Vintage Cards and Christmas Shortbread

This art journal page evolved over a couple of happy hours crafting in my studio, listening to Christmas songs. The focal point is a Christmas card from my vintage card collection. The card was sent from a father in Italy to his daughter in New Zealand during the Second World War. During a time that was so fraught with heartbreak, with many families being separated from their loved ones, it must have been so special for that little girl to receive a Christmas card from her father from all those miles away across the ocean, and to know that he was all right. It makes me feel blessed to be surrounded by all my family at Christmas time.

To make the page, I painted and stencilled a background, then layered the card with Christmas sheet music, festive papers, fabric, lace and ribbon, finally adding a few little embellishments.

I love doing Christmas baking – homemade mince pies, Christmas cake, and Christmas cookies are enjoyed by all at this time of the year. This is my great-grandmother’s shortbread recipe. I add spices, orange zest, and cranberries at Christmas time to give it a festive touch.

Christmas Cranberry Shortbread

225g butter or non-dairy spread
125g icing sugar
zest of 1 orange
½ cup cranberries
375g flour
25g cornflour
1 teaspoon mixed spice

Cream the butter and icing sugar.  Stir in the orange zest and cranberries. Add sifted flour, cornflour, and spice and mix. Knead well. Roll out the dough ¼ inch to ½ inch thick. Cut into shapes. Prick with a fork to stop the dough from rising. (I forgot to do this, but they still turned out nice.) Bake at 160° C for 30 minutes. (I cook on fan bake so that the bottoms of the shortbread don’t burn.) Cool on a wire rack. Enjoy!

From our place to yours, Merry Christmas!

 

 

Christmas Cornucopias

Originally posted on www.wattlelane.wordpress.com.

Christmas cornucopiaCornucopia ornaments were popular in the Victorian era when Christmas decorations were often handmade. The cornucopias were lavishly embellished using decorative papers and leftover scraps of ribbon, fabric and lace. The ornaments were made in the shape of a cone and were filled with flowers, fruit, nuts, candy, and small gifts.

Christmas cornucopias

These ornaments are easy to make and fun to embellish. Simply use a plate to draw a large circle onto a sheet of cardstock – I used heavy scrapbook paper. Cut out the circle, then cut the circle in half. This will make two ornaments. Fold each half circle into a cone shape and use double sided tape to stick it down. Punch a hole through each side and thread through a ribbon for hanging. Then decorate it however you like, using ribbons, lace, trims and pictures.

Christmas cornucopia

Christmas cornucopia

In my novel, Christmas in Wattle Lane, Neave makes cornucopias to hang on her tree for a vintage-themed Christmas. If you’re in a festive mood and like to read Christmas novels like I do at this time of the year, Christmas in Wattle Lane is available as an ebook and a paperback from Amazon.com.

Christmas in Wattle Lane

Amazon.com

Paper Snowflakes

Originally posted on Wattle Lane
paper snowflakes

While I was writing Christmas in Wattle Lane, I decided to have a go at making paper snowflakes, like Lily, one of the characters from the book. I looked at several tutorials on YouTube, and found that this one was the easiest to follow. Click here to see the tutorial. It took me a while to get the hang of the folding and cutting, but once I did I had fun with making different shapes. Each one is unique depending on the cuts that you make.

paper snowflakes

I practiced with making them out of computer paper. You can make four snowflakes out of one sheet. Once I felt I had mastered the technique, I made a few out of a pretty vellum paper that had a delicate pattern on it. Then I added a pearl embellishment to the centre of each and looped a piece of baker’s twine through one of the holes of each snowflake to hang them from.

paper snowflake

They can be slightly addictive. Once you feel confident about making them, you keep wanting to make more to see what different patterns you can make.

Christmas In My Studio

My craft studio, at the moment, is in a state of creative Christmas chaos as I make Christmas ornaments and Christmas cards, and birthday cards for family members who have birthdays around Christmas.

Nick helped me to make this inspiration pin board. We bought a cork board and covered it in quilting batting and my favourite purple coloured fabric. At the moment it is mostly covered in Christmas related things, including pages of inspiration from my favourite papercraft magazine, Somerset Studio.

Finn has claimed the chair as his own and dares me to try and move him off it!

Ancestor Christmas Ornaments

Originally posted on Wattle Lane

Ancestor Christmas OrnamentsWe often think of our dearly departed at Christmas time and wish they were with us to join in the family festivities. These little ornaments were fun to make, using scraps and bits and pieces from my craft supplies. I used copies of old photographs of my great-aunt and my aunt, who are no longer around to share the festive season with us, but by hanging these ornaments on the tree, it feels as though they are a part of our Christmas. You can even use vintage photographs of ancestors whom you’ve never met. Hang the ornaments from the branches among the other decorations and turn your Christmas tree into a living family tree.

Ancestor Christmas Ornament2I made these ornaments by gluing squares of burlap to cardboard, then adding random touches of gesso and acrylic paints around the edges. I adhered the photos to corrugated cardboard and placed them on the burlap. Next I added scraps of vintage lace doilies, buttons, ribbon, wooden stars, beads, and embellishments. Once I was happy with the layouts, I glued everything down. I printed sentiments onto paper, added a few random splashes of colour and adhered them to the ornaments. Then I punched holes through the tops, attached ribbon, and they’re ready to hang on the tree or across the mantle.

Ancestor Christmas Ornament1I also made one of our beloved Cody, who passed away three years ago, but is always in our hearts and minds.

Christmas ornament1

Book Release: Christmas in Wattle Lane

Christmas in Wattle Lane

I am thrilled to announce that my new novel, Christmas in Wattle Lane, is now available on Amazon as a paperback and an ebook. Just in time for Christmas, this third book in the Wattle Lane novels continues the story of Angeline, Neave, and Lily as they prepare for the festive season.

Here is the description of the book.

Christmas is coming to Wattle Lane.

Angeline is making a very special scrapbook album for her daughter. But as she pieces together the past, will some memories be too painful to relive?

Neave is preparing for her first Christmas in Wattle Lane. As she makes decorations and bakes pies, she wonders if her greatest wish, a future with Ethan, will ever come true.

Lily is staying with Neave at the Wattle Lane Guest House while her parents are overseas. When she notices strange lights in the vacant house next door, what starts out as a quiet holiday turns into a quest to solve the mystery of the night-time intruder.

Pippa arrives at the Wattle Lane Guest House with two intentions – to escape Christmas, and to mend a broken heart. But is the small town of Kerrigan far enough away to leave her past behind?

As the festive season approaches, the residents of Wattle Lane are drawn together in joy, heartache, love , and the magic of Christmas.

Amazon.com

Amazon.uk

Visit my Wattle Lane blog for crafts and recipes from the Wattle Lane novels.