A Unique Christmas Tradition

When my husband was about 8 or 9 years old there was a power outage as the family sat down for a meal of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese on the evening of December 23rd. They quickly lit candles, and thus the Christmas Eve Eve tradition of mac¬†‘n’ cheese by candlelight born.

It has grown quite a bit since its humble beginings as all good traditions will. Now, more than 40 years later, relatives from near and far as well as family friends gather at the home of one of the siblings, to enjoy the synthetic cheesiness of the iconic blue box mac and cheese (though now there are plenty real food offerings available as well.) The lights are turned out and candles lit throughout the house as people catch up with dear ones they often haven’t seen since the year before and meet new friends as well.

It was a smaller group this year as many of the usual relatives were unable to make it for one reason or another. Even so there were around 25 people and plenty of delightful conversation. One of my husband’s cousins had moved too far away to make the trip this year. He kept texting pictures of the Christmas Eve Eve he and his wife were observing in their new home.

Explaining the Christmas Eve Eve tradition to Eli.

Explaining the Christmas Eve Eve tradition to the new generation. The idea of there being candles with no “Happy Birthday” song and immediate blowing out was a bit mind bending at first.

While this year was Eli’s third year in attendance, it was the first year he really got what was going on. I couldn’t have been more content than I was to sit back and watch him bond with his cousins, having the time of his life holding court with a gaggle of teenage girls.

Does your family have any unique traditions? I’d love to read about them in the comment section below. ūüôā

A very Merry Christmas to you all!!!

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Fairy Mushroom Ornament

Fairy Mushroom Ornament

The end is almost in sight for this year’s ornament making. This latest creation is for my mother-in-law who has a small Christmas tree in her kitchen dedicated to fairies.

Mushroom Fairy

Mushroom Fairy (Photo credit: amboo who?)

In my limited knowledge of the world of fairies, it seems to me that they often seem to be congregating around or living in mushrooms (or are they toadstools?).

Fairy's toadstool

Fairy’s toadstool (Photo credit: katmary)

I decided to make a little mushroom fairy house ornament  for her tree. I had seen the idea here on Etsy.

English: Fairy tale toadstool Fly agaric (Aman...

English: Fairy tale toadstool Fly agaric (Amanita muscaria) on roadside in Bedham Copse. Don’t eat these unless you particularly enjoy vomiting, diarhoea and wishing you were dead. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I didn’t realize before making this that there is an actual fairy tale toadstool that has a red cap. Hopefully my erroneous choice of color isn’t too large of a faux paus.

IMG_8472

I attached an assortment of beads to the top in a random manner to make it look spotted and speckled.

Now it is all boxed up and ready to be wrapped for giving on Christmas Day. (Hopefully my assumption that she doesn’t avidly follow this blog isn’t too far off the mark… If I’m wrong, sorry to ruin the surprise, Susan!)

IMG_8476

Here’s where I’m linking up:

Fall Into The Holidays

Sunday:

I {heart} Naptime,  Flamingo Toes, jembellish clothes upcycling page,

Blissful and Domestic,

Monday:

Get Outta My Head Please, Skip to My Lou, The Gunny Sack, Sew Can Do,

A Round Tuit,  C.R.A.F.T.,  diy home sweet home,

Craft-O Maniac, Sew Chatty, Sarahndipities , The Cure for the Common Monday

Tuesday:

Not Just a Housewife, Hope Studios, Funky Polkadot Giraffe, Kammy’s Korner,

Home Stories A to Z,  Crafty Confessions, Homemade Tuesday,  Today’s Assignment,

Antiprocrastination Tuesday, Take-a-Look Tuesday,  Nifty Thrifty Tuesday,

The Creative Itch Boutique, Schwin and Schwin, Heart and Soul Blog Hop

Wednesday:

Sew Much Ado, Frugally Sustainable,  Lil’ Luna, Someday Crafts, Whimsy

Wednesday, Whatcha Work Up Wednesday

Thursday:

Mom On Timeout, Thrifty Decorating, Bear Rabbit Bear, Thriving on Thursdays

The Crafty Blogstalker, The Shabby Creek Cottage, House of Hepworths,

Sorta Crunchy, Delightful Order, Anything Goes Linky Party,

Friday:

Simply Designing, Whipperberry,  Happy Hour Projects, 

Joyful Stamper, Making Lemonade Blog, Thirty Handmade Days,

Naptime Crafters, Romantic Home, Finding Fabulous,

Shabby Nest, French Country Cottage, The Charm of Home, The Grant Life,

At the Picket Fence, Fingerprints on the Fridge, One Artsy Mama,

Saturday:

The Gingerbread Blog, Too Much Time On My Hands, Hello Weekend,

Six Sisters Stuff, Serenity You, Be Different Act Normal

Leather-Backed Hand-Drawn Fabric Ornaments

Owl with Candy Cane Ornament

I’ve been wanting to try my hand at drawing on fabric with Sharpie for a while to create some fabric with an unique print to sew into clothing for Eli. I just kept assuming the ink would bleed and I wouldn’t be able to get any crisp lines and so I never really have gotten around to actually experimenting. While using a pair of my old khakis to sew him some new trousers though I looked into the waste basket and realized I was throwing away small scraps that would be perfect for trying out my idea. ¬†I sketched a few things and then realized I could put my little experiments to use making Christmas ornaments!

