Friday, January 17, 2020

Questions to ask for Christmas crafting in 2020

Back in 2016, Rose -- one of the participants at a Christmas craft forum I love -- posted a list of questions to consider for our Christmas crafting in the new year.  I decided it would be a good idea for me to answer those questions for myself again this year.

There were seven questions on Rose's list, so here goes:

1.  Let's decide if we want to finish any projects started for last Christmas and not completed.  Will we : 
a)finish them right away and put them in our gift closet;
b) put them away for a bit; or
c) get rid of them altogether?

 I have 3 large, long-standing UFOs (unfinished objects) -- a crocheted throw, a crocheted scrap afghan, and a felt campfire with s'mores.  I thought I had completed a fabric alphabet letters project, but recently found some precut fabric and batting squares (to make 22 more letters)  so that is a UFO again as well.

I also have two completed stitchery projects that just need to be finished off in some way -- framed, made into wall hangings or pillows, or whatever. 


None of these are projects started for Christmas 2019 and not completed.  They are just long-standing UFOs.  The felt campfire was intended to be a Christmas gift in 2015, and the throw was intended to be a birthday gift eons ago. 

I don't want to get rid of any of these altogether.  I'm thinking I'll finish off the alphabet letters and give them to a friend for her baby.  I'd like to finish the crocheted throw in time for the recipient's April birthday.  As soon as I can finish the felt items, I'll send them off to Nevada. 

The scrap afghan is for me so I don't mind that remaining a UFO for awhile, but I'd like to make some more motifs for it maybe this winter.  The three different styles of motifs are below.

2.  Decide if we want to go through any boxes/containers holding craft supplies; decide if we want to get rid of any of these supplies.

I'd love to sort out/give away craft supplies, but probably not just yet.  I have a house to clean out (not mine) first.  I do have far too many supplies in far too many areas of the house.  I have in the past gone through my cross stitch patterns and supplies, and got rid of many things, but I have so much more in other craft categories that I will never use again.  I know that storage wouldn't be such a problem if I had fewer supplies to store.

3. Write down any ideas people have given you for the coming year, crafted items or other ideas.

I've done some of this but have more to add.  I need to do my Christmas 2019 debriefing and start lists for 2020's birthdays and Christmas.  Kinda slow doing that this year, not sure why.

4.  Does your crafting area need a little tidying -- or a lot?

It needs a lot of tidying.  See question #2.  It is an absolute disaster, actually.

5.  Think about what went right or wrong in making crafts for gifts -- is there anything you would change for this crafting year?  

My biggest problems were starting too late and underestimating how long certain projects would take.  I so love making handmade gifts, but I need to stick to smaller projects in the future.  No more campfires after I complete this one.  The one that isn't finished is the second such set I've made.

 6.  Set a date for when you want to have all Christmas crafting completed.

My hubby set this date for me years ago -- December 1.  In 2018 he relaxed the date when he saw how much it meant to me to accomplish some simple crafted gifts.  And that year they were quick, easy items.  In 2019 I had grandiose ideas and no real deadline.  I bought materials for supercapes, but they didn't even get started.  I think I'm going back to a December 1 deadline for 2020.

7.  Start making notes of what you would like to make craftwise this year.

I've jotted down a few ideas in my Christmas notebook.  With my hubby's retirement, we need to scale back our gift giving a bit, I think, so I think more homemade gifts, especially kitchen gifts, may be in order.

Hope these questions are helpful to others like me who love to craft for Christmas!

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

A few last Christmas decorating photos

Just a quick post to share a few more photos of our Christmas decorating.  Most are from the dining room.  Above you see two hutch shelves with just a tweak or two.  The Christmas cards on the upper shelf were some that I loved so much, I couldn't resist adding them to the hutch.  After I removed the cookie cutter centerpiece from the table (it looked similar to the one below and had been there all December until Christmas Eve),

I also added a green-handled cookie cutter to that shelf.

 The scenes just above are scans from one card (I cropped the top one) that's on the hutch.  This was from my cousin and his wife.  It's liberally glittered and I just love the scene!
This card made it onto my hutch too.  Those large "snowflakes" are actually teensy pom-poms!  This one was from my friend Terry's son.  Love it.

