Things are moving along here, Christmas-wise, very slowly. It's so hectic and this year I feel a little overwhelmed by it all, and under prepared. But the tree has been bought and is currently sitting in a bucket of water in the garage. Tomorrow John will (he promises) wrestle the trunk into the stand and the children and I will decorate it over the weekend. I have made a few Christmas cards, although I'm yet to write or post any. I realised this week, a bit sadly, that I haven't had time to do any festive baking lately, so I've written a shopping list that includes ingredients for mince pies and gingerbread, depending on which Bella and Angus want to help me with over the weekend. It's coming together. This weekend we are going to get our Christmas on - we've got tickets to a pantomime and everything!
But now is time for December's Making the Season's post, where my friend Lucy and I try to find time in our busy lives to focus on small, seasonal, creative projects and, do you know, it's been just the ticket. Despite all the busyness and the looming to-do list, I have managed this week to carve out a few absolutely lovely moments of festive crafting that have, frankly, kept me sane. Nothing complicated, just easy and satisfying creativity that leaves me feeling restored.
I spent some time on Sunday afternoon with last year's Christmas cards, a pair of scissors and a hole punch, turning them into this year's gift tags. I remember my mum doing the same when I was little and I highly recommend it.
It's relaxing, takes absolutely no skill whatsoever and it makes me feel slightly less guilty about the huge amount of waste that is created at this time of year.
Before heading off to work one morning this week, I spent a happy half hour sat at the kitchen table with a coffee and Radio 4 on in the background, making a couple of very simple indoor wreaths.
I bought a couple of metal rings from here, although embroidery hoops would work just as well, and a sprig of artificial eucalyptus. Yes, I know that the whole point of wreaths is to bring the outside inside at the darkest time of the year, and that real greenery would have been more authentic but, while eucalyptus lasts well in water I find that it dries out quickly when picked. So I went for fake leaves, which you can buy from IKEA, Amazon or in Hobbycraft to name just a few places, for a wreath that I can pack away then bring out again next year.
I used a small amount of thin wire to attach the leaves to the ring and it was as simple as that. I think what I love most is the sparsity of the decoration and the lack of colour. My brain must be telling me something here, that it wants quiet and calm in the midst of colour and hubbub.
They look rather nice against the grey wall in the kitchen but they are destined for the wall above the mantel in the living room which is painted a very pale creamy grey.
And finally, I have been having a bash at making my own Christmas cards this year. I did, for one wild moment, consider carving a festive linocut for the first time, something I've always wanted to do, but then I came to my senses and thought that three weeks before Christmas might not be the time to start a new hobby. Instead, I bought this absolutely gorgeous stamp from Noolibird. I know I didn't carve it, but every time I pick up that stamp and press it to a card I feel a bit of that "I made this" satisfaction (and I supported a small, independent business too which makes me feel a little better about the number of Amazon parcels that have come my way over the last few weeks....)
I found a couple of stamps I already had (remember Angus's bedding?) and had fun experimenting with different colours and patterns.
The black and grey trees came out quite well although I worry that they are maybe not that festive for some, perhaps the green is a little more cheerful.
So there you are, a few suggestions for festive crafting that might, if you're anything like me, give you a little feeling of handmade warmth and the chance to do a quiet, mindful activity for half an hour here and there in the midst of a crazy - yes, happy too, but still crazy - time of year.