Wednesday, February 24, 2021

A little snow globe inspiration


 On Monday, it snowed steadily all afternoon and into the evening ... it felt a bit like living in a snow globe!  

 And also on Monday,  I came across a couple of fun snow globe ideas that I thought I'd share with all of you. 


 The above is a piece of 6" scrapbook paper from a set called Snow Globes.

I blogged about this set back in 2015 when I purchased it, as you will see if you click the link above.  Back in late November, I took some paper from this set and the other one I got at the same time, over to our camp for grandkids to craft with.  The other day, I was putting some things away and came upon the remaining papers from this set.  Oh, this one is so sweet!  It's really inspiring me to make some simple snow globes (minus the water) from jars,  just to use in winter decorating.

I did a bit of a search to see if I could find any of this paper still on Etsy or eBay, but struck out with that.  I did, however, find these adorable paper snowglobe kits:

 

They are out of stock, but maybe can still be found somewhere.  A kit makes 12.  They are so cute!

The same day, in sorting through some things I had saved for scrapbook journaling, I came upon this:

Oh, aren't those snow globe cookies the cutest?   This was from a King Arthur Flour catalog, but maybe not a very recent one, for I couldn't find them in the online store just now.

The closest I came was these Falling Snowflake cookie stamps.  

 

 
They are on clearance right now, $14.95 for a set of 3, which is still a little pricey for me. 

And all of this reminded me of these felt ornaments


which I've been wanting to make for years: Felt Snowglobe Ornaments.  Maybe this will be my year!

Thursday, February 18, 2021

Repairing and refurbishing

 

 Does this happen at your house?  It invariably does at ours.  Whether we are decorating the Christmas tree in December, or taking it down in January, we seem to always find an ornament or two that needs repair.  This year I decided that before I made any new Christmas ornaments or projects, I would refurbish the old ones that I just tend to forget about fixing.  Above you see the damaged ones.  We also had several ornaments that didn't have adequate hangers, so I just didn't use them.  I decided to take care of those at this time also.  

The above ornament is a little tree I made using an idea from Gooseberry Patch.  I wound embroidery floss around mini spools, added button "ornaments" and a star charm at the top.   This year I found that one of the green spools had become detached,  as you can see in the top photo.
The ornament below is one I had purchased from an Etsy shop in a previous year.  The silver chenille stem that edges it had become separated from the ornament.  Hot glue quickly fixed that, but I'm not sure it will last.
The patchwork ornament you see below was made with a styrofoam ball, fabric scraps, and lace.  One pokes the fabric scraps into the foam ball using a nail file.  This ball was missing its hanger and also one scrap of fabric.  It was a pretty simple matter to find a new scrap and add it in, along with a ribbon hanger.

The ornament below has great sentimental value for me.  I can remember sitting on the floor, taking time to create this while a toddler and baby played around me.  If I was doing this now, I would not make it pink, but probably shades of green.  However, the pattern called for pink and I had pink, so I went with it.  

The hanging loop had come out of this one.  I had to just create another loop at the end, because the thread that forms the hanging loop is what holds the ornament together.  As this ornament hangs on the tree, air currents will move the bell clapper and the bell itself.  Even though I'm no longer crazy about the color, I love this ornament and want to commemorate the time and trouble I took to make it.

The Hallmark ornament below is one I bought in Idaho on a clearance sale.  I love it but needed to add a hanger.  This will be perfect at our camp this coming Christmas as we go to great lengths to keep mice out!
A better view of the interior of the "cookie cutter" is below.
The three ornaments below were freebies from Country magazine back in the 1990s, I think.  They just needed hangers, so I added thin red ribbon.  These are pewter-like and quite heavy.  The one below is from 1999 and features a tree in a pickup truck.
A festive horn is below.

The last one is very hard to see.  I took two photos but couldn't get a good one.  It's a rural mailbox (my favorite!) with a cardinal atop and fields, farm and houses in the background.

It feels great having this little project taken care of.  In reality, it was just a few minutes with a glue gun and a few other simple supplies,  but it was so encouraging to me!

Saturday, February 13, 2021

Christmasy crafting plans for 2021

 

 I have no idea where this will go, but I made a crafting list for 2021.  Some of these things are UFOs and others are things I haven't even started.  

I thought that here on my Christmas blog, I would list Christmasy and winter projects I hope to complete or at least work on.

 Christmas coasters (many already cut out -- they resemble the one above)
Christmas mug rugs (I have been longing to make some of these for years!)
A simple winter tablecloth
Figure out a finish for the Snow Angels cross stitch

 

 
Figure out a finish for the winter fun crewel embroidery


Finish February Sampler -- this would be from the same series as the December sampler below.  I spotted the finished December design on the wall of a needlework shop years ago and purchased the chart.  A few years back I finally finished it, but this clipboard would lend itself nicely to a January and February sampler as well, so I splurged and bought both charts in 2021.


