A Quiet Christmas for Two

I figured I should go ahead and write about last Christmas before this Christmas gets here – my final “late holiday post.”

The holidays can be magical but they can also be stressful. I think as adults, most of us have fond memories of childhood holidays, but we can also feel a lot of pressure in celebrating them now, whether it’s due to our own expectations or those of others.

In the eight years Joe and I have known each other, six of them married, we’ve spent a lot of special occasions either separated or traveling, due to military life and wanting to spend time with our families.

December is also an extra busy month for us, as I’ve probably mentioned. I get a lot of orders, especially custom work, and we also have a birthday, anniversary, and of course Christmas.

So last year, as weird as it might sound, we decided to spend Christmas at home, just the two of us. I made a simple but festive meal for two, and we decorated gingerbread houses, exchanged modest gifts, and took pictures with our little tree and our big cat.

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It may not have been exciting but it was relaxing, and I think it was good for us. I used to think we’d start building our own traditions once we had kids, but I want that for us too, because two is still a family.

So I don’t have any recipes or projects to share this time, but I wanted to share anyway, and I hope everyone can find their own way to enjoy the holidays. 

Moving Again: North Carolina to Tennessee 

After about 8 years of service, my husband is getting out of the army. So after almost 6 years of marriage, we finally had the chance to choose where to live.

Of all the places we could have gone, we spent our entire military life at Fort Bragg. And while North Carolina is a beautiful state, Fayetteville was not a good fit for us.

People dislike it for a lot of reasons (and again I mean no offense to those who do like it) but most importantly for me, I found very few things going on that I wanted to get involved in – specifically opportunities for my business – and very few people who shared what I care about. I really did go there with optimism and try to make the best of it, and while I appreciate the people who supported us and will miss the things I did find joy and inspiration in, I spent a lot of time pretty unhappy.

Meanwhile for my husband, Army life was not really what he expected, and the gym he started didn’t exactly go as planned either. He did have a bit of an easier time making friends but overall didn’t enjoy the area much more than I did.

So when another couple presented an opportunity with a new gym in their home state of Tennessee, Joe was interested and I was skeptical. Our discussions went in circles so we finally visited.

I found basically nothing I was looking for in the area we were looking at, but somehow went home with thoughts of creating my own opportunities, something I never felt like I could do before while being so overwhelmed by my surroundings. For Joe, it made sense, with the gym, a National Guard position, and college classes. For me, it would be an adventure, and there’s at least a part of me that doesn’t mind that once in a while.

We were able to find a house through the aforementioned friends and, a few weeks after making a decision, here we are in Watertown. Moving has been a bit of a nightmare (isn’t it always?) and we are certainly still adjusting. I’m not in love with the annoying rooster next door, the limited internet access, or the half hour drive to my favorite craft store. But I don’t mind solitude, the mini horse down the street, lots of trees, and as always, the beautiful sky.

I do have my studio set up again, and will be checking out local possibilities and of course running my shops. I hope to either find new inspiration or finally get bored enough to catch up on all the ideas already in my head!

Thanks for sharing in my creative journey and I hope you will enjoy whatever I come up with next!

P.S. Subscribers, if your email was messed up I apologize, my finger got over-eager while I was still composing!

Crafting With My Husband

My husband is home from his six month deployment to Africa. It wasn’t that long, as deployments go, but after three of them you get pretty independent, and you really have to try at reconnecting afterward. But it’s easy to get lost in the daily demands of work, housekeeping, and socializing. 

That’s why we decided to go on vacation together instead of visiting family right away, and it’s why we’re working on planning activities together besides just sitting around or going to dinner (not that I mind those two things).

This can be difficult when our interests are so different. He’s a Crossfit coach and I occasionally go jogging; he likes to draw once in a while and I paint and make jewelry for a living – or part of a living, haha. But we are trying to meet in the middle. 

So I’ve been doing some quick, simple workouts with him, and last night he spent an hour or two doing crafts with me. Here’s my tiny mushroom house and his big dinosaur (they’re not quite finished).

  

Of course, we don’t have to share each other’s passions to appreciate them. There’s nothing wrong with being different, and there are plenty of other things for us to do (next up: day trips around North Carolina). But it doesn’t hurt to step into someone else’s shoes for a bit, and maybe have some fun while you’re at it!

Christmas Care Package

So I made it through the holidays and I’m finally writing a long-overdue blog post. December is my busiest Etsy sales month (and this year was my best year total – I finally made a goal and beat it!). It also includes my husband’s birthday, our anniversary, and Christmas. He’s deployed, so this holiday season was pretty depressing, besides the usual stress (of course, I really appreciate certain people who made it suck less, despite hardships of their own).

But I’m here to share a fun way to make the best of it – epic care packages! I wanted to wait until he got this one and not ruin any surprises. My last post was about his birthday care package; now I’m going to share his Christmas one.

You have to get creative with the decorations when it comes to fitting Christmas in a box. I went to several stores to find just the right tiny tree, and got a mini stocking. I wrapped a small, fun present (didn’t want to send anything nice unless he could use it) and wrote in a card. Then I filled the rest with snacks – popcorn, homemade gingerbread men & fudge, hot chocolate & apple cider mixes (I added a couple things and rearranged after I took the picture).

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For packing, I opened the boxes of individually wrapped items (popcorn, drink mixes) and spread them throughout the package, then put the homemade items inside the empty boxes. I wrapped the tree in bubble wrap and put some extra on the top & bottom. And I finished the outside with festive drawings (not my best work cause they are going to get thrown away, but I did use my good markers 😉 ).

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There are lots of other ideas out there – wrapping the inside of the box, writing puns on everything – just check Pinterest! But this is how I did it this year and, although it was late, my husband really enjoyed his box. So I hope this gives you some inspiration, and feel free to share your own ideas in the comments!