#CraftBlogClub Secret Santa 2018

Though I arrange #CraftBlogClub now, I have been a part of it for so much longer, and the annual Secret Santa is one of my favourite of the regular challenges and events throughout the #CraftBlogClub year. ed2f4-craftblogclub-badge-291x300I really like giving and receiving handmade gifts, and the wide range of crafts, and talents in #CraftBlogClub means it’s always a varied and fun activity at Christmas!

Do you craft and make handmade gifts? We’re always open to new people coming to join in the chats on Tuesday evenings! You can find out more on the blog.

Arranging the Secret Santa gift swap challenge this year, was so much fun, and it was great to see so many people getting involved, both regular chatters and even some new faces! It’s always a popular challenge and you can read more here!

To remain as impartial as possible, Stu drew the pairs from two pots, in order to create all of the swap partners, including me. Aside from one case, due to location, everyone was sending to a different person, and receiving a gift from someone else. I regularly checked in with everyone to make sure everything was running smoothly, and everyone got their gifts on time.

I sent a gift to the very talented Laura Pearson Smith of A Life With FrillsSS2For Laura’s gift, I designed and made two felt Christmas decorations, and as I do every year,  added a bar some delicious local chocolate, and of course a handmade Christmas card. 1Of course, as I was the person behind the scenes, I knew who I would be receiving my gift from, but I was SO delighted with my wonderful gift from Caroline Dunkin AKA Alpha UniqueCBC Secret Santa (1)Caroline obviously did her research! I am a big Alice in Wonderland fan, and this now makes me smile whenever I walk into the kitchen! CBC SS (1)The details are incredible! I have always admired the artistry that goes in to pyrography! CBC Secret Santa (2)and of course who doesn’t love jam tarts?

Will definitely be trying the recipe soon!

My favourite part of the challenge is seeing what everybody made for each other, and reading all the blog posts! If you’d like to read more, there will be a post on the #CraftBlogClub blog in a few days time!

Do you participate in any Secret Santas or gift swaps at Christmas? Share any posts in the comments!

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The Crafty Lass ADVENTure – Craft Advent Calendar – A Recap

Throughout December on Instagram, I shared the wonderful craft supplies advent calendar which I was gifted by The Crafty Lass.

I thought I would share each photo of The Crafty Lass ADVENTure together here, from each of the 24 days. The Crafty Lass ADVENTureThe advent calendar itself was 24 individual small boxes, each numbered and containing a crafty surprise for every day! It came beautifully packaged, and even came with a lovely note from Paula! I wasn’t asked to share the calendar at all, though I happily shared on instagram every day, and really wanted to do this post to share it again, in case you missed it!

It was truly a wonderful advent calendar, and an amazing gift, and I cannot thank Paula enough for gifting me this. This isn’t a review post or a sponsored post, but I am sharing because if you are interested in crafts, it is SO worth checking out, and of course for more details do check out my grid on Instagram!

It was really good fun to share something on Insta that I wasn’t sharing here, which just goes to show, you never know what you’re missing if you don’t follow me on Social Media as well as the blog!

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Until tomorrow!

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Blogmas 2018 – Christmas Baking – Mince Pies

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I make a bunch of Christmas stuff every year, and one of the things I make is of course Mince Pies!! Christmas Baking

Usually I buy pre-made pastry (from the fridge or freezer section) because pastry is a bit of a faff and quite hit-or-miss to make properly – though here is an easy recipe just in case you fancy making your own from scratch –

