Month: December 2013

Leather glitter star hairband

leather glitter star hairbandDid you really think we’d make it through the holiday season without a glitter project? No way! The glitter in this one is sealed so don’t fret! I made this sparkly hairband with New Year’s eve in mind because a bit of bling is always acceptable then. This is how I made it:
leather glitter star hairbandSupplies:

  • scraps of leather: mine are grey and metallic gold from a Michaels scrap bag. I made 3 grey and 2 gold stars for my hairband
  • silver glitter: I like the fine stuff from Martha Stewart
  • tacky glue, glue gun and Triple Thick sealer (or clear nail polish)
  • tiny scrap of felt
  • scissors
  • a star shape to trace around or draw your own! I used a cookie cutter
  • a wire or elastic style hairband: mine is from a dollar store

leather glitter star hairband1. Trace or draw your stars onto the back side of your leather pieces. I used five. Cut them out.
2. Choose which you’d like glittered, then apply an even coat of tacky glue to the good side of the leather. Sprinkle glitter generously on the glued surface then tap off excess onto a piece of paper and pour it back into the glitter container. Let dry.
3. Cover the glittered stars with ‘triple thick’ or clear nail polish to seal the glitter. Let dry, overnight is best.
4. Use a glue gun to attach your stars to your hairband. Arrange them how you like best – mine is a bit asymmetrical on the hairband and the stars touch without overlapping really. I glued them on with a dot of hot melt glue then added a felt scrap on the inside to make a bigger gluing area and add some softness for wearing.
5. Trim any excess glue or felt bits that might show through onto the front.
6. Pop this on and ring in the new year with sparkle! Of course, you can make yours with any color combination or number of stars you like.
leather glitter star hairbandI’m off to make another one since I’m pretty sure a particular niece is going to talk me out of this one. Wishing you all good things for 2014…may it be happy and bright, full of the people and things you love most!

An unexpected blessing

Handmade quilt prizeOn Christmas Eve Eve, I arrived home from a gift exchange/coffee date to a message on my phone saying I’d won a raffle draw. Stop the presses – I’m a girl that never wins anything! I buy pretty much ever raffle ticket that goes around my workplace because they’re all for good causes. I think of it more as making a donation rather than waiting to win something. Well, all that changed this Christmas. This particular raffle benefits local kids in need and I’ve been buying tickets for over 10 years. It’s a given. The prizes are always totally random since they’re all donated. You’re just as likely to win a fishing charter as a wine kit. Drumroll please…I won a handmade quilt!!!!
Quilt prizeI picked it up on Christmas Eve and the magic of the season hit me full-on. The quilt is absolutely beautiful with 12 different patterned blocks all done in a variety of tasteful colors on a creamy white background. I’ve done just enough quilting to appreciate the work, time, effort and expense that’s gone into my prize. I feel so fortunate, but there’s more. On a back corner of the quilt, the maker has signed it:
God Bless
From Audrey
Lady Quilter 2013
Quilt prizeNow, I don’t consider myself very spiritual and definitely not religious, but this touched me deeply. Tears instantly. Friends, it’s been a busy, difficult couple of months for me. My job has been really hectic with long days and extra workload, plus I have a second little job consigning my crafts, plus my Dad spent 8 weeks in hospital very ill. But here it was Christmas Eve and I have days off, crafts are all delivered and Dad is safely home. And I am holding a precious gift in my hands.
Quilt prizeI am fighting every urge to pack the quilt away and keep it “good”. Instead it’s hanging over an arm of my couch ready to cuddle and get cozy with. And in the new year, I’ll track Audrey down and thank her profusely. How is it that someone could donate such a handmade treasure and I could I receive it? Fate? Faith? Good karma? I don’t know but it’s made me feel blessed, supported by the universe and loved. God bless indeed.

Homemade Christmas crackers

homemade xmas crackers www.nestinthewest.comProbably my very favourite holiday tradition is making Christmas crackers for my family’s dinner. Pretty sure I’ve been doing them for over 25 years now and I still love it.
I’m very lucky in that my sister-in-law always cooks the turkey and hosts us all at her and my older brother’s house. Over the years we’ve all taken on little tasks to contribute to the meal. I get off easy with dessert and crackers. Score.
I know I’ve left this a bit late to share so file the idea away for next year if it’s too much to whip them up for this year. They’re actually super simple to make. Save your empty toilet rolls, purchase a package of snaps (from Michaels) then fill each roll with goodies, wrap them up in regular old wrapping paper, tie the ends with ribbon or wire garland (I really like the stars) and share them at your Christmas dinner!
homemade xmas crackers www.nestinthewest.comSome stuffing suggestions:
For the ladies: nail polish, lip gloss, earrings, hair accessories, bookmarks, kitchen gadgets
For the guys: lottery tickets, mints or gum, lip balm, small tools, nail clippers, key chain, brain teaser games
For kiddos: super bounce balls, Lego people, stickers, parachute guys, small stuffies, wind up toys, whistles, hot wheels cars
homemade xmas crackers www.nestinthewest.comMake these as extravagant or simple as you like. I make 8-10 each year and try to stick to a $5 limit for each. I find the men the hardest. The first few years were okay but now it’s getting tough. Except for that one year when I won NHL hockey tickets at my staff party and slipped one into each of my brothers’ crackers. That one remains unbeatable.
Here are a few tips I’ve learned the hard way along the way: don’t use heavy paper or that plasticy paper – they don’t rip and you need these to break apart. Opposite to the rest of my wrapping endeavors, I go easy with the tape. One piece of double sided tape or even a sticker is enough to seal these….again with the wanting them to break apart! Mark them with who they’re for as you go along! Just write names on a sticker or tag. If you overload a cracker and find the tube is just too small, cut it from end to end, stuff your treats inside then tape it up in a slightly larger tube, done. My family voted to do away with the funny tissue paper hats years ago and use the space for chocolate instead. So that gives you and idea of how we roll – casual and efficient!
homemade xmas crackers www.nestinthewest.comhomemade xmas crackers www.nestinthewest.comThink about adding this personal touch to your holiday gathering – not just for family. Friends will appreciate them too and they make great conversation pieces at the dinner table.

Wishing you and yours all the very best the holiday season has to offer and a big thank you for following along here and letting me share. xox