Christmas Eve in Collage

collage11. Aviators love. 2. Lemon juice in water for breakfast. 3. Sunnydale Banana Milk  4. Gluten-Free toast with banana for breakfast.  5. Our colourburst necklace, great for the beach.  6. Grubby yellow thongs we live in (yes, flipflops are thongs to us!).

We thought we’d capture our Christmas Eve (so far) in collage…. I know that the idea of spending Christmas at the beach is very foreign to most. This year the weather is a few degrees cooler than sweltering and incredibly pleasant. We spend a lot of time in the water, eating outdoors, going for walks, eating fruit and light foods and soaking up the sun.

collage21. Our reindeer antler card ready to give to a friend.  2.  Banana Milk.  3. Cane hat by Stella McCartney for Target.  4.  Wrapped.  5.  Me, Calvin + Millie  6.  Bikini  7. Bling from Indo 8. Candy cane from our advent calendar  9.  Aviators love.

collage31. Sarong to wrap up in for lunch.  2.  Australian flower pendant designed by a friend (now departed)  3.  Niulife Coconut Vinegar – delicious  4.  Mango!  5. Flowers delivered by lovely friends.  6.  Favourite Spanish heels.  7. Our delicious Roast Vegetable Salad.  Good enough to live on, recipe coming soon.

collage41. Bathing suit.  2.  Real Living Magazine for a bit of afternoon relaxing.  Presents all done.  3.  Coconut water with guava nectar.  4.  Bright pink mirrors love.  5. Wrapped and ready to go thanks to Millie.  5.  Our tassel and bone necklace.

And still to come, another dip in the Indian Ocean, meeting up with friends for drinks, dinner with other friends and Midnight Mass…. followed by a mad rush home and me staying up well into the night wrapping presents and making a few extra cards. We hope your Christmas Eve is relaxing and wonderful.

If you like this Pin It, and enjoy!

How To: Cocktail To Warm You Up!

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This is a quick post for the adults during this festive time to share our favourite cocktail. This is a special treat, mainly for our readers in the Northern Hemisphere. I learnt about this cocktail while I was living in Switzerland and frequenting North Carolina, where my boyfriend at the time attended college. On returning to Australia, I have always served this to guests, who all agree that it is delicious!

We’d like to show you how to make the Roasted Toasted Almond, it is nutty and tastes exactly likes its name. And it warms. And it is moreish so be careful.  This is a wonderful way to warm up by the Christmas tree on Christmas Eve when the kids are tucked safely into bed.

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Ingredients

1 ounce Galliano Amaretto
1 ounce Vodka
1 ounce Kahlua
Cream or Milk

How To:

Measure and pour all the alcoholic ingredients into a glass. Fill the glass with as much cream or milk as you like. Stir. Serve on ice if you wish.

If you like, this Pin it.  We hope you enjoy it as much as we do.  Let us know on Facebook or Twitter.  We’ll be back tomorrow with a last-minute Christmas recipe and a few more cocktails…..  Only two more sleeps….  So exciting.

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How To: Sparkly Baubles Christmas Cards

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We made the Reindeer Antler Cards earlier in the season. But we ran out. We love giving out and sending handmade cards. Now, we need at least 20 more cards and have very little time left and a million things to do… What to do? We decided to just use what we had at home. Then in less than an hour and a half we made over twenty more cards that are ready to send this afternoon — well not quite, they still need to be written on.

These cards look great and are really easy and quick to make. Each card takes about five minutes or less… And they look like they would take a lot longer which is great.

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Materials

A4 Watercolour paper (we used a whole book, guillotined every page in half)

Ecoline Inks in Blue/Green, Moss Green, Yellow Green and Gold

4 paintbrushes in different sizes (very small for the glue)

Mod Podge or Craft Glue

Multicoloured round acrylic rhinestones

Method

1. Paint three dots on the card where you want the three points of the tree to be.  Paint these in the yellow green colour, using a pointed brush.

cc32. Roughly paint the Christmas tree shape between the three dots you have painted.

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3. Using the larger brush, paint the darker green roughly onto the tree, leaving the yellow-green as an outline.

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4. Take the big round brush and put a few splotches of blue-green onto the the tree.  This will really spread so do it sparingly and don’t put it too close to the edge of the tree.

