Christmas Craft Ideas!

2020, crafting

Hello!

I still can’t quite believe it’s December and Christmas is less than two weeks away, but whilst life is as busy as ever for many with work, pandemic-safe-socialising and figuring out present shopping when you’re not seeing everyone at the same time and what to buy when and from where but there’s always time for Christmas crafts, right?

Personally, handmade crafts have been a wonder for my mental health this year and it makes me feel really creative and accomplished! So I thought I’d share some of the things I’ve been making (or intend to make) that can be a couple of hours of offline festive fun.

  • cotton wool ball snowman

My beloved Frank who now hangs on my porch door!

6 sheets of A4 paper taped together, 3 bags of cotton wool balls, probably too much PVA glue, a Poundland hat and some pipe cleaners is a recipe for a few hours of wondering why you thought sticking that many cotton wool balls was a good idea, but then you get to the fun decorating bit and he looks amazing!

I’ve made a little Frank (can’t decide whether to call them Franklin or Franklette) that I might put up with him and it brings back that ‘Primary school art project’ feeling of doing something not because it needs to be skilled or perfect or challenging but making something just because it’s fun!

I’m going to get one of those big art folders so I can store him safely for next year and not waste all those cotton wool balls, but I really hope next year I can visit my godmothers children around Christmas and we can all do this together because I think it would be so much fun!

  • paper crafts – like paper chains and paper snowflakes!

Seems simple, sticking strips of paper and cutting out shapes but it can be a really great activity to do with younger children and is a really easy way to make the house feel more festive in a homely, unprofessional way (though no shade to anyone who’s home looks like a homeware catalogue).

Although you can buy paper chains at most shops around Christmas, making your own and having fun drawing Christmas designs with coloured pens can make it a much more involved festive activity.

Paper snowflakes are really simple to make, just folding paper, cutting sections out and opening up again but it’s a really effective window decoration and can even be fun to hang from the paper chains if you’re feeling fancy!

  • cardboard Christmas tree piñata

If I make this, it’s definitely not for piñata purposes, but my friend send me this link for a cardboard, tissue paper tree and whilst I haven’t got round to it yet, I have lots of festive pom-poms and pipe cleaners and I think it would look really cute!

Spending an afternoon not thinking too hard about my responsibilities and getting my hands into something creative, festive and cute always helps calm me down (assuming I’m not ignoring all of my other responsibilities to do it!).

Maybe it’s just some tissue paper on a cardboard box that’ll go in the recycling in the new year, but it’s worth it for the impact it has on my mental health and it’s much cheaper than therapy.

  • baking!

Perhaps should be counted separately to crafts, but snowman shaped cookies, cupcakes with chocolate fingers as reindeer antlers or a full on Yule log (which I am very proud of, biggest of thanks to Mary Berry for her recipe that I followed), it’s the time of year for sweet treats.

Whether you’d making your own buttercream or using a box cake mix, eating something you’ve made yourself is always satisfying at this time of year.

My mum bought a gingerbread house making kit for my fiancé and I and had initiated a little competition within my family, so I need to find some time to make a pretty gingerbread house (and find some ideas on Pinterest, I’m a bit stumped at the moment!)

  • card making!

My Nan used to be really into making cards, always sending personalised cards with pictures and 3D stickers and those fancy inserts on the inside that essentially make it a small book and I always treasured them.

But whether you’re buying Hobbycraft out of stickers and fancy blank card sets or folding a piece of paper in half and drawing with some crayons that you have no recollection of buying, the personal touch will certainly be appreciated by your loved ones!

Plus points if you let your children write a little message on the inside. I asked my fiancé to write some messages for his family in our Christmas cards (which I didn’t make, I must admit) and he wrote the card for his dad entirely with his left hand like an actual child. Pretty sure last year he did a drawing for my godmothers kids and even though they were 3, 7 and 8 I’m pretty sure they all did nicer drawings for us!

It feels like this entire year has been months of saying ‘I can’t believe it’s already X month’ and it’s whizzed by but felt really slow simultaneously. Only 10 days till Christmas!

I can’t wait for this year to be over, but I’m definitely tentative about putting too much hope on 2021, but I have to be optimistic about things getting better and seeing friends and family again soon because I don’t know how I’d cope if I wasn’t.

Thank you for reading – I hope you and your loved ones are happy, healthy and staying safe!

Sophie xx

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my craft projects!

2020, crafting, creativity

Hello!

Since finishing my masters degree, my to do lists have been a lot shorter – I am applying for jobs, but in a pandemic there’s not a whole lot going on, so rather than beating myself up about it, I’ve started making my to do lists in a slightly different way (I’m going to write a post about it next week!) and it helps me keep a sense of structure and purpose in my day without being overwhelming.

A bit part of this has been making time for crafts – in the first lockdown, I fell in love with cross stitching and learning more about knitting and sewing and I’ve found that doing these offline crafts have been really therapeutic for me and have helped me slow down out of that ‘productivity mindset’ in a way I never have before.

