Showing posts with label christmas. Show all posts
Showing posts with label christmas. Show all posts

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Christmas, Presents and the New Year

What a holiday!

I know, I know, it's been a while since I posted, but between making Christmas and spending some well needed quality time with the hubby (who had almost two weeks off!) it's been a little hectic. Hence, there will probably be a lot in this post!

Gee, where to start?

Typically, the holidays aren't the greatest for me. Holidays are cursed in my family. I won't bore you with all the details, but I will tell you that even with the difficulties, Christmas was always the best. My grandmother always made it special. We always had a very decorated tree, Bing Crosby crooning, and wonderful homemade desserts. I think she embodied the idea of Christmas. She always loved to give presents to people, even to those who should have gotten a lump of coal.

But then two years ago on December 29th, she passed away. It was hard enough since this wonderful woman raised me and was in every way but biological my mother, but did it really have to happen right after Christmas, her favorite time of the year? Maybe for her it was the best thing, to be surrounded by the people who loved her at her favorite time of the year, but for me it was cruel. The joy of the season has this dark cloud over it.

But this year it was different.

For Christmas Eve, presents I made, and Doctor Who crafts I'll be making, click the link!

Friday, December 17, 2010

8 Days and Counting!

I'm having trouble accepting that Christmas is only 8 days away. It doesn't feel like the holidays. This could be perhaps it's just starting to snow (however, there's not much accumulation). Or it could be because holidays are cursed in my family. Perhaps because my beloved Mama passed away four days after Christmas two years ago. And perhaps it's all of the above. 

Yeah, I know, this is getting depressing.

But this year it's been different from the past several. This year has been a very crafty Christmas. I've made:
  • Christmas tree ornaments and tree topper.
  • Stockings.
  • Curtains. Simple, but definitely bring a Christmas-y feel to the house.
  • Cards
  • Presents! 
I've never done this before. At first, because Mama was always the one who did the decorating (one year, we had a Pilsbury doughboy Christmas!). Then because I just got too busy (school, work). But this year I finally had the time, and will, to do things myself. And that's making this Christmas good.

So why did I decide to make a majority of presents instead of buying them?

Your first thought is probably "because it's cheaper!" And I can't lie. This is part of it. Being in a one income household, you have to find ways to remain inside your budget. But it's more then that. This is a time of giving, a time of thinking about the people who really matter to you. I've always loved homemade gifts because it gave me a sense that the person was really thinking about me. And that's what I've tried to do this year. I put a lot of thought into the presents I've made, trying to take the recipient's likes and personality into it. It's also unique and one of a kind (unless I like it so much I decide to make one for myself, lol). Hopefully, they'll appreciate that. I know Sam did, hearing her delight as she opened her presents. I'll let you know in 9 days if I was successful or not with the others. ;)

I know it's last minute and everyone's in a rush to get their shopping finished, but if you're stressing over those last minute gifts, I really suggest trying to make something. It doesn't have to be big or flashy. All it has to do is show that you really thought about the person you made it for. :)

So here are some ideas that can be done quickly and inexpensively.

  • Earrings. At Joann's they have small kits that have all the findings you need to make several pairs of earrings. See here and here. They also have several more colors (gold, bronze, copper) in the actual store. All you need to do it add some beads, jewels or baubles. Herehere and here are some examples of earrings I've made. You can make them as extravagant or as simple as you want.
  • Scarfs. Here's a super easy idea for men and women. You can either make the scarf yourself, using fleece (just cut out a long, thin triangle, then cut slits at the end about an inch apart for fringe) or go to the Dollar Store and buy one. Then personalize it. You can go buy a patch and iron it on or even make one yourself. Have a guy friend who likes Batman? At any craft store, they sell 8x11 sheets of felt for approx. 30 cents. Buy/make a black scarf, then using a sheet of yellow felt, cut out the bat symbol and iron it on using Steam-A-Seam or craft glue (if you're using glue, make sure it's the washable kind).
  • Bookmarks. Have a friend who's a bookworm? I know for myself there's no such thing as too many bookmarks. Have a printer? Find a quote, a picture, put them in the program of your choice (for me, it's Microsoft Publisher) and print! Laminate and you're done! If you want to get more fancy, you can use scrapbooking paper, stickers, stamps, ribbons, the options are endless! To make this even better, buy a cheap book you think the person would like and put the bookmark in it.
  • Magnets. Do the same as above, just get a magnetic strip and adhere it to the back! 
  • Stationary. Get some plain white (or colored!) paper and envelops, then using rubber stamps and/or stickers, decorate them. Use themes. Cats, dogs, dragonflies, monkeys, ninjas. I have a set a friend made me with cat paw prints along the top and bottom of the paper and I love it!
  • Ornaments. You all know my new obsession with ornaments. I've had good luck with the guys liking these because sometimes ornaments are too girly. This way they can have their superhero/villain, zombie, sci-fi, motercycle, manly ornament. Just get some cheap balls from the Dollar store, paint them then coat them Modge Podge or another sealer. If you want to get really fancy, make them out of clay. 
  • Jewelry organizer for chains and earrings. This isn't as hard as it sounds. Get an 11x18 cheap mirror with a wooden frame (I got mine from the dollar store) and paint it. Then using push pins or small screw in hooks place them down each side and across the bottom of the mirror. That's it! This was one of my favorite projects because all my earrings and necklaces are organized and I can decide what I want to wear based on my outfit! See mine here
  • Picture frames. Again, dollar store. Paint and decorate them.

