Category Archives: christmas

Advent fun – days 1 through 9

IMG_0385.JPG

Since Mr 6 was a trepidatious toddler walking on tiptoes we’ve been doing some advent activities. Every year I say I will blog the activities we do and every year I get caught up and don’t. So I will post our fun in blocks.

Our calendar has little pockets in it and I place notes in each pocket (see bottom left picture) saying what each day’s surprise is. It’s a really lovely way to spend some time together and I have very much focused them around things the boys like to do as well as things I want to focus on like giving back, making home made gifts and the like.

I’ve been collecting ideas for our activities all year and wrote out the list, sitting with my calendar for December (we have SO many birthdays this time of year too!) and worked out what days would be busy, what days the kiddos would be with Grandma, Mr and me and popped a note in each pocket that fit with the day.

Over the last week and a bit we have:

– danced to a Christmas song
– baked biscuits for Mr 6’s class mates and teachers
– written a quiz about Rudolph
– gone on a Christmas picnic with their friends
– decorated a “gingerbread” house using this tutorial. We tried making gingerbread houses a few years ago and it was a complete disaster and this is more my boy’s kind of thing
– bought and decorated our Christmas tree
– written a letter to Father Christmas including the things that they’re thankful for. This was my favourite so far as Mr 6 helped Mr 3 write his letter and they both carefully considered their content. Their thankful list was also three times longer than what they were asking for. Ace stuff!
– a lucky dip – we have a couple of days when it’s all too much so a jelly bean or similar is on offer

Do you advent calendar? What’s your favourite thing you do as part of it?

Christmas Cheer

I’ve been really enjoying the lead up to Christmas this year.  Well, I’ve enjoyed it since I finished up work and study for the year last week anyway!

Mr 2 is getting excited about things like lights and Christmas trees and is old enough to participate in a number of our advent calendar activities.

I revisited my Pinterest boards and chose some activities that I’d been hoping to do for a while and added in some teeny presents and the odd treat.

032Mr 5 wakes every morning begging to see what is in the “pocket calendar”. My favourite activity to date was this one where we made washi tape trees in our hall.  Here’s Mr 2 with his “cheese” smile.081I’ve also made a number of presents myself this year – trying a bunch of new craft projects in particular and of course, enlisting the help of the small ones.   I can’t show too much but suffice to say our table is full of paint! 🙂

Mr 2 made some paintings with some cars…008Both my little lovelies painted on some fabric for a secret project – paint was ALL over the floor!035I made some sugar and orange hand scrub.039 We used some air dry clay to make some dishes and candle holders… 102And of course I’m making a bunch of food gifts….

Mini panettone using this amazing recipe – it’s umm, not exactly kid friendly as it’s heavy on the booze but it is darn delicious.  I made a big one too for us to crack on Christmas Eve.  This is a really sentimental cake in my family.  My Dad brought it around to my Grandparents as a gift the first Christmas after he met my Mum and my Grandpa, who was the funniest man you ever could meet in the great, dry way that I love most, asked if he’d cooked it in the BHP ovens.  It’s been nicknamed BHP cake in our family ever since and we eat a slice, along with a glass of bubbles at midnight on Christmas Eve.  I’m really looking forward to trying it with my family!142I have also whipped up a batch of two of Amy’s favourites – dulce de leche shortbread sandwiches and salted dulce de leche brownies (which my Grandma has requested for her birthday on Sunday too).

001We’ve done pear and vanilla jam and I am going to make up some lemon curd using lemons from our garden and some nutella meringues in the next few days.  I’ll package up various goodies for family and friends though exactly how I’ll package them I have no idea as yet!

With all this baking, crafting and making it’s been a fun and busy time and the Christmas spirit is in full swing around here.  I love imbuing my making and baking with love and considering what gifts people would like but most of all, having the small ones around is what makes this Christmas so special….because THIS!