These are quick, fun and easy. As for subject matter you are limited only by what you can draw within a little circle. I made some owl themed ornaments just because… what’s not to like about owls?! Then I made some ornaments for my nieces based on their personal interests.

Step 1

Trace a circle on cloth

Choose some scrap fabric. A tight weave works best. Trace a circle in pencil onto the fabric. I used a biscuit cutter and that seemed about the perfect size for the ornaments I wanted to make.

Step 2

Draw on fabric with your Sharpie

Draw the designs you want onto the fabric with your thin point Sharpie. I’m embarrassed to say that most of these owls I copied from a search I did on Pinterest. I went back to find the sources to give credit where credit is due, but a couple of weeks have passed and the old search results aren’t coming up. Shame… If you recognize your design here or know the source please let me know! The candy cane owl was ¬†holding a little bouquet of flowers in the original source.

Step 3

If you wish you can add a little bit of acrylic or fabric paint.

Paint the ornament design if desired

painted ballerina slipper

Step 4

Here is the point where I forgot to take pictures, so bear with me! I cut identically sized circles from scrap leather for the back of the ornament. You could use fabric and sew right sides together, then turn right side out before stuffing if you want. I liked using the leather because it is thicker and I wanted my sewing lines to become part of the design. I put a doubled length of ribbon in the seam at the top of the ornament before sewing it and started sewing nearer to the bottom of the ornament. I went almost all the way around the circle with a 1/4″ margin and stopped.

Step 5

Stuff the ornament through the gap you left in your stitching.

Stuff the ornament

Step 6

Owl with Candy Cane Ornament

After the ornament is stuffed I sew around and around the outer edge making a line that looks a bit like you scribble-doodled a circle. On this ornament I then went back in and embroidered the candy cane stripes and a thicker red dashed line around the outside as well.

Here are some of the other ornaments I’ve made in this style so far.

Assorted stuffed ornaments

Here’s where I’m linking up:

Fall Into The Holidays

Sunday:

I {heart} Naptime,  Flamingo Toes, jembellish clothes upcycling page,

Blissful and Domestic,

Monday:

Get Outta My Head Please, Skip to My Lou, The Gunny Sack, Sew Can Do,

A Round Tuit,  C.R.A.F.T.,  diy home sweet home,

Craft-O Maniac, Sew Chatty, Sarahndipities , The Cure for the Common Monday

Tuesday:

Not Just a Housewife, Hope Studios, Funky Polkadot Giraffe, Kammy’s Korner,

Home Stories A to Z,  Crafty Confessions, Homemade Tuesday,  Today’s Assignment,

Antiprocrastination Tuesday, Take-a-Look Tuesday,  Nifty Thrifty Tuesday,

The Creative Itch Boutique, Schwin and Schwin, Heart and Soul Blog Hop

Wednesday:

Sew Much Ado, Frugally Sustainable,  Lil’ Luna, Someday Crafts, Whimsy

Wednesday, Whatcha Work Up Wednesday

Thursday:

Mom On Timeout, Thrifty Decorating, Bear Rabbit Bear, Thriving on Thursdays

The Crafty Blogstalker, The Shabby Creek Cottage, House of Hepworths,

Sorta Crunchy, Delightful Order, Anything Goes Linky Party,

Friday:

Simply Designing, Whipperberry,  Happy Hour Projects, 

Joyful Stamper, Making Lemonade Blog, Thirty Handmade Days,

Naptime Crafters, Romantic Home, Finding Fabulous,

Shabby Nest, French Country Cottage, The Charm of Home, The Grant Life,

At the Picket Fence, Fingerprints on the Fridge, One Artsy Mama,

Saturday:

The Gingerbread Blog, Too Much Time On My Hands, Hello Weekend,

Six Sisters Stuff, Serenity You, Be Different Act Normal

Letter to Eli, 33 Months

Dear Eli,

I don’t think I can tell you how much I am enjoying you at this age! When you were a little baby, you were so cute and sweet in many ways I almost wished you wouldn’t grow and change because I thought I’d miss that stage too much. I couldn’t imagine you would be any more sweet than you were then. I knew it would get easier (that it HAD to get easier!) but I wondered what would be lost as you matured. But the truth is it just keeps getting better and better. I now sometimes think of you at four, seven, or ten years old and wonder if parenting you could be anywhere near as rewarding then as it is now. Hard as it is to imagine, I now believe that life with you will continue it’s present trajectory of wonderfulness, even as we are sure to face the various inevitible challenges of growing up along the way.

You love to discuss all the different parts of vehicles. We hear "It have wheels on it!" exclaimed often.

You love to discuss all the different parts of vehicles. We hear “It have wheels on it!” exclaimed often.

