22 December 2012

Deck the halls

Apart from one present, I've limited my crafting this Christmas to decorations (especially after the big faff last year with the brother in law's rudolph jumper).

I have a whole board of Christmas decoration ideas over on Pinterest, and here are a few that actually made it into reality.
Merry Christmas banner
Excuse the frog tape - we've just decorated!
I loved this idea for a thanksgiving banner, but adapted it slightly - using the words Merry Christmas instead, and keeping the felt colour to just one - red. I bought the felt from Raystitch, and although I bought two lots of the felt I might have been able to squeeze it all into one, so it doesn't cost a huge amount to put together.

Christmas felt wreath

I fell in love with this wreath as soon as I saw it, but really didn't like the idea of cutting out loads of felt circles. I may have been time and cash poor this Christmas, but I was more time poor than cash so I bit the bullet and ordered some already cut out from Etsy. I was going to make it in white felt, as I thought the version pinned on Pinterest was so lovely, but quickly remembered that it would be hanging on a white door, so went for red again. It was really simple to put together, and only took me a couple of hours spread over three evenings. (The wreath form was from Craftmill, where I also bought some papier mache cardboard cones for something else that I haven't quite got round to making yet - next year!)

Finally, 3d paper snowflakes! I've been wanting to make these for years, but never quite got round to it. This year, however, the office (well, my team anyway) went a little mad with the decorations and I made a few to hang over my desk. After getting some admiring comments from colleagues, I spent my last afternoon at work last week teaching seven others how to make them. You have never seen a more attentive bunch! So here's the results...

Paper snowflakes

I also made a paper version of the Merry Christmas banner, and some of the pictures around my desk got in on the act too.

Paper merry christmas banner

Santa hats Santa hats 

Hope you all have a lovely Christmas x

11 December 2012

(Secret) santa's little helper

Now it's December, I think we can officially start to talk about Christmas. Most years I do the majority of my shopping on Amazon, but this year me and the boy are boycotting the company. I know technically they're not doing anything illegal, but just as they make the choice to structure their business in a way so as minimise the tax they pay, I also have the choice to take my money elsewhere*.

So we're having 'indiecember'. Where possible, we are sourcing presents from smaller companies, or larger ones we know pay (a respectable amount of) corporation tax. People keep asking me if it's hard. It really isn't. It takes a little longer (after all, there's more than one checkout process), but I'm yet to find something that can only be bought on Amazon (admittedly, I don't have a Kindle).

For me, the hardest thing to buy for Christmas is the secret Santa gift. Finding something that isn't tat and comes within budget can be nigh on impossible. I've been extremely lucky the past two years with my names out of the hat, and they've been relatively easy to buy for as they've been colleagues I know relatively well. My secret this year? Etsy.

I was already on there buying some other gifts, and thought I'd see if I could find anything suitable. So I played with the location and price filters, and there were so many beautiful things that I thought I'd share some of them with you guys...

(My location filter was set to UK and budget to £5, although I've also added a few up to £10 in case yours is bigger. Try changing the location and budget filters to suit you)

  1. Make Tea Not War mug from Second Heart Crafts, £3.50
  2. Deja Brew mug from Second Heart Crafts, £3.50
  3. Bloomsbury bone chine mug from Summersville, £6
  4. Star Wars personalised mug from Gelert Design, £7
  5. Whale from Wales print from Hello Dodo, £4
  6. Batman tote bag from Hello Dodo, £10
  7. Hand dyed bamboo tape yarn from Dye Spin Knit UK, £4
  8. T shirt yarn from Fireside Yarns, £7.50
  9. Handpainted bamboo crochet hook from Logii, £3
  10. Pencils for every occasion from Dusty Trinkitten, £4.50
  11. Letterpress ruler labels from Present and Correct, £4.47
  12. OMG engraved pencils from Vivid Please, £3.50 
  13. Polyhedra Jotter from Present and Correct, £4.15
  14. The Big Book of Ideas from oh NO rachio, £10
  15. Blue Library Cards from Knot and Bow, $4.25 (This one slipped through the location filter, but it's such a lovely thing for people like me that dreamt of being a librarian when they were 8 that I thought it was worth keeping it in!)
  16. Polka dot washi tape from Little Grey Clouds, £2.95
  17. Classiky Little Garden washi tape in yellow from Joe and Flo, £2.70
  18. Washi tape in Liberty Art Fabric from Big Birds Boutique, £2.50
  19. Pale green long stripe washi tape from BeryluneUK, £2.40
  20. 2013 desk calendar from misterrrob, £4.95
Apologies for the consumerist nature of this post - I promise there will be handmade posts soon, but this does come under the spirit of a handmade Christmas.

* This is my decision, but I realise this isn't for everyone. Christmas can be hard enough without making it harder. And yes, I am also boycotting Starbucks, and my over reliance on google, not least using blogger, worries and annoys me.