Winter Wonderland

Winter Wonderland

Monday, December 21, 2009

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas. . .

The house has been decorated, the gifts have been wrapped and the cookies have been baked! Here are a few scenes from around my house.

As you can see from this cupboard, I love Santa figurines! Here is some of my collection.

I love this big Santa in a traditional red coat. He was handmade (not by me!) and dressed in a beautiful red wool hooded coat with fur trim made from recycled clothing. His arms are loaded with toys and gifts.

This Father Christmas style Santa was made by the same person. He is wearing a real fur cloak made from an old fur coat. He has an arm load of toys, a wreath and even a tiny tree.


And there are more Santas on the Christmas tree.


Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas!
Have a safe and Happy Holiday!


Thursday, December 17, 2009

Handmade Holidays Part 3, Gift Wrap

Add a personal touch to your gift wrapping this year! Here are a couple of my favorite simple and low cost wrapping ideas. You'll probably find a lot of these materials around the house.

Get out those scrapbooking stamps and stickers to decorate plain color paper.

You can use yarn, rickrack and ribbon from the craft closet to tie up your packages.

Use buttons to stamp designs on paper, or glue them to handmade gift tags.

And get the kids involved by having them draw and color designs on plain paper. You'll have original artworks to wrap your gifts!

I often use recycled Christmas cards to make my own gift tags and package decorations. I love this idea from MarthaStewart.com, using recycled holiday greeting cards to make your own gift boxes.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

New FeltSewGood Gift Certificates

Do you have all of your holiday shopping done? I think I can officially say that I finished my Christmas shopping today. Yeah!
If you are not done with your shopping and think someone on your list might like a little something from FeltSewGood, I am now offering gift certificates in the shop.

Gift certificates are offered in denominations of $25, $50 and $75. Check out the listings in the shop for all the details. The certificates can be mailed to the purchaser or recipient, or emailed to the recipient for you last minute shoppers.

And I still have some Christmas stockings available.

There are nice warm mittens.


And I've even added a few new handbags.
Please place your orders by December 18 to allow for shipping in time for Christmas!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Handmade Holidays Part 2, Delicious Gifts

It's been said, "No gift is in better taste than one you make yourself". Whether you're famous for your homemade jam, bread or cookies, consider homemade treats for everyone on your list.

Pack up a batch of favorite cookies in small boxes covered in wrapping paper. I used some small boxes I had saved from other gifts, lined them in parchment paper and wrapped both the top and bottom in pretty holiday paper. Then I filled the boxes with cookies from one of my favorite recipes, Mexican Wedding Cookies. You can find the recipe here.

These jars are filled with two of my favorite salty snacks, seasoned fish crackers, and my own recipe for Chex cereal based snack mix. I found vintage glass canister inspired jars at Target and cute decorated glass containers at the local dollar store. These would also be great filled with homemade granola or you could layer the ingredients for a favorite cookie and include the recipe. Add a pretty ribbon and cute gift tag for a gift everyone will enjoy. You can find my recipe for the seasoned fish crackers here or try my recipe for Chex cereal snack mix.

Everyone has a favorite recipe for Chex cereal snack mix. Here's mine:

Cheryl's Party Snack Mix

1 box Chex corn cereal
1 box Chex wheat cereal
1 box of Cheez It snack crackers
1 bag of Hanover Butter Snaps preztels (you could also use pretzel sticks or tiny twists)
1 can of LaChoy rice noodles (found in the Asian section of your grocery)
Mixed nuts of your choice, about 3 cups - I used a large can of Planters Deluxe Mixed Nuts
1 1/2 sticks of butter
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 cup grated parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Evenly divide the first six ingredients into two or three large baking pans. You don't want the pans too full because you'll need to stir the ingredients several times. Place the pans full of the cereal mix ingredients in the preheated oven for 5 minutes to heat. Melt the butter and add the garlic powder to the melted butter. Once the dry ingredients are heated, drizzle the melted over the cereal mix then sprinkle with the parmesan cheese. Stir well and bake agin for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. When cooled, store in airtight containers.
This makes a lot of snack mix, so unless you are having a party you might want to consider freezing some. I usually save about half of the mix in a good quality air tight container, like Tuppereware or Rubbermaid and place it in the freezer. It doesn't actually freeze, it just stays fresher longer.
I hope you enjoy this as much as we do!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Christmas Cookies!

