The Christmas fun has begun around here. Though the decorating is only half done at our place, we’ve been busy with preparations for some church events: the Christmas parade in town, a fun night out for the ladies, a Christmas concert and gift baskets.
Days before our ladies’ evening, I began gathering supplies:
- card stock, scrapbook paper, old sheet music, books, atlases and burlap for the banner base, along with templates in various shapes and sizes to trace
- various paper doilies, stickers and other embellishments to decorate the banners
- paints and brushes, stamps, markers, and letter stickers, as well as printed letters and words on card stock for the message
- ribbon, twine, string, cording and yarn to hang the banners
- all kinds of glue, scissors, pencils, rulers, cutters, etcetera to put it all together
I proceeded to make a few sample banners for those who were unfamiliar with the concept, and for some ideas to get them started. I also created a slide show with various banners and ideas for displaying them. These festive buntings look sweet on an old frame or window, festooning a Christmas tree, on a mantel, shelf or piano…anywhere your imagination takes you, really. I also assembled a few handmade ‘kits’ for the crafting anxious, which took the guesswork out of choosing materials. It can be an overwhelming process for those who don’t do crafty things already.
There are umpteen messages you could add to a banner, but I collected a few ideas to get the juices flowing:
- traditional sayings: Noel, Merry Christmas, Joyeux Noel, Peace on Earth
- music references: fa la la la la, O Holy Night, Joy to the World, Baby, It’s Cold Outside, Have a Holly Jolly Christmas
- Christmas-y words: joy, peace, merry and bright
Time to assemble your project:
- Begin by choosing your colours and patterns. The message will determine how many components you will require, plus any extra for size or balance.
- Cutting your base shape comes next. I kept it simple with pennant, shield and dove tailed shapes, but you could use any shape you like. Wouldn’t Christmas trees or simple snowflakes be cute? Layer a couple of papers to make it more interesting, if you’d like.
- Add your letters or words of choice, again layering to add dimension. There are many options, depending on your skill level. Write it out, design it on your computer then print it out. Use stickers or stencils.
- You can now add some embellishments, if you’re so inclined. Stickers, buttons and flowers and greenery. Paint some simple trees or holly. Choices are endless
- The easiest way to put it all together is with a hole punch. Punch a hole in the two upper corners, then string your ribbon or twine through it, being careful to make sure the ribbon goes either in the front or in the back on each segment. You could also glue it all together, though.
- Voila! Find the perfect place to display and admire your handiwork.
We’re missing a few, as I always forget to grab a picture right away, but I think everyone enjoyed making their banner.
Our craft was followed by some more merry making…this time with refreshments supplied by our ladies. There was a charcuterie board, taco dip, festive chocolate squares, cranberry punch and hot apple cider and more!
The charcuterie board is a nice way to add a little of everything. These platters have become a regular thing around here. It’s nice to be able to pick and choose according to taste or dietary restrictions (allergies aside, as there may be cross contamination). There are no rules. We like to add a variety of:
- cured meats
- cheeses: hard and soft
- crackers and baguette or pita chips
- dips (or spreads)
- pickles and olives
- fruit and veggies
But you can add whatever you have on hand or whatever floats your boat at the moment.
This particular board has:
- a spicy, dry salami and prosciutto
- herbed havarti, old and marble cheeses and goat cheese
- triscuits, sesame thins, beet crackers, garlic and spinach thins and baguette chips
- baba ganoush, artichoke and asiago dip and hummus
- pears and grapes
You can keep everything very organized, putting like things together, or you can be more free, like this one. In this case, we used a bamboo lazy susan, but I have a few different cutting boards and a lovely charcuterie board that a friend made that are called into service regularly. Don’t feel limited to boards, though. A festive platter or a special plate may fit the bill nicely.
The fun wasn’t over yet! After the feasting we had a “Santa Swap”. Items we no longer used were brought in to share with others. It started off with just Christmas decorations, but we decided there was no reason to stop there…anything goes. It was a good way to purge our stashes, but give someone else an opportunity to enjoy these still useful items.
All in all, a great night.
Try your hand at a homemade banner with whatever scraps you have. Or make a charcuterie board for your next gathering. I love simple ways to make the season jolly!
Joining the fun: