Category Archives: Merry Christmas!

The Day the Dog Ate the Christmas Gifts

Technically, Gunther didn’t eat all the Christmas presents. He only ate the candle supplies, and thankfully–he just sort of chewed them up. I imagine we would have had a fairly expensive vet visit last week if he’d actually eaten all six bags of wicks.

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That’s right. This sweet baby destroyed six bags of wicks, one 10-pack of clamshell tart cases, and he tried to sneak off with a freezer bag of fragrance oils. Thank goodness I caught him with the oils. Who knows what that would have done to him.

Out of twenty planned candles, I was only able to make nine. Nine. Needless to say I had a little more Christmas shopping than I had planned for. Those candle tutorials will have to wait as well.

Gunther still feels terrible, I’m sure. Right now he’s snoozing on his cozy microfiber blanket in front of the Christmas tree, wallowing in remorse.

Free Christmas Word Art Printable

I don’t know about you, but I can barely wait for Christmas! I know it’s a little early, but I wanted to share this free printable jpeg with you. It measures 12″ x 12″. Feel free to print it out yourself or take it to a print shop. You can frame it and add it to your Christmas decor, use it for scrapbooking projects, size it down and make Christmas cards–really, anything you want. The only thing I ask is that it is used for personal use only. Enjoy!

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Click the picture, and it will take you to the download on Box.com!

See this image and more in my Christmas section on Zazzle.com. Here’s a few items for sale right now:

Homemade Christmas Gifts: How to Make the Best Heat Pack (It’s Not Filled with Rice!)

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Christmas is right around the corner, and if you’re making gifts this year–you’re running out of time! If you want a quick, easy gift, try making heat packs. I have a little secret for you–my heat packs aren’t filled with rice. Nope. They’re filled with flaxseed. They also have a removable, washable cover. That’s pretty awesome.

Why flaxseed? Well, the little seeds are filled with lots of oil. When that oil heats up, it stays warm for a long time, and it will never get that ‘scorched’ rice smell. Also, heat packs filled with flaxseed are considered to have a moist heat. They’re really, really wonderful, and I used to sell a ton of them.

I don’t craft for profit any more, but I still make these for friends and family. If you would like to make one (or six), here’s what you’ll need for each pack:

For the Pack

7″ x 44″ cotton quilting fabric (I like muslin for the packs)

1 1/2 lbs flax seed (you can buy whole flax seeds at health or natural food stores

For the Cover

7 1/2″ x 44″ terry cloth or other machine washable fabric (minky and polar fleece are also nice)

You’ll also need a sewing machine, thread, pins, and a ruler.

To Make the Packs:

1. Fold the cotton so you have a rectangle that is 22″ long. Sew 1/2″ around the whole piece, leaving about three inches open to fill. Turn and press.

2. Measure seven inches from the seam at the side, mark a line. Measure another seven inches, mark another line. These will be your stitching lines after you fill the pack. (Refer to the picture)

3. Fill the pack with flaxseed. Top stitch around the entire pack.

4. On a flat surface, spread the flax evenly through the pack. Where you have your first line marked, use the side of your hand to make a line in the seeds. Pin this line and sew through both layers, being careful to keep the seed away from your stitching area. Repeat the process, and then stitch the second line. This step will make sure you have your seeds evenly distributed in the three pockets.

To Make the Cover:

1. Fold the cover fabric so you have a 22″ rectangle.

2. Sew a 1/2″ seam on both sides (do not stitch the fold).

3. Turn under the raw outside edge 1/2″ and stitch. I like to surge this edge before I turn it, but that’s up to you.

That’s it! You’ve made a flaxseed heat pack!

To use:

Heat the pad in the microwave on high for 60 – 90 seconds. Do not overheat, and do not microwave a synthetic cover!

How to Sew a Full Princess Gown

I see every holiday as a chance to sew my daughter a princess dress. The bigger the skirt, the happier I am. The problem is, it’s not always easy to achieve a very full skirt if you’re following a pattern. Yes, there are patterns that are better than others, but I’ve found myself disappointed on several occasions because the skirt wasn’t ‘poofy’ enough. That’s not a problem any more; I finally figured out a solution.

