Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Christmas is over, bring on the New Year!

We decided to keep Christmas just for our family this year.  Most years we invite those who would otherwise be alone to come and share Christmas Dinner with us, but this year we needed some peace and quiet.  Well as much peace and quiet as you can have with 3 active children to entertain!

The girls opened their presents and we had a really relaxing and fun day.  It was the best Christmas Day we've had in a long time. We all needed this holiday time together, my 3 daughters were especially tired the last couple of weeks of school.

Photo courtesy of Amazon website
We bought our 3 girls a 12 stitch sewing machine to share. My machine, that was bought for my Mum by my Nan and is almost as old as me, is too powerful, bulky and heavy for them to use easily.  They were all really excited about getting their own sewing machine and I shall of course be blogging their creations once they're finished.

My girls also got some presents that were sent over by overseas relatives.  There was much discussion and debate about being grateful for what they received as my FIL sent them books on loaders, trucks & cranes along with 4 hankies each.  LOL  We'll make lavender sachets from the hankies, using their new sewing machine, and donate the books to the school library.  My MIL sent them some fab knitted gillets to keep them warm as well as matching turtle neck tops.

My Mum sent us some money to buy the girls something so I of course bought some craft kits. 11yo got a friendship bracelet kit, 8yo received a fairy making kit, and my 5yo is enjoying her paper flower making kit.

All the kits have thorough templates and instructions so we can carry on making the craft using other materials once they've run out of the ones in their kits.  The kits have kept them amused for hours!

As is our tradition I made my girls a present each and this year my creation for each of them was a lined bag made from loads of crocheted hexagons:


I really enjoyed making the bags as I could work on the hexagons whenever I had some spare time and my girls had no idea what they were being used for. It's a great way to use up scraps of yarn too.  They did suggest they would make a fab blanket when I was making them. LOL

It's been fab just chilling out and pottering about at home, with the occasional outing to the park to let off steam so that cabin fever doesn't set in.

We're all looking forward to the New Year and hope it will be much less stressful than this past year has been.  We also pray that those in Christchurch, including our relatives, will be spared anymore huge aftershocks like they ones that they experienced over the Christmas period.

I don't make New Year's resolutions as I feel that you can decide to change things or work on stuff at any time of the year not just at New Year.  Although New Year's does give us a chance to reflect and plan, the compulsion to suddenly react to those things we are unhappy with usually wears off by February.

I shall not be staying up to see in the New Year either. I know my 3 girls will be up early on New Year's Day as they are almost every day and don't want to be tired and grumpy on the first day of the year. 

How did your Christmas Day go? What are your plans, if any, for New Year?

Friday, 23 December 2011

Homemade Christmas Gifts That We've Made This Christmas

I love making Christmas gifts as their much more personal that buying something off the shelf and we're usually broke this time of year and homemade is usually cheaper.

We made some felt Christmas Tree decorations using cookie cutters for templates and sewed on some sequins for extra decoration.



We also made some jewellery for friends, and also air mailed some to family in NZ.


We also transformed some tins into pretty canisters to hold baking or other homemade gifts.  All it takes is some PVA glue, a clean food tin (with sharp edges removed), and some paper Christmas napkins.



Decorating cheap drinking glasses is also a fab way to present your homemade goodies.


You could even add a candle for a fab mantlepiece or table decoration.


We also made our own Christmas Cards using cross stitch and paper quilling to decorate them.



My 3 girls made one of these super easy tissue paper wreaths each to decorate their bedroom doors.


And of course there were loads of homemade tasty treats!

I made these for the Church Christmas Crafts Afternoon (where some of the above crafty Christmas creations were also made)


Here are some of the edible Christmas gifts that we made and gave away, with links to my recipes.

Marshmallow or Cherry Truffles

 Russian Fudge, Chocolate Brownies in a jar and Apricot Balls - Last minute edible Christsmas gifts
Super Quick Christmassy Muffins

Lightly Spiced Christmas Cookies
 And for the Church Christms Lunch we made this Gingerbread House.


All that's left to do is to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas from our family to yours.  Our love and heartfelt thoughts go to those who are alone at Christmas or who will be missing loved ones, as we will be.