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Good tidings to all

Happy Christmas

Today was our little family Christmas and look what was under the tree for me, my own little Frosty made in pottery class by Gracie – she's been a busy maker too. I also brought in a few of the last berries on our holly tree, the redwings have nearly stripped it bare.

I'll be offline for a while, we're off now for Christmas in California with American family. I wish you all rest and peace and a wonderful time spent with loved ones.

Jx

PS, It's late, still need to pack for me AND finish one more gift. Oh well, there's always that long flight where I can sleep, better whip up an eye mask while I'm at it ;)


Nearly there

Short scarf
Short scarf

We had a lovely early Christmas with the UK family on Sunday so I can show a few of the items I've finished so far. The short winter scarf was cut from a thrifted cashmere sweater and I lined it with a vintage silk scarf. It's probably the gift I most want to repeat to make one for myself.

I'm working all out now to finish a couple things for Gracie and the American family because we're off to California at the end of this week. I'm sure most of you are busy with last minute preparations too.

Finished booties
Finished Purl Bee booties

These booties were simple and fun and both children want grown-up versions of them, think I'll have to find some very big felted jumpers for that job. The pattern is here.

MakingForChristmas
Gifting

It's been really great diving into my boxes and tins of stash I have tucked away all over the house to make gifts. This year I've already sculpted clay, needle felted, made jewelry, sewn, embroidered, lino printed and baked. Feels good to use only the resources I have on hand. I've so far only had to buy one zipper (for a gift not shown) and I've made 17 gifts. That means I've been either very resourceful or I'm a HUGE hoarder of stash. I prefer to believe the resourceful one ;)

The Black Apple dolls above are from Emily Martin's pattern and far quicker than patterns I've drafted myself so I recommend them if you need some quick gifts for little people. The pattern is here. The pencil case above and doll on the left are made from my favourite vintage tea towel, they were for two sisters.

I have had to buy some gifts though because I find teenage boys challenging to make things for and there are seven of them on my list! 

I hope your own lists are being nicely checked off and you're either finishing all you've planned or throwing your hands up with a smile and drinking mulled wine instead.

Happy days to you,

Jx


more making

Cedar impressions
cedar impressions 

I woke to a flurry of snow this morning, nicely powdering the countryside around us. By afternoon the sun was shining and all the white stuff was gone. The cold got us in the mood for a big pot of tea and one of our favourite crafts at Christmas time, playing with paper clay. Today we made gift tags and ornaments by cutting out simple shapes and making impressions in them. Cedar sprigs worked well because they are somewhat flat.

Cedar tree
cedar tree

We also made cedar trees.

More impressions
doily impressions

And there are so many really beautiful textile textured ceramics around that we had to give doily pressing a go but the simple cedar was still our favourite. 

Clay time
star stacks

Gracie also turned a stack of stars into what will become a photo holder.

Gifting for nieces
gifts made today

More gift making happened today too. I dug out my jewelry making supplies and made a couple of necklaces for nieces, mixing vintage turquoise glass with fresh water pearls. It's been a long time since I've looped headpins on beads and I had lots and lots of rejects before I could happily string them.

I'm now trying to make up some sort of short scarf for my mother-in-law. I'm repurposing some thrifted cashmere lined with a vintage silk scarf. Not too sure about it, I can see it in my head but I'm not sure my fingers will make it a reality, I'm crossing my toes for luck because my fingers are too busy.

While I'm sewing I'm listening to "The People's Post" on Radio Four, interesting history of how receiving post was only for the wealthy until standard fee packets and stamps came in to existence in the 17th century. In the modern world of Internet correspondence and texting I hope good old hand-written post will survive.

Have a lovely weekend – I hope your mail box will be filled with only happy messages :)

Jx

PS, I just saw these little birds pop up in Lisa's space. Can't wait to see how they finish up in a dress.

 


Brrrrrrrr

Morning frost

A very frosty morning with the sun coming up, in the garden I see

Chilly lichen

frosted lichens,

Frosty fence

a sparkling fence,

Frosty top

furry posts,

Frozen finds

frosted finds,

Frosty post

a crunchy field

Cold thistle

and icy thistles.

We're hoping to get a Christmas tree today and also to get more cards out. Maybe baking a banana cake is on the cards and a frothy coffee too.

Hope you're having a wonderful weekend.

Jx


Gifting

For teacher
For teachers

Gracie made a flower and bird ornament for her teacher. A repurposed embroidered tray cloth became a small gift bag with chocolates that the birdie snuggled into. Tristan's teacher is also his math teacher so he got a math themed bookmark.I'd like to tell you T made it himself, but he simply approved it. 

Purl Bee Booties WIP
Purl Bee booties 

So today winter break starts and happily the sun is back out and the fierce winds have died down, though I hear 70,000 homes are still without power up north. I'm now sitting here soaking in the warmth and savouring my last few hours of me time for the next month. I loved this simple baby bootie pattern from Molly's Sketchbook at Purl Bee. Lucky we have a brand new baby cousin that I can whip a pair up for so these are being finished.  

Also, I'm really loving these tinies from Lisa, these wonderful paintings by Claire Desjardins found via Erin and also the new Bookhou ceramics (though I think they're all gone already). And these fun marshmallow reindeer lollies look so simple they'll be added to our vacation activites. (found via Pinterest).

Now I'm off to make some dough for dinner, it's going to be Friday night pizzas for us.