So what is so fun about this particular age? For one your capacity for self-expression continues to grow by leaps and bounds. Of course I’ve always felt that I’ve known you extremely well, but now I know so much more about what is going on inside your head and heart. And it is delightful. You are funny, and fun-loving, sensitive, affectionate and loving, and oh, so imaginative! Nothing in our home is ever as it seems anymore. A chair is not a chair… it is a garbage truck. Your wagon is a lawn mower. Cords, straps, strings, etc. are seat belts. (I love that you are super concientious about keeping them from going around your neck.)¬†And when you are in full garbage man mode (which is often!) almost everything is “ew, yucky!” and the garbage truck needs to eat it. The only things exempt from this treatment seem to be the library book What Brothers/Sisters Do Best and the baby doll we bought you back when rinsing your hair in the bathtub was cause for much anxiety. These things you soberly declare “Not ew yucky! This clean!”¬† I think you are doing well at preparing yourself for the roll of big brother.

Playing with play dough is definitely among your most loved activities.

Playing with play dough is definitely among your most loved activities.

Here you are sharing the love. :-)

Sharing the love. ūüôā

This month riding your bike has become one of your favorite activities. It used to be that you would just kind of walk along dragging the bike along with you between your legs. Now you sit and glide and have learned to steer around obstacles with pretty impressive precision. You are still using your little quadracycle that is really too small for you, and I think you are ready for your balance bike, but we have an issue with your helmets.¬†The toddler helmet¬†simply won’t fit over your head at all and the youth helmet just slides right off the back of your head. So for now I’m content to let you just ride the bike that is closest to the ground and not apt to tip over. You are so funny coming down the small hill on the sidewalk yelling “I don’t have a helmet! I don’t have a helmet!” You definitely inherited your father’s saftey-conscious gene.

Play Kitchen at IKEA

You love to go play at IKEA! The play kitchen is by far your favorite. (You’re getting one for Christmas. I think I’ll enjoy your reaction almost as much as you’ll enjoy receiving it!)

You really like hiding and spinning in this chair at IKEA as well.

One major development with you over the past month has been that you have been learning how to manage situations that make you feel anxious. Dogs have been a long standing source of fear for you. Up until now the mere sight of a dog, even a small one on a leash far away, meant that you had to be picked up and carried, wimpering until the dog was long past. Then all of the sudden, one day as we were walking past a PetSmart on dog adoption day you opted to continue to walk with me holding hands instead of having your Daddy carry you safely by all the commotion. You kept saying to yourself, “I be okay, I be okay.” I was so proud of you! Since then you use that tactic for self reassurance fequently. I hear you tell yourself you’ll be okay at times when I haven’t even been aware there was anything amiss in our surroundings. Not only are you okay, little Eli… you are doing fantastic!

The other situation this new level of maturity became apparent this past month was when we ran into a neighbor family on the sidewalk. For some reason though they are among the nicest and friendliest of people they have always struck terror in your heart. This time though, not only did you say “Thank you” to the lady when she complimented you on the car you were playing with, but you allowed us to be invited for a visit inside their home! There you ate the cut up apple she prepared for you, remembering your manners, and lasted for about a 15 minute visit. I was so pleased and frankly astounded. They have always wanted to help us watch you from time to time and we trust them, but it hasn’t been possible. Perhaps now it will be.

Enjoying a soy ice cream sandwich on Thanksgiving. By evening you had tasted and loved your first piece of pumpkin pie!

Enjoying a soy ice cream sandwich on Thanksgiving. By evening you had tasted and loved your first piece of pumpkin pie!

Keeping you away from dairy because of your allergy was never an issue as far as you were concerned. All I had to do was tell you the desired item had milk in it and would make you all itchy and you wouldn’t want it anymore. Until Thanksgiving weekend that is. All of the sudden there was sobbing and much distress everytime you couldn’t have something. With the whole holiday season upon us we knew this was going to be an ongoing issue, so we decided to let you challenge the allergy again as we have quite a few times (unsuccessfully) in the past. We figured either you’d have a reaction we would have to weather over the next 3 or 4 days and the experience would then be fresh in your mind as Christmas goodies came your way, or we’d find you’d finally outgrown the allergy. Well, it would seem you have outgrown the allergy! You are gleefully scarfing down pizza and pumpkin pie. I am giddy at not having to scrutinize every label quite so closely anymore. I think you are still a bit sensitive, or maybe just not used to digesting dairy protien so we are limiting the amount you get quite a bit, but I think this Christmas will be much more enjoyable for you from a culinary standpoint this year!

When childcare fell though for us at the last minute before my prenatal appointment this month you accompanied us to the doctor’s office. You really enjoyed the experience! I don’t know if it was seeing your sister on the ultrasound, seeing someone else being on the examination table for a change, or the fact that there was a garbage truck picking up the trash from the building’s dumpster as we were walking in. Since then you keep asking to go to see the doctor. At church you climbed up an outdoor staircase and started to climb on top of the 6 foot high wall, and when I told you to get down please because I didn’t want you to get hurt and have to go to the hospital you almost lept off immediately. “I want to go to the hospital!” you kept saying for quite a while after that. Before the week was out you got to do just that as I had a bit of pregnancy trouble. Unfortunately (for you)¬†you slept through the entire thing! You did get to see the hospital when you came back to visit me later that evening and to pick me up the next morning, though. Now you want to go back, and to be honest, I wish you’d quit saying that, because I don’t! Not for a few months anyway!

Sleeping though all of the hospital excitement.

Sleeping though all of the hospital excitement.

