Deck the House!

The Christmas season is upon us – there is no denying it any longer! Everywhere you turn you will be greeted by red, white and green, flashy lights, treats and other ‘must have’ items for this festive time.
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The Christmas season is upon us – there is no denying it any longer! Everywhere you turn you will be greeted by red, white and green, flashy lights, treats and other ‘must have’ items for this festive time.

My fondest Christmas memories as a child involved creating and making for the holidays – marzipan shapes, glitter coated cardstock ornaments, toilet paper roll angels, gingerbread houses – the list goes on! This year I made a vow to bring back the homemade goodness into our Christmas and add my own handmade touches to our gifts and decorations. It requires a little bit of effort and enthusiasm, but the rewards of putting love and time, and sharing this experience with your children is great!

As you may have gathered – I like to scrapbook! Long ago I tossed aside the notion of scrapbooking chronologically (too much pressure!), and now create what feels right for me. I have a special scrapbook for Christmas memories – random thoughts, pictures, traditions and special times from our Christmases past and present. It’s fun to pull this album out and have it sitting around with the other decorations to flick through and reminisce!

One of the things I love about Christmas is that my mum, aunts and I all exchange Christmas ornaments at the start of the season. It’s a special way to know that person is thinking of you, and you of them as you hang their ornament on the tree! I like to try and make these ornaments to send out – don’t worry, I’ve moved on from my glitter and cardstock days (well, kind of!)…to soldered charms. These are quite simple to make and very cool looking – the same method could also be used for a necklace charm – great gift idea! You will find the instructions for making these charms at the bottom of the page.

Making your own Christmas cards may sound like a pain but can actually be pretty simple – especially if you can create digitally in photoshop, or have a factory line of workers (child slave labor? Yes!) to help with the execution of the cards…

There are so many cute products available to aid you in your card making endeavors – check out these cute stamps by Autumn Leaves and pre-scored cards and envelopes by Making Memories…

I created a cute and simple card by stamping the snowman and ‘peace on earth’ with black ink, then adding color with watercolor pencils (kids would love this job of coloring in)…then with a fine tip paintbrush and water, painting over the color to turn it into paint!

Another fun and easy way to add to your holiday decorations is by storing photo frames with holiday pictures from previous years with your decorations, and bringing them out for the season…it will be a fun surprise to dig them out each year and reminisce!

Minibooks make great gift ideas, especially for grandparents to enjoy a showcase of their little darlings! Collect pictures from throughout the year and create a small and simple book using the photos, fun patterned paper, embellishments or even your child’s artwork…it will surely be a hit! I made a simple coffee table style album for my mother this year using ‘3 generation’ snaps of her, my daughter and I earlier this year when she came to visit. You can view this album at Two Peas in a Bucket here

Another fun idea for housing an album is in a tin. I sanded then painted this tin with 2 layers of red acrylic paint, and sat buttons onto the lid into texture paste (available at art supply stores). Inside is a cute accordion book with my ’12 favorites of Christmas’…I look forward to seeing if these favorites of mine will change over the years!

Well, I am off to buy a Christmas tree (my 1st ever ‘real’ tree – too hot back in Australia for real trees) and deck out my house with all these goodies I have been creating and saving! I hope this holiday season brings out the creative in you – enjoy making fun stuff and making memories with your kids! Merry Christmas!

Emily

Making soldered charms:

You will need:

Glass slide mounts

Flux

Solder

Copper tape

Jump rings

Soldering iron

Collage papers/photos/etc

Steps:
1. Use slide mount to trace cardstock to use as your base. Add layers of paper, stickers, photos, journaling etc to create mini collages. Work on both sides as it will be sandwiched together with glass, enabling you to see both front and back.

2. Place collage in between 2 pieces of glass. Peel sticky side off copper tape and wrap around edges of glass. When all the way around, rub over the tape with the back of a metal spoon to ensure it sticks well.

3. ‘Paint’ some flux over the tape with a small brush or q-tip. The flux enables the solder to stick, so wherever you want the solder, you need the flux first.

4. Heat up the soldering iron and touch the tip to the solder to melt a piece. Once you have a ‘blob’ on the iron, quickly run it up and down the sides of the slide mount (along the copper tape)…watch it work like magic as it turns funky! Continue until all 4 sides are covered. If you have ugly blobs, simply hold the iron over them to melt, and slide up and down to spread the solder evenly along the side. It becomes easier with practice!

5. To add a jump ring to the top to string ribbon through, add a touch of flux to the position you want the jump ring to go, heat up that area a little and set a jump ring into the melted solder. It can be tricky – you may need tweezers or an assistant for this part!

6. Hang your charm on bead chain, ribbon or twine and voila! Cute and personal ornament or jewelry!

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