Mar 25

ties16

Use thrifted silk ties wrapped around eggs to dye them with beautiful and stunning patterns! Project from Martha.

Project Materials:

  • Raw eggs
  • Silk ties, blouses, or boxers
  • Cheesecloth, old nylon stockings, or old cloth to cover silk-wrapped eggs
  • Yarn, string, or another method for closing the wrap around the eggs
  • 3 Tablespoons of vinegar

Lots of photos, so click for more:
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Feb 10

vday-candy1

After all the crafting I did for the holidays, I have been strangely un-inspired by Valentine’s day, even though it seems like it should be so inspiring! I have had a couple little projects in mind, but the day has almost come and gone, and no projects yet.

I did alter some Valentine’s day candy to make these cuties! They would be adorable as cupcake toppers! I love the extra pop the candy discs (Neccos) give to the conversation hearts.

To make:

Attach conversation hearts to Neccos with marshmallow creme! Use to adorn cupcakes or cookies!

Hope that sweetens up your day!

Dec 29

advent-detail2

My family tries to exchange primarily handmade gifts whenever possible. We’ve found that it has helped us focus on what Christmas is really about and get away from feeling trapped by all the consumerism that surrounds the holidays. I love to see what my parents and siblings come up with to give each year, and I enjoy plotting and planning my own handmade gifts. It’s also interesting to see which ideas are hits (duct tape wallets), and which are misses (the homely crochet-altered t-shirt I made for my mom this year – she actually laughed in my face when she opened it. Strangely, it entertained me rather than offended me.)

advent-nativity

I hit the jackpot this year with a great advent calendar my mom made for me. It’s a nativity scene theme, and is really cute! I’m sure we will get decades of enjoyment out of this gift!

portlandtea

My sister made these adorable little packets that are filled with her own blends of loose tea. She sewed sturdy gift wrap into bags, and then sealed them with buttons and added a custom label to each. I LOVE the packets – so creative and cute!

wrap-spool

My sister also got lots of mileage out of trinkets received in the Sampler, by attaching them to gifts as gift tags and baubles. I love this handspun yarn on a spool… I’m so sorry, I didn’t get a photo of who the sample is from, and this gift wasn’t for me!

lootbag-e

One of my handmade gifts to everyone were monogrammed loot bags. I made about eight of them the day before Christmas Eve, and seriously, the entire project took me two hours or less to sew. I assembly-lined the whole thing (cut everything at the same time, sewed all the monogrammed letters on the corduroy, sewed up the bags, etc.) and it was amazing how quickly the whole thing came together. Oh, and I got to burn through some of my stash fabric! I bought a whole bunch of holiday/winter fabric several years ago when it was on super-sale. It felt SO GOOD to use some of it up!!

lootbag-applique

The loot bags were also very useful for everyone to put their Christmas swag into. You know how all that little stocking stuff gets all over the place! In my imagination, everyone will put the loot bags in their Christmas boxes (or their stockings?) to use for next year, so I hope it comes true! Or, if they want to keep them out to use all year, that would also be fine! (Not that I attach any strings to gifts I give – do what you want with them, or not, y’all!)

tractorsheets

My mom was so nice to fulfill a gift request I made: to make two crib sheets, two pillowcases, and two curtains for the boys’ room. She complied and used some adorable construction vehicle fabric.

tractorcurtains

Now I just need to paint a mural on the wall, and they’ll be all set!

What did you make or receive this year?

Dec 23

christmascrafting

I’ve been at my parents’ house all weekend. This was unplanned! We meant to come up for Friday afternoon and spend the night and drive back on Saturday, but it has been so snowy here that it’s not safe to drive home. We heard that our house was without power and water, so the choice was easy – stay here through Christmas!

lewev-stockings

The first couple days I did a bit of crafting. I made stockings for my boys, and a holiday table runner from a stash of holiday fabric I’ve had for like five years. I only made the tiniest dent in my holiday fabric stash. Hmm, maybe I’ll have to add something to my New Year’s Resolutions list about using it up this year! (Excuse the cruddy photography! I don’t have all my standard equipment).

krumkakes

My sister and I made two batches of Norwegian cookies: sandkakes and krumkakes (shown here). I made some chewy toffee, and I am in the middle of my first-ever batch of penuche right now (I’m in the cooling down phase before the stir-it-for-ten-minutes phase).

smokingman

My mom has a WHOLE BUNCH of international Christmas decorations. This is a “smoking man” from Germany. You light incense and it looks like he is smoking. He appears to be a toy peddler. I love the little toys hanging from strings in his hands!

So, that’s me this weekend. I have been fairly craft-free, electing instead to loaf around and watch movies. Ahh, vacationy!

Dec 17

I’ve seen this yarn-filled glass bulb project around, but I can’t remember where I saw it last year. I was so inspired by that post author (whoever you are!) that last December I got three boxes of these glass ornaments with which to make this craft. I was kidding myself because I was 9 months pregnant, it was Christmas time, and we were moving on December 26th… so I didn’t get around to making these ornaments until last week!

The idea I saw centered around putting yarn from your stash into the glass bulbs. I love this idea because I have some pretty novelty yarn that I bought randomly with no projects in mind (like the Noro shown in the bulb above), that just don’t suit my crochet/knitting style.

My twist on the project is that I also used a length of the same yarn to hang the bulb with, showcasing the yarn another way.

To make them: I either fed the yarn through the hole in the bulb slowly (to create the coiling/balling effect), or I had a big mass of the yarn and shoved it through the hole with a pen (this method used for the pink ornament).

