Monday, 22 December 2014

Creative Christmas

Every year our family celebrates the days leading up to Christmas by doing something special each day.  The aim is to do something creative to give away or to help someone else's Christmas be brighter.

These ideas from a post last year have been so popular I thought I would share them again today.  Just click on the headings for the links.

  •  Make a bird feeder and put it out in the garden for the birds or  make a home made colouring books and buy crayons and leave in waiting rooms for families

                    23 DIY bird feeders

Cookie Cutter Feeders - 23 DIY Birdfeeders That Will Fill Your Garden With Birds

Bird Seed Ornaments

 47 unexpected things to do with cookie cutters

number 15 is the bird feeder.  There are lots of great creative things to so on this page.

Colouring Christmas Pictures and Cards display

Thursday, 18 December 2014

Tutorial: Christmas crackers

I love this time of the year.  The lights,  secrets,  the wrappings and the creative makings.  We encourage our children to make gifts for each other.   Making a gift is such a beautiful thing to do for someone else.  A handmade gift has soul and deep love in it.  My littlest boy is 10 and he loves to create gifts for people.   I often find him at his carpentry table or with craft supplies creating things.  

I also love to make Christmas crackers.  The ones at the store look pretty but are often very expensive and don't really contain much. Each Christmas on new years eve our family has a tradition of opening a Christmas cracker each.   I stuff the cracker with goodies and even a Christmas joke. They are so easy to make and even children can make them or help out with the process. 

Here are instructions on how to make your own crackers.


  • Inner of a toilet roll or plasticwrap/foil tube 
  • Christmas wrapping store brought or make your own if your are making your own you will need some stamps and ink or paint
  • Ribbon or string
  • A gift for the inside
  • A balloon
  • A christmas joke
  • Lollies or choclates
  • Foil
  • A paper hat
  • Stickers or sticky tape
  • Scissors
  • Pen

Ideas for gifts

  • Jewellery
  • Tie pin
  • Pens/pencils
  • Key rings
  • bubbles and wand
  • Christmas decorations
  • Torch
  • Balloons
  • Water bombs
  • toy cars
  • Mini bottles of lotion/shampoo
  • Seed
  • Chocolates
  • Lip balm/lipstick
  • Bubble bath
  • Nail polish
  • Wind up toys
  • Pencil sharpeners/ erasers
  • Vouchers
  • animals
  • rubber stamp
  • stickers
  • Candles
  • Minatures
  • Pen knife
  • Hair stuff
  • Sewing stuff

Joke links

Christmas jokes
More jokes
Great jokes
Squigly's jokes


  1. Collect all your equipment together
  2. Place inside each roll one joke,  one balloon, one hat,  one gift and one or two lollies or chocolates.  If they are unwrapped lollies/chocolates wrap them in foil.
  3. Cut a rectangle of wrapping paper   17cm x 37 cm (for a toilet roll)     
  4. If you are making your own wrapping you will need some plain paper and ink/paint and a selection of rubber stamps.  Put ink/paint on the stamp and print all over the paper.
  5. Place toilet roll in the middle of the long edge of the paper. 
  6. Roll the paper around the tube and put a sticker on the edge to keep the paper from unrolling.  You could even put the recipients name on the sticker or cracker too.
  7. Place a spare tube in the end of the tube of paper.
  8. Wrap a piece of ribbon/string in between the two rolls and tie firmly.
  9. Remove the spare tube. and do again for the other end.  You could tie the ends either in a bow or knot
  10.  Trim the end with scissor if needed.

Now you have your own personalised and handmade Christmas crackers all ready for the festive season. 

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Share the gift

Christmas is a very important religious celebration for our family when we celebrate the birth of Christ. This time of the year can be so hectic especially in the southern hemisphere where we celebrate Christmas at the same time we finish school for the year and have our summer holidays.  So as well as Christmas events we have prizegivings, work events and preparations for the holidays. With all this going on I have been reflecting on the  real reason we celebrate Christmas,  sometimes the real reason get lost amongst the presents,  events and wrapping.  The real reason Christmas is celebrated is to remember the birth of Jesus Christ.  He is my saviour and redeemer and I am am grateful for the sacrifice he made for me. This is the most special gift at Christmas.

This link takes you to a short video of the reason for the season what is the special gift of Christmas.  It is so beautiful.

This year I have made a commitment the share a gift to my family.  I am going to spend more time with my children over this season and not spend so much time rushing around.  I am going to focus on them because this is the most important thing I can do. 

What gift can you share?  
 How can you make this world a brighter and better place?