Ingredients

  • 275g Plain Flour and some for flouring surfaces/rolling pin
  • 200g Unsalted Butter and a little to grease your baking tin
  • 100g Caster Sugar
  • 2 Large Eggs (beaten)
  • 1 Jar of Mincemeat (Does anyone ever make their own?!)
  1. Place flour and butter in a bowl and rub together until it’s all crumbly
  2. Add sugar and about half the beaten egg, and mix together
  3. Tip out onto a lightly floured surface and fold until the pastry comes together, careful not to over work
  4. Wrap the pastry in cling film and chill for 10 mins
  5. Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas mark 4
  6. Roll out the pastry to 3mm thick.
  7. Using a round cutter (about 8cm), cut out 12 bases and place them into muffin trays. Put 1½ tbsp mincemeat mixture into each.
  8. Brush the edge of each pie with a little beaten egg.
  9. Re-roll out the pastry to cut 6cm lids and press them on top to seal. Glaze with the beaten egg, sprinkle with caster sugar, then make a small cut in the tops
  10. Bake the mince pies for 15-20 mins until golden brown. Leave to cool before releasing them from the muffin trays and dusting with a little more icing sugar before serving.

I actually top my mince pies with stars, but the principle is the same!

Do you do any Christmas baking? Let me know in the comments! kayathomelogo

If you liked this recipe, check out the other Christmas Baking posts here:

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Blogmas 2018 – Handmade Decorations -Past Projects

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Christmas crafting is something I have done for quite a long time, and I thought now would be a great time to share some older projects featured here on the blog, for those who haven’t seen them before.

My “main” craft for a very long time, was cross-stitch, something I have plans to get back into more next year. A lot of my handmade decorations feature cross-stitching, so here are some posts to share:

Quite a few of my handmade decorations are from kits with various magazines, which is (as anyone who subscribes, or like me, has subscribed in the past) quite heavy on Christmas projects, here are a couple featured on the blog:

BaubleStocking baubles

These are really cute, and so easy to make! You can find out more in this post.House Bauble

Festive Houses

These are still some of my favourites! A nice combination of cross-stitch and Christmas fabric, they were super easy to make from the kit, and I ended up making another one later because they were so much fun to make! You can find the post here.10Sock Snowmen

These were something I saw online loads and really wanted to try out! They are versatile and so incredibly cute! I made far too many of these, including the three above, and made different hats and scarves, as well as a variety of fun buttons to decorate them!

You can read the post here.

The Cross-Stitch Advent Calendar

This was such a huge undertaking in the end. It took me far too long to get finished, but I got there eventually! 24 individually cross-stitched squares, stitched to felt pockets on a fabric base. The Advent Calendar, or The Big Project as it became famous among my crafty friends and me over the years it took for me to complete it, finally got finished last year! You can read about it, and see more here!

I hope you enjoyed this look back at some of my past makes!

Have you got any handmade decorations? Share below!

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Blogmas 2018 – Handmade Gifts – Last Minute Quick to Make Projects

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So there’s not long to go, but maybe you’re looking for some last minute gift ideas, here are some quick handmade projects that you can do, with things you can pick up affordably, or may even have around the house!

Pom pom bookmarks – Super easy, and great to use up leftover bits of yarn in your stash! All you need to do is make a pom pom and leave a long tail of yarn to keep between the pages of a book!

Pebble or button art! These are adorable, and so easy to make, and great for something a little more personalised! All you need is a box frame, and either buttons or pebbles, a pen, and a little imagination!

stone artwork

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

T-shirt cushion cover – A great crafty project for a tee you can no longer wear, or maybe is past it’s best – simply cut into a square slightly larger than your cushion, and cut tabs around all of the edges. Tie together around your cushion of choice and done! Quick Projects (2)

Personalised/decorated mugs – All you need is a sharpie or ceramic paint, depending on what you can get hold of. You can write, draw or stencil whatever you like onto a plain mug (or plate etc) which you can pick up from most places really affordably! All you need to do after writing or drawing on to the mug is cure in an oven, place in a cold oven, then set it to 180c/350f. Turn the oven off after 30 minutes and let the item cool in the oven. Wait 72 hours before using. Great for kids projects too!

selective focus photography of person touch the white ceramic mug with choose happy graphic

Photo by Kristina Paukshtite on Pexels.com

Other quick makes include small knitted or crochet items, photo books, mini scrapbook albums, baked gifts, such as cookies, shortbread, cakes or even festive peppermint creams, all a quick google search away!

