Sunday, 30 December 2012

Christmas Creativity

In previous years I have been a self confessed Christmas grinch, yet something happened this year, and I embraced Christmas with a new found passion.Through a lot of soul searching and self diagnosis I have concluded that I have embraced Christmas as a mark of respect for my Mama who we lost earlier this year. Mama loved Christmas; her house was always full of decorations and family, and she made lots of her own Christmas traditions. 

So, with a new found love of Christmas and a joyous outlook to spending the season with family, I got creative. I started making Christmas decorations for the house, my first stop was bunting. So I cut out the triangles of fabric and then crankily came to find that my rarely used and inherited sewing machine was screwed. So ANNOYING! I could have hand sewn the decorations, but that's not what I was after. I wanted a quick fix that looked good. Not something that took a whole day to complete and that I would stare at the inconsistent stitches in disappointment. So to push on through I used double sided tape to stick the triangles together. Instant gratification and it gives a nice clean finish-only time will tell about the fraying aspect. 

Anyways, to cut a long story short on the bunting front, you can't replace a good old metal machine with a crappy new plastic one. So my sewing machine is in hospital and will be my New Years present when I pick it up-that's if the machine doctor can fix it. I'm remaining positive. If said machine has successful CPR the bunting will be a completed project. Currently the triangles are just sitting on my play table.

Using a template to mark out bunting triangles.

Fabric craft with my vintage scissors-they make me feel like I know what I'm doing when I have NFI.

So, with the bunting put on the back burner it was time to start a Christmas project that I've had in mind way back since Christmas in July time. I have to confess that whilst the design was mine, I did recruit Mr Nadene to help me with the execution, and the photography. Every great person knows how to put the skills of their loved ones to good use, and Mark has a great eye for photography (which I'm OK at) and straight lines (which I totally suck at).

The idea was formed when I wanted to have my Mama's and Nanna's beautiful broches on display, and not just put away in a draw. And Christmas is the perfect time to have your loved ones, and things that remind you of your loved ones around. I began by placing all the brooches out on my spare bed to roughly gauge how big the tree needed to be. Then Mark did all the measuring, drawing up and cutting straight lines with the jig saw. Honestly, I would have loved to do the wood working side of things, but after Mark did the hard work I figured he deserved to have some fun.

The backboard.

I then drew the outline of the tree on the felt, allowing for overhang to glue the felt to the wall side of the backboard, and got happy with the glue gun. WARNING- if you do a small project with a glue gun beforehand, and think it is fine to position fabric and hot glue with your fingers cos it really isn't that hot, don't fall in to the false sense of security with a big gluing project. It gets freaking HOT!

'Pattern drawing' the felt to go on the backing board.

The felt covered tree-festively red of course.

Once the tree was made I let it sit for a few hours for the glue to firmly set. Patience is not one of my strengths, and I have to confess that my hands were itching to start this project.

After a few hours I started positioning the brooches, and struggling to get the pins to come back through to the right side of the felt. Luckily, there were no major stabbings.

Positioning brooches.

This brooche goes well with my obsession for birds and the colour blue.

Mama's and Nana's brooches.
In the end, what I have is something with a shite load of sentimental value and I think, looks beautiful. I still haven't put my Christmas decorations away because I like seeing this every time I walk in my front door.

The finished project. In the end I added some clip-on earrings to the edges, and two broches of my own.

My Christmas creativity didn't stop at craft, oh no, I also made these gingerbread reindeer cookies which were super tasty! If I didn't live with two cheeky puppies I could have also used them as decorations. I used Queen Fine Foods writing icing tubes and a lot of patience to decorate these little dears (yes, I did go there, haha) the trick for the tiny dots on the collar is to squeeze, touch, release and quickly pull the tube up. And to practice.

Gingerbread Reindeer cookies.

We (meaning Mark) also made our Christmas tree this year, after our beautiful white spray painted stick from previous years was murdered in the garage. Call it being picky, or call it being too cheap to pay what the stores were asking for a simple tree. I'll call it both. In the end, Mark made something rather striking from a couple of pieces of dowel. 

Homemade Christmas tree.

We then placed the new tree in the pot of the long lost white stick Christmas tree that I decorated with fabric scraps years ago, and covered the florists foam that the 'tree' was mounted in with a string of silver decorating balls. Then placing our frosted lights and decorations on the tree was a little family affair with Jet and Baxter enjoying the enthusiasm Mark and I had for making sure the right decoration went in the right spot. It had to look balanced, but it couldn't be too symetrical, yada yada yada, you know how it is.

Fancy lights-the silver speck works really well with the silver decorations.

I dug out  decorations from previous years, and added a few Christmas scented red candles that I found on special this year-read "I'm slowly increasing my Christmas decorations collection". The gentle glow of candles is a must at Christmas time,  it is much kinder to the eye after a few Christmas beverages, and everyone looks better in candlelight.

Decorations from Christmasses past and new.

I was given this jolly, dancing and singing gingerbread man from a friend with a great sense of fun, and a love of Christmas (Columbians go NUTS for Christmas). Jet and Baxter are fascinated with him, and when ever his hand is squeezed who ever is in the room can't help but sing 'Tis the season to be jolly' whilst doing a little dance like the gingerbread man. He makes everyone jolly.

Our Jolly singing and dancing Gingerbread Man.

Decorating our dead Cumqout tree at the front door (that I still haden't dealt with) with my previously mentioned friend also brought joy from a sad situation. We got the tree ridiculously cheap because it wasn't healthy and I saw it's potential; I rarely give up on plants when everyone else says they are dead. We did get a bounty of cumquots from the tree the first year we had it, and there was enough fruit to make some delicious marmelade. But this year, along with a few other neglected things, it gave up the fight. And so was reincarnated as a beautiful outdoor decoration with a few cheap blue and silver baubles. 

As you can see, my Christmas theme is never traditional. Last year, the few decorations that we did have around were blue and silver. I never really warmed to having red and green in my home, yet blue and red are my favourite colours. So this year, there was a combination of blue, red and silver, and I plan to build on that theme next year. It is pleasing to my eye. Sadly, I think the time has come for the Christmas decorations to be boxed up and put away until next Christmas-or maybe we will host our family Christmas in July again and bring out the cheer.

Reincarnated outdoor Christmas tree at our front door.
Oh, I also made some very basic gift tags-with a blue dove, see what I was saying previously about the brooche.
Homemade gift cards.
Now what am I going to make?

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