“Christmas Break”…that’s a really nice way of saying “I stopped blogging consistently for several months because I procrastinated all year long”, right? I promise there were good reasons!
Most years, I opt to handmake a lot of our Christmas presents. It’s more cost-effective (read: cheaper) that way, plus it gives me an excuse to be all crafty and hopefully people like it. This year, two friends turned me on to Pinterest. Remind me to smack them later, as I have spent countless hours feeling productive but not actually doing anything. However, I did find tons of awesome things I wanted to try, and started Christmas crafting around mid-November. Here’s what I’ve been up to….
I made a few clip holders and hair clips for some of my girls
I found this recipe for Snow Playdough, which I packaged up with a snowflake cookie cutter for some of the Munchkins. It’s weird that I have an opinion on such things, but this is the best homemade playdough recipe I’ve ever used, and that’s saying something. I would say, maybe don’t use olive oil? I wanted this a little less off-white.
Two years ago, I made sock animals for my Munchkins. These are still a favorite of mine to make, so I whipped up a bunny for the baby.
I had been eyeballing this project for a while, and am so glad I did it. I made several sets of coasters, and will totally be whipping up some for our house in the near future. These are the best instructions I found, and you can totally ask me if you have questions. Tip: don’t stack the coasters for several days, or they’ll stick. Ask me how I know this.
This set was for Sweet Lizzy, and I think she liked them. Mama liked hers, too! I think doing some with pictures would be awesome, don’t you?
I learned how to add snaps to a project, too! This was amazingly simple and I can’t believe I’ve been so leery of it. This was a pillowcase for a small pillow I made for Daddy. Next stop: grommets!
A few years ago, Mama brought me a handmade coffee cup sleeve to use as a pattern. I’ve been meaning to get to it, but have been busy enough as it was. So finally I combined the one I already had with these instructions and the result was pretty good. I found the pattern I pinned to be too small, so just traced my own cup sleeve and added a 1/2 inch allowance all around. I will say my corduroy was entirely too thick and hard to work with, but I seem to be the master of choosing wrong fabrics. Why change now? These were for Sweet Lizzy and Little Brother’s stockings.
Since our oven has been out of commission for about six months, all my Christmas goodies were stove-top this year. One of the bloggers I follow had a tutorial on her blog for homemade marshmallows, and they turned out great. My photos would not come close to being as awesome as hers, so hop over and check them out. And whip up some marshmallows — they really are as easy as anything and will ruin you for store-bought ones. I’ve made them twice, and I think they’ll be my staple from now on. Don’t even think about smelling them while you make them, though — none of the ingredients smell yummy and while you mix them they smell….well, like sweat. Just don’t. The result is delicious, trust me! And I used a candy thermometer for the first time! Yay for new knowledge!
Last year, I made an ornament wreath for our door. This year, Mama wanted one to tie her red and green color scheme together. I’m pleased with the way it turned out, and she got lots of compliments on it.
The next four pictures are my new favorite project. I had so much fun doing these, and they’re seriously easy. When I found the templates for these, I also found a great blog with so many awesome ideas. I can’t take any of the credit here; this site had great instructions and free templates and all I had to do was follow along. Idiot-proof and cute – how can you top that? Grab a car and start playing…
If we’ve talked in the past six months, I’ve probably gripped to you about the baby blanket I was working on. Usually I can crochet a couch-sized throw in about two months, and a baby blanket in a month or so. If you’re faster, bully for you — I work 55 hours a week as well. In June, we found out a cousin was having a baby girl. I looked up their registry, found out their color scheme, put my sister in law’s blanket on hold, and went to buy yarn. I made the mistake of buying a yarn based on color alone, and I’ve rued that day for six months. I intended to have this done by September for my cousin’s wife’s baby shower. When I wasn’t close to done, I figured I’d have it done by the time she arrived in early November. When that wasn’t possible my only alternative was to be done by Christmas. And I was!…..at 12:30 AM on December 24th. I used Washable Ewe worsted weight from Stitch Nation. I will say this: the colors are gorgeous, kind of cotton candy-esque and apparently matched the baby’s room great, and it certainly held up to washing (and a brief tumble in the dryer to finish drying before I had to wrap it). It’s soft and feels great. Other than that, it’s an absolute pain to work with! Every third stitch fell out, my hook went right through it constantly, and it’s slippery. I seriously made this blanket three times, after it was all said and done. I’ve never been so glad to get something finished in my life. And I’m sure Mama and Brian are tired of seeing me work on it!
The irony, of course, was that I really don’t like pink or purple, and the combination kind of makes my skin crawl. But when it was finished, I loved it.
Other awesome links that I wanted to share were for Nutella Puppy Chow and Hot Chocolate on a Stick. Oh, my word. The puppy chow (called white trash here in the south) is so simple and sinful, and the hot cocoa will now be a staple around our house. It’s far and away the best recipe for hot chocolate that I have tried, and it’s totally worth the time it takes to make. Which isn’t much, but is a bit more intensive than the old “throw cocoa and milk together and heat” option. Make some and keep it on hand — you’ll thank me.
How’s that for a Christmas wrap up?