Fun Thread: Favorite Christmas Craft or Project?

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by susiestar, Dec 8, 2016.

  1. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Are any of you working on any holiday crafts or projects this year? I am working on several, though only one is driving me nuts. That is unusual, I usually have at least 2 that are fighting me!

    Each year I cross stitch a nativity scene for my stepmother in law. It started as a one time thing about 20 years ago, and she loved it so much that I have done it each year since. This year's is a silhouette that is boring. I am over half done but it just isn't fun. I will get some holiday movies on this weekend and plow through.

    More fun are the ornaments I am making. I have stitched very tiny little trees, elves, santas, sleighs with reindeer, etc, with borders around them. Each stitched portion is maybe 1 to 1 1/2 inch tall. Then I cut them out and use cardstock, scrapbook paper and paint chips to make them into ornaments and gift tags.

    I also plan to make some more clothespin snowflakes to hang in the windows. You get spring close clothespins and take them apart. You paint them or dye them at this point. Then when they are dry you glue them with the flat sides together in pairs. Then you arrange those into a snowflake and glue them. They stay together well and look really pretty. I used spray glitter on them and they were awesome looking last year. THis year I want to play with them a little more.

    I am also crocheting little basket ornaments that will go to the senior's center cafeteria with a few candies in them, some sugar free of course. I figure to make about 100 to 150 baskets by the time I am done.

    We are also planning a cookie baking day at my mom's, and we will do another day where we prepare Christmas dinner ahead of time. We don't cook on Christmas in our family. We do a buffet meal with sandwich fixins and sort of much whenever all day. That way no one has to spend the day in the kitchen.

    What are YOUR Holiday projects?
     
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  2. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    When Miss KT was home, we did a lot of baking and candy making. She makes really good fudge. I'm not very crafty (no sewing, no painting, stuff like that) so I don't do those things.

    I really don't have anything planned for this year. One of the panther boys broke our artificial tree last year, so I don't even know if we're going to set it up. I'm not all Grinch-y, just tired.
     
  3. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member

    I used to do a lot of baking and candy making. For some reason I just kind of stopped. I'm not sure why really. Jabber's mom used to make SO much stuff that I just kind of quit. For years she would start months in advance and make so much stuff that Jabber took to work. He gave it out to inmates at the prison who were his workers. She literally would have so many bags he would have to get a hand truck to haul it all in. I told her she was a much better Christian than I was.

    I think this year I may try to get back into it. I'm going to try to make some candy, some cinnamon roasted nuts and some fruitcakes. We'll see.
     
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  4. ksm

    ksm Well-Known Member

    I used to do more... Our Elf on the Shelf had many adventures and his own scrapbook page in our Christmas Album. I used to decorate the house and porch. Now I put up the tree (artificial one, and we pull a huge sack over it with the ornaments left on and store in the basement) I put some green garland over the mantle. And a Christmas table cloth on the table and a matching runner on the buffet. And maybe set a couple items on the entry table.

    One thing our neighborhood has done for about 30 years is luminaries, for about a five square block area. This year it is Friday the 23rd. The block coordinator brought the sacks and candles last night. Each house pays $25. A volunteer will drive their truck filled with sand, and our block helps each other fill the sacks. Usually it is the Saturday before Christmas...but they don't do it on Christmas Eve. A small park in the center of the neighborhood will have carolers, and a horse drawn wagon for people to ride on.

    I like to make biscotti to epgive as gifts. I used to do lots of gifts in a jar...like soup or brownies.

    Basically I think I am struggling with depression as these things just don't bring me joy or satisfaction any more.

    I enjoy the Christmas Eve service at church, but it hurts to see all the "normal" families enjoying being together. While mine seem like it is a chore to spend time together...

    Maybe next year husband and I could just go away for the holidays...

    KSM
     
  5. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member

    This sounds just lovely!

    I understand. I don't even know yet if I'm doing a tree. I need to put up at least my wreath on the door and some lights outside...the whole neighborhood has theirs up and we look like the Scrooge house.
    :bah-humbug:

    Last year Jabber and I went to Vegas and I have to say, I wish we were traveling this year too. Somewhere warm. Somewhere not Christmassy. Sometimes I'm fine with the holiday season...sometimes ... Well, Humbug.
     
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  6. ksm

    ksm Well-Known Member

    This holiday puts too much pressure on people who are going thru difficult times,,,or maybe I just put too much pressure on myself.

    I guess we just need to lower expectations... I have spent too many years trying to create a holiday for others to enjoy and I am dealing with built up resentment.

    Ksm
     
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  7. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member

    I think this is exactly right. If I look back over the last several years, we haven't had any really good holidays. I'd have the best intentions...I'd cook something just for our son and he would run off with his friends. He'd stick around just long enough to get his gifts and leave. Even when I thought we had a good one, something would happen to ruin it.

    We need to make new traditions.
     
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  8. RN0441

    RN0441 100% better than I was but not at 100% yet

    We are doing "Christmas with the Kranks" this year! No tree for us or inside decorations. Husband put stuff outside to keep up with the neighborhood. We are having our two older sons and their girlfriend over this Saturday for Christmas dinner (going around their busy schedule). We leave for Florida on December 23 to spend it with our Difficult Child. He is coming on 23 eve and girlfriend coming 25 eve. We fly home on December 27 so quick trip! It's going to be weird but my whole life is weird.
     
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  9. mof

    mof Momdidntsignupforthis

    An old friend of mine we would ha e a baking day, we would listen to .music and bake several kinds of cookies...etc.

    When we moved, I had no one. Well, two years ago I found a great friend who I worked with. She 's young...20s and never made a Xmas cookie! So this is our 3 rd year carrying on the tradition...truly, it's .more exciting to me than Xmas morning.

    Though I could be her Mom...we are good friends.

    Depression has been been hovering lately..Ksm...there are no normal families... o matter how alone you feel.
     
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  10. JKF

    JKF Well-Known Member

    I made the most beautiful ornaments today. You take clear glass ornaments and add a few squirts of different color acrylic paint inside. You turn them upside down over a small cup (overnight) and the colors swirl and blend. They look like hand blown glass. They are beautiful!
     
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  11. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member

    I was a Debbie Downer last time I posted on this thread...but no more of that nonsense.

    I have two friends who have the same first name, for this thread I'll call them Kathy. I refer to them as my Kathys. I met them both through my job, (they worked with me at different times, years apart), and then they met each other and became friends through the jobs they took after they left my job...so funny. So now we're all three friends. :) Every Christmas I meet my Kathys out for lunch and we exchange gifts. I actually kind of hate the gift exchange...I never know what to buy them, they are very different from each other, but as it works out we always end up giving similar gifts to the other two...For instance, K1 will give K2 and me both candy and stuffed toys or Xmas decorations, similar but different. I will give the Kathys both bottles of wine and homemade candy, etc.

    This year I learned to knit! Well, okay, I learned to knit exactly one thing...a hat. I had forgotten how much I like doing things like that. This year our lunch got pushed back to the 29th, so I had some time and I decided to make my Kathys both bulky, soft, super-thick infinity scarves (crochet, not knit). I finished K1's scarf and since I had enough left over yarn I made her a matching knitted hat. Now on to K2's scarf and hat - or maybe for her I'll do a knitted headband...she's more "girly" than K1. I'm excited at how well they are turning out!

    I will be making fudge (chocolate, peanut butter and white mint) for the clerks in my office this weekend. I was going to make cinnamon roasted nuts...I may still try, but they take a long time and fudge is fast. I plan on making fruitcake too, at least a couple for myself and for a gift for a friend who shares my love of that much maligned Christmas staple.

    Christmas is coming too soon. We still don't have a tree or any decorations. Oh well.
     
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  12. RN0441

    RN0441 100% better than I was but not at 100% yet

    Wow Lil I'm impressed! You are the Martha Stewart of our forum!
    :santa:
     
  13. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member

    LOL - Not so much. Jabber still wants me to make Baklava, but I leave that to Cedar. ;)

    If I were Martha Stewart, my house would be both clean and festively decorated.
     
  14. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Have you tried Alton Brown's peanut butter fudge? It is SOOO EASY and yummy! I just google the recipe each year. I actually have a super easy method of making it. I google the recipe and write it down, then I give it to J. Done done and Done! LOL!

    Neither J nor I can make fudge the boil it way. I find easy recipes that are not the old fashioned kind becasue for some reason I ruin those. I can cook almost anything, but not that.

    We are doing the Boston Tea Party party tomorrow at my parents - it is my Gma's birthday and we still celebrate it even though she died years ago. It is also the day before thank you's birthday, so we will celebrate that. We are making carrot cake. Then we are doing a cookie day at my mom's one day next week. I am crocheting pot holders for 2 people for Christmas.

    I am also making holiday scented hand cream (cinnamon, nutmeg, clove and orange scented) today. Plus finishing some ornaments that I am stitching so all I have to do is sew them into little pillows. Then I will make caramels and caramel dip later this week.

    I still only have a couple of gifts purchased. I get out and start looking at gifts and think, "Eh. nothing real interesting. Way overpriced. Eh." It is a curse.
     
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  15. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member

    I use the microwave Fantasy Fudge recipe. It always comes out perfectly. Chocolate chips for the chocolate fudge, peanut butter chips for the peanut butter fudge, and white chips with mint extract instead of vanilla for the mint fudge.

    I'd love to know how to make soaps and creams and such. Sounds lovely!
     
  16. pasajes4

    pasajes4 Well-Known Member

    I wish that you guys would share pictures of your crafts and delicious goodies. I decorated the house with mini trees, candles, and rice lights. I would share pictures, but they are not transferring the way they should.
     
  17. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member

    I'm not even sure how to share a personal photo on here.
     
  18. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    I love to bake, so I usually make cookies... Maybe I'll do those after Christmas, because this year has been crazy. But I did finish the blanket I've been crocheting off and on since I was pregnant with Rose... Plus a folklorico dress since she loves skirts so much and a little Christmas nightgown. Mom and I made tamales a few weeks ago... YUM. And of course I've done a good bit of canning. But most of the "normal" activities got knocked out.
     
  19. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Soap can be easy or hard to make. If you want to do the start from lye and fat, that can be difficult. If you just want a pretty but easy gift, you can get melt and pour soap at any craft store like Hobby Lobby and that is easy. With the Melt and Pour type soap you add the scent you want, and the color you want, and you pour it into a mold and there you are. You can get some that are clear (glycerin based) or you can get some that are opaque that are a more creamy base. Any essential oil can be added for scent, or you can add other scents that are sold for soaps. If you use the opaque type you can add a small amount of oils/fat to superfat the soap to make it more moisturizing. This means adding up to about 5% of shea butter, avocado oil, coconut oil, etc... whatever you want to make it more moisturizing. You add these with the scents and color, after you melt the base and take it off of the heat, just before you pour it into a mold.

    If you want to make a fun soap for a child, take a small toy (not a choking hazard) and put it into the mold and pour the soap around it so that it is uncovered as the soap is used. I used to do this so that it would encourage my boys to actually use soap. Otherwise they were not inclined to use it at all.

    THe hand cream I use is easy to make also. I purchase my supplies online, but many can be purchased in local organic food stores. You can use refined shea butter, cocoa butter (regular gives a chocolate scent, deodorized doesn't), coconut oil (if you like it, I do not), and oils of your choice to make the cream. I also use butters I can't find locally like illipe, but you couldn't get them close to Christmas while you can get the others at Sprouts or Whole Foods if you wanted. Heck, even Hobby Lobby has Shea Butter. Don't use unrefined shea because the odor will be overwhelming. I use avocado or walnut or macadamia or sunflower or olive or whatever olive oil I have on hand or find in the grocery. Rice bran oil is actually fantastic, esp if you like a lighter oil. But any of these is available in most groceries and is wonderful in a hand cream/butter. To combine, put equal amounts of the butters in a container in the microwave. Nuke for about 30 seconds at a time on medication power until barely melted, stirring after each interval. Once melted, add the oil. I use about 1 part oil to 2 parts butters (coconut oil is considered a butter to me). I mix the oil in well and then add whatever essential oils in a couple of drops at a time.

    I use disposable containers and utensils to make the hand cream/butter. It is just a pain to try to wash them clean. If you want a truly luxurious product, put the cream container into a larger container with ice water in it (do not let the ice water get into the cream) and whip it with a fork or old whisk you can throw away. Do this until it is light and fluffy. THen pack into jars and label. It will feel lovely when used. If it gets hot, it may melt, but it will just lose the air whipped into it, it will still be a nice hand cream/body butter.

    This really is a super easy, maybe 15-20 min project. It packages up to look lovely and it seems like you spent a lot of time on it.

    Another easy companion gift is a sugar scrub or salt scrub. This is more of a five minute gift to make. It literally takes more time to label and wrap than to make. You mix olive oil (or any of other oils mentioned above other than coconut oil) with sugar. I usually put sugar into a container and add enough oil to make a paste. Then I add a few drops of essential oil to scent it for whatever season or mood, seal it, label it and wrap a ribbon around it. For a salt scrub use salt instead of sugar. If you want to be SUPER fancy, use a mixture of coarse and regular sugar or salt (whichever you are using). I always use sugar because I don't like the way salt feels in the little cuts i get from my psoriasis, but some poeple like salt scrubs).
     
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  20. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member

    This was cooking weekend. Jabber made peanut butter balls. I made chocolate, peanut butter and peppermint fudge and fruitcakes. They turned out good!

    I was thinking of making oatmeal milk bath for my friends to go with the scarves and hats. I'm a bit annoyed now that I apparently decided I was never going to use the canendula flower petals I'd been saving for ages. They are a great medicinal plant but I guess I tossed them. I have all the ingredients except the flowers. I guess I could just use lavender essential oils instead.