For pets:

Christmas catnip toys – I used the baubles from the Jolly Santa stocking panel for this, but you can use any fabrics. All you need to do is sew together and add some wadding, or even cut up pieces of fabric, add catnip, which you can buy in pet shops and some supermarkets and you’re done! A fun toy for your festive feline friend! Quick Projects (1)Easy dog toys – You can make toys for dogs really easily – for a fun example, all you need is an old T-shirt, simply wrap a tennis ball (or similar) in the fabric, cut strips and braid together to hold the ball in place! (This one is small because I have cats, and it contains a ball with a bell in it, but works for both!)

You can also find loads of recipes online for handmade treats for dogs and cats online!

These are just a handful of quick ideas, for those last minute extras!

Do you have any go-to quick projects for last minute emergencies?

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Blogmas 2018 – Christmas Activities – Days Out – Lanhydrock at Christmas

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Throughout this year we have visited a number of National Trust properties, thanks to having couples membership, and it seemed only right to go again this month, before it runs out in January, especially at this most pretty time of year. Last weekend we visited Lanhydrock, one of our favourite of the places we visited this year.

Greeted upon arrival by these cute log reindeer, we knew this was going to be a lovely festive afternoon out. 1Only the downstairs of Lanhydrock house was open to visitors, but it was in full festive spirit,

walking up towards the house, the gardens had been decorated with pretty bauble flowers (we didn’t walk around the garden as it was a very wet day!)

Entering the house, you are greeted by a nativity scene and the first of many christmas trees!

A second tree greets you in the hallway, decorated with family photographs! 9The dining room was all set up for a Victorian Christmas dinner, 11We loved the old Christmas cards on display,12The Christmas tree in the dining room was decorated with pretty handmade felt ornaments, similar to those you can find in shops today, and dried orange slices. 10A fun Lanhydrock House cake greets you as you enter the kitchen, 13The kitchen was full of activity, with preparations for Christmas dinner under way, lots of cakes and pies were waiting to be taken to the table…

In the kitchens you can try your hand at decorating oranges with cloves, stirring the figgy pudding, cutting cookies or rolling butter 16Of course the other kitchen store rooms were packed full of all the things needed for a Victorian Christmas like the cold room with all the jelly! 17Upstairs, a traditional Santa, dressed in green, was meeting children. This was fully booked and of course I didn’t want to take away any time from the kids!

Santa at Lanhydrock

Photo courtesy of Lanhydrock on Instagram – @LanhydrockNT

There was also a chance to add your wish to the wishing tree in the learning room, as well as a chance to hear a story read, and even dress up! They had their own Instagram frame, so it seemed only right! 18

As always we had a lovely time visiting Lanhydrock, it really is a beautiful house, and seeing it all dressed up for Christmas did not disappoint!

There’s still time to see it for yourself, as the house is open every day until Jan 1st, with the exception of Christmas Day and Boxing Day.

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Blogmas 2018 – *Date Night* – Our Favourite Christmas Movies For Grown Ups

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So it’s another *Date Night* but it’s blogmas, so we thought to kick off some pre-Christmas fun we’d chat about our favourite Christmas movies! We both love Christmas and watch loads of films throughout December, and we’ll share some more with you throughout the month, in today’s post we’re sharing our favourite Christmas movies for grown ups!

Prague 2016

Actually my birthday in Prague, but Christmas tree in the background!

What follows is a random list of Christmas movies for a more grown up audience!

Gremlins (1984) CM1Gizmo is SO cuuuuute!! I adore this film, I actually had the gremlins theme as my ringtone for ages! It’s funny, and silly, and there aren’t enough good Christmas horror films!

Bad Santa (2003) CM2This film is just brilliantly funny. It’s a nice break from the cheesiness of so many Christmas films (not that we don’t love those too!)