The outcome of our hospital visit is that I am now on bedrest. This is quite difficult for you, and for that I am very sorry. Even so you try to be so helpful and bring me things I need, and take things from me to throw away, etc. You also give me a lot of cuddles and snuggles, which I just adore! Hopefully things around here will normalize soon, but even if they don’t I know you will handle it just fine.

Due to my being on bed rest now our Christmas plans are a bit up in the air right now. I so hope we’ll be able to take you to see all the relatives in Tucson, but we will just have to see how the situation develops. At least if we don’t go you are too young to know what usually happens and won’t be as disappointed as you would be if you were older. In the meantime you are loving the whole Chirstmas thing as you are finally old enough to “get it”. You are so excited about the Christmas tree and will look at it and say “My Christmas tree!” For a boy who previously wouldn’t speak a word to any stranger, you now have a lot to say if they only ask you if you have a Christmas tree. Then it’s “It have lights! It have o’naments! It have a star on top!” When you say the last part you put your fist on top of your head for emphasis. And the best part is that you don’t even yet realize that Christmas means getting presents. You’re just loving the beauty and specialness of the season. Yep, regardless of where we spend it, Christmas this year with you is going to be so much fun!

I love you so very, very, very much!

Mama

 

Pregnancy Update

The little one continues to grow steadily and is VERY active. Today we are at 27 weeks. I began bleeding a little bit on Friday though and the doctor directed me to go to the hospital. There monitoring showed that thankfully there are no contractions. I stayed¬†overnight for continued monitoring as a precaution. I am now home again, but on bedrest. Previously I had been on restricted activity, such as no heavy lifting, because of a marginal placenta previa. I had hoped it had moved by this point, but since I began bleeding that would seem not to be the case. I am now allowed to get up to use the bathroom, but shouldn’t even sit at the table to eat.

Being monitored for contractions.

Being monitored for contractions.

I was on bedrest for a month with Eli’s pregnancy as well until the partial placenta previa migrated to a safer location. It was much earlier in the pregnancy though. I’m finding it much more difficult this time around in that I now have a toddler to take care of, and it is happening¬†right in the thick of all of the Christmas preparations. I had so many projects on my sewing list between gifts I wanted to make and clothes the Eli needs now and the baby will be needing soon enough.

Yesterday I was up more than I should have been. Today, I’ve been doing a bit better, and tomorrow I’m sure I’ll do better still. It is hard to stop your life on a dime, when you weren’t expecting to need to do so just yet. When I have been up it has been to get some things organized so that I can have work to do with my hands as I rest, and to put things Eli needs where he can have more independant access to them, such as the pack of diapers down on the floor instead of up on the shelf. He has been great at fetching things for me that I need and being as helpful as a little boy can be. My husband has taken on the lion’s share of all there is to be done as well as his regular work. I am so glad he works from home these days. My sisters-in-law have also been wonderful:¬†Jacki has been¬†taking Eli back and forth to school, running out to the craft store and produce market for me, and coming to take Eli out to play; and Susan, who is an incredible cook, has sent over yummy food that we have just to heat up. At a time when I am tempted into a funk over this unwelcome development, I find I don’t have to look too far to see how truly blessed I am. Of course the most important blessing of all is that right now this baby inside me is still doing just fine.

Eli slept the entire time I was being admitted and checked out.

Eli slept the entire time I was being admitted and checked out.

I’m not sure how much blogging I’ll be getting done over the the duration of Operation Bedbound. On one hand I have more time now, and now that I’m slowly figuring out my husband’s old laptop it looks like I will still have computer access. On the other, I have to see how streamlined I can make the process of photgraphing and downloading pictures, etc. Not that my photography tends to be spectacular anyway, but for now I may have to be content with flash photography with the bedspread as a background. Then there is the issue of all of the projects I had slated to accomplish and share here being mainly things that require the use of the sewing machine.¬†That, of course, remains a big no-no.

My plan thus far is to do something I’ve been wanting to do for a long time but haven’t had the right circumstances… learn to knit and crochet! Using YouTube I’ve already learned to cast on and begin knitting. I’m about 1/3 of the way through my first washcloth! Not exactly blog-worthy eye candy, but I’m very happy about it. I hope to quickly learn other stitches and how to read patterns. Then it’ll be off to the land of all cuteness, knitted baby clothes! I’m also planning to try my hand at crocheting this baby hat. Jacki gave me this lovely crochet hook that is the perfect size for the project this morning.

My first knitting project and new crochet hook.

My first knitting project and new crochet hook.

My other focus will be sewing felt food for Eli. He will be getting a play kitchen for Christmas and will need some food to prepare in it. I think it will be a lot of fun to wade through the many felt food tutorials I’ve pinned and sew away. Maybe I’ll be able to work out and share a few tutorials of my own.

My apologies to the many people who have commented on other posts here at Folk Havenover the past few days for not responding. I read them all, and appreciated them. Now that I can use this laptop I hope to keep on top of these things a bit better again.

No Sew Stash Buster: Lighted Fabric Garland Tutorial

I saw a lighted garland here at ADD Housewife  a few weeks ago and thought it would be a perfect way to further decrease my overwhelming stack of fabric for repurposing. After Eli left for preschool I quickly gathered my supplies.

