This year’s Christmas cards

I always like to make at least some of my Christmas cards and I wasn’t sure what I was going to do this year until I was given this book. 0527-bookthat someone didn’t want.

In it I found the perfect chart which I copied out in colour onto squared paper 0527-chartso my old eyes didn’t have to struggle!

I looked out my box of embroidery threads 0527-embroidery-threadsand chose some colours. 0527-chosen-coloursI also found a chart for a candle that was quicker to work.0527-two-designsI worked blanket stitch round one of the angels and got out some duck tape and cut a piece of card. 0527-angel-tape-and-cardI used the tape to fix the card on the back but then I decided that it would look just as good if not better (and quicker) if I used the tape for the edging. I had also been given some tiny cards that I could use for the candle. 0527-cardsOf course the angel card was not complete and so I found some stickers Lettering sheetsI had used in a previous year and made up an A5 card. 0527-finished-angel-cardJust seven angels and five candles but as I have time I may make some more.

(The angel is held on with just a bit of blu tack so it can be removed and hung up as a decoration.)

Origami angel cards

Finished card

You would think with my lack of dexterity that I would steer clear of Origami but in spite of the problems I have folding the paper accurately, I just love it.

When my first child was born I made her a mobile out of origami which had a green frog, a purple fish and two different birds in yellow and red. The frog is one of my favourites.

Here is one I made when I was trying to get my granddaughter interested.Origami including frog

I realise that it is quite a long time since I have done any origami as I tend to make things when I see a need for them. Well now I saw a need for some angels for my Christmas cards that could be made in less time than the crochet ones.

I have two lots of origami paper. This my original pack. Original origami paper And a fancier set I bought later. Newer origami paper This has three sizes of paper and the orange and red angels were made in the largest size to make it easier but I made the angels for the cards with the smallest size.

I went on the internet and found many angels including this site which had very many different ones. I decided to try the eighth on the list by M Bright. Which you can see here made in orange. Orange angel The instructions say to use half a square – a right- angled equilateral triangle sort of half – but I simply folded the paper in half for speed.

I also liked the angel I found here – I made this one in red with another large sheet and although it was too big I decided that was the one I would choose,Red angel both because it was easier to make and also because I prefered the way it looked.

These were both made late in the evening as quickly as I could.

And here are the finished angels that I made the next day. Four angels As you can see I did have difficulty with the head and I still haven’t got my head! round the right way to do it.

If you look at the link above you will also see that I chose to fold down the point at the top.

Here are the four cards completed.Four cardsI expect that you can see in the top photograph if not these that I forgot to remove the dot that told me where to make the hole for the other cards. I put this down to the sense of time pressure I am under but it would have seemed wasteful to reprint for so small a mistake.

Angel Christmas cards

I really feel that I could do with some way of lighting the items I want to photograph in a more even way and even if it is dull outside. However I have packed up all my Christmas cards now so this will have to do.

I shared with you the pattern for the angels I was making for my Christmas cards and now I will share with you the making of the final cards. Finished card Here is the final card and this is how I put them together.

First an aside. Several years ago I got a pair of folding scissors in a Christmas cracker and ever since then I had it on my key ring and it was very useful when I was out, especially when crocheting on the bus or Friday ‘Crafty Coffee’ mornings.

BUT then I lost my keys and thus the scissors!

Now for years I had wanted a Swiss Army knife but had never got around to it, partly because of the cost and partly because I could never decide which one I would buy. Now I decided that I would finally buy myself one with a scissors. The choice was really between the Climber and the Compact, as although I liked the idea of the magnifying glass on the Explorer it was a bit too chunky. In the end I bought the Climber because on Black Friday it was available locally at a good price and it is always good to see something before you buy it.

One of the things that the knife came with I wasn’t sure I would use but in fact it was the ideal tool to help with assembling my Christma cards.

And that was the ‘reamer’. Reamer I used it to make a hole and pull the loop at the end of the cord through the hole.

Here you can see an angel and a card, Angel on card the dot is to guide me as to where to make the hole.

And here is the reamer all ready to be used to pull the loop through the card. Pulling through cord Here is the inside when I had fixed the angel in place with a piece of cord securing the bottom of the robe to the loop. Inside of card These pictures were taken the other day when I was in a hurry to make a couple of cards to send abroad. On Sunday I finished the other twelve cards and here you can see all twelve angels. Twelve angels And the twelve finished cards. Twelve cardsOriginally I was intending to make more angels but pains in my wrists and lots of problems to sort out meant that I only made seventeen (including the three for the Giveaway). So for a few people that I wanted to give home-made cards to I have folded some origami angels to go on the same cards. I will share these with you next week when I have made the cards and taken some photographs.



Christmas cards + tutorial

3 cards

This year I have got organised enough to make my own Christmas cards.

I think it is a rather fun idea that would work as well for Valentine’s day so I have also produced a tutorial.

The day I took most of the photographs the light was awful but I decided not to retake them even though the light is much better today as I have the problem of needing to decide on a new TV so life is getting a bit stressful.

The message inside the card is

Card insideOf course the love I am thinking of is not romantic love or even family love but God’s love shown in the life of Jesus. So I have included a little picture of the Christ child in the manger.

