December 17, 2013

Closing Out 2013

Hello, everyone and welcome back for my final post of 2013.  Tomorrow I will be winging my way back to Canada to spend the holidays with family and friends there and sadly, I won't have much in the way of an Internet connection (did I mention that my family live out in the middle of no where - literally, cattle field and my parents' house...) so we'll all have to wait for my return to Sweden come January before hearing from me.

So while I have you here I'd like to take a moment to thank you for having visited, commented and just generally supported this little blog of mine for the last six months.  As I may have mentioned in one of my first posts, running a blog was something that I'd long been considering and I'm so glad that I finally took the plunge.  Needless to say, I'm looking forward to continuing into 2014 and I hope that you will join me.

Now I have one final project for 2013 to share with you all.  This is a little birthday card that I made for a friend whose birthday just happens to be on St. Lucia day (December 13 for those of you not familiar with this Sweden tradition).  I loved the combination of OA's Cakewalk papers with Pebbles' From Me to You accents so much from my last birthday card (Hello 50th) that I decided to repeat the combination.

Now you have to understand that I absolutely adore these OA papers and while I believe I have a bit more of that polka dot paper left, this was my last scrap of the star paper and the urge to hoard and admire it forever was very tempting!  But the fact that this last piece was the exact size for an A6 card was clearly a sign that it was destined for something greater than sitting in my scraps pile, don't you think?

The pretty lime green glitter tape I managed to find at the local TGR shop (Danish dollar store) so I snatched up a roll of that and broke into it right away.  The sentiment, label and flowers are all stickers and a chipboard from the Pebbles collection.  Nice and simple; especially important at this busy time of year.

So that's it from me for the year.  I won't have the opportunity to scrapbook while away for the holidays (although I will be loading up on whatever goodies I find there).  I will, however, be taking my embroidery with me so I may have another finished month's worth of blocks to share upon my return and as my mother is a (retired!) professional quilter, you never know what other sewn goodies I may come away with.

Wishing you all a very merry holiday season full of cheer and joy, rest and relaxation and safe travels.  See you in the New Year!

December 15, 2013

Pinspiration Sunday

Hey, hey and welcome back to not only another Pinspiration Sunday but the last for 2013!  Yes, I will soon be traveling abroad with limited Internet access so this week's pins will have to last you to the New Year when I return.  So go grab your hot beverage of choice and enjoy one last Pinspiration for the year.


* watching - Ink Masters Live
* making - one last birthday card for the year
* eating - toasted tuna sandwiches
* drinking - water
* wearing - newly hemmed jeans & a jumper
* weather - clear, 7C (tropical for December, eh?)
* feeling - accomplished; all my chores for the day done!
* wanting - enough time to see all friends & family in two weeks
* needing - to buy just a few final gifts tomorrow
* planning - to see Philamina with friends
* thinking - I'm not going to stress over the holidays - it is what it is
* loving - having turned off my alarm clock
* enjoying - the last few days with Oskar before leaving

On to the pins...

How cute is this banner designed quilt?  I just adore banners so this was a given.  Would make for a fun baby or children's quilt, too.
I love Cindy's quilt designs and fabric/colour choices and this is no exception.  Her modern take on the traditional log cabin design is so fresh and pretty.  Can you just imagine this in Christmas reds with the grey and white?  Just beautiful.
 Does your household have a Christmas elf on the shelf?  If so, perhaps she or he would welcome a cosy little bed to nap in?

OMG, this fabric tag is so cute it's painful!  Honestly, how many of you are already pulling out scraps and sequins right now to make your own?

And these little dress form scissor holders are also adorable and feminine - perfect for a seamstress friend or family member.
Need a simple yet fun project for the kiddies?  How about this super easy felt heart garland - snip out little hearts and thread along narrow ribbon.  Perfect for tree decoration or anywhere in the house.

And speaking of tree decorating, how about making some felt lights in a rainbow of colours?

I like grid designs and I particularly like the different sizes and shapes in this grid.  The different shapes and sizes also work well to feature natural embellishment clusters, journaling or whatever else you wish to include.

I'm not typically a 2-page LO girl but with the holidays and the volume of photos one can easily snap, sometimes a double-pager is just what you need.  I do love photo booth strips and they work so nicely with this design.

