Monday, December 5, 2011

Red and White Christmas Part 1

I'll be the first to admit that I've struggled to get into the Christmas spirit this year. This will be our first year spending Christmas with just the four of us and I'm feeling the distance between our home in Australia and our families in New Zealand now more than ever.

I was emailing my sister about it and she fired back a list of things to do to get that Christmas feeling going. My sister is has an extraordinary talent for list making.

As I began to tick off some of the things on her list - sort out some food to donate to Christmas Hampers at the food bank, make a family Christmas video to share, find recipes for cookies - I started to feel a glimmer of excitement.

Despite it being a small affair, I'm determined to make the 25th a special day. As I look around our house I can see my lack of enthusiasm on the bare walls and windows. It's time to make some decorations and get this house looking festive.

In October I was at Ikea with my sister and I found some Xmas gift wrap that I really loved. I bought three rolls and I've wrapped everything in it so far. I love the classic, simple design and the contrast of the red and white. I've decided to base my decorations this year on the patterns and colours.

Here are some of our presents all wrapped up in this gorgeous paper:

Next step was to make some decorations with the kids. I decided to make some basic salt dough ornaments because they're cheap and fun to make.

The recipe is 2 C plain flour, 1 C salt, and 1 C of water. You make a dough and knead it as if you're making bread then roll it out on a floured surface until it's quite thin. Once you've cut out your shapes you'll need to press a hole through the tops of them for the ribbon. I used a chop stick. Then they go into the oven on a lined baking sheet at 100 - 120 degrees (centigrade) for 3 - 4 hours to harden.

We painted ours red and then decorated them with little felt reindeer and silver glitter glue.

Once the ornaments were ready I needed something to hang them on. Our Christmas tree is already bursting and I wanted these decorations to be something a bit different that I could use as a table centrepiece on Xmas Day. I found a branch outside and painted it white with some leftover house paint I had before securing it in floral foam inside a vase. I wrapped some red felt around the vase to hide the floral foam and popped some off white felt scraps inside.

I've been really inspired by images of Scandinavian Christmas decorating this year (too much Ikea perhaps?) and I'm hoping to come up with something clean and simple along those lines for our Christmas table this year.  Tomorrow the kids and I are making red and white fabric garlands using fabric scraps that we'll be recycling/upcycling into decorations.

So we're making a start on feeling festive. A bit late perhaps but better late than never!

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