Materials:

An old sheet – There are a few pieces of shirting fabric left over from long ago quilt projects and as I worked I included a couple of contrasting fabrics as well.

A strand of lights – I later added a second alongside to make it extra bright and colorful. My stands were 100 light strands as I wanted to hang this around the patio doors If you are making this for a mantle go with a 50 light strand or fold your 100 light strand in half.

A method for cutting– I wanted to use pinking shears but couldn’t find them (grrr!) but was so glad later when I saw how much cutting was actually involved to be using a matt and rotary cutter)

Step 1

Cut strips of cloth. Since I didn’t have the pinking shears and didn’t want tons of shedding I cut my cloth on the bias. Actually I was too lazy to find the actual bias, I cut ¬†it in a generally diagonal fashion. It worked. I cut most of the strips 2″ wide and of varying lengths from 5-10″ long. I didn’t measure the lengths… just eyeballed and hacked. I later cut other fabric 1″ in width to fill in bits of wire along the length with the thinner pieces as needed. I also chose to add some other fabrics of contrast as I got going. The darker of these I also cut to 1″ width.

Step 2

Fold a strip of cloth in half, bring it around the wire and pull the tails through the loop. I worked along the length of wire by putting the fabric on, jumping ahead a few inches before adding more and then doing the same thing back and forth again down the wire. This way I could better gauge where I wanted to put thicker verses thinner strips and longer verses shorter. I was also able to work in my accent fabrics a little more regularly than if I had just started at one end and worked all the way to the other.

Step 3

Excuse the off center photo. Our tree’s lights at the very top decided not to light this year and we are only midway through rectifying the situation. I didn’t really want to showcase our tree in it’s current state on the blog.

When the garland is as full as you want it to be hang ‘er up. Yeah, three steps. It really is that easy.

I may go back in later and further cover up the bits of wire that still show. Once you step back it’s not so noticeable though and I was out of fabric from that particular sheet. The jury is still out as to whether the strips of darker fabric will remain or not.

Now you can really vary your look for these garlands through fabric choice, light color choice, using uniform length strips verses untidy multi length strips. ADD Housewife mentions on her blog that she has made many of these corresponding to different holidays… ¬†because of course, garlands aren’t just for Christmas anymore!

I was featured!
Here’s where I’m linking up:

Fall Into The Holidays

Sunday:

I {heart} Naptime,  Flamingo Toes, jembellish clothes upcycling page,

Blissful and Domestic,

Monday:

Get Outta My Head Please, Skip to My Lou, The Gunny Sack, Sew Can Do,

A Round Tuit,  C.R.A.F.T.,  diy home sweet home,

Craft-O Maniac, Sew Chatty, Sarahndipities , The Cure for the Common Monday

Tuesday:

Not Just a Housewife, Hope Studios, Funky Polkadot Giraffe, Kammy’s Korner,

Home Stories A to Z,  Crafty Confessions, Homemade Tuesday,  Today’s Assignment,

Antiprocrastination Tuesday, Take-a-Look Tuesday,  Nifty Thrifty Tuesday,

The Creative Itch Boutique, Schwin and Schwin, Heart and Soul Blog Hop

Wednesday:

Sew Much Ado, Frugally Sustainable,  Lil’ Luna, Someday Crafts, Whimsy

Wednesday, Whatcha Work Up Wednesday

Thursday:

Mom On Timeout, Thrifty Decorating, Bear Rabbit Bear, Thriving on Thursdays

The Crafty Blogstalker, The Shabby Creek Cottage, House of Hepworths,

Sorta Crunchy, Delightful Order, Anything Goes Linky Party,

Friday:

Simply Designing, Whipperberry,  Happy Hour Projects, 

Joyful Stamper, Making Lemonade Blog, Thirty Handmade Days,

Naptime Crafters, Romantic Home, Finding Fabulous,

Shabby Nest, French Country Cottage, The Charm of Home, The Grant Life,

At the Picket Fence, Fingerprints on the Fridge, One Artsy Mama,

Saturday:

The Gingerbread Blog, Too Much Time On My Hands, Hello Weekend,

Six Sisters Stuff, Serenity You, Be Different Act Normal

Handmade Christmas Card Ideas

While going through my assortment of cards I’ve made in the past I found some that would be appropriate to this season that I thought I’d share with you. It’s been quite a while since I’ve made cards, but a few years ago I was really on a kick and made so many. It’s nice to be able to still pick out a card for a loved one that is handmade even if I don’t always have the time to make one for each occasion as it comes along these days.

My mother-in-law goes all out decorating for the holidays. She has multiple themed Christmas trees in her home and many other seasonal displays. I always feel like we get to spend Christmas in a home out of Better Homes and Gardens while we are there visiting each December. One year it occurred to me to take photos of some of her decorations to make a set of Christmas cards to give her the following year. This is just one of many photos I used… seems all of the other ones are gone now. I also made a set of gift tags using the photos of her decorations printed much smaller and mounted on appropriate sized card stock with a hole punched and a string attached. They also went over very well. Even if your home isn’t a showcase you may be able to find photos to take that would work for cards or to make tags with. Or if you know someone as I do with a real knack for decorating the gift card/tag sets featuring photos of their own displays make a gift that is very personal. Whether or not you send out any of the cards yourself I suppose would depend on how comfortable that person would be with another using images from inside their home that way. A lot would depend upon the photo and how much of the home’s interior it showed.

