Tag : tree

The Crafty Lass does… Christmas wreath!

I could have a wreath on my door all year round and with so many ideas and crafty ways to make your own whatever the reason or season, why not! However, certainly when it is Christmas, for me it is a must – and something I look forward to making every year. It provides a festive welcome at the front door, and if anything it certainly screams to the outside world – we are good to go for Christmas in this house!

“The modern Christmas custom of displaying a wreath on the front door of one’s house, is borrowed from ancient Rome’s New Year’s celebrations. Romans wished each other “good health” by exchanging branches of evergreens. They called these gifts strenae after Strenia, the goddess of health. It became the custom to bend these branches into a ring and display them on doorways.”

wp-1480875406464.jpgWhatever your style, whether natural and rustic, or full of glittery baubles, making a Christmas wreath is a lovely way to release your creativity and spend a few peaceful crafty hours making something special – and, I managed to do just that this morning. The little one had a well timed nap and instead of getting on with the chores that needed doing, I ignored the washing up and piles of laundry and decided to get the festive season crafting underway!

With ‘Jamie’s Cracking Christmas‘ for company and using a plain wire wreath as the base, I decided to go for traditional fir – with a modern twist! I added in small sections of real evergreen fir tree – simply attached with some thin wire and hessian twine to secure into place. I’ve kept the ‘direction’ of the fir going in the same way, to provide a flow of the evergreen and appear like one continuous circle. Then, to ‘jazz it up’ a bit – I have added in some glittery leaves, and some hot pink baubles to represent berries – perhaps not everyone’s taste – but I think it looks quite nice to have the combination and contrast of both modern and traditional! You can usually purchase evergreen fir from your local florist, or – if you are lucky (like me on this occasion!) your local Christmas tree seller may just have some spare – and (if you bat your eyelids!) give it to you for free! 🙂 The wreath bases can be bought from retailers online, or again perhaps your local florist may stock them – then, let your imagination go wild with what you want to add on! Cinnamon sticks, pine cones, dried orange slices, or perhaps some other bigger baubles, candy canes, ribbons and bows, glitter… Of course if you are hanging outside the only thing to remember whatever it is, might not fair well in the British winter weather – so don’t expect to get it back in perfect condition!

So, with the wreath done and proudly hanging outside on our front door, I need to crack on with the next very important tradition – the Christmas tree! We bought our (very beautiful) one yesterday (from same aforementioned seller with free fir!) – and it is patiently waiting in the hallway, ready to be adorned. The Husband has been dispatched on his annual mission into the loft to retrieve the well loved boxes of decorations, and we are just awaiting more lights to be bought before we get to make it look all charming and pretty… That is on the ‘to-do’ list for tomorrow. The tree is quite a bit bigger than previous years – basically, I want it to be the biggest and best for our little one’s first Christmas – and I simply hadn’t done the maths and factored in the need for additional lights to be purchased. You can’t have ever enough fairy lights (in my humble opinion!) but pretty sure that the (very!) short ’20’ bulb string we only have – is simply just not enough!! At least ‘200’ bulbs is a bigger and better number…

I would love to see what wreaths you have been making this year, so please send me your photos over on The Crafty Lass Facebook page – it would be great to see your wonderful creations!

Enjoy!

Categories: Christmas, General Craft, House & Home, The Crafty Lass does...

Top 10… Christmas Crafts!

Oh… the ‘C’ word. The one that no one wants to mention. Well, not until at least December is here anyway.

Me? I LOVE Christmas. I love the cold weather, the roaring fires, the indulgence and fun and high spirits. Normally, I am prepping WELL ahead of December. Usually there is a handmade advent calendar, and table decorations and handmade crackers on the go. Wreaths are being designed and made, shopping lists written, Christmas cards written, recipes being organised. This year? No. I have done very, VERY little. It’s not for want of trying – I just can’t believe the magical festive season is nearly upon us! The arrival of the (brilliant) John Lewis advert was a shock. What do you MEAN it’s nearly Christmas??