Maybe you could.....
  • Teach a child to sew
  • Make a home made present for someone
  • Read a Christmas story to a child 
  • Tell someone they look beautiful
  • Smile at someone
  • Be happy and not stressed
  • Donate time to a homeless shelter
  • Make someone Christmas dinner
  • Visit someone elderly
  • Sing carols
  • Pick up rubbish
  • Lollipop someone's letter box (only in countries where this is legal)
  • Send a thank you letter
  • Babysit for someone
  • Make some Christmas goodies to drop off at someone's house
  • Make a secret parcel for someone
  • Weed someone's garden or shovel someone's snow
  • Dance with a child
  • Write a note to someone you love and put it under a pillow or next to their dinner plate.
  • Do an act of service for someone you live with
  • Massage someone's shoulders or feet

I also want to share a beautiful rendition of Angels we have heard on high By the piano Guys and 2 friends.  It is absolutely beautiful

I challenge you to make someone's Christmas brighter and happier this year by sharing something of your self.  

Merry Christmas
Love Catherine xxxxx

Thursday, 11 December 2014

Tutorial: Dyeing with textile ink

Tutorial:  How to dye fabric using textile ink/paint

Dyeing fabric is a lengthy process requiring equipment reserved for dyeing,  the use of respirators and a place to rinse out dyed fabric.  Many people do not have the space and time for dyeing fabric.  

A quicker way to colour cotton fabric is to use textile inks/paint as a dye.  The material has a slightly harder hand than dyed fabric but is still fairly soft to work with.  


  • White cotton fabric.  Sheeting, second hand sheets or RTD fabric are good choices.
  • 1 plastic bag
  • Textile inks- colours of your choice.  This tutorial uses red, yellow and white.
  • Iron
  • Ironing board
  • Container for water
  • Access to water
  • A place to dry your fabric


  1. Get a the piece of plain white fabric out and........

......the plastic bag

2. Mix the paint and water together until it is the consistency of runny custard. About 1/2 paint to 1/2 water depending on the paint.

3.  Put the material in the plastic bag

4. Pour the paint into the bag

5.  Squish the fabric around in the plastic bag until the paint has all been blended into the fabric.  You could add another colour now if you wished for a more dappled effect.

6.  This is what it should look like when the paint is evenly distributed on the fabric.

7.  Another way to add more colour to the fabric is to put another colour of paint on your hands and then to pick up the fabric.  The fabric in this tutorial had white added to it this way just to add a little more interest to the fabric.

8.  Take the fabric to a sink or tap and gently rinse with water.  If you want a bright colour just rinse a little and squeeze the fabric until it doesn't drip.  If you want a paler colour rinse and squeeze more.  

It is a good idea to experiment a little at this step until you get the desired effect.  Write down how much rinsing you need for each piece of fabric so you can repeat the process next time.  This fabric needed to be quite bright so it was only rinsed lightly.

9. When you are finished with dyeing this colour dispose of the plastic bag.  

10.  Hang the material out to dry.  If the material is hung over rails like this it will show on the fabric and give extra texture to it.  If you don't want this effect hang by the corners on a washing line.  Do not put in the drier.  Iron the fabric once dry to set the ink or paint. 

The finished dyed fabric ready to be used.  It will be pressed one more time before it is used.  

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

My quilt art studio reveal!!

My studio is finished!!!!!!!   After 5 1/2 weeks of hard work it is completed.  It is looking amazing. 

Just a reminder of what it looked like before we started 

Post 7 -  All ready to to bring furniture and art supplies in

It has been a long process but one well worth the doing.  All good things take time and a studio is no exception.  I have been moving round the house all winter to accommodate my families needs so it is absolutely wonderful to have a permanent space  to work in.  
One thing I found very difficult was having to move my studio regularly, which cut into my work time, I also found it hard to cut myself off from the house noise and family happenings.  The new studio is outside the house in the garage which is accessed through the laundry door,  outside and down a few steps so it is cut off from the house.  So when I go to work I can leave the house and all of its happenings. 



Floor Plan of my quilt art studio.  The bedroom area will become a shop/gallery once the summer holidays are over.

Welcome to my new studio

The shop/gallery space which will be used as a bedroom until the end of the summer holidays

The units separating the areas

The corner cupboard.

Remember what it looked like before!!!

An amazing storage space !!! 

The french doors that replaced the garage doors.

The garage door before the renovations

Walk through the front area into my studio

My office space 

The cupboard which magically turns into my office.
A great find on Trade Me.  $27.00 plus a lick of paint.

The two units which separate the 2 spaces

Wall storage 

The door way into the other garage painted white,

A space on the wall to take photographs of my work

The art table complete with years of paint.  A brilliant surface to work on with no worries about getting paint on anything

A converted T.V. trolly for all of my paints and mixed mediums.  I love that it is on castors and can go any where

Long storage

A cosy nook for reading , handwork and an afternoon snooze.  The couch also folds down to a bed for guests.

The sewing and ironing station

Updated lighting with cool LED lights.

The gorgeous floor.  It is so easy to keep clean and tidy

Now I just need to get time in this busy season to get in there and to create some amazing master pieces and to hang some of my wok in my space.

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