Saturday, November 24, 2007

Christmas Wreath

As Christmas fast approaches, I start to get all the decorations out and sorted ready to go up on the first Saturday of December. Which by the way is in 7 days time!!!!!
I love to have some sort of decoration on my front door and in the past it has been a small token out of my tree decoration box.
But this year I wanted something a little bigger and of course I had to down the 'do it myself' route too!!
I found a plain wreath in a sale held at work (but you can buy them in stores like HobbyCraft).
The cute little pine cone clusters were found on a tree in the countryside around my home. These were dead easy to attach.
The holly decorations I bought in HobbyCraft, I went with two different kinds.
And the little birdies I made myself.
And a couple of close ups.
And Di has also been busy, inspired by Trish's rag wreath. "I cut a ring from thick cardboard using a dinner plate as the template. Then just tied on strips of fabric, red felt and green ribbon."
Then I used some left over 'tartan' fat quarters and calico for a more traditional look!
Thanks for visiting
haPPy creATing
A bit of news!!
We will be off line on Friday the 30th November for our move over to typepad!!
Please be sure to pop back on Saturday the 1st December for the link to our new home.
And to celebrate the move we will be offering a lucky dipper prize for comments left on the new blog all day Saturday.
Don't miss it!!

Friday, November 23, 2007

Winter warmers - three gloopy soups!

soups winter warmers As a family, we eat LOADS of soup at this time of year, both for warmth AND comfort! I find it quick, easy and convenient to throw some veggies into a pot with some stock, turn up the heat, and leave the veg to soften before blitzing the lot with my hand blender. I never follow a recipe for these soups, but they're always delicious, and really filling - even better when accompanied by some home made bread, fresh and still warm. Here are three quick and very easy recipes for soups using only seasonal veg - these all came from this week's veg box. Jo's leek & potato soup a dash of olive oil an onion four or five good sized leeks - nothing too short or skinny! two fist-sized potatoes vegetable stock Put a heavy-bottomed pan over a medium heat and add a dash of olive oil (or other oil or butter, as you prefer). Finely chop an onion and add it to the oil in the pan, and let the onions sweat until soft. Peel and dice the potatoes, and add to the onions in the pan. Thoroughly clean and roughly chop the leeks - cleaning the leeks is really important as there will often be the odd bit of mud lurking somewhere beneath the layers. Add the leeks to the onion and potato in the pan, and let this mixture sweat for about five minutes to soften the veg a little, before adding about half a pint of stock. I usually make up a pint of stock, and add more as necessary, sometimes after the whole lot has been blended. Turn the heat down under the pan, cover and leave to simmer until all of the vegetables have softened enough to blitz! Once softened, the whole lot can be blended either in a liquidizer, or using a hand blender, which is what I normally do. Taste, and add pepper and salt to season, and serve with a swirl of cream and some fresh bread! The same method can be followed for both the carrot & parsnip and the broccoli & sweet potato soups. With the carrot & parsnip I use equal quantities of each veg, and I use one medium-sized sweet potato for each head of broccoli. All of these soups can be very thick and gloopy, depending on the amount of stock you use. I like them like this, but if you find that they're too thick, add some more stock, or some skimmed milk. My children love these soups, and they're a great way of getting veggies into reluctant veg eaters. Enjoy!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Jingling Reindeer Cards...

There is nothing like the sound of jingling bells to get you in the mood for Christmas so why not spread the feeling and use them on some of your special Christmas cards.
Step 1
Gather together your materials

(Papers from Dovecraft and Crafts By Carolyn, reindeer by Crafts for Christmas)

Step 2

Trim patterned paper to fit your card blank, edge with black chalk ink and adhere to card.

Step 3

Trim white cardstock to fit your reindeer, edge with black chalk ink and mat onto black gingham paper. Trim this and edge again using the black chalk ink.

Step 4

Attach your reindeer to the card mat using strong glue (I used my trusty sticks everything glossy accents)

Step 5

Use foam pads to raise your reindeer from the card to give added dimension.

Step 6

Tie a co-ordinating ribbon around your card and thread two silver bells on before securing the knot

I hope you and your family enjoy making and receiving this little jingling reindeer - We always like to see what you have been making so please leave a link in the comments box

Love Andrea xx

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Advent gift box

Hi, it's Maria here with an idea for an alternative advent calender. We used to have the cardboard calenders but they often get forgotten about or they fall apart before Christmas.
And, if they contain choccie it's a fight to get there before our dog Lucy. She's not allowed choccie, obviously, but she's a bit of a sneaky pup.
Anyhoo, I now put together an advent gift box for the girlie wirlies. I love choosing a selection of little goodies and wrapping them up prettily. The look on the girlie wirlies' faces is a picture when they get their box of goodies.
You will need
* A festive gift box - I use a Christmas biscuit tin for each girlie
* Tissue paper for wrapping
* Ribbon
* 24 small gifts/sweeties
I have shown a small selection of the goodies that will be going in our tins and I will pad it out with other bits and bobs. Sweeties like Love hearts are a special treat in our house so I'll wrap a pack of them. Some small bars of choccie will go in all nicely wrapped. I'll split a packet of gel pens and wrap them up individually. Anything from Claire's is a winner so a little shoppie shop there is required.

You really don't have to spend a fortune on goodies and could just fill the tin with a sweetie for each day.

