Thursday, 22 December 2011

What??? Even the children?

This was the cry of my next door neighbour when she heard we were having a second hand or handmade Christmas!  She just didn't get it.  She then asked 'is it like a theme or something?'.... and then (embarrasingly) offered us some of her children's old toys etc which she had been throwing out to make way for all the new ones they would get at Christmas!

It's certainly been a challenge, but we have stuck to our second hand or hand made Christmas this year, and do you know what?  It has been fun.

We have given bags of home made fudge to people, Hope and I have great fun making this, rolling the mixture in edible Christmas sparkles.

 I made tins of mince pies for friends - and some for us of course!  Check out those little sparkles, tiny holly leaves and red berries - so cute!

I have to show you a picture of the 'rejects' which were not good enough to be given away - but nevertheless were not wasted!!

I have sewn my socks off...

and this is the list of hand made Christmas presents.....

7 dumpling purses
1 'in the garden' sign
5 scrappy tote bags
2 zippy pouches
3 small zippy wallets
2 pairs of oven gloves
3 draw string bags
1 pencil case
and a sausage dog draft excluder

Everything is wrapped and ready to go

Hope was thrilled this year to actually have her own presents to wrap for everyone - either things she has made e.g. calendars and pictures or things she won on the tombola!!!  She especially loved the sellotape.

Here she is with her parcels....

And, yes they were taller than her when laid out in a row!

I hope she will begin to learn this year that giving can be just as special as receiving.

So - (I know this is early, but I think my internet time will be curtailed as from tomorrow!!), Merry Christmas to you all


Saturday, 17 December 2011

Winner winner winner.....

So it's a big well done to Catherine who won my give away.....

Here's the random generator providing the evidence.

And here's Catherine's favourite memory of this year....

Catherine said...

This year I've been really enjoying reading to my daughter at bed time. She turned 12 this year so I'm making the most of her before she turns into a teenager like her sister and doesn't want me around so much. I used to read to my daughters a lot when they were younger but this time around it's just really nice sharing a book with her and having some special time together. I love the idea of your memory bag for your giveaway. I always try to incorporate little bits of fabrics leftover from my girls dresses/skirts etc into their quilts. Thanks for sending me over to your giveaway from mine. I don't have much time to enter manythis time around. Too busy making Christmas gifts!
I will now get the parcel all wrapped up and in the post next week.
Want to see the fudge we made today, all wrapped up nicely......


Friday, 16 December 2011

A wee bit speechless!

Christmas trees for the Christmas fair - decorated by the children

I am rather over whelmed, and almost speechless, (but will manage to ramble on a bit here so no cheering yet!) about the response to my little give away.  - watch out, oscar style speech on the way!

I was in two minds as to whether to even bother joining in the sew mama sew give away, and I honestly thought that maybe 10 of my 14 loyal followers might have a go and leave me a comment to spur me on..... so to find that just five days later I now have 36 followers and 132 comments have been left on my blog has been over whelming. 

One of the fab things has been hearing about everyone's favourite memories of the past year..... we have a lot to remember fondly, and whilst I know some of us will look back on aspects of the past year with regret or sadness, or remorse..... I feel sure we all have a greater number of positive things to recall.  A huge number of the comments related to the children in people's lives, and the things they have done that have created special memroies for us.  I have enjoyed every single comment, some have had me giggling for ages, and I have endeavoured to reply to each.  (You'd be right to assume that no ironing, cleaning, or tidying has been done in my house this week!)  But the other fab thing is the positive response about my little bag for the give away, and also to recycling, and reusing fabrics, I think this is becoming more common now.

So, a huge welcome to my new followers, and thanks to the original gang.

What I have also enjoyed about this week is that I too have found some good new blogs to follow.  And I can't wait to give some new tutorials a go.

But first..... I have to introduce 'Silly'.  Many of you will have heard me go on about my brother's request for a sausage dog draft excluder for Christmas..... and so I made him one out of an old pair of jeans and some bright fabric I won on ebay (no idea what it's called, it was an off cut) and stuffed with old socks and vests.

Considering it was guess work with no patterns, just a few photos found on Pinterest I'm quite proud!

While I'm here I can really really recommend this tutorial for dumplings by Keyka Lou.  I have made about 7 now, and given them as Christmas gifts to various friends.  Excuse the photo, it was taken by my three year old (couldn't find the pictures I took anywhere)

And finally my Mum's Christmas present.... she requested a sign to hang on the door letting people know she is in the garden, so the shells were found when beach combing in Cornwall, the beads are from my treasures box, and an off cut of wood for 50p.

The winner from my give away will be announced when I have worked out the time difference between us and America..... in accordance with the give away rules!!

Now after two children's Christmas parties and a Christingle service today I am off to bed.............

Monday, 12 December 2011

It's give away Monday...........

The Great big Give away is here.


