Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Holiday wrap up (pardon the pun!)

Well, we had a lovely holiday season here for our first Christmas away from home. We had a motley crew for Christmas Eve dinner (and a record number of desserts!) with people from NZ, the US, Canada, Bulgaria, Romania and India. What a great mix and I hope the kids are absorbing some of our multicultural experiences. I have to say, I have never met anyone from Bulgaria or Romania before but I love their accents! I hope we get to spend some more time with them.

As for our crafty pursuits, well I haven't completed alot but I did manage one quick card and, after being so inspired by some of the clothespin dolls I have come across (namely these and these) I thought I would have a go. Now, bear with me here. I don't have access to very many craft products and I just happened to have a couple of clothespins on hand so I am only publishing this photo because I hope to show a much improved version later! Obviously, the aforementioned people have beautiful bigger heads for their dolls so my poor little pinheaded version looks very different. However the only way is up from here I figure! I am determined to work out how to get these basic clothespins looking halfway decent though so some thinking time will be in order. I have no idea why I have developed a sudden love of clothespin dolls as they are not really my thing, but I have, so this mild little obsession will just have to run its course...

Here is a little bag I whipped up for Miss E. It is meant to be a libraby bag so I put a little pocket on the side for her library card. I love how this turned out.

Monday, December 22, 2008

More Christmas fun

Miss E and I actually did these projects last year but, seeing as this blog didn't exist then, I thought I could show them now. The little presents were something I remembered from my childhood. I vaguely remember little wrapped matchboxes as ornaments in various parts of my childhood home and how we all loved them (well, maybe it was just me). For my version I just found some pretty shiny red paper and used a plain white ribbon for the bow. Then I used a loop of white cotton to hang them up with. I don't remember Mum's being hung on the tree necessarily but decided to do that for ours. This was a bit fiddly for Miss E to do but she really enjoyed twisting the pipe cleaners (chenille stems) together for the little candy canes. Then she bent the shape and I added the bow. As you have probably guessed, red and white is my preferred colour combination!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Christmas fun

Well, I can finally upload photos of craft projects rather than just baking. I have been busy doing a few things, three of which I am going to show here. I was inspired by many blog posts about advent calendars so spent a good evening covering 24 little matchboxes in various papers to put in a bowl for Miss E to open every day (A has shown zero interest so far). Miss E punched all the little flowers and wrote the numbers on them and then we glued them on together. Inside them I have printed off little slips of paper with a special activity for that day. I tried putting a little present in a couple of times but Miss E was very disappointed and prefers a fun activity much more. Nice to know. Bonus: saves me the trouble of trying to find things tiny enough to put in a matchbox! I was starting to regret buying the small boxes and thinking I should have bought the super large ones.... Just as a reference, the two sites that inspired me with their matchbox efforts are here and here. I did see one just like mine but in all shades of blue and white and they were placed inside a glass bowl but I can't remember where it was (despite much searching...).

Just as a reference, my list of activities for our advent calendar include:
- baking chocolate chip cookies
- going out for ice-cream
- playing tag in the park
- going to the beach to collect seashells
- visiting the christmas decoration warehouse
- a visit to Santa
- making cards for friends
- having a picnic dinner in our backyard
- playing hide and seek
- having a special games night
- getting to stay up late to watch a movie together in our pj's

I am still thinking of things to put in them.

Here are a couple of my card efforts recently. The photo is pretty bad. I can't seem to find a good spot to take photos here in this house but there you go. I had fun making these. Very simple and I just love using the scrapbooking papers - so many lovely designs. With the flower one, I just drew the branch freehand on some brown paper and cut out with very fine scissors then used flower and butterfly shaped craft punches on different papers. You really need to use a dense pattern for the best effect I find. Then I attached them with mounting tape for some depth. The Christmas one was very similar. I drew the tree trunk freehand and cut it out, used a circle cutting tool for the tree and found some free clipart for the bird silhouette. I printed out a square of paper with the words on it but, if I had access to all of Lynette's and my craft stuff, would have stamped it and used the heat tool for a raised print. I can't even remember the name of that special powder for doing that! Been away from the craft table for too, too long.... Oh, I remember now, embossing powder! Phew..

As my last project for this post, I also wanted to jazz up our very plain white walls in the dining room seeing as I haven't quite got around to hanging any art there. Apologies again for the horrible photo. This holly and word have simply been cut from thick card and put on the wall with blu-tac. I used felt pens to add some details to the holly like a leaf vein and some shading on the berries. I was planning on 'Joy to the World' but haven't quite finished cutting out the other words. That font is quite laborious to cut out let me tell you... I might cut out some music notes to scatter amongst the holly too. This is such a fun, easy thing to do I might keep going with other spots around the house (and with a simpler font perhaps). Stay tuned.


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