It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…

Ahh Christmas, we have a bit of a love/ hate thing, don’t we? While I love the aspects of celebration inspired by the Winter Solstice, I love being with friends and family and I love creativity, I don’t like the commercialism and the huge amount of waste… But, for now, let us focus on the good stuff. Here are some of the recent creations from our house:

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Our turquoise front door has got in the seasonal spirit. The wreath is made from willow, holly and a bit of spruce, all cut (with permission!) and made with my own fair hands. The result is something very ‘rustic’, but I’m down with all that this year.

 

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Talking of greenery, to celebrate the Solstice, the Tiny Overlord and I gathered some evergreens from the garden and proud displayed them in the front room.

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And we have received some really beautiful gifts, the centre three decorations all came from the Tiny Overlord’s playgroups. We’re really touched by how much love and care have gone in to them.

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Rather belatedly (or cleverly in advance of next year!) I’ve made some advent bags from simple small muslin bags (available in most cookware shops) and some iron-on appliques (ours are from here). Hopefully they’ll last us for many many Decembers to come.

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And even the Tiny Overlord has got in on the crafting action – His very first decoration, made from Salt Dough and painted all by himself, after he’d tested the paint by eating it, of course.

Obviously I can’t yet share what we have made for presents for people yet. But if you need anymore festive makery, here are the posts from Christmas 2013 and Christmas 2012. And, of course, you can also keep up to date with our general makings on Instagram.

Seasons greetings everyone X

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Oh Christmas Tree

Every year I look towards Christmas with the best of homemade intentions. The level of consumption we are encouraged to undertake at Christmas makes me extremely uncomfortable. For Christmas 2012 I managed to make (nearly) everyone’s Christmas present. But 2013 a combination of the crazy weather, nothing growing in our garden as it should and having a baby (had I mentioned that we’ve had a baby? Baby, baby, baby…) meant I managed to rustle up a mere 4 jars of jam and chutney. So I bought everyone books and framed photos of a very smiley Tiny Overlord in fairtrade photo frames instead.

But I felt a little peeved that my gifts, whilst lovingly chosen from the best shop in Reading, lacked the homemade touch. So I’ve started a new tradition of at least making people a handmade decoration each year. Hopefully this is something the Tiny Overlord and I can do together in the future. But this year, with him only being 2 months old, I went it alone and made a selection of hangable Christmas trees from my button stash and felt.

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I must confess that my birth-and-baby-addled brain didn’t entirely come up with the design on my own, and I took more than a small amount of inspiration from these decorations I’ve had pinned forever by MissyMaddoxDesigns. But I was mightily pleased with the result. I wrapped the books up in brown paper and string (saved from our vegetable boxes – never knowingly overlook an opportunity to recycle) and a button tree on each one was the finishing touch. Now all I need to do is to start scouring Pinterest for this year’s decoration inspiration.

Two Weddings

2013 was a big year, not only for the cooking and birth of the Tiny Overlord. But it also saw two of my ‘little’ brothers get married. As with any special occasion, I decided to mark these wonderful events with a little bit of cross stitch:

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Both cross stitched were based on designs I had found online, but were customised for each of the happy couples. The inspiration for each design came from the proposals – Simon proposed to Amy in the sea and Alex proposed to Jenny over dinner with a card made from Scrabble tiles.

I’m really rather pleased with both of them. Now I just need to think of something to stitch for 2013’s new arrivals…

Belatedly Christmas

The peculiar thing about keep a crafty blog is the difficultly sharing many of your crafty endeavours, with the risk that people will see what you are making for their present. So here, in late January, I am proud to present a Christmas post. Via some instagram photos, here’s what I was making in December…

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Stacks of christmas loot: Jams, chutneys, felt decorations and rosemary bags. The rosemary was harvested (with permission) from a nature reserve where I often run a project for work but I’m kicking myself for not also foraging some lavender. Next year, next year… The rather appropriate fabric is by Alexander Henry

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Everyone got their Christmas loot in these hand embroidered gift bags. The small hessian bags came from eBay and the crossstitch font and the idea for the bags came from Perri Lewis’s Material World book. I was also inspired by the famous Bloomingdales ‘Little Brown Bags’. Hessian is brilliant for cross stitch, I’ll definitely be using it again. The balsa wood decorations, which finished off the bags, were from Tescos.

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In the jars are Squash Chutney, made from homegrown squash (I swear by this chutney recipe from Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall). The beetroots were local and pickled at home and I also made delicious (trust me!) Tomato Jam, using this recipe from the Craftivist Collective.

And what did I learn about ‘making christmas’? Firstly, that next year I will start earlier. A lot earlier. I completely underestimated how long it would take me to embroider 9 bags and I was pulling late nights right up to Christmas eve. Secondly, that I will (if I can hide them from the Aussie) start putting jams and chutneys aside from summer onwards. As this will give me more variety to fill up people’s little gift bags with.

So over to you – What did you make at Christmas? Got any ideas I can steal for this year? I will start early, I will…