Stitch January Sampler
Make gift tags out of 2018’s cards
Make Christmas tags out of a Dutch Blitz set and a Uno card set

 

Make fabric teabag holders like one I got from an Etsy shop

And most importantly, 

Try and do some Christmas crafting every week … just because I love it!

I have an entire folder on my computer desktop of Christmas projects I want to make, and a huge stash of Christmas fabrics and scraps, so really -- I just need to do this.  It didn't really happen in January, but hopefully the other eleven months will include happy times of Christmas crafting.

Saturday, February 06, 2021

Sorting through a Christmas tote

 

When we were getting out our Christmas decorations, I was looking for a specific item and Mr. T handed down a large plastic tote out of the attic, labeled "Christmas and Snowmen/Winter".  As I hunted through the contents quickly (not finding the item I was looking for either!), I voiced the thought that probably almost all of this could go to the thrift store.  Most of the items were very nice, many of them things we'd been gifted with over time.  Some, like the candle below, were things I'd made myself but just would not be using.  He agreed, but noted that this was not the time to go through the tote.

So a month or so after Christmas, when we were packing most of the Christmas things away, I asked my hubby to bring that huge tote down again.  It took me a week or so, but I got through it.

Here is how it all shook out when I finished going through the tote.

To the trash:
A decorative hanging ball covered with gilded pinecones, suspended by jute twine — pinecones are falling off it and it’s just not pretty anymore

To the thrift store:
A stuffed bear holding a velvety gift box
A bagful of silk holly, some of it “snow covered”, and a few pine cones
A Christmas table runner that’s not my style
A snowman lamp that’s not really my style anymore
A wall hanging, same
Several pewter-look ornaments
2 square hand-decorated Christmas candles
2 partial sets of iron-on letters for personalizing Christmas stockings
A decorative wooden box with Christmas theme
A lighted folk-art type wooden reindeer
A few bits and pieces of handmade ornaments and some ribbon
Several Christmas ornaments (from the homestead) that we just won't use

To our camp:
A lighted evergreen garland
Two silk holly garlands
A woven rug in a quilt pattern design of red and green
A Christmas wall hanging I think would look good there
A gallon ziplock bag of assorted ornaments that could work for a camp Christmas tree

Let me explain that last section: to our camp.

 When I pulled that lighted evergreen garland (something I didn't even remember having!) out of the tote, my first thought was that we could use it at the camp.  We have a lighted evergreen garland over our picture window here at home, and it looks nice in all seasons.  The camp is not yet winterized (no insulation, though we have purchased the insulation for it), and I didn't really think of having Christmas there, just of using the garland there all year round.

But when I told Mr. T of my thought for the garland, he immediately noted that if we got things insulated as well as we hoped to, it just might be possible to plan for Christmas at our camp next year!  So as I continued sorting, I set aside a few more things we could use for a camp Christmas.  We will see what happens and how it all plays out, but for now it's something fun to think about and plan for.

I'm so glad I decided to sort through that Christmas tote!

Thursday, January 28, 2021

January 2021 Christmas Club meeting!

 

So on Monday, January 25, we actually did something very appropriate for Rudolph Day -- we held our first Christmas Club meeting for 2021!  Three of us gathered at Susan's home for  a cup of tea and an hour or more of purposefully catching up on our Christmases and our plans for the coming year.  It surely did feel as if we were starting the New Year off right.  

We began by discussing how our Christmases had gone in 2020, especially considering that some things had to be different due to the virus.  We all felt that they went quite well.  Carrie felt good about keeping things more organized, and shared that her family did nearly all of their usual Christmas activities.  She had also asked the kids about any activities they might like to incorporate, and only one thing on their list did not happen.  Susan shared that their family time with their granddaughter was truly wonderful, at times actually feeling like a Hallmark movie as they shared memories and old family photos.  Wow!  It's hard to imagine much better than that.  As for Mr. T and myself, we felt that things were much as usual and we made some great memories with the local grands.

The one negative thing we all experienced in common was the unusually slow postal service.  Yes, we were warned about all that -- but for a package to take a week to get from the middle of New Hampshire to the lower end of it is slow indeed.  And then it still had to cross the country to its destination.  Though mailed in plenty of time, the gifts sent to Nevada were all late.  (Other than those sent directly from Amazon, which went through just fine! 😀)

We went over a list called "January Assignments" that I had saved from a previous year.  Most of this came from Organized Christmas originally, I think. 

 The first point -- tie up loose ends -- was mostly covered by our opening discussion of our Christmases.  In thinking about this, I know that both I and Carrie still have some Christmas things up in our houses, as we do decorate for winter.  In fact, at my house the tree is still up.  We did take the manger scene down and replaced it with a lighted log cabin.  I am also in the process of winnowing through a tote of Christmas and winter decor, and most of it is headed for the thrift store.

The second point concerns gift closets, and both Susan and I did go through ours this year.  I threw some things away and sent some to the thrift store.  I also found a couple of gifts in an area where gifts had previously been stored.  One went to the gift closet and the other to the thrift store.

