Saturday, November 29, 2014

December Daily starting Monday!

Vintage card from my collection
Again this year, I'm hoping to post here and in my regular blog every day during December.  I'll be the first to admit it may not happen.  My life is very busy, with eldercare responsibilities in particular.  But I dearly love spending time here in my Christmas kitchen, and sharing the time with all of you.  So that is my goal.  The posts may be brief, but I will try and check in daily and share ... everything from recipes to thoughts to my own Christmasy preparations (or lack thereof!).  See you Monday, Lord willing!

Monday, November 24, 2014

My gift wrap, gift tags, etc. Pinterest board

Gift tags I have made from old cards
Today I am sharing with all of you my Gifts, gift wrap, etc. Pinterest board.  There are so many neat ideas out there for creative gift wrapping and tags.  Some are even printable!  I will share just a few of my pins with you.

I'll start with some simple printable labels with a chalkboard look to them.  Both of these are by Lia Griffith for World Label Blog.  The first set: chalkboard Christmas gift labels
Photo from World Label Blog
 is for any type of gift, and the second set: chalkboard style labels for food gifts

Photo from World Label Blog
 is designed specifically for kitchen gifts.

The Elli Blog has some gorgeous Wooly Woodland printable gift wrap:

photo from The Elli Blog
There are some beautiful gift bags on the board.  This gift bag with sheet music & evergreen sprig is a favorite of mine.  So simple, yet stunning!
photo by The Feathered Nest
These gift bags with printed greeting are so unique.

photo by Thirty Handmade Days
 I would never have thought of this, but I love the idea.  This could be done for any occasion.

This creative gift wrap made from a painter’s drop cloth, from The Idea Room,

photo by The Idea Room
is so pretty and simple.  I love that it can be made either as gift wrap or a gift bag.

And finally, just a few tags.  These washi tape gift tags from Making Home Base

photo by Making Home Base
 are easy, yet so attractive.  Tweens and teens would have fun making these!

photo by A Spoonful of Sugar
These snowflake gift tags (above) from A Spoonful of Sugar are so pretty!

And  lastly, look at these lovely folded gift tags from old Christmas cards!
photo by Jewelry Making Journal
Aren't they so pretty?  Endless room for variety with these!

If these have inspired you to make some handmade wrap, bags, and tags, head on over to my Gifts, gift wrap, etc. Pinterest board for more inspiration!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

My "Gifts for Kids" Pinterest board

A handmade gift I completed this past year
Here is another of my boards to explore: my Gifts for Kids Pinterest board!  Most of the gifts on this board are handmade ones, but there are a few ideas of things to purchase as well.

Here are links and pictures for a few of the items I thought would make fantastic gifts for kids:

This Superhero T-Shirt Quilt is such a great idea.   From My Thrift Store Addiction.

Photo by My Thrift Store Addiction
 You could just search at thrift shops; t-shirts are so inexpensive there.

I love this Be Valiant sign for a kids' room.  What a great encouragement to a child!

Both images from The Happy Scraps
The free printable (which matches the stenciled sign)  from The Happy Scraps is available in a more girly version as well, as seen above.

This list of 20 things to put in a Kids’ Cooking Gift Baskets is from Savings Sarah. 

Photo by a href=“">Savings Sarah

Some great ideas here; I know any kid in my life would love a basket like this!

This Kids’ Study Pillow is another thing many of my grandchildren would love.
Photo by Positively Splendid
 So many great things to sew for kids, it's hard to know where to start.

If you'd rather not give a toy,check out Ten Great Non-Toy Gift Ideas from How Does She.
Photo from How Does She
 Some fantastic ideas here!

Here's a fun and practical idea for a toddler:  Toddler Superhero Scarf.
Photo from The Scrap Shoppe Blog
Looks easy, too!  From The Scrap Shoppe Blog.

This Sleepover Bag with Matching Pillowcase
Photo from Sew4Home
 would make a wonderful gift for tweens or teens.  From Sew4Home.

Last but not least, check out these Quilted Floor Cushions
Photo from DOBLEUFA
from DOBLEUFA.  These would be great for tweens, teens, college kids or anyone who could use some extra seating space.  Love these!

Hope you have found some fresh ideas for the kids in your life!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

My "Handmade Gift Ideas" Pinterest board

Some owl hot packs I made last year
As most of my Christmas kitchen visitors know, I love to give handmade gifts -- for any occasion, but especially at Christmas.  So it's really no surprise that I have an entire Pinterest board dedicated to handmade gifts.  You'll find it here: Handmade Gift Ideas.  I've actually made a number of the items I've pinned, and have many more that I want to try.

