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Category Archives: Handmade Christmas Craft Along

Homemade Christmas Craft Along – Week 9

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I’m a bit late on this one, but I’ll post anyway.  My thoughts this week turn to wrapping, and I am reminded of my previous post on the topic here.  I wrap gifts in plain paper off of a big roll that we buy at IKEA for Daughter, and then I let her draw all over the packages.  All the previous years, she has drawn princesses and fairies, but this year she has moved on to Christmas images.  I knew this time would come, but I still wasn’t ready for it.  So it seems we will be celebrating Christmas this year with nary a princess nor fairy.

Daughter has also taken responsibility for writing out gift tags.  She alternates between cutting and designing her own or using some pre-made ones.  If push came to shove, I might also give her some address labels to color, cut and decorate.

We don’t really do ribbons on gifts for ourselves, as it seems to be very wasteful and superfluous.  If we do use ribbon, it is usually something that can be used again, perhaps out of the sewing box, or raffia that  has come off of some other package.  We do have a stash of that plastic stuff that we use for packages that need to be very socially presentable.

We also have a small stash of gift bags and proper wrapping paper, but I really dislike braving the shops at this time of year, fighting off everyone else trying to buy wrapping materials.  I have gotten quite good at preserving what comes our way throughout the year, and Martha Stewart has some nice ideas for using up wrapping papers, and there are also some general nice ideas of wrapping with odd things here.

Finally, before you throw out all the wrapping paper at the end of Christmas, be sure to check out these ideas of re-using wrapping paper.  I love the tray and the matting ideas.  I am actually kind of excited to see if I can re-use some bits, especially for Daughter to brighten up her room.

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Christmas Craft Along – Week 8

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I wouldn’t normally post another blog page again, but Soule Mama just put up her list of Christmas crafts, and I am swooning.  Here is the link to her list.  I am particularly swooning over her bread bags and lip balm.

I won’t leave you hanging though, because I’ve hit on an old tradition that has all but died out.  I’ve convinced Daughter to learn some more traditional carols to perform for us on Christmas Eve.  This works for us because we live in a non-English speaking country and we don’t hear English carols very often, so hearing them is always a treat.  Still, I think it is a nice idea and could easily be complimented by a puppet production of ‘Twas the Night before Christmas or a Christmas Carol.

Do you have any similar ideas?

Handmade Christmas Craft Along – Week 7

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Oh, I missed it by one day, and I haven’t been able to post it over at Crunchy Catholic Momma either.  No problem though, because this week is a total cheat.

I swiped the link to this page about links to 21 gifts parents can make for the kids from somewhere else, but I am in love.  Really, some of these are within my time and resource means and won’t overwhelm me.  I especially like this one about magnetic paper dolls, which will be perfect for Daughter’s birthday party.  (I know that technically isn’t Christmas, but it’s on Boxing Day, so it counts in my book.)

So, yes, I cheated by borrowing someone else’s work, but I’ll take it as spreading someone’s great ideas around.  Enjoy, and let me know what you like.

Handmade Christmas Craft Along – week 6

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Here we are again with another Christmas Craft Along, and I am on a roll…

(crickets chirping)

Well, truth be told, I made this lap blanket back in the summer while Daughter was away, and I saved it for Christmas (or her birthday, maybe, but it’s on Boxing Day, so it’s still Christmas).  The pattern is simple enough, just casting on how wide you want it to be, then K2tog and then increasing again when the band is wide enough.  It came out of my favorite knitting book, “Weekend Knitting: 50 Unique Projects and Ideas"" “Weekend Knitting, and I played with it a bit given the wool I had available to me.

To complete this gift for our little reader, I am going to wrap up some books from my secret stash of books I find in charity shops.  When I ever I go to Britain, I raid the charity shops for books I think Daughter or Husband will like, and then I bring them back to Prague.  This means that I always have a selection of books to chose from for gifts and holidays, and I am not out the stratospheric cost of getting books in English here.