Die Hard (1988) CM3Die Hard is just brilliant isn’t it!

Is it a Christmas movie though… It’s set at Christmas, mentions Christmas and events happen because it is Christmas, and there is Christmas music… So yes. Yes it is.

Batman Returns (1992) CM4This film is just so good. The first Batman is obviously the best, but this is so Tim Burton, and well, it’s the only Batman film that takes place at Christmas, so… It’s in!

Scrooged (1988) CM5Essential Christmas viewing, it’s a fun “modern” take on the A Christmas Carol storyline, and Bill Murray is just brilliant!

Krampus (2015) CM6This film was SUCH a long time coming! It’s so brilliant! We love a good horror movie anyway (and possibly a less than good horror movie!) Krampus is great fun, and maybe inspired this:

IMG_9695[1] (A £1 bronze coloured bell from Wilko which I painted black and scratched out the detailing, it’s not perfect but well, check how much they are online… )

We hope you’ve enjoyed our Christmas movie posts! We’d love to know your favourites, so why not leave us a comment below!

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Blogmas 2018 – Guest Post – Christmas With Gift Frippery: 10 Eco-Friendly Gift Wrapping Tips

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As Christmas draws closer and the gifts have been purchased (or made), it’s time to think about wrapping – I could think of nobody better to invite to post on the blog to give us some tips than Amanda White – Queen of gift wrapping, and present-prettying at Gift Frippery! giftfrippery-8431ASAs you begin your Christmas wrapping this year you may want to take an eco-friendly approach but keep it fun. I hope the following tips will help you do just that!

1. Use a small amount of invisible or double sided sticky tape so no one has to see it. kraftpaperwrappingfauxleavesandberries.jpg2. Choose real ribbon. Take it around the gift one direction only covering where you’ve used tape. This will hold everything in place securely. Try making your own ribbon using strips of fabric. I rather like a raw torn edge rather than a cut one.

3. Matte paper is usually recyclable. So, no glitter and no gloss. Brown paper, Kraft paper, tin foil and fabric are all recyclable. KraftPaperWrapping4. If you’re hoarding last years ribbon…iron it and reuse it. If you have any short lengths, lay them along side each other and knot them together with another piece of ribbon and you’ll have created what I call a raggy bow!

5. Collect your own natural embellishments. Conkers, oak leaves, acorn cups but never real berries ( for obvious reasons). Create little bunches of fresh herbs from the garden; tied together with red and white twine or red ribbon looks cute and smells wonderful. DecorateWrappingEmbellishments6. I like to use a sprinkle of white glitter on gift tags and sometimes on dried hydrangeas to look like frost. I only ever use Eco Stardust . The company is based in Bristol and all their glitter is eco-friendly.

7. Be prepared early! I’m inclined to make a whole batch of tags, for instance, in one go and it makes the wrapping quicker and simpler when the pressure’s on.

8. VOUCHERS! I’m passionate about this subject. They’re not cheap, so wrap them beautifully to look like the substantial gift they really are. vouchergiftwrapping.jpg9. Wrapping should be fun. So get organised, put some Christmas music on, and have a glass of wine within reaching distance.

10. Have a wonderful Christmas. winterywrapping.jpgThank you Kay for inviting me to guest blog.

Thank you so much for these amazing tips Amanda! 

If you loved Amanda’s tips and want to find out more you can find her over on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook and of course at www.giftfrippery.co.uk.

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Blogmas 2018 – Handmade Gifts – Knitcraft Hug It Out Scarf With Hobbycraft*

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This post contains a gifted product, the content of this post is entirely my opinion,

based on my personal experience.

