Tuesday, 13 November 2018

Salt dough Santa face handprint decorations. A Christmas homemade craft which is perfect as gifts for the family.

Santa salt dough handprint decorations 

Every year I make sure everyone knows about this lovely little Christmas craft idea early enough to get them done in time! They are so easy to do and very effective. I made my first ones 2 years ago when Thing 5 was just a few months old so some of ours are really small and cute. Ideal for baby, toddler and small children's hands. Ideal for the older children to paint themselves although I did get quite annoyed if they didn't do it quite right so I painted the ones we were giving as gifts.

You make up the salt dough and roll it out, not too thin. Press the child's hand into the salt dough and then carefully cut around the hand print shape. Don't forget to put a decent size hole in it for hanging once cooked and painted.






I cooked the salt dough as per the instructions above  and it cooked perfectly. Leave to cool and then paint as follows.



Nearly finished.

 I bought acrylic paints from a local stationers. White, red, black and pink. I painted the back of the hand prints first and allowed it to dry before turning it over and painting the front and around the sides. Leave the white to fully dry before painting on the other colours. I did the black lines with a very thin paint brush and black paint as I tried using a black pen but this ran and didn't look good. Once it is all fully dried I used a clear spray varnish to seal it all and give it a nice shine. Finally I found some lovely ribbon in the Christmas section in my local Sainsbury's that I used to hang them.





All finished and painted with the Christmas ribbon.



They make a fab gift for relatives and it means that each year it can come out as a decoration for the tree, I gave them all a Thing 5 sized one for the tree which was made on his first Christmas. Baby/toddler sized hands make the cutest little Santa decoration. I also found some cellophane bags with gold ribbon in my local pound shop which were ideal as gift bags and I think there were 20 in the pack.

So there you have it. An easy yet effective Christmas decoration that the relatives will love to receive when it is lovingly hand made and includes your child/s hand print.



Our Santa hand prints ready and in their gift bags.




Saturday, 10 November 2018

Choosing your real Christmas tree and how to decorate it. What type of tree? What colour scheme?

The festive season is creeping up far too fast and the children are counting down the days until we can put the Christmas tree up and decorate.





In years gone by we have visited a local garden centre and picked our tree. Endless hours stood outside whilst my husband holds up tree after tree to see if it's the right height or shape. Do we go Nordmann Fir or Norway Spruce?. When you are stood in a big open space the tree never looks as big as it does when you get it home and place it in its chosen spot but the bigger the tree the better is what we always say! Even if it means having to rearrange the furniture!

How will you decorate your tree though? Previously I have let the children help decorate the tree. We made it a family tradition to all gather around and pass the decorations out of the boxes and hang them together on the newly placed tree. However, my tree has never looked as nice as I would like it to thanks to my slightly over enthusiastic helpers! Colour schemes went out of the window, branches were overloaded with more than one decoration and the youngest spent most of December undecorating the tree too.

Last year I decided to buy lots of new colour coordinated decorations and try my best to make it look fabulous. Apologies in advance to my mini helpers but I'm decorating the tree myself this year. I have also bought a few new ones this year to add to the colour scheme and we bought new lights as they needed an update. 


Here's our Christmas tree from last year, complete with Amazon Alexa to turn on the lights, no more fighting to get to the plug socket behind the tree! 


                                            


What colour schemes do you go for? Do you go for a traditional theme or more modern? Do you put tinsel on your tree? Coloured lights or plain? All these decisions are actually hard to make when you usually don't consider them when decorating the tree so I have been looking for inspiration.


In the two pictures featured are a lovely selection of Christmas tree pictures from friends and the wonderful ways that they decorate each year. Whether you go red and gold, or silver and teal, or just stick with one colour throughout all of the decorations I think you will agree that they all look magnificent and really give some good ideas of colour and styles. 






We are all so excited for December 1st as its always lovely to have the tree in place and decorated, the smell is always lovely and excitement fills the air as it means Christmas is coming very soon. Stay tuned for an update on our Christmas tree and it's decoration once it arrives.




Friday, 9 November 2018

Christmas is what you make it and about the traditions your family share. It's never too early to think about Christmas.



Christmas ornaments displayed in the living room. 


I’m mentioning the C word and I don’t care. There will be people reeling in shock that I’ve mentioned Christmas in November and others that will love the fact that Christmas is being mentioned. Some of us like to be super organised and others like to wait until a couple of weeks before Christmas before getting everything sorted. 

 Every year there’s an argument over when Christmas should be mentioned, when we should start shopping, when the Christmas cards and chocolates should appear in the shops and so on. There are those that think it's too early and others (like myself) that can't wait but I think the majority would say it's too early. 

Some people like to be super organised and will have started their Christmas shopping in the last January sales and I don’t blame them. Christmas can be costly not just for presents but decorations, food, travel and more. Starting early for some is a necessity because they need to spread the cost out. Christmas traditions too. People love to have an opinion on what you are or aren’t doing at Christmas. 




Our yearly tradition was to take the children to see Santa at Harrods. In more recent years we have looked at other places and this year in particular I am choosing somewhere special! 


It’s nobody's business and completely down to you and only you what you do. Don’t let others make you feel bad because you’ve started your Christmas shopping early or you are already needing to book to go and see Santa. Whether you buy one present per child or fifty presents per child. Whether you let everyone open one gift on Christmas Eve. You make a Christmas Eve box. You let the children stay up late on Christmas Eve. 






Yes we have an elf on the shelf but each year I forget about it. This year I may forget too! 


 Who cares! Christmas is what you make it and you only. What you and your family do is no concern of anyone else. We shouldn’t be judging people because we don’t think it’s right. There’s no right or wrong. In my opinion even my own Christmas has changed compared to how my parents did Christmas and sometimes I do think that I myself could make Christmas a lot less stressful and more about just spending time with the family. Do we need 3 trees? Do I need to get so stressed over cooking Christmas dinner? Will the children really appreciate all of the presents I bought and should I just stick with one or two practical gifts? Do what you want to do. 

Each year we all go and choose the tree together and decorate it together whilst listening to Christmas music (followed by a takeaway!), we choose to visit Santa each year and on Christmas Eve we spend the day with family taking the children bowling and for pizza. It's traditions we have made and will continue for years to come hopefully. 




Choosing a tree!






Last years Christmas tree and dining room all decorated and ready. 



It's not anyone else's business what you do, how far you travel, what advent calendar you buy or what you fill the children's stocking with, whether you eat the traditional turkey dinner or not, how much you do or don't decorate the house or if you choose to hide away and try to avoid all of it.  

Enjoy the festive season as it’s there to be enjoyed. To bring families together who don’t see each other very often, to spend time with loved ones and follow family traditions that will hopefully be continued by your children and maybe try new ones if you want to but just have the Christmas that you truly enjoy.