I do have a great excuse though… I have been so focused on our new little one, and even just what day of the week it is, that well, Christmas, and planning for it has gone slightly off plan. My days – that would normally around this time of year – be filled with planning the perfect mince pie recipe or working out just how many gold baubles does a girl need for the new colour schemed tree? Have been swapped for planning the perfect nights eat and sleep routine and counting how many nappies in a day. Times, have, changed.

I’ve got some of the priorities sorted anyway – Santa knows what bubba would like under the tree and even our little doggie has his gifts all sorted! Our dog even has a (rawhide) advent calendar himself this year… and a dog BEER. Yes, you read that right. I am one of those people that buys the naff Christmas items at the Pets at Home till. Apparently it is not really ‘beer’ – pretty sure it is chicken flavoured water or ‘moisture’ as the label attractively lists on the ingredients! The Husband was NOT impressed at first when I showed him – ‘What gave you been buying now?!’ – however, I think he is secretly excited to have a beer with his four legged pal on the ‘big day’. Talking of The Husband – he does NOT have any presents… yet, and there is a general shopping list in the go… I just need to action it, and perhaps work out how to get the pram and car seat adapters to actually fit together and man up and attack the shops. Or, just crack on with 3am online shopping. God bless the internet!

So, my new focus instead of Christmas and all the wonderful things it brings (mulled wine, aforementioned presents, and our lovely family – in that order! 😉 ) is our little man.

He is now 6 weeks old. Amazing. But, where has that time gone??
We have just been treated to his wonderful first smile, and as most babies at this developmental stage – he just LOVES lights! So, we need to get our Christmas tree up ASAP and I plan to simply COVER it with lights – he will be mesmerised. And, I am sure this will bring plenty more delightful smiles. They literally make my heart melt, and me cry. Bloody hormones!

Anyway, enough about me and – if unlike me, you have time to start making anything (there is no doubt I will… I can’t NOT have a crafty Christmas, I’m The Crafty Lass!) here are my top 10 Christmas crafty links for you to try, with a little something for everyone! And, if I don’t manage to post again before – have a very merry Christmas and a happy New Year!

 

1. Decorations!

How about this for a simple, but very effective craft! All you need is ribbon, and plenty of baubles to make a bauble garland! Beautiful.

 

2. Wrapping Paper!

How about making your own wrapping paper? I usually spend time (far too long) picking out the right one to go with the ribbons and colour scheme I have chosen for this year… but perhaps, as shopwalkinlove.com shows us – all we need is some plain papers, pens, some inspiration and to have fun with it! This is certainly going to be on my to do list this year 🙂

 

3. Table Decor!

A very clever idea for lovely place cards – mini ‘wreaths’ made from cranberries and greenery! You could even try this with beads and ribbons if you wanted to make them reusable for next year – but, nothing screams Christmas more than a cranberry or two! 🙂

 

4. Advent Calendar Ideas!

I’m going to put this out there – I HATE advent calendar chocolate… Now you can get seriously luxurious calendars and they don’t all taste like plastic like they did when I was a kid (please note a Hotel Chocolat advent would be lovely, thanks Husband) – but why not countdown to the big day with doing something different everyday? Here is the ‘Ultimate Advent Activity List‘ to give you plenty of festive ideas to get into the holiday spirit!

 

5. Kids Crafts!

Just how cute are these clothes peg snowmen! Something you can make together and you could even use them to hold up any Christmas cards received!

 

6. Crochet!

Love crochet? How about making these amazing elf slippers!

 

7. Sweet Eats!

Give everyone a surprise and a smile with their after dinner coffee – and why not turn normal ‘Malteasers’ into mini Christmas puds?! Simply pipe on melted white chocolate, and decorate with small coloured icing/toppings. Clever!

 

8. A Different Tree!

If you don’t fancy the traditional fir tree – why not make one out of cardboard? Yes, you read that right – cardboard! This clever link shows you how to make a ‘stackable’ tree!

 

9. Peanut Garland!

A really lovely idea for (believe it or not!) decorating PEANUTS into little characters! Paint, glue – let your imagination go wild! These could hang above the fireplace, on the tree – anywhere you want to make that little bit festive in the home! 🙂 You could even drape these around the table as part of your table decor on the big day.