Recently I've seen a lot of magazine covers with photos of beautifully styled Christmas cookies. It's put me in the mood for some holiday baking. I even saved some new recipes to try, but in the end, partly because of my husband's request, I just went with an old favorite recipe. I've always called these Mexican Wedding Cookies. They are small cookies with a rich buttery flavor, covered in powdered sugar. Of course they are great any time of year, but I always find myself making several batches around the holidays. I thought I would share this simple recipe!
Mexican Wedding Cookies
Ingredients:
1 cup of butter (2 sticks)
1/2 cup powdered sugar (plus more for dusting the cooled cookies)
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup chopped pecans

Mix ingredients in order given. I just put everything in my food processor and process until the dough comes together.

Divide the dough in half and roll into two long rolls, each about 1 1/4 - 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Roll up in wax paper or parchment paper and chill for at least 2 hours.

Once dough is thoroughly chilled, slice into 1/4 inch discs and place on cookie sheets. Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes or until the edges of the cookies are slightly brown. Remove cookies and place on cooling racks or a piece of parchment paper to cool.


To decorate, roll each cookie in powdered sugar and place in an airtight container. These cookies keep well and retain their flavor and texture for several days. They are a wonderful tiny treat with a mug of hot tea, coffee or hot chocolate!


Friday, December 4, 2009

Handmade Holidays Part 1

Are you making any gifts for the people on your list this year? Or, are you like me and love handmade holiday home decor? Simple to make, these cute heart shaped ornaments make wonderful gifts or gift wrap accents. Hearts are one of my favorite shapes, and I love crafting with recycled felted wool sweaters. So I combined the two to make this version of my Heart Felt Ornaments. Heart shapes are cut from a felted wool sweater, then embroidered and accented with beads and buttons. Sew two layers together and fill them with stuffing.
Here's a quick tutorial to show you how I made these ornaments.

Don’t worry if you can’t find a wool sweater to felt. Wool felt fabric will also work just as well and can be purchased at your local fabric store, craft store or ordered online.

Tools and materials needed:
Felted wool sweater or wool felt
Embroidery thread and needle
Cotton or wool thread
Assorted beads and buttons
Stuffing
Scissors, pins and tracing paper

For my Heart Felt Ornaments I used red and white as my colors.

What to do:
Step 1. Cut out hearts. To make a heart shaped paper pattern, fold a piece of paper and starting at the fold, cut out one side of the heart so that the fold is the center of the heart. This way when you open the paper you have a perfectly proportioned heart. Try several shapes and sizes until you have the desired heart shape. Then pin the paper to the wool and cut out two hearts for each ornament you want to make. I also cut out some smaller hearts to make contrasting centers for some of my ornaments.


Step 2. Embroider and embellish the hearts. I used a contrasting color embroidery thread to sew simple stitches in star and swirl patterns on some of my hearts. Then I stitched on seed beads as embellishments. On other hearts I used a blanket stitch, or buttonhole stitch, to appliqué smaller hearts to the center, then added a button for embellishment. You will be using two pieces of wool for each heart ornament. You can decorate one or both sides of the ornament.

Step 3. Sew the hearts together. With wrong sides together, use a blanket stitch to sew around the outside edge of each heart. When about a one inch opening remains, fill the heart with stuffing, then finish stitching to close the opening.


Step 4. Hang the heart. Thread a short length of wool or cotton thread through the top edge of each heart to hang on your tree or tie to a package.

If you don't have time to make ornaments this year, check my Etsy shop next week. I'll have a shop update with some of these listed for sale.