Christmas Crafts – Day 3

On the first day of Christmas my true love made for me…an ornament wreath.

On the second day of Christmas my true loves made with me…mugs.

We have two plum trees in our yard that are big fruit producers. This past summer we picked 60 pounds of plums! What on earth do you do with 60 pounds of plums as a family of four. We gave 30 pounds away to anyone that would take them. I pushed plums on neighbours, friends and co-workers for weeks.

And with the rest, we saved for the third day of Christmas when my true love made for me……

Plum wine. MMMM, wine.

Want to make wine?

I went to a local wine making shop with 30 lbs of pitted frozen plums in September. They did a little wine magic and 3 months later there was a huge jug of wine ready to bottle. I bottled it and labelled it and voila 30 bottles of wine ready for consumption.

If plum wine isn’t your thing, wine making shops have different wine kits that you can buy. It’s not difficult or expensive.

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Christmas Crafts – Day 2

At Halloween we took the kids to a local craft shop to make Halloween bowls. While we were there the kids saw posters for holiday mugs, and they decided that this “crafting thing” was going to be something that we did as a family. The question wasn’t can we make Christmas mugs, it was when are we going to make Christmas mugs. I can’t turn down a request to craft so I booked us into a family workshop on a Sunday afternoon much to the disappointment of my football loving husband.

My youngest got right into it, and attempted to make most of the mug on his own. He did however forget to sign his mug, which became an issue when it was time find it for glazing.  My oldest decided that he liked the frosty mug on the poster for another workshop better, so he made a snowman mug from the image on the poster. Huge bonus points to him for crafting out of the box without a demo.

On the first day of Christmas my true love made for me…an ornament wreath.

On the second day of Christmas my true loves made with me…mugs!

What to make mugs yourself? Check out local crafting shops, studios or art workshops. All the fun without the mess at home.

Christmas Crafts – Day 1

This blog began as a 12 days of Christmas Crafting blog, which has morphed over the years to incorporate whatever was going on in my life. I have kept up the 12 days of Christmas crafting for quite a few years, and am going to attempt it again.

Let’s kick it off with the first day of Christmas. On the first day of Christmas my true love made for me….

 

A sparkly wreath. Who doesn’t love a little sparkle and glitter? I got the ornaments, and silver ribbon at the end of the year last year in a grab bag. I think I paid $4.00, and got piles of craft junk, including all of the balls, and the ribbon. The only other material required was a metal coat hanger.

Want to make one?

  1. separate the ends of the hanger
  2. form the hanger into a circle with pliers – a shape resembling a circle is fine, it will be covered by balls
  3. fold one end of the hanger into a loop. This will stop the balls from falling off when you feed them on the wire. The loop is also used to connect the other end of the coat hanger when you are finished
  4. feed the balls on
  5. close the wreath by sticking the straight end of coat hanger through the loop and using pliers flatten the closure
  6. loop ribbon around and hang

 

 

Sampran Riverside Village

As a maker I am interested in crafts so the Sampran Riverside Village was right up my alley. We learned about and tried our hand at some traditional Thai crafts. We learned how silk can be spun by hand into thread, and then woven into gorgeous silk scarves. We watched a painting demo, wove fish out of grass, made clay elephants and tried out musical instruments. We also learned about making compresses from herbs, watched a cooking demo, and made flower garlands.

I have zero rhythm, I have given up on dancing because watching me dance is like watching someone writhe in pain. It’s that bad, and it’s not enjoyable for me either. You could try bamboo dancing but I wasn’t confident that my lack of rhythm wouldn’t leave me with bashed up ankles. We also watched Thai boxing, and a traditional wedding ceremony as well. My husband got in on the dancing action, and participated in the Thai dancing performance.

We also saw these big guys. These were the first elephants that we saw in Thailand, and I was super surprised while wandering around the village to see 2 elephants.

We had about an hour to walk around before we went to the craft village and performance. These are a few of the things that we saw. I think the people washing the sidewalks with something that looks like a floor polisher was pretty funny.

 

Up next, ELEPHANTS!

Floating Market

In addition to temples, and tuk tuks there are many markets in Thailand. The Damnoen Saduak floating market was about an hour and a half out of Bangkok but it was worth the drive for the experience. There are a few floating markets in and around Bangkok which are primarily for tourists.

We were dropped off at a boat dock where we boarded long tail speed boats. The ride was terrifying. We rode through man made canals and saw homes, temples and shops. The boat driver was a bit of a speed racer. It was rough and the water was a lovely shade of brown. We ended our speed boat ride at the floating market.

Boats full of everything imaginable could be found in the floating market but most vendors were selling food. Anyone want a banana? How about a mango? Coconut?

 

 

Next up the Sampran Riverside Village followed by a day at Elephant Hills.

Railway Market

I think that I love to be surprised, but I am not good at accepting surprises. The truth is that I love the idea of being surprised. When we go on vacation I painstakingly research everything, so that we can make the most of our time and money. This vacation was different, I asked my husband to surprise me.

Which went something like this;

  • Him: where do you want to go for your birthday
  • Me: surprise me
  • Him: can you narrow it down
  • Me: somewhere I have never been
  • Him: how about you pick a continent
  • Me: Asia, or South America, or Central America, or how about Europe
  • Him: how about we look at potential vacation destinations tonight
  • Me: then it wouldn’t be a surpise

The moral of the story is that I am a pain in the ass, and he is not confident that he could pick somewhere that I would like. He was right, he didn’t have a snowball’s chance in hell (my dads saying). BUT, my super smart mom said why don’t you contact our travel agent. That was an AH, HA moment. Vacationing old school.

