Wednesday 25 December 2013

Merry Christmas Everyone.....

A Very Happy Christmas and Nadolig Llawen to all my lovely followers.  I hope you are all warm and cosy, with power, without floods and in the place you want to be on this quiet Christmas Day after the wind, rain and hail stones of yesterday!  Here's a little gift for you if you fancy a bit of old fashioned cutting out pleasure when the family tire of all those new electronic gifts they've received - not very likely I know!

A hark back to Christmas 1957 at our house in Rhyl.  That's me in my new nurses' outfit!

Tuesday 24 December 2013

On the Twelfth Day of Christmas.....

I'm almost done making - just a few bits and bobs to finish off.  So today I'm posting these cute little fairies that will be wrapped up with a few other Christmas goodies in the little houses I showed you yesterday.  They are made by a Fairtrade project in India and I bought them at a Christmas Fair earlier in December held at a National Trust property.  The red one is, of course, a Christmas Fairy and the pink one a Princess Fairy. 

The business is the brain child of a beautiful girl called Louise from Brighton and here she is with some of her sewing ladies.  Its called Believe You Can and I really wish I'd looked it up before as I could have bought more goodies for the fairy-loving members of the family.  But then there's always next year, and birthdays.  I would love it if you'd visit Louise's wonderful project too and perhaps buy a thing or two.  I know the recipients of my fairies won't appreciate the story behind them, but as I said to the stall holder at the fair, I certainly do.

Monday 23 December 2013

On the Eleventh day..... we're nearly there!

I bought a job lot of these little acrylic cottages some time ago so I think its about time one or two saw the light of day.  I filled these two with nail polish and other nail related bits and pieces I hope will please two gorgeous young girls in the family.  They are finished off with stuffed crochet hearts attached to clips I thought could be key rings, bag charms or to tag something else that needs quick identification, such as a suitcase.

I can't put my hand on the heart pattern at the moment but I think its probably this one from Le monde de Sucrette

One more day to go and I hope you are all more on schedule with what you want to do than I am!  I expect my friend Baukje is - she seems to get so much done in a short time.  Take a look at her Twelve Days of Christmas for more inspiration.

Sunday 22 December 2013

On the Tenth day its time to Wrap!

Heck I've nearly missed my tenth day post - its been a busy day with work and then family arrivals for the holiday, but there was just time to wrap a couple of parcels before midnight.

To be honest I don't really go to town with wrapping, it seems a bit of a waste to me, and I certainly hate to see all those recycling bins overflowing with the detritus of Christmas on the first collection day after the festivities.  So every year I like to reuse paper I've collected from parcels and packing.  There was a long length of crumpled brown paper in one parcel I received sometime in the last 12 months and I remember smoothing it out and rolling it up for just this moment.  It was easy to turn it into Christmas wrap with a small reindeer stamped randomly all over in chocolate brown.  And garden raffia to tie it up just seemed right.  My simple office stationery tags finished off the the home made look I think.  I even reused one of those board backed envelopes in the same way for one gift - can't say what it was but it was flat and had 12 pages!!! ;o)

Stamps:  Folk Art Christmas Additions and Twas the Night Before Christmas from Waltzingmouse Stamps

Saturday 21 December 2013

On the ninth day of Christmas..... crocheted stars

I was hoping to give hyacinths in bloom as Christmas gifts this year........... err, no!  Late as usual!  But they'll be something to look forward to after the festivities are over and will bring a hint of Springtime on its way.  Anyway I thought the bulbs needed a bit of adornment (though I think they are beautiful in their own right) so I'm crocheting last minute stars to match the pots they are growing in.

My good friend Baukje sent me a beautiful star last Christmas and I managed to track down the pattern in ATERGcrochet's shop on Etsy to make some for myself. 

Here's the lovely softly coloured star Baukje made for me and here's the link to the pattern shop if you'd like to make some too. 

Remember Baukje is crafting away till Christmas too so do visit her for some more last minute inspiration.

Friday 20 December 2013

On the Eighth Day of Christmas.....

Thought you might like to see the fabulous sunset we had yesterday - the colours were so strong they reflected onto the clouds on the other side of the vale.  There was a sprinkling of snow on the hills too.  Beautiful!

Its time to get out the decorations from their long hibernation under the stairs.  I've been collecting old decorations for years and I'm very fond of these 50s transparent plastic ones I remember we had on our tree when I was a child.  I got these pictures the other day in that short window of sunlight I'm treated to around midday in my front room. 

The reindeer is my favourite design but I love them all even if others think they are a bit naff!

I'm still collecting - mostly on ebay, but they are becoming quite difficult to find. 

I remember these plastic swallows too....... 

and the tinsel stars.  The human brain is a strange thing - I wonder why these decorations from long ago invoke such strong memories of my childhood.

And who would have thought old bits of plastic could look so beautiful! 

