Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

Tomorrow is moving day, and I don't know if the new house has internet yet, so you may not hear from me for a week or so. Have a wonderful holiday!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Goodbye, Little Blue Craft Room!

It's moving time for me. In just about 5 days, on Christmas eve no less, I'll be packing up a 26' moving truck and heading on down the road to our family's for Christmas, and then on to our new house. We've been needing a change of pace ever since our kiddo was born about two years ago. I'm not sure why, but as the cliche goes, everything changes when you have a kid. And then again, maybe we just felt like staying put was too easy and needed a bit of an adventure. There are a lot of reasons to find a new space, try a new place on for size.

So, as I eagerly await all the new, I'm also trying to take it slow and remember and appreciate all that's old. All our friends, the house that I bought all on my own (before I was married), all the familiar places. Today I packed up my craft room. I'm still not sure if or where or how the new house craft room will pan out, so as I looked at all the stuff -- the BAGS of fabric and the boxes full of yarn, quilt batting, ribbons, buttons...I couldn't help but wonder what I'll make of it all in the new house. I have high hopes, but also realistic expectations. Getting settled somewhere new while being a working mama -- well, the thought of it makes me tired. That's nothing to say about actually doing it and doing it with enthusiasm, thoughtfulness and creativity! Hopefully inspiration will hit in my new surroundings! Of course as soon as something's set up, I'll post photos!

If you've got any truck packing (or unpacking!) advice, leave a comment. I could use some tips of the trade. It's been seven years or more since I last had to do this!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Easy Peasy Felted Christmas Tree Garland

Okay kids. Here's a holiday decorating idea that couldn't be much easier. In fact, the hardest part is to keep it from getting tangled up after you're done! It's a beautiful felted garland for your Christmas tree. All you need is a sewing machine, thread and some different colors of craft felt (or felted sweaters).

First, use something small and round (bottom of a spool of thread?) to make yourself a circle template. Then, cut out as many little circles out of felt as you think you'll want for your garland. I think I cut out 40 or so for mine. Then, sit down at the sewing machine with a coordinating thread color in your machine. Start sewing with nothing for a few inches, pulling out the top and bobbin threads gently. Then, slowly and carefully feed in your first circle, sewing right through the middle of the circle. Sew for a few inches and then add another circle. Continue in this fashion until you've used up all the circles you cut. Leave yourself a little tail on the end and that's it! You can hang it on the tree!

As a little tip -- if you want to reuse this year to year, make yourself a handy cardboard storage tool by cutting a rectangle out and making some little grooves in the short end to slide the thread into. This will prevent it from being a tangled mess when it comes time to re-hanging it next year!


Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Holiday Activities with the Shorties

This holiday season has been far from restful for our family. We've been packing up to move and working out all those logistical details, we had a short vacation to see the in-laws and virtually every other second of our time has been spent running around like chickens with our heads cut off to fit the holidays (shopping, wrapping, tree decorating) in there so we don't feel like we totally missed out on the fun.

I got to thinking about a few quick, simple things that we could do to slow down and enjoy the season. And, for us at least, it's really added some fun. I'd love to hear what your family's holiday traditions are, and how you slow it down during the rush-bustling.

1. Drive around and ooh and ahh at lights. It gets dark early, so even the little ones can manage going out. Put some hot cider or some cocoa in the sippy cups and head out for a neighborhood with good lights, or like we did, a set-up display at a park. Also helpful is a radio station tuned to the the classic Christmas songs and a little sing-along action.

2. Make cookies. Kids of all ages (well, okay, those over age 1) love to dump ingredients in a bowl. Those that aren't old enough love to play with mixing cups and spoons or bang them on pots and pans. Our friend bought the wee one his own digger-shaped cookie cutter which really inspired us. Rather than shoo the kids from the kitchen, let go of your inner Martha Stewart and allow the messiness to ensue. Allow time for the process -- kids aren't very rushable.

3. Make some wrapping paper. We used a big roll of paper (actually we started months ago, but you could do this impromptu, too) and spread it over the tot's desk. Then, get the whole family seated around the table (yes, you too dad) and start coloring. Fill up the page with whatever you want. When it's "done" use it to wrap your gifts. My wee one particularly enjoyed being the one to pick out and place the bows.

4. Get a little tree for the kiddo's room. Our wee one really loved the tree we set up in his room -- just a simple fiber optic one. Of course you have to be aware of whether your kid is apt to smash it down or yank it off of a shelf, and always have to turn it off at night etc. But, our kiddo was in love!

Next year, I'm going to tackle making bird seed Christmas ornaments with the kiddo. I think he'd love it (as would the birds!).

So, do share -- how are you keeping your sanity and/or holiday spirit this year?

Monday, December 07, 2009

My Yearly Ode to My Own Tree

I'm not shy about pledging and re-pledging my love of my own vintage 60's aluminum pom-pom Christmas tree. I worked hard for that tree. I craftily stalked many an Ebay seller trying to get my paws on that tree. Many auctions were bid on and lost before this little beauty came up as a buy-it-now. And each year when I put it up and get it decorating, I ooooh and aaaah over its coolness. I actually wish I had two.

Did I mention it's silver? And vintage? This year we did have to go parting ways with the revolving light that used to shine on it (itself not vintage, you'd think it'd last more than a few piece of crap), but that's okay. It still shimmers in the light and looks beautiful.

Tell me, do you have a tree you love? Do you cut a fresh one and bring that yummy pine-y smell into your house? If I were a crazy rich person, I think I'd have a different tree in each year. But for now, this one is doing the trick for me.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Another Christmas Gift Done!

Spoiler Alert: If you are my sister, stop reading now. Avert your eyes! If you are her kids, why in the world are you on the internet!?

I took a whole bunch of liberties with the One Yard Wonders pattern for a bunting. Okay, essentially I was just inspired by the photo but really made the whole thing up. This bunting is going to be a gift for my nieces for their new camping land -- I thought it could use a little "sprucing up" around the tents!

This is a fairly simple project to make. If you can find some big, bold typefaces that you can print out and cut around, that's the hardest part. Rather than fabric glue these letters on, I just appliqued them. It takes longer, but I like how it looks. And for a short word or phrase, one package of double fold bias tape should work. In retrospect, I think my fabric choice is too busy and the letters aren't bold enough, but I think the kids will like it anyway. The fabric does have a "woodland" theme, so it really was too perfect to pass up. Thank you, Crafty Planet!

On Christmas Eve we're packing up a 26 foot moving truck and chasing our fortune back in our home state of Wisconsin. So...I have been trying to get the house packed up in between my crafting projects, but it's been tough to really feel like I'm accomplishing much of anything. It may be the end of my holiday crafting...unless I get really inspired in the next week or two!!

What surprises have you been making? Do share!