Christmas Crafty Ideas Elma Family Handmade Kitty

Olaf, Minions and happy messes


Way back when in the days before our lives were filled with the colour, the chaos and the merriment of three tiny people H and I used to spent the last few days of each year pretty much in hibernation.  We’d usually have to work a few days but other than that we cosied in, pulled up the metaphorical drawbridge and settled down to enjoy ourselves.  And more often than not we’d find ourselves sat at opposite ends of our dinner table, while the tree sparkled under as many fairy lights as we could get on it, and a suitably cheesy movie played in the background.  I’d have my knitting, or be cutting for a quilt, or making felt tree ornaments and there was a year when I concocted a whole series of beaded snowflakes and stars, and H would be sketching, or painting, or just playing with his newest colours, watching them swirl under the brush and working out how they all played together.

I wouldn’t swap those days for the Christmases I have now, but I remember them fondly.  And it seems I don’t have to, because the apples haven’t fallen too far from the tree.

One bitterly cold morning we pulled out a box of t-shirts and lovely bits and bobs with which to decorate them that we were sent by Buytshirtsonline and set to making the most wonderfully brightly coloured decorated shirts we could manage.

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade family life


And while the girls may have surprised us by picking Minions over Olaf for their transfer of choice, it came as absolutely no surprise that they went straight for the pink and the glitter sparkles when it came time to decorate them.

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade family life

Kitty went for stars on the sleeves, some more stars on the front and a fetching variety of squiggles, while Elma decided that more was definitely more …

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade family life

… and poured puddles of paint onto all the bits of her t-shirt that we could reach, and a good deal of herself.

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade family life

The t-shirt we solved by folding it over on itself and distributing a bit of the paint around the place, the tiny girl had to be referred to the bath and some ferocious scrubbing to get clean!

I think Elma might be onto something with her decorating style though (and if she turns out to be a fabulous textiles designer in years to come you heard it here first), it was wonderfully messy and a lot of fun and it was never really going to matter what the shirts looked like in the end (though for the record the girls are very proud of their creations).

I love to make things, and I love to spend time with my family; especially the relaxed sort of time where no one has anywhere to be, or has to rush off to start supper or unload the washing machine or any one of a dozen chores that keep the household ticking over, and I suspect the best way to pass that on to my children is to lead by example; to make and bake and create, without pressure or expectation, and to pull them along for the ride.

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade family life

And it appears that they are all too willing accomplices! I know that when I look at these shirts I don’t see Minions and a trail of falling glitter so much as the memories of Michael Buble playing in the background, Elma’s down of concentration as she tried to squeeze out even more pink paint, Kitty making stars, happy smiles and the memories of a morning spent in the sunshine.

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade family life

It’s definitely how Christmas should feel, but it’s how the rest of the year should be too.  I think that the lull over Christmas, the holidays that don’t involve actually going on holiday give me a great excuse to do all the things that I want to do as a family but which logistics or the conveyor belt of domesticity get in the way of and have me think “another day”.  But it shouldn’t take a holiday or a box of sparkles in the post.  We paint and draw in some form or other most days but I think that if I truly want to pass on my love of creating then I need to pull out the big projects a little more often and not put them off because it’ll be time for supper soon, or we still need to hoover or fold laundry, or, well, you know how that list goes.

I’m not exactly unhappy about the amount of messy creativity in the family, it’s just I can’t be the only one with a few projects tucked away in a cupboard, waiting for the perfect moment to bring them out.

I just need to keep reminding myself that now is the right moment, that materials are always replaceable and that you’ll never end up with a masterpiece if you don’t play at scribbling first.

And as for leading by example; well occasionally the children have been known to entertain us with a strange and mysterious notion called sleep, and while they did so, H and I found ourselves once again at opposite ends of the dinner table.  He spent Christmas sketching

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade family life

and claims he might finish painting around Christmas 2015. Meanwhile I entertained myself with a this:

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade family life

And I’m loving every stitch of it!

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  • Eline @ Pasta & Patchwork 07/01/2015 at 9:15 am

    Ah, yes to all of this! They look so adorable in their t-shirts 🙂
    I’m all for creating too and I’m very happy to say there was a great deal of it over the holidays. I’m still learning to deal with the messes of toddler-style creating, but I totally agree that there have to be doodles before master pieces (she says, wondering how to get the glitter glue footprints off the living room floor).

  • Alex {Bump to Baby] 07/01/2015 at 3:12 pm

    What a lovely post, it looks like so much fun was had doing this. I need to do more creative things with Ethan, I’m just not the most creative of people in our family! x

    • Carie 08/01/2015 at 9:23 am

      I think the only way to be creative is to just go for it – I just need to stop saving stuff for another day and pull things out and play with them!

  • Donna 07/01/2015 at 3:46 pm

    Oh we got offered that box of goodies but I was just too busy in the run up to Christmas. They look like they had great fun and are so proud of their tees! x

    • Carie 08/01/2015 at 9:18 am

      It was an easy one for us to say yes to!

  • sally 07/01/2015 at 5:24 pm

    Their t-shirts look amazing (although poor Olaf, I feel for his rejection!), and yes, doodles before masterpieces – you’ve reminded me of the story of Picasso pricing a sketch.

    • Carie 08/01/2015 at 8:57 am

      well we’re definitely still in the doodles stage – well apart from H who I think turns out masterpieces!

  • Jenny 07/01/2015 at 8:44 pm

    We are coming over for craft time at your house Carie. Not fair you are super mom I swear. I really need to do more crafty things with my kids. I hate the mess but look at those happy faces. It’s something I am really trying to work on. They look so proud of their masterpieces. Thank you so much for linking up to Share With Me. #sharewithme

    • Carie 08/01/2015 at 8:47 am

      Oh I wish you lived nearer and then you could, it would be so much fun!

  • Sam 07/01/2015 at 9:56 pm

    Wow – you guys are so creative!! I love the way the girls t-shirts turned out too. I think you sound like you and your husband really are soulmates if your descriptions of your Christmas time together are anything to go by! X #sharewithme

    • Carie 08/01/2015 at 8:43 am

      I think if there is such a thing as soulmates we might just be in with a chance on that one; in some respects we’re very different and then at the same time our core is exactly the same 🙂

  • susan 08/01/2015 at 3:05 am

    What a wonderful mom you are! How lovely that the girls get to express their creativity. I also love the beautiful sketch and your blanket – the colors are wonderful. I wish you all a wonderful 2015!

    • Carie 08/01/2015 at 8:39 am

      Thank you – it was messy but a lot of fun!

  • Merlinda (@pixiedusk) 08/01/2015 at 11:49 am

    You have a very very creative family! I have envy. So true about letting kids play and create. We don’t really have much financial freedom but I always try to make some budget for it because I know how important it is for people to do something that makes them happy, kids or adults =) #sharewithme

    • Carie 08/01/2015 at 9:20 pm

      thank you 🙂

  • ghostwritermummy 09/01/2015 at 4:09 pm

    Gosh what a talented family you are! Beautiful photos too 🙂 x x x

    • Carie 10/01/2015 at 8:15 am

      thank you – I think H is very talented but he won’t believe me!

  • Emma 11/01/2015 at 10:56 am

    Awww, I LOVE those T-shirts. Just adorable 🙂