I know a lot of people here "do-it-yourself" and start freaking out because they think it'll take a lot of time and energy.  But it really doesn't have to. And here's a helpful hint: dollar stores are wonderful! They have items already constructed that all you have to do is tweak a bit: slap on a coat of paint, add some ribbon/stickers/embellishments and ta-da! Worried that these little things might not be enough? Why not do several and stick them in a gift bag or stocking? The point is to think about the person you're making them for and to reflect their personality!

Speaking of... I need to finish making my Christmas presents. Happy crafting!

* I use Joann's website to show you the products I'm talking about, but you don't have to shop there. I like them because they're a chain store, are everywhere and usually carry the same products.

Monday, December 13, 2010

I'm Dreaming of a Geeky Christmas!

Finally! The Geeky Christmas Tree Completed!

I know, I know. It's been a while. But you have to forgive me because it's the busy holiday season! ;) But here it is! The rest of the ornaments and the finished Christmas tree! 

One of hubby's favorite movies. He can quote it from beginning to end. I think this this is his favorite one. :)

Monday, November 8, 2010

First round of Geeky Christmas Ornaments!

So here they are! The first round of geeky ornaments! For the most part, I'm pretty happy with them. A lot of this has been experimentation, seeing what works and what doesn't. But anyway, blah blah blah, onto the pictures!

The Tardis from Doctor Who

Oh the joys of technology!

My computer has decided it no longer wishes to work properly. Which means that my updates will be less frequent then I hoped.

Most of the weekend was spent with the hubby instead of crafting, but I did manage to work on my Christmas tree topper. The rain finally let up enough that I was able to spray paint it with primer. Now I have to get to the store to get some gray paint (ooo! Hint!) to paint it, so I hope to have it finished by the end of the week. I really love how it's turning out. Hmmmm. I wonder how soon I can convince the hubby to let me put up the Christmas tree? Is before Thanksgiving too soon? ;)

I also worked on some ornaments. I bought these silver balls at the dollar store (that were on sale for 50 cents!) and was thinking about how to paint them. They're pretty shiny, so I didn't want to do anything extravagant, so what I did was paint a couple of simple symbols on them, like the Green Lantern symbol. I also used some more obscure symbols that us die hard geeks should be able to get. ;)

I'm beginning to really love clay. It's a great medium to make ornaments out of and it's relatively cheap. At Hobby Lobby, they have Sculpy Oven Bake clay for 99 cents and come in all the basic colors. They're small packs but I'm able to get one 5-6 inch ornament out of it with some left over.

Pictures to come soon!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Christmas Time!

I know. A lot of people don't like to hear about Christmas this early. But I love Christmas. It was always the best time of year during my childhood. My grandparents owned their own land and for 50 years Papa sold Christmas trees. Every year we would hike up the hill together, pick out the best tree, haul it down, and put it up. Mama had the best ornaments too. Some store bought, but a lot of them homemade, including real gingerbread men. When I left home, I didn't take many ornaments with me and for the past few years, my Christmas tree has been pretty sparce.

So for this year's tree I've decided to make my own Christmas ornaments. But not just any ornaments. See, one important thing about me is that I'm a sci-fi addict. Doctor Who, Babylon 5, Star Trek, X-Files, Firefly, etc. So this year's Christmas tree is going to be sci-fi themed. I have a few ideas of how I want to accomplish this. I have my tree topper started (I am extremely proud of this, so I'm going to wait to reveal it until I'm finished). I also found some silver balls on sale at the dollar store (score!) to paint. And clay. I'm beginning to love clay. I might extend this to include fantasy and comic books things as well. Because I love Batman. And Iron Man. And Green Lantern. Maybe a better title would be "Geek Christmas Tree." ;)