Counting Down to Christmas

felt advent calendar

Advent Calendars are one of my favourite Christmas traditions. I have fond memories of me and my sisters racing to the kitchen each crisp December morning to be the first to open that day’s door on the calendar and see what was behind it.  Its a tradition that I have continued to share with my kids and each year I try to come up with a different idea. I’ve been working on quite a few pillow orders lately so this year I turned to my fabric stash for inspiration!

I started with some charcoal grey felt and cut a piece about 16 x 25 inches.  I turned over the top and stitched it down to make a slot for a wooden dowel (or stick brought back from a dog walk in my case).  Then cut out 5 strips 2.5 x 12.5 inches in cream felt and stitched those on to make the pockets and added our name to the top in red felt letters.  If you don’t have a sewing machine then you can simply glue the pieces together (a hot glue gun works best).

diy advent calendar kit

I created the numbers with my button maker (alternatively cut out felt numbers and glue on) and pinned them on in a random order so its more fun to find the right day and then cut out little cards from scrapbook paper and popped them into the pockets.  On each note we add little activities and ideas to do each day to celebrate the season & spend special time with each other.  For example: build a snowman together, make smores over the barbeque, take a drive/walk to see the christmas lights, have a hot chocolate treat, make cookies for friends.  You can add little gifts or candies in some of the pockets too as an extra surprise.

If you don’t have the time to make your own calendar this year, the felt pocket calendar, and also the number pins are available in my Etsy store

Paper-Tree-Advent-Calendar

This is last year’s advent calendar.  A special portable design as we were travelling to visit friends and family.  Instructions on how to make it are here.

There’s still plenty of time for you to craft your own calendar ready to celebrate the month of December!  Here are a few more ideas I love, to inspire you.

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For those of you who are handy with a saw and want a more rustic decor this one’s for you from the DearLillieBlog

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These beautiful paper ornaments can be used to decorate a tree, adding one each day - Silhouetteamerica.com

Advent Main Brick Wall Solo

A colourful Christmas tree - www.velcro.com/blog

Whatever style of calendar you choose, have fun counting down the days till Christmas.

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Free Holiday Gift Tags

Gift Wrap Ideas

Have you started wrapping your gifts yet?  I am just beginning to and this year I have designed these cute gift tags to add to all our gifts, and I’d like to share them with you!  Just click on the download button at the end of this post.
Gift Tags

Simply print out the tags onto an 8.5 x 11 sheet of cardstock, cut out and punch the hole. Add ribbon or bakers twine and start wrapping.

Printable Christmas Gift Tag

Free Holiday Gift Tags

Free Christmas Gift Tag

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These gift tags are strictly for personal use only. If you are kind enough to share please do not link directly to the downloadable file, but to this page instead.

Thank you and Happy Holidays

Karen xo

RECYCLED WRAP

It’s only a week to go till Christmas and the excitement is building in our house.  All orders are done, the last is being picked up this morning and then I can finish buying or making presents.  I have a few sewing projects I’m working on as gifts (can’t show any pictures till after the big day as it’ll spoil the surprise) and can see a few late nights ahead!  I could really do with my own personal Christmas Elf right now.

Once the Christmas shopping is over, then the wrapping begins, and with family visiting from England this year, there’s a lot to wrap.  I thought this year I’d save a little money and use supplies we already have.  I found quite a few ideas but these are my favourites.

I love the texture of these pompoms, plus it’s something to keep my girls quiet for a while.

I love this idea – so different to the usual bottle bag and you could easily add a little colour by choosing more colourful pages from the newspaper or tying a bright ribbon around the top.

This is a great use for all the paintchips we have lurking around at the bottom of the kitchen drawers.

Use scraps of paper or fabric to cut out oversized letters or use a photo. These make a fun change to the usual gift tags.

This one is so easy and no need for tape, which is something we can never find in our house! Just a sandwich bag, a hole punch and peg.

I better get on and finish up my Christmas shopping, my sister in law, Lesley will be here by the weekend and then we can pour the wine, heat the mince pies and get ready to WRAP!!

MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE

Countdown to Christmas

Each year my kids get more excited the closer we get to Christmas, especially my youngest and instead of the usual cardboard chocolate filled advent calendars I wanted to create something a little different this year!  I splashed out and purchased a professional grade button maker in the summer and thought this was a great project to try and use it.

This is what I came up with!

christmas countdown calendar

I drew a few branches of winter berries and created this design which I printed out and attached to a metal sheet, then placed it in a frame and made up the number magnets.  My kids can switch up the numbers as we count down the days of December until the big day itself!

I have added these to our online store.  Each set comes with 12 magnets, the numbers 0 through to 9 plus an extra number 1 and an extra number 2.

A few different designs are available.

Red nosed reindeer cookies

Its week 3 of the DIY challenge  over at NewlyWoodwards.  Bake and share your recipe for some tasty holiday cookies was the task set.  To those of you who know me, you’ll know I don’t enjoy cooking, but I love food especially cookies!  So after I picked the kids up from school today, I enlisted the help of my youngest daughter Ruby, to make shortbread Reindeer.  I got the idea here but changed the recipe a little.

 

 

I’ve been making these shortbread cookies since I was a little girl, its my grandmother’s recipe, and so simple.  All you need is butter 4oz, sugar 2oz, and flour 6oz.  First you beat the butter in a bowl with a wooden spoon until its soft and then beat in the sugar and then the sifted flour.  You need to use your hands to bring the mixture together, the kids love this part.  Sprinkle a little sugar on the counter and roll out the mixture, start cutting out your shapes.  We chose hearts and then bake in the oven on 300F for 25 mins.

 

 

Once they had cooled we covered them with icing and added pretzels for the antlers, a red smartie for the nose and chocolate chips for the eyes.

 

 

As a variation we sprinkled some of the cookies with smashed candy canes.  To keep mess to a minimum, place a candy cane in a ziploc bag, making sure its sealed, and then hit with a rolling pin – this was Ruby’s favourite part!!

 

 

I had to take this photo really quickly as they disappeared fast.

 

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