Giving Thanks {and a personalized thanksgiving project}

While preparing for the holiday season, it's been a hectic and fun time. I've completed a lot of awesome projects, starting making my Christmas cards and taking pictures of the kids, and even had a few days off from school. My family started arriving to our house today...and all the prep is worth it, just so we can be together. 

I have so much to be thankful for, but this time of year I also cannot help but remember back to a time, right after getting married, when my husband was not home for the holidays, and I was not "home" for the holidays either because my family was on the other side of the country. Unfortunately, my husband left for a deployment on {Friday} October 13th, and didn't return the following year until December 28th. We barely had spent half a year together on our two year anniversary. It was a loooong, long holiday season, truthfully, it was just a long 15 months. {The surge was not my friend!} That being said, I realize that like all things: it's what you make of it. And even though my husband was gone, in a war zone, for 15 months, a very long 15 months. I always tried to remember that other people had it worse. And so this year, and probably every year for the rest of my life, I'll be thinking of the families that might have someone missing from the table, either because of a deployment, a bum assignment, because duty calls them to a distance to great to travel, or even because they've made the ultimate sacrifice. While they are making the best of things, I am thankful for those families. Because the many gifts and blessings we have in our life, all really go back to the freedoms that we cherish so today and always, thank you to all the military families our there. I certainly appreciate your sacrifice. And while I give thanks with my family, my thanks are going to you. 

Now, I have been looking back on some pictures from last year's Thanksgiving. I don't think I ever shared my handy work...

But before I show you last year, I will show you this year. Like, maybe, oh,  4 days, and 15 trips to my craft room ago.  

Because although I have a craft room, it's hard getting anything done without being able to see what the kids are doing. The dining room is right in the middle of it all. 

Yes, a fairly substantial pile of materials.  Quilts, growth charts, handbags. Yes, handbags. I hadn't made a handbag in SO long. It's great being able to sew a purse...

Dining room chairs make awesome hangers. In case you didn't know.

Through the legs of the table you can see my trusty iron and dorm sized ironing board. I'm often squatting over this thinking that I need to get a second iron with a real board...oh well, maybe next year.

I am embarrassed. But in honor of keeping it real:  This chair serves as my "in progress" area. I have a monogrammed zipper pouch for myself I started last summer over the back of the chair. I have a quilt I'm making for both boys at the bottom of the stack. That striped purse was for my best friends birthday gift (from September, sorry Amy!) On the floor, the green bin has embroidery items. On the other side, there is thread...and another bin for hand embroidery stuff. Under the chair, the fancy box holds all of the stuff I had planned on bringing upstairs, but never brought up. oops.

On the table, I had been working on a tent kit. Plus I'm sure other stuff. 

So everything went back upstairs. I'm starting fresh. I have a long list of new projects. Plus I need to finish sewing those three handbags. Ugh. At least I got some exercise putting everything upstairs, right?

Onto last year. 

It's hard to believe my little guy was only about 6 months old. 

And here's a peak at the decor:

I made everyone personalized burlap placemats. The number represents the number each person entered the family. I used two colors of burlap (I was using what I had) and trimmed into rectangles using an older placemat as a template.

I used my Silhouette machine to create a stencil, using cardstock. And then a permanent marker to write on the burlap. {Talk about an easy project!}

Even the dog was represented. Notice the water marks ALL over the wall. Gotta love dogs.

I also used craft paper to make place cards. The leaves are all some kind of paper mache, I bought them in Colorado Springs at the Current Magazine store. That place was a treasure trove!

And here's the table as it was getting loaded up:

Here are all of the placemats I made. I still need to make one more for my new nephew. Honestly, may not happen this year...but oh well, he won't know this year.

So, happy thanksgiving. I can't wait for some side dishes. Can you?
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