Handmade Christmas Ornaments

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Holidays mean many things to me, but at the top of my list are giving, traditions and memories.  Since my children were born, I have tried to tie all three together into making homemade Christmas ornaments for them every year.

One year everyone was given a mini quilt ornament to hang on the tree.  My friend, Julie, helped me to sew them.  Julie, who is a sewing teacher, helped me for months on those mini quilt ornaments.  It was a great idea I had, but a bigger undertaking than I had anticipated.  As I handed them out to my children as well as some friends and family, I mentioned, “I hope you love this mini quilt ornament because I will never be making another one ever again!”  Then there was the year that I needle pointed the 12 days of Christmas into 12 ornaments.  I started in the summer, when I was working at a day camp.  The other ladies working with me couldn’t believe that I was starting my Christmas ornament presents that early.  Thank goodness I did, because it took me into November to finish them all in time.

As my children grew up and left home, I made sure that they had their own box of Christmas ornaments to take with them.  The ornaments that were handmade by me along with the ornaments my mom, their aunts and other friends and family gave them through the years went along with them carry the love of giving, the tradition of receiving one every year and the memories of Christmas pasts.

 

 

(And the tradition continues – My daughter, Marisa, makes everyone photo ornaments every year!  Can’t wait to see this year’s ornament- Thanks Marisa!)

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Bookmarkers

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These bookmarks are one of the easiest crafts I have made in a long time. After working all day, I usually come home, have dinner, do some cleaning up or some laundry and basically crash at about 8:30 pm. But this bookmark craft got my creative juices flowing again. I can’t take all the credit for being this creative with bookmarks; I had help from my renewed craft club that my friend Regina and I started up after 5 years or so.

Regina and I have been friends for almost 30 years. When our children were younger and we both needed a little “mommy free” time without kids, Regina and I started a craft club, which would meet once every 4 to 6 weeks on a Saturday. Regina, who is amazingly talented in quilting, needlepoint and much more gathered a few friends and I gathered a few friends. Everyone in the craft club takes a turn hosting a meeting. The person whose turn it is to host the craft club at their home, makes lunch, and teaches a craft to the group. Now no one has to be a craft person; the best part is everyone helps everyone. Our craft club ran for almost 10 years and then our children grew up and our lives became busier than before. Craft club ended. This past December Regina and I decided it was time to bring back craft club. We never stopped creating on our own, her with her quilting and me with my card making.

I hosted the first craft club this past Saturday. Regina brought three friends, Barbara, Theresa and Gerry. I brought Sue and Diane. After appetizers and lunch, I showed the ladies the memory and other cards that I had been making. As an afterthought I showed them a magazine clipping I had saved to make Valentine bookmarks. Well, the bookmark craft turned out to be a big hit. Valentine’s Day was just an idea for this bookmark craft, but a bookmark for any day is just as fun.

Whether crafting yourself or with a Craft Club, this bookmark definitely makes its mark!

Holiday Napkin Rings

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Don’t you just love a bargain, especially during these tough economic times? Well, you gotta be ready to venture out the day after Christmas to find some of the best shopping opportunities. You may even bump into me! I’m out there bright and early getting my cards, wrapping paper, gift bags, etc. for the next year all at half the price. Usually, there’s no rhyme or reason to where I shop, but those nifty gift cards I got over the holidays are the first stores on my radar. With a whisper of thanks to my boss, I headed to Target first this year. I take pride in being considered a smart shopper, and some of the hottest deals can be found after the big holidays are over! As a special thanks to Somebody’s Mom subscribers, I want to share with you many shopping tips I’ve picked up over the years.

When buying wrapping paper on sale look for versatile solid colors. Solid blue Christmas wrapping will work well for future Chanukah gifts, or that solid red paper for Valentine’s Day. Birthday gifts can always be wrapped in any solid colored paper and jazzed up for children with those puffy shaped stickers, also purchased on sale. Either way, I still save money. Try using white wrapping paper with a non-holiday glitter design to create an original and lovely look for a wedding or shower gift; there’s no need to purchase overly expensive “occasion” paper and ribbon when you can save money by doing it yourself. I just found a non-holiday Tinker Bell design paper for my granddaughter’s future presents. Grab a cup of coffee, muster up a little patience and think outside the holiday box.

