Monday, 17 December 2012

Handmade Christmas

My little terraced house reminds me every day how lucky I am.  I mean, firstly I have a roof over my head.  But secondly, when my house was built in the 1880's, people had very little.  Before the invention of indoor plumbing this house had two rooms upstairs and two rooms downstairs (commonly known as a "2 up 2 down" - clever).  Now, it includes a bathroom.  Also, ours was built with an extended little kitchen but most kitchens were in the back room.  Even when electricity was brought into the home, there were very few appliances that needed to be plugged in, hence the reason we have only two sockets in each room.  There are no closets or storage areas (apart from the attic) as people didn't have "stuff" to put in them.  Therefore, I think I am lucky because intelligent, creative people invented or discovered ways to help make our lives easier.  We can easily go out (or stay in and look to the world wide web) and purchase items we need or want and not have to make them ourselves.  We don't have to grow our own food, bake our own bread, shop daily because we don't have a refrigerator or hand wash our laundry (unless it's a silk blend). This frees up an incredible amount of time.  TIME.  How do you spend your time?  I know I don't spend mine wisely.  I think there's also a lot of pressure to do more in a given day because life has been made "easier". 

I have fallen victim to "Keeping Up with the Jones"; needing the latest gizmo or gadgets or stylish piece of clothing, only to no longer use it or wear it a short time later.  We, as a society, have too much "stuff".  Watching various talk shows these past few weeks I have heard how some people spend an obscene amount of money at Christmastime.  Many of us have lost sight of what is important.  I want to live more simply.  Have only the things that are truly beautiful and necessary in the home.  Making time to appreciate the little things.

A friend of ours stopped by on the weekend and noticed that I hadn't gone overboard this year with the decorating which says something because the house is still pretty well decorated; from every mantel to the holiday kitchen mat, to the Christmas pictures in frames and wreaths on the doors and windows.  I have to admit, I wanted to curb the decorating a little and left a few items in the boxes.  I also vowed not to buy anything new and make do with what I have already because let's face it, I already have A LOT of Christmas stuff.  When the 6th plastic bin came down from the loft I realised it was all a bit much!

I've been meaning to do more for others.  Last week I purchased two big bags of food to donate to the food drive at my local Tesco and this week I will be purchasing a toy for the toy drive.  I need to remember to do more throughout the year because people are not only hungry at Christmas.  It is important to keep things in perspective, appreciate the little things (and sometimes big things) and be thankful for what we have - because someday it could all be gone.

In an effort to make do with what I have I created a few Christmas decorations for very little or no money, mostly using things I already had (and a little printer ink).

The first is this shadow box frame that usually hangs in our bathroom with a flower print inside.  I found an image I liked on the interweb and printed as a square image.  It didn't quite fit so I backed it with some brown parcel paper.  I then tipped in as many ornaments that would fit and used a little piece of berry garland to round off the corner.  Simple, easy, took about 10 minutes.  I think I spent longer looking for an image on the net (using my time wisely you see).

Earlier this autumn I created a gallery wall at the top of our stairs.  I love it because I can switch out the pictures and change with the seasons.  Again, I just searched the interweb, printed my favourites and popped them into the frames.  A tip from my super saver husband - put the print outs in a folder to use next year so you stop wasting all the printer ink!  You can also insert old Christmas cards, like the image of the reindeer.  Printer ink, saved!


And last year I made this tablecloth.  I couldn't find one I liked enough to spend 20 pounds on so I bought 2 metres of material for 5 pounds and made my own.  If you've never sewn, start (I mean, only if you want to).  It's so easy to make simple and beautiful items and so much cheaper than store bought, and you get EXACTLY what you want.

Are you making anything this Christmas?  Handmade decorations or gifts?  Will you be sticking to your budget or blowing it all?  


1 comment:

  1. I love the set of four frames, by your tree. Very festive looking. I'll try to remember to take a picture of my mantel when I get home. I like how it turned out.
    Laura took a picture of one of the outside, light and metallic tulle creations, I made for the front yard. She called it a demonic angel or something of the like. So, I'm not too confident about that one.

    Last night Jeannine and I decorated four little, gingerbread cake houses, that I made to bring to school for the parent/child Christmas Party, which was not called a Christmas Party but rather a Holiday Haliday Shmaliday Party or something PC like that. It wasn't a BIG success as a party but I can't complain because I wasn't asked to do anything and I volunteer to do nothing. But next year I"m definitely on the planning committee.

    Enjoyed your blog today. Luv Tante Rachele