I'm going to share a few links and pictures that might interest you and give you an idea of what's on my board.  Ready?  Prepare to be inspired!

Personal family gifts are so meaningful.  Here are some great ideas in that category:

This Family Recipe Album

Photo by Balancing Beauty and Bedlam
from Balancing Beauty and Bedlam is lovely, but you'll want to get started soon if you want to tackle anything like this!

Speaking of recipes, this idea -- Framed Family Recipes for kitchen decor  -- is a bit simpler project,
Photo by Tattered Style
 but could be extremely meaningful.  They are not actually hung by the ribbons (it just looks that way), but are held securely with hangers on the backs of the frames.   By Tattered Style.

I found the next one, perfect for families with young children, on Infarrantly Creative.  It's a guest post by Brooke of The Crafting Chicks: a Family Photo Go-Fish Game.

Photo by The Crafting Chicks
Looks like so much fun!

These Photo Tiles by My Family
Photo by My Family
 could be personalized for family OR friends and would make a thoughtful gift.

Just a few more!  These DIY Lap Desks by So Not Donna Reed
Photo by So Not Donna Reed

 are one of the most often re-pinned items on my board.  I love the idea of making one's own lap desk, but the thought of using an actual wooden board -- just not sure about that.  Seems like it might make the desk sort of heavy.  Still, as much as purchased lap desks cost ... I just might try it.

I love the thought of making one's own soap with all of the supplies easy to purchase now.  No scary lye or anything in this yummy-sounding Lemon Poppy Seed Soap

Photo by Raising Up Rubies
by Raising Up Rubies.

I've saved the best for last!  I am SO intrigued by this Gift Card Snow Globe by The Creative Mama that I have got to try making at least one this Christmas!

Photo from The Creative Mama
Is it not one of the cutest gifts you've ever seen?

Hope you are feeling inspired!  Make a list and get going on some handmade gifts!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Advent calendars and Christmas countdowns

 Few things are more fun for kids during December than counting down to Christmas in one way or another.  They are fun for adults too (speaking for myself here)!  When our kids were young, we had several of the paper Advent calendars with little doors that open for each day.  Sometimes we bought the type with a chocolate candy behind each door.  In her teens, one of my daughters made a handmade Advent calendar with a scene painted on watercolor paper, following instructions in a Tasha Tudor craft book.  It came out so cute!  I wish I had a picture.

Quite a few years ago I made Advent countdowns (as pictured above) for each of my grown kids and their families.  I found old frames at the thrift store and repainted them using crackle medium, then followed countdown instructions from Gooseberry Patch Christmas Book 6 to make the projects.  You can read all about it here: Gooseberry Patch Advent Countdown.

Naturally, with my love for advent calendars and countdowns, I had to make a Pinterest board just for them.  Here's the link:Advent Calendars and Christmas Countdowns.

If you're thinking you might like to make an advent calendar this year, it's time to start.  So here are a few inspiring ideas!

Here's a Christmas countdown I had pinned and blogged about previously: A Fun and Different Advent Countdown  What a neat idea!
CHRISTMAS BUCKET...Kiddos unwrap a present every day in December with family activities.......write letters to Santa, make homemade ornaments, sort through toys to give to a shelter, go look at Christmas lights, Hot chocolate and toast before bed, Christmas movie and so on! --Love this idea for any sort of countdown: birthday, vacation, other holidays. What a great tradition!
Photo by
 You can read all about how it's done at

 Here's a look at just a few of my other favorite ideas:

This  Toolbox Advent Calendar by Sassy Style looks like so much fun to decorate and fill.
Photo by Sassy Style
 You start with one of those small plastic toolboxes with many drawers!

Then there's a Wooden Chalkboard Countdown to Christmas by Brittany at Pretty Handy Girl.

This looks relatively simple, but it's a pretty and fun way to count down the days.
Photo by Pretty Handy Girl
Or how about this sweet Easy No-Sew Burlap Advent Calendar made with printed burlap ribbon?
Photo by Finding Home Online
 It can actually made with any wired ribbon.  By Finding Home Online.

Last, but far from least is this adorable Advent Calendar Kit featured on I Heart Naptime.

Photo from I Heart Naptime
It's so cute -- all packaged in a sweet little red paper suitcase. Unique and lovely.

Hope you have enjoyed this look at my countdown board.  Head  on over to Pinterest to find some of the other neat countdown ideas I've pinned!

