Friday, November 18, 2011

Handmade Christmas Part 1

One of the blogs that I just started to read is encouraging readers to take the commercialism out of Christmas by making, thrifting or buying homemade presents this year (craft fairs, etsy, etc). She even has a pledge. I love, love, love the idea of giving "gifts that are unique, meaningful and full of love" rather than something bought just to cross the name off the list.

When I suggested to my husband that we take the pledge, he actually said, "But I like new things." Hmmm. And if I let myself admit it, I do too. So I've decided to have a mostly, okay, somewhat homemade Christmas. I'll make presents for people that actually appreciate them, like my mom and my sister, and buy presents for those that like new. Like my husband.

So, my first homemade gift this year is for my sister. She recently decided to go back to school to become a nurse (a life-long dream and I am so proud of her). She had to move away from the house she owns and live in a little rental apartment. She told me it needed a little brightening up. So I dug into my scrap bins and I'm giving her some bright!

First is a patchwork bath mat. I used 3" squares and an old towel for the backing. Easy peasy.

Then I made some hand-towels to match.

Finally, because the kitchen needed some love too, I made a couple of patchwork dish towels.

Little sister done. Now I just have to wrap, pack and mail before Christmas. Isn't that the hard part?

What about you? Are you having a homemade Christmas?

Friday, November 11, 2011

A Family Day

Today is Remembrance Day here in Canada. Along with taking the time to remember the horrible consequences of war and praying for peace, today is a much needed family day for us.

So today I am:

...baking yummy cinnamon buns. Thank you Pioneer Woman.

...teaching my 5-year old how to make paper snowflakes.

...creating homemade Christmas presents.

...listening to haunting war and peace songs on the Folk/Roots station

...loving my beautiful family.

...remembering my amazing maternal grandparents, who put their lives on hold to serve in the Canadian Air Force in WW2. My grandfather was stationed in India, and my grandmother worked as a dietitian in a Montreal hospital. Thankfully they both returned safely to Canada, and I am so proud of their contribution.

How are you spending your Remembrance Day?

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Halloween Recap

Three kids ready to Trick or Treat. And only one angry Tinkerbell.

We survived Halloween for another year. I must admit, there were times last night when I asked myself "Why the hell am I doing this?" Especially when I had to bribe the kids to wear the costumes I made for them.

A little spider with 8 eyes.

My son only lasted in his "mama-made" costume for about 30 seconds. Just long enough to snap this photo. At least he is smiling. I made the costume from the cutest book, Cute and Easy Costumes for Kids by Emma Hardy. I used black dobby minky for the body and leg warmers from the Dollar Store for the legs. My kids love the show, Wild Kratts, and they learned that spiders have eight eyes, so I made him a hat with a Dollar Store toque and Styrofoam balls. Unfortunately, the legs were pretty awkward and heavy and he hated it. So he trick or treated in a hand-me-down, store-bought, made in China lion costume. Admittedly, he looked pretty cute, and at least he was warm and comfortable.


And then there was my oldest daughter, who's Tinkerbell costume almost put me over the edge (thanks for all the kind words of support...I needed it). She was so upset that I forgot to make her pompom shoes (I even bought the pompoms, but do you think I can find them anywhere? It is terrible cleaning up for house showings....sometimes things just get thrown anywhere so the house at least looks clean). She was a trooper though and didn't even complain about the cold. She didn't wear it to school as she opted for her store-bought, made in China dress-up purple Fairy costume instead. Do you sense a trend?

But after all the costume drama, the kids had a wonderful time and were so excited to visit our friends and neighbours.

My 5-year old matched the pairs of fabrics for the bunting.
My only other Halloween craft this year was a quick and easy Halloween Bunting. I bought 2 kits from the amazing Amy at Diary of a Quilter. My oldest daughter sorted the fabrics into pairs, and then decided the order for me. I used Amy's tutorial to make the bunting, but I made my own binding strips out of Kona Black as I didn't have any store-bought and the baby was sleeping when I was putting it all together. My advice: don't wake a sleeping baby to buy craft supplies. She gets woken up enough with all of our back and forth trips to school everyday. 

Halloween Bunting on my front door.

The bunting lived in our living room for a couple of days before I stuck it outside on Halloween. I'm pretty thrilled with how easy it was to make and how good it looks. Minimal input for maximum output. My kind of craft. I've already reserved a few Christmas bunting kits from Amy...

I love my new Halloween bunting.

For now, I am so thankful that Halloween is over. I'm going to have to rethink my costume making for next year. Perhaps we'll just keep it simple. Remind me of this next October, okay?

How was your Halloween. Did the kids wear your homemade costumes?