Tag Archives: handmade christmas

Christmas Project Progress


button tree

People, Christmas is three weeks from today. Three! I need to get serious about what I want to do and what I will be able to do before that happens. It is definitely time for a prioritized list.

First, here are the things I absolutely want to finish before Christmas:

  1. Any pottery I want for giving needs to be ready for firing by this weekend. It may already be too late–December is a busy time for the kiln! At a minimum I want to finish up some of the small medallions I made to make into magnets and complete whatever coil trees I have already built. These things need to be painted with underglaze and fired, then dipped into clear glaze and fired again. Hopefully I can get them done quickly.
  2. Blanket for my brother
  3. Button tree collage for my aunt
  4. Crocheted coasters for my mother

If I get those things done, I will be happy. If I get them done with time to spare, I will do some or all of these things:

  1. Crochet a wreath for my front door
  2. Find the shawl I started last year for a friend and finish it
  3. Make some jewelry
  4. Make homemade lip gloss
  5. Make sugar scrubs

There is a very good chance that my list of finished projects will look nothing like this list, but I like having a plan to start with at least. I feel pretty good about the first priority items, although not entirely certain.

How are your Christmas projects coming?


Projects I Have Done and Projects I Have Yet to Do


Christmas Countdown R & G Dots

Christmas is 34 days away! Time to take stock and kick into high gear on my remaining projects!

Projects completed:

  • 3 crocheted blankets
  • 9 crocheted scarves
  • 6 crocheted stocking ornaments
  • 18 small pottery plates
  • 1 pottery Christmas tree
  • 4 crocheted spa cloths

Projects in progress:

  • Two crocheted makeup bags – crocheting is done, they just need buttons sewn on
  • Button Christmas tree collage
  • Pottery magnets
  • More pottery Christmas trees
  • More pottery plates

Projects I would still like to do:

  • Coffee mug cozies
  • Homemade lip gloss
  • Jewelry-making
  • More ornaments–both stockings and snowflakes
  • One more crocheted blanket
  • Lavender Sea Salt Scrub
  • Finish a shawl I started for last Christmas
  • Crochet some coasters
  • 1 more crocheted scarf

What do you think? Too ambitious? How are your handmade projects coming?

Buy Nothing New Christmas – Some Ideas


christmas gifts

Since I stumbled across the concept of the Buy Nothing New Christmas, I have been thinking about how I could do this, and if I really want to completely forego new things in my gift giving. I found an interesting webpage, Buy Nothing Christmas, that helped me think through what this concept means to me, and what I would like to get out of it.

To me, the point is not to save money, or at least that is not the main point. The main point is to get out of the disposable mindset of our culture. The level of stuff our society produces is simply not sustainable, especially if you are giving any thought to raising the standard of living for third world countries and for poor people all over the globe. The waste produced by one household is staggering to me–4.4 pounds per person per day, or 1600 pounds per person per year.

I don’t want to opt out of gift giving, though. I love giving gifts and I think it provides an important social role, bringing friends and families together. I just want to be a bit more thoughtful about how I do gifts. I am also a bit hesitant to take on a project with strict rules. I have a problem with perfectionism–it often leads to an all or nothing mentality where you either do something perfectly, or this is no point to trying at all. I think that sort of thinking is detrimental to actual change. For instance, if everyone was able to cut down on buying just a few new things, it would have a much larger impact than a small handful of people foregoing new things entirely.There is benefit to doing something even if it isn’t technically *all* that could be done.

With all that in mind, here are some guidelines and tips I am going to use to buy less new things this year.

  • Making things is the best gift in my eyes; I will try to make as many gifts as I can
  • Any supplies I already have don’t count as new, although I may have bought them new originally
  • Consumables don’t count as new things: restaurant gift certificates, tickets to events, and food (especially ingredients for something I make) can all be bought new
  • Upcycle Exchange is a good local source for used craft supplies–thanks for the reminder, Hilary!
  • I will be checking in with friends who make gifts to see if we can trade supplies or possibly even finished products
  • Goodwill is a good resource; have been thinking about going to the dollar store to buy mugs, then crocheting cozies for those mugs, but I could find mugs at Goodwill, I am sure.
  • My first thoughts will always be to reuse something I already have, trade with someone else, or purchase something used, but if I have a great gift that needs a small purchase of something new to complete it, I will not get too upset over that

What do you think of the Buy Nothing New Christmas concept? Is anyone else attempting it this year?

buy nothing new christmas // the first of a new series


I think this is a great idea, although I am not sure I can fully do it. If I buy new crafting supplies, does that count? Plus, the kids might be disappointed if they don’t get some new things. I have definitely given a lot of thought to giving only gifts that I have made, though, and we could certainly do clothes from the resale shops and stay in this challenge. What do you think? Can you go without buying anything new for Christmas?


