Feeling Crafty: a hodge podge of holiday ideas

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We are in the first week of advent and it would have been good if I posted these ideas sooner, but that didn’t happen.  I figured I would still go ahead and post.  It’s better late than never and if you want to try any of these things with your family, I am pretty sure they won’t mind if you are a few days late.  Advent is all about getting ready and exciting for the coming of baby Jesus.  So, it’s an exciting time full of anticipation for Christmas day.  I wanted to make an advent calendar last year, but never got around to it.  So this year, I did, on Dec. 1, but nonetheless I got it done.  It isn’t exactly how I wanted it to turn out, with the tools and supplies that I had it turned into my old standby of pennant flags, but still pretty cute if you ask me.

This local scrapbook shop has a machine that laser cuts out numbers and letters so, I had those done and just glued them on to the flags.  Super easy to make by the way.  They are 4 inches across the top, so one piece of 12×12 scrapbook paper makes 10.  Let me know if you want step by step instructions.  I was going to include them, but didn’t want to if it was going to be for nothin’.  Anyway, with a small sticky dot, I attached small pieces of paper to the back of each flag and every day is a new, fun and exciting activity!  Some are for me, like “girl’s night”, some for the hubby, some for the kids, and some for the family.  I included things like, decorate the tree, sing Christmas songs before bed, ride the reindeer carousel at the mall, Nail Day for Mommy and Piper, make cookies, take Tatum on a bike ride to look at lights, pictures with Santa, Mommy and Daddy date night, paint a Christmas tree poster.  I strategically placed certain ones on weekends and even had to arrange sitters and “dates” for our girls and boys night out.  This is what Piper and I worked on during Tatum’s nap time yesterday.  She didn’t want me to take Tatum’s and her picture down (is that proper English?  It sounds weird), because I already took 2 other pictures down of her.  I told her it would just be for 25 days or so, but she would have none of it.  She also went to town tying toole and raffia to the string.  Sometimes I have to let go of perfection in the name of having fun with my little munch :).  We enjoyed our time making it and so far it has been equally as enjoyable uncovering each day’s surprise!

day one!

Next on the advent activity to do list is this idea of opening a new book every night leading up to Christmas.  I heard about this last year and we tried it and really liked it.  I wrapped 24 Christmas books in brown paper and numbered them 1-24.  Now before you think that seems ridiculous, let me just say that 20 of the books were library books.  I raided the library and put those first, since I can check out books for 3 weeks.  Each night the girls unwrapped a book and we read it before bed.  Since last year, I have collected a few more from garage sales and gifts last Christmas, but earlier this week I made a trip to the library and stocked up again.  It is really better that way, because you can get a variety and don’t have to read the same books each and every year.

This year Piper helped me wrap them and then we mixed them all up and she wrote the numbers on them, well, most of them until she got tired of writing.  Here’s a picture of our books on the ground since we don’t have our tree yet.  Tomorrow they will be under the tree!  Here’s a picture of the girls last year with their book and cute matching jammies, how quickly my little Tate has change in a year!  So head to the library and try this I am sure the kids will love it!

This blog is kinda going to be all over the place, but I just wanted to put it all down while I had the time.  Let’s talk gift wrapping now.  I have some holiday table cloths that were given to me, but I don’t actually have a dining room table.  Plus, they aren’t exactly the color scheme I am currently going with, so I got the idea to use the fabric as gift bags.  I am sure I could go to the fabric store and find some really cute fabric to make these bags, BUT INSTEAD I used these table cloths that were FREE!

I collected my fabric along with some square shaped objects in a variety of sizes.  I folded the material and then cut out the material the size of my boxes and wood (so that the bags would be the same size).  And then, if you are lucky enough, like I was, you get someone to sew them for you!  While I was busy cutting and ironing, my mom sewed the sides up.  And here is what the finished product looks like, again, no tree.  Sorry.  Just a simple little raffia bow on the top.  I think toole or twine would look cute too.  Who knew going green could be so cute?!

recycled tablecloth

And now onto the next piece of business.  I thought you would like to know that this Tuesday, Dec. 6 is Saint Nicholas Day.  St. Nick lived a long time ago like in the 300s and died on Dec