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 4

I had another crafternoon with my friend H. yesterday! I did some more doily stuff (will post about those when I can), and she worked on what is going to be a killer birdie mobile.

Our boys got tired of running around and sat down at the kiddie craft table for some sticker on doily action. Lewis said he was “making an advent calendar.”

Dec 1

I used a tree doily (a pack of 20 for $1 at the dollar store), and some holiday foam stickers (also from the dollar store) to make a quick advent calendar for my 2 year-old son. I am actually going to use this for his reward chart (stickers for good behavior) instead of an advent calendar, but I can see this as a great quick project for classrooms, scout packs, holiday faires, or just for fun at home. It could also end squabbles between siblings over who gets to put the advent ornament up each day. Just make one tree for each kid!

To make: glue a doily on a complementary colored background paper.

  • Gluing tip: I used a glue stick. Apply with a light hand, especially if it’s one of those stiff/sticky glue sticks, or you’ll tear the doily. I used the edge of the glue stick and applied it in long strokes along each edge and in the middle. To affix to paper, smooth doily lightly out from center onto paper.

For an advent calendar: stick one sticker on tree per day (number the stickers, if desired).

These would also be cute classroom decorations, or just decorations for your little one’s bedroom. You could also adapt this project to make simple Christmas cards with your kids.

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.

Oct 21

Are you making any handmade gifts this holiday season? If so, you should think about sitting down and brainstorming a timeline because the holidays are coming soon! Only nine more weeks to go!

Here’s a handy guide to help you plan:

Week of Oct 20 (9 wks to go): Make a list of handmade gift recipients, make a list of items you will be making for each. Determine the length of time it will take to make each gift.

Example:

Recipient List = Gift to Make = Time it will take
Grandma J, Grandma W = quilted tissue case = 1 day
Mom, Mother in Law = knitted scarf = 5 evenings while watching TV x 2
Sister = retro apron = 1 day
Brother = duct tape wallet = 1 hour
Dad = homemade hot sauce = 1 day to shop/pick produce, 1 day to can
Co-workers (6 people) = homemade hot sauce = same as Dad’s gift
Other friends (20 people) = homemade candy in tins (3 varieties) = 3 days
Holiday party gifts (3 gifts) = hot sauce & candy = see above

You will then designate which projects you will work on each week. Take into consideration such factors as whether you will need to mail the gift (complete earlier rather than later to ensure it makes it to its destination on time!), whether the item needs to age (as in the hot sauce above) or if it needs to be made and then immediately given away (as in the candy above). Factor in other obligations that will cut into your crafting time, such as parties, doctor’s appointments (although you can take some projects along in your bag for the dreaded waiting room), travel time, etc. Don’t forget that you probably won’t have time to work on as much if you have obligations during Thanksgiving week (the week of Nov. 24).

Fill in the following blanks with your own personalized to-do list, and input it into your email calendar or iGoogle homepage to help keep you on track!

At the beginning of each week, remind yourself of what you have scheduled for that week, and don’t forget to finish up any lingering projects from previous weeks.

Week of Oct 27:
Week of Nov 3:
Week of Nov 10
Week of Nov 17
Week of Nov 24 (Thanksgiving week)
Week of Dec 1
Week of Dec 8
Week of Dec 15
Week of Dec 22 (xmas week): finish unfinished gifts

With a little planning, you can enjoy the holidays and avoid the dreaded feelings of stress that can come along with making handmade gifts at the last minute!

Next Entries »