This past Christmas Eve, I had 12 guests and only 6 napkin rings. Uh oh, so much for thinking outside that box! Then I remembered ….. after last year’s holidays, I was walking around Michael’s craft store and spied a woman buying all this fake sparkly greenery that one would use to make a Christmas wreath. She told me she was buying all these sparkly decorations for her daughter’s upcoming sweet sixteen party. I thought that was a very smart idea. This triggered something in me and I started to think, “What can I make with this stuff?” Eureeka, napkin rings for next Christmas! I’d put them away, safe and sound….and almost forgotten. I had spent under $5.00 for the pearly accessories, one bell ornament which I pulled apart, and two packets of tiny red bows. All items were 70% off. Better yet, I made these napkin rings without using a glue gun. By simply taking apart the little red bow, I was able to slip the bell on, put the bow back together, and twist it onto the pearly accessory. I purchased enough supplies to make close to 16 napkin rings. They became a conversation piece at my Christmas Eve dinner table. Now you know what can be accomplished while watching TV!

The next time you see holiday items on sale, remember it’s always worth it to take that second look. That half sale item you pass by might become someone else’s treasure!

Invitation Cards

Many of you who read Somebody’s Mom are aware that I make cards from old photos (refer to the memory photo cards). What you may not know is that I also make cards out of invitations I receive. I think the first invitation I recycled was a Bat Mitzvah invitation. The invitation had this clear sparkly border all around it which really caught my eye, so I cut that border off and used it on a few birthday cards. The ones I enjoyed creating the most were birthday cards I made for the mom and her daughter whose Bat Mitzvah I attended!

In addition to making birthday cards from Bat Mitzah invitations, I make 1st year wedding anniversary cards out of wedding invitations. It’s amazing that by simply cutting parts off an invitation and positioning them on a different background, one can create a unique and very personal 1st anniversary card.

If you like this idea, remember to try and save everything distributed at the weddings you attend so you can use it later to create a card. It seems to be standard practice for all weddings to have programs now, and some are so lovely and inspirational it’s a shame to toss them. I have also used photos of honeymooners that I’ve received tucked away in their Christmas cards to create yet another card. I wait for the next wonderful occasion to recycle it and send it off to the happy couple! There are so many possibilities to recycle invitations, programs and thank you cards into anniversary, birthday or thinking of you cards. The possibilities are endless.

I bet the next time you receive an invitation, you may think twice about throwing it out after the event because you now know there could be a new card just waiting to be created by you.

MEMORY PHOTO CARDS

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I have been making my own cards for a few years now. It is something that relaxes me and let’s me be creative.
Recently, I was going through my mom’s old photos and decided that maybe the people in the photos would enjoy seeing them more than my leaving the pictures sitting in a box. I intended to just mail them to the individual persons.
I don’t know why, but I started to play with a photo and placed it on a blank card instead. That was it. I was hooked. I love making cards out of old black and white photos, especially the photos of the 30’s and 40’s.
First, I made some cards of people I didn’t know in the photos, to play around and write captions. To be creative you can make some mistakes in the learning process, and I didn’t want to mess up photos of the people I did know. Maybe you are thinking I could make copies. Yes, I could, but then I would still have boxes of more photos lying around. The whole purpose of this is to recycle and clean up. The added bonus is I think I am making people happy when they receive a card in the mail, and the card is all about them. I also send cards to people with pictures of someone they love from years ago. Could be their mom having a great time on the beach, or their sister, father or anyone they have a connection with. The response has been great. Sending out these memory cards is something I would like to receive myself.
Memories are special to each and every one of us. Capturing that moment in a photo and then years later, receiving a card with that moment again, is the memory living on. If I can make myself smile making one of these cards, the bonus is in knowing someone else is smiling receiving one these cards in the mail.

Cinnamon Hearts

3 cups cinnamon
3 cups applesauce
1.  Mix applesauce and cinnamon together well 1st with a wooden spoon and then form a dough ball with your hands.

2.  Using a quarter of the dough at a time, flatten the dough to a thickness of about 1/4 inch using a rolling pin onto a pastry sheet or wax paper.

3.  Use heart cookie cutters and a drinking straw to punch a small hole in the top of each ornament to hang them. Keep them flat and move them to a warm, dry spot for 3 days to allow them to dry. Turn each ornament over to dry on the other side for 3 more days.  

4.  After about a week of drying flat, put a ribbon through each heart and hang on a suspension rod in a window.  After about 2 more weeks of drying, the hearts should be ready.  Put your hearts into a box gently and cover until needed for a shower gift, a Valentine’s Day gift or a gift for no reason at all.   

5.  ENJOY – A snift of a cinnamon heart a day, will keep the blues at bay!

 
I made these hearts as favors for my daughter’s wedding shower.

The idea came to me because I have been staring at a cinnamon heart on my window in my kitchen for the past 15 years.  My children and I made them one year to put on top of everyone’s Christmas presents.  The scent lasts a very long time and the heart is pretty to look at.  This recipe is really a craft that can be made in advance to save you time during a busy party or holiday season.  These cinnamon hearts can be enjoyed for many years to come, something you can tell by how long I have kept mine!