Dance accessories

A couple of years ago, I made Alice a pair of legwarmers and a pair of wrist warmers for here to wear on her way to dance classes. She’s never been very good at remembering to wear them, but she did a couple of weeks ago and it would appear everyone wants some now! I think the little cold snap we’ve had has seen some chilly legs both in and out of dance class.

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I haven’t done any knitting for a while so it’s been nice to get out my needles again and start scaling up patterns to the right size. Fortunately, Alice is quite a good guide for her dance pals size. It’s also been fun sorting through my immense yarn stash. Trying to get perfect matches for dance uniforms isn’t easy, but I’ve not done too badly with a deep raspberry pink soft baby yarn and a bright turquoise for the younger children. Some of the older ones have a real love of sparkle, so along with the relevant Mums, we settled on some bright pink with a sparkle running through it for 3 of the girls, a navy blue with a blue sparkle in for another two and a black with silver thread for another.

It’s been touch and go getting these all finished for the big day (and before dancing finishes for the Christmas break), but they are all now complete. I hope they all like them when they open them under the Christmas tree. I can’t wait to see them all being worn in the new year!

Happy Christmas crafting
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School Christmas Fair Preparations

Once again we have the school Christmas fair to look forward too. I will be having a stall with all my tree decorations, some garlands and plenty of cards. This year, it’s being co-run by the newly formed friends group of parent volunteers, who all have their own ideas on what will work best.

One thing that hasn’t changed is the request for each child to fill and decorate a plastic pint pot for the Pot Goody stall. This is one of the most popular stalls among the children. Plus each class has a prize on offer for the best decoration. So this week we have been thinking about how we can do something a bit different. We’ve done several Christmas trees, a snowman and Santa getting stuck in a chimney, so this has not been an easy task!

Alice has been set on making a reindeer, though I can’t quite work out how she thinks we’ll make one. So after much discussion, we settled on a Christmas Cracker, filled with sweets and decorated with lots of bits and bobs from old Christmas cards. I think it looks fantastic. I hope for her sake that she wins, she’s been so disappointed in previous years.

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Fingers crossed.
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New Christmas Traditions – Satsuma Thrifty Christmas Campaign

Last year I decided to start a new tradition for Christmas. I was fed up of buying the same cheap little chocolate advent calendars year on year, and while my daughter liked them, I could never find anywhere to put them and they just didn’t seem to be very Christmassy. So I started to crochet some little stockings and made them into a perpeptual advent calendar.

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It looked lovely up in the hall last year as a Christmas garland as well as being my daughter’s favourite part of the run up to Christmas. I filled it with individual wrapped chocolates, so it didn’t cost a fortune to fill either.

This year I’m looking round for inexpensive little gifts to fill it with again. At seven (almost eight), my daughter is becoming a little more difficult to please with sweets and chocolates. I’ve bought a couple of selection boxes and will add those to the stockings. I think it’s always nice to see something peeking out of the top of the stocking. But I also want to add something other than sugar loaded treats. The stockings aren’t very big so I can’t go mad with gifts, but I think a couple of packs of her favourite (My Little Pony) Stickers and perhaps one of the mystery bags as a treat for Christmas Eve. She also loves to draw, so I’m going to get a pack of pens and split them up putting a different one in each stocking.

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It’s great to think that this will be a tradition that we can carry on and hopefully she will enjoy the individuality of her calendar. I know I certainly enjoyed making it and have great fun thinking of things to fill it with. And it doesn’t have to cost a lot either. I’m going to stick to a budget of £10 maximum to fill it. Who knows I might even find some of the stocking fillers I put away last year and forgot about!

Now I just need to hang it up high enough that the meddlesome cats don’t attack it!

Not long to go.
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See mine and other ideas for a savvy Christmas here

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Christmas Card Collection

This year I decided to work on a full collection of five or six card designs for Christmas.  I was asked recently to provide the cards for the lovely gift shop Hearts for Homes in Ramsbottom, so this idea of a collection has become more relevant and important.

I’ve had my Christmas craft materials out for a few weeks now and have rediscovered some beautiful papers and patterns.  I found a stack of twisted pyramage with some lovely winter images.  I particularly like robins at Christmas, so thought I’d revisit this style of papercraft.  I’ve really loved the embossed and aperture style cards I’ve been working on this year, so keeping with that I found a lovely couple of embossing folders to work as backgrounds.

