Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year, my friends!

My hopes to get all my Christmas posts out of the way before tomorrow have been ruined due to a tall, handsome man with whom I was reunited a few days ago. It seems that I'm chilling in his house this evening, doing nothing, and that's just how I like it.

I hope you all have a lovely evening, whatever you do. Any parties planned?



Tuesday, December 28, 2010

And… The rest of the presents.

Merry Christmas Everyone!!

I hope you all had a good one and are looking forward to 2011 as much as I am.

So I have a few Christmas related posts still to get up and I hope to do this BEFORE 2011 starts… But I’m away to Tullamore tomorrow and not sure if there’s wireless or an internet connection in the hotel.*

To start with, I’ll round up all the presents and show you what nice things my family got this Christmas.

For my Dad:

Terrarium 2

Terrarium 5

A moss terrarium full of the cutest little ducks you’ve ever seen!

I think he liked it… Something to put on his desk in work to make him smile.

For my darling niece, Laoisha:

Crayons 5

Crayons 1

Crayons!! Laoisha’s a creative little girl and I think she’s going to love these crayons, once she’s over all her other fancy schmancy Christmas presents. Who wants a Nintendo DS when you can have super cool crayons??

To make these crayons, I bought a few boxes of super cheap crayons in the supermarket** and broke them up into pieces. Then I grouped them into nice colour combinations and put them into moulds. Unfortunately, the first mould I used was an ice cube tray I had mistaken for silicone*** and it suffered greatly.

Ruined mould

It wasn’t even my tray, it was Skuld’s… Oops! It was alright though cause I found a similar star shaped ice cube tray in my cupboard to give back to her. So anyway, back to the crayons. There are loads of variations on how to melt them flying around the Internet.

If you melt them too quickly, the colours will mix and you won’t get a cool marbled effect. So what I did was pop them into the oven at 180 oC for about five minutes. I kept a close eye on them and took them out of the oven the minute I saw that they were melted. You can find other methods on how to melt crayons here and here. The main point is to watch them closely and experiment, experiment, experiment!

I also commissioned this great hula hoop from my friend, Nelly, a super hoop maker:


For my sister, Emer:

I saved the best for last, the present I am most happy and delighted with. The one I mulled over for hours – how to fit it all together, how to make the decoration, how to get it perfect. And I think I did OK. What do you think?

Clutch bag 1

Clutch bag 5

Clutch bag 3

A beautiful clutch / make up bag that she loved! I styled it on the clutch bag I saw in this post on You Are My Fave. I love Melanie’s blog. Such a simple idea but it brings me so so much inspiration and she’s such a sweet girl! I’d definitely recommend that you all check it out.

And that’s that. Besides one anniversary present that I’ll put up in the new year, those were all the presents I handmade this Christmas. I like to keep my Christmas presents list down to just my family so that I can get them all really special and thoughtful presents.

Kisses to all and Merry Everything!!


*And having just got into my hotel room to finish this post, I find that there is. Win!

**If I had had crayons lying around my house, I would have used them, of course.

***I’m pretty stupid.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

For my lovely cousin, Emma:

I first heard my cousin Emma sing and play guitar last Christmas and she was wonderful! She has the most amazing voice and can play so sweetly. Her versions of Florence and the Machine are incredible.

So I was delighted to pick her name for our family’s Secret Santa this year. I knew just what she’d like!

Folder 3

A folder.

It started out as a simple blue 2 Euro thing-a-ma-jig! And I bought some lovely (LOVELY!!) wrapping paper from Pippa Blue. So with the help of my trusty Mod Podge and a paintbrush, I stuck the paper onto the folder and voilà! A beautiful decorated folder for her to hold all her guitar tabs in. I also picked her up a Radiohead guitar tabs book so she can learn some new songs to play for us.

Folder 4

In fact, I was so happy with it that I made one for myself!

Folder 1

Every year between Christmas and New Year, my Mum’s family meet in her home town, Tullamore, in a fancy pants hotel and spend some quality time together! It’s a really nice get together, full of swimming, shopping, relaxing, food, drink and singing.

I’m looking forward to going back and seeing all the family. Roll on December 28th!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Christmas IS Coming…

But first, I must be done with this super stressful project I have going on at work. Which will be over on Wednesday, whether we like it or not! AND because I was working ALL weekend, I get to take my Christmas holidays from Thursday, instead of Friday, as was the original plan. Yay, three full weeks off for Christmas!!!

Oh, joy!