003Merriest of merry times to you all lovelies.

xxxxx

Handmade Christmas Gift Guide 2013: Teachers, School friends and Kris Kringle

Teacher and other gifts
We thought we would add this category in at the very end to give you some ideas of some handmade and DIY options that are simple, cost effective and meet a variety of personality types.  Here are some ideas to cover teachers, kris kringle work colleague gifts, kindy and school friends.
1. Notebooks – surely everyone loves a notebook? These are a great gender neutral option made by Trink Arts – $13 AUD available here and another option here from Quimmz – $6.95 AUD available here
2. Zippered Pouches from Raspberry Rainbow – $13.96 AUD – Cat says she gifts these with the teacher’s name embroidered on the inside – available via her etsy store here
3. Customisable Teacher print from My Sweet Prints $28 AUD – store here
4.  Pens from Chibi Run – though not strictly handmade, Germaine from Chibi Run has an enormous variety of excellent stationery options in her store here $9.95 AUD – store here
5. Wire angel covered in Liberty of London fabric $10.00 AUD from Jane Planet Joy – this is one very clever lady who I know some of you will already be familiar with via her lovely presence on Instagram. Jane uses divine Liberty of London fabric to cover wire and wooden designs and they make really fabulous gifts…I know because I’ve gifted several of them!  This one is available here
6. Canberra Creatives Creative Case.  This is a monthly craft-in-a-box Project Kit delivered to your door.  The gift can be a monthly one, three monthly, six monthly or for the full twelve months. Prices start at $24 AUD – for full details visit the Canberra Creatives website here
7. Reindeer food DIY – these are a great option for the kindy/school friend.  There are loads of tutorials around and yes, we’ve all seen it on Pinterest but I like this one by Milk Please Mum here who had her little one write her name on the tags.  We made these last year and my Mr 5 loved putting them together.
8. My salted caramel popcorn in a jar DIY!  Add the popcorn, sugar, salt, baking soda and some instructions.  Easy peasy!  See the instructions here
9. Cloud brooch by Each to Own $20 AUD available here
10. Bookmarks – I think these are a great gift as I don’t know about you but I am constantly losing my bookmarks.  These are made by Zippy Zippy – $10 AUD and are available here
11. Polyhedra Note Cards (set of 10) $28 AUD – as a teacher myself I love receiving these types of gifts as they are ones I can gift on and save me some money or making time! These are designed by the very awesome Messagemark and can be found here
12. DIY polymer clay pinch pot…. I am at risk of being obsessed with polymer clay projects but this is a great, simple project to try via Spoonful here
GIVEAWAY: My gorgeous co-author woud love to make one of our lovely blog readers a travel zippered pouch in their choice of fabric. Leave a comment here or on Cat’s blog. One person will be chosen at random on Saturday 30 November in the evening (HK time) and she is happy to post anywhere in the world.
Also, see yesterday’s post for my giveaway!
Thank you all so much for your lovely feedback on Facebook and Instagram in particular about our series, we’ve really enjoyed sharing our finds and love of the homemade and handmade with you.
Much love,
Cat and Cat.

Handmade Christmas Gift Guide 2013: Gifts for Grandma, Mum, Mothers-in-Law

Gifts for Grandma

Today we’ve put together some ideas for some of the most important people in our lives – our Mum’s, Grandma’s and Mother-in-laws.

I know our world wouldn’t be so rich with my Mama and Grandma’s very real presence in it.  I love to spoil them on their birthdays and Christmas.

1. Porcelain replica vintage milk bottle : milk colour – I LOVE Urban Cartel – in fact, I’m developing an obsession with their goodies – porcelain and pastel colours – totally my thing! $39 AUD available via the etsy store here

2. One of my stitched children’s artwork pieces, starting at $40 AUD – my etsy store is here …. also, I’m giving one of these away …. see below for details!

3. Fabric Greeting Card Set of 4 – Here we go Loopy Lou $20 AUD available via madeit here

4. Small light & soft Felted scarf in red with purple tones and its matching brooch by   SM Boutique – this just looks so divine! $50 AUD – etsy store here

5. DIY: Make your own sweet DIY votives – a tutorial by fellow fellow here

6. Mint Peony Brooch by Delilah Devine (my Mama is getting one of these if I don’t decide to keep it first!) $22 AUD available here

GIVEAWAY: I’d love to stitch a little portrait for a special gift! I’ve taken to these small portraits set in 15cm hoops and I’d love to stitch one for one of you! If you’d like to win, please just comment below telling me what either you, or your child loves to draw most!