5. Watch the Ink spread and the colours to gorgeously blend.  Wait for it to dry.

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6. Place a dab of glue onto the rhinestones and stick them randomly onto each card.  It looks better if it’s not too uniform.  Place a rhinestone at the top of each card.

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7. Use the gold ink, to paint a star at the top of each tree, if you like.

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We hope you enjoy making beautiful Christmas cards. I know that friends and family love to receive them. I love receiving cards from people too. If you like this, then Pin It. In the next few days we will have more Christmas tutorials coming, mainly for food and drinks.

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How To: Wrap Small Awkward Presents

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This post is the second in our gift wrapping series. The first post to learn to wrap a perfect present is here.  That is a great way to wrap books and easy to wrap things.  But what about awkward things?  We don’t like wrapping gifts that are odd-shaped, far too time-consuming.  So for these items we repurpose different packages to use as gift wrapping.  For this tutorial we used Chinese Takeaway containers, bought at an Asian supermarket for 20cents each, which makes this an inexpensive way to wrap.  We used scraps of fabric from making our gorgeous Colour Burst Necklaces (the tutorial is here). Here’s how we did it…

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Materials

Chinese gift boxes or any other box available
Mail tags
Marker
Ornamental Tape (we used this gorgeous lacey tape but washi tape would look great too)
Fabric scraps – from gift making, you could easily use bits of lace, twine, string…

The photos really tell the story for this tutorial. If you like this, please Pin it and if you like us, then Like Us on Facebook. Join us for more Christmas goodness, food, drinks and more gift wrapping in the next few days.

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How To: A Simple Tassel (for necklaces, presents, clothing, anything)

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This is a really simple tutorial but is a useful little trick to keep coming back to. Tassels can be made from wool, cotton, leather, anything. They are a very inexpensive way to decorate and can be used to make stunning bracelets, necklaces, wreaths and more. A simple tassel like this takes about five minutes to whip up! Seems that we are into tassels for this Christmas with our tassel necklace, tassel garland, Christmas wreaths and Advent Calendar.

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Materials

Dressmaking scissors

Wool, thick embroidery thread, cotton

1 small piece of card (a piece of a cereal box would be perfect)

Method

1. Cut a piece of card to the length you’d like. The tassel will end up about 1″/2.5cm shorter than this. Drape a piece of string over the card to begin.

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2. Wrap a piece of string around the card until the tassel is as thick as you would like.

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3. Cut another piece of string. Wrap it through and around the top of the tassel while it is still on the card, tie a secure knot and leave two pieces at the end for tying your tassel to something.

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4. Remove the tassel from the card.

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5. Tie another piece of string onto the tassel and wrap it several ties to secure the tassel. Secure this with a simple knot.

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6. Cut the tassel at the bottom to the length your desire. Snip off the stray threads.

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If you like this, Pin It and come back for a lot more good stuff in the next few days.

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How To: Paper Tassel Garland

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We have made many of these little beauties over the past four years.  They are a gorgeous addition to any party, wedding, Christmas get-together or cocktail soiree .  They are the perfect mix of sophisticated and whimsical.    When choosing colours to use, choosing three colours works really well.  Then choose as many shades of each colour as you like.  You can’t go wrong with this formula.

Note: These garlands take longer than an hour to make.  Each garland we make with 20 tassels but you could make them with less.

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Materials

20 large pieces of tissue paper (different colours)
Ruler
Stanley knife
Craft Glue
Paintbrush or skewer
Cord (to string the tassels)

Method

1. Fold your piece of tissue paper in half lengthwise, right sides facing out.

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2. Fold the tissue paper in half again (this makes it quicker to cut).

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3. Using the ruler to guide you, cut the tissue paper into small slices, with the Stanley knife. Start cutting a few inches below the fold of the paper. Cut strips along the whole length of tissue paper.

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4.Carefully unfold the tissue paper, right side facing up.

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5. Fold the tissue paper in half, then in quarters, then again until it is a thin strip in the middle.

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6. Twist the centre of the tissue paper in the middle and fold it over (as in photo below).

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7. Using a paintbrush or skewer, paint glue onto the twisted part, then twist it together, leaving a loop on the top of the tassel.

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8. Secure the tassels at the bottom of the twist with a peg until the glue has dried.

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9. String the tassels onto a piece of string or cord and hang on a wall or in a doorway. Space the tassels out evenly. When you take the tassels down, tie them onto the string in a circle and store them in a bag. Try to keep the tassels straight and they can be used again and again.

