Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas from New Orleans

This is the lobby at The Roosevelt Hotel. So festive. Wishing you and yours, wherever you are, a very Merry Christmas.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Christmas in New Orleans

We're spending Christmas in NOLA, one of my favorite cities on the planet. Happy Yule, ya'll!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

A Toile Candy Cane

I've been making pillows this holiday season, just for fun.  I thought I'd post a few of them here.  This toile candy cane is simple to make.  You can find a template for the candy cane here.  (It got cut off on my scanner, but not by much.  Simply add desired length at the bottom.) 
  1. Cut out two candy cane shapes from the template, 
  2. then sew them together, leaving the bottom open.  
  3. Clip the curves, 
  4. then turn it right side out, 
  5. and stuff with fluff.  
  6. With a whip stitch, sew the opening at the bottom closed. 
  7. I added some wired laurel leaves around the "neck" as embellishment.  That's it! 
I also made a simple pillow cover with vintage barkcloth in a red and green floral pattern and covered a down pillow with it.  I think it makes a very festive background for my toile candy cane.  Very jolly indeed.

Friday, December 14, 2012

A Festive Outing

As we head into the weekend, I thought I'd share some photos from our annual Christmas outing.  Each Christmas season we are tourists in our own town, with favorite things we do and see every year.  Then we pop something new in each year, too.  Very fun...

We always start at Pioneer Courthouse Square so we can see Portland's Christmas Tree...and be goofballs posing in front of it.

Then it was off to First Church for The Glory of Christmas concert by the Oregon Repertory Singers.  Fantastic!

There's just nothing like Christmas music in a beautiful church on a late afternoon.  Warms even the Grinchiest soul, I should think.

After the concert, we wandered over to Jake's perhaps our favorite restaurant, for a little din.  And a bit of Christmas cheer.  Cheers!

Finally, we wound up at The Benson.  Their lobby is so very festive at Christmastime.

 Every year, they display a Christmas village of gingerbread.  100 pounds of it.  That's a small person!

Ceder garlands festoon the wooden railings, and the ceiling itself looks like gingerbread.

 Oh tannenbaum...

 Merry and bright.

 Hope you're weekend is packed full of Christmas goodness, wherever you are. 

Monday, December 10, 2012

Vintage Putz Houses at Christmastime

I have loved putz houses, also called "glitter houses" since I was a little girl.

 They've been around for about 100 years (I haven't been around quite that long).

   Putz houses have traditionally been used in Christmas villages...

...and hung as ornaments on Christmas trees.

 Usually made from cardboard, they've also been made of old Christmas cards - perhaps some of the first creative recycling!

My houses are indeed vintage, purchased at estate sales and antique stores. I carefully sand them in preparation for new coats of paint.

 I replace tired trees with vintage bottle brush trees from antique model train sets and Christmas villages.

Then I add angels, gnomes, snowmen - also all collected from my vintage treasure hunts.

I embellish with greenery at the roofline.  Finally I glitter with mica flakes and german glass glitter.

As you can see, they involve many steps and a lot of work, but they are a labor of love.  If you've got the time, and the patience, they are so worth the effort.

And now we have a glittery gnome camp and angel village under our tiny tree. 

If you are as in love with these as I am, but find your time at a premium this holiday season, you are welcome to some of my little glittery putz houses.  They are on sale now at my Etsy shop.  But don't wait, I've had two large orders come through already!  :)  Merry, merry, hohoho.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Bah Humbug!

Well, that's how I've felt this last week. I've been down, quite literally, with severe back strain. Haven't felt too crafty or too Christmas-y. But am on the mend! Even got my glitter on for a few minutes today. So, buckle up friends! Lots of Tammy's Very Crafty Christmas still yet to be had.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

You'd Better Watch Out

We have a revolving mural in the lobby of the building where I work.  This is the December installation.  Love.

Monday, December 3, 2012

I Call Them Ravioli Ornaments

 We got our Christmas Tree this weekend.  Fun!!  Don't you just love the way it makes the house smell?

 We're headed to New Orleans for Christmas in a couple of weeks - Happy yule, y'all! - so I'm not doing much in the way of decorating.  Really, just the tree and a few favorite things around the house. 
 But since I made all of these sweet ornaments for my Etsy shop, rather than store them in my studio until they are shipped out, I decided to just hang them on the tree.  Clever girl.

These white linen ornaments I'm calling "the ravioli ornaments".  If you've ever made ravioli from scratch (or like me, seen it done on The Food Network!), it was sort of the same process.  

 I just love the way they look with all of the lights (500 of them on our 3' tree!) and with my holly leaf and stitched tree ornaments.  And, yes Virgina, you can get them all on Etsy if you need one or two of them for your very own tree.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Spode Christmas Tree

One of my favorite Christmas things is breaking out the Christmas Spode.

I started collecting it when I was in college. I studied for a term in Provence. While I was there, I also spent a week in London. And that took me to Harrod's (a blog post on its own!)

I bought a few pieces of Spode Christmas Tree for me and a few others for my mom and took it home. And that started a fun collection that we shared. The day after Thanksgiving, Meier & Frank (now Macys) would run a 40% off coupon, and we rushed over there to get our Spode fix. We would shop together for new pieces, always taking care not to duplicate, and swapped back and forth over the years, based on entertaining needs. Makes me smile remembering that.

What about you? What memories are triggered by some of your favorite Christmas treasures?

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Hand-Stitched With Christmas Love

I made a few of these folk art-y Christmas tree ornaments over Thanksgiving weekend, while I was heavily into an Alfred Hitchcock movie marathon.  Oh sure, yes, it would have made sense to be watching "It's a Wonderful Life" or "Miracle on 34th Street" or "The Family Stone"...even "Scrooge".  But no.  All Alfred, all day long. 

I loved it.

I've got the whole of December for my favorite Christmas movies, right?

Anyway, I thought they'd make a nice entry into Tammy's Very Crafty Christmas.
These are super easy to make, if you'd like some for your Christmas cottage. 

I simply cut two triangles from a bit of burlap-colored linen.  Use whatever you have on hand.  Could be cotton, too.

With embroidery floss, I just stitched a very loose "y" in brown, and continued stitching more of them right down the center of the triangle to make the trunk. 

I swapped out my brown floss for green, and stitched little "chicken scratch" pine needles - just a random series of straight stitches to resemble branches.

I sewed the two triangles together (right sides together), leaving the bottom open.  Once sewed together, I turned the tree right side out, stuffed it full of fluff, stitched up the opening, and attached a loop made of twine for hanging.

The heart is cut from red toile and stuffed, then stitched right onto the top of the tree.  So simple, and so festive.

If all that sounds like too much work, you can get one here.

O tannenbaum!