We used a travel agent, they did all the work, and we had all the fun. We were picked up at the airport by our guide and driver and spent the next few days getting a private tour of Bangkok. There is no better way to travel. I have done bus trips, train trips, cruises, backpacking, you name it I have probably tried it, and a private car and guide can not be beat.

On the second day Rose (our guide) arrived to pick us up at our hotel, and decided that she was going to alter our itinerary to include the Maeklong Railway Market. I didn’t fully understand everything that she was telling me, so most of the time I just followed her around. We were dropped off in the middle of the street, and she walked us down train tracks. She started shopping as we walked through the narrowest market I have ever been in. Rose stopped to buy dried squid. Not my idea of an afternoon snack.

KOK2

Then comes an announcement to get off the tracks and behind the red line. Up to this point my husband and I fully believed that there was no train. How on earth could a train come through this market? There were people, canopies, tables, baskets, and garbage can lids full of products everywhere. The market was full of vendors and shoppers, where was everyone and everything going to go to make room for the train. I’m thinking that a tiny little train is coming through, until I saw a full size train.

It was amazing. Bonus – I was surprised.

Up next, the floating market, and an Arts & Crafts village. Followed by Day 3 at Elephant Hills.

 

One Night in Bangkok

Today is my 40th birthday. It’s a big deal. Every birthday is a big deal because I am still alive, and that’s worth celebrating (at least in my mind). My lovely husband took me to Thailand for my 40th. I know that I am fortunate, I am not taking my life for granted. On top of the great gift my amazing parent flew to our house to take care of our kids so that we could go away without the kids, how fantastic is that?

I’m not going to focus on the fact that the day before we went on vacation my husband got a letter informing him of the end of his employment in the new year. It’s only a job, right? He will find another one, no biggie. That’s what I tell myself so that I can sleep at night. But I am digressing from the celebration.

I mentioned that I am now 40 which means that I was a kid in the 80’s. One Night in Bangkok is a song from my youth. If you don’t have any idea what I am talking about (you spring chicken) click here. We didn’t go to Thailand because of the song but we did see plenty of muddy rivers, temples and a reclining Buddha.

I took way too many pictures, the ones below are my favorites. I did have a little help from my 5 year old who either said “that’s beautiful” or “delete”. Warning – his favourite colour is GOLDEN.

This was day 1 in Bangkok, Thailand. Coming soon, day 2 where we headed to a train market, floating market and an Arts & Craft village.

Cuddle + Kind

If you have signed up for any retail emails you have probably been bombarded in the last few days. Black Friday, Cyber Monday, 50% off, buy one get one free, free shipping… I can hardly keep up. There have been so many emails lately about buying stuff, piles and piles of stuff. Stuff that doesn’t do much for anyone except maybe the buyer, and even then, it’s questionable.

I will admit that I joined in the Black Friday madness, and fought my way through the throngs of people with piles of bags on my arms. When I got home I began questioning my purchases because I bought so much and I didn’t really need any of it. Not one thing….well maybe I can quantify the vacuum. I am a sucker for a good deal.

Had I bought a pile of Cuddle + Kind dolls I would not be racing back to the mall making returns right now. Do you want to purchase a product that has a positive impact on the lives of others? Me too! Join me in supporting Cuddle + Kind on giving Tuesday, and every other day. Cuddle + Kind ethically produces hand-knit dolls that feed children. When you purchase a Cuddle + Kind doll, or poster you are also giving meals for children in need. How cool is that?

Cuddle + Kind produces 21 hand-knit dolls made of natural, premium cotton by artisans in Peru. They are ethically produced through fair trade employment. Every doll gives 10 meals to children in need, 1 doll = 10 meals. Cuddle + Kind has donated 1,527,878 meals in just two years!

 

 

Oliver the bear recently came to live in our “wild” house. With our wild boys. I hope he can keep up with the pace. I have one son reading him “The Very Cranky Bear” and the other teaching him how to growl. As Oliver would say “Stay wild at heart”.

I am often asked to promote products, and occasionally I say yes.  When I do say yes it’s because the products are in line with my own values and I believe in the companies that I support. Oliver the Bear came to live in our wild house courtesy of Cuddle + Kind, as did his inspirational poster. But the opinions are 100% mine.

Family Crafting

Wow, that was quite the crafting/blogging break. It has been 3 months since I last posted, perhaps that suits my two readers just fine (thanks mom).

We have been crafting as a family. All four of us. I signed us up for a Halloween focused clay workshop not really sure of what might happen. My youngest is 5 and not so big into the crafts. My eight year old has crafting in his blood. My husband has a surprising knack for making things even though he would NEVER let you know.

This was a two stage class. In the first class we made clay bowls, which were then fired. We went back on a second day to glaze them. From the pictures it looks like we are the perfect little crafting family, but pictures can be deceiving. In reality my youngest son’s bowl was made primarily by his parents. When we went to the glazing workshop I squeezed/explode a bottle of blue glaze all over the table. And my little picasso dropped a brush full of glaze into my purse and onto my sweater. But surprisingly there weren’t any tears, so I consider the project a success.

Canada 150

Canada is having a big birthday tomorrow! 150 years young.

We celebrate Canada Day every year but this is a special year so I made special shirts. I could have bought Canada shirts but where is the fun in that? Historically we have made flag hand print shirts which I love, but this year called for something extra special.

We live in a great country so get out and celebrate on July 1st.  Happy Canada Day!