If you enjoyed this tutorial, please hover an image and Pin It. Come back for more tutorials in the next few days…..

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Last Minute Advent Calendar… and Our Other Christmas Ideas

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Today is the first day of Advent, we have been busily decorating our tree and our home, while listening to Elvis Presley cranking out some Christmas tunes.  Were you far too busy to even think about an Advent Calendar? Well, that is what One Hour Craft is for. We put together a few last minute Star & Cane Advent Calendars for friends and family. They took about half an hour each to make which was awesome as we had time to deliver them just in time.

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If you want help to make your homemade Christmas easier try reading our articles, How to Create a Happy, Relaxed Homemade Christmas (Part 1) and (Part 2).

If you need other quick ideas for Christmas try our…..

Angel Wings

Little Birdie Advent Calendar

Wreaths (3 ways)

Felted Wreath

The Perfect Gift Wrap

Reindeer Antler Card and Template

Baby Roma Tomato and Bocconcino Christmas Starters

And keep coming back in the next few weeks we will have more wrapping tutorials, recipes and much more.

If you like this, Pin It and Tweet the heck out of it. We are just in the midst of joining Twitter again and will give you those details soon so that we can have more direct contact.

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How To: Gorgeous Christmas Wreaths (3 Ways)

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This is our second wreath tutorials.  Our first, to Make a Felted Wreath is here.  post will show you how to make a very easy and fun Christmas wreath using a foam circle. We found that the most difficult part of this was working out how to wrap it which is why we are showing you three techniques.  Once it is covered, it is easy to decorate with anything you have at home. This is a great way to use up the scraps you already have at home and is a very inexpensive way to make your home ready for Christmas.  We found that the most difficult part of this was working out how to wrap it which is why we are showing you three techniques.  Once it is covered, it is easy to style with crafty bits you have at home.

wreath1Materials

1 Foam Circle
Scraps of fabric: leather, cotton, hessian
Pins
Wool or string in a great colour
Bits and bobs including: Pompons, bells, beads, chain, flowers, stars, feathers, tassels etc

Techniques for Covering the Wreath

1. Leather and String

This gives a very modern and funky look and is so easy to do.   Just wrap the leather scraps around the wreath and then bind it on with the string.  When you reach the end of one scrap, tuck the beginning of another under it and keep going until the whole wreath is covered.  To secure it, tie a double knot with the string.

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When it is finished attach your trinkets to it for a great wreath.

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2. Fabric Mounds

This method is very easy but takes some time. It’s a great way to use scraps and gives a lovely, soft, textured look. For this method you can also use hessian, make sure to use a fabric with some hold in it so that it stands up.

Firstly, cut your fabric into 4″ x 4″ squares.

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Fold a fabric square in half, so that it makes a triangle.

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Fold one corner into the middle in the front.

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Fold the other corner into the middle, but at the back this time.  Secure with a pin in the middle (as in photo below).

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Keeping the pin in the same place, pin the fabric onto the foam ring.  Swivel the fabric to the side (this hides the pin) and puff it up.

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Repeat this process, pinning the fabric onto the wreath, next to each other. You will need two lines of fabric on the wreath, one of top and one on the bottom, to cover it (as in photo below).

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3. Fabric Strip Wrapping

This method is easy and really effective for a more minimalist look. Rip your fabric into long strips. Secure it to the foam with one pin at the end and then wrap it tightly, making sure the edges don’t curl too much. The edge of the fabric should overlap so that no foam shows. Flatten them out as you go. When you have reached the end use another pin to secure it.

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Styling your Wreath

This is really the fun part! Your imagination is the limit here. Raid your scraps and use what you have. Put them together in wonderful new ways and design your masterpiece.

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Tips for Styling your Wreath

  • Using three colours looks fabulous. Choose one neutral (grey) and two colourful colours.  You can then use different shades in all of these colours and it will still look balanced.  For example if you choose pink, you can use rose pink, bright pink, light pink and flouro pink.
  • Focusing your embellishments on the right hand bottom side of the wreath makes it look great.  Off centre gives it a more modern and interesting look.
  • Anything in threes looks good.
  • Not all your adornments need to be Christmassy.  Add Christmas touches using baubles, tree ornaments, stars etc.
  • Fluorescent colours look great against a neutral background as they really pop.
  • Balance the colour at the top.  On this wreath I have balanced the fluoro pink by wrapping some around the top left hand side and then placing a star on the other side to balance that.
  • Use any techniques you already know.  The fabric leaves I made are a technique learned making Kanzashi Tsunami (these are found in my book).