 I do need to print and fill out a gift closet inventory form to really make the best use of this storage space.

The third point involves making a Rudy Day tote to have a way to stay ready to celebrate each month.  It's a lovely idea, but probably something none of us will make time to do.

The fourth point is a fun project: recycling Christmas cards.  We are going to do that at our February meeting, but I still have 2018's and 2019's cards, so hopefully I will turn a number of these into gift tags before that time.  The tags pictured below are from a previous year.

 Susan has placed a number of reminders on her phone for the various months, and for February 1 she has a note to herself regarding Valentine's Day: to plan, make, send Valentines or Valentine gifts, or to plan a special meal or activity for Valentine's Day.  

Susan likes to send Valentine cards and maybe gifts; Carrie usually makes a special meal or dessert for her family.  When my kids were in college (a long time ago now) I sent Valentine care packages.  Now that it's just Mr. T and myself, I might make a special meal or dessert, or we might go out.  We don't usually exchange Valentine cards or gifts, preferring to save the money we would have spent on these things and use it on getaways instead.

 Above you see my to-do list to accomplish before the next Christmas Club meeting.  It includes making gift tags from 2018's Christmas cards; printing out and filling in a gift closet inventory form; and going through cookbooks to identify new recipes to try for kitchen gifts.  (For example, I am planning to retire my bran muffin recipe as I just don't like it anymore, and so am looking for something different to replace it.) 

 We will see how well I do.  But it does feel great to have met for Christmas Club -- and on Rudolph Day, to boot!

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

The actual 2020 Christmas baking list

 

 It happens every year.  I don't know that I've ever stuck exactly to my tentative Christmas baking list.  This year, all of the cookies were baked by my hubby, and he made everything on my list and more!  A few varieties of cookies that I hadn't thought of made their way onto the list.

You can see that below:

Probably most people are familiar with Peanut Blossoms -- a standard peanut butter cookie with a Hershey's chocolate kiss pressed into the center of each after baking.   I like these cookies, but they haven't been a part of my usual Christmas cookie baking.  My hubby, however, decided that we needed to have some!

The chocolate Rolo cookies are a new variation to me.  My blog friend Nikki shared with me how she varies my Chocolate Spritz recipe by pressing a Rolo candy into the center of each cookie after baking.  Sometimes I use the recipe for Chocolate Butter Cookies to make both Chocolate Spritz and Sacher Torte Cookies, and so my hubby made a batch of those to use for adding Rolos as Nikki does.  They are scrumptious!

Lastly, we needed to make a lot of cookies quickly to help fill goodie bags to hand out after a Christmas program at church.  Mr. T suggested baking several batches of Christmas Tree Spritz, which, since a cookie press is used, would produce many cookies very quickly.  

The only problem was that my only working cookie press is plastic and the Christmas tree plate is very large.  However, I did have a non-working metal cookie press with a lovely delicate tree plate that produces cookies  like the ones pictured here.  My wonderful hubby managed to modify the metal press so that it would work fairly well, and then he proceeded to use it to prepare several batches of cookies!  They turned out so well.  

A reader and blogger, Vicki, asked me if I could give a count of how many cookies were actually baked in our kitchen this Christmas season.  Many of the cookies baked were in multiple batches.  Mr. T did a very rough count and estimates that at least 20 dozen cookies were produced this season!  Wow!

And there you have the 2020 Christmas baking report!


Friday, January 01, 2021

Happy New Year!

 

Image from Gooseberry Patch
 Even though we have no idea at all what 2021 will hold, God does.  I can't say that I loved 2020 as a whole, but it did help me to appreciate many things and to learn to take one day at a time and to be grateful for each day.  I was happy to turn the page on a new year, though, even one that is starting out with a lot of uncertainty.  I'm praying daily for our country and am trusting God to work out His good purposes in all of our lives.

I've actually taken a couple of baby steps toward planning for next Christmas!  I've ordered Christmas stamps already, and am getting the same ones I used this year:



I loved the Winter Scenes and ordered three books of them for this coming Christmas.  The Holiday Delights ones were fun also, but I only ordered one book of those for the coming year.

And then I've also gone through all of our Christmas cards (I had them stored in various places) and have donated a bunch to the thrift store.  I've set some aside to sell on Etsy and others to use in mailing Etsy card orders.  I typically package a card within a greeting card to keep the shipping cost minimal for me, and free for my customers.  

Our unused Christmas cards in the attic had been stored in one huge gift bag and one smallish one.  I'm happy to report that they have now been consolidated into the smallish gift bag and I know right where they are for next year.  I've also ascertained that I won't need to buy any more for 2021.

And I'm nearly finished going through a very large wrapping paper tote that is stored under our bed.  I wanted to clean, sort, and reorganize it before returning it to its place.  That project should finish up today.  I am going to keep out some red and green tissue paper, as I still have a few more hand-crafted gifts to complete and mail to Nevada.

And that's where we are for January first! Happy New Year, everyone!