Thursday 19 December 2013

On the Seventh day of Christmas..... paper angels

I found these paper angels on Etsy today - isn't the internet wonderful!  I've always loved cut-out anythings.... there used to be lots of them in women's magazines and comics when I was a little girl and I could not wait for my Mum to let me have the pages when she was finished reading.  Anyway, I digress - I saw a lovely paper wreath on Pinterest and headed over to Etsy to investigate Sky Goodies.  I purchased and downloaded the angels and some Christmas baubles, printed them out and in about half an hour had six angels with no sticking required.

The simple shape is perfect for children to cut out but they may need an adult to demonstrate the easy construction - its just two cuts slotted together.  I've used very thin card which will go through my temperamental printer and curve easily into shape.

Its another dull day today so my photos are poor but here is Sky Goodies' own image.  Sweet or what - can you resist them?  I think I might download the wreath when I've a bit more time to fiddle.

Wednesday 18 December 2013

On the sixth day of Christmas.... more Hama beads

They look very uninspiring in the packet but I've been pleasantly surprised by how pretty these plastic beads turned out when fused together.  All that's required is an iron and some non-stick baking parchment.  It takes a bit of practise to get fusing just how you like it.  I watched a couple of videos on Youtube - unfortunately I can't remember which ones - but its all pretty straightforward.  Once I'd peeled the beads from the peg board and paper I left them under a few books to keep them flat while they cooled down.

Of course at Christmas time snowflakes are the design to try but I also liked my Christmas trees and baubles.  In fact it was hard to stop myself making them!  I've an idea to hang them in the window as they look very pretty when the sun shines through them.

They look lovely if the sun shines through them, especially if you add a few self adhesive gems. As with the peg dolls the other day, I've gathered some lovely inspiration on my Hama Pinterest board.  Here are some more designs packaged up for a recent Chritmas fair.  I'm looking forward to trying some designs other than Christmas in the New Year.

Don't forget to nip over to my friend Baukje at Busy Bee Free who is also crafting away till Christmas!

Tuesday 17 December 2013

On the fifth day of Christmas..... Away in a Manger

If you are following me on my Facebook crafty page you'll see my peg fairy and angel but I've posted them here before so today is something I haven't made - yet.  I love old women's magazines and spied this charming nativity in the 1975 Christmas edition of Woman & Home.  You can still buy these small wooden people blanks easily in craft shops and on line (my favourite shop is Myriad - love their felt!).  

Here are the instructions in case you want to make one.  Unfortunately the prices quoted have risen somewhat!  I have a sentimental fondness for peg dolls - something I liked making when I was a child and I've collected a whole Pinterest board full of them to please and inspire me - and you!

Monday 16 December 2013

On the fourth day of Christmas..... peg snowmen

You may have seen these here before, however they are another quick and easy project you could make with children so I don't mind repeating myself.   Paint your pegs with blue and white acrylic or poster paints.  The noses are the tips of cocktail sticks coloured with an orange felt pen and glued into a small hole made with a screwdriver or similar.  A simple face is drawn with a black marker and the scarfs are cut from felt scraps.

These pegs have stands as they are specially made for crafters but ordinary pegs will do if you add a cord to hang in your tree.  Cute or what!

Don't forget to visit my friend Baukje at Busy Bee Free who is also crafting the 12 days of Christmas.

Sunday 15 December 2013

On the third day of Christmas..... snowflakes on a garland

This is a quick and easy crochet snowflake very popular on Pinterest at the moment but I saw it first two years ago on Sarah London's blog here.  To make a garland I crocheted a simple chain and slip stitched them into it as I went along.  15 or 20 chains between each flake is about right but make sure you count as you are going to keep it regular.  Number 20 crochet cotton looks nice I think (makes a flake about 3cms across using a 3.5mm hook) but Sarah made hers with DK for a chunky snowflake to hand individually on your tree or in a window.

Of course white is the obvious colour but I like them in red too and they are very pretty in pastel colours.  If you don't crochet perhaps felt flakes would be a good substitute or even something shop bought if you are short of time.

And I forgot to say yesterday that my very good blog friend Bauke, at the brilliant Busy Bee Free is also crafting the 12 days of Christmas.  Make sure you visit her too for more inspiration.  Thankyou Baukje! x

Saturday 14 December 2013

On the second day of Crafty Christmas..... another reindeer!

Gather some twigs from the garden - red dogwood is great but anything straightish will do, cut to size with secaturs, hot glue together and finish off with twine or string to hide the blobs of glue.  I saw this idea in Karin Hossack's lovely book Simple Christmas Style (1998) many years ago.  I made reindeer for all my work colleagues and they loved them.  I kept this one for myself and its at least 10 years old! 

Hope to see you here tomorrow.

Friday 13 December 2013

Twelve Craft Days of Christmas - On the first day.....