The snowflake embossing folder is by Darice.  I think it’s so pretty.  The snowflakes are all different and very delicate.  I think it works well with the twisted pyramage robin.

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My next card style in the collection is the large poinsettia.  This is a Bigz die by Sizzix and it works so well on all types of card, paper and fabric.  Here I’ve used some Kanban papers and combined it with a circular die cut aperture and embossed snowflake background.

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The third design in my collection uses some gorgeous rich cardstock I bought at the creative craft show .  This green is so sumptuous it just cried out to be used with gold mirror card.  I added a snowflake cut using an X-Cut die.  I think the gold ribbon bow and gems set it off a treat.  Don’t you?

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I’ve had such fun routing through my crafting arsenal of dies and materials.  I bought this Spellbinders bow die a while back and haven’t really used it.  But it called to me to make Christmas paper bows and add to the front of some cards.  I was reminded of a series of cards I made several years ago with large organza ribbon bows on the front which were very popular with my work colleagues at the time.  I loved making these bows from all the different Christmas patterned papers.  They looked so lovely on square cards, I even made some look like parcels.  My Mum and Dad will be getting one of these and I hope they like it as much as I enjoyed making it.

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These cards take a little bit of time to make so I was in need of making something quick to put in packs and that wouldn’t cost as much to make or buy.  I’d been thinking about doing some cut outs with patterned papers behind for a while now, but never gotten around to it.  This was the ideal opportunity to do some with my snowflake die.  I love this silver holographic paper.  It it so sparkly behind the snowflake.  I think they will look great on my stall at the school fair too.

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As in the words of the great Monty Python, now for something completely different!  I bought this lovely papercraft kit from Create and Craft several years ago and not known what to do with it.  The papers are quite pastel in colour but very fun and wintry too, and the little elements are very cute.  I particularly like the children in their winter outfits.  I thought they were perfect to send to siblings and grown up children.

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For my final card design this year I went back to my love of DL cards.  There is somethigng so elegant about a tall slim card and I just couldn’t help myself in making at least one.  For these I again used a Kanban card kit with some lovely HunkyDory Mirri card.  Simple but elegant I hope you agree

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So that’s my collection for Christmas 2016.  There is a selection available in Hearts for Homes in Ramsbottom as well as in Holts Newsagents in Walmersley.  I will also be selling these directly at the Springside Primary School Christmas Fair and via facebook.

I hope you like them.

Happy Christmas Crafting
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More Crochet Snowmen

Last Christmas, I had a rush on little crochet snowmen. They are very cute, and they were so popular with the dance mums, that I had orders for five more for this Christmas.

So for the last few weeks I’ve been crocheting parts of little snowmen. It has really started to get me in the mood for Christmas. I hope we get a spell of cold weather though. It does seem a bit odd making snowmen when it’s still well above 10 degrees outside!

My first set of snowmen are a for a lovely family with two little girls.  Their favourite colours are pink and purple.  I haven’t come up with any good names for these two yet, but I’m sure the girls will!p1250303

This trio are for two brothers and their younger sister.  One brother’s a Manchester United fan, the other is a Manchester City fan (I don’t fancy being there for football arguments in the future) and their sister is a dancer.

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I love how each one ends up different although the pattern is the same throughout.  It just goes to show how different yarns make things very individual.

I think the most fun I had though was with my jar of buttons while waiting for Alice in her dance class.  Looking for just the right shade of each colour is very important.  I was counting on any of the other Mums loving the buttons too, so we had buttons everywhere and I had to promise to bring them again!

Happy Crafting
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Unexpected crafting!

I know I’m a crafter, so this title in itself is rather unexpected.  However, our Alice has been unwell really for a few weeks now, but she’s finally given in to being fully blown ill and is currently enjoying / enduring  some restful time off school.

This has meant I am now totally behind with my preparations for Halloween and Christmas, but that’s the life of a crafting Mum!  So today I decided to find something for both of us to do that would help lift Alice’s spirits and maybe go some way to starting my stash of Christmas decorations.

I’ve been thinking about making some simple, no knit hat decorations for a while and this seemed the ideal opportunity with a willing helper too!  What I wasn’t counting on was how much she loved making them.

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We had such a great crafty afternoon watching ‘Equestria Girls’ on dvd and making these hats, that she decided she wanted to make them and sell them too.  So it rather turned into me being her assistant and she’s planning on taking her little stash to her dance class at weekend and maybe even to the school Christmas Fair! I’m hoping that she will make her own gifts for her teachers this year too.