If you crochet, perhaps you'd like to have a go with making some pretty stars?  These are so delicate and beautiful.

I *love* quilts with crocheted edges on them.  It's probably one of the big reasons why I'd like to learn how to crochet.  This tutorial will show you how.

I totally fell in love with these adorable mice when I saw them last week.  I made one (ridiculously quick and easy) for my Secret Santa gift-ee.  They would also make fun stocking stuffers or fun extras for place settings at the table.

Fancy yourself a DIY-er and want to save a little cash but still have beautiful decorations throughout your house?  Check out these quick, easy and inexpensive ideas.

Hope your holidays are shaping up well to be merry and bright.  Wishing you all Christmas cheer!

December 13, 2013

Secret Santa 2013

It's Secret Santa day today!

This year the PYP department at work decided to hold a Secret Santa game.  There were two parts: first, a 'hint' gift of max 50:kr and then a 'luxurious' gift of 100:kr.  The 'hint' gift, as the name suggests, was suppose to be a teaser of whom our Secret Santas were.  Obviously the 'luxurious' gift was the big, normal gift.

My gift-ee was Abbe, one of our Swedish language teachers.  Abbe is a very talented sketcher but doesn't fancy herself a crafter so she loves to admire the crafty things Ingrid and I make so I knew exactly what I wanted to do for her gift - make her things!

For my 'hint' gift, I gave her a little handmade tissue holder and a cute felt mouse with a candy cane tail.  I chose orange (my favourite colour), which was her hint.  Well, that and the fact that the items were handmade.  Not the most glamorous photo but you get the idea.

Warm winter wishes gift.

Then for the 'luxurious' gift, I decided I would handmake her a little advent calendar (very popular here in Sweden).  I thought a tag design would be cute and focusing on traditional Scandinavian Christmas colours - kraft, red and white (with some gold and a bit of green thrown in for good measure) seemed only natural.  I used up a lot of leftover scraps and some free products from Papercraft Inspirations magazine issues.  And it may seem silly but I was also excited at the prospect of using up some number Thickers.  I purposefully left the backs blank so that she can add her own photos and writing, although today she said that it's too nice to change and it's going to have something akin to a little shrine at home - ha ha ha!

The cover, of course, needed to be something particularly special so I made a vellum confetti pocket using a variety of sequins and gold glitter Thickers.  Perhaps it's just me but that's total luxury to me!

Cover - I love how the iridescent sequins look green.

Day 1 - Using up last year's EP This n' That Christmas stickers.

Day 2 - Love this poinsettia paper from Papercraft Inspriations.

Day 3 - Dollar store rub-ons.

Day 4 - White embossing.

Day 5 - Gold lamé mist sprayed through a doily.

Day 6 - DIY mini bow made using the fork-tying method.

Day 7 - Shaped glitter tape.

Day 8 - Wood veneer pine trees.

Day 9 - Transparency tag with double-sided embellishments.

Day 10 - Layered chipboard elements.

Day 11 - Contest prize Christmas washi tape.

Day 12 - Mini banner.

Day 13 - Cork 'shine' embellishment for St. Lucia day!

Day 14 - Dollar store layered stickers.

Day 15 - Snowflake button.

Day 16 - Transparency tag with double-sided embellishments.
 Day 17 - Chipboard elements.

Day 18 - Washi tape wrapped gifts.

Day 19 - Gold painted doily & word stickers.

Day 20 - Chipboard elements.

Day 21 - White embossing.

Day 22 - Ribbons and dollar store stickers.

Day 23 - Painted chipboard numbers.

Day 24 - Heat embossed wood veneer & numbers.

Day 25 - Twine wreath.

 A happy Abbe!

And with that school is officially done for the term and I'm on holiday!  I've already taken advantage of the afternoon off to come home and nap (bliss!) and now I have a few days to get all the Christmas shopping and preparations done before flying back to Canada next week - and all without having an alarm clock in the morning!

December 11, 2013

Christmas Cards 2013

Ho ho ho!

So every year I make my own Christmas cards; any where between 30-50 cards.  Normally I start this process in November but if I'm absolutely honest, I didn't get around to starting mine this year until just last week - eek!  Thankfully, I already knew exactly (okay, roughly) what I wanted to do.

