Thursday, December 30, 2010

More Last Minute Knitted Gifts

Thank you Joelle (and Mr. Sycamore, and Mom and Dad. I may have mentioned once or twice how much this book was on my list, because I got two copies!)

And within one day I had popped out this! I think I'd use smaller needles to make it a bit more petite. But it couldn't be more cute. Or easier to knit up and decorate.

What did you knit up for the holidays?!
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Sunday, December 26, 2010

Happy Holidays!

From all the snow falling on the northeast to you and yours - happy holidays and take care! May you have a lovely New Year!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Handmade Scarves with Recycled Wrapping

From Joelle Hoverson's Last Minute Knitted Gifts (the first one) - the lacy scarf. A great way to use up a ball or less of lace weight or mohair, very fast with just one row of y/o lace and the rest in stockinette stitch. Each scarf took about an evening.

The little pinky on the right is to match this little hat for a special birthday girl. Toddler scarves totally rock - they need to be narrow and they don't need to be long. Which is good because they can get lost somewhat easily!

For the last several years I have had very good intentions to make some reusable, recycled gift bags. In the interest of time - I know, I know, gift bags only take 10 min or so - I came up with this idea - recycled canning jars with pretty lids and my home-made labels.
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Friday, December 17, 2010

Handmade Fleece Neck Warmers

For the ladies at J's school. These were super easy - I always look in the remnant bin for fleece because it can be a real bargain, and it is almost as nice as wool to work with - no hemming. Or hawing. Of course, I have to be ruthless in only selecting colors I would actually wear, since there are so many of those crazy prints. I'm sure there must be people who enjoy the "no sew throw" but I kind of wonder for a sewing store ... really?

Anyway, I had a bunch of fleece and some embroidery floss so here they are. I've tried them and they are toasty warm, you can fold them over for a turtleneck effect or let them floop or scrunch up. As your style dictates. These are 9" tall by 23" long, I pressed open the seam and sewed the two sides down to just keep the whole thing tidy, then blanket stitch around the top. I found I needed 7x the width in order to make it around in one go, for these that meant about 77" of floss.

If you are searching for last minute projects these took about 30 minutes each. If I were making a manly one, I'd probably use black floss on black or grey fleece, and decrease the height to 6" or so. I might even attempt a skull and cross bones or some other manly emblem. With a matching watch cap it could work, depending on the guy. The fleece definitely avoids the homemade = scratchy curse that men complain about.
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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Deck the Halls

Our crochet garland of lights for the banister. So easy. Such a good way to stash bust some truly noxious acrylics that became quite luminous as "lights." Can you believe all that snow last year!?

What holiday craft could be easier with kids than paper chains for the tree? This allowed for cutting, taping, and running around with the cats chasing the end of the chain. I started out with red, white and green only - but realized it looked like we were decorating for the tour d'Italie, so we went back to the construction paper and colored it up.

Happy crafting! The Purl Bee has some great holiday decorations and ideas, go check them out. You're probably a little late for Etsy but if you hit the "shop local" button your gifts might make it. I'd say I'm about 80% of the way, with a long car ride still to go (that was when I made the mini sweater ornaments last year). Still lots of baking on the list.

This time of year it is easy to get carried away and overscheduled. Take deep breaths near your tree (mmmm. pine) and take frequent breaks for peppermint hot chocolate! Savor savor savor the season and stay well.
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Monday, December 13, 2010

Thrifty Monday - Chair and (ahem) Bookshelf

So this chair seemed like a total steal - $5 and look at those legs! I figured, with a coat of white paint and a new cushion color, something mod and fun ... easy update. But then I remembered.

This post from one year ago. This shelf has not somehow painted itself a non-dirty-barbie color. In fact, it seems to be gathering stuff in an attempt to hide from paint.. but look at those legs! Do we have a match?!

With only half my hand-made items actually made for the holidays and the clock running down, I am not allowed to paint these before January. Please send me positive thoughts that I will not be blogging a year from now about how much I really really need to get painting them.
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Friday, December 10, 2010

Fix-it Friday - Pine Cone Wreath

See the bald spot on the right hand side? Just need to find the right pine cone. And a big big bow...

Thank you thrift store! And thank you for the decorative hunting horns which my kids are currently using like kazoos. I think I need to go restore order.
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Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Advent Calendar Up

Thanks, Maya, for the idea! J and Sweet P helped with the stapling, hole punching, and stickers. A little snowman finds his way into the appropriate numbered pouch overnight.

I'm not organized enough to have a stack of little winter-themed doodles for each pouch - but on reflection realized that the open pouches and toddlers meant that one present is enough to help count down days. Nothing would stay in these pouches very long - we hung them at toddler height in the dining room for easy access. Which gives the kitty cats perfect access too... J is working on numbers and very proud of his abilities in this arena, so this is a great exercise for him. And after we finished the stickers, they still wanted more, so I printed out another sheet for them to stick on themselves, and for us grownups I printed out "Merry Christmas" and some snowflakes which I stuck on the backs of the pouches - as we turn them around day by day the secret message becomes clearer and clearer. And since it is on a string we can easily take it with us to Grammy and Gramp's house for the final countdown.

Of course, now I have found another number game Advent on Etsy. I'll have to remember that for next year!
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Monday, December 6, 2010

Procrastinating. And Another Advent Calendar

All right, I do know that it is the 6th. That just seems to be how my organizing skills are functioning this year. And this fabric-pocket advent hanging - and the sweet grandchildren cards within - is a fantastic idea. Thanks Florence!

And remember my plans to make at least one tree skirt before we needed one this year? I'll let you guess.

But really, nothing can dampen my spirits about this time of year. I love it. We headed out to the hills yesterday in the howling wind to choose our tree, and sat by the fire and visited with the bunnies on the farm to warm up. When we got home my big big 3 1/2 year old put ALL the glass balls on the tree by himself almost before I had turned around. He found all the hooks he needed, then, full of concentration, walked them each over to the tree, up the step stool, and onto branches. When I asked why he had them all clustered together and suggested he spread them out he explained as if I were completely hopeless:

"Mommy. They're a family."

Hoping you and your family have a wonderful, joyful, and peaceful holiday season!
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