I think she may have caught the crafting bug – much better than the virus she is recovering from.

Happy crafting
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Boxing Day Floods

Having spent Christmas in the South West with my inlaws, I missed being part of the floods at home. It was rather upsetting watching it from a distance, trying to keep up with exactly which parts of Bury were flooded or were going to flood. I spent most of Boxing Day glued to facebook and the bbc news. Several friends and family members lost power for a time, and I was dreading what we would return home too.

We arrived home last night and couldn’t see very much in the dark, I was expecting the worst though! So I’ve just been out to feed the birds, and this is my back garden!

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More like a lake, and this is almost 48 hours after the rain subsided! It much have been awful on Boxing Day itself. Fortunately, the house is several feet above the garden level, but I’m really glad I hadn’t followed through with my wish to have a shed / studio space at the bottom of the garden, I don’t think there would have been much left to salvage! I think I shall persevere with my little craft space in the spare room for the time being.

But we got off quite lightly compared to many in the local area. There is a road bridge out of action because of the pub collapsing in Summerseat, and a couple of footbridges are having to be demolished. And we’re set for more rain to come. I hope 2016 brings a drier Summer!

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Christmas Cake

This year I tried to be really organised and managed to make my Christmas cake in early October. And as I should I have been feeding it with some brandy every week since, that is until I ran out last week! So today was the day to take the plunge and decorate it.

I haven’t had much time between finishing Christmas orders and Alice’s dance classes and shows to really even think about a design this year, so it was a bit of let’s see what we’ve got and do something spontaneous! I cheated and used some ready-to-roll icing and I used some strawberry jam to stick the marzipan to the cake. I didn’t have a great deal of the icing, so I rolled it quite thinly – my husband isn’t a big fan of icing anyway so that’s a bonus. Having a root round by baking cupboard I found some little roses and silver balls, so I decided to have a red / white theme on the cake, with some little silver balls between each rose.

Alice then found my little snowman and Christmas tree so they were also added before we finished off the little scene with some sifted icing sugar ‘snow’ and a large handtied ribbon bow.

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I normally don’t get round to eating the cake until mid-January, but in the meantime it looks nice on the pre-Christmas table!

Happy crafting
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Early Christmas Baking

Now that the Christmas holidays have started it’s time to get into the spirit of things and do a spot of festive baking. It’s very therapeutic to get out the mincemeat and make up some tasty treats. I decided to begin with a batch of my mincemeat parcels. They are so tasty and make a lovely alternative to a mince pie. I have a number of packs of frozen filo pastry in the freezer that need to be used, so this was an ideal quick bake.

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After the parcels were finished, I enlisted Alice to make some festive ginger biscuits that we could share with friends and family over the holidays. The recipe we have is in a little Hello Kitty Christmas book that we bought for Alice a few years ago. It’s a really simple recipe and makes absolutely loads of biscuit dough. We chose some different Christmassy cutters and set about making the biscuits.

It was a good job there was loads of dough because I had a minor moment with my oven and completely burned the first two batches! I forgot just how fast my oven is when I’m baking. Anyway, we still managed to make about 60 or so biscuits for sharing. Alice’s favourite part of the baking process is the decorating, and we used plenty of icing pens, hundreds and thousands, and other little Christmassy bits from my cupboard.

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Once finished we took some round to the neighbours, wishing everyone a Merry Christmas!

Happy crafting
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The snowmen have landed

I was amazed how popular my little crochet snowman was when I took it to the dance school waiting room recently.

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So popular in fact that I was asked to make some more for Christmas decorations and keepsakes. These are my last Christmas orders for this year so I hit the hooks with some lovely soft white baby yarn and a raid on my stash for the accent colours. I was asked for pink and blue, as one was for a girl and the other for a boy! These have taken a little while to finish as I wanted them to be perfect, so the faces have had several changes. I’ve found that the best eyes have been made with black beads, sewn in tightly. I love the little crochet carrot nose too, and the earmuffs (or headphones depending on how cool you are) are very cute additions. The pattern was in an old issue of LGC Knitting and Crochet magazine and can hopefully still be found in their free patterns.

I’ve named these two Sid and Sally and they fancied having their photos taken before they got ready to go out in the cold. It was difficult choosing which buttons they would wear.

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After they had decided on their outdoor attire, they were ready to go to their new homes. I hope they have a lovely Christmas and get to see some snow!

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Happy crafting
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