Monday, 29 October 2012

Hallowe'en - a warm up post

Being from Ireland, I grew up with Hallowe'en and its spooky excitement. The sound of children on the street in the dark going 'round the houses (or trick or treating, in more North American parlance) really thrilled me and made me nostalgic on our first Hallowe'en in our house in Dublin. We moved into this house in Toronto last Hallowe'en and it was so lovely to move in, then go out and about with the Zeds dressed up and then have all the children come to our door too. In fact, last year Z1 was more excited about giving out sweets to all our callers than she was about what she had got and even voluntarily started doling out some of hers when the stuff we had bought ran out...but I digress. Crafts, Hallowe'en and crafts.

So, despite having grown up with Hallowe'en, we didn't carve a pumpkin every year. I think pumpkins are more a North American thing and they were expensive. Mum would usually carve a turnip but we didn't all get involved, or I didn't anyway, so last year was my first ever pumpkin carving and I really enjoyed it (I was expecting to hate it a bit, to be honest) so was rather looking forward to this year.

I set aside Saturday (27th October) as Pumpkin Day and Z1 and I went out in the miserable rain with the buggy to buy our pumpkins (I got two, knowing I would want one to do all by myself) having bought the carving tools earlier in the week. Z2 was napping. Bonus.

Z1 was very eager to get going so we covered the table in newspaper, rolled up our sleeves and set to work. The tools were great - very little danger of injury and did the job. I soon had lids cut out of both and we got scooping seeds and stringy goo out of the pumpkins. This didn't get too messy for us but I imagine if Z2 had been involved or Z1 had been in a more boisterous mood, it could have been very messy indeed. This was the bit I dreaded last year but didn't find bad at all and it was fine this year too. In fact, it was kind of fun to scoop and scrape and plop it into the bag (slight guilt for not roasting the seeds and saving the flesh for soup and so on but I got over it pretty quickly).

I suggested to Z1 that she draw the face on so she'd have a guide to carve around and the kits we'd picked up in Dollarama had a piercing tool to pierce around a template. However, we used washable markers and they didn't really stay on the pumpkin skin...which I am now choosing to call the pumpkin hide. Despite this, she remained happily involved drawing a nasty face onto her pumpkin while I merrily carved mine. She barely even talked much (for her...and she is usually talking all the time. All. The. Time.) and it was most pleasant. When the time came for her to carve, we found it was tough going for her, so she took on more of a director's role while I did the carving and, overall, it was a most satisfying hour or so. And here they are. I won't say which was my creation and which was Z1's but I will admit to being quite proud of mine.

Halloween, Hallowe'en, pumpkins, jack o lanterns, jack o'lanterns, pumpkin carving, carved pumpkins, craft, crafting

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Planning, purpose and intentions

As I mentioned in the first post, Pinterest is really the reason that I started this blog - all those ideas, so much potential. Also, I want to spend December doing things other than mentally packing for our trip to Dublin and getting over-excited so the crafts and the conquering of these crafts and, consequently, of Christmas will serve this purpose well.

So that's what it will be to me but as I am putting it out there on the big bad internet, I have been thinking of how it should be for any readers who happen to read it.

To this end, as well as describing how me and the Zeds get on with any given craft, I figured I should give a quick guide to what's needed and how much it costs, and how much mess it causes and how much time it takes and how much efforttoo, so I'll be including that in little notes in each post. There is still more than a month 'til we even hit December so I am hoping to plan and refine the purpose of the blog as the month of November goes by so that the December package will be all that I want it to be. Suggestions welcome.

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

In the beginning..

In the beginning, there was Pinterest and it was good. It was full of Christmas crafts and cute ideas and super fun crafts and easy ideas with kids and it made my head explode a little with the possibilities and with the time and effort people put into doing crafts, and photographing them and uploading instructions to the internet.

I love Christmas. I really do. I love the idea of crafts too. And the idea of Christmas crafts. So here I am. This Christmas is particularly exciting for me as I am going to Dublin (where I am from) and will be with my family for Christmas which we hadn't really planned on until my mum twisted (my rubber) arm and convinced me. I haven't told the Zeds yet as the excitement would be too much for Z1 so I have been bubbling over with excitement and telling random mothers at the school gate and the like about it in order to have an outlet. And I've been browsing Pinterest. And now, here I I said before.

gingerbread house, undecorated, decorate, Christmas crafts, crafts for children, Christmas crafts for children
So I shall set out to plan some crafts over the weeks to come and be ready to begin on the 1st of December - probably with some kind of countdown calendar. But be warned, I am not a naturally crafty person and the Zeds will be my excuses for having things turn out a bit wonky. As a special preview and visual warning, here are some pictures of Christmas craftiness from last year.

decorated gingerbread house, Christmas crafts, crafts for children, Christmas crafts for children, candy house
AFTER (roof)

decorated gingerbread house, Christmas crafts, crafts for children, Christmas crafts for children, candy house
AFTER (I feel the clutter in the background adds to the scene, don't you? No? Pah!)