So - full disclosure - I never truly accepted the possibility that we would still be displaced at Christmas.
Hence the fact that I brought all of the Halloween decorations with us to the apartment, and all of the Thanksgiving decorations, but only a handful of Christmas items.
The kids' Christmas clothes made the move, but logic behind that was that we would take holiday photos in November, just prior to returning to the house.
Yeah, November pictures didn't happen. And we didn't return to the house after Thanksgiving, either.
On some level, I guess I thought that, if it became relevant, we would go up into the attic and retrieve what we needed. But - small problem - the house is lacking a floor, so going up the ladder into the attic is a bit of a problem, unless you are a fan of climbing a ladder that is floating in space because it has no floor on which to rest.
We weren't completely out of luck. I brought two slightly-bigger-than-shoebox-sized Rubbermaid totes with us that happened to be in one of the boys' closets. Didn't look in the totes, but I knew that they were Christmas-ish. Along with those came a two-gallon-sized storage bag that I thought held the family stockings.
Yeah, stockings weren't in there. Fortunately, they were in a credenza in my office. You read that right. Here's the deal: know those parents who, when they travel without their kids, take separate airplanes on the theory that, statistically, there's little chance of both of them crashing, so someone's bound to survive the trip? Okay, so I do that with the Christmas ornaments. The heirloom ones (things that the kids made and things that our mothers made) are in a credenza in my office, along with the stockings, on the theory that, if there's a fire, the fire suppression sprinklers will save them. The rest of the ornaments are split in half, and half go up into the attic, and the other half go into the carriage house (again, on the theory that if one structure burns, perhaps the other one won't).
No, I haven't been diagnosed with OCD, but I do have my suspicions. Thanks for asking.
That meant that I had access to two small (shoebox-sized) containers of ornaments (the truly meaningful ones) and, technically, I also had access to whatever was in the carriage house. However, I wasn't too jazzed about digging through the carriage house, given that - until very recently, when progress finally started to be made on our home - hanging around the old homestead hasn't exactly given me the warm fuzzies.
So I gave myself a challenge:
Take the money that I would usually spend in any given year buying new Christmas decor, apply that to craft supplies and Elf the Apartment. Decorations would consist of whatever I crafted and whatever was in the four totes and one two-gallon bag.
Hit a couple of craft stores and Tuesday Morning and purchased, among other items, ribbon, wrapping paper, scrapbook paper, a couple of fat quarters (you know, those squares of fabric scraps that you use for quilting), a ball of blue yarn, a styrofoam cone, some straight pins, a bunch of mittens from the dollar aisles at Joann and Target, some yarn-wrapped ornaments (also from the Target dollar aisle), a handful of tinsel snowflakes from Dollar Tree and a package of foam snowflakes from Wal-Mart. Oh, and a couple of blank canvases.
I promise that it all makes sense when you see it.
And then I got to work transforming the apartment, which started out looking like this:
I utilized some of the fall-colored and -themed items, like this fabric-covered box and this turkey canvas, for my Christmas decor (I promise that that will make sense, too):
Then I got crafty. My first project: a tree, using scraps cut from the fat quarters, straight pins and the styrofoam cone. Here is said tree at the halfway point:
And here is the finished product.
The Big Kid helped me for a couple of minutes, and then he announced that he wase bored and walked away, never to return. I think he was frustrated by my insistence on controlling the overall pattern and ratio of blue-to-green-to-red-to-pink.
ADHD meets OCD.
Next I got to painting. Plan was to recreate some canvases that I painted several years back (and that are packed who-knows-where), in colors that would match my selected colors.
They turned out really well. So well, that I decided to make them my auction item for one of my Woman's Club groups, where they went over so well that I am now obligated to paint three more.
But I did keep this one:
After the painting party came the paper-snowflake-and-mitten-and-chain-making party. The kids helped with that project. The Little Kid enjoyed making snowflakes and cutting out traced hands, which he decorated to look like mittens. In the meantime, the Big Kid assembled a bazillion feet of paper chains. Clearly, he inherited my OCD tendencies, as he insisted on assembling the chains so that they would demonstrate a continuous pattern whether you looked at them from the side or from above.
I wasn't really sure what we were going to need in the way of decorations (on account of how I hadn't opened any of the four totes or the two-gallon bag year - that was also part of the challenge, to wait until the last minute to see what we were working with), so we just made stuff until we got tired of cutting, taping and gluing.
So how did we do? Stay tuned for Part 2 of "I Elf the Apartment," which I may get around to typing later tonight - or not.