Merry Christmas Wrapping

Need a little help with your Christmas gift wrapping?  How about these Christmas gift tags, FREE from Mrs Fox's just click to download, print, cut out and use.  Please do...


I Make Dolls - Buy a Kid a Doll for Christmas

Mrs Fox's has allowed us the freedom to start making things again.  It's silly really, I shouldn't have needed to start a small business to have this freedom, but somehow I did.  And it has taken two years for me to start making these dolls, because I was not sure what they would look like.   I'm still not sure, but the above picture is of my first 4; "The Party Gang".

I've always made things, I loved art at school, I just wanted to make things all the time.  I watch my daughter's absorbed, intent, crafting of hedgehog houses and wooden peg dolls (this week) with complete understanding. And when I was little I loved making things for my dolls. Playing with them was all about creating their world: Their clothes, gardens, suitcases, cars, animals, furniture, tents, houses, horses, boats, gypsy caravans, farm, horse drawn carriages, boyfriends... to name but a few of the remembered projects, the list is endless.  I made their world, and that is only part of what is wonderful about dolls.

My mother in law always tells me proudly that she was not a 'girly girl' and never played with dolls.  I always reply that, I am not, and was not, a girly girl but that I loved dolls and played with them a lot. And my son likes to play with dolls too.  My children have beautiful dolls, often ones that I, or someone else, have hand-made. There is a story to every one they have and they are special.

I am still working through what it is that I think is so special about dolls.  I know many people will not agree with me.  That they are often seen as a bit boring, babyish and the culprits of gender stereotyping.  They are not of course, it's people who gender stereotype.  Even Barbie, who I despise, in the hands of a little girl can do all sorts of amazing things.  My daughter's Barbie has been known to fight in intergalactic battles and clearly has super powers of some kind.  (And also pink fairy wings!)

I make dolls - buy a kid a doll for Christmas - one made by hand.  It doesn't have to be one of mine, there are some far more beautiful dolls out there.  But, I think they are misunderstood and I think they can be the agents of enormous creativity.  I make dolls with love and to be loved.  I really do.  For me, they are the repository of memories and emotions and they can be the agents of change and creativity.  They can be comfort and they can help work out problems.  Dolls are wonderful, wonderful toys.

I'm crafting 4 dolls at the moment for a little girl and her cousins:

Dog steals leg...

And from this point on it is mostly hand stitching... so I had better get back to it.


Bumper Christmas Craft Box

Our last Mrs Fox's Crafty Boxes for the year went out to our subscribers yesterday - phew!  Our November Crafty Box was all about making Christmas things for people we love; Christmas cards, gift boxes, a trivet, concertina tree's and more.  December's subscribers will be making pine cone elves, lollypop stick angels, felt snowflake decoration, garlands and thank you cards.

For our friends who take a box here and there, we've put together some of our favourite crafts from both boxes and come up with a BUMPER Christmas Crafty Box.

In this box is all you need to make;

a wooden Christmas trivet;

lollypop angel and toilet roll santa instructions;

felt snowflake decoration;

blank cards & envelopes; ideas with templates and decorative paper for Christmas cards or thank you cards;

snowman paper chains;

concertina Christmas tree ornaments;

pom poms - along with easy instructions to make a gift box and recipe for gingernut biscuits.

All in all, hours of innovative crafting Christmas fun for busy little hands - only a few boxes left… and available for £15 through our store.


An Angel has come to visit

I love to mooch around reading other people's blogs when I am supposed to be working.  Often what catches my eye is a beautiful illustration or a great photo.  I started to read Flora Jamieson's blog; Through The Round Window because of her love of Pipi Longstocking and on seeing a photo of a decaying cottage that I sort of wished I lived in.  I noticed she had a Folksy store and loved her designs, I don't think I notice they were stained glass at first.  I thought I wasn't a real fan of stained glass, but I still enjoyed her blog.

Every year I buy a new 'special' Christmas ornament, the tradition used to be I'd buy it on a shopping trip to Liberty with my friend, Sam.  But no Liberty trip this year I'm afraid and I thought I'd get something from Folksy and support a designer maker.  So I went back to Flora's store and got the angel above.

She arrived yesterday and is so beautiful, the photo just doesn't do her justice.  I am now looking around the house for an excuse, any excuse, to get more stained glass.  I have even cleaned my windows today (after taking these pictures) just so my beautiful angel looks her best.


Handmade Christmas Cards - Part Two

The first Christmas Card shows a scene of a family raising a toast to the Holiday Season
Our modern Christmas cards can be traced to a card printed in December 1843 by Sir Henry Cole, the first Director of theV&A.  Sir Henry found it time consuming to write greetings and best wishes to all his friends and family at Christmas and so he commissioned John Callcott Horsley to illustrate a card with a single greeting: 'A Merry Christmas and A Happy New Year To You".  Sir Henry had also been involved in the introduction of the penny post in the UK three years before so he had something of a vested interest in the success of this new form of holiday communications.  His print run of 2050 cards sold for a shilling each (a weeks wages) and only 12 of these cards remain today.

We of course love the hand-made variety.  For the last few weeks we have been churning out hand-made Christmas cards at a phenomenal rate. The exchanging of Christmas cards can also be traced back to the "Christmas Pieces" made by children in the early 18th century.   Children copied out texts at school in their best hand writing and decorated them to give to their parents.  Intended to show parents how well their children were doing at school, these are some of the earliest examples of children's art.

Very much in that tradition Little Una Fox used her new sewing skills to create this lovely card for her Uncle David in Canada:

You Will Need:
5 or 6 different buttons
needle & thread
card & envelope
pencil, pen &/or  letter stamps

We first wrote "Merry Christmas" along the bottom of the card - we used our letter stamps but you can simply write this in colourful letters in your best hand writing.

We decided where the buttons would go and then drew the lines and bows onto the card in pencil first to get the spacing right.  Then went over this in black pen.

We then carefully, with needle and thread, sewed each button into position with just a couple of stitches, knotting the ends of the thread at the end.

Last month's Mrs Fox's Crafty Box contained card blanks and envelopes so that our crafty little foxes could make Christmas cards for friends and family.  They are also included in our Bumper Christmas Crafty Box that includes a whole host of Christmas crafts and is available for £15 +p&p.

The little foxes came up with so many designs for Christmas cards that we've been posting all last week with ideas for hand-made Christmas cards, we’ve also put together the best of other people’s ideas on a board on our pinterest site.  So with oodles of inspiration at the click of a mouse, we would love you to send us some pictures of your creations, we could add them to the gallery.

For loads more Christmas craft ideas including more designs for handmade Christmas cards CLICK HERE
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