Monday, 14 November 2016

Early Christmas present ideas for crafty and home-loving folks

Autumn is drawing to a close, Halloween and Bonfire Night have been and gone, and the thoughts, certainly of the younger members of our family, have turned swiftly and dramatically towards Christmas.  I say swiftly - the Boy especially has been trying to start conversations about Christmas since just after his summer holidays.  We became so exasperated with his efforts that he was told in no uncertain terms that the 'C' word could not and must not be mentioned until much nearer the time.  To give him his due, he has pretty much stuck to this demand, which is fairly impressive for a four-year old.  Although he has told a number of adults (including his teacher) that "he is not allowed to say the 'C' word at home"…

A photo of the dog in a Santa hat.  Just because...

I get a real bee in my bonnet about how Christmas seems to take over our lives for such a large part of the year.  I see no reason why Christmas cards need to be in shops, carols played in stores or adverts on the television any earlier than mid-November.  I don't understand why Christmas fairs need to take place eight weeks before the Big Day.  It seems incredibly unfair, especially on younger children who have no sense of future or of time and assume, quite understandably, that Christmas must be just around the corner when in fact there can still be months to go.  And spare a thought for those poor shop staff… the Husband worked in retail when I first met him, and for a couple of years after he started a new career he could not listen to Christmas carols or tunes as they'd literally had them on loop in the shop since mid-October.

Someone sent me this - I have no idea where it came from but it made me laugh out loud

You’d think I'm a hater of all things 'ho-ho-ho', but in fact in absolutely LOVE Christmas.  I just wish we could make it more special by restricting it and celebrating it properly over a shorter period of time.  The house will be completely decked out in early December, and I'm already working on a number of Comfy Makes which I'll blog about in due course (but not just yet!).  Here's a sneak peak of one though…

What could it be?  What could it be??!!  You'll have to wait a couple of weeks to find out...

However, now that half term is over and the children have started to practice their festive shows at school, it's difficult not to let some of the festive spirit seep into day-to-day life, and of course Father Christmas will be needing those lists very soon…

Like most adults, I really struggle to come up with ideas for myself for Christmas, however a couple of years ago the Husband, all by himself, gave me two of the most fantastic presents.  In one year!  I thought it might be worth sharing these ideas with you sooner rather than later, as no doubt you're about to be asked by your loved ones for ideas for your Christmas stocking.  And if you like them, just leave this blog open for all to see and drop some VERY heavy hints…

The first idea was a gift voucher for a local craft centre.  The centre runs all manner of courses and the voucher was enough to cover the cost of a course.  I now get a voucher for craft courses each birthday and Christmas, and would be disappointed if I didn't. For crafters like myself who are kind of a 'jack of all trades, master of none' and who love trying out new things, this is such a fantastic idea.  It works on so many levels for me - it feeds my desire for new creative experiences, it supports these amazing centres of craft and creativity, it provides me with an experience that I would probably never have treated myself to, it gives me a day out without the kids or the Husband for some quality 'me' time, and I get to make something that I can keep forever and be inordinately proud of.  And the Husband loves it as it's one less idea for him to come up with!

There are all manner of courses available out there; do an online search and you'll almost certainly find a centre relatively close to you.  The first course I did was a one-day stained glass course, and I came away with a window hanging designed and produced all by my very self.

My first attempt at stained glass.  One of my most favourite makes.  Ever.

I absolutely love it - it is one of my most favourite ever makes and it hangs proudly in our dining room window.  Since then I've been on a lampshade making course and produced this shade for our standard lamp…

The completed shade - I was so excited to take this home...

...and here it is in situe... our dining room.  I love the colours and the feather design of this fabric (it is Michael Miller's 'Birds of a Feather' fabric).

...and I've done lino printing and designed and produced these four prints which hang in our bedroom.

My lino prints, all printed off the same lino block which I designed myself.

And in early December, I'm going to do a paper cutting course which I'm really excited about.

The other inspired idea was a magazine subscription.  Which I know sounds incredibly dull.  But it so isn't.  I'm a big lover of homes magazines (that's another blog for another time) but the cost can add up each month if you're not careful.  Unbeknownst to me, the Husband took out a subscription in my name to my favourite magazine.

A very small selection of some of the many magazines I've read in recent years;
I keep these for inspiration, to use for decoupage, and for the kids to craft with

So, rather than the present-giving being restricted to 25 December, I got a little gift popping through my letter box every single month.  Plus, you quite often get a free gift when you subscribe to a magazine, so that was another gift covered that year.  This idea has rolled from year to year and I never tire of it.  Clever man…

Feel free to pinch my Husband's fantastic Christmas present ideas for yourself.  And I promise - no more talk of the 'C' word for at least a couple of weeks!

Bye for now xxx

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  1. Hello! Sorry I've been AWOL for a while - illnesses, half term etc. meant I lost a whole 3 weeks.
    Anyway, I'm with you on the early Christmas thing. So cynical of supermarkets, TV advertisers etc. to start the whole shebang so soon. Joe's convinced it's imminent and it's difficult to explain there's a while to go. I love this time of year but I don't need to feel all panicky about it because I haven't got everything bought, wrapped and labelled yet.
    As for the lampshade making course: that sounds like something I'd love to do. And yes please to magazine subs too :)
    P.S. We always go to Hebden Bridge to buy a few special gifts. It's lovely in December and there are loads of nice places to go for hot chocolate x

    1. Glad I'm not the only one! The lampshade course was done at the Ministry of Craft in Manchester and they're terrific, I've done a couple of courses there. And I think a trip to Hebden Bridge may be in order, thanks for that! xx