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Last year, after studying Chelsea’s amazingly full, floor length ballet skirt I had my eureka moment. Honestly, it was so simple that I was almost embarrassed I didn’t think of it myself. Most patterns I’ve found instruct you to attach a strip of tulle to the bottom half of your skirt lining. This gives you a very nice shape, but not a gown. The ballet skirt had yards and yards of tulle gathered and sewn directly to the waistband with a lightweight fabric over the top. The results? Super poofy! You have to have a full layer of tightly gathered tulle sandwiched between your skirt and your lining! If you want a very full skirt, you simply can’t use a strip of tulle at the bottom, and you can’t hide your tulle under too many weighty layers of fabric.

I finally got a chance to try this out with Chelsea’s Christmas dress.

I followed my pattern, but instead of attaching the strip of tulle to the lining, I gathered 4 yards of tulle, still folded from the bolt, and sewed it directly underneath the lightweight top fabric.

Below, you can see the lining underneath, the layer of tulle, and then the very lightweight skirt…and my daughter’s jeans she had on. Oh, and I made the bodice a size too big because I accidentally bought the wrong pattern–but that’s a whole different story. She’ll be able to wear it next year, so–you know–whatever.

Christmas Dress

It doesn’t look like much tulle, but it really did the trick. If you want it even fuller–think hoopskirt–you could sew an additional 5-6 yards of gathered tulle to the bottom half of your tulle layer.

By the way, I made the shrug with the same pattern I used in my fur shrug tutorial. It’s also lined, but because this minky fabric isn’t as bulky as faux fur, I didn’t need to make the larger size to compensate. I would also like to note that I think it looks like a rug. No matter–she picked out the fabric and she loves it.

Happy sewing!

Christmas Books – Turkey Claus and Project

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Turkey Claus by Wendi Silvano

 

Turkey Claus is all about a turkey who travels to the North Pole to personally deliver his Christmas wish list to Santa. There’s only one thing on his list–he doesn’t want to be eaten for Christmas dinner. The book is cute and funny, and we really enjoyed it.

After we read the book, we dressed up Turkey in his Santa disguise! I used an online coloring page for the the turkey. I didn’t use a template for the Santa outfit, but it was pretty easy to wing it. Ha ha! Wing it–get it? He’s a turkey. Sorry…

And yes, my son is wearing a Bumblebee costume. Why? I have no idea.

Our Turkey Claus Project!
Our Turkey Claus Project!

Soy Christmas Candle Tutorial and Deck the Halls Fragrance Recipe

Christmas will be here before you know it. Make these candles now, and your house will smell amazing all through the holidays!

These are the candles I used to sell in my Etsy store before I decided to turn my business back into a hobby 

What you need (everything not labeled can be found at Candle Science):

3 ll.5 oz candle jars – I used these – but you can find some similar at Candle Science if you want to order everything from one place. Be warned – you might have to change the wick size and pour temperature if you use a different jar.

1.5 lbs Ecosoya Advanced Wax

3 LX-22 Wicks

Liquid Candle Dye (Optional)

1.5 oz Deck the Hall Fragrance Blend (Recipe Below)

Glue Gun

Candle Making Supplies – check out my post here for more info

 

Deck the Halls Fragrance Blend Recipe:

.8 oz Candle Science Blue Spruce Fragrance Oil

.4 oz Candle Science Cranberry Marmalade Fragrance Oil

.3 oz Orange Essential Oil (you can get this at most local health food stores)

 

Directions:

1. Glue your wicks into each jar. Set them in a place where they can sit for at least 12 hours undisturbed.

2. Place your wax in your candle pot or bowl and place over boiling water. Once the wax is starting to melt, add 6 – 10 drops of blue liquid candle dye, and then add 4 – 6 drops yellow dye. Add more if you would like it darker. Stir often.

3. Once your wax has melted, insert your thermometer and gently stir your wax until it reaches 185 degrees F. Remove from heat.

4. Immediately add your fragrance oil blend. Stir gently for two minutes.

5. Once your wax has reached 125 degrees, slowly pour it into your prepared jars, reserving some to top them off later if needed. Set your reserved wax aside for now.

6. Let the candles sit for twelve hours. If you notice frosting (swirling on the top of the candle), or if the top has cratered in, reheat the remaining wax and top off the candles with a thin layer of remelted wax. This almost always takes care of both problems.

7. Trim your wicks, and wait at least another 12 hours before you burn your candles. Enjoy!