Handmade Christmas Craft Along – Week 5

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For this weeks Christmas Craft Along, I am going to share a very labor-intensive project.  A friend, who knows both my love of shawls and Daughter’s love of the Little House books, sent me a link to a Little House Shawl Pattern from Rhythm of the Home.  I fell in love with the shawl, didn’t read the pattern (who does though?), and committed myself by buying a beautiful pink wool to knit it with.  I then realized that you need to cast on 396 stitches before you even get started, and that it took me the better part of 20 minutes to knit one row.  Throw in the shawl slipping of the needles a few times because of the weight of the wool and then losing a ball of wool completely, and this became a project to be reckoned with.

Needless to say, I finished it, managing to keep it mostly hidden from Daughter in the process, and I am happy with the result.  Now I am just praying that Daughter isn’t going to lose it or accidentally felt it, or something along those lines.

Since Husband has returned, I also have pictures…

Here is a detail of the Old Shale lace pattern on the edge.

And…

a bird’s eye view of the shawl.  I can’t wait to see it on Daughter!

Update on Christmas Craft Along – Week 3

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In this post I share the retro towel pattern, but didn’t have any pictures to share.  I had reached a yarn impasse, and my photographer was away anyway, so I just didn’t know what to do besides post about the pattern.

Well, I have worked out my yarn problem, and Husband has come back, so here we are.

 

I couldn’t get the cotton yarn in the thickness I needed, so I ended up doubling up, which lends the towel a very nice dimensionality that isn’t there in single yarn knitting.  I was so pleased with it, that I cast on for doing a red-edged one, but haven’t finished it yet.

Christmas Craft Along – Week 4

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This week I want to talk about where to buy handmade gifts here in Prague.  One of the things I like about living here is that there are still numerous tiny, privately owned shops that sell things you can’t get in big chain stores.

First of all, in Prague 2, is a place called Momo that specializes in little handmade things, mostly fabric based and earrings.  The proceeds from this shop go to help local orphanages, so not only are you supporting local craftsmen, you are also helping children.

Not far from Momo is Cafe Rozmar.  Cafe Rozmar is actually a nice cafe/restaurant, with food ranging from decent to excellent at reasonable prices.  I mention Rozmar here because they are a charity cafe and proceeds from the cafe go to supporting their work with children transitioning from the orphanages to independent life.  They also employ some of the people they are helping. So, if you are looking to give someone a gift certificate, while not completely handmade, I do recommend one from Rozmar.

Scattered around Prague are also a number of festivals and markets which sell handmade goods, and getting stuff at these is just a matter of being at the right place with enough pocket money.  I have yet to find where all these markets are listed, as they range from farmer markets to holiday markets to festival markets, so I tend to stumble upon them quite by accident.  However, I always manage to pick up a little something, whether woodwork, beadwork, lace, or other needlework.

Another place to find handmade gifts in Prague is in the Catholic churches with monasteries and cloisters attached to them.  For instance, St. Thomas on Mala Strana sells its own beer (proceeds go to repairing the roof) and at least twice a year hosts a bazaar where a local group of nuns sells their traditional Czech handcrafts. Other churches have similar bazaars, but, like the festivals and markets above, it is a matter of stumbling upon them with enough pocket money, as they are not centrally listed somewhere.

I cannot blog about handmade gifts in Prague without mentioning Charles Bridge.  There are numerous artists and vendors on Charles Bridge, selling woodwork, paintings, music, glassware, and other things.  Some of the vendors are actually the artists, others are not.  I have a love/hate relationship with Charles Bridge, like most people who actually have to live here in Prague.  There are so many tourists there, even in the dismal winter, and the prices are always way more than similar things off the bridge.  That being said, Husband is getting a cd of this band, who really are great fun to watch and listen to.

Finally, I would also like to mention Manufaktura, but with some reservation.  The good things about Manufaktura are that they sell a lot of traditional things handmade by Czech artists (handprinted cloth anyone? how about a straw nativity scene? wooden toys?)  and there is also a certain level of quality control involved, so you are relatively guaranteed that you are buying something well made.  On the other hand, Manufaktura is jaw-droppingly expensive for Czech, so it is only tourists that really shop there.  It follows that I can’t speak to how much of the price actually goes back to the artists, but at least there are a number of Manufaktura stores around Prague that take debit/credit cards, so you don’t have to stumble upon them with a pocket full of cash.

Prague offers a number of places to buy handmade gifts and items for the home and life, which is one of the more endearing aspects of living here.  Though I do miss my charity shops in Britain, I do value being able to support local shop owners and artists.