Thursday, December 18, 2014

festiving up

Festiving! I'm making up words! It's Chri-i-i-i-i-istmas!  Here's my finished wreath, hanging on our front door.  I love it - so bright and Christmassy.  The flowers are made from Quality Street wrappers that have been folded up origami style.  Myself and my parents inexplicably folded these a couple of Christmases ago and I knew there would be a project worth saving them for eventually.  I ended up attaching these with colourful bobble headed pins since it added to the floral effect and injected even more colour...because MORE colour was obviously what this project needed?!  So I haven't busted out my glue gun yet, but I have another wee project lined up that hot glue will be essential for, so I'll still get my glue gun fix!  I suppose it took a while to origami the sweetie wrappers, but assembling the wreath was a quick, easy and satisfying job.
 Another quick and fun Christmas project this week was the making of these gift tags using festive rubber stamps that I treated myself to from a fancy stationery shop in Geneva - angels, stars, clouds and dots.  Can you call rubber stamping making?  I think you must be able to because it still gave me that "I made this" feeling of satisfaction.  And it made gift wrapping more fun!
Since I pursue crafty projects on a whim, I almost always end up working amid this sort of mess and mayhem.  I'm hoping to have a dedicated crafting corner set up in the not-too-distant future, so hopefully scenes like this will be a thing of the past.  Or at least confined to one out-of-the-way corner!
 Our Christmas decorating this year is pretty much confined to the living room, other than the front-door wreath and a couple of items in Dulcie's room.  Our fireplace (pardon the blurry photo) is looking quite sweet with our childhood Santa and reindeer decoration, some cards and a garland I made from our vintage baubles (too delicate for our tree with a toddler and two cats around) and some paper angels.
And our tree, as ever, fills me with delight.  I love unpacking all the decorations I've accumulated over the years and adding to the collection with a few new items.  This year it was particularly sweet to rediscover all the lovely decorations I was sent in last year's handmade decoration swap.  My new decorations this year included this fabulous Mexican pig from MEXTLIMEX on Etsy, which is so bright and cheerful and festive in its own weird way!  The mat under the tree is another new addition this year, a wee £1 bargain from the charity shop that is making me so very happy.  Best £1 ever spent?!
 Within five minutes of dusting off the tree, I had been accused of control freakery, but I ask you, would a control freak allow her three-year-old to hang two decorations on the same branch?!  Apparently this is Mummy Christmas tree and Baby Christmas tree, so they have to stay together :)  Dulcie is constantly moving all the decorations around, but the random nature of the tree and its decorations means that doesn't matter a jot.  And I quite like discovering a leopard-print bauble hanging on the phone when it rings etc!  Dulcie's love for the tree is IMMENSE and very sweet.  I'm not looking forward to her reaction when we take it down...

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

christmas single 2014

Have I ever mentioned how lovely a dad Graham is?  He's thoroughly under-appreciated by Dulcie who rations his kisses to one a day...if he's lucky!  But he battles on and showers her with love and affection regardless.  One of the lovely things he does is to make Dulcie a Christmas single each year, recording a song at home and then getting it pressed onto vinyl for the jukebox.  This is the third time he's done it and I think it might be my favourite so far.  (I hope the Soundcloud thingummy works so you can hear it.)  This year Dulcie is riding a Chopper to victory in the Tour de France.  In previous years she's been a wrestler and a racing driver.  Graham always likes me to participate in some way too.  Usually I come close to being edited out and end up with a couple of backing warbles here and there, but this year I've been promoted to sharing lead vocals!  Oh, yeah!  I'm really not a singer, but I like featuring for posterity's sake and I turned out sounding better than I feared I might have.  I did have to slug a couple of amarettos to get in the zone, mind you, which might explain how I ended up looking like this...
"And tonight thank God it's them instead of YOOOOOOOSE!" etc :)

Monday, December 15, 2014

hul-ha (ha-ha) hoop

Dulcie is planning to ask Santa for a hula hoop this Christmas.  I can picture her delight when she receives it and her disappointment/lack of staying power when she discovers how tricky it is to keep the hoop up.  I've been doing a bit of Santa's research for him this morning, trying to figure out what the best size and weight of hula hoop would be for a petite three-year-old.  Any suggestions/insights gratefully received, by the way! I'm still not sure I've found what I was looking for, but I did find something I wasn't looking for - the world's biggest Hula Hoop crisp (allegedly!) available to buy from eBay now!  But hurry, the listing ends at 9.30 tonight and there are, er, no bids so far.  Ha-ha!

Here's the seller's description: "From a pack of salt and vinegar hula hoops, was discovered earlier today measured around 4 1/2 cm, will be good if your into collecting unusual foods. thanks for viewing."