On the lower of the two shelves, I added in this green glass sugar and creamer that our daughter gifted me with for Christmas.  They are new, from Pioneer Woman, and coordinate beautifully with my vintage jadeite treasures.
 On the top shelf you can see just a tiny tweak that I added, sticking a silver bottle brush tree in each jadeite teacup.  Another year, I would place something under each tree to make them higher and more visible in the cup, but this worked for this time around.
 I wanted to showcase this Christmas card which one of our teenage granddaughters created last year.  I tucked it in the corner of the hutch with a frosty bottle brush tree beside it.
 Our creche this year.  The stable was built by my dad many years ago.  He made loads of them over the years for various family members.  The figures belonged to my parents and are much nicer than the ones we had.  That tree to the right -- yes, I know it should be a palm tree, but it's a gold tree candle that my friend Ruth gave me and I couldn't find another place I wanted to put it, so I tucked it beside the stable.
 We found the above print, unframed, in a mailing tube at my parents' home.  We loved it, so found a thrift store frame that fit.  Now I bring it out every winter and swap it out in place of a more summery wall hanging.
Above, the cute wooden tag-shaped wall art came from the Dollar Tree.  We have had it hanging in the front hallway all season long.

Hope I haven't bored anyone, but just had to share these few final photos!

Monday, January 13, 2020

And just a few more ornaments to share ...

We had our last Christmas event of the season last evening: supper and gifts with our oldest teenage granddaughters.  That had been postponed from Christmas Eve, our usual time to celebrate with them, because one was ill.  So last night we enjoyed Christmas Eve Soup with pizza, and a cookie and fudge tray for dessert, and opened gifts in a festive time together.  Now I can think about taking down some of the Christmas decor, making sure to leave plenty of light and sparkle to get us through the rest of the winter.

Before I put the ornaments away, however, I wanted to share just a few more of them with you.

The one below was quite large so I hung it near the bottom of the tree.  As you can see, I was having a hard time getting a good photo of it there.   So I moved it temporarily just for the purpose of getting a decent picture.   You can see it much better in the second photo.

This is one of those "kitschy" ornaments that is so tacky it is almost cute.  (That's what I told myself, anyway.)  Somebody made this, probably in the early 1970s or the late 1960s.  It looks as if the white part was made by crocheting with white yarn around a ring made from a plastic lid, or possibly two plastic lids put together for stability.  Then plastic greenery was glued to it to give a wreath effect.  Two colorful little plastic figures, ice skaters in this case, are glued to the bottom center of the wreath.
Below is the only ornament in this lineup that is not handmade.  It's a sweet little vintage white metal bell with red and green striped candy canes pictured on it and just a plain white string looped at the top.
Below is a mother and baby mouse that I embroidered on felt back in the day.  This was something I had made for my mother, I believe.  It's from Erica Wilson's Christmas World and is intended to be Beatrix Potter's Hunca Munca.  I made quite a number of ornaments from that book.
 Below is a felt gingerbread boy.  Not sure but it may have been made by my Aunt Dot.
 And below, another which I am pretty sure was knitted by Dot.  It's a mitten that matches the stocking I showed in a previous post.  I finally managed to get a decent picture of it.
 The ornament below was cross stitched by one of my friends from the Christmas craft forum and enclosed in a Christmas card in a previous year.  You can't really tell, but the Aida cloth used is glittery!

These two photos (above and below) are of the same snowy owl ornament, just taken from slightly different angles.  This one was made by our friends Sam and Jennifer out of a toilet paper roll.  Very, very creative, I thought! These would be sweet on a tree with just woodland trims or just birds.  I think I will keep this owl out for winter along with the snowflakes, pine cones, icicles, etc.
I love ornaments -- especially handmade ones -- don't you? 

Thursday, January 09, 2020

A few more favorite ornaments

The Christmas tree is still up and decorated at our house, at least through Sunday when we will exchange gifts with our two oldest granddaughters.  Illness kept them from coming on Christmas Eve as is our usual custom.

I took a few photos the other day of ornaments that are new to our tree this year.
 You can't see it very well, but this photo shows a red felt cardinal with holly leaves.  A metal hair clip is hidden under the leaves to clip the cardinal to a tree branch.  I LOVE this and want to make more.  I am sure this is handmade and that no doubt I have the pattern for it in one of my vintage Christmas magazines!  Below is another view.