There is something so special about giving a handmade gift, though of course it can be very time consuming an endeavour! Having an array of quick to make gifts to hand, can be great for last-minute ideas or emergencies, one quick to make project is a scarf. Hug it Out NeedlesI have so many scarves, I love changing them up, and I find them really fun and relaxing to make. My go-to knit for a scarf is garter stitch, simply because I don’t have to think about anything, and can simply knit in front of the TV, I generally have this kind of project stowed in a bag to take out as I can knit at friends houses, or even sometimes in the car! If you want a super quick scarf, chunky yarn, and chunky needles are your friend! ScarfThis scarf; the Knitcraft Hug It Out Chunky Scarf is a free pattern found on the Hobbycraft website, and knit with the Hobbycraft’s Knitcraft Hug It Out yarn in Turquoise* on 12mm needles. I was kindly gifted the yarn to make this scarf to share in this post. Hug it Out 2I’ve worn it a couple of times (though it’s pretty big and very warm, and hasn’t been particularly cold!) and it’s definitely a conversation starter – lots of people have commented on it! It’s really warm, soft and comfortable, and considering its size, it’s not too heavy either!IMG_9874The pattern states that you need 4 balls of Knitcraft Hug it Out yarn, and it is knit in garter stitch all the way down. I did make some minor changes, in the end I made the tassels half the recommended size, I tried using the amount of yarn in the pattern and it was enormous, so I used half as much and was happier with the size. Technically this meant I had yarn left over, but I ended up finding the 125cm length a little too short for my personal taste, so, after using 1 ball of yarn for tassel making, I knit 3 balls together giving me a final scarf length of 160cm. Hug it Out 3The finished scarf is so soft and cosy, I chose a nice bright colour as so many of my scarves are dark colours, I thought this would be a really fun addition to my collection! There are currently several colours available in the range, including blues, pinks, grey and red so you can find a colour for everyone. Best of all it is machine washable at 30 degrees Celsius.

There are several free patterns on the Hobbycraft website, including jumpers, cowls and cushions, and honestly this yarn is so nice, and easy to work with, I’d really recommend it, if you are looking for a quick handmade project, whether for a gift, or for yourself!

This post contains a gifted product, the content of this post is entirely my opinion,

based on my personal experience.

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Blogmas 2018 – Handmade Cards -Christmas Sparkle

Blogmas16As in my previous card making posts as part of Blogmas, I will make and share four different cards to fit the theme. Today I’m sharing some sparkly cards in black, white and gold. These will be produced using a variety of methods, just to show how versatile it can be, making your own.

If you want to know how I made a specific card in more detail, get in touch, and I can explain further on the Facebook page.

The papers I used for these cards all come from the Dovecraft Festive Wonders paper pad.IMG_9767These cards are great for using up off cuts of paper, which is great if you (like me,) are using smaller cards than your sheets of paper. I embellished with some sparkly gold ribbon, gold glitter sentiments and layered glitter stars, all of which I bought from Hobbycraft, and black bows from my stash.IMG_9769These are probably the style of cards I make the most in some form or another. I just loved this paper and didn’t want to do much to it! I finished with some gold glitter ribbon, making a bow using a glitter brad from my stash, and a simple stamped sentiment.IMG_9768This was just a simple card I made for the fun of it, lots of stickers and some stamped stars, I wasn’t seriously trying to create anything useful but ended up really liking the cards so they got a sentiment sticker and I ended up making a handful of them!IMG_9766This card was one I really wasn’t sure about when I made it, I wondered if the paper would be too plain, though I loved the design. It ended up being one of my favourite makes of all of my Christmas cards! I love adding ribbon or tape at an angle, it’s fairly common when I make cards just because I think it’s interesting(!) I finished with a different stamp and well this is he result! What do you think?IMG_9776This is one of those cards that more work ended up going into it than necessary, I cut 4 squares and layered them with the stamped image (Finished by hand to add some gold, and a border) on a punched circle. I wasn’t happy with it, so added the ribbon, covering half the work! In the end though I think it’s quite stylish and nice! This stamp is one of my favourites though!

Which one do you like the most?

 

 

 

 

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