We hope you enjoyed this tutorial.  If you like it, Pin it and if you like us, Like Us on Facebook and tweet the heck out of it.  Thanks.  Stay tuned for more tutorials for Christmas and search up our other tutorials in our categories on the right hand side.

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Article: How to Create a Happy, Relaxed Homemade Christmas (Part 2)

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This is the second part of our article How to Create a Happy, Relaxed Homemade Christmas (Part 1). In the first part, we discussed how to simplify making cards and presents. Part 2 covers how to simplify homemade Christmas decorating, gift wrapping and Christmas gatherings.

1. Christmas Decorating

If you have already brainstormed as suggested in the first part of this article you will already have some ideas as to what you would like in your home.
Thankfully, Christmas decorating has a finite number of elements. These may include Christmas tree, Advent Calendar, Lighting, Other decorations, Garlands, Wreaths. For ideas, Pinterest is always a great starting point.
Let’s tackle each element separately. But before we do here are some tips on simplifying Christmas decorating as a whole:
• Start and continue Christmas decorating traditions in your home. For example, in our home we have wreaths which are beautifully homemade and are carefully packed away and brought out at the beginning of each holiday season. Children especially love the continuity, while we feel very nostalgic on opening them up.
• Visit your local Christmas markets and buy these things, supporting other artisans in your area. This is great if you are time-poor but still want a homemade holiday. Or, you could browse Etsy, there are always thousands of options for exquisitely made one-off decorations, generally at affordable prices.
• Throw out the idea of a colour scheme. In the past I have fastidiously chosen a new colour scheme for Christmas each year. But this is harder to do when you are working, running a business, raising a child, running a home, travelling etc. I find that the colours I have been drawn to over the years haven’t changed really. And so my colour scheme is eclectic and somehow it all just works. It tends to be dominated by blues and ocean colours which really work well with the rest of the décor in my home. Reusing ornaments also helps to keep costs down.
• Organise a crafternoon with girlfriends to make wreaths, ornaments or garlands.
• Keep your decorating minimal. This is my trick. I am a minimalist by nature anyway, and not drawn to fussy things. A few carefully chosen decorations well hung, always looks more chic than a lot of stuff.

Now let’s look at some of the elements of Christmas decorating in more detail:

Christmas Trees

• Invest in a beautiful tree that can be used year after year. This is a much more sustainable solution. There are a lot of gorgeous tree available on the Internet. We have had the same tree for the past ten years.
• Lights look fabulous on the tree. We use the same lights each year.
• If you do not have enough decorations, paper decorations are easy to make and look incredible. Why not make geometric shapes from card, or stitched paper decorations.
• Keep it light. A few garlands of pompoms, hearts, even small bunting look beautiful and not too over the top.
Advent Calendar
• Simplify your Advent Calendar. A lot of the Calendars on the Internet are huge, containing a mountain of lollies each day for children and adults to devour. This isn’t necessary. Make a simple Advent Calendar with one lolly each day and everyone can take turns. The anticipation of waiting for their day actually makes this more exciting for children, not less. An Advent Calendar can be as simple as a beautiful piece of drift wood, hung from the wall, 24 candy canes strung from it with fishing wire.  Try our simple Star + Cane Advent Calendar or our Little Birdie Advent Calendar.
• Reuse last year’s calendar. If you do make a fancy calendar, then make it so that you will be able to use for the next few years at least. Then take the time to wrap it in tissue paper. It is like Christmas for children when they open these boxes at the beginning of Advent.

2. Gift Wrapping

Gift wrapping makes a present. One of my greatest pleasures at Christmas is to see all the gifts wrapped and under the tree (before our gorgeous Ragdoll cat tries to pull them all apart). Homemade wrapping doesn’t need to be fancy or over the top. Here are some tips to make it simpler.
• Wrap all of your presents at the same time. Once again, get together the whole family or friends also, to help.
• Brown paper is a really good starting point for wrapping presents. Or choose another neutral colour, then add a gift tag and a ribbon.
• Your presents don’t need to be overly decorated. Adding lace, extra hessian strips, this and that, takes a lot of time. Keep it simple with beautiful wrapping and a bow or Baker’s twine.  For a simple, chic wrap try Perfect Wrapping Tutorial.
• Gift tags are easier to make than cards.

