Day 11 – Twelve Days of Christmas Challenge

Nearly there!

As Kitty pointed out to me about 10 days ago, it seems a pity that as the deadline approaches on this particular challenge, the more things I actually have to make. Not only is there the pressure of coming up with the idea in the first place but I then have so much more to do.

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It would have been rude to revert to the decoupage so soon, therefore I have used some very plain wooden decorations, and in the words of my favourite Aunt ‘tarted them up a bit’. Some of them are sporting little ribbon bows I made using a handy little trick with a fork I learned from the fabulous Handimania site. If you haven’t come across this one yet can I suggest you go and hunt them out.

Cat x

Day 10 – Twelve Days of Christmas Challenge

Until Kid and KC came along I always used to make my own Christmas cards. It was a bit of Christmas one upmanship (came back to bite me on the bum didn’t it!) and also because I really am not a fan of the wholesale commercialisation of Christmas. Cards really are incredibly easy to create as some of my efforts over the years will prove.

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You are going to have to take my word for it that there are 10 of these cards. I know that I painted 10 because I cut 10 out and I’m pretty sure that I stuck 10 on, but who’s counting! I’ve taken advantage of the good old die cutter only this time I used sparkly silver paper. I then spent a very therapeutic hour or two doing some old fashioned colouring in. I heard on the radio this morning about occasional ironing being good relaxation, well stuff that, there is nothing nicer than getting out the marker pens or paintbox to create something beautiful.

I’m going to get some gold envelopes to go with these and next year, who knows, they could be brightening up someone’s letterbox or mantelpiece.

Cat x

Day 9 – Twelve Days of Christmas Challenge

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There’s nothing I like more than a new crafty skill, not least because I can add some more stuff to the children’s ‘art and craft’ cupboard. Even better is when it’s a craft that really doesn’t require masses of practice and trial and error to achieve a great result.

So it is with decoupage. It doesn’t matter how random your approach to this particular craft, providing you have a small amount of patience and the right tools for the job i.e. glue and paper you can achieve some pretty great results.

I bought myself some cotton baubles (mainly because they didn’t have the size I wanted in polystyrene or cardboard) glued in some ribbon I found in my stash and then got on with the sticking. Because these baubles were pretty small I found it easier to do all of them on one side first then go back and do the other. This meant that I always had one dry side to leave on the newspaper.

Cat x

Day 8 – Twelve Days of Christmas Challenge

On the eighth day of Christmas someone’s true love sent them eight maids a milking. One presumes therefore that they must have brought their own cows with them to make it a truly spectacular present. Today’s homes are a little too bijou for such a grand gesture (thank goodness) and heaven only knows where you would store all that milk, or the dung for that matter.

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My offering is ultimately more manageable. I’ve made eight felt poinsettias out of green and red glitter felt. Some time go I purchased a die cutter – which Mr Cat claims he has never seen before every time I get it out! This handy little gadget makes short work of cutting out complex shapes but the big downside of it is that the dies which go with it are not at all cheap so I don’t have a vast collection.

Fortunately however, one of the dies I do have looks pretty much like a poinsettia to me and has been used on numerous other occasions for Christmas purposes. I cut eight shapes from each type of felt, arranged them in a slightly offset manner and then joined them together using some tiny silver seed beads. These may find themselves on a wreath or table decoration next year, I’m yet to decide what.

Cat x

Day 6 – Twelve Days of Christmas Challenge

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When I first thought up this challenge I spent ages looking for a book I knew I had in my possession called A Christmas Story by Anni Downs of hatchedandpatched.com.au. It didn’t matter which ‘pile’ I looked in (there are many) I couldn’t find it so consequently this challenge has been a little more complex than it probably could have been.

Well guess what. I only went and found it didn’t i? And in the first place I looked for goodness sake. I can’t exactly go back and do the Twelve Days of Christmas stitchery which was my original plan so I’ll just have to leave that for next year. However I have used some of the little stitchery patterns from the book to create these little gift tags all ready for next year. Oh it is nice to be prepared.

Cat x

Day 3 – Twelve Days of Christmas Challenge

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Thank goodness I set the parameters of the challenge so wide or I would be very stressed right now! Given my determinedly relaxed approach to Christmas this would be very problematic.

So, let me introduce you to Day 3 and my very smart reindeer friends Fred, Bob and Bert. These are the ‘reserves’ just in case Dasher and co. can’t do their stuff on the night. They are a design by Lucy Blair who writes a great blog called eastcamphome.com. Even Mr Cat thought they were pretty cool.

Cat x

Harnessing some house envy…

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We are very lucky to live in a part of the UK where there are great State primary schools and plenty of them. This means we have a wonderfully wide range of people, many of whom we can now count as good, if not great, friends.

Recently we have had a new family arrive from Russia. Pretty cosmopolitan even by our local standards. Even more so because they are from Texas (I think, because of the whole hat thing!) and this week a lucky group of us got our first taste of some fabulous US hospitality.

It wasn’t the food that was jaw-dropping (though that was pretty marvellous and prepared by another Mum from our school) it was the truly wonderful Christmas decorations which festooned and adorned every room of the house. There were wreaths, decoupage letters and a pretty cool reindeer. Decorative garlands aplenty adorned the halway and the most magnificent collection of Russian St Nikolai including a gorgeously round Baboushka had pride of place in their very own display shelving. With six trees resplendent in baubles of every hue and shape it was just the thing to get you immersed completely in the Christmas spirit.

Most impressive was the fact that the Mum concerned had made it all herself and was more than happy to show off her tricks of the trade, in particular this wonderful wreath.

Well, my tasteful Christmas decorations now looked frankly a bit substandard, so off I hopped this afternoon to get supplies when I should have either been helping Kitty to decorate the tree or making my items for Day 3 of the Twelve Days Challenge. I parked myself at the kitchen table armed with my roll of insulating tubing and glue gun to create this rather lovely item for my hallway. I’m very pleased with the result, though my top tip would be to put the string you are going to hang it up with on before you start gluing!

Cat x

Day 1 – Twelve Days of Christmas Challenge

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December already… How did that happen!

As Kitty, aka Santa’s most enthusiastic elf, will tell you I like to leave Christmas until the very last minute. In my book there is nothing like that frisson of fear that the stuff you ordered online might not materialise. This year will be doubly exciting as I will be talking full advantage of the up to the wire opportunities offered by the John Lewis click and collect service.

One mystery of Christmas that I still haven’t cracked is exactly when the Twelve days start. Is it the first of December or the 25th given that Twelfth Night is 6th January? Since I have set myself a Twelve Days of Christmas Challenge I’m going to take the view that they start on the 1st and end at some point before the decorations come down.

So today may I present you with Day 1. Kitty, KC and I went to the wonderful Treebarn in the aptly named Christmas Common for some retail therapy. The little fabric Holly was bought with this wooden ring in mind. When we got back I constructed a decoration for Kitty to hang in her bedroom, the first one to go up in the house.

So…

…on the First Day of Christmas, my mummy made for me, a little Holly themed decoration.

Cat x

Day 32

Day32_BaubleI know, I know… it’s only March! But have you seen the weather outside?  Our house looks like Santa and his reindeers are likely to arrive at any moment right now.  I shall be tramping through the snow to the post office shortly and I’m not really looking forward to it I can tell you.  One silver lining of the snow is that all organised outdoor activities this weekend have been cancelled (hooorah!) which means no hours on end spent shivering in the cold – but unfortunately no trip to my favourite sewing shop either.

This little project was sitting on my shelf (rather like Barney Toots) for a little while and I wanted to see how easy the kit was to put together.  I have to admit that it took me an awful lot longer than I expected because the instructions were really poor and the pins provided were so small that they were virtually impossible to pick up.

However, all is not lost, I now know how it works and you will see these reappear later in the year in a slightly different format.  I’m off now to get started on a few projects because I can have a day of guilt-free sewing.

Cat x