If you've got it - flaunt it I say!  Let me explain - I'm talking about beautiful stamps and I've bought some gorgeous Christmas stamps this year from Claire at Waltzingmouse Stamps.  This set, Folk Art Christmas Additions, has to be my favourite and of the four images in the set the Reindeer is definitely the star.  And when I say flaunt it, I mean show it off - as far as I'm concerned it needs nothing else to make a perfect Scandinavian style Christmas card. 

I've used a 4 inch square plain white card blank, Festive Berries Distress Ink, and a simple sentiment.  The only embellishment I've added is a bit of glitter with a Clear Star Sakura Gelly Roll pen on the floral decoration - hard to see in the photo I'm afraid but it does add to the Christmassy feel.  I've also made gift tags in the same style using ready made stationery luggage labels.  Couldn't be easier if you are short of time..... and as always I'm short of time!

Well, its 12 days till Christmas and I want to try and post something on each of the 12 days.  It may not be something I've created every day but I hope it will be something either interesting, beautiful or inspiring and preferably all three.  Hope to see you here this time tomorrow!  Ho, ho, ho!

Monday 2 December 2013

Christmas is coming......

Ok!  I have to admit November is quite a dark month - especially when there is a cloud covering over the vale.  And in my tiny house photographing my projects can be a problem, even if I take them outside the back door.  However if the sun is shining there is a five minute slot when, if I'm organised and quick, I can get photos like these.  The houses opposite me are tall and block out the sun during the colder months of the year, but there is a narrow alleyway between and the sunlight can shine through into my front room - but it only lasts a very few minutes.

The sun shone on Saturday and I quickly started snapping.  There is one more fair next weekend - a local primary school Christmas Fayre - and I've been trying out Hama beads to make simple decorations children might like.  The beads don't look very promising do they, but ironed to fuse and with the light shining through them I think they are quite effective. 

You can also see my crochet snowflakes, wooden pokerwork, and felt bead mini-wreaths in the photos.  And these utterly delightful Scandinavian people I bought from a lovely lady at Attingham Park Frost Fair last week.

Really wish I'd bought a couple more!  Sadly she doesn't seem to have an online presence but I've emailed to see if she has any other fairs coming up locally.  If you want to try this photo technique, I have to admit I've tweeked the images in Photoshop (any other photo editing programme will do) and whacked up the shadows to blot out the untidy background.

Sunday 1 December 2013

Dull November? Certainly not!

Most folks hate November and say its dark and dull - my Mum in particular always seems rather down at this time of year.  However I enjoyed this November.  We had lots of sunshine, it hasn't been very cold, I've managed to get quite a lot of my home made Christmas gifts organised, and I've even got out and about a couple of times.  And I'm also quite pleased with the Christmassy crafting projects I've had on the go this year.  So here's my November remembered page - can you believe there's only one more before I'll be looking for a bargain offer on printing out my creative year book!!!!  You can see last year's book here.

Monday 25 November 2013

First Market Day

Had a lovely day yesterday at the very first Henllan Craft Group Vintage & Craft Market.  Met up with some old friends and made some new.  A lovely venue, the Church Institute has recently had a makeover - I loved the Christmassy windows decorated by the different groups using the hall.  And this time I did remember to photographically record what I took with me!  I am trying to be more organised but as usual I didn't have much sleep the night before. :(  Luckily I'm not working today.

Thursday 21 November 2013

Rustic tree decorations

Many years ago - it feels like another life - I needed a second job to make ends meet.  I ended up working at home in the evenings for a local enterprise drawing pictures on small wooden items such as spoons, boxes, plaques, etc for the tourist trade.  Eventually the job ended and I was not sorry as though initially enjoyable, once you've sketched the same design on 250 wooden spoons the enjoyment palls! 

Anyway, I digress!  I saw The Sitting Tree's lovely decorations and thought I'd try the craft again.  I bought a new pyrography pen and some wood slices on ebay and these are the result.  I cheated rather as I selected some suitable small stamps, stamped on the slices with a pale kraft ink and sketched over the design. I might have a go at an original design next - though I won't be going into mass production any time soon!

Wednesday 13 November 2013

To recycle or reuse.... that is the question!

Little glass jars are something I find hard to throw into the recycling box - they are so cute.  But what to do with them?  Really a bit too small for jam or pickles, but I'd seen lots of crochet covered jars on Pinterest (just search crochet jar) so I tried them out. 

They are very pretty lit with tealights and the taller ones could be used as small posy vases too.  These are my Christmas versions decorated with holly (adapting Lucy's pattern here) and mistletoe (adapting Maize's pattern here), adding felt or wooden beads as berries.  If you don't crochet, here's a jar covered with a strip of burlap (hessian) and you could use felt leaves with the beads. 

I was a bit concerned about using real tealights, especially as I'm thinking of taking some to a craft fair, so here's a photo of them with those LED battery powered lights.  Not quite as pretty but safer, especially if there are children around.

Hmm.... really getting the the Christmas mood now.  And its only early November!


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