Decorate- How To Make Paper Pom Poms

Our families focus this year has moved away from buying things, to making them. That extends to decorations too. You can make some gorgeous decorations out of inexpensive items.

I first saw these tissue pompous on an episode of 19 kids and counting. I thought that it would make an awesome winter decoration. I won't claim credit for this tutorial, but loved it's simplicity so much I wanted to share it with you.

Festive Friday Linky Week 5

In two weeks time, we will all be sat with our feet up and finally getting some much needed rest. But until then there's still time to share your festive blog posts with me.

If you missed last weeks posts here are the links- we covered it all from days out, festive reads and creative activities.

This linky list is now closed.

So what's been happening this week? Have you been practicing for nativity plays and festive pageants? Are you little ones making their own Christmas gifts and cards? Or have the elves been busy making handmade gifts?

Whatever festivity you've been up to the #festivefriday linky, just share your post here and check out what other crafty folks have been up to in the final Christmas countdown.

Lavender balm recipe

lavender balm recipe

This Christmas I decided to make homemade lavender balm as a small gift for my friends and family. I made dandelion balm for my husband back in the summer, and recently made eucalyptus balm as a natural alternative to menthol soothers.
Homemade balm is inexpensive to make and great for a variety of uses, including baby balm, lip balm and a great barrier balm for dry skin.
Because it uses only natural ingredients it's great for sensitive skin and even the smallest tot.
how to make lip balm
To make lavender balm you will need
12 metal balm tins or mini silicone cup cake moulds
75g beeswax (if you can use local it will have better health benefits)
60ml Olive oil
10 drops lavender essential oil
If your beeswax bar is solid, you will need to grate it before you start
Christmas gift homemade lip balm
How to make lavender balm
Pour your oil and beeswax into a metal saucepan.
Gently heat until the wax desolves.
Remove mix from the heat, and add the lavender essential oil.
I added a few drops of English chamomile and a bit of honey comb to mine, to give it an extra soothing quality.
Pour your balm mix into moulds and allow to set. Mini moulds will set quickly.
homemade stocking fillers
I wrap my balm in food grade bags, and tie up with ribbon. I will give these to my friends and family as token presents this year as part of our goal to have a traditional homemade Christmas as much as possible.

Christmas Pate Recipe

christmas pate recipe
Making your own pate may seem like a headache, but it's incredibly simple. This pate recipe require very few ingredients and can be made up in a few minutes.
Nothing makes for a cosier winter night in that a delicious pate, some cheese and a bottle of wine. It's one of my favourite moments of the run up to Christmas. Being able to sit with my husband and enjoy a moment of clam whilst wrapping gifts or writing cards.
pub pate recipe
This is the exact recipe I've been using in our pub for the last 3 and a half years. It's refined to perfection and can be made up in a snap.
500g or 1lb of pork liver- my butcher charges less than £3 for this
One large onion
One tsp dried red chilli
One tsp cracked sea salt
One bay leaf
100ml good sherry
100ml single cream
Olive oil
Melted butter

pork liver pate recipe
How to make Christmas Pate
First finely chop your onion, warm Olive oil in a pan on medium heat, and brown your onion.
Roughly chop your liver, and add it to your pan with the bay leaf, chilli and salt.
Cook the livers till their brown, but you still want them to be pink in the middle. Pull out the bay leaf and declare the pan with the sherry.
Once the sherry has reduced a little. Pop the mix into your food processor and blitz. Pour the cream in slowly til the mix resembles normal pate consistency.
homemade christmas gift recipes
Pour your pate into jars. I got four 230ml jars from this recipe. Top the mix with melted butter, and sprinkle on a few extra chilli flakes. This will help preserve your pate.
Once made your pate will keep in the fridge for 10 days, but as I like to make early and give as gifts I freeze the pate jars, to be thawed when needed.
I pop these pate in little baskets with a jar of homemade Chutney and bottle of wine to give to friends. It's a simple and inexpensive gift, but one that has a more personal touch than a shop bought gift.

Mini artwork keyring

christmas gifts kids can make
A gift made by little hands is a precious one. This Christmas Craft makes a great and inexpensive present for children's relatives.
This Christmas we are predominantly making our gifts for our family. This is something I try to get our son (15 months old) involved in as much as possible. This isn't difficult, as he adores being involved in whatever we are doing. The tricky part is finding a craft he can do solo, to make his own gift for grandparents and relatives.
These mini artwork keyring are low cost (approx 30p each) to make and simple enough that you can do even make them with tiny tots.
kids art gifts
We just used an off the shelf keyring making kit from hobby craft. In the pack are 12 keyrings with pre cut paper for your children to decorate.
finger print key ring
For simplicity, I just put a single colour of washable paint in a tray and allowed frog to decorate the card as he wanted. The card is double sided, so we let the first side dry and then flipped it over to decorate the reverse.
These handmade keyring will be stocking fillers for our friends and family as part of our homemade traditional Christmas.

festive friday linky week 4

So with 20 days to go, it's suddenly beginning to look a lot like Christmas.
We got our live tree delivered on Monday and have started our tradition of a decoration advent calendar.

We had our biggest link up yet, last week. With some fabulous posts from friends old and new. So I'm doubly looking forward to seeing.g what you've got for me this weekend.

Screw shopping, I'm making my gifts this year

Black Friday was a harsh reminder of just why I hate shopping this time of year. It's just to much unnecessary, materialistic drama. So those on my nice list this year will be receiving an entirely different type of gift. Something homemade.
handmade and homemade gift ideas

Advent Tree- alternative countdown to Christmas

alternatives to chocolate advent calendar
Last year was our first Christmas as parents. Frog was less than 3 months old at the beginning of advent, so rather than a chocolate advent calender, we bought a wooden advent calender instead.

Scented glitter pinecones

using pinecones for Christmas decorations

I love pinecones, me and frog collect them on our nature walks. They make great additions to treasure baskets and craft cupboards, especially this time of year. Pinecones and Christmas go together.
To make pinecones hygienic for babies and toddlers, you have to bake them in the oven. 
baking pinecones

You can use pinecones for all sorts of Christmas crafts from potpourri to decorations. In this post, I'm making a jumbo batch of scented glitter pinecones that could be used for both.
pot pouri pinecones
Place your pinecones on a sheet of baking paper on a baking tray. For a festive smell sprinkle over  a teaspoon of each - cinnamon, ginger and cloves.
Place in a preheated oven at 150c for 30 minutes.

Once cooled, pour over pva glue.
decorating pinecones

How much glue you use will effect how glittery the pinecones turn out.
I prefer a light drizzle so the glitter is just a light sprinkling on the tips of the pinecones.
christmas craft pinecones
Then for the fun bit- shake over your glitter and allow to dry. When done they look like this-
make glitter pine cones
 You can add string to make simple natural Christmas decoration. Add to a bowl of potpourri, or put with your stash of Christmas Craft materials for kids.

Toddler treasure basket

Handmade toddler gift
Treasure baskets aren't just a great way to keep babies entertained, you can put together an engaging treasure basket for toddlers for less than £5 too.
Whether your looking to create a unique gift for your toddler this Christmas, or simply keep them busy with their own basket, so you can get on with some craft, this easy to put together Heuristic treasure basket should be just the thing.