Sunday, December 14, 2014

a christmas giraffe

 Since my friend and I had our Christmas meet-up on Friday, we decided to open our presents there and then to up the festive atmosphere.  It was a good decision, as Dulcie's face on opening her music box was a picture I wouldn't have wanted Bernie to miss!  You'd think she'd just been given the crown jewels!  So sweet :)  This giraffe was part of my handmade gift for baby Scarlett Rose, hence the rose-covered scarlet material.  See what I did there?  Scarlett seemed about as impressed with this as a six-month-old could be.  Hooray!
 This was the item I made from The St Michael Book Of Handicrafts For All The Family that I blogged about the other day.  Here's the giraffe along with her "ancestor" in the book.  I think it's a really nice design (I love the fact it's only got three legs) and it was easy to adapt slightly.  I used ribbons for the tail and made a mane from those ribbon tags that babies always love.  Other than that (and the omission of the eye because it was looking quite busy) I pretty much stuck to the original pattern.  Oh, and I made it a bit smaller than it was supposed to be so that I could fit the pattern on A4 paper.  That made it a nice size for a baby too.
And here's a shot of the ribbon mane in all its flowing glory!

I'm classing this giraffe as an out-and-out success.  It's not perfect, of course, but handmade items aren't meant to be, are they?  And, for once, I made something from my massive collection of vintage craft books, which I'm sure was my new year's resolution for 2012 or something.  Oh well, better late than never!

Saturday, December 13, 2014

real-life horaces and leos

 Yesterday, my friend Bernie and I had our official Christmas get-together with Dulcie and Bernie's youngest, six-month-old Scarlett.  We spent such a lovely afternoon in Glasgow city centre, soaking up the Christmas atmosphere while doing absolutely no Christmas shopping.  We ate pizza amid the lights and baubles in Princes Square, then went to Fraser's to enjoy more twinkly Christmasness from their always excellent decorations.  We followed this up with tea and cakes (in Cup) and a trip to George Square to see all the Christmas lights.  When we arrived there, Dulcie literally uttered the words, "I can't believe my eyes!"  She is so sweet and always impressed by the loveliest things.  As well as observing ice skating and people on the big chair-o-plane thingummy, Dulcie and I actually went on the merry-go-round since she was so excited to see a real-life "Horace".  We had to pay a rip-off £5.50 for the privilege, but it was worth it really - such a special few minutes!  I told Dulcie our horse was called Horace, but according to its nameplate it was actually Dancer.  This is an OK name for a merry-go-round horse, no?  But the horse next to us was genuinely called (wait for it) Darkie.  I was trying to communicate this to Bernie, who was waiting on the sidelines with Scarlett and the pram.  She responded, "Sparky, yes, that's nice."  I was shouting, "No, Darkie!"  Oh, dear...
Bernie, a born-and-bred Glaswegian, assured me it was both necessary and traditional for Glaswegian children to have their photo taken between the paws of the George Square lions.  Dulcie took some persuading, but once I acted out the part of a very friendly and non-threatening lion statue (honestly, my dramatic skills have increased 100-fold since I became a mother) she was good to go.  Classic photo and Dulcie was chuffed to bits.

If that afternoon didn't restore my Christmas mojo, I don't know what would.  Deck the halls etc! :)

Friday, December 12, 2014

'tis the season to make woolly wreaths

I'm not the only one whose been wrapping wreaths in wool, it seems.  Look at these beauties by Debbie Hill!  They're making me rethink my design.  I was so looking forward to using the Quality Street origami, but...ooh, woolly goodness.  I love the crocheted ring and the festive holly.  I'd never thought of crocheting round a polystyrene wreath.  Genius!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

hand making

I started off today being all productive, finishing off the handmade gift I posted about yesterday and decorating our fireplace (bauble mania!) while I waited for the charity shop to come and remove our old fridge freezer.  Then I lost all energy and motivation and lay on the couch watching a film (Paul - it was pretty bad) and deleting old programmes from our YouView Box.  It was then that I stumbled across last year's Great British Sewing Bee Christmas Special and decided to watch it. (It doesn't look like they're having one this year.  Boo hiss!)  Before I knew it, I found my hands busy wrapping a polystyrene ring in wool as I watched the lovely festive sewing.  I wasn't following any sort of plan really, but am quite liking the tropical look of this wreath so far and enjoyed the relatively mindless repetitiveness of the task.  And the pretty colours :) I'm hoping for some more downtime next week so that I can get out my glue gun and attach some origamied Quality Street wrappers that I've been saving for just such an opportunity since my family folded them in a weird group effort two Chistmases ago.  I'm not sure I'll be able to make the wreath look good, but I'm looking forward to playing with my glue gun nonetheless.

I've really been liking making more stuff lately.  I know it's been made possible by my being off work, home alone without a toddler demanding my attention, but I'm hoping I can sustain it to some degree once I'm back at work.  I think I'm going to make crafting my new year's resolution, maybe another craftathon like the one I attempted in 2011, but probably on a smaller scale.  I know there are more important things I should resolve to tackle (health and home) but I'm sure I'll do those anyway, so I think I'll use my official resolution on something more fun and more likely to slip under the radar otherwise, namely making.  I don't know yet exactly what form Craftathon 2015 will take, but I'm sure I'll have it figured out by the end of the month.  I already have one new-to-me craft lined up.  It's exciting!