3. Christmas Gatherings

The most daunting has been left til last.
Christmas gatherings can be really stressful. Sometimes just the number of them can be overwhelming. Often there are extended family dos, office parties, friends’ drinks, family meals, school events, drop in visits to loved ones, bbqs etc. Here are some tips to make them simpler.
• Take out your Iphone or calendar with your partner and coordinate the dates for your gatherings. If you put these into your Iphone, in the notes section write down what you will be required to bring with you. Also write these onto a list so that you will know when they are and what is required of you.
• Be willing to say ‘No’ when required. Attending too many functions is just exhausting and leaves no time for just enjoying the season. Cancel one evening out and spend some time on the couch snuggling, watching the lights on the tree, listening to the Elvis Presley Christmas album and sipping on a gorgeous cocktail. You will thank yourself.
• Focus on being hospitable, and not on entertaining. The difference is huge. Being hospitable means opening up your home and your hearts to people, making them feel welcome and looking after them. Entertaining is about impressing and really doesn’t take into account others. It tends to be me-centred, nitpicky and perfectionistic. Remember that friends and family will only take away the way you made them feel from your function. Food and décor will be forgotten.
• For big dinners such as Christmas lunch there are several ways to simplify and still keep it homemade and gorgeous. In our family, each couple brings something different for the meal. Someone brings the ham, another the turkey, another a few salads, another brings dessert. It is delicious as everyone puts a lot of effort into their part. Everyone brings wine, drinks and extras such as bonbons, chocolate, sunscreen (our Christmas is normally around a backyard pool). It is like a gourmet potluck.  For a wonderful dessert try our Peach Flan.
• If you are going to a gathering and are required to bring nothing, always bring something. A small gift for the hostess is all that is needed. This can be a small package of little sugar cookies, a small loaf or even a bottle of homemade lime and ginger cordial. This is always appreciated and makes people much more willing to put in the time and effort to host great functions.
• Set aside some time and make some hostess gifts. If you make a few batches of cookies and carefully package them, you will be ready to go for the last-minute get-togethers that often happen around this time.  Our Lime + Pistachio Meltaways or our Gluten-Free Chocolate + Peanut Butter Cookies are delicious recipes.

Wishing you a wonderful time preparing for a Homemade Christmas.  We have more Christmas tutorials coming in the next few days.

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Article: How to Create A Happy, Relaxed Homemade Christmas (Part 1)

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Would you love to do a homemade Christmas but the thought of it is so stressful that you find yourself getting stressed already?  Are you sick of factory-made, ugly Christmas crap ?  Would you love to lead your family in a more environmentally-friendly and creative Christmas?  Do you dream of making the presents, the decorations, the gift wrap, the cards, and the food from scratch?

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If you find yourself daunted by the whole idea of a Homemade Christmas, we have great tips to help you make it easier and more enjoyable.

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Break Christmas down into several elements.

Basically, a homemade Christmas has a finite number of elements which is great.  These elements are cards, presents, wrapping, Christmas gatherings (such as Christmas dinner), home decorating.

Take a huge sheet of butcher’s paper and plan under these headings.  This is your first brainstorm.  Under each heading just spend a few minutes and write your first ideas that come to your head.

Under presents, write down the names of everyone you will be giving presents to.  Write the age of the children next to their names and then start to jot down some ideas for homemade gifts.

Under the title of cards, write down your ideas for homemade cards, and make lists of colleagues, friends, extended family and others who you give cards to.

Under the heading of Christmas Gatherings, write down the gatherings you are committed to and underneath write down what you are expected to do for this gathering.  For example, the Family Christmas Gathering on 21 Dec, I will be bringing a dessert.  Write down any work parties, neighbours house for drinks and any others you will need to plan for.

This will take some time and once you have finished you will now have a very visual and more clear path to a homemade Christmas.  Now move onto the next steps…

Now we tackle each element in detail.

Each element needs to be looked at in more detail.

