And the reindeer, having put in a good year’s work, rest.

We’ve been married something over three years and have had Christmas with each other’s families for somewhere around five years. And every year, Jack’s family Christmas feels more natural. I like getting to hang out and watch the kids do whatever they’re doing and join in or not. I like chatting with Judy about crafting stuff (we’ve both recently started spinning and she’s very crafty, so as we get to know each other better, we find more and more stuff to talk about) and catching up a bit with Sara.

Of course, there’s also the marked contrast between 5 kids ranging in age from 5 (maybe 6?) to 14 and Dawn’s two little ones. Gift opening tends to be a lot more chaotic, but I was able to snatch some glimpses of folks as they opened things. Most everything seems to have gone over well, though it remains to be seen how the kids will like the books we got them.

I think my favorite gift this year, though, was from Hunter. He knows that Jack and I both like to read and he picked out books for us as gifts from him this year. I’m not sure I can explain just why that meant so much.. it’s something to do with the idea we had several years ago that we wanted to try to instill a love of reading into these kids so we get them books (instead of or sometimes in addition to toys or games) every year for Christmas. But it’s also something to do with how excited he was to watch us open them. He stopped opening his pile of gifts to stand in front of us and watch us unwrap them; when a 10-year-old boy puts aside his own gifts for that, you know it’s something special. He picked out the first of the Bartimaeus trilogy books for me and Eragon for Jack – both very good selections for our reading tastes.

It’s also nice that Judy and Sara get us both clothes. I don’t like to shop for clothes for me much, so it’s really neat every year to get a couple sweaters or shirts that are new and stylish and all that. I got a light sky blue washable suede shirt, a lovely tan sweater and a funky squash-colored chenille sweater with little fringy bits at the bottom hem. I was a little worried about the color, but I put it on this morning and it looks fine and is very slimming and comfortable.

And then there are the things that weren’t gifts, but rather things that Judy found out I was interested in and decided to give me. Like the rosette irons. I’d never had rosettes (not sure why.. just never had one before) and they’re really good. I asked how they were made and Judy got out her irons to show me the set up and ended up digging out two or three irons that were duplicates in her set to send home with us. I’m thinking about making them for this weekend as we’re having folks over to play games New Years Eve and they’re good not-too-heavy cookie bits.

Later, we were sitting spinning and comparing notes – she can’t get thin consistent yarn and I can’t get thicker consistent yarn, but I think part of that is because she doesn’t actually let her spindle hang to spin because she runs out of roving too fast (she’s using Romney, maybe, that’s not been carded, just washed and combed out a bit) – and I mentioned that I wasn’t quite sure what to do with my first yarn. She said that the woman she was getting her fleece from suggested weaving with it since that would show off the thick-n-thin quality better than knitting or crocheting.

About half an hour later, she reappeared as I was sprawled on the kitchen floor helping Jack and Hunter with a model car kit with an old rigid heddle loom that she’d gotten from her father’s house when he passed away a few years ago. One of the pieces needs to be glued back in place, but it’s otherwise in fine condition. So I’m now the proud (and excited) owner of a small rigid heddle loom and can’t wait to have some time to sit down and figure out how to warp it up.

She also mentioned that she has a full floor loom up in the attic (and Don mentioned that there’s apparently another out in the garage), so at some point I might find myself with some larger looms as well. Which means the futon might just have to come out of the upstairs craft room so I have somewhere to put it to weave.

Too many fiber crafts..? Nah. Just not enough time. *grin*

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