And here is a tutorial on making the heart design

It is based on a mathematical way of creating the impression of a curve with straight lines but here aesthetic considerations have been uppermost not mathematical ones.

You could make your own template but I found some on

I experimented and chose what I thought was the best number of holes for my purpose (48) and made an A4 template in Corel Draw.

TemplateThe grey dots come from the original template but I added the black dots because I thought they would help me not to make mistakes as I will explain.

I had bought some red card, as it seemed suitable for hearts.

Red card

I printed on the card then cut it in four pieces.

I had chosen to use white cotton. This is your normal sewing cotton.

The first thing you need to do is to make the holes in the card. I pushed a thicker ordinary sewing needle through the grey dots.

Template on card with and without holes
After on left, before on right.

Then threaded a finer needle with a length of sewing cotton.

I found that 60 ins (150 cm) was the right length for the first two parts and 36 ins (90cm) for the second two but you can choose a comfortable length and just start and finish as you need to if you prefer a shorter length. 60 ins does make quite a long piece.

I decided to start in the top hole. (obviously the side with the black dots is the back of the card). You need a good size knot so the cotton does not pull through the holes.

Starting the stitchingHere you can see I went in at the top where the arrow is, out at the bottom (hole 1), in again at hole 2, out hole 3, in at hole 4, and out at hole 5.

Here is how it looks on the right side. Can you see how we are progressing in a clockwise direction, using every hole at the top and every other hole on the lower half.

Stitching on the right sideThis is where the black dots come in. They help to check that you are using the correct hole for the lower ends.

I say upper and lower but actually we will progress round the circle. So keep going as above.

Half way (1st quarter)

Here you are halfway through the first part. From now on at one end you will be going into holes that have been used before. Can you see?

Continue going one at a time into new holes and missing a hole each time at the other end.

Half a cardioid

This is half of a shape that Mathematicians call a cardiod.

Finish the cotton and secure by making a couple of knots as in the picture below.

Finishing cotton

You now repeat the procedure in the other direction.

Aesthetic note! I do not repeat the top to bottom thread, nor do I duplicate the thread that lies horizontally, because I think it looks better.

Threads not to repeatI just miss them out.

So I start the second half thus………….

Starting second half of cardioid

It doesn’t matter if you start from the top as I do or from the bottom (hole 2) to be more like the other half. It will end up looking the same.

This is where I found the the black dots really came into their own to keep me on track.

Just do a mirror image of what you did before and you will end up with the full cardiod.

Cardiod finishedCardiod means ‘heart’ but to create a conventional ‘heart’ we can do better.

This is where you need the shorter piece of cotton.

Starting right side of heart

You start at the bottom go across to the hole halfway up (It is a black dot hole) then come out at the hole above that one coming back into the hole next to the one at the bottom. You then proceed, moving one hole anti-clockwise each time till you connect the hole at the top to the one half way up. (This is where you already have a thread taking this path but I was happy to repeat it this time.)

Right side of heart completed

Secure the end of the cotton and repeat on the other side, working up from thebottom as before.

Now you have your heart.

Finished heart

Photograph taken in a different light so the red came out differently (closer to the reality actually).

Here is what I think will make a printable A4 template. (Copy of one I used). Right click and choose “Save image as”

Printable template

Shh…. It will soon be Christmas

I can’t share with you what I have been doing these last couple of weeks because it’s a few small presents for the family.

But this is as far as I have got with my wrapping of presents.


I will show you what is in the small packages after Christmas.

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I have also been making some Christmas cards.

Now originally I had plans didn’t I?

Last year I made  these.

Crochet Christmas cards

So this year was meant to be some more crochet cards with angel bookmarks this time. (As made while I was in Criccieth last summer.)


Well I have to admit I haven’t even written out the pattern. I have been so busy with my blankets. Maybe next year. 🙂

So I resorted to a simple alternative.


And I  didn’t even draw the angel. It’s a piece of clip art – but I did choose the colouring.


What did I do over Christmas?

Well not as much as I might have hoped as I have been suffering from a cold. “The cold that thinks it’s flu” as I have dubbed it.

It started with a cough! Now what cold STARTS with a cough?

Moved onto fever and then when the fever broke and you felt much better and felt maybe you were going to get better quicker than normal, and with all of Christmas ahead, the cold really starts – streaming nose, productive cough, the lot.

Nine days after it started, you are feeling wobbly walking round the sitting room and wondering if you will ever get better!

Well my son helped by putting up the Christmas tree but I had to add the decorations I had shared with you.

My son comes to stay over Christmas as the buses are so bad and normally we play games but this year all we did was watch TV and do the Radio Times cryptic crossword, which, much to my delight, we managed to finish between us.

Of course my son also caught the cold and was feeling pretty bad by the time he left on Saturday.

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And I put the cards on the bookcase but didn’t try to cover up what lay behind! The one of the candle was made by a creative friend and it is the third year she has made her cards using a special paper folding system.

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My granddaughter and family came on the Monday for a present swop and a meal of which I ate only a tiny, tiny portion but they did insist on doing the washing up which helped, and I made sure the crib was up. Again in a bookcase.

My son insisted that two of the kings should be having a chat.

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Snowflakes on coffee tableNo streamers, no tinsel, and I spread my snowflakes on the coffee table since I wasn’t up to turning them into a garland. These were moved to the mantle piece on Christmas day as my grandsons, daughter and son-in-law came to lunch. They had all had the cold before me and Alfred, the younger, was suffering from Chicken Pox that he had caught from his brother, so we were a sick household and no one ate as much as they might have done.

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Kitchen snowflakesBut the gel snowflakes on the kitchen windows

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Snowflake wreath on doorand the wreath on the inside of the front door kept my spirits up.

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I didn’t feel up to starting on the outstanding CAL squares but did manage some more of my granny ripple blanket.0094-blanket

Crochet Christmas cards

These are really easy to make.

First you make the stars.

I always think six-pointed stars for Christmas cards as a reference to the six-pointed ‘Star of David’ as Jesus was a Jew and was born in the ‘City of David’.

(Pattern at the end in UK and US versions.)

I used Twilley’s Goldfingering in silver and gold and a 2mm hook.

I also bought folded A5 sheets of card and matching envelopes from ‘Paperchase’ in dark blue.

I cut myself a piece of white card A6 size and marked out a hexagon where I wanted the star to go and then placed it on top of the front of the unfolded card. Underneath I placed an odd piece of polystyrene that I had so I could stick the end of my compass through the points of the hexagon.

Originally I was going to cut a hole and fit the star in it, which is why I have the extra lines. All you need is a hexagon.

(Mine was marked out using a vertical central line to locate the centre of the circle and top and bottom points then the normal straight edge and compass way of drawing a hexagon using a radius of 1.5 inches, which seemed about right).

You need to pull the points on the star well to work out the correct diameter. The holes should be where the points are when stretched.

You then push a sharp pin, needle or compass point through the corners of the hexagon and remove the white card.

Then take a piece of sewing cotton; I found about 18 inches (45cm)  was a good length; and make a good knot on the end and thread through one of the holes.

You then make a small stitch into the back of one of the 3 chain points and thread the needle back through the same hole being careful not to go into the thread coming out of the hole.

Repeat this procedure for each hole in turn going round the hexagon. You then need to gently pull the cotton on the back and the points on the front till the points of the star hide the holes and the cotton at the back is taut.

Then turn over

and finish off the thread by doing several stitches as illustrated: first into the starting length by the knot to make the loop tight and then to the final length to secure the end.

If I had beautiful handwriting I might have done the words below the star with my gold and silver pens but as my handwriting is very uneven I bought peel off words at a craft shop.

I would have preferred two sheets the same as the silver one but there was not a lot of choice. The silver letters came off so easily but the gold ones were very tricky.

Finally I stuck a label on the back of the front of the card with instructions on removing the star after Christmas is over.

The card and the envelope together cost me 75p. The Goldfingering was £3.50 a ball and I think one ball will make about a dozen stars so say 30p a star. The lettering sheets were 89p each. So I think the cards should cost me a bit less than £1.20 each to make. I haven’t made them all yet but expect to do about two dozen.

Christmas Star patterns

UK version

Using Twilleys goldfingering in silver or gold and a 2.00mm hook.

Start: 6 ch loop.

Row 1: Working into the loop: 7ch (= 1dtr + 3ch), dc, 3ch, then repeat {dtr, 3ch, dc, 3ch} 5 times. Slst into 7ch loop at start.

Row 2: Repeat {6ch, slst into top of dtr) six times. Last slst is into slst of previous row.

Row 3: Repeat {4ch, tr into 6ch loop of previous row, 4ch, slst into slst of previous row.} six times.

Row 4: Repeat {6ch, dtr into top of tr on row below, 6ch, slst into slst of row below} six times.

Row 5: Repeat {dc under loops of rows 3 & 4, 5dc under loop of row 4 only, 3ch, 5dc under loop of row 4 only, dc under loops of row 3 & 4.} six times. Slst to fix final dc.

Pinch the 3ch at the tips of the points and pull hard. Sew in the ends

US version

Using Twilleys goldfingering in silver or gold and a 1/B hook.

Start: 6 ch loop.

Row 1: Working into the loop: 7ch (= 1trc + 3ch), sc, 3ch, then repeat {trc, 3ch, sc, 3ch} 5 times. Slst into 7ch loop at start.

Row 2: Repeat {6ch, slst into top of trc) six times. Last slst is into slst of previous row.

Row 3: Repeat {4ch, dc into 6ch loop of previous row, 4ch, slst into slst of previous row.} six times.

Row 4: Repeat {6ch, trc into top of dc on row below, 6ch, slst into slst of row below} six times.

Row 5: Repeat {sc under loops of rows 3 & 4, 5sc under loop of row 4 only, 3ch, 5sc under loop of row 4 only, sc under loops of row 3 & 4.} six times. Slst to fix final sc.

Pinch the 3ch at the tips of the points and pull hard. Sew in the ends.

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As always please let me know if you find any mistakes.