Nature photos can also work well. It’s been a long time since I’ve been somewhere it snowed to take “Seasonal” sorts of photos, but even in the Arizona desert I took this photo which I think works well, as long as you call them “doves” and not “pigeons”. ūüėČ

Photo cards are really so easy and quick to put together and you can make many copies of the same card at once. You just need a piece of card stock folded to match the size of the envelope you plan to use. You can buy packs of envelopes only at Michael’s, as well as same sized blank cards. I find it cheaper to buy a pack of card stock and cut and fold it to make my own blank cards, and I end up with a greater selection of colors that way. Cut a contrasting piece of card stock or scrap booking paper to frame the photo, glue it all down and you’re done.

These two cards were made by mounting a piece of paper on the blank card and then adding the silhouette of a male or female moose cut from a scrap of leather. (I actually made a lot of leather cards of different designs using the leather from an old broken recliner. You can see them here.) Let your imagination run wild with the shapes and symbols you might use. Leather scraps can be found in a wide variety of colors and one piece can make an amazing number of cards as each one uses so little of your material.

So for those of us without an extensive stamp and related paraphernalia collection, making handmade cards can still be done without much expense. It is a lot of fun both to make them and to give or send them. In the end it can save a lot of money as you use the cards you have made rather than dropping $2.00 to $5.00 a card every time you need one for a special occasion.(Not that boxed Christmas cards are generally that expensive.) The recipient is also more apt to appreciate them as the message you write inside is more personal and the fact that you are giving something handmade is always special.

Here’s where I’m linking up:

Fall Into The Holidays

Sunday:

I {heart} Naptime,  Flamingo Toes, jembellish clothes upcycling page,

Blissful and Domestic,

Monday:

Get Outta My Head Please, Skip to My Lou, The Gunny Sack, Sew Can Do,

A Round Tuit,  C.R.A.F.T.,  diy home sweet home,

Craft-O Maniac, Sew Chatty, Sarahndipities , The Cure for the Common Monday

Tuesday:

Not Just a Housewife, Hope Studios, Funky Polkadot Giraffe, Kammy’s Korner,

Home Stories A to Z,  Crafty Confessions, Homemade Tuesday,  Today’s Assignment,

Antiprocrastination Tuesday, Take-a-Look Tuesday,  Nifty Thrifty Tuesday,

The Creative Itch Boutique, Schwin and Schwin, Heart and Soul Blog Hop

Wednesday:

Sew Much Ado, Frugally Sustainable,  Lil’ Luna, Someday Crafts, Whimsy

Wednesday, Whatcha Work Up Wednesday

Thursday:

Mom On Timeout, Thrifty Decorating, Bear Rabbit Bear, Thriving on Thursdays

The Crafty Blogstalker, The Shabby Creek Cottage, House of Hepworths,

Sorta Crunchy, Delightful Order, Anything Goes Linky Party,

Friday:

Simply Designing, Whipperberry,  Happy Hour Projects, 

Joyful Stamper, Making Lemonade Blog, Thirty Handmade Days,

Naptime Crafters, Romantic Home, Finding Fabulous,

Shabby Nest, French Country Cottage, The Charm of Home, The Grant Life,

At the Picket Fence, Fingerprints on the Fridge, One Artsy Mama,

Saturday:

The Gingerbread Blog, Too Much Time On My Hands, Hello Weekend,

Six Sisters Stuff, Serenity You, Be Different Act Normal

Beaded Christmas Tree Ornaments Tutorial

These Christmas tree ornaments are quick to make and require just  a few materials. It is a project that could be easily done by older children as well.

You will need:

glass beads (one brand calls them “glass E beads” and another “seed beads 6/0”, I just bought the larger of the two sizes offered at Michael’s)

needle nose pliers

wire (20 gauge)

Step 1:

Cut off a length of wire that will be a bit longer than you need to make the coil of your finished Christmas tree plus a few twists at the beginning and the end.

Step 2:

Using the needle nose pliers make a little curlicue that will be both the decoration at the top of the tree and the hanger attachment.

Step 3:

Begin stringing the beads along the wire. You could do it in a repeating pattern of colors or randomly as I did.

Step 4:

You are now ready to begin coiling your tree shape when you have about 2/3 of the wire filled.

Just begin to twist it with your fingers in gradually larger circles. You don’t need to fiddle with it a lot at this point; just determine how much larger you are going to want to make your tree. You will adjust the coils to be more aesthetically pleasing at the end.

Step 5:

Once you’ve reached your ornaments desired size cut off the extra wire, leaving just a bit to bend into a curlicue to hold the beads on the wire.

Step 6:

Now begin adjusting your coils. Are you aiming for the perfect shape or a touch of whimsy?

Step 7:

Repeat the process to make as many trees in as many color combinations as you would like.

Step 8:

Add the style hanger of your choice. I chose to use candle wick yarn for a simple hanger as I felt my usual beaded hanger would detract from the tree ornament itself.