I tend to keep our box as a lucky dipper but you could number the pressies. You don't even have to put 24 goodies in and could make it last for as many days as you wanted. You really can make it however you fancy and according to your budget.

I quite fancy doing one for the run up to a special birthday. You could give a gift and a clue about the real pressie that is in the tin for the big day. Mind you, if I received it I'd be very tempted to have a sneeky peek.

I hope that you like my advent box and I'd love to know about any Christmas traditions in your home. You never know the advent gift box could become a new tradition for your family.

Ooh, before I go I must say *WOW* love those glitter mists Angela. I think I shall have to partake of some of those.

Ooh, ooh, don't forget that we are still collecting for breast cancer awareness and will have a few more giveaways for those that donate.

Toodle pip

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Playing With Glimmer Mists

Hi there, its Angela here again!!! Today I want to show you some techniques using one of the hottest new mediums in the craft/altering world at the moment – Glimmer Mists. I have 3 colours at the moment, but after all this playing I have ordered some more :) Glimmer Mists are made by Tattered Angels, and they come in a spray bottle, a bit like glittery Colour washes. They are primarily for use on paper, but they can be used with caution on some other mediums. They can be very messy, so if you are particular about your work area, it is probably best to cover it! You need to shake the Glimmer Mists really well before each use, as the Shimmery part settles on the base of the bottle, and when you spray, hold it about 10 inches away from your project to get a good over all cover. First I sprayed the three colours randomly onto a piece of white cardstock, while this was still wet, I placed a piece of clingfilm on top and moved this around to create a texture and left the piece to dry. When it was dry the texture looked like this: These would make great backgrounds for cards. Next I tried a resist technique by embossing a stamped image with clear embossing powder and them spraying the mists over this. The colours pooled on top of the embossed area and I wiped this off carefully using a baby wipe. I love the effect this gave. I then sprayed a variety of surfaces to see how well it works on them. First I used a wooden Christmas Decoration, it worked well on this and you can see the shimmer well on it. I also used a paper bloom, which had been a very pale green and spritzed the colours. This is a beautiful effect and ties in wonderfuly with some of the new Blonde Moments Scrapbook papers! I then tried Model Magic, which is a modelling clay that is like spongy foam when it dries (this enables you to sew through it). I cut a christmas tree out with a cookie cutter and then stamped a snowflake image into it. When it was dry I then sprayed it with the Colour Mists. Finally, I used the colour mists to try the “Faux Watercolour” Technique that Tim Holtz uses in his first DVD. Spray the mists onto your stamp, and then place the stamp onto a piece of card. Here are 3 images I tried. A word of warning though, this does stain the wood on wooden stamps, so if you are concerned about this, you could just use unmounted ones. Now I have 4 beautifully coloured wooden blocks! :) I hope that this will encourage you to do some more experimenting ! ~angela~

Monday, November 19, 2007

From start to finish

Mid month Monday and the final crochet blanket update!!
For our new readers, the full story is here.
But why don't I recap anyway :)
In the summer I decided to crochet blankets for my nieces for Christmas.
They started out as beautiful coloured balls of wool, all sitting in a big basket.
My first lesson....a 3x3 square 'blanket', that's mine on the right!
It was fun working out all the different colour combinations and how many of each I would need.
224 squares per blanket!!
Putting them together for me was the tough bit but it was also exciting to see how the finished product would look!
224 squares being laid out on a piece of calico.
224 squares pinned to a piece of calico.
448 squares make two very pretty blankets!!
Washed and wrapped ready to go under the tree :)
Oh and of course I am a sucker for punishment so blanket number 3 is underway!!!!
lol, it's addictive!!
This one is slightly different, each square is made up of 6 rows not 4. And i'm also substituting the pink for red :)
For me, this was a HUGE achievement because I am a great starter of projects but not a great finisher.
My DH didn't think I would pull it off, but has since told me how proud he is of me. That kinda makes it even more special!!
If you've not tried crochet yet, it's a must.
Oh and before I forget, I must show off this beautiful blanket made by such a lovely lady whose blog I love to read!!
It's so easy and really, if I can do this anyone can :)
haPPy monDAy!!
haPPy creATing!!
PS To sign up for the A-Z Project pop us an email

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Christmas Gift tags

Good day to you all!!
Today we are going to be looking at homemade gift tags.
As crafters we enjoy making gifts and taking extra time in creating unusual wrapping. So, to top off a gift, you need a hand made tag.
And these can be as simple as a stamped, coloured in image like the ones below......
Or something a little more like these gorgeous tags made by Andrea!
And Di has made some 'shabby' tags to use with her rag bags.
I started with some heavy cardboard, paint, glitter glue ribbon and brads. I cut the cardboard into 'tag size' bits, painted and sanded them. Then added some glitter glue and attached some ribbon with a brad.
I then made tiny 'bags' for the tags from calico and ribbon. Popped the tags in and Voila.
The tags looks so cute on matching 'rag' gift bags again made from calico and ribbon.

Thanks for visiting and have a great Sunday!! Caz xx

Don't forget to sign up to the A-Z Project which kicks off on the 5th January! That's just 7 weeks away. For full details see here

Oh and be sure to leave us a comment if you want to stand in line to win a Pocket and Floss kit. The draw will take place at 9.00pm tonight!