133Entries are open to international entrants and will close on Friday evening, the 29th of November 2013.  The winner will be drawn at random.

Handmade Christmas Gift Guide 2013: Gifts for grandfathers, dads and father-in-laws.

Gifts for grandfathers, dads and father-in-laws.

 

Hello lovelies,

Today’s gift guide is all about grandfathers and dads and father-in-laws. This group is notoriously difficult to buy for and I do find them really tricky! I must admit that we often go the bottle of Chivas Regal and a polo shirt for my Dad in particular….buying handmade for this group is tricky I find.  Do you find them difficult to buy for too?

Here are some ideas we’ve found:

1. Magnetic bookmark by Sparrowhawk Designs $4.95 AUD, madeit store here.

2. These Vintage Silverware garden markers by me2 are gorgeous, I know a few Grandmothers who would like these also, $20 AUD, madeit store here.  (I actually think I’ll buy some for my Mr!)

3. These World Map Cushions by My Bearded Pigeon are fabulous! $129 AUD, etsy store here.

4. Ancient Column Architecture Journal/notebook by Trink Arts Studio, $10 AUD, madeit store here.

5. DIY tutorial: make an apron, tutorial here from the Purl Bee by Purl Soho.  This tutorial looks great as it has pockets in it.

We will be back tomorrow with a gift guide for Grandma/Mum/Mother-in-laws, including a giveaway!

Handmade Christmas Gift Guide 2013: Gifts for, well, US!

When Cat and I set out to make our lists we, of course, couldn’t resist adding in a few things that we want for well, ourselves!
Today’s guide is meant to be for the Mama Bear/wife/female partner/sister-ly/bestie types.  I seriously could have made 10 separate lists within this category but we have restrained ourselves!
Without further ado here is our guide to buying for, well, us!
Handmade Christmas gift guide for ladies
1. Cloud dishes by Urban Cartel – these are so on my wishlist and the colours are just divine! $25 AUD via etsy store here
2. Fuschia zippered pouch – the poppies are hand screenprinted – I love the colour! Made by do a bit $20 AUD via her etsy store here
3. Granny Square pin badge $20 AUD and Hexagon Chain Brooch $20 AUD by Ali Pink – etsy store here
4. To Kill A Mockingbird brooch (can you tell we love a brooch??) $17.83 AUD by House of Ismay etsy store here
5. DIY tutorial – Polymer clay necklace.  Both Cat and I have made these…..except when I made them I nearly set fire to our house and poisoned us all – for that story see here) – they are really quite easy to make if you’re good at understanding that some tutorials are talking fahrenheit in their baking instructions! Cat recommends this tutorial from tuts+ here
I would LOVE to know what you have your eye on for a self gift?
ps. Don’t forget to enter our competition to win a Dandelyne gift pack!

Handmade Christmas Gift Guide 2013: Gifts for grown boys/partners

Hello lovelies!

Next up in our handmade Christmas gift guide is gifts for husbands and male partners or even the lovely brotherly or uncle types.

Our list of course has a few geeky, stylish and quirky goodies on it which would appeal to most of the grown boys in our lives!
Handmade Christmas gift guide for husbands/partners

 

1. Upcycled Pantone Clock by Pantock $110 AUD, etsy shop here.

2. Vintage Map Cuff Links by Brass And Chain $19.63 AUD, etsy shop here.

3. PacMan badge or magnet by Bunny and Bird Designs $4.37 AUD, etsy shop here.

4. I love this t-shirt so much, Vader’s day off, Stormtrooper t-shirt by Mini Mayhem $25 AUD, etsy shop here. It may actually be heading in the direction of a few grown boys in my life!

5. DIY make a salt dough paper weight, tutorial by Crafts by Amanda, find it here.  It’s perfect for kids to make and my Mr 5 has made it for my Mr but you could easily customise it with any words.

What do you buy your husband, partner, brother, grown boy friend for Christmas? Is he difficult to buy for?

Have a great day.
Cat xo