 

10. Santa Logs!

Get creative with your garden decor and jazz up some logs into Santa! Simply cut into shape, paint and add to your doorstop to welcome all your visitors! 🙂

 

Enjoy!

Categories: Christmas, Crafty Kids, General Craft, Top 5

Christmas Trees!

One of the most special times for me at Christmas, is the decorating of the tree.

IMAG0152As a child – I really used to love the magic of it all – it meant if we are putting the tree up, the big day must be nearly here! Untangling the lights, looking over each bauble, the handmade decorations made and collected over the years, placing each one carefully on the branches! Mum and dad always kept everything as well – even now, I am sure they have some pinecones wrapped up in some red wool that I made as a toddler at nursery…clearly very crafty from a young age!

I love putting the tree up – but NEVER the taking down. Poor Mum used to always get that job, and Dad to put everything back into the loft.

For the last few years, we actually have had a potted tree – and yes, the same one! – we bought it one early December from the side of the road for only £15 (I haggled the seller down from £25!)… We took it home, prettied it up, and then come the New Year – we just put it in the garden to see what would happen. At some point later in the summer, I noticed – it was GROWING – new sprouts had appeared, so we thought let’s see if it will make it til Winter… Sure enough, it did – and as a special treat for us not having to buy a new one – we even bought it a new lovely ceramic pot! Now part of the family of course – it even had a name…Ned! We didn’t think it would surely get to the following Christmas but sure enough – it did – and it survived for 4 years!

IMAG0150

However, last year – either it decided to be naughty, or we were very unloving parents and didn’t look after it well enough, but… well, it had 1000’s of bugs growing on it, that we didn’t know about until they were all over the floor in our house. I tried to remain calm, but they were EVERYWHERE – and that was it – poor Ned – banished to the garden on Christmas Eve! Naughty Ned.
Having held a few lovely craft workshops at Claydon Christmas Tree Farm this year, I was determined to get a nice shiny and new, and certainly real one… there were so many to choose from! Part of me wanted to get a HUGE tree (for our not so huge house, so that wouldn’t have really worked) but another part of me wanted to get a potted one and try and keep this one again for a few years. As much as I wanted loads and loads of lovely huge branches to decorate, we went with a lovely small potted one. And yes, this one also has a name – Buddy!

Every year, I try and keep a ‘theme’ to the decorating – and I always think I will try something new – but invariably, I always end up with ‘Skandi’ type Christmas with reds, whites and a few golds, just continually adding to the collection every year. However, this year – I have finally done something different – new year, new start – and gone with some lovely naturals – greys, whites, and some beautiful gold birdies and large gold stars. When I went to put the tree up this week – I realised we didn’t have our normal lights – they also went into the great Christmas tree sky with Ned as they were COVERED in sap, and bugs (eww, gross!) so although I could have waited, gone out and bought some more – I didn’t of course, it had to be decorated straight away! – and so I managed to dig out some IMAG0149actually ‘Moroccan’ themed ones from a few parties back…which actually kind of work – so, there aren’t as many lights as normal, but Buddy looks beautiful (even if I do say so myself!). I keep referring to ‘I’ and ‘Me’ in all of this – it is of course mine, AND ‘The Husband’s – and although he doesn’t like Christmas perhaps as much as me – he is just happy that I am happy, and having a potted tree in our living room does seem to make me happy!

On that note – when you actually stop to think about it…why do we bring in a living tree into our front rooms, shove it in a corner and adorn it with lights and baubles?! There is some great history on it it all – here at www.history.com and also, all the different traditions of it all – all around the world.

This isn’t my last blog post before the year is it out, I am sure – but wherever you are, and whether your tree is real, or fake, and whether you like neutrals or reds, or crazy multicoloured, or anything and everything in between – I hope you have a magical and crafty Christmas and a creative New Year!

Categories: Christmas

Top 15… DIY Advent Calendars!

