December 15—10 days until Christmas—Holiday Candles

Every holiday I find lots of useless red and green stubs from the previous year

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that are too short to stick in a holder, but too long to toss away.  Some of them I tuck them into newspaper and stuff under logs in my fire place.  They’re great for creating big flames.

However there’s another use.  I buy some fat white candles,

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light the short colorful candles and let them drip all around, until I have this extra special candle for my Christmas dinner table.

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These make pretty and inexpensive gifts.

Any one have any candle crafts they’d like to share?

Hope everyone is enjoying a stress-free, love-filled holiday season.

December 11th—14 days until Christmas—Tree Poem and Decoration

If you don’t already have your tree, you’ll probably be getting one soon.  My tree’s bright green beauty and its pungent pine smell inspired me to write this poem.

CHRISTMAS TREE

Wearing my gown

of ruffled green,

draped in necklaces

of sparking lights,

and jewels,

baubles and bells

that shimmer and sheen.

Day and night

I hold my pose,

arms spread wide,

icicle still,

so you can admire me—

your Christmas tree—

the grand dame

of December.

© Ann Whitford Paul

Remember the ribbon pillow pattern I shared last year?           005 (3)

The directions are here.

Well, I had leftover ribbon

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and made this tree.  DSCN0418 (2)

All you need is a Styrofoam tree shape, ribbon cut into roughly 1 and 1/2 inch strips.  Glue them on, starting at the bottom and moving up.  At the top add a fabric ball or anything your heart desires.  You’ll whip these up so quickly you might want to make more than one.

Hope you’re relaxed and enjoying a stress-free, love-filled holiday.

December 4th—21 days until Christmas—Time to Make Crackers—Not the Eating Kind

On September 8th, I suggested to avoid family fisticuffs and add laughter to Christmas day dinner you start collecting cardboard rolls.

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Now you have them and plenty of fun things to stick inside them.

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For youngsters you might use stickers, glittery glue sticks, plastic animals, candy, jokes, etc.

For the adults, jokes, candy, fancy paperclips, riddles, etc.

Here’s a great video explaining how to make the fancy English kind.

However, I’m a firm believer that easier is better.  Instead of stiff paper, I used tissue paper, cut the length of the snappers.  If you don’t have them yet, order them here.

Then I inserted one snapper in the middle of the roll, wrapped the paper around and taped it.  I tied one end with green ribbon.  Then, holding onto the snapper so it wouldn’t fold into the roll, I added my gifts.  The last part was to tie another ribbon at the other end.  Voila!  Finished.

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An added benefit is that by writing the person’s name on the paper, these crackers also make festive place-cards.

I hope you and your family have fun with these.

NOVEMBER 13TH—42 Days until Christmas—Holiday Granny Square Throw

I had so much fun making my granny square coasters (See post here) that I went a little crazy with granny squares. First I made some small granny square Christmas decorations that look like this.

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I decided to make a throw also.

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Mine doesn’t stick to the pattern of colors and yours doesn’t have to either. I just took all my leftover Christmas yarns and used the colors until they ran out. My husband was mighty pleased with the outcome. I was, too,  And since the yarn was already in my stash, I was thrilled with the cost which was zilch!

So gather up any Christmas colored yarns you have and get to work.  Now!

Anyone out there also had fun crocheting something lovely for the holidays?

November 10th—45 days until Christmas—Star Poem and Decorations

Up here in the north pole our skies are filled with stars, but on Christmas we celebrate one star.  Hence this poem:

Years ago a bright brilliant star

shone down from the blackened sky,

showing wise men and shepherds the way

to the manger where Jesus lay.

And so I hang a multitude

of stars, around my tree,

reminding me of the reason why

we celebrate Christmas day.

© Ann Whitford Paul

It’s still only November but I had fun making these simple star decorations.

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You and your family can, too. Get busy. Directions are here. While you’re busy painting and gluing, listen to  this you-tube song. 

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It celebrates the book about me and is  less than a minute and a half long.  I hope you’ll play it over and over again.

My next post will have another simple craft for decorations and another holiday throw.  The more you do now, the more relaxed your December will be.

November 6th—49 days until Christmas—Last Advent Activity Suggestions

Here are my final suggestions.

  1. Go on a shape hunt in your house—rectangles, squares, circles, triangles. How many can you find?  How many are holiday related—Christmas tree is a triangle, circle wreaths, rectangle and square presents, etc.
  2. Write to a friend telling them how much he or she means to you.
  3. Make a list of all the things you’re grateful for.
  4.  Make decorations together for your Christmas Tree—out of pipe cleaners   DSCN0224 or buttons  DSCN0228 (2)  Here are the pipe cleaner directions.  And here are the button decoration directions.
  5.  Tie bright ribbons on your door knobs and bannisters.  012 (2)
  6.  Watch a favorite Christmas movie.  These are mine.  MIRACLE ON THIRTY-FOURTH STREET, HOME ALONE, HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS, or LOVE ACTUALLY.
  7.  Drive around and look at Christmas lights.
  8.  Clean out bookshelves and donate old books to library for used book sale.

Over the last several posts, I’ve given you well over twenty-five activity suggestions.  Pick your 25 favorite and put them in your bowl.  Then each morning pull out one.  Don’t be rigid about this.  If you’re having a busy day and the activity can’t be done, drop it back in and pull out another more doable one.  As the number of papers decrease, you and your family will see how fast Christmas is coming.  And what a fun time you’ll have together!

Join me for my nest post where we’ll talk about stars.

November 3rd—52 days until Christmas—More Suggestions for your Activity Advent Calendar

Here’s another set of activities for you to enjoy during December with your family.

1.  Spend ten minutes playing with your, or your neighbor’s, pet.

2. Learn a card trick to entertain family and friends on Christmas day.  Google card tricks and you’ll find loads of tutorials.

3. Color a Christmas picture.  Download coloring pages here from the famous book about me.

Christmas_cover - CopyAnd of course the internet is also full of free downloadable coloring pages.

4.   Make a handprint tree to hang in your house.

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While the picture isn’t great, you can still get the idea.  I cut out a large, but simple tree shape of read felt, and a smaller one of white, pasted them together.  Had my niece and nephew (each using a different color) dip their hands into the washable paint and then onto the white felt.  They also signed their names and the date.  Their parents loved the gift and hang it up every year around the holidays.

5.  Bake muffins and give them to the oldest person you know—here’s a lovely white chocolate and raspberry muffing everyone will enjoy.  Sorry, no picture.  My hungry hubby and the elves finished them in an instant.  Your family will, too.  Here’s the recipe.

6.  Make blessing bags to carry in your car and give to homeless people.  Fill them with things like soap, tooth brush and paste, raisins and nuts, beef jerky.  What about a deck of cards?  A book?  For a great web-site with more details and suggestions, check this out.

7.  Make recipe for Christmas morning that can be frozen.  Last year I made this quiche and it was a big hit with hungry Santa and our elves.

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