Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from Blueberry Creek Crafts

Have a wonderful holiday season, whatever you celebrate. Best wishes to you and yours!

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This week I’ve been busy wrapping gifts, finishing off hand-made items, and mailing parcels to family and customers (the last one went to New York). I hope all the yarn snippets are picked up – one gift had so many ends to weave in that I lost count! It’s a flurry of yarn and thread here.

Hopefully, the freezing rain outside today turns to snow flurries. Ski trails, here I come!

I’ve just posted two new patterns for mason jar cozies, inspired by vintage doilies: the Blooming Shells cozy, and the Lily of the Valley cozy. They are available for purchase in my Ravelry and Etsy shops.

Lily of the Valley

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Buy all three patterns and get 25% off regular price!

Five Unique Holiday Gift Ideas for Christmas 2013

Looking for memorable holiday gifts? Here are five unique ideas at a range of price points. Bonus – you’ll be supporting ethical sourcing, recycling/upcycling, and local artisans. Each one is Canadian or has a Canadian connection.

Light and Movement

Need some sparkle this holiday? Brilliant Earth’s gorgeous nature-inspired Wisteria collection is truly covetable. The Wisteria earrings (on left) and ring (far right) are on my wish list! Although Brilliant Earth is based in California, these fine pieces are made with ethically-sourced, conflict-free Canadian diamonds. You can also order custom-made engagement rings and wedding rings.

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Toys with Character

Something Sweet Creative Studio makes adorable owls from upcycled fabric. You’ll find them at craft fairs around the Kootenays and online on Facebook.

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Luxury hand-made knits and bath products

Ju Tri Luxury Soap and Hand Knitted Items makes soaps, lotions, lip balms, toques, and mittens. This Etsy shop, based in Alberta, Canada, has a Kootenay connection – the owner was born in the West Kootenays.

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Clever Paper Crafts

Wintergreen Designs,  on Etsy, sells fabulous Scandinavian-style quilled paper ornaments. Who knew quilling could be so cute? Not to be missed!

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Original, Locally-Made Artwork

The Kootenay Gallery of Art in Castlegar, BC is hosting an exhibition and sale for Christmas, featuring artwork by over 100 local artists and craftspeople. One way to make the holidays memorable is to make memories! Visit the gallery for a magical experience this holiday. You’ll find many gift ideas once you’re there. Highly recommended!

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Holiday Gifts for Geeks

“Black Friday” is nearly upon us, again, followed by the so-called “Cyber Monday”. It’s the height of the holiday shopping season.  Why bother with run-of-the-mill gifts this year when there are so many fabulous gifts for geeks out there?  Get something memorable! Here are a few ideas to get you started. Plus, you can avoid the malls by shopping online.
The Geekery Category on Etsy.com is chock-full of, well, geeky gifts, such as:
Chemistry-Themed Crayon Labels
Art meets science in these labels. For your children, or for yourself.
Chemistry Crayon CLEAR Labels - set of 96
Caffeine-Molecule Upcycled Coffee Mugs
Face it, most of us rely on the ubiquitous caffeine molecule every day.  Let people know just how much their lives are impacted by chemistry by showcasing this mug at the office.
Nerdy Baby ABC’s and 123’s Flash Cards
Give your baby (or a friend’s baby) a head start in life with these flash cards, designed by a chemical engineer for her kids. I bought some for my children and for some friends.
Nerdy Baby ABCs and 123s... wooooo GET BOTH
Snorg Tees Geek-Nerd Section
There’s a tee for every nerd at the Snorg Tees shop. Some feature inside jokes that only the initiated will understand. You dig?
My personal favourite, pi versus the imaginary numbers: http://www.snorgtees.com/t-shirts/pi-be-rational
Pi Be Rational
The Evernote Smart Notebook by Moleskine
Specially-formatted paper is designed so you can photograph the pages and convert them directly to pages in your Evernote notebooks. Fabulous!
Happy shopping!

DIY Christmas: Make your own Advent Calendar

December is almost here – it’s time to get ready. It doesn’t have to be expensive, either! Christmas is a great time of year to make crafts with your kids, or on your own. Have a Do-It-Yourself Christmas this year – start by making an Advent Calendar. Here are some of my favourite ideas:

Advent Gift Tags (pictured) – here’s a set I made using the Candlelight Christmas designer paper and 25 and Counting stamp set from Stampin’ Up! Pretty ribbon is used to tie the tags to any gifts you choose. I also made a set using paper favour boxes, by adhering punched out snowflakes with the 25-and-counting images (also shown at right). The boxes are thumb-tacked to a cork board that was covered with Christmas paper and ribbon.

