Handmade Christmas

I freely admit I am one of those Christmas freaks. I love it. Almost as much as I love knitting. I love the carols, the decorations, the atmosphere, the food, the whole ‘goodwill to all men’ vibe. I love a white Christmas (which I will be enjoying next year, yippee!) but I also adore the crazy, sweaty, sunny, ridiculously hot, afternoon backyard Australian Christmas.

One of the things I don’t particularly like is tinsel. So a few years ago I had a bit of a meltdown over the gazillion crappy plastic and tinselly decorations that were apparently breeding in my Christmas suitcase under the bed. Every year there were more, and they just seemed to miss the traditional Christmas spirit that I wanted to evoke at home. So I started again, but this time all recycled, handmade and/or reworked from what I had. My mother-in-law collects me all the Christmas things from the op shop she works in, where they get thrown out every year, and the rest are made by me or members of my family.
I have always loved the Scandinavian Christmas traditions, Finnish is in my blood after all, so I stick to a red and white theme. After my tinsel overdose, originally I banned all metallics too, but over the years I’ve relaxed that rule and reintroduced some.
Because I live in a little cottage here at Ravensridge, I alternate the decorations every year so we don’t drown under them. But here’s a selection of some that I put up this year.

One year I found a block of clay in the shed (as you do) so I rolled it out and cut out a heap of shapes with cookie cutters. I made the holes with a plastic straw for neatness. I baked them for a few weeks, just leaving them in the bottom of the wood oven I had at the time, which was fired up daily. They’re not properly ‘kiln fired’, but they are hard enough. Then I painted them, sticking with my red and white theme, and finally spray varnished them. I think they kind of look like gingerbread.

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I have them on my mini tabletop tree too.

Then I took all the millions of gaudy baubles I had and roughly painted them too. I love recycling, and I was pretty pleased with them. I used puff paint to create some texture on a few of them. I tried to make them look old/rustic by using watered down paints, and either a lime wash or a brown wash over them at the end, and varnished them with a matt acrylic varnish.

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Oh, and one concession to sparkly 🙂 made with sequins, beads and pins in a polystyrene ball.

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My parents had a couple of chandeliers in their last house which chewed through the lightbulbs. So yep, I painted the burnt out bulbs too. 🙂 I think these are my favourites actually, because I love glass ornaments. There’s something beautiful about the ‘clink’ they make when they touch each other, it just sounds like Christmas.

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Unfortunately, with two clutzy Devon Rex cats in this home, Atticus Finch and Dougal, glass ornaments on the tree are not an option. But I hang them elsewhere out of reach.

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(They look innocent but don’t let it fool you.)

I made the tin stars out of used tea light candle containers. I did a free tutorial/pattern for these, it’s available on Craftsy here:

http://www.craftsy.com/pattern/other/recycled-tea-light-christmas-star-/75230

I really enjoy making these. They have sharp edges though, so they’re not suitable for young kids.

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My mum does some lovely decorations too. She made our stockings, and she crochets the most gorgeous snowflakes and bells.

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I do still buy something for Christmas every year. Here in Australia the Scandinavian thing has finally caught on. This year I couldn’t resist these mugs. They make me happy. 🙂

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I can’t believe how expensive crackers are now! And everyone just chucks out the novelty in them. So I got a DIY kit back in January for $2. This way I can put in my own novelties….so far I am thinking a pen, a scratch ticket (with a 5cent piece) and a fridge magnet…

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I try to stick to homemade presents too. But that’s all a bit chaotic at the moment.

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I know, don’t say it. Eeek!

Anyway, so now the decorations are done, it is time to cook! This year will be my second Paleo Christmas. I feel like I’ve learned a lot more this year about Paleo baking, and I’m going to be a little more ambitious…..

🙂 B

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