I love Christmas. I am sure I will say that more than once over the next few weeks, but it really is my favourite time of year. I even like the wintery weather! Apart from the obvious – ‘big day’ – I love the build up to Christmas, perhaps even more than the main event. The planning, the little surprises, the Christmas concerts and carols, the food shopping, making, baking and eating! And of course – crafting! 😉

As a child (and still as an adult) I absolutely love advent calendars – every single day opening up the little door to see what was behind and knowing 1 day less till Christmas! I wasn’t even that bothered about the chocolate, I am more a savoury than sweet girl, but of course I still always ate it! That weird ‘advent calendar chocolate’ that tastes bit like plastic, you know it is rubbish – but you eat it anyway!

You can of course get ‘luxury’ calendars – that are filled with the highest end of beautiful Belgian chocolate, or even different little gifts, and on this slant – how about making your OWN and choosing your own little delights to put inside! I did this a couple of years ago for The Husband – all together now – awwww – I put a little chocolate in each one, and also a task for the day! Like, “Learn how to say Merry Christmas in 5 different languages” or “Lets make mince pies tonight!”. I know, too cute. It was certainly fun to put together, and although The Husband doesn’t like Christmas as much as me – he isn’t a bah humbug scrooge – but he certainly isn’t like Elf from the movie like me – he did really love it. Who wouldn’t love 24 little parcels to be opened up!?

On that note… here are my Top 15 advent calendar ideas! Normally I only do a ‘Top 5’ but there were so many inspirational ideas out there, I had to share them with you!

 

1. The Crafty Lass on the Craft Channel

Well of course I am going to say that 😉

This year I have already made mine… and it will be featured on The Craft Channel next week…make sure you check it out in our Weekend Wonder promotion shows – just some clever little way of turning some ordinary packaging into some fun advent ideas! 😀 latest schedule can be found on www.thecraftchannel.tv

 

2.  Advent in a Jar

What a fun idea – simple but effective – instead of little gifts this provides little messages and ideas of what to do! This idea from Poppytalk also provides free printouts! 🙂

 

3. Advent Street

A beautiful little advent street – and again, this lovely idea from Mr Printables – does exactly as the name suggests, provides free printouts!

 

4. Advent Baubles

An advent calendar and decorate your tree in one swoop! A cute idea putting numbers on to baubles and add one to the tree each day 🙂

 

5. Envelope Advent

A lovely idea simply using envelopes – clever that it is also is in the shape of a tree…! A fun way to turn average stationery into something special!

 

6. Painted Advent

This is certainly a different and contemporary idea – painting jars in colour coordinated paints and popping little gifts inside. Beautiful!

 

7. Advent ‘Cake’

This is a FAB idea from Daisy and Dots on Etsy – but sadly I can’t find their shop anymore. They had provided a very clever idea of using little cake slice boxes as an advent calendar! 🙂

 

8. Santa’s Beard Advent!

Great idea for the kiddiwinks here – turning santa’s beard into a calendar! Give him a ‘shave’ every day to reduce the length of his beard! 🙂

 

9. Elf Advent

What a CUTE elf idea for advent – turning toilet rolls into cutie pie elves! 🙂 These would be cute with or without the numbers, a great Christmas craft for a snowy Saturday afternoon.

 

10. Clothes Peg Advent

Not just for hanging up the washing – turn clothes pegs into your new advent calendar! Simply tie little gifts up with ribbon and hang on!

 

11. Punch Board Advent

This would be ALOT of fun every morning! A DIY ‘Punch Board‘ advent calendar! 🙂

 

12. Santa’s Present Sack Advent

This is really beautiful. Love the cute little Santas holding their present sacks, ready for you to fill with a little chocolate or gift – lovely.

 

13. Cushion Advent

A different homeware idea – making an advent cushion! Tuck little gifts behind each number space 🙂

 

14. Advent Bunting

Everyone loves abit of bunting! How about turning it into an advent idea with these cute boxes!

 

15. Embroidery Hoop Advent

A really clever idea using embroidery hoops to create a little wall display idea as little fabric pockets! Fun!

 

Enjoy x

Categories: Christmas, General Craft, Top 5

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