes a long way for easing stress!

    Acey -- I'm still chuckling over the fact that you skip the "whine." I'm finding that I have more tolerance and more resilient as a result of the challenge, but my tolerance wears away quickly in the traffic and the crowds. :( Had to go to the bank yesterday, and the trip took twice as long as usual.

  9. Beautiful baby quilt!

    I agree about simplifying. I've become more and more anti-commercial in the last few years that this year I decided to eschew the ENTIRE retail shop process and give everyone home-made gifts. Because this decision was also because of financial constraints on my part, this means no Etsy, either. I'm making everything. I'm blessed that I have a family that appreciates home-made gifts and the love that goes into them, and I find my heart lighter as I crochet an ear-flap hat for my cousin or a wool sewing kit for my sister. I think this is more what Christmas is about than just giving things. It's about love, togetherness, and faith, and making all my gifts is really driving that home. I think I may do this every year (but start a little earlier next time...).

  10. I love the baby quilt. Anna Maria Horner is one of my favorite designers!

    And...I am trying to make most of my gifts this year and shop less retail. Not easy.

  11. Wow, I'm so surprised that so many people have a view similar to my own regarding the holidays. Over the last few years I've begun to feel that the whole Christmas thing is just an excuse to spend money you don't have on things you don't need. Everything is taken to excess, the shopping, decorating, baking and cooking, and cleaning. I for one could very easily do without it. I don't remember things seeming so out of control when I was younger, is it that every year the retail industry launches a campaign to "up the ante" to a higher level? Most of the people I know go along with the shop til you drop notion and think I'm a grinch because I don't get all goey eyed and sentimental over Christmas.

    We too have mice, in our crawl space - the most effective way that we've found to combat the problem is with plates of rat poisen and glue trays. We use the larger size trays - they wander into the tray, get stuck and then you dispose of them. It's somewhat gruesome but I'm not going to tolerate rodents in my house.

    Just out of curiousity, what kind of a problem do you have with your neck? I've had neck pain for the past 8 years and it's getting worse every year. Backing out of the driveway can be a real pain at times because I don't have full range of motion any more. I just assumed it was arthritis (I'm 51).


  12. Kate - Thanks for the nice comment on the baby quilt! Good for you and your family for appreciating the importance of a handmade gift! The time (and thought) involved in a gift from the heart and hand seems so much more sincere than those we finally purchase just to get through "the list." :) Making a hand made gift is time-consuming, though, isn't it?

    Vivian -- Thanks! I love AMH's designs, too. And you are so right, avoiding retail purchases is anything but easy! Maybe each year, it will get easier and more socially acceptable. "Handmade" and DIY items are becoming much more common.

    Lynn -- Except for parents with small children (who can certainly brighten the season), I think most people have begun re-thinking the holidays. As you say, everything is taken to excess...which is probably a result of the increasing affluence of society. That may not be the case for much longer, however. It is sad when so many of us feel like secret Grinches, but it is true, nevertheless.

    The neck proglem: two collapsed (herniated/prolapsed/ruptured) disks, one that is out of alignment--resulting in a pinched nerve.

    Yes, you learn to turn your upper torso instead of just your head. Arthritis can cause further irritation, but the nerve problem can extend to shoulder, arm, and hand. I've had the problem since my mid-40's, but it has increased each year, even as I learn to tolerate it. The Lyrica has helped, but it has its own draw-backs. Ain't that always the case?

  13. Your thoughts on Christmas have certainly salved my conscience, as I sit here with nothing done for Christmas, nor much planned. I too have cut back on decorating and gifts but the nagging feeling of "so much to do, so little time" lingers. It may take a few years to get used to my new attitude.

    Meantime, I hope you do indeed unplug the Christmas tree--as well as the "machine!" ;-)

  14. Jane Ann -- I never got around to ordering the book, but have cut back in every way. There are a lot of reasons for cutting back and looking at the entire concept of Christmas excess...but one is certainly AGE!


Good to hear from you!