So I thought today I’d talk you through some of the projects I’ve got going on at the moment! Obviously there’s a few I’m not going to mention with Christmas coming up but between kits from Hobbycraft, a Disney cross stitch magazine and personal projects, I’m doing something different every few days and I love it.

  • wooden cross stitch

I bought a small wooden cross stitch stand from Hobbycraft with a voucher I got for my birthday. Granted, I did think it was a proper kit that would come with the thread and a needle and it didn’t, but it did have a beautiful pattern for a mountain sunset and I’ve nearly finished it! It’s a little more challenging than I thought to get the needle through all the little holes (I’ve actually broken a needle doing this!) but I think it’s going to look so cute and it’s quite small so it’s a nice little project.

  • face mask kit 

I love a kit that comes with all the materials and equipment – it’s probably why I’m super tempted by Hello Fresh and those other expensive food services! But I bought this mask kit, again from Hobbycraft, a few months ago and I was initially intimidated by the fact the pattern had pleats in it and I thought there was no way I could sew it by hand. It took probably 5x as long because I don’t have a sewing machine but it was actually surprisingly simple! I’ve done one of the three materials that came in the kit so I’ve got two more and I can use the pattern on any other material I have lying around too! I’m going to have to set up an Etsy store or something at this rate!

  • knitting ear savers

This is something I did a lot of at the beginning of lockdown – ear savers are little pieces of fabric with buttons that can hook face masks on to, so it takes the pressure off the back off the ears. A lot of volunteer groups were knitting them for medical staff and key workers that have to wear masks for extended periods of time – my fiancé loves his so much that he’s stretched it out, but he works broadcasting live sport so he’s wearing his mask for 12-13 hours a day and says it’s really helpful. Another item for my potential Etsy store!

  • learning to crochet

I’m yet to actually make anything, because I’m still learning the basics, but I picked up some reasonably priced crochet hooks in Wilko, back in the days when we could go to shops, and I’m trying to teach myself crochet. I’m not very good at learning new things because if I’m not good at it straight away I get cross, but I’m trying to be patient with myself and give myself permission to be bad at something, regardless of how melodramatic that sounds!

  • cardboard crafts

At the beginning of the first lockdown, I started saving every cardboard box that we had because I was sending parcels to my family and they were useful containers. But now I have a pile of cardboard in the corner of my kitchen with no use and I feel like a craft project is calling to me, I just haven’t figured out what yet! I recently picked up a Christmas themed paper pad from Hobbycraft (my new favourite shop, apparently) so I think I’m going to make some festive decorations – things I can stick in our window, maybe some decorations for the tree! I need to have a proper browse on Pinterest and see if I can find any inspiration.

  • 3D cross stitch kit

Really random but my fiancé found it on offer in a Lidl I think while he was away on work – it’s a little beach hut that you cross stitch the design onto and then sew it together and stuff it. I think that might be a project for that weird week between Christmas and New Year where no one knows what day it is and there’s loads of comfort TV on.

  • t-shirt blanket sewing

I feel like I’ve mentioned this approximately three billion times, but when I was a teenager I had an extensive t-shirt collection and because I’m sentimental af but became very aware that I was wasting all of these clothes, I decide to cut out the design feature and sew them all onto a blanket. I finished the first side earlier this year but decided to use fabric glue in the end because the blanket is quite big and my house is quite small so I don’t actually have anywhere I can lay it out flat but my intentions are that one day when I have a sewing machine I’m going to go over all the designs and make sure they’re properly secure before I continue sewing the other side but the remaining t-shirts I have I am sewing to each other so there’s still progress on the project. I don’t know if I’ve described this very well, but it’s a big ongoing project that will make more progress when I live in a space I can lay the blanket out flat!

  • adapting/fixing my own clothes

I did a moderate clear out of my wardrobe in September, being brutal about the clothes I don’t wear, the clothes I don’t like, any that might be adaptable to enjoy wearing again and I have a little pile of clothes I want to try and work on – a high neck jumper I want to try and take the high neck off of, a shirt with massively wide shoulders that I want to try and take up and a denim jacket that is too big for me but I want to experiment with acrylic painting on clothes (as inspired by @lucid.seams.shop on instagram). I’m also going to try and use some of my clothes as material for other projects, so maybe I’ll learn more about sewing!

I know not everyone finds crafting relaxing or fulfilling, but I think having an activity that can pull you away from your screens for a bit is so good for mental health. My fiancé and I had an afternoon building a Lego Hedwig kit recently and we spent two hours on something we really enjoyed! Whether it’s going for a walk in some fresh air, colouring, doing a jigsaw or making something crafty, spending time offline doing something for no reason other than enjoyment is important to prioritise. I’m still learning how to.

My mum also sent me a festive colouring book so I think a movie night and some colouring is on the cards! I’m thinking a Harry Potter or a Marvel movie marathon!

Thank you for reading – I hope you and your loved ones are happy, healthy and staying safe!

Sophie xx

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