Unless you've been in the North Pole, you can't fail to know that Britain is in the depths of a recession. Well with Christmas fast approaching how about making your own Christmas decorations this year and using the money you saved to buy an extra gift or two? Plus making your own is very in vogue, just look at Kirsy Allsopp.
Let's start with something that serves two purposes; they look good and taste great, edible Christmas tree decorations
250g plain flour
75g softened butter
50g caster sugar
50g golden syrup
2 egg yolks
pinch bicarbonate of soda
pinch ground ginger and ground cinnamon.
Preheat an oven to gas mark 4, 180oC or 160oC for fan ovens.
In a bowl use a wooden spoon to cream the butter and sugar, then add the egg yolks, bicarbonate of soda and golden syrup.
Add in the flour, ginger and cinnamon and mix thoroughly.
Divide the mixture into a couple of balls and knead until a dough is created.
Chill the dough in the fridge for 30mins.
Remove dough from fridge and roll out to 1cm thick.
Use cutters to cut out festive shapes, e.g. Christmas Trees, Stars, snowmen etc. Make a small hole at the top of the shape with a chop stick or similar.
Place shapes on a greased baking tray and bake for 10mins.
Once cooled tread ribbon through the hole and hang on tree. Gingerbread can be hung on tree for a couple of days before eating or placed in a tin where they will keep for up to a week. of course you do not have to eat them in which case they can be left on the tree for the duration of Christmas.
One of the most popular forms of Christmas tree decoration is the bauble, first produced in 1847 by Hans Greiner in Lauscha, Germany. Originally baubles were made from glass, but are now more frequently made of plastic, although there is no reason why you need to stick to these two material, see below for a range of bauble ideas you can easily make yourself.
various coloured paper e.g. magazines, wrapping paper, junk mail.
Needle and thread
Take 8 pieces of paper (they don't need to be exactly the same size) and stack on top of each other.
Hold the pile of paper together and saw a running stitch down the middle. Leave approx 10cm of thread.
On the top piece of paper draw a circle and cut out.
Use the extra thread to make a loop for hanging on the tree.
Hanging loop (Piece of ribbon)
Use the glass to draw circles on two pieces of card and then the pound coin to draw a smaller circle in the middle of the larger circles. Cut out the shapes, resulting in something that looks like a doughnut.
Holding the two "doughnuts" together start to wrap the wool around.
Continue wrapping wool around the "doughnuts" until no more wool can be pushed through the hole in the centre.
Cut the wool around the outer edge of the "doughnut".
Separate the two pieces of card and tie a piece of wool around the middle.
Tear off the card and attach hanging loop.
Needle and thread
Use the glass to draw a circle on a piece of felt.
From another piece of different coloured felt cut strips of fabric.
Place the strips on top of the circle of felt and attach with a running or cross stitch (Use contrasting thread for added effect).
Attach hanging loop.
If you're a bit of a magpie, how about making your own glitter fairies and snowflakes?
Thin white card
Hole punch/tooth pick
Either use cookie cutters as a template or draw your fairy free hand onto the card and cut out.
Use a hole punch or toothpick to punch a hole in the top of your fairy for hanging.
Cover one side of your fairy with glue and cover with glitter, leave a couple of minutes to dry and tap off any excess glitter.
Repeat the glue and glitter on the other side of your fairy.
Thread ribbon through the hole and tie in a loop for hanging.
To make snowflakes, fold card in half and in half again and then cut out shapes, then unfold.
The tradition of hanging up stockings at Christmas is centuries old, so how about making your own, now this will take a couple of hours, but the result will be well worth it
Sewing tapes and ribbon
2 large pieces of material for lining
1 large piece of material for the backing
Draw a simple stocking shape onto your paper and pin to wadding, then cut out.
Take two pieces of your scrap material and pin them face-to-face to the wadding. Stitch along the spine of the two pieces of material and attach both to the wadding.
Open up the material like a book, giving a quilted effect.
Continue to add material to the edges of the already stitched material until the stocking shaped waddding is completely covered.
Lay stocking with wadding side up and cut off excess material.
Add ribbons and sewing tape to the front of your stocking, by pinning them in the required position and sew.
Place the two layers of lining material together and then the backing material on top, then your stocking face down on top. You should have lining, lining, backing, face down stocking. Sew around the edge of the stocking, but not across the top, cut away any excess lining and backing fabric.
With all the layers attached, turn the stocking the right way out.
Hem around the top of your stocking and you're done.