holiday crafts

hey there, are you similarly battling the alternating feelings of recession thrift and holiday spirited shopping? to deal with this, and the inevitable holiday stress, i've turned to my favorite friend: crafts! you feel productive, thrifty, and relaxed all at once! here are some quick crafts you still have time to do that will ensure a merry holiday.

brussel sprout wreath
inspired by this apartment therapy post , i spent a week nervously plotting how to make this, since the post has no instructions. at first i was convinced i'd have to buy a wreath frame, but, as the link shows, these things can really only be found at that mecca for suburban crafters, michaels. us urban crafters are SOL, as they say, and have to get even craftier to make up for it. eventually, i ended up constructing the frame out of 2 wire hangers, bent so they formed two concentric circles, and some 18 gauge aluminum wire wrapped around them for support. then, i used a drill bit to poke holes through the brussel sprouts (they can be surprisingly resistant!) and threaded the aluminum gauge through them two at a time. i had to use pliers or else the wire would bend. maybe if i had used a harder metal this would not have happened? when i had enough (about 25 pairs of two), i started to attached to the frame, twisting the aluminum wire around the frame. i ended up making a couple of single sprouts, and attaching them in various places to fill in some holes. and then i busted out the glue gun, and used remnants of our christmas tree, some berries i picked up at the coop, and part of a gift of holly from my friend lis (thanks lis!) to spruce (ha!) it up a bit. i'm really happy with the end result, considering the total cost was about $10 and only took one evening. the sad part is that it needs refrigeration to stay fresh and will probably only last about 2 weeks, tops. but i'll make sure to keep the frame for next year!

salted caramels
these basically speak for themselves. i have nothing more to add except they are just as easy to make as they are to look at, just make sure to read all the reviews on epicurious. i owe these people all my success- if you just follow their directions exactly, and make sure to test your candy thermometer beforehand, you too can put your past candy making failures behind you and wow your friends with a unprecedented edible delight. oh, i just wrapped these in unbleached parchment paper and put them in old coffee cans decorated with (free!) subway maps. total cost was probably around $7 for 5 cans, mostly for the cream.

lavender, rose, and chamomile sachets
file this under the "admitted over the internet" weakness, because i'm too embarrassed to tell anyone in person. until grace corrected me last week, i'd been pronouncing this word "satch-ets". i have no idea where i got the extra "t", but, hey, i'm an immigrant, and the only association i have with the word that sounds like "sash-ey" is that thing you do in dance where you move your legs sideways flouncily. whatever the pronunciation, i thought these would be easy to make provided you have easy access to loose-leaf teas, and know how to sew straight. which, if you live near any major city with a chinatown, and have hands that can type, you do. the hardest part of the whole project was getting them closed at the end, and i eventually outsourced this problem to grace, who handled it with her usual aplomb. i used some rice to provide a little heft, and cut up a bunch of old dresses and t-shirts for the fabric. total cost: $12 for 20.

oh, and because somehow, crazy-cat-lady is historically synonymous with crafter:

Craftzilla said...

That brussel sprout wreath is hilarious. I love it!

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