Christmas really is the happiest time of the year for those who love crafting and baking,and the festive season offers the perfect excuse for making things.
For inspiration, look at picture-led websites like Pinterest and Instagram or visit the Hobbycraft site, www.hobbycraft.co.uk. It has lots of projects listed and, of course, you can buy the craft materials from there too, if you like.
I especially love the papier mache snowman, pictured above. The shape comes ready made and costs £5 (reduced from £10) leaving you to decorate it with paint, buttons, felt and anything else you wish to add.
The pinecone wreath is another favourite. You need a wire wreath frame, pinecones that you can paint, fairy lights and silver wire to tie everything together.
I’m also going to try and make the mini pinecone “trees”. You can buy a plain mache flower pot or use an old pot your already have, then decorate it with decoupage. Pop some glue on the tips of the pinecone and sprinkle with glitter. Next, add tiny buttons to give the appearance of baubles. Pop some modelling clay in the pot to weigh it down and plant your tree on top.
If you have time, you could try printing your own gift wrap with festive stampers and ink pads or by using potato prints and poster paint.
If you are a fan of vintage, then the latest edition of “Have Yourself a Very Vintage Christmas”, £12.99, from the Imperial War Museum shop, www.iwmshop.org.uk is lovely.
This nostalgic, American book is all about how to recreate Christmas past with recipes and homemade decorations. It also includes an interesting history of festive traditions from the 1920s to the 1960s.
If you fancy making edible presents, then you can’t go wrong with this recipe for hazelnut spread, a version of the well-known Nutella. Pop it in a beautiful, reusable Ball jar, available from Lakeland.co.uk, and it’s a doubly great gift.
To make three small jars, take 300g blanched hazelnuts and roast on a tray in the oven at 180 deg. for 15 minutes. Then whizz them in the blender. They should start to form a paste. Add 6 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder, 150g icing sugar, 5-6 tbsp hazelnut oil, 1 tsp vanilla extract, 1/2 tsp mixed spice and 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon. Blend and add more oil if needed. Transfer to jars and keep in the fridge
If you love the idea of a homemade Christmas but don’t have the time then buy handmade. The best places to look are craft fairs, independent galleries, shops and delis. Online, visit Etsy, www.etsy.com and Folksy, www.folksy.com.