Step 9:

Hang up your ornaments! You may find that any photo sessions you may wish to have with your new ornaments are more easily had without inquisitive 2 year olds in the room.

Sticks are always fascinating of course.

“Boingy, boingy!”

It might get a bit misshapen but the ornament does hold up fairly well to toddler abuse.

I was featured!!

Domesblissity

Here’s where I’m linking up:

Christmas Craft Linky Party, Tea Rose Home,

Sunday:

I {heart} Naptime,  Flamingo Toes, My 1929 Charmer Blog,

jembellish clothes upcycling page, Blissful and Domestic,

Monday:

Get Outta My Head Please, Skip to My Lou, The Gunny Sack, Sew Can Do,

Singing Three Little Birds,  C.R.A.F.T.,  diy home sweet home,

Craft-O Maniac, Sew Chatty, Sarahndipities , The Cure for the Common Monday

Tuesday:

Not Just a Housewife, Hope Studios, Funky Polkadot Giraffe,

Kammy’s Korner, Home Stories A to Z,  Crafty Confessions,

Homemade Tuesday, Today’s Assignment,

Antiprocrastination Tuesday, Take-a-Look Tuesday,  Nifty Thrifty Tuesday,

The Creative Itch Boutique, Schwin and Schwin, Heart and Soul Blog Hop

Wednesday:

Sew Much Ado, Frugally Sustainable,  Lil’ Luna, Someday Crafts, Whimsy

Wednesday, Whatcha Work Up Wednesday

Thursday:

Mom On Timeout, Thrifty Decorating, Bear Rabbit Bear, Thriving on Thursdays

The Crafty Blogstalker, The Shabby Creek Cottage, House of Hepworths,

Sorta Crunchy, Delightful Order, Anything Goes Linky Party,

Friday:

Simply Designing, Whipperberry,  Happy Hour Projects, 

Joyful Stamper, Making Lemonade Blog, Thirty Handmade Days,

Naptime Crafters, Romantic Home, Finding Fabulous,

Shabby Nest, French Country Cottage, The Charm of Home, The Grant Life,

At the Picket Fence, Fingerprints on the Fridge, One Artsy Mama, 

Saturday:

The Gingerbread Blog, Too Much Time On My Hands,

Six Sisters Stuff, Serenity You, Be Different Act Normal

Wire-Wrapped Stone Christmas Tree Ornament: A Tutorial

Every year I make a Christmas ornament for my husband, my son, and now this year for the baby soon to join us. I try to commemorate a specific event or interest from that year. My goal is that eventually we will have a tree full of ornaments, each one carrying a special memory, instead of just pretty but generic store-bought ornaments.

This Fall we took a trip together to Washington State and spent a couple of days on Whidbey  Island. It was gorgeous. I loved the pebbly beaches at the edge of the evergreen forest. Eli threw rock after rock into the waves.

We brought home a few of those rocks which Eli enjoys playing with on an almost daily basis. I stole a couple from his collection for the purpose of making ornaments that will remain with us for years after Eli’s play rocks have been scattered and lost.

I was inspired to use this technique by seeing this blue agate wire wrapped necklace and earring set from A Little Bit of Craft.

Here are the materials I used.

Materials: thin wire, beach stone, glass seed beads, and needle-nose pliers

I began by sliding a bead onto the wire and twisting the wire around it to hold it in place. The length of the wire you will use depends on the size of your stone and how many times you want it wrapped.

I then repeated this at intervals all along the length of the wire. (The first ornament I made I wrapped the wire around the stone adding the beads as I worked. I found this new method much easier.)

Then I picked up my stone and stared wrapping. It can be a bit challenging to keep the wire tight so it doesn’t slip out of position along the edge of the stone. A flat shaped stone works much better for this project than a stone that curves on every side.

When it looks like you have as much wire and beads on your stone as you want, or you are coming to the end of your wire work both ends up to the place you want to be the top of the ornament. Give them a couple of twists to hold them in place.

Now form one of the wires into a little loop and wrap the other wire around it where it meets the rock. Then wrap the end on the loop around a few times too so it won’t just slip out later. Trim off the excess of the loop wire and then continue wrapping the second wire to fully cover the pointy end.

At the end tuck in the end point of the wrapping wire.

Add ¬†a whatever kind of hanger you’d like and your ornament is complete!

Next time you are on vacation, or want a memento from a special location, send forth your little one to collect some rocks! (As long as it is legal to do so, of course.)

Here’s where I’m linking up:

Christmas Craft Linky Party, Tea Rose Home,

Sunday:

I {heart} Naptime,  Flamingo Toes, My 1929 Charmer Blog,

jembellish clothes upcycling page, Blissful and Domestic,

Monday:

Get Outta My Head Please, Skip to My Lou, The Gunny Sack, Sew Can Do,

Singing Three Little Birds,  C.R.A.F.T.,  diy home sweet home,

Craft-O Maniac, Sew Chatty, Sarahndipities , The Cure for the Common Monday

Tuesday:

Not Just a Housewife, Hope Studios, Funky Polkadot Giraffe,

Kammy’s Korner, Home Stories A to Z, Tell Me Tuesday, Crafty Confessions,

Homemade Tuesday, Tuesday To Do, Today’s Assignment,

Antiprocrastination Tuesday, Take-a-Look Tuesday,  Nifty Thrifty Tuesday,

The Creative Itch Boutique, Schwin and Schwin, Heart and Soul Blog Hop

Wednesday:

Sew Much Ado, Frugally Sustainable,  Lil’ Luna, Someday Crafts, Whimsy

Wednesday, Whatcha Work Up Wednesday

Thursday:

Mom On Timeout, Thrifty Decorating, Bear Rabbit Bear, Thriving on Thursdays

The Crafty Blogstalker, The Shabby Creek Cottage, House of Hepworths,

Sorta Crunchy, Delightful Order, Anything Goes Linky Party,

Friday:

Simply Designing, Whipperberry,  Happy Hour Projects, 

Joyful Stamper, Making Lemonade Blog, Thirty Handmade Days,

Naptime Crafters, Romantic Home, Finding Fabulous,

Shabby Nest, French Country Cottage, The Charm of Home, The Grant Life,

At the Picket Fence, Fingerprints on the Fridge, One Artsy Mama, 

Saturday:

The Gingerbread Blog, Too Much Time On My Hands,

Six Sisters Stuff, Serenity You, Be Different Act Normal

Handmade Bird Ornament 2012

A bird in the hand…

‘Tis the season to begin making Christmas tree ornaments once again! Long time readers might remember last year’s fiasco with shrinking a favorite woolen blanket and the resulting¬†Christmas stocking I then made from it. Well, for this bird I used some of the scraps left over from that project. I like that it came out rather folksy looking.

I don’t have a step by step photo tutorial of this one but it is really simple to make. On last year’s Love Birds Wreath Tutorial post I showed briefly how to make a slightly similar bird and there is a link to a bird pattern you can use if you don’t want to sketch out your own.

Just draw out a basic bird body shape on paper and use it for your pattern. Cut out two, sew them almost all the way around, leaving yourself room to turn inside out and fill with stuffing. Finish sewing the body together.

Cut out two wing shapes that go well with the size of the body you just made and blanket stitch around them. (If you are unsure how to blanket stitch I saw a very clear step by step tutorial here.) As this was made from a felted blanket each wing is one layer only… if you are using fabric you will want to use two layers and follow the same process as for the body but don’t stuff them very full at all.

…and one in the bush.

Embellish as your sense of whimsy directs. I added a fabric beak (also blanket stitched), knotted embroidery thread for the tail and for the eyed I used a thin shell bead from a broken necklace with a smaller bead on top.

String some beads together, find the balance point you like the look of best along the back and attach in a loop for hanging. I wanted this bird to look like it was taking off in flight so I hung it so that the head would be higher than the tail.

Hang it up, stand back and enjoy! This little guy will likely be given away for our church women’s ornament exchange (Shhh! But really I don’t think anyone from that group visits my blog ūüėČ ) but we’ll see what else I happen to create between now and then.

Here are some of the ornaments I posted about last year:

Commemorative Ornaments

Handmade Scrappy Folk Angel

Salt Dough Ornaments

Snowman Ornament From Lightbulb

Handmade Red Angel Christmas Ornament

Related articles

Here’s where I’m linking up:

Christmas Craft Linky Party, Tea Rose Home,

Sunday:

I {heart} Naptime,  Flamingo Toes, My 1929 Charmer Blog,

jembellish clothes upcycling page, Blissful and Domestic,

Monday:

Get Outta My Head Please, Skip to My Lou, The Gunny Sack, Sew Can Do,

Singing Three Little Birds,  C.R.A.F.T.,  diy home sweet home,

Craft-O Maniac, Sew Chatty, Sarahndipities , The Cure for the Common Monday

Tuesday:

Not Just a Housewife, Hope Studios, Funky Polkadot Giraffe,

Kammy’s Korner, Home Stories A to Z, Tell Me Tuesday, Crafty Confessions,

Homemade Tuesday,¬†Tuesday To Do, Today’s Assignment,

Antiprocrastination Tuesday, Take-a-Look Tuesday,  Nifty Thrifty Tuesday,

The Creative Itch Boutique, Schwin and Schwin, Heart and Soul Blog Hop

Wednesday:

Sew Much Ado, Frugally Sustainable,  Lil’ Luna, Someday Crafts, Whimsy

Wednesday, Whatcha Work Up Wednesday

Thursday:

Mom On Timeout, Thrifty Decorating, Bear Rabbit Bear, Thriving on Thursdays

The Crafty Blogstalker, The Shabby Creek Cottage, House of Hepworths,

Sorta Crunchy, Delightful Order, Anything Goes Linky Party,

Friday:

Simply Designing, Whipperberry,  Happy Hour Projects, kojodesigns,

Joyful Stamper, Making Lemonade Blog, Thirty Handmade Days,

Release Me Creations, Naptime Crafters, Romantic Home, Finding Fabulous,

Shabby Nest, French Country Cottage, The Charm of Home, The Grant Life,

At the Picket Fence, Fingerprints on the Fridge, One Artsy Mama, 2805,

Saturday:

The Gingerbread Blog, Too Much Time On My Hands,

Six Sisters Stuff, Serenity You, Be Different Act Normal

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