 The sheet music star above came from one of my friends at the Christmas Friends craft forum in 2018's card swap.  Pretty sure I need to make some of these.
 This is a sweet and tiny hand-knitted stocking.  Think my aunt Dot may have made this.  There's a mitten to match but I couldn't get a good picture of it.  These are adorable and if I could find a crochet version I might be tempted to make some.
Lastly is another ball that was in with my parents' ornaments.  It is tarnished and spotted, but I love it because of the sweet stenciled scene.  If you look just below the heel in the stocking photo above, you will see another similar ornament, sort of a magenta color with a stenciled church and falling snow on it.  That one says "Silent Night" and it, too, is one of my favorites.

Hope you've enjoyed this look at just a few of our ornaments!

Tuesday, January 07, 2020

A few more after-Christmas deals

Last Thursday I got to Walmart when the Christmas clearance had been reduced to 75% off.  I found a few more good buys.  I really liked the plate at the top and got two of them to give cookies on next year.  They are a salad plate size and are from Better Homes & Gardens.  I hadn't noticed them before, but then I had spent very little time in the Christmas aisles at Walmart during the season itself.  These were $1 each.

I had wanted a few larger silver ornaments to use with winter decor, in particular to use in the lighted winter colander I plan to make.  This package of four was only $1.23.

Glittery snowflake ornaments are always a good idea.   They make great package or gift bag tie-ons or make a nice little addition to a gift basket.  There are 20 of them in this package for 74¢.
 These candy stripe cello bags work well to contain smallish gift baskets or larger cookie plates.  My stock of these is nearly depleted since I wasn't able to get them at Dollar Tree.  The package of two was 24¢.
The bags above are quite small -- 5 3/4" x 4 1/4"x 2" -- but they were such a cute design that I just had to pick up a couple.  I loved the vintage look of this little scene.  The bags were 23¢ each!

It might not be too late to check out the Christmas clearance in your local Walmart if you are interested in any of these items!  In addition, there was lots of wrapping paper, quite a few lights, and more Christmasy things. 

Friday, January 03, 2020

Some inspiration for Christmas crafting

As promised,  I'm back with a post concerning some of my crafting inspiration for this year.  Just a bit.  Above is a Christmas card from my friend Ruth, who drew my name in the Sunday School gift exchange.  I love this card!  I just love everything about this photo.  The plaid at the top, the touches of glitter, the berries and shiny red balls, the vintage sign tucked sideways in the background.  But I especially love the handmade fabric trees at left and I am determined to find a tutorial for them.  Who knows, I may have instructions in a book I already own. 

Here's another thing that is inspiring me right now.

What a cute handmade tag!  This fun creation was tucked in a card I received in 2018's card swap with my Christmas forum friends.  Can you see what the green base is made out of?  It's a card from a Dutch Blitz game!

You can see how the crafter just stamped "To" and "From" on the back of the card.  It looks as if she might have distressed the card a bit first, or maybe she found it that way.

I'm excited to make some of these.  Pretty sure there's a vintage Dutch Blitz game at my childhood home.  Tags like this would be so much fun to create with bits and pieces of craft supplies, Christmas trims, and vintage bits and bobs.   Thinking I could even sell some in my Etsy shop ...

Here's another tag, one I found in an old book I'm giving to a thrift store.  This is a tag handmade by my mother out of an old Christmas card.  The hole hadn't punched all the way through and there was writing on the back specifying the to's and from's of the gift.  I refurbished it so it can be used again, adding a blank sticker to the back to cover the writing; punching the hole in the corner; adding a silver string so it can be tied to a gift.

It was too cute to just throw it away.

I've not done a lot of paper crafting, so I'm aware I'll need to buy a few supplies for the Dutch Blitz tags.  But guess what?  Along with that very pretty card from my friend Ruth were a few other treats, including a generous gift card from Hobby Lobby.  I will have fun shopping for stamps, washi tape and more.  It's always nice when a fellow crafter draws one's name in a gift exchange!

Wednesday, January 01, 2020

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year to everyone who reads here!  I hope that all of you have a wonderful year in 2020 and that it will be a happy, healthy, spiritually prosperous year for you.

Although December is over and I won't necessarily be here in the Christmas Kitchen every day, I will likely be here quite a bit.  I still have a few things I want to share from Christmas 2019 and I hope to do a bit of Christmas crafting this month if time allows ... things I didn't get to work on in December.  I will probably also be posting some about my crafting goals for 2020.

So stop in and visit when you can, won't you?