HOME-MADE PRESENTS

The kids are on holidays, the adults are on holidays, all presents are bought and most wrapped, all decorations are finally up and the house is feeling very Christmasy. I feel like I can now sit back and relax, enjoy some time together with the family and catch up with friends.

If you are still short few presents but you don’t feel like joining the crowds fighting their way through the the shops (I was out there today and it was horrible!), you can always make some very nice and thoughtful presents with things that you most likely already have in the house, from the comfort of your house. Sounds good?

This Lavender Body Scrub is amazing, super easy to make and a real treat for anyone. It will make anyone feel like a million dollars for few cents.
Home-made lavander sugar body scrub - very easy

Infused Olive Oils are ideal for the foodie in your life.
Lemon, rosemary and chilli oils

A Frame Key holder is always a thoughtful and useful present.
DIY frame key holder

This Lip Balm is fantastic present any time of the year, but especially now when lips get dry from the cold and the heating.
Beeswax lip balm

Making Tissue Paper Flowers for a crafty friend or family member could not be any easier.
Blue tissue paper flower

This Pom-pom Bookmarks are ideal for the bookworm in your life

OrganisingChaosBlog - Making pom poms bookmarks for kids

I hope you don’t have much left to do. Go on. Relax. You totally deserve it!
Chaotic Itzi

BAUBLE WREATH

If you follow me in Instagram, you will know that 2 weeks ago we had painters in the house. As they were painting different rooms around the house, we had to move furniture, boxes and general stuff from room to room. I wanted to take this opportunity to clean and de-clutter the rooms so everything is taking that bit longer to go back to normal and most of the Christmas decorations are not up yet.

Christmas bauble wreath2

When it comes to decorating, I am of the opinion that less is more and Mr B tends to agree with me, but when it comes to Christmas, he thinks that more is definitely more. As he likes going over the top with the decorations, my job is to try to do more in a subtle way (tone it down, basically).

We don’t have many decorations up yet. We have the tree and the sitting room decorated, some decorations around the kitchen and outside, a little tree in the play room and the Christmas cards in the stairs (you can see them here). Obviously this is not enough, or so I have been told. We still had a big bag of baubles that hadn’t been used and Mr B kept looking at it with poppy eyes, so I decided to use them before he took matters into his own hands and we would end up with baubles hanging from every handle, light and frame.

I wanted to make a wreath to group all the baubles into one single decoration that would have the necessary impact to satisfy Mr B’s need for more, and my sense of less. This wreath is easy and quick to make and it adds colour and fun to any space so it’s definitely my kind of project.

Get a wire hanger and try to make it as round as possible. I used a football.
Once the hanger is round enough, use some pliers to undo the top of the hanger and to try to make it as straight as possible. Don’t worry if it’s not straight, it really doesn’t matter as it will be covered with baubles.
Wire hanger to make a bauble wreath
Opening the wire hanger to make a bauble wreath
Decide what colours you want to use and, after removing the string from the baubles, start feeding them into the wire. I would suggest to feeding them from both sides so you have more control as to what it looks like.
Selecting the baubles for the wreath
Feeding the baubles into the wire hanger
Once all the baubles are in, use the pliers to hook the two ends again. As the baubles will make the wreath quite wide, make a loop with the top of the hanger and turn it on it’s side so you can hang the wreath from it and it will be out of sight.
Close the top of the hangerTurn the hook on its side
To hide any bits of hanger visible at the top of the wreath, I used a bow and some decorative wire.
How to make a bauble wreathChristmas bauble wreath
I am very, very happy with the result.
I think it is a good compromise in the decorative front.
What do you think?

Chaotic Itzi

PRESENTS FOR HIM – UNDER €10

I have to admit that I always find it more difficult to buy for men than for women and I think I am not alone in this.
I am not sure why that is. Most men that I know have plenty of interests and hobbies, and yet, it takes me twice if not three time as long to buy presents for guys.

As promised, here I am with the list of 5 presents for him under €10. 5 presents for him under €10

1. Stencilize has amazing animal prints and t-shirts and sells in its Etsy shop. I particularly like this buffalo print, it has sweet eyes…

2. You are my Star mug from Next. They are so cute and they come in pairs, so you can have coffee together.

3. Bulldog Sensitive Moisturiser by Natural Skincare is perfect for men with very sensitive skin as it contains Vitamin E and Green Tea and a bunch of other natural products, and nothing nasty.

