Monday, January 28, 2013

Advent Calendar 2012

Every year after Christmas I carefully take down and store our advent calendar because I always plan on using it the following year.

And at the beginning of the next Christmas season I make a new advent calendar.

I can help it.  I'm a compulsive crafter.  

(You can see our 2010 calendar here and our 2011 calendar here.)

This year I wanted to use the silhouette.  

And chicken wire.

And old fencing.  

This is what we celebrated with this year.

Each tag is actually a pocket which held our daily activity.   

The pockets have a front piece and a back piece that were sewn together.  (Did I mention that I also wanted to use my sewing machine?)  

 We used ribbon and twine to tie the tags to the chicken wire.

 I made the frame with some old fencing and staples.

Definitely my favorite yet.  This may actually be fantastic enough to ward off my craft addiction and need to reinvent the advent calendar next December.  Perhaps I could pour the effort into homemade stockings... or a tree skirt... or ... hmm...


P.S. I have already uncovered my Valentine's Countdown Calendar already.  Come on February!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Pinspiration and a Happy Handmade Christmas: the Boys

Pinterest can be a bit... girly.

Pink.  Cute.  Ruffles.

Shoes.  Scarves.  Hair.

Cookies.  Cakes.  Suppers.

You have to really hunt for the boys stuff.  But when you find it, oh, it's good.

This year for Christmas the boys got two necessary things for boys...


Yes, this is a picture of me... 

finishing the beards... 

late at night... 

or early in the morning... 

giddy and greasy haired.

It was knitted with some crazy yarn by a pattern of my own.  Since it fit me, it was a bit large on their little faces so I'll have to spend another evening knitting some more.  Maybe I'll wear this one when I'm doing chicken chores or getting the mail.  Might cause some neighbors to do a double take.  Fun.  

and bows and arrows.

(tutorial here)

I will say, these little things shoot far!  I'd say 20 feet. Unbelievable.  Also after a couple days of normal boy usage the dental floss tend to get stretched out but its easy to swap out.  I got to use my wood burning tool again to freehand some tribal-ish designs.

I also did a t-shirt for a boy who got a real pair of youth boxing glove (for use on our heavy bag, not his siblings!)  His shirt is a white print on a black shirt of gloves hung around his next and the distressed word CHAMP on the back.  I think it is his new fav.  Yay!

(another blurry Christmas morning photo... 
what can I say?  We are up sooo early...)

My first total success.  Every child got a handmade gift.  Hope I just started a new tradition!

Friday, January 11, 2013

Good Food Friday: Immune Tonic

Well it is that time of year again I think it's safe to say we are all fighting something.  Being sick is no fun and sometimes staying healthy feels like a full time job.  Especially if you are trying to keep a whole house feeling fine.

I stumbled across this drink in one of my magazines and was immediately hooked by the ingredient list alone.  Lemons.  Ginger.  Echinacea.  I'm pretty sure this is the healthy vegan substitute for chicken broth!

Immune Tonic


  • 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tsp. honey or light agave
  • 1 tsp finely grated peeled ginger (in the beginning I used powder)
  • 1/4 tsp echinacea extract (sometimes I skip this, it's still amazing)
  • couple drops of sriracha

  • Measure and combine all ingredients into a mug (I double mine into a pint jar)
  • Add 1 cup boiling water stirring until sweetener is dissolved 
  • Let sit one minute before serving
inspired by bon appetit magazine (01/13)

I've been using this to replace my morning tea or afternoon snack.  If you are brave for an extra immune boost you could add some fresh peeled minced garlic.  

Wouldn't this make a great soup base?  Some sauted veggies and a spoonful of rice.  See what you can come up with...

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Pinspiration and a Happy Handmade Christmas: Little Girl

I love homemade gifts.

I realize lots of people say that.  Let me clarify.

I can't stop smiling while I am making something for someone I love.  I can hardly wait to give it to them.  I nearly cry when they open it.. and I get all warm and fuzzy every time they use what I have made.

The whole process for me is delightful.  Scouring Pinterest for ideas.  Shopping and scavenging for supplies.  Drinking mug after mug of  wine hot tea after the kids are asleep... Spending nights at the table making wonderful things.

The girls presents are always especially fun for me.  Beyond Barbies, I think it is challenging to shop for girls. I want quality and wholesome but often stores have plastic and superficial.  

Oh well.  So I made my own.

Here is what they found Christmas morning...

A simple wooden box (bought with my 50% off coupon) decorated with clearance stickers and my wood burning tool that I bought last year.  And inside...

... a scrap fabric paper doll kit!  What girl could resist?!?!  Color, cut, glue... ribbons and pom poms.  
(inspired by this)

and the little one found this...

not just a mint tin...

but two new friends in a little bed!

They are adorable.  And again, made from simply scraps! 
(inspired by this)

And finally for the girls to share this matching game.

The original was made of paper but I love using felt.  Next time (because I will make this again for some lucky little friend's birthday) I will glue only the middle so my stitches around the edge look better!

These are three success stories.  I attempt homemade gifts every year and most years they look like attempted homemade gifts.  I feel doubly good this year because they actually look as good as the projects that inspired them.  These lovely presents have gotten lots of use already.  Thanks Pinterest!

More homemade Pinterest success stories to come!!!  


p.s.  I just remembered that I also painted my first shirt... a gold unicorn on pink shirt using a stencil I created myself on the silhouette.  Now if I can just her to not wear it long enough so I can wash it and snap a will have to take my word for it! But I did find this blurry shot of her unicorn wearing it Christmas morning...

How about you?  Any surprising homemade gift success stories... do tell!!!


Monday, January 7, 2013

DIY: Chalkboard Wall Calendar

It has been a long time coming and seeing this project completed is a dream.

One huge blank wall.

Two hours and two rolls of painters tape.

Three coats of chalkboard paint.

A think it is a great way to start the new year.  Organized.

Here are a few more pictures of the process...

Just took the tape off.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...