Saturday, December 31, 2016

Hosting an Ornament Exchange

This December I hosted an Ornament Exchange with some of my crafty friends. :)  The idea is to have 8 friends (your number can vary) each make and bring 8 handmade ornaments to the party.

Then serve food, make a small craft together, drink hot cocoa while listening to Christmas music and exchange the ornaments.

Each participant gets to talk about their project - the struggles and victories, fun, etc of making them.  At the end of the evening, you get to keep one of each of the crafts to put on your tree for years to come.  What an awesome time that we had!

This year I chose a rustic woodland theme for my Christmas decorations.   I put burlap ribbon on the tree and added lots of little woodland animals.

It was fun to go through my ornaments from years past and pick out things that would match the theme for my tree.  I found some pinecones and added them to complete the rustic look.

I wanted to keep with the woodland theme for my exchange, so I sewed some burlap heart ornaments and added some rosettes and other embellishments to them.  Each one is a little different.

The ornaments that the ladies exchanged were all incredible!  It was fun to see all of the thought and effort that went into each of them.  There were cinnamon stick trees adorned with ribbon, light-up tea light snowmen, origami trees, wire stars, gnome bottom holders and more.  I wish that I had taken more photos.

Look at these cute little pinecone stars embellished in the center with a burlap flower.  My friend Melissa picked these pinecones out of her yard to make the ornaments.  I thought it was ingenious.

My friend Carol sewed these lovely red birds made from felt pieces with contrasting fabric for the wings.  They're so tweet, I mean sweet. 

And look at all of these dominos that Tammy made.  We got to each pick two for our exchange.

After we finished up with the appetizers, I prepared a small craft for everyone to work on.  I wanted to keep with the rustic theme, so we did some rubber stamping on birch log slices.

We sanded the logs to make the surface nice and smooth and then added woodland themed stamps and added some red and jute ribbons to finish them.

I love how they turned out!  Simple, but very cute.  They're going to look great on my tree.

All in all, we had a great night, spending time together during this busy season.  Good food, crafts, lots of creative ideas and most of all, good friends.  :)

I can't wait for our party next year!

Friday, December 30, 2016

The Pets are Waiting for Christmas, too

Each year I like to make something for the "little ones" around here.  No, I don't have grandbabies yet, so what's the next closest thing?  Making gifts for the kitties.  :)

While perusing Pinterest, (like I do every day!)  I came across these cute little pet beds and just knew that I had to make them for the 2 kitties that live here with me.

They're made of 2 pieces of fleece and I had to piece them together because I only had half-yard pieces of fleece in my stash.  You simply cut a circle, about 22" in diameter and sew 2 pieces, right sides together, leaving a whole to turn.  Turn right-side out and then mark and sew a second circle about 4" in from the outside.  Then stuff with some fiberfill and stitch up the hole.  They make a great pet gift and are pretty easy to make.  I got the idea on 

 Here's Ginger enjoying her little bed. She's guarding her bed and blanket so that no one takes her presents!

I also made them blankies from fleece scraps and stuffed them with loose catnip.  The blankets measure about 19" by 25."  You can make them any size depending on the size your cat.  Before I stitched up the turning hole, I poured in some catnip.  Then I topstitched them about 1/2" around the edge to finish them off.

Here's my other furry friend enjoying his new bed.  The cats rolled around on their blankets for like an hour, just enjoying the fresh scent of the catnip and snuggling up in their new warm beds!

Merry Christmouse!

Another stamp set that I really liked from the Stampin Up holiday catalog this year is this little mouse set, called Merry Mice.  It has several really cute mouse images in it, great for making some whimsical Christmas projects.  :)

 I love this little singing mouse, cut out with the oval framelits.  Doesn't he look so festive?  I added some rhinestones to give him some bling, so he really shines on this card.  The idea for this card is from Ann Schach that I found on Pinterest.  I like the striped paper for an accent, too.  It kind of reminds me of a candy cane, only with green stripes, too. 

Look at the little mice here in this sweet dimensional card.  They are walking through the forest, looking for their Christmas tree to decorate.  It's hard to tell in the photo, but it's a small box card.  I trimmed the dimensions so that it fits nicely into a regular envelope when folded.

It's hard to see in the first photo, but there's a small silver star hanging in the diorama, too.  This card idea is from Bekka Prideau.  

This Happy Christmas card features the tree punch.  I love how the designer paper shows through.  I added the white layer using dimensionals to make the tree "pop."  I love the colors in this card - cherry cobbler red, mint macaroon and emerald envy greens.  Don't they just sound so festive?  This card was quick and easy to make.

Lastly, there is a set of 2" tags all packaged up in the clear box and wrapped up with a bow.  This makes a cute little accent gift. 

This set is definitely one of my favorite card classes! 

Sewing Up Some Aprons for Holiday Cooking

Every year I like to make some of the gifts for my friends and family.  The problem is: there's never enough time to get it all done!  And I'm one of those girls who doesn't like to work on Christmas during the summer or fall.

Anyway, this year I found a cute pattern in one of my Debbie Mumm quilt books for this apron.  It does have ties in the back, but you just can't see them in the photos.  It's totally lined on the back, which makes it reversible.  It's like getting 2 aprons in one!

My favorite is this pretty red apron with the deer.  I decorated my home in a woodland theme for Christmas this year, so when I saw the deer fabric, I went right for it!  I love it paired with the red polka dotted trim!  Do I get to keep it for myself?  Nope.  It goes to one of my crafty friends.  :)

Next up is a cute snowman-patterned apron using the same polka dotted fabric as the contrasting pieces. 

 I love how it's not just red and Christmas green, but a pretty soft sage.  Don't you?

And how could I resist this cute Christmas Pig fabric?  When I saw this in the fabric store, I knew right away who I wanted to give it to!  The little piggies are all decked out for the holidays and ready for baking pumpkin pies!

So cute, right?

This last apron I made for one of my friends whose birthday is the day after Christmas.  I purposely didn't use Christmas fabrics for her! Don't you just love the colorful tea cups on this?  I even cut out a couple of them to embellish the pockets. 

These aprons were a lot of fun to make.  I have some pretty fabrics in my stash that would work well for this pattern.  Maybe I'll get to them in the new year...

Stockings are Hung by the Fire

This year I found so many stamp sets and items in the Stampin Up holiday catalog that I wanted!  It was hard to narrow my wish list down to just a few.  I try to buy sets that I can use for more than one season or project.  One of the sets that I chose to get was Santa's Sleigh and the framelits that match it.

 I saw a couple of ideas on Pinterest and just love the cut-out deer and trees.  Doesn't he look so regal next to the trees out in the moonlight?  I love the blue palate; it creates such a serene look to this card. I got the ideas for these cards from Julie Davison.   I will definitely use this set again!

 Santa's sleigh is all decked out and ready for Christmas!  I love the heart embossing on the card to frame in the sleigh.  The sleigh is cut out with a framelit and comes out so nicely.  I trimmed the gifts and the bows by hand to get closer to the images.

And lastly, the house is all decorated for the big day with the tree trimmed, present(s) wrapped, wreath put up and the stockings hung by the fire, with care, of course.  I used the window cut-out and cropped it to make it square shaped and look like a fireplace.  Doesn't the brick embossing in the background look like a wall? 

I had so much fun making these cards.  When I get some free time (hah!), I would like to make some more projects like these!

Which one is your favorite?  What have you done with this set?