Saturday, November 08, 2014

My "Crafting for Christmas" Pinterest board

A "Pinterest project" I made previously
I've been doing a lot of pinning lately and thought it might be nice to share some of my Christmas boards on Pinterest with all of you.  I know I've done this in the past, but have added so many pins to my boards of late (mostly just from blogs and newsletters I get via email).  Since crafting for Christmas is on many people's minds right now, I thought I would start by sharing my Crafting for Christmas Pinterest board.

I just love crafting, period, but never more so than at Christmas time.  I like to see that my kids and grandkids have gifts handmade by me.  Sometimes the ones for my grown kids and their spouses are just kitchen gifts -- candy, cookies, jar mixes -- but there is usually something handmade for everyone.  My goal this year is to get the handmade gifts done by the end of November (all except the kitchen ones).

Then, I should (ideally) be able to spend the first part of December crafting some fun decor items and baking.  I thought that by sharing the Crafting for Christmas board first, other people might find some inspiration for things they want to start right away and complete by Christmas!

Edited to add: I had actually posted this a week ago, but decided that I would edit it to add some links and pictures for some of the nifty ideas on my board.  Here goes:

Let's start at the front door with this creative Christmas Church Wreath from Homespun With Love.

Photo by Homespun With Love
 Isn't it gorgeous?  I love this and would really like to make one.

Now, let's go for a few simple ornaments.  I so enjoy making ornaments and like to add a couple of new ones every year, if I can find the time.  This Tart Tin Ornament by Indulge Your Shelf is so sweet!  The page these were on seems to be gone from Indulge Your Shelf -- I pinned this a couple of years ago -- so the link probably won't work.  But I think they look easy enough to replicate without instructions.
Photo by Indulge Your Shelf
I have a bunch of these little tart tins (brand new) that were my grandmother's.  These ornaments look so simple, and I have plenty of bits and pieces on hand that could be used to trim them.

You noticed the sheet music on the ornament above?  Here is another easy-looking ornament that uses sheet music: the Sheet Music Christmas Ornaments from The Graphics Fairy.
Photo by The Graphics Fairy
So cute, don't you think?

For some pretty Handmade Holiday Napkins, check out  The simple embroidery patterns are free and downloadable.
Photo by
These napkins would be a lovely gift or add an heirloom touch to your own holiday table.  You could certainly add whatever sayings you prefer to these.

Some special Christmas art is so nice to display at this special time of year.  Here are two ideas: Twinkling Christmas Canvas Art from Clean & Scentsible is so pretty.

Photo by Clean & Scentsible
I have seen twinkling art pieces and always admired them.  It's nice to know how to make my own.

And then there is this Simple Christmas Art by Just a Girl and Her Blog.
Photo by Just a Girl and Her Blog
So pretty and meaningful!  Looks fairly easy to make, too.

Just a couple more ideas that I couldn't resist!  First is the Car in a Jar Snow Globe
Photo by It All Started with Paint
 from It All Started With Paint.  Isn't it just so cute?  It seems to me that I need one of these.

And then, lastly, this masterpiece from Elizabeth at Creative Breathing: Seasons Greetings Shadowbox.  The photo below is only a partial view.  You can see it in its entirety on my Pinterest board.  I did find, in clicking my link to make sure it worked, that I got a "the page you are looking for in this blog does not exist" message.  Don't worry.  Click the "shadow box" label in the right sidebar and you can find it easily.
Photo by Creative Breathing
I had made a Christmas shadowbox with vintage bits & pieces a few years back and I was thrilled with how it came out.  But it pales in comparison to this.  I just ache to get out my materials and craft another one!

Okay, that should be plenty of Christmas crafting inspiration for now!  Enjoy!

Monday, November 03, 2014

Getting serious about Christmas crafting

From my collection of vintage Christmas art
How can it possibly be November already?  This just can't be!  But it is, and now it's time to get serious about Christmas crafting.  Typically, I don't do a lot; never as much as I'd like to.  But I do like to make handmade gifts for the grandkids, something they can keep and one day say, "My Grammy made this for me."

This spring I came to the realization that, due to increased eldercare responsibilities, I needed to scale back on the handmade gifts.  I decided to do just one handcrafted item for each of the kids, something uncomplicated and simple but still special.   By midsummer I knew what the gifts would be, and in the fall I began ordering materials, taking advantage of sales.

So far I've finished three of the eleven gifts.  This week I'm hoping to crank out a few more.  I won't be able to post pictures until after Christmas, but I am getting serious about the crafting!