The holidays are almost here – school is out soon – and we go camping for a few days on our way to spend Christmas with my brother and his family.

We got into the Christmas spirit early this year because we were having so much fun putting together the Celebration issue of Action Pack – we created a silvery christmas tree and decorated it with handmade baubles. We also made a nature wreath, did some pavlova taste testing and have been baking ginger snaps as gifts (the recipes and tutorials for these projects appear in the Action Pack along with 20 other projects – it’s a whopper! find out more here).

Getting into all of these projects really kick started our summer of fun (yes it’s summer here) and my son is obsessed with making wire ornaments, while my daughter is hell bent on using up all my embroidery floss to make friendship bands for everyone.

  • This past weekend as well as baking up a storm by making more ginger snaps, I also made Pfeffernüsse for the first time – and they were delicious – I used Martha’s recipe (pictured above).
  • I moved around some furniture and did a bit of spring clean in the mud room and the children’s reading space – I have a big box of things to donate to charity – and I will be adding more coming up to Christmas – its a great time for a clean out – getting ready to start the next year fresh and organised.
  • I read slow love* (a book about finding yourself – I liked it – thoughtful and meditative – this memoir is about a woman who finds solace in her creativity – gardening and cooking and writing after a busy career ends).
  • I made a few lists – we did a flow chart – so we feel more organised and less chaotic – and can plan and prepare towards our goals.
  • I researched more bauble and decoration tutorials – because the kids are so into it that we need to make something new next weekend.
  • We harvested half of the garlic.
  • I spent some time on etsy.
  • Enjoying How to dress for success** – some of the fashion advice from when this book was first published in the 60s is surprisingly still valid today (other advice is so out of date that it provides a really good chuckle)
  • We went to a party – drank a bit of jungle punch and danced to some golden oldies.
  • The boy kicked it at futsal.
  • I refashioned some clothing for the kiddos, bought some new duds at the op-shop (thrift store) and cleared out my closet of the dust gathering garments.
  • Thats about it really – what did you get up to?
Now here are some of those ornaments tutorials I have been researching … get making!
More holiday crafting

*slow love by Dominique Browning (published by Plume 2011) was sent to me by the publisher – the link to Amazon is an affiliate link.

**How to dress for success by Edith head, (was originally published in 1967, this reprint is published by Abrams 2011) was provided by Allen and Unwin Australia. Links are Amazon affiliate links.


November (and a little bit into December) is book month at Whipup.net

The Art-Full Tree; ornaments to make.  Jan Gilliam and Christina Westenberger.  The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, 2011.

If your thoughts are turning to decorating your tree this year, you might like to have a look at The Art-Full Tree, which is inspired by objects in the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum.

The book begins with a quick history of the museum, that was started by Abby Aldrich Rockerfeller who started collecting and exhibiting folk art in the 1920’s, at a time when common crafts and amateur arts were not highly valued.  She left her collection to the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, and this collection forms the core of the current Folk Art Museum in Willamsburg, Virginia.

The museum has had a long and treasured tradition of decorating a holiday tree every year with ornaments made by staff, volunteers and guests of the museum.  Some of these ornaments are inspired by items in the collection, and others are based on the skills of each contributor.

The Art-Full Tree presents 33 ornament projects that have been inspired by some of the most popular items in the museum collection.  The book is an interesting combination of museum catalogue, inspiration notebook, project instructions and stitch guide and template sections.

Each project features the original artwork, with a short history of the item and some information on the artist or style of art.  There is a very detailed materials list, and step by step instructions and photographs on making each ornament.

There is a wide range of crafting techniques used in the creation of the ornament projects, including needlepoint, paper craft, punch needle embroidery, foil work, metal punching, painting and collage.  My favourite ornaments are Recycled-Card star (inspired by a compass design quilt), Scherenscnitte Birds (inspired by a cutwork picture), and Aluminium Butterfly (inspired by a metal weathervane).

I really like the process of taking a formal artwork in a formal setting, that is meaningful to the people around it, and appropriating all or part of the work to inspire the creation of anther objet, in this case tree ornaments.  I feel that readers of The Art-Full Tree will be inspired to look around them, in their local museums, public spaces, or around their own treasured and meaningful objects, and to create ornaments for their own family trees that are small and perfect reminders of things that they love.

To win a copy of The Art-Full Tree, please leave a comment on this review.  The comments will be open for 72 hours, and a winner will be selected at random.  Good luck!  Congratulations to Becky!

About the reviewer: Kate is a busy mother of four with many craft projects on the go, including, but not limited to, crochet, knitting, sewing, dyeing, paper making, spinning, felting and bookbinding. Kate has challenges in the areas of finishing things, saying no and craft supplies storage. She also has a very very patient and tolerant husband.




Make some mini lanterns [image above]

Make some jingle bell flowers [image above]

Make a geometric straw ornament

make sewn paint-chip card ornaments

Make a recycled holiday garland

Make a recycled paper garland

Make some poinsettia ornaments

Make a scrap mini wreath

Make some vintage snowflakes

Make a recycled german star wreath


Make Betz White’s Felt Ogee Ornament

Simple felt ornaments from Wendy

Make a colourful felt circle garland

Make a felt sphere ornament

Make a jingle mouse ornament

Make an embroidered felt ornament

recycle a sweater into an ornament

Make some felt mushroom ornaments

Make this half eaten felt gingerbread man ornament

Make a retro bird

Some traditional felt ornaments

Make these felt candy cane ornaments

Make some felt star ornaments

Make these machine stitched felt ornaments

make some mini elf shoe ornaments

Make some christmas pudding felt ornaments [image above]


I love Alex’s “Happy How To” turning fabric and paper scraps into holiday garlands and ornaments.