Monday, December 24, 2012

a perfect christmas

 This year I am going to have a perfect Christmas.
Because I know how to!
 It's actually quite easy, all I need to do is to know that it already is perfect.
I need to clear my mind of pinterest images, stories from Shirley Hughes or Alison Uttely.
 I need to switch off my brain from lists and plans.
 I need to stop imagining what the perfect Christmas would look, feel, taste and smell like.
Because this is the perfect Christmas.
It is the perfect childhood Christmas for my children and it will only be perfect for my children if I give them permission to feel that perfection.
 I must keep any anxieties or disappointments or negativity from entering my head, because the only bad thing about Christmas would be feelings like those. Whereas, if I know this is the perfect Christmas then it can be nothing other than...well perfect.

Happy Christmas to you all x

Sunday, December 23, 2012

a dollhouse story

Once upon a time, in a tiny village in the south of Ireland the sun rose upon the last day of term before the Christmas holiday. As ever it is a busy time of year for everyone.


 Poppy skipped off to school with her bag on her back to enjoy some Christmas fun and games with her class mates.
 Her daddy, the postman, was busy delivering his bag full of letters. He even had one for Grandfather from an old friend.

 Indoors Granny was baking her special Christmas biscuits and the house smelt warm and cosy, like Christmas should.
 Upstairs little Pete sat on his bed thinking about all the wonderful things that would happen during the holidays. He had a bubble of excitement in his belly and a grin of anticipation on his face.
 At 11 o'clock, mama sat down with the baby for a much deserved cup of tea. Grandad joined her with a mug of (he claims) ginger beer.
 The house was peaceful and happy.
 Then Granny realised that she had run out of eggs so she took her basket and popped out to the shops.
 When she returned home she found the children playing outside, mama having shoo'd them out of the kitchen while she was trying to cook supper.
As evening drew in Granny and Grandad settled down with a pot of hot tea and reminisced about when they were young and courting.
Poppy and Pete were tucked up in bed but were far too excited to sleep whispering to each other about Granny's cookies, paper chains and whether it might snow.
Mama and Daddy ate their supper together in peace talking of this and of that and of things to come.
The house was quiet at last and eventually even little Pete fell asleep.

I am so excited about this gift for the kids. I have been working on these dolls for weeks now in between other things and today I finally finished them all off. I had thought initially about doing only one doll each, but I got a bit carried away.
 I am so delighted with the doll's houses. I asked Rosario from Ventry Toys to make them for me. They are completely perfect. Each can be a separate house (or garage or barn), but they fit snuggly side by side and they also have special holes and rods in the roof and floor so that they can be securely stacked one on top of the other. 
Each has a door on the side with a little bell for visitors to ring. 
Rosario also made the beautiful furniture. I am such a huge fan of his work, he is always so happy to work with me on my ideas and his workmanship is wonderful. (Don't forget that if you tell him I sent you he will give you a 10% discount on any order over 10 euro...just because he's a lovely man!).
I hope that these dolls and their wee houses will delight the children as much as they do me and that they will get many happy hours of pleasure from them.

Friday, December 21, 2012

around here...

 stocking fillers for my own stocking (I didn't want to feel left out, so I treated myself)
 making a dollhouse family for the kid's present
 Benny was in hospital getting grommets put in his ears.
 preparing for our wee Christmas party
 baking her class a cake instead of giving cards
 finishing off our angel for the tree
body, head and wings made by Rebe, dress made by me and Benny and all threads snipped by Joa.
Today is Rebe's last day of school and then the festivities can begin :-)

Monday, December 17, 2012

Fairy Christmas Tree Tutorial

There is something so magical about little tiny things and little tiny things should have some magic...

To make a Fairy Christmas tree take a snippet of fir. We found ours on the ground outside the supermarket where the Christmas Trees are sold, but perhaps you are lucky enough to have an evergreen forest near you, or just steal a little from your own tree.
 pull off the needles at the bottom about an inch up your tree
 stick your tree into a little plop of playdough, or you could use modeling clay or even bees wax
 cut a circle of burlap, or cotton gingham would be sweet too
 place your tree in the middle and gather the burlap up over the playdough and secure around the trunk with some cotton, yarn or strong thread.
 Now for the fiddly bit, put a tiny dab of glue on the end of the needles and thread on some small beads
 cut a tiny gold star out of gold paper (we have plenty of chocolate coin wrappers saved up so this was perfect and attached to the top.
 I used beads for my tree, which was a bit too fiddly for the kids to manage but we found that hama beads work brilliantly for them...

 using a match stick they popped tiny dabs of glue onto their trees

 and oh so carefully chose their beads and threaded them onto the needles. Joa especially enjoyed this as he practiced all the colours he knows (which really is just pumpkin for orange and blue for everything else)

allow to dry and display somewhere that fairies are bound to see and enjoy :-)
 Happy Crafting

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Personalized Treasure Chests Tutorial

This year the Buddies are getting personalized treasure boxes as their Christmas present.
Last year each family got a rainbow of play clothes that have been well loved and used. We were scratching our heads what to make/ do for them this year when Susan came up with the gorgeous idea of a treasure box each. Something to keep their special things in, a wee heirloom just for them. 
We found a great source for these lovely unfinished wooden boxes. 
We had hoped to that the mummies could get together one evening and decorate them together but sadly we didn't get the chance. So today while the kids were out with Andy I did the ones for Rebe, Benny and Joa.

First I drew a very faint pencil line around each edge of the box as a border. I just used a ruler as my space guide.

Next I drew out the little illustrations I wanted to use onto paper. You could draw straight onto the box, but I was a little nervous about messing it up.
 I placed the paper with the drawing positioned where I wanted it and went back over my lines using a sharp pencil so that the deign would be indented into the lid.
 I also wrote each child's name in pencil on the lid of the box. The using an old soldering iron of Andy's I traced over the pencil lines.

 I have to say I really loved doing this. A perfect winter craft: the smell of burning wood, warmth from the iron. It is also a slow process, it can't be rushed and must be done in peace and with patience. Definitely something I will be doing more of!

 Next I used watercolor paints to stain the wood a different colour for each child; their favourite of course.
 When the paint had dried I gave each one a wee coat of beeswax polish: to seal it, give some protection and also for it's gorgeous smell!

 An armadillo for Benny
 A wee root child for Rebe
I am really pleased with how they came out and I think the kids will adore them.
They would be a really lovely birthday present or a birth gift. Watch out for the smell of burning wood...they'll be much more around here :-)

chicken pox party

Yesterday we started the day with a little crafting, which is not uncommon here under rainbows. We read a lovely story recently in which Sam Pig can't find anything to make his friends for Christmas so he decides to make Christmas cards, but having no paper he painted his cards on egg shells.
The older 2 had a lovely time painting Christmas cards while I tried out another craft I thought we might do together...
Fairy Christmas Trees... tutorial coming shorty :-)

So, we are reaching the end of the chicken pox saga. Rebe ended up staying off school on Thursday and Friday too, although she was very anxious to join in her school nativity play on Friday evening. It was very sweet, she and her class were Christmas trees. Just 2 songs and she was completely drained, she had to sit out the grand finale and when she came to me afterwards I just thought 'oh dear poor little thing' she looked awful. So we whisked home to bed, boy did the chicken pox take it out of her!

A friend of mine suggested that we should have a chicken pox party to celebrate the end of the illness and the fact that we will never have them again (thank goodness) we did
 Rebe planned it for us

 and we made a chicken pox cake
 and chicken pox cookies

and thoroughly enjoyed it making sure we all breathed a sigh of relief saying
'Thank goodness that's over'