Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Advent-ure 2015: Paper Snowflakes Tutorial

When I was a kid, a snow day meant no school. But beyond that, it meant every kid was sent outside to play. We were bundled up, sent out, and were expected to play until called in for hot chocolate in the late afternoon.

We'd build forts and have snowball fights, make snowmen, and go sledding. After a warming bath and some dinner, we could barely move for the lovely sleepies that would overtake us. It was a winter wonderland.

Nowadays I don't see snow that often, what with living on the California coast for 6 years, then the desert of Arizona for 10, and now sub-tropical Australia. I was super fortunate to land in wake up in Katoomba a few months ago to the quiet of a snow covered world that lasted almost the whole day. 

I was so happy, I cried. 

I still have a page from the 1984 December Family Circle magazine with a paper snowflake pattern. I've made them year after year. A couple of years ago, I collected up all the patterns I'd tried over the years and drew them up as an illustrated guide to making 20 paper snowflakes.

Here they are all together in this downloadable PDF.

Even if you live in a sunny summer location, you can enjoy a white Christmas with these snowflakes. Or maybe a colorful one, depending on the paper you use.

Merry Christmas! Let it snow! 

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Advent-ure 2015: 30+ Christmas Movies (and some links to watch)

In my house, the Christmas music starts playing in July and doesn't stop until the day after the 12th day of Christmas (January 7). Christmas movies go on my list of holiday to-dos a little later, but not by much.

Here's my list of heart-warming Christmas movies. I think they are all nice, even if some of them are also a bit naughty.

(Some are linked to You Tube where you can watch the movie.)

Babes in Toyland 1934

Holiday Inn 1942

Meet Me in St. Louis 1944

The Miracle of Morgan's Creek 1944 
A Christmas in Connecticut 1945

It's a Wonderful Life 1946

The Bishop's Wife 1947

Miracle on 34th Street 1947

It Happened on Fifth Avenue 1947 
A Christmas Carol 1951

White Christmas 1954 

Santa Claus 1954

We're No Angels 1955

The Apartment 1960 
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer 1964

A Charlie Brown Christmas 1965

How the Grinch Stole Christmas 1968 

Scrooge 1970

Santa Claus is Comin' to Town 1970 

The Waltons: The Homecoming 1971

A Christmas Story 1983

A Christmas Carol 1984 

Scrooged 1988

Ernest Saves Christmas 1988 

National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation 1989

The Nightmare Before Christmas 1993

The Santa Clause 1994Elf 2003

Love Actually 2003
The Polar Express 2004

Christmas with the Kranks 2004
The Holiday 2006

So get your popcorn ready and have a merry movie night!

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Advent-ure 2015: Swedish Hearts Tutorial

In Sweden, the celebration of Santa Lucia on December 13th is a big part of the Christmas advent tradition. Here's a little advent-ure in woven paper for you and your kids to try.

Use them as ornaments or as little baskets for small goodies. Make them large or small. Either way, the result is delightful.

If you have a hard time getting the hang of the weaving, watch this You Tube video made by Maggie Woodley of Red Ted Art.

And for a stunning 2 minute Christmas event, watch the celebration of Santa Lucia.

In the home, one daughter will be St. Lucia and wake the family with buns and coffee as she visits each member wearing a long white robe and crown of lights.

Download this PDF tutorial to make your own woven paper Swedish hearts.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Advent-ure 2015: Slip Stitch Crochet Cork Pine Trees Tutorial

 Some time ago I came across pjoning and my interest was instantly piqued.

Slip stitch crochet looks remarkably like knitting and creates a fabric that is very similar. It avoids the feel of having a bunch of knots which is essentially what crochet is. Slip stitch crochet fabric ends up being thicker because you are laying the slip stitches (basically chain after chain after chain) on top of each other rather than next to each other as in knitting.

Think of laying bricks. Small chain stitch bricks.

So when I saw these little knitted cork pine trees, I decided to try my hand at making them using slip stitch crochet. Because I am not a knitter. I am a "Grrrr-The-yarn-keeps-sliding-off-the-needle" kind of girl.

Download the pdf pattern here. All of the trees follow the pattern although the dark green tree had some rounds skipped because I was running out of the yarn which is why it is shorter.

The taller trees were made with a variegated thick and thin yarn so they create a nice wave within the stitching.The little pink one is the same pattern but different yarn so it came out smaller. The lime green tree had some color changes which are noted in the pattern.

The first project I used slip stitch crochet for was this wool rag rug made from strips of wool suiting fabric. It's about one yard square. Makes a great zabuton, which is the mat under the meditation cushion, because it's thick and springy and warm. Slip stitch is so easy, it's ridonkulous!

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Advent-ure 2015: Felt Penny Doll Tutorial

Reminiscent of the yo-yo clown, this little floppy doll is made from wool felt disks instead. Often used in Americana penny rugs, felt circles can create a lovely rustic or retro style to any craft.

I made this one from blue and white felted wool blankets and a prepainted wooden bead. Once the circles are cut, the doll is quick and easy to assemble. Make them with your children. Invite your friends over for a crafternoon tea and make dolls of all sizes as ornaments and gifts.

Download the tutorial with instructions here.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Advent-ure 2015: Send a Dollygram!

Wouldn't you like to answer the door to a smiling man in uniform whose greeting is: "Good morning, Ma'am. Dollygram!" Oh, I surely would.

Make and send your own stitched notepaper Dollygrams and send a message that will be treasured forever.

I'm so excited to have this project included in the December 2015 issue of Homespun Magazine. You can find it at Australian newsagents or order your own digital copy.

The patterns are for the gingerbread-shaped dolly and fabric envelopes and the article provides step-by-step instructions for creating the notepaper surface and embroidering your own message (or just write a message with a marker). There's also a smaller size pattern for a dolly ornament.

And just for fun, there are a couple of favorite Christmas quotes to get you started. Merry Messaging!

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Advent-ure 2015: Stuffed Yo-Yo Trees Tutorial

 Who can resist the retro charm of yo-yo crafts?

Yo-yos are so easy to make and are great for using up scraps of all sizes. I used scraps in rainbow colors and scraps of soft linen to make these two stuffed yo-yo trees.

The pattern for these trees makes a 4" (10cm) tall tree - great for ornaments, dollhouse play, pincushions, or small trinkets to brighten up an office desk or windowsill.

Enlarge the pattern to make larger trees suitable for a mantle or tabletop display.

Download the templates and instructions to make your own sweet little trees.

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