Other ideas to inspire you:

Canadian Living Home & Crafts has a ton of great ideas, including an Advent Calendar:

DIY Christmas: Make a chic Advent calendar – Canadian Living.

Martha Stewart, always a go-to:

http://www.marthastewart.com/857740/handmade-advent-calendars/@center/307034/christmas-workshop#858114

The Crafty Crow – A Children’s Craft Collective

This site is a treasure trove of ideas, including these ones. Many use recycled and scrap materials and will appeal to kids: http://www.thecraftycrow.net/2010/11/24-advent-calendars-to-make.html

Fiskars Crafts

You probably know that Fiskars makes a lot of fabulous scissors and other cutting/punching tools for papercrafting. I just discovered their Crafts website – here is a link to their Advent Calendar ideas:

http://www.fiskarscrafts.com/articles/t_adventcalendars.aspx

Ornament Keepsakes Card

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Colours: gum ball green, whisper white, and raspberry ripple.

Emboss the white card stock with the Chevron Embossing Folder using the Big Shot Machine.  Stamp in Raspberry Ripple and cut out two Keepsake Ornaments using the framelits dies and the Big Shot. Tie a Gumball Green stitched satin ribbon around the white card stock and adhere to the Gumball Green Card (half a letter-sized sheet). Stamp the Warm Winter Wishes in Raspberry Ripple onto the white cardstock. Use a sparkly rhinestone to embellish each ornament. Adhere a white cardstock liner inside the card. And you’re done!

Holiday Gift Ideas: Five Crochet Resources

one of my thread crochet projects

one of my thread crochet projects

 

I used to love that French crochet magazine Magic Crochet, which is no longer in print. Jam-packed with designs for doilies and table runners made in thread, with both graphic and written instructions, it featured many lovely and challenging patterns. Now, when shopping for crochet magazines at the newsstand, I’m often disappointed by the usual selection. It’s wonderful that crochet has experienced a revival, but we in North America have been taken back through all the beginner stuff in the past few years. Fortunately the market is maturing a bit and there is a rich treasure trove of inspiration to be found online from North America and beyond. Here are a few of my favourites:

  1. Crochet Me, an online magazine by Interweave. Interweave Crochet is an excellent publication. Yes, it’s American, but it is far and away above the average magazines.This site has downloadable patterns and e-books, videos and techniques, a gallery of members’ work, and articles by the editors. I enjoyed this post on Crocheted Gifts which encourages us to think beyond hats and scarves. Although beginners are welcomed with plenty of how-to guides, Interweave is also an excellent resource for intermediate and advanced crafters, and their patterns are anything but ordinary. Essays on the history of crochet are frequently published in these issues. http://www.crochetme.com/blogs/crochet_daily/archive/2012/10/04/beyond-hats-crochet-gift-ideas.aspx
  2. Duplet Magazine and Zhurnal MOD – these are Russion publications with distinctive use of traditional Irish modular crochet patterns. If you thought crochet thread was only for doilies, you must look at this. The magazines only have graphic patterns for the motifs, not full instructions for the garments shown. The text is in Russian but the graphic patterns transcend language and you will love the beautiful outfits. They have everything from bikinis to wedding dresses. If you like to crochet with thread, you will love this magazine. (Note: subscriptions are not available in Canada. I bought a few issues from Ebay.)
  3. Elann.com, for yarns, patterns, tools, and notions. Based in Canada, Elann sources excellent quality natural fibre yarns including alpaca, wool, and organic cotton. Check often for great deals on luxury yarns from famous name companies. They also have their own store brand with lovely yarns and exclusive patterns. I have always been happy with my orders from Elann. The delivery is quick and the service is excellent.
  4. Garnstudio Drops Design – this is a manufacturer’s website with a rich pattern library of both knit and crochet. Their patterns feature trendy European designs for adults and children.
  5. Vogue Knitting – long one of my favourites (for knitting, sewing, and crochet), Vogue has published a number of excellent crochet patterns, and recently published an entire issue devoted to crochet. This is high-fashion, wearable stuff. My mother owned a copy of the Vogue Sewing book, which I read cover to cover (still have to learn to sew, though!). I own the Vogue Knitting book, which is an authoritative guide to design and finishing techniques, many of which can be translated for crochet. Their online crochet site also contains a section of fine finishing techniques for crocheted garments.

What are your favourites? Do you love or loathe the Granny Square? What projects do you have on the go?

Happy crafting,

G.