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1. Christmas Cards

Write lists of Christmas card recipients under headings such as colleagues, friends, family.  This will create a hierarchy of sorts.  Don’t be afraid to make different cards for each group, according to your level of intimacy.  Make the best cards for your husband, partner and children, extended family make simpler cards and for colleagues and distant friends, make cards that are even simpler.

Give yourself a deadline for handing out cards.  For example, cards being sent will need to be finished three weeks before Christmas, work colleagues’ cards will need to be finished by the last day of work.  Place deadlines in your phone or on your calendar so that you stick to them.

For card ideas, browse sites such as Pinterest.  There are many ideas.  Choose three different ideas for each group.  To keep your choices simple, choose minimalist designs, choose simple colour combinations and choose designs which can be partly made on a computer.  A way to make this easier again is to think of which techniques you will use to make the cards.  Drawing and painting cards is time-consuming.  Techniques such as printing, sewing and stamping are a lot quicker.  Anything you can easily replicate is easy to make.  Photo cards and quick to make.

Now to begin making cards, make a list of the materials you will need to make your cards.  Gather and mark off any materials you already have.  Make a list and buy the other materials on-line or head out on a shopping trip.

Then map out a space of time to begin making your cards.  A great idea is to make cards in an assembly line and ask your children to help you.  Or ask a girlfriend over for an evening of cardmaking and make both of your cards in one sitting.  Another way to tackle cards is to set up all of your materials on a small table for a few weeks.  Let the people you share your home with, know not to move anything or help themselves to it.  Then whenever you have a few minutes, sit at the table and finish your cards.

When all your cards are made, write on them, envelope them, address them.  Place a stamp on those that need to be sent and put them all into a shoebox marked clearly ‘Christmas Cards’.

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2. Presents

You have made your list of Christmas gifts.  If it seems overwhelming there are several ways to simplify.  These may include:

  • Negotiating with family.  A few years ago, our family decided to stop giving gifts to the adults as we have many children and it was becoming very expensive.  Our extended family is huge and we only give cards.
  • Give family gifts or couples gifts.  Instead of trying to find a gift for your sister and brother-in-law, give them a couples gift that they will both enjoy.  Couples gifs may include giving a basket full of great products for amazing chemical-free, homemade Home and Skin Products such as Moisturising Bars, Brown Sugar and Cinnamon Scrub, Coffee Scrub Bars, Orange Power Cleaner and Chai Room Spray.
  • Make the same gift so that you can make them in an assembly line which is much quicker.  This year my family will be giving all of the grandchildren the same present.  They will each be getting a pair of homemade pyjamas, which will be a pair of shorts for the boys and girls and a screenprinted/ appliqued tshirt.  All of the boys’ pjs will be the same and the girls will be the same.  We have nine children, so this will be fun to see.  Another idea is to screenprint tshirts for all the children, or make them a gorgeous bag each.  This idea cuts down on costs too as you can buy in bulk and use materials more economically.
  • Give an early gift.  This year we will be giving family gifts of advent calendars in the next few weeks to friends.  They know to expect these and are not making or buying their own.  This will simplify my list as I can mark these off my list and just give these families a card on Christmas day.  They will have the whole of Advent to enjoy their gift from us.

When you have made your final list, you will be able to sort people into different lists, as you did with the cards.  Remember that a lot of making a gift attractive is in the packaging.  For example, Cookies in a Jar are a great gift to make for colleagues.  These can be made at the same time and take very little time or materials to make.  They are also inexpensive.  There are many variations of gifts like this.

Tackle the presents in order of difficulty to make.  Tackle the big ones, like your husband and children first.  When you have your lists, make the list of materials you will need.  Hunt around the house and work out what you have, mark this off and then get on-line or go shopping to find the rest.

Once again, when tackling the presents, it will be easier to make them in an assembly line.  For example, if you are sewing bags, cut them all out at the same time, and then construct the same step at the same time.  This makes it a lot quicker.  Enlist the help of children and your partner, if they are able to help.

Or if you are working in small chunks, set aside a table and make it out of bounds.  Then you can work on them when you have a spare 10 minute block.  Of course, if they are for your children or partner, you will need to be a whole lot more secretive.  This is what evenings are for.

We hope this is helpful.  Join us for part two in a few days’ time, where we will tackle, gift wrapping, home decorating and Christmas gatherings…

In the meantime, if you like this Pin It and if you like us, the Like Us on Facebook.
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