Christmas can stay. 

Sometimes, I feel as though I was destined to live in a little Nordic village surrounded by snowdrifts and wearing intricately knitted mittens, walking down tiny, dark streets that have dozens of little glowing windows lighting the sidewalk. Currently where I live is the opposite. Sunny Arizona. We had roses blooming on Christmas and our Japanese maple had just begun to turn a deep port wine. The tree in the backyard lit up our whole living room to a sunny yellow hue until Christmas Eve. 
“Merry Christmas, it feels like Halloween.” 

As I scrolled through lovely instagram feeds and blogs with blankets of snow and evergreens, I admit I got jealous–however I’m not jealous of traveling in it. Just, otherwise. It was hard to dive into the new season when I felt stuck in the last one. But it’s like God was telling me that there is always something to celebrate, regardless of the season you’re in, regardless of the circumstances. Just when Christmas was almost passed, I finally started celebrating. In fact, we’ve continued to celebrate even after December has ended. I mean, who says you can’t make santa cookies after Christmas? And i feel like Christmas isn’t truly over until you want it to be. Or until the gingerbread cookies are gone. Whichever. I still have my trees and wreaths and lights up. I told my husband, “They’re not coming down ’til February!” He obliged–I think mostly because he won’t have to climb up to the second story roof to take down the exterior wreaths just yet. 

I feel like I’m still hanging onto Christmas because I let my outside circumstances keep me from focusing on the important and it passed me by. Christmas is a time for us to slow down. To celebrate Jesus–not only his birth, but all of his works as well. It’s a time to cuddle, to create, to celebrate. And to eat cookies. The four C’s. Remember that.

I think we collectively, as a whole, are so eager to start on a new year, new us, new life, blah blah… that we rush through The Best Holiday. But if you feel like it passed you by without really saturating yourself in all its goodness, bake some soft gingerbread cookies and let your kids decorate them. Make some hot cocoa and do a Christmas puzzle. Leave up twinkle lights a little longer. Knit stockings and watch Christmas movies. Just enjoy the season if you, like I, missed it.
We hope that you had/have a happy, happy Christmas.

Hugs, Rhonda

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Mice and snowmen and bears, oh my!

Just a quick little post to share a few photos of some cheerful little characters that we’ve been working on! The snowmen set is currently available here, but hurry, the auction is only for ONE DAY! The mouse is also currently available on eBay as well, here. Keep an eye out for the others, and thanks for looking!

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Holly Jolly

Sometimes, it’s easy to get bogged down this time of year, especially if you’ve had to recently deal with anything like we have such as deaths of close family members and of pets, or having dealt with thieves stealing your Christmas decorations off of your lawn! However, in spite of all of that, I am going to choose to dwell on the good this season has to offer. I thought some of you may need a few photographical pick-me-ups as well, maybe you just need your inspiration sparked or your interest piqued. So, here are a few festive photos as of recently.

We’ve been busy making a few fiber goodies.

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Winter knits and crochets Out of the Thistle  christmas2

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And, I spent a weekend with my family in one of my favorite places, Prescott, dubbed “Arizona’s Christmas Town,” and for good reason. We saw dozens of the most intricate gingerbread houses. We went to the town square for the Christmas parade where my kids waved to everyone and made new friends. We participated in the lighting of the Courthouse where they read the story of Jesus’ birth and we all sang Christmas carols and ate too many sweets. A little reindeer sat outside a local bakery and sang about the coffee, cookies, and hot chocolate inside. Every corner was decked-out. Everyone was jolly. It was perfect.

Out of the Thistle® Blog, dwell on the good this holiday.

Out of the Thistle® Blog, dwell on the good this holiday.

Out of the Thistle® Blog, dwell on the good this holiday.

Out of the Thistle, dwell on the good this holiday.

Out of the Thistle® Blog, dwell on the good this holiday.

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So, just dwell on the good, share it with others, and just look to all the joyous moments to be found this season, no matter how small they may seem.

 

Good cookies.

There’s so much to be thankful for during Christmastime. One thing we are certainly in thanks of: cookies. Cookies are good any time of year. Though, they seem to reign supreme during the holidays for parties and gift-giving. Whether you are going to a cookie swap or just whipping up a batch for some of your favorites, we have a few recipes to recommend. These are a few of the cookie collection from our holiday season:

Linzers, by Thread Bears®A returning favorite: the Linzer cookie. Crisp and light cookies, generously dusted with confectioner’s sugar and filled with strawberry jam. This is the recipe we used.

Easy fudge, by Thread Bears®Though fudge is not cookies, we think it deserves a place in the cookie category. This simple fudge with a sprinkling of sea salt is the perfect addition. This is the recipe we used. Best part: it’s made in the slow cooker!

Cherry shortbread cookies, by Thread Bears®These simple and subtly sweet cookies have the perfect white chocolate to cherry ratio. This is the recipe we used.

Speculaas by Thread Bears®These Speculaas (or Speculoos) are beautiful, but do require the molds to shape them in. If you have the time (and patience!) these cookies are a lovely addition to any cookie tin. These biscuits are crisp with just the right amount of spice. You can find the recipe here.