And so, to the point of this post:*


Over the next few weeks, I’ll show you guys the Christmas crafts I’ve been working hard at since the beginning of this month. I decided that for every thoughtful bought present I give to my family, I’d give an equally thoughtful made present. And since none of my family know I have this little blog going, I figured it won’t be so bad to start showing off what I’ve made now!

For my darling Mum, who is so selfless, she’s genuinely happy with whatever present she gets:

Teacup Candles 2

Teacup Candles 4Teacup Candles 5

Incredibly pretty teacups!!

I always complain about shopping for my Dad. He is so content with his life and his daily routine that all he EVER wants for Christmas is jumpers, socks and slippers. And what daughter wants to get her dad slippers as a present?? Since SKY TV has been installed in the house, he’s been mad for the Discovery Channel. What he likes to watch most is the building of those big constructions in Dubai and Asia and all.** So last year, I happened across a DVD box set of just that – the building of big constructions. He loved it!! And actually watched the DVDs. I was so so happy to get him something he watched and used.

I didn’t want to get him the same thing again this year and I I tried to be a little different… But my mind is drawing a blank. The one thing I thought he might like, I found out he already has and doesn’t use at all! So… What am I getting him? A jumper. And a CD that I know he will like… But still… I’m so ashamed. I’m not even buying the damn things. My Mum is picking them up this week. So ashamed… But I think he’ll be surprised that I got him what he’s asking for and at least I KNOW he’ll use these things!! I also made him something, but it’s at home in Naas so I’ll take pictures and blog about it later in the Holidays.

But… Weren’t we discussing my Mum?? Ah yes, there was a point to that seemingly off-the-topic rant about my Dad’s present. As difficult as it is to find a nice present for my Dad, my Mum is ten times more difficult! She’s just so selfless and also content with her life. Last year, my sisters and I got her a Nintendo DS, which was great!! She really enjoys it and the games we got her for her birthday too. But another thing I said this year, was that none of the presents I give will be too technological and a bit more on the traditional side. So no games for her this year!

I bought her a beautiful 1,000 piece jigsaw, that I know she will enjoy.*** One thing I remember from my childhood was the jigsaws my Mum made. To be honest, 1,000 pieces probably won’t challenge her as much as I’d like, but any puzzle I found with larger than 1,000 pieces had the most dreadfully dated picture of a French chateau or a park. *shudder* I’m excited about this present. I haven’t seen her make a jigsaw in so long and I know she’ll love it!!

But back to the teacups. They’re pretty, they’re delicate… but they’re also so much more than teacups…

Teacup Candles 6

They’re candles! And they’re my first attempt at homemade candles!! I think I did pretty well. They’re rose scented and I put in the green colour myself. But I did notice that while they were cooling and the wax was solidifying, they sunk in the centre.

Does anyone know why this is?

I also made her soaps:

Tea Soap 4

Tea Soap 3

These soaps are made from a Melt and Pour base that my good friend Skuld shared with me. I just melted the soap in the microwave and, once fully melted, mixed it with loose cinnamon and ginger tea and then poured into a mould. My moulds were thoroughly**** cleaned out goat’s cheese containers and they were perfect for the soaps. They made big chunky soaps that should be easy to handle.

Check out Skuld’s post on soap making and her accurate description of why it’s just too easy. And while you’re there, browse through her other posts! Skuld has been my friend for three or four years now and she’s as super a craftster as she is a friend! She’s a demon with yarn and has some sort of obsession with hearts. I really recommend you have a look at her blog and maybe get some inspiration for your next crafty project!!

The idea for the teacup candles, though they’re pretty viral on the Internet now anyway, came from Design*Sponge. Oh, I love Design*Sponge so much! It’s full to the brim with crafty gems. I have a stack of projects waiting for me for after Christmas!

The idea for the soaps came from Cucumbersome. I love what Britt did with her soaps, dressing them up like tea bags with cute little tags attached! I’m also loving this idea of debranding the bathroom. The idea of living so simple a life that your bathroom is filled with only three products is lovely. Unfortunately I’m not there yet, not by a long shot, but maybe after Christmas I’ll discuss what products I do without.

Wow, this is a long post, lots of writing… Which I’m mostly trying to avoid. I like pictures in posts, they say a lot more than words. But hey, there will have to be exceptions!

Have a nice week, darlings!


*Don’t worry, I didn’t just write this post to rant about work, that would be so mean!

**I am quite fuzzy on the details here…

***Although, I must admit, all credit goes to my Dad for this one as he gave me the idea.

****Nothing says “I love you, Mum” like soaps that stink of cheese!
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