Wednesday, July 26, 2017

From the July archives, Part 2

Here are a few posts of interest (at least, I hope they will be of interest!) from the more recent July archives.  I know that not everyone has browsed around in the archives or even visited here much, so wanted to share just a few more of my archived July posts.  Here goes:

From 2012, Fantastic Felt Food shares some of the fun food items that can be made of felt.   The chocolates below and the foods at top are a couple of examples.  Kids love felt food!  The photo at top was taken at the county fair when my grandkids entered their collection of felt food.

How to Make a Christmas Memory Book, from 2013, is a clear tutorial on how to make a memory book for your family.  I have never regretted taking the time to make these for family!

From 2014, Nurturing kids’ creativity with Christmas in July shares how you can get your kids involved right now with preparing for Christmas gifts.  I found it inspiring.

Linked, but not baked, in 2015, Chocolate Mint Sugar Cookie Bars is a recipe I want to try for the cookie trays this Christmas.

 And last year I encouraged readers to Peruse my Pinterest boards!  I have a bunch of Pinterest boards specifically for Christmas and have even added another since this was posted: Bringing Home the Tree.

 You will find loads of inspiration here.  Pinterest is so much fun!

So there are a few archive posts.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Worth the read: 12 Tips for an Easier Christmas

Detail from a table runner I made for my daughter
This post, 12 Tips for an Easier Christmas, from Rachel at Small Notebook, is well worth your read.  In fact, it is well worth printing out and placing in your Christmas notebook for perusal again and again.

I'll briefly detail a few of Rachel's tips and how I'll use them, but you must read the full article to get the real benefit.

*  Handmade doesn't necessarily mean DIY.  So true.  I love to support Etsy shops and they are filled with great gift ideas.

* Buy, wrap, and ship gifts early.  Yes, indeed, especially if, like me, you have family living three time zones away.  I also like to schedule package pickups (very easy with Priority Mail flat rate boxes) -- and another thing I've done is to have gifts from places like Amazon and ThriftBooks sent directly to my daughter.  She then wraps and tags them for me.

* Limit traveling.  This is such a great idea, especially if you have small children or a lot of children.  Do not be guilted into going "home for Christmas."  You are home!  Let your parents come to you, if they must, or just enjoy your own personal family traditions.  Don't add stress to Christmas by traveling unnecessarily in iffy weather.

* Do "preventive life maintenance".  Wonderful ideas.  Stock up on tissues, toilet paper, cough drops.  Plan and even cook ahead for easy meals.  (I've written in the past about this concept.)  Life is going to go on.  It's not going to slow down just because it's Christmas time.  In fact, quite the reverse.  So be prepared, and there won't need to be emergency runs to the store or drive-thru.

Go check out Rachel's post!  Rudolph Day for July is the perfect time to give this some thought and do some planning.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Cute paper product for many Christmas uses!

Several weeks ago, we stopped in at the Dollar Tree on an errand.  I spent a few minutes browsing in the kitchen aisle and found the neat product pictured above: waxed paper basket liners in red and white checks!  These liners are 15 inches by 18 inches and are the type that might be found lining those classic red plastic baskets often used at takeout places.

I'm not sure if Dollar Tree carries these year round or not.  (They also sell the red plastic baskets!)  This was the first time I had seen them, so I bought 2 packages (and I would encourage you to purchase them this summer, if you think you'd use some). 

Since they are food safe, these would be great to use in packaging kitchen gifts.  I think they would work well for wrapping small loaves of quick bread like cranberry, lemon, pumpkin, and so on.  Wouldn't they also be cute lining a basket of gingerbread men or a tin full of cookies?

For a whimsical container in which to present cookies or take them to a potluck or cookie swap, you could buy one of the red plastic baskets, line it with one of these checked liners and fill with cookies,  then pop the whole thing into a clear plastic bag for transport.  This would make a nice neighbor gift, as well.

Another fun use I thought of was to place one of these liners in the red plastic basket and then fill it with felt food of the take-out variety, like hamburgers, sandwiches, chips, etc.  Wouldn't that be a cute way to present a gift of felt food like those below?

Have fun with this idea!  I plan to!

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Poem: Stocking Stuffer

Today I'm sharing another poem from the 2010 Christmas Ideals magazine.  Today's featured poem is titled Stocking Stuffer, and is written by Elizabeth Collier.

Stocking Stuffer

Christmas fills the senses 
In a most delicious way.
The sight and sound and taste of it
For one full month hold sway.
Crisp and brittle holly wreaths,
Candles' velvet glow;
The smell of cookies baking,
The crunch of sparkling snow,
The eyes of little children
A-shine with hope and joy,
The shimmer of the Christmas tree,
Its base all banked with toys.
Christmas fills the senses, true,
But this is just a part;
For even more than all the rest,
Christmas fills the heart.
~ Elizabeth Collier

This is such a lovely poem!  I thought the photo of my two granddaughters decorating cookies last Christmas was the perfect illustration.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Ornaments from vintage cookie cutters

Photo by Thrifty Rebel Vintage
Aluminum cookie cutters like the ones from my childhood are pretty easy to find and fairly inexpensive.  I have quite a stash of them -- more than I will ever use to make cookies with.  This simple project by Tuula from Thrifty Rebel Vintage will make wonderful use of my cookie cutter stash: Christmas Cookie Cutter Ornaments.

Take a look at how creative Tuula has gotten with these.  Sheet music lines the ornaments -- in one case, even a page from a Christmas carol book.  Don't want to cut up your vintage booklets?  No worries -- scan the page, print it out and there you go!  These would look lovely with images from vintage Christmas cards centered in them, too.  My imagination could really have fun with these if I only had the time.

Hope you can use this idea!  Have fun!

Friday, July 21, 2017

Adorable mini trees for ornaments or place card holders

Photo from Cupcakes and Crinoline
This fun craft is from Mary Beth at Cupcakes and Crinoline: it's adorable mini Christmas tree ornaments and place cards!

I'm always enamored of bottle brush trees, and these teensy ones are the cutest ever.  They are placed atop wooden spools gussied up with vintage newsprint and liberal amounts of glitter.  This would be an easy craft to do at the picnic table this summer! 

To make them into place card holders, add a strip of newsprint with the person's name on it by pinning it to the tree with a corsage pin.  (Admittedly not a good idea for kids.)

A piece of pretty baker's twine may be tied around each spool to add color, but I sort of like them just as is. 

Have fun with this idea!

Thursday, July 20, 2017

A fun personalized craft ~ Mod Podge photo ornaments

Photo from Our Southern Home
 It's always fun to make some new ornaments, especially if you have new or vintage photos to work with.  Some families like to make new ornaments every year with updated family photos.  These Mod Podge Photo Ornaments from Christy at Our Southern Home are so cute.

They begin with round papier mache ornaments and get gussied up with scrapbook paper (the perfect use for those small $1 packs of scrapbook paper that are so tempting in the craft stores!), a photo, and glitter.  I love these and hope that I can find time to make some.  I think they would be fun to make with sepia or black and white photos as well, and would be cute to make using copies of vintage photos.  (I would never recommend using the originals of family heirloom photos or treasured vintage Christmas cards.  Scan them and then print for your craft usage.)

Happy Crafting!