Palmiers, by Thread Bears®These delicious chocolate palmiers are nutty, chewy, and have such a fun appearance! A friend’s daughter has decided to name these ‘the mustache cookies.’ The recipe can be found here.

chewy molasses cookies, by Thread Bears®A traditional in our cookie repertoire: the chewy molasses. These are the perfect texture and flavor combination. A chewy and spicy inside, a sweet and crunchy exterior. This is the recipe we used.

thumbprints cookies, by Thread Bears®The thumbprint cookie. If done correctly, in our opinion, a thick and chewy base with just the right amount of filling to compliment. We found this recipe, which is going in the favorites. The base has the perfect amount of lemon zest and is the perfect amount of chewy and crisp, while the dark chocolate filling is a perfect accent to the lemon and is sprinkled with just a dash of sea salt. Delicious little morsels.

Gingerpread people by Thread Bears®This recipe was a little tricky. The one solid recommendation we have: freeze and freeze and freeze in-between rolling out and cutting. This dough gets very tacky after handling for a short time, however, the end result is worth it. The gingerbread people are slightly firm on the outside with a chewy and delicious interior.

traditional chocolate chip cookies by Thread Bears®The pinnacle of the cookie tin is the good ol’ chocolate chip. We have tried many, many versions. In our belief, you really can’t get it just right without the shortening. We use mostly organic ingredients and try to stick to eating things that can only be found in nature. However, when it comes to this family favorite, there’s no messing with these. Here’s our recipe:

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Yield: 4 dozen cookies

INGREDIENTS

12 ounces Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
2 3/4 – 3 cups unsifted flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup shortening, softened
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla

INSTRUCTIONS

Preheat oven to 375ºF.
Whisk flour with baking soda and salt; set aside.
In large mixing bowl, beat butter, shortening and sugars on medium speed until creamy.
Add eggs in, one at a time, then add vanilla. Mix on low speed until incorporated.
Gradually add dry ingredients into butter mixture.
Stir in chocolate chips.
Using a 1 1/4″ cookie scoop, or a rounded tablespoon, drop onto ungreased cookie sheets.
Bake for 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown on edges. Let cool on cookie sheet for about 5 minutes, then remove and let cool on wire rack completely.

We hope your holiday season is full of good times and good cookies!

Merry Christmas!

-The Thread Bears® Family

 

Cocoa and candy.

I think we can all agree, Christmastime is a perfect excuse for indulging. And, what perfect opportunity to let kids get their fair share of sweets than with a party? We had a gingerbread house decorating party this weekend, which turned out to be a huge success. The kids decorated, ate candy, drank cocoa, laughed and had a good time. Here’s a few tips we’d like to share for a successful candy and cocoa party:

Do yourself a favor and lay down kraft paper. You can roll it up when the party is over and catch all of the rogue nonpareils and keep globs of frosting off of your table.

Cocoa and candy party, Thread Bears®

Though we usually opt for homemade, in this case, we didn’t stress out about it. We bought premade gingerbread villages that just needed to be assembled. The village houses were small enough that the kids didn’t lose interest halfway through decorating. They went together quickly, as well.

Candy and cocoa party by Thread Bears®

Buy a lot of candy. You will have many little taste-testers sampling the goods, so get plenty! We found the idea on Pinterest of organizing the candy in muffin tins, which worked out nicely. No spilling bags, no arm wrestling for the peppermints. Everything was easily accessible.

cocoa and candy party by Thread Bears®

We also whipped up a batch of homemade peppermint marshmallows and the ultimate hot cocoa.

cocoa and candy party by Thread Bears®

cocoa and candy party by Thread Bears®

Most important tip: have fun! We hope this helps to make your next gingerbread house decorating party a breeze!

cocoa and candy party by Thread Bears®

cocoa and candy party by Thread Bears®

cocoa and candy party by Thread Bears®

cocoa and candy party by Thread Bears®

cocoa and candy party by Thread Bears®

cocoa and candy party by Thread Bears®

And thanks to Childhood Unplugged for sharing our image on your instagram! http://instagram.com/p/w128yWPKq4/?modal=true

 

 

 

 

 

Avery Hand Warmers Pattern

My daughter is always getting her hands into things, so much so, that she hates having anything obstruct her ability to do so–including gloves. And so, for the soon-to-be cooler weather, I designed these little hand warmers for my curious little one, which are aptly named the “Avery Hand Warmers.”

Avery Hand Warmers by Rhonda Potteet of Thread Bears®The finished hand warmers feature a simple garter stitch and cable design, perfect for matching any Fall/Winter outfit. The non-bulky design and use of fingering weight yarn allows for items to snugly fit on little ones hands yet allowing plenty of room to move. These hand warmers are perfect for little ones who will be collecting acorns or picking apples in the cooler seasons.Avery Hand Warmers by Rhonda Potteet of Thread Bears®

IMG_9688These hand warmers are a breeze to make, and they only use 1 skein of Quince & Co. “Tern” or “Finch” yarns!

The pattern is designed to make hand warmers for ages 12 months up to 6 years.

 

This pattern can be purchased here on Etsy, or here on Ravelry (will be available on our website soon!

Happy knitting, and Happy Autumn!

Rhonda Potteet