December 2009

Dog Wool Yarn: Chiengora

If you are a knitter or crocheter who keeps an eye on cutting edge fiber trends and fiber oddities, you may have heard of "chiengora," or yarn spun from dog's fur.  My neighbor breeds Newfoundland dogs, and saves their shed undercoats to be spun by a local spinner.  She recently dropped off a few skeins of dog fur yarn, which I will be swatching up this weekend.

Things to Do With Popcorn: Christmas Wreath

Martha Stewart's site, back in 2004,

was the first place I saw a popcorn wreath mentioned; the directions there are a bit sparse though.

You'll need a paper plate for each wreath, two to four quarts of plain popped popcorn, a needle and a spool of of clear 8lb fishing line or dental floss, and a bright ribbon or other festive item for decoration, and some glue with which to attach it to the finished wreath. Depending on where you wish to hang it, you might use fishing line, or another ribbon.

In very basic terms:

Things to Do with Popcorn at Christmas: Popcorn Strands

Stringing popped popcorn

with fresh cranberries and then winding and threading the strings around the Christmas tree is an activity that many of us remember fondly from our childhoods. Making popcorn strands is also one of the easiest Christmas crafts. First, pop a large quantity of unseasoned (no butter or salt) popcorn. Since the popcorn is easier to string after it's dried and cooled, why not make a lot and butter and season some to share with the family, and use the unseasoned popcorn the next night for tree-trimming.

How to Make a Gingerbread House

There are plenty of gingerbread house kits out right now—many of them on sale at places like Michael’s, Walgreens, or Hobby Lobby—but you don’t need a kit to create a charming (and delicious) culinary casa. In fact, you can probably make it with most of the snack foods you keep around in your home year-round. There are many ways to make a gingerbread house, but there’s one simple way that we’ve used with our preschooler since she was a toddler.

Advent Calendars!

 There are a plethora of advent calendar ideas out there this year—I know, because I’ve seen dozens and want to do them ALL!—and while you might think it’s too late to start your holiday countdown, there’s still plenty of time to make your own advent calendar to use from now until Christmas. You could also simply make one for a friend for next year.

With my father in the hospital and half of our household sick, we were a little strapped for time this year. So e didn’t fill up little mesh bags labeled with numbers in a Christmas box like we did last year. Instead, we went for a simple paper chain with daily activities written on the back of each chain. This is something that anyone can do. We made ours red and green; feel free to use any colors you like.

'Tis the Season for Cotton Ball Crafts

Ahhh, winter. Christmas. It’s the perfect time for winter craft-making, getting goopy in oodles of glue and glitter, making the perfect ornaments and other heartfelt creations for gift-giving. The beauty of it all is that it’s normally super cheap to do, too. Here are a bunch of things you can do with a bag of cotton balls this holiday season.

Thatch a roof. Want a snowy effect on your new gingerbread house? Glue some cotton balls to the top. Surround it with even more cotton balls for a snowdrift effect.

Make snowmen galore. Layer cotton balls around toilet paper tubes, starting with a single layer on top. Add a double layer in the center and finish with a triple layer at the bottom, effectively making three sections. Add a small hat—with felt, an old baby sock, whatever you like—and a few features with felt and you’ve got a cute snowman.