Saturday, 31 December 2011

Goodbye 2011

I've been ignoring my blog for the last three weeks..... it has been calling me but I didn't listen.  As usual I left everything too late and didn't even put up my decorations until Christmas Eve.  But this is the last day I'm going to be disorganised - 2012 is going to see a new me that gets everything finished in plenty of time! You heard (read) it here first!
I feel really bad that I haven't posted or visited any of my favourite blogs. I really really don't want Christmas 2012 to be the same and intend to stick to my New Year resolution next week by making something - don't know what yet but I'll be visiting my Pinterest boards for inspriation.

So here are a few pictures of my disorganised crafty Christmas - I did get some things finished in time! 
Cherry stone hand warmers for my Mum and sisters in their little matching bits and bobs pockets.
 Delia Smith inspired Christmas cake that doubled as my sister's birthday cake on the 21st. Crochet slippers for my nieces - I sewed leather insoles underneath so they don't slide around on the kitchen floor!
 My tiny Christmas tree and some of the vintage decorations I've collected over the years.

Christmas cards I posted in the very last hour for first class delivery before the day - love this Boughs and Bells set from PTI. Such a classic traditional look with the sentiment from Compliments of the Season (Waltzing Mouse Stamps).
Some wrapped presents ready to give at the last possible moment before another sister left for a week's skiing on 23rd!
We had yummy scrambled eggs and mushrooms on toast at our favourite teeny Cafe Gate in Chester on the way back from taking my sister and nephew to the train at the end of their visit.  I liked their homely snowflake window decorations made from laminated doilies.
So that was my Christmas 2011.  I'd like to thank you, my faithfull readers, for all the encouragement I've had from you over the last year and the lovely comments you've left me. Here's to the New Year - and if you are celebrating tonight, have a very happy time.

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Knit Me a Man Please!

I went through a phase of buying old knitting patterns a few years ago and looking through them last night I was reminded of Christmas 2005 when my sister jokingly said "knit me a man" when I asked her if there was anything she would like for her gift.  So I did!  And here he is photographed just after I finished him and when my sister unwrapped him.  She named him Jim, after my Mother's wartime GI boyfriend. He's an airman - I had wanted to knit the soldier but didn't have the right colour yarn for his uniform at the time.

In case you would like to knit yourself or a friend a man for Christmas, here is the pattern. As with the cut-out crib in my last post, you can download the images by right clicking and saving to your hard disk.

As you can tell, the pattern was published during WW2 and I find the lines below each doll pattern quite touching.  I can't bear to think how many Daddies didn't come home after the war.  But in jollier mood, here's another from the same era - Father Christmas and one of his Gnomes.

Friday, 9 December 2011

A Retro Christmas Crib for the 100

I was astounded to see yesterday that I now have 100 followers!  Welcome to Loretta and Sherry who joined my little blog this week.  And to celebrate I thought you might like this papercraft nativity set from the Christmas 1964 issue of Woman and Home magazine.  You may have noticed I have rather a lot of old magazines and W&H is one of my favourites.


I love the simple style of these figures and really hope you will want to make one for your Christmas celebrations this year.  I've scanned these pages but as I only have an ancient A4 size scanner I've had to piece the pages together a bit - the magazine was wider than the scanner.  But you shouldn't have any problems as long as you make sure you don't tick the 'fit to page' box and just print as is. Here are the instructions.

To download these pages to your computer, right click the image, open in a new window and save to your hard drive somewhere you can find it easily. Its just the sort of thing I loved when I was a child and I would have been pleading with my Mum to hurry up and finish reading her magazine so that I could start cutting out!

Sunday, 4 December 2011

I've found three more homemade gift ideas for today in my 1950s Woman and Home magazine collection. The first is this lovely crochet square in fine yarn. As the patterns says, what would please her more, and I think I'd be very pleased to receive such an elegant gift too.

Not so sure the two children's gifts would be so well received by today's kids though. You might get away with the muff for a very small girl but though I love the pipecleaner family myself I can't imagine many dolls house owners choosing them over a modern shop bought family. But perhaps they could be a project to try when the festivities are over.

If you would like to try the crochet pattern right click on the image, open in a new window and click to enlarge. If this doesn't work and you can't get a good image drop me a line and I'll send you a scan.

Saturday, 3 December 2011

Dogwood Reindeers and Saltdough Stars

 I meant to add some gift making ideas to my blog each day but yesterday was a marathon - the Folksy website has had a makeover and to celebrate they had a free listing day. Great I thought..... but of course I wasn't the only one and the mass listing exercise was rather frustrating as everything was so SLOW!  But as the day went on things speeded up and the lovely Folksy people extended the free period so in the end I was able to add lots of items to my shop. Very pleased but I didn't have time to add anything here.

Here's a couple of things I made years ago but I'm thinking of trying again this year.  Do you remember when salt dough was all the rage?  I was into it in a big way and still have a few things I made then - this star being one of them. It adds just the right finishing touch to my wine bottle tag. The star was cut with a biscuit cutter and I glued a short length of ordinary string and a green lentil to the centre before baking in the oven ( remember to pierce a hanging hole with a skewer).  I then painted it first with red and then gold acrylic paint.
The dogwood reindeer is also a long survivor I'm planning on reviving.  I first made them for my work colleagues at least 10 years ago and I kept this one for myself. Our workplace had a bed of red dogwood outside and instead of leaving the lovely red stems on though the winter the "slash and burn" groundsmen cut them off every year. So I gathered a few before they were taken away and made about 30 reindeer.  I remember they were very well received - and of course cost practically nothing to make. The twigs were put together with a hot glue gun and string was added to hide the glue a bit as its not very pretty.

Sadly I don't have access to the dogwood now but I have lots of willow in the garden that really needs cutting back so I'll be using that.

Just noticed Claire at Waltzing Mouse has a Christmas Tag Challenge on at the moment so I'll enter my bottle tag and cross my fingers that it "tickles"!

Supplies for tag: Papertrey Ink Bottle Tag Die, Waltzing Mouse Nordic Winter stamp set

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Yikes! 24 days to go!

And I haven't got a single gift ready yet! So I've been going through my collection of old magazines looking for ideas.  I thought I'd like to post some of the things I find here on the blog over the next couple of weeks.  My first find is three very practical but pretty gifts from the Christmas edition of Woman and Home magazine in 1958. I really like the apron - I'm sure it would be just as well received in 2011 as it would have been in 1958.  And I'd love to find a piece of that wonderful teapot fabric! 


The last couple of weeks have been all about craft fairs and I wouldn't like to tell you how many very late nights I've had getting my stall ready.  But even though there is still one fair to go I have just about enough stuff to keep me going and from now on I'm going to concentrate on my Christmas list - luckily its not huge as we are a small family.

I made some more peg dolls for last weekend's Christmas fair - snowmen, angels and fairies. I'd been looking for the peg stands for my dolls for ages.  I couldn't find them for sale without their pegs - and I already had lots of pegs.  But at last I've found a really excellent supplier.  If you're in the UK and looking for crafty supplies at reasonable prices, you'll probably find what you are after and more at  There's loads and loads of ideas for kids' crafty activities too. My happiest childhood Christmas memories are of sitting at the kitchen table making decorations and pegs are easy for even the most uncrafty child (or adult) to attempt .  Or what about a peg doll competition at a Christmas party.


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