fresh from the Makery: early holiday shenanigans

Wow, a Makery post! And on a Monday! But, alas, no (brand new) products to sell here (that said, read to the end for a recap of items added to the shop before and after the Patchwork show). Just a little - holiday edition - crafty show 'n' tell. We hosted my in-laws for Thanksgiving this year and my one decorative effort was this banner I purchased from Paper Source:

The kit comes with almost everything you need - ribbon, scallop circle cards, printed labels - but you have to put it all together, including cutting out the leaves, so it may not look like it but this actually took me about an hour to throw together. There was no way I was taking it down after just one week. In an effort to squeeze two holidays out of one holiday banner, I used some materials on hand to transform this Thanksgiving message into one somewhat more appropriate for Christmas.

The poor lighting on this rainy day makes the new labels look even more yellow than they really are, but yes, they're yellow. Not exactly Christmas-y but that's all I had on hand as far as 4 inch circle labels go. And Paper Source's "curry" yellow does go fairly well with the gold and brown; it's coordinating with red and green that becomes a problem. I also, obviously, only had 10 letters total to work with. But if you're a Christian kind of person and are taken aback by my "Xmas", you need not take offense.

I removed the burlap ribbon and leaves and replaced those with a simple set of mitten die cut cards tied together with red and white baker's twine, and a moss green satin ribbon to top it all off. Other than the curry yellow labels, not bad for a quick Thanksgiving banner makeover, don't you think? Frugal decorating FTW!

In terms of other early holiday shenanigans, I went a little crazy with my son's advent calendar this year. I couldn't find the $1 (give or take) chocolate calendars that we typically buy at Trader Joe's and when I was talking to my son about it, I believe he was the one who suggested we use leftover yogurt cups for each day. Ever since he learned the "reduce, reuse, recycle" mantra at preschool, he wants to "reduce, reuse, recycle" everything, which basically means he wants to throw away nothing. I personally would be happy to recycle them, but reuse them I did.

We just happened to have exactly 24 plastic yogurt cups at the time - true story - so I decided to add a little toy and/or treat to each one, wrapped with tissue paper I had leftover from various craft fairs, a simple number tag I printed on two sheets of white card stock, and then punched out with a 1 3/4 inch circle punch (plus a 1/8 inch circle punch for the twine), and tied off with some green baker's twine.

The only thing I have mixed feelings about, other than the fact that this advent calendar is about 30 times more expensive than the one we bought last year, is that I bought most of the tchotchkes at The Dollar Tree and from Target's dollar bins (then went to Cost Plus to finish the job and balked at their prices - $3, $4, $5 for essentially the same stuff). I'm definitely going to handmade hell for this one.

Also, one thing I didn't think about before is that while this project does reuse the yogurt cups, it only does so temporarily. We still have 24 plastic yogurt cups that my son will want to hang onto for a future project. Sigh. So perhaps our commitment to the environment and crafty use of materials already on-hand makes up for our support of cheap Chinese exports?

I was also happy to use the "calendar" as decoration on a side table where the remnants of Halloween and Thanksgiving shenanigans previously resided. Unfortunately, however, at least one of my two cats has been knocking off individual cups and nibbling at the tissue paper. Is it because it's green? Do they think it's grass? Or are they crazier than ever (do cats go senile?)? At any rate, days 3 through 24 will probably need to find a new home pretty soon - I don't want to know what happens if a cat ingests too much tissue paper.

In other Makery news, I added a few new products to the shop - items that I'd made for the Patchwork show but didn't have time before the show to add to the shop (and obviously, items that didn't sell at the craft fair). A new ready-to-send case, above, as well as a variation on the Mother's Cookies inspired holiday ornaments I typically carry this time of year.

The white, red, and green "cookies" are stitched onto sparkly red and green felt holiday ornaments that measure about three inches in diameter.

These slightly smaller ornaments (about two inches in diameter) were made from repurposing felt I'd cut two years ago for a few coffee sleeves to display at my first couple of craft fairs. My specs when cutting the patterns were off and the only thing these itty-bitty coffee sleeves would keep warm was a shot glass. So I decided to reuse the "cookies" and pink and tan felt for some non-holiday ornaments, which proved to be more popular than the red and green version above - the two ornaments pictured are all I have left of this batch.

Finally, I added a set of seven original 4-color separation CMYK 5 x 7 inch screenprints as well as a set of folded notes made from some of the more pattern-y prints (4 out of 11 total images) to the shop right before the craft show.

Now I just need people to buy this stuff to fund my "maternity leave" beginning in January! I have one more set of original screenprints to add to the shop as well as a list of about a dozen projects I didn't get around to before the craft show. I'm hoping to use the latter to resume weekly Makery posts. Maybe the Makery will be fresh on Mondays again, after all! Oh, and one final note. If you're wondering how the most recent craft fair went, I'll just say for now that craft fairs are a little bit like that vegetable you don't like but feel you should try once every year or two just to make sure you still don't like it. Yep, still tastes odd to me.

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