A few years ago, in the spirit that I like to do most things in – completely last minute – I decided I was going to have a Buy Nothing New Christmas. There seemed to be a lot of chit chat going on in the blogosphere about having periods of buying nothing new, and nothing motivates me more than a challenge! So I dove in head first and have to say it was such a satisfying experience that I have *almost* done it every Christmas since. In fact, I was so motivated, my Buy Nothing New challenge continued for the first six months of 2011!

It made me realise not only how much we consume needlessly in our daily lives, but how much we can do without, and more to the point, how much great stuff is circulating the planet as rubbish, because we are constantly, obsessively…

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Ack! Christmas is coming!


I am not a fan of Christmas music in October or early November, and it drives me crazy that Christmas merchandise is everywhere already, but when you are a person who makes things for Christmas presents, you have to start early. I did start early this year, too–I have been making blankets and scarves since June. However, this weekend I suddenly realized that Christmas is less than 2 months away, and I still have so many things left to do!

I can’t post everything here, on the off chance that some of my recipients will see this post, but I can say that I have gotten a lot done. Yesterday I experimented with mini-stocking ornaments to make as a decoration for all of my gifts this year.

first stocking

I made three of these, each slightly different, to perfect the pattern (or really, my interpretation of it). I’ve nearly got it down, and I am pleased with how quickly I can knock these out.

I also started a collage for my aunt, based on this pin.

green canvas for tree collage

tree collage getting started

Last night I painted my canvas to get ready, and I have been working on it off and on today. With collage, I often have to stop and let the glue dry a bit, so it is good that I started now, when I have time to come back to it over several days.

I also finished a scarf and worked on a blanket that I can’t post here. All of this is making me feel a bit better, but there is still so much left to do! Anyone else making Christmas gifts this year? What kind of progress are you making?

Some Finished Pottery Pieces


The pottery classes I have been taking include unlimited studio time during the class for building pieces, and plenty of time after the class is over to finish glazing and firing pieces. I have been concentrating on building things during the class time with the plan of underglazing, glazing and firing objects after the class is complete, but a couple of weeks ago, I decided to get a couple of test pieces done so I could see how they would turn out.


The first piece I did was an underglazed Christmas tree. I actually painted this one day while I was working in the studio, waiting for a slab of clay to dry out a bit to make it easier to finish. I had a picture of this on my last pottery post:

Coil tree with underglaze in leaf green, dragon red and ivory

Coil tree with underglaze in leaf green, dragon red and ivory

This was completely unfired, with just the build done and underglaze painted on. Since then, it went through an initial firing, then I dunked it in a clear glaze and had it fired again. The colors are very different than the pre-firing colors, but they did turn out very close to what I pictured when I was envisioning the finished project.


I also glazed one of my little plates, and I am very pleased with how it turned out. Because of the stamped pattern, I was thinking that I would need to underglaze the plates in order to ensure that the color got down into the grooves. I made a ton of these plates, though, so I decided to try the regular glazing on one and see what would happen.

chrysanthemum plate

As you can see, awesomeness happened, ;). I am still going to underglaze a few plates–I have at least 30 of these things–but I will be doing more like this as well. This plate has celadon as a first dip, then it is topped with lime green. I love the way it turned out!

The coaster shows me why it is good to do a test glaze. I used deep purple topped with celadon here, and how a dark purple topped with a pale green yields such a blue coaster, I don’t know. I kind of like it, though.


So, that’s all I have for finished pottery for now. What do you think? I will be making many more trees and plates, and probably some more coasters, along with a few other things. I am probably nearly finished with building for this Christmas, but I will have more things coming, too, as I still have about 45 pounds of clay to use. Any suggestions for a not-terribly skilled hand building potter?

Making Things: Christmas Crochet Projects


I can’t share what I am working on today because it is a late Christmas present, and the recipient may be reading here. Instead, I am going to share some of the projects that I did complete.

One of the first things I made as a Christmas present was this scarf for my friend Andrea, who is modeling it beautifully:

I made it early, in August, and it was so perfect for her, so much the essence of Andrea as it were, I gave it to her as soon as I finished it. After that, though, I got better about setting my projects aside to wait for the holiday.

I made this Lacy V-Stitch Blanket for my cousin Dawn in September:

I followed this pattern, changing the colors and size to suit Dawn perfectly. She loved it!

I made this poinsettia pin for my grandmother, because she loves poinsettias:

I made two of these hats, one for my son in red, grey and black, and this one for his friend:

I made a few other things, too, but these are the pictures I could find fairly easily. I also have several late projects to finish still. I am feeling pretty good about my handmade Christmas presents this year, though. I did make most of the presents I gave, although I ended up buying several things as well. My goal for 2013 will be only to give things that I have made for the recipient. My brother and my dad–who got restaurant gift cards this year–will be the biggest challenge here, but if I start now, I am sure I can find something they will like.

Do you make Christmas or other presents?