You see, I had some inspiration much earlier in the year during the CHA-S previews.  I saw these adorable cameos by Webster's Pages and the Santa moustache totally stole my heart.  I thought to myself, "That's my Christmas card this year."

Totally cute, right?

But I wanted to kick it up a notch and really, what's a moustache without some tickle to it?  So the hunt was on to find just the right 'stach fixins' and after a lot of pain-staking clipping, here's what I came up with:

Yup, Santa Claus is comin' to town!

Crinkly white faux fur for the moustache!  The sentiment is heat embossed in white.  Then to add some magic sparkle, I splattered some white mist, sprinkled some silver star sequins and added some Stickles glitter glue in silver along the diagonal.  The edges are also rubbed with white stamp ink to help ground the design and give the impression of a frosted window.

I have to say, I don't think I've ever come up with a quicker design in previous years and although cutting out the moustaches was tedious and time-consuming, the rest of the card came along quite quickly thereafter - I reckon three days total, plus some time tonight to paste in the interior plaque and DONE!

And incidentally, ever since a friend told me last year that her family rates the Christmas cards they receive and mine is always the winner, it's been a bit intimidating deciding on a design - heh.  I'm feeling pretty confident with this 'entry', as it were.  Fingers crossed!

December 09, 2013

Christmas Traditions - Old and New

Welcome back, folks!  So we all know how crazy busy this time of year is but I've been trying to fit in some Christmas activities here and there.  This year's events have been a mix of old favourites and a long-awaited-for new party that I hope will continue in years to come.

Normally in October I host a big Thanksgiving dinner for my friends.  It's an annual tradition that I really enjoy (despite the ridiculous amount of time and preparation involved) and my friends make a point of booking themselves in months to a year in advance to take advantage of all that home cooking delightfulness.  However, with this year's bathroom renovations, lack of running water and general nastiness that was my flat for two months during September and October, Thanksgiving sadly didn't happen.

So to compensate, I held a glögg party.  Now, if you're not Scandinavian, German or similar northern European, you may be asking yourself, 'Just what is this glögg thing she's on about?'.  Well, glögg is a seasonal spiced (AKA mulled) red wine.  It's served warmed and in Sweden you add raisins and almonds (I prefer hazel nuts in mine) for extra yumminess.  It's sort of like the adult version of hot cocoa - it's warm and makes you feel tingly and cosy.  Nibbles included a mix of English and Swedish holiday treats; truly the best of both worlds.

Glögg - spreading the Christmas cheer.

Then this weekend past was a lovely mix of holiday traditions my friends and I have developed over the years.  Saturday we attended one of the annual Christmas flower arranging courses at the local florist college - they hold these every Christmas and Easter and they are fantastic!  You get wonderful instructions/demonstrations of the techniques, all the supplies are included and you go home with finished projects to decorate your house, all at a very affordable price.  What's more, the building itself is amazingly decorated and they always serve a nice fika or lunch, depending on the course length.

This year we decided to take the half day course, which included two projects: a pillar candle in a bowl decoration and a moss heart hanging decoration.  It's amazing that even after having taken these courses for some 4 years or so now, the projects are always different every time we go.  I especially loved the bowl arrangement - it looks so pretty on my coffee table in the lounge!  And I also liked that this year's moss heart was a small, manageable size (unlike a previous year).

Candle/bowl Arrangement

Moss Heart Decoration

After the flower arranging course, we spent the afternoon at the big Christmas market.  We were pleasantly surprised to find that they had done away with the giant tent the vendors used to be housed in and instead there was a newly constructed building to go through.  And the selection was different from previous years - very nice improvements, plus many of our old favourites still included in the mix, such as these handsome julboc (Christmas goats):

I do quite fancy them but I just know that Oskar would eat it and I'd find piles of puked-up straw all over the house.  Ahh, the joys of pet ownership...

Once we finished our shopping (I did actually manage to buy a few gifts and stocking stuffers), we enjoyed another warm cup of glögg and a lussekatte (traditional saffran bun) in the old manor house.

Later Saturday night I even also finished making all of my Christmas cards for the year!  That's a bit miraculous, considering that I normally do cards in November but hadn't touched mine until sometime last Wednesday.  I'll share those with you Wednesday so stay tuned for more.

So despite all of the holiday craziness going on, it's been nice to fit in some of the pleasant things, too.  Hopefully you've also managed to do the same.