In between our holiday madness I got some crafting in, some for presents and some just for us ūüôā

The year of the banner.  I LOVE making banners for different holidays, birthdays and just for any day of the week.  Some friends received holiday banners this year.

and one for us

This year I moved the village out from under the tree so we needed a new tree skirt.¬† I saw one at¬†a store that inspired me – it was simple just red with snowflakes –¬†I took that basic principle¬†and envisioned a red skirt with different antique doilies attached (as the snowflakes). So¬†began the quest for a red tree skirt (I was going to make one but thought I’d check the thrift stores first).¬† I was at one of my favorites digging through their uber amounts of doilies and I ask the lady behind the counter if they have any tree skirts and what do you know…. she’s about ready to open a big cardboard box that said “christmas stuff” and the first thing she pulls out is this adorable old tree skirt that is absolutely perfect.¬† So I pick up my stack of doilies and my fabulous find and head home to make my new tree skirt.

As I said this was the year of the banner….. here’s one the kids made

I’d have to say this is my favorite ūüôā¬† They did such a good job – my little crafters!

A little something for my friends in Chicago.¬† I did the embroidery in the car on the way to The Skunk Train and I think I was a bit dizzy from the winding roads – as I look at the finished project ūüėȬ† Whoops – well this is part of the appeal of handmade to me, nothing is perfect and no two are¬†alike¬†–¬† let’s just go with that.¬† Hopefully they won’t mind.

And¬†the dowel rod was a bit rough on the ends so I had to figure out a¬†little finial and I found my new favorite thing to do…..

 

felt balls.¬† I had no luck making the felt balls with the soap and water method and then I bought felting¬†needles – and ta da – it’s a miracle – I can make the felt balls ūüôā¬† I am totally jazzed about my new found crafty love.

There was a bit more crafting/creating during the season but in all my rush to get the gifts to their rightful owners (some being back in Chicago) I failed to take pictures ūüė¶¬† but hopefully they are all enjoying their gifts made with lots of love.

What kind of wonderful crafting did you do during the holidays?  Did you receive any great crafts or handmade items? 

One of my favorite was a lip balm and soap made by my muli-talented girl Kendra over at¬†a sonoma garden.¬† She makes all of these wonderful salves and lotions and potions and gardens and cooks and sews beautifully, etc etc.¬†while raising three kids and I think they are up to 6 chickens now too! ¬†I saw she had started to make lip balm and was secretly hoping I’d be getting some this year.¬† And yippee, I did…… Thanks Kendra ūüôā

So I got an email from the Green Moms Carnival and it was about the holidays and the commercialization of them.  There were some great tips/ideas on how NOT to make it commercialized and plastic and get back to the true meaning of the holidays.  Of course it got my mind working.

I LOVE the holidays, especially now with the kids.¬† Last year Ryder and I spent the entire month before Christmas singing every Christmas Carole written and baking.¬† It was the best!¬† One of my favorite things about the holidays is cooking and baking (which is something I love to do and it is something that Ryder and I like to do together).¬† No matter if a holiday dinner is going to be just “us” or if others are attending I like to put out a big spread (I guess b/c that’s what I remember about the holidays when I was young and I love food!)¬†

I do also love to give, but sometimes, in years past, I have felt so overwhelmed with the thought of “buying” just to buy and I just hate that feeling.¬† I like to give meaningful gifts or something handmade (which I’ve been trying to do for the last couple years).¬† It just gets so overwhelming with this crazy buying frenzy energy that is in the air.¬† I live in a smaller town, so there is no mall or major stores around so it’s pretty nice I feel a bit sheltered from the frenzy – until I drive to work (which is in a bigger town).¬† So I have vowed to buy only handmade or local for the holidays.¬† I have also made a lot (jams, sauces, kahlua, etc.) so I plan on giving those as presents.¬† I would like to make a couple more handmade presents.¬†

But, my point being, I am not going to get caught in a frenzy and I’m going to support the local guy.¬† I am the local guy, I will be in a craft fair in November and am trying to locate a few more – so hopefully I will be supported by my fellow “locals” and tourists (I’m not picky).¬†

Etsyis a great place to buy handmade.¬† You can find anything and everything on there.¬† I just bought Saige the cutest hat¬†and I feel good that it didn’t come from a retail store.¬† Even if you don’t buy everything, even just one item, start small, find a local craft fair or local boutique and support someone instead of a large corporation, especially with the what’s going on in the economy.¬† The big guys are taking off with the money while the rest of us suffer, stop giving to the big guys and help out your small local businesses.

Remember what the season is about, getting together with friends and family,¬†remembering old memories, making new memories and being thankful for each other.¬† So don’t let the commercialism of the holiday season get you, fight back, don’t give in – it feels¬†good to buck the system!¬†

Have a great holiday season!

I haven’t been blogging b/c I was asked to make a baby present for a friend who had a shower to go to today.¬† So I’ve been working on a name sign for the gift.¬† Kinda like the one I made for Saige – just smaller.¬† I love how it turned out.¬† My friend gave me no restrictions – she told me the name and the colors of the nursery and of course with the fabric hording that I do, I knew I could find something in my studio.¬†

So, I hope the mama to be is happy with her gift.  I certainly enjoyed making it.

This was the first “official” valentines day for Ryder.¬† I say this because it’s his first valentines day at school and you know how it was back when we were little- everyone gave each other little valentine cards and those little heart candies.¬† I normally don’t¬†get too into¬†Valentines day but this year I thought it would be fun¬†because Ryder, now, has¬†classmates.¬† Now the question is what to do?…… Everything at the store is Made in China and I just couldn’t bring myself to giving out gifts that could potentially (most likely) contain lead or any other toxic substance and would be on my recall list the next day.¬† So I found a recipe for homemade play-dough, perfect, the kids could actually eat the entire ball of playdough and not get sick at all.¬†¬†I¬†thought it would be¬†fun¬†for Ryder¬†to do – so Wednesday morning we got up and started making our play-dough.¬†

 ryder making playdoughryder stirringpink playdough

¬†It actually came out good- the purple color came¬† out a little “mucky” looking but not totally awful.¬†

playdough balls

Now we had to figure out something to put it in РI looked everywhere for little white bags to decorate (and not made in china- close to impossible).  I ended up buying the old-school brown lunch bags and as I left for work last night I told Doug what my concept for the bags was and he and Ryder did an awesome job! 

 bags

¬†I had bought a package of cheap sponges to cut into shapes for stamping- so Doug took a sponge and cut it into a heart and he and Ryder dipped the heart sponge into red paint and stamped the bags.¬† I think they look adorable and it was “made with love by Ryder”.¬†

bags on paradebags in a row

Ryder was so excited to put the balls of play-dough in the bags and bring them to school today for his friends.  Again, he felt that pride of ownership- he made these presents for his friends.

ryder with valentine

For any of you interested in making the play-dough- here’s the recipe (I got it out of Parent’s magazine)

1 C flour

1/2 C salt

2 tsp cream of tarter

1C water

1Tbsp veggie oil

food coloring

combine dry ingredients in pot

combine wet ingredients in bowl

pour wet ingredients into pot of dry ingredients (slowly) while continuing to mix- over medium heat- keep stirring until ball is formed.  Let cool and store in air tight container.

Super easy and fun- and you can make all your own colors