Happy weekend to you,

Jx


Tiny toe shoe maker

Tiny toe shoes
Tiny feet

There's a new one for the old résumé. I'm now a skilled tiny toe shoe maker. These shoes were made with embroidery floss and they finished off my spool and doily dancer.

This little dancer is honored to be appearing in Issue Five of CraftSanity Magazine, another crafty venture from Jennifer Ackerman-Haywood. I've been a long-time fan of Jennifer's podcasts, I'm sure I've mentioned before, listening to her fun interviews on my iPod has helped get me through many boring cleaning jobs like grout scrubbing – thank you Jennifer :)

Dancer ornament
Spool & doily dancer

And CraftSanity Magazine is just as fantastic as the podcast. I purchased Issue Four and there are several projects I must find the time for in it, like this huge doily blanket by Lisa Gutierrez of GOODKNITS. I'm eager to start pouring through the pages of Issue Five. I really love this magazine, it's heavy on knitting and crochet pattern content but there's also plenty in there for those that are yarn challenged, including recipes, interviews and other crafts. 

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Yesterday I got out my trusty lino cutter and whipped up a little Christmas card. I'm a bit rusty with the lino cutter and nearly binned my efforts until the children got home and gave me a "you're so brilliant mummy" pep-talk. And honestly, the older they get, the fewer of those pep-talks I get so I listen to them. As T and G believe the cards are more than post worthy, I shall send them – better be quick though because we all know how not-quick Royal Mail is when going overseas.

Print making

The temps are feeling very wintery here all of a sudden (2 °C this morning), in fact I have doggie on my lap right now to keep warm, she's way better than a hot water bottle and less effort too. We're off to the school Christmas concert tonight, Tris will play lead guitar and Gracie is in choir... a busy last week of school before their holiday.

Happy Tuesday to you,

Jx


Festive

Meringues
Treats at the fair

The big charity fair was at school yesterday which is super fun but busy. All of the children take part in raising money by doing a variety of things: making up games, playing music, selling baked goods, painting nails, making milk shakes, there's no shortage of ideas. 

Felicity and flowers
Felicity and the flowers

Gracie had a stall with two friends where they played two games and sold sweet treats and Nanou flowers. They earned about £70 for the Make a Wish Foundation. Last year Tristan started a newspaper for the school that he creates with a few other students three times a year – this year they sold out and earned £130 for Parkinsons UK. I'm so proud of both their efforts, helping others is a lovely way to start the festive season.

Repurposed pieces
Repurposed textile stall

Charlie and Catherine take part in my Wednesday textile activity. In their spare time they got to work making little bags, bookmarks, sachets, hair ties and more – they sold well and both worked so hard. 

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Today I'm loving a frothy coffee at home with my new cozy memories coaster and helping G learn some new stitches. I also received a message from Kathreen saying that my readers can received a 10% discount off everything at the whipup.net or action-pack.com store using the code WPContributor.

Also, Pam has a really fantastic list of Christmas kits and project suggestions, I especially love the felt gingerbread house from Little Deer

Coffee for me
This week I'm hoping to start and finish a Christmas gift or two and maybe even get around to cleaning the windows so I can watch the birds at the feeders I've just put out.

I'll be back soon with a sneaky preview of another project I recently contributed to, it involves wooden spools and doilies. 

Hope you have a wonderful week ahead. 

Jx




Lots of chirping going on around here

Boot fair finds
Boot fair finds

Every year birds sneak into my holiday projects in one way or another. It actually started many years ago when I made an Easter tree with just small stuffed fabric birds hanging on white branches. Then they crept into Christmas decorations like this clay robin, and this gifted stitched humming bird. This year I didn't stop with the two new bird patterns, I've also been working on some very simple tweeters like the one in the bead wreath decoration below.

This bead wreath is in the latest Action Pack, you can check it out here. I just went through a proof copy of the latest issue and I can tell you it's full of fantastic stuff. And Kathreen is also offering a special price for a seven issue bundle – a great buy for loads of kid inspired creativity. 

Bead wreaths
Bead wreath making

My helper and I loved putting together these bead wreaths from necklaces picked up at boot fairs. Old jewellery, usually broken, is one of my favourite sources for supplies. I salvage great beads, charms, chains, clasps and closures.

Bird decorations
Bird decorations & String Prints

We've been bird making in our little textiles class at school too. We concentrate on using repurposed materials and bits and pieces from my scrap bag. I encourage the children to attempt small projects that can be made in one or two sessions so I thought birds would be perfect. They like to take something new home with them every week so slow projects don't happen with this group. I sketched out a few different bird shapes for them to use as templates and let their imaginations run from there. 

I had these two from the class sitting next to a bag from my last Green Parent project which was about string printing and I realized these little tweeters would fit nicely in this simple bag for teacher gifts. I'm hoping Tristan and Gracie will like the idea too and get busy on more of them this weekend.

The children are already busy with projects for their Christmas fair on Saturday. Gracie is making a marble game and more Nanou flowers like last year and Tristan is finishing up a school newspaper he plans on selling. All the sales from the fair go to charity and the whole school takes part, it's a really fun event.

Off for a late walk with doggie now, she's giving me those woebegone eyes.

Have a happy Thursday,

Jx

PS, if anyone would like the bird templates I used with my class just let me know and I can put the sketched template into a PDF and email it off to you, nothing fancy, just a few bird shapes.