I am linking up with sew mama sew, to join in the big give away today.

This is the first time I have done anything like this, but I am very excited, so here goes!

A bit about me, I am new to blogging, but have loved crafts of alsorts since a young age.  I am enjoying the current resurgence of crafting in the UK, and have rekindled my love of sewing and making.  I love making little purses, bags, pouches, and stuffed toys.  One day I will pluck up the courage to start on a big quilt!

Here are some of the things I have made for gifts this year

My blog name of Second Chance Tan is because 95% of everything I use for making things is recycled, second hand, salvaged or reused.  I take old unwanted items e.g. curtains, scraps, old clothes etc, and I turn them into something new, giving them a second chance.  All the things I use have memories of a previous use, and I hope I give them a new lease of life.

So, on to the give away.

As shown below, I am giving away a tote bag, this is a kind of memory bag as all the fabrics used for the petals of the flowers are made from fabric from clothes my children have grown out of.  I hope you will love the sentiment behind the bag.  Inside I will fill the bag with some goodies, a bag of vintage buttons, some scraps of material, lace, vintage cottons, a cute little handmade badge and something yummy to nibble.

All you need to do to enter the give away is leave me a comment, telling me one of your favourite memories from the past year.  The winner will be chosen at random, and contacted by e-mail (so make sure you also leave me your e-mail address)

Obviously I would love to find some more followers, so if you want to follow me as well then that would be lovely - it's up to you :)

I will post internationally, so everyone is welcome to enter.

I can recommend nipping over to some other fab giveaway blogs I have found:-

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Fabric - there wasn't, then there was!

Recently in our town a home decor and furnishing store has gone bust.... this is sad, but I think they were selling very high end products and probably this was no longer the right location for them.... anyway this led to one of my mad hairbrain ideas.....

They were selling the contents of the shop off at an on line auction.  So, I thought I would see if I could bid on some of the beautiful fabric swatches and pattern books - in my mind I am envisaging making equisite bags and wheaties and bunting and garlands in the most delux material.  So, I wait until half an hour before the end of the auction, and bid what I think is a really high price - I'm not going to embarass myself and let you know how much, but needless to say, these bundles of pattern books went for between £550 and £750 so none of them are making their way to me!

However, my disappointment was short lived, and my spirits really raised when a parcel arrived for me, and it was the solid colour fabrics that I won in a give away from The Intrepid Thread.  Whooopieeee.

So, I got cutting straight away, and have started another scrappy tote, in greens and browns, which will probably end up being my Mum's Christmas present.

Don't forget I'm joining with give away day on Monday..  Details can be found here

Monday, 5 December 2011

The build up! - keeping it simple?

I just read a post by Pomona entitled 'the weight of tradition' and it struck a cord with me.  You can read it here - go check out her wonderful blog....

So, I thought I would share some ramblings about my lead up to Christmas......  I find this time of year very hard.  Every year I put more and more pressure on myself it seems.  And, sadly I struggle to enjoy advent, the time of anticipation and waiting.  This year we are having a second hand or handmade Christmas, where all our gifts are either second hand or hand made.  And, whilst this sounds great in principle, it's quite hard in practice.  I can't go shopping in town and have a mad dash and grab loads of things off the shelves (not that I would want to).  Instead whenever the children sleep I sew, and cook and make.  I plan and worry, I make lists.  I hunt the thrift shops and Christmas fairs for things people would like.  And I feel relieved that at such a young age the children don't mind what presents they get.... we are not at the stage of choosing from the Argos catalogue or needing the latest electrical gadget yet. 

I am trying to establish a new way of celebrating Christmas that will become for my children their memories of these events, their memories and their traditions.  And it feels like a weight of responsbility to get it right, and to keep it simple, when all the people and adverts and world around seem to be promoting a bigger flashier grander Christmas.  I love Pomona's words, that 'it's like gardening - there is always next year waiting to give you the chance to do it differently'.  Perhaps this is the key, each year should be different, and unique and then the burden of 'tradition' or 'always doing this or that' will diminish.   

I know that when Christmas comes, we will have so much fun.  We will spend time with family and we will laugh and laugh - because we always do.... so why do I find this lead up so so hard.?

Anyway..... with all this hand making, I have decided to link up to the December giveaway.

And maybe I will find a few new followers.... it's certainly going to be worth my current readers entering the give away, statistically you have a very high chance of winning!!!

Thursday, 1 December 2011

December is here.....

December is here, and therefore the start of advent.  So the advent socks are up!

I knew I'd find a use for all those odd baby socks that I had accumulated. 

Today's sock had a balloon and little wooden piggy sticker in it.

Can you also see in the middle the delightful little green Christmas tree??  This was what I chose when I was a winner on Anna's blog, little tree house, you can find details of her website here.

This really does symbolise the count down to Christmas, and the excitement is building (I hope it is where you are too x)