4. Personalised phone covers by Vistaprint are a great personal present. You can add any photo you want so you can make it as romantic, as Christmasy or as professional as you want.

5. Headphones like these are always extremely useful for listening to music or watching soccer on the tablet… they keep balance in the universe.

I hope these ideas will provide you with some guidance and inspiration to help you reach the finishing line. I am nearly there and I am planning to sit back, relax, and enjoy some wine.

Chaotic Itzi

5 TIPS FOR A GREENER CHRISTMAS

Christmas is that very special time of the year when we allow ourselves to let go and buy more, eat more, stay up later more… We tend to be good all year, watching our waist and our budgets that it feels like a release to just let go.

I have always been environmentally conscience, recycling, up-cycling, buying greener products, reusing all possible… We, as a society, have become greener and things like re-cycling have become second nature. However, I have to admit that I have to work harder to make “greener” decisions sometimes, especially around this time of the year when excess seems to be the norm.5 tips for greener christmas

I decided to make an bigger effort this year. I have made a list of some very achievable tips towards a greener Christmas that I can easily implement in my house. I hope to stick to these tips every Christmas so that they will become second nature and my kids will grow up making the same decisions without thinking twice about it.

1. BUY LESS
Yes, I know. I think this is the main struggle for everyone. I don’t usually buy everything for Christmas at the same time so I often forget what it is that I already have. Lists will be your best friends to achieve this goal. Write everything down and keep track of your purchases.
This year I have two lists: one for food and another one for presents. Every time I buy something, I write it on the list so I can keep track of what I have. This will help me to make sure that no presents are left in the attic or in some hiding place, and that a special treat that was bought a bit too far in advance is not forgotten in the pantry and wasted.

2. BUY SMART – SUPPORT LOCAL INDUSTRIES AND CHARITIES
Some of the presents we buy for family and friends come from half way around the world and the impact of transportation contributes significantly to greenhouse emissions and global warming. Try buying gifts in your local crafts and artisan shops this Christmas. Gifts made locally often have a story which goes with the gift, since the artisan and the origin of the gift are known, which makes the present much more personal and there is minimum transportation involved. This will also go towards supporting your local economy.
Try also looking for presents in your local charity shops. Over the years, I have found brilliant treasures for small change in second hand charity shops that would have been out of my budget buying it new, from antique platters to 70s coats. As the benefit of your purchase goes towards the charity itself, it is a present that keeps on giving.

3. LOWER THE IMPACT OF FESTIVE LIGHTS
Christmas lights are essential on the tree and around the house, but we must remember to turn all the lights off when going to bed to minimise the impact on the environment. Led lights use less energy that traditional lights and they can be found everywhere, even for Christmas indoor and outdoor lighting, so they are the perfect choice if you are looking at replacing some of your lights.

4. MIND YOUR CHRISTMAS TREE
If you are using an artificial tree, try to make it last as long as possible in order to maximise their value.
If you are going for a natural tree, they tend not to have roots so you should check with your local council to see what recycling options they are offering and what their collection point s are after the holiday season. If you were lucky enough to get a natural tree with roots, you may be able to use it for 2 or 3 years without having to re-plant it. If or when you are replanting it, make sure it is a suitable location, not too close to the foundations of the house.

5. ALTERNATIVES TO WRAPPING PAPER
The amount of wrapping paper purchased, used and wasted around Christmas time is scary. This year I am going to try to use all the left overs of “normal” wrapping paper that I have and adding a Christmas twist to it with some ribbon, a Christmas decoration, pine cones or a simple Santa sticker or drawing on top.
If you have to buy wrapping paper, try to get recycled paper and avoid glossy foil and metallic paper which are very difficult to recycle.
Gift bags are a great alternative to wrapping and they can be re-used later on.

I think these tips are very achievable and easy to stick by. I’ll let you know how I get on.
Maybe introducing a new “greener option” every Christmas should be part of our family Christmas tradition. I like that idea.
I’ll put it in my calendar for next year.

Chaotic Itzi