Friday, 6 December 2019

Christmas gift ideas for readers

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If you are looking for a fun or useful gift for the reader in your life this Christmas then look no further - I've collected together a lovely range of book and literary gifts that you may not have thought of, and that will definitely be appreciated by the book lover on your gift list!

Gift guide ideas for readers

For reading in bed


Bed is my favourite place to read, it's warm, cosy, and away from the rest of the house. We don't have many cushions so it can get a bit uncomfy, I'd love a proper support cushion so that I could sit up properly! I've also got my eye on one of these portable tables that you can prop up over your lap, the perfect place to keep a notebook and pen, a drink, and a plate of biscuits!



For reading on the move


When I go on holiday or for travelling I always take my Kindle, because I like having access to as many books as I can, including new titles and old favourites, so I always have something that I'm in the mood for reading. I find a waterproof case really useful, it's great for reading on the beach or by the pool (and I also use it at home for reading my Kindle in the bath!) A personal reading light is always useful, as the ones on planes don't always point where you want them to or might disturb fellow travellers. If you are reading while sitting in once place for long periods I like this tool that holds the pages open without causing you cramp in your hands



To mark a place


You can never have too many bookmarks! I know that I have loads, and yet I'm always hunting for a scrap piece of paper to use when I need one! You could buy a lovely personalised bookmark, or even have a go at making one yourself.



To make sure that books come back home


My library is very fluid, I'm always lending out books and passing on the ones that I've finished with. If you want to make sure that a particular book always returns to you it's a good idea to mark it in some way, whether that's with an embossed stamp or just a simple book plate.



To store and display the book collection


I love having my books on display, and there are some really unusual bookshelves around if you are looking for something a bit different. I can't also never have too many bookends, they are a great way of making your shelves look tidier, especially if you like to display other items as well as books.



To share a love of reading with the world


Finally, some fun items to make sure that everyone knows about a love of books and reading!



I hope that you find some inspiration here!

Photo credit - Prasanna Kumar via Unsplash

Wednesday, 4 December 2019

Hama bead Christmas wreath hanging ornaments

Hama bead Christmas wreath ornaments craft

These simple Hama bead Christmas ornaments are made using a basic wreath design. All you need is a circular pegboard (either the small or large size) and a selection of Hama beads in different shades of green along with a few red beads. If you only have the one shade of green, that will work too, and you could use different colours instead of red for some variety. For the decorative picture behind the wreath I used old cut up Christmas cards, and added a small piece of red ribbon to make a bow for the bottom.

First you need to make your Hama bead wreaths, and they are very simple to make. Once ironed, while they are still warm, I like to press them under a couple of heavy books while they cool to make sure that they keep a flat shape.


Small Hama bead wreath design and pattern

I chose to use a Christmas themed picture to fill the centre of the wreath, although I think they would work just as well if you left them empty! I delved into my collection of old Christmas cards which I cut up each year for making gift tags. You could also use Christmas wrapping paper, or pictures cut from festive magazines. You need a picture with a design small enough to fit neatly into the centre circle. Cut the picture to size and glue to the back of the wreath, I used white PVA glue to stick them firmly. You might also want to add a circle of coloured card to the back of the wreath so that the back looks neater, or you could even glue two of these ornaments back to back so that they can spin freely and look good on both sides.

Hama bead mini wreaths for hanging ornaments

I finished my Hama bead ornaments with a small bow made from a narrow red ribbon and glued into place. 

Hama bead wreath mini Christmas ornaments

Then all you need to do is to add a loop for hanging. I used red embroidery floss and used a needle to thread it through one of the Hama bead holes at the top. Even if you have ironed your project more than I have and the hole has started to close you should still be able to poke a needle through, or else you can just use glue or tape to attach the string. And you're done!

Hama bead mini wreath ornament tutorial

If you liked these Hama bead Christmas ornaments, then you might also like these Hama bead and ribbon baubles!

Hama bead and ribbon Christmas bauble ornaments

For more Hama bead Christmas crafts, take a look at my selection of Hama bead Christmas crafts for children.

Monday, 2 December 2019

The crafting projects that I'll be working on this Christmas

I love crafting at Christmas time. I'm an indoors sort of person anyway, and when it's cold and dark outside I'm always happy sitting somewhere warm with a craft project on the go. This Christmas I have a few things lined up that I want to work on, and hopefully I'll be able to get a few of them finished!

My current large project is my Persian Tiles crochet blanket which I received for Christmas a couple of years ago. I've been working on it in bursts and I'm doing really well with it - I only have three octagons, eleven triangles and the border to do. I've already sewn together the pieces that I've finished and it's looking really good, it's definitely given me the motivation to get on and get it completed.

Persian Tiles crochet blanket nearly finished

Then I have a few Christmas themed craft kits to work on. I bought this mini cross stitch kit from Hobbycraft last year. They quite often have some reasonably priced little cross stitch kits, usually cleverly displayed by the checkout so that you can't miss them as you enter or while you are queuing. It's a sweet little design, I might turn it into an ornament or small framed picture.

Hobbycraft mini Christmas cross stitch kit

I received these felt Christmas ornament kits to review earlier this year, and while I've finished the owl I still have the others to work on. They are quite quick and easy to complete and there is plenty of scope to experiment with different colours and stitches to make them unique.

Felt Christmas ornament kits

I definitely want to make gingerbread houses again this year. I've always got on well with making them (the trick is to use royal icing, and to make it nice and thick) and it's a lot of fun. They taste delicious too! For the last couple of years I've made two mini houses so that the children have one each to decorate, maybe this year I'll make one all to myself!

Selection of our gingerbread houses

And finally of course there is one Christmas crafting project which I'm really pleased to have completed well before Christmas - my Christmas ABC Sampler. I was always intending to have it finished ready for Christmas 2019, and right on schedule it's all framed and ready to be displayed proudly by the fireplace.

Christmas ABC cross stitch sampler

Will you be working on any crafting projects this Christmas?
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