These are hard to take good photos of if you’re in a hurry (as I always am), so I hope you will get the idea! I like the orange eyelash yarn – it looks like fire in a bulb in real life!

p.s. If you know where I saw it last year (I think it was linked to on a pretty big blog), let me know and I’ll link to it!

Dec 8

I decided to just use paint to decorate my Sister Diane salt dough ornaments instead of royal icing, and I love how they turned out! I sprayed them with shiny spray, which made a huge difference in how they look (without spray, the dough is a dull brown). I got this velveteen ribbon at the Goodwill outlet for about 20 cents.

I used dollar store paint brushes and kiddie paint, so they could have looked even better if I would have used better materials, but since they turned out so well, I think I will make a few more and upgrade on the tools so I can give them away as gifts.

And here’s our little tree. Notice the concentration of candy canes on the right middle. The two year-old was on candy cane duty!

Dec 8

When I was a kid, my parents made pancakes for us in the shape of our initials, or Mickey mouse. How about these fun holiday pancakes to bring cheer to your Christmas breakfast?

For Santa:

Make pancakes, then use one as face. Cut hat out of another pancake.

Cut a mini marshmallow in half for whites of eyes, and lay on pancake sticky side up. Affix the marshmallows to the pancake with a dab of syrup. Put brown mini M&Ms on marshmallows for pupils. Dab syrup and place red M&M for nose.

Cut mini marshmallow almost in half and spread out for mustache. Place craisin on pancake for lip, and put mustache over craisin.

Spread cream cheese around face for beard base. Place marshmallows on top of cream cheese (I tried this without the cream cheese, but it seemed like WAY too many marshmallows! Sugar overload!) You could also use whipped cream for his beard.

Spread jam on hat and place a row of marshmallows for brim of hat and pom-pom of hat.

For Rudolph:

Make pancakes, then use one as face (I chose one that was a little, ahem, overdone. It looked brown like a reindeer!) Cut antlers out of another pancake. You can either freehand-cut them, or use a cookie cutter. I used an oak leaf-shaped cookie cutter. You could use a flower cutter, and cut it in half, etc. Just use your imagination.

Cut a mini marshmallow in half for whites of eyes, and lay on pancake sticky side up. You can affix the marshmallows to the pancake with a dab of syrup if you want. Put brown mini M&Ms on marshmallows for pupils. Dab syrup on bottom of pancake and place red M&M for nose. Easy!

You could also substitute raisins and a craisin for the pupils and nose.

Dec 7

Yesterday my friend and her sons came over. I took the two year-olds and made salt dough ornaments with them via Sister Diane’s recipe in her cool Christmas Zine.

I added a cup of cocoa powder to one batch because I want to make a garland inspired by these felt ornaments (which were inspired by gingerbread, so it’s a chicken and egg kind of thing).

(Sorry for the poor photos… someone’s fingerprints are on my camera lens and I didn’t know it until now, and it’s night. Impatient!)

I am probably going to make royal icing to decorate these because I have everything on hand for it, and it’s cheap, and I don’t want to add any new craft supplies to my collection if I can avoid it at the moment. However, I thought it would be super simple to use dimensional (fabric-type) paint to decorate them… just an idea! Hmm, maybe I can just use acrylic paint?

The boy in the top photo is my friend’s son. He LOVED making these. He played with the dough for about an hour. You can see his creations on the pan above (all the light-colored dough is his). My son made one and was bored, UNTIL I had him make a handprint (a quintessential way to use salt dough, I might add!), and then he couldn’t get enough. We used up all the dough making handprints, which is a good thing because we could have been there all night given an unlimited supply of dough!

I’m going to let him paint his handprint so we can hang it on the tree. I also had the baby make a print or two.

Dec 6

I like to make by hand almost all the gifts I give during the holidays. Men are usually the most difficult for me to make successful handmade gifts for! Here are a couple of suggestions:

Duct Tape Wallets

Duct tape wallets are great for guys of all ages. I made them one year, and grandpas, dads and brothers all liked and used them. They were quite a hit, even with the guys you wouldn’t expect.

I used instructions here to make mine. Each wallet takes about 30 minutes to make, but they’re super cheap and fun.

Personalized Bar-Ware

Etch, paint, or otherwise personalize some shot glasses, pilsners, pint glasses, or even coffee mugs. This example by littlecabbage.com.

Nov 30

My family has always been the type that saved old ornaments and used them year after year. We usually add one or two ornaments a year. Every year when we decorate the tree, we enjoy unpacking all the ornaments we’ve collected throughout the years.

A lot of our ornaments from the last decade are from different countries because my parents traveled a lot during that period of time. Instead of buying random souvenirs for us, they usually pick up an ornament from the countries they visit.

I wanted to share some of my favorite ornaments with you (and also ones that could provide some crafty inspiration).

These adorable little walnut babies are from Hungary. I love their little star-shaped eyes, and also the gold-painted walnut. Cute!

You can see that the ornament is labeled with the year it was added to the collection, an initial for the person who received the ornament, and if applicable, the country where it came from.

This egg-shaped Santa is from Moscow.

These little people were originally bookmarks, but are so cute on the tree. They came from Slovakia.

I love these little terra cotta houses. Oops, not sure where they’re from at the moment, but I know it’s a different country. These are teeny – about an inch tall.

I got these mini stockings on Etsy last year for $5. They are made from a recycled quilt top. (I don’t know why they were such a steal! I love ‘em!)

And these ones are made from plastic canvas, and posted with Sister Diane in mind:

The Jack-in-the-box is from about 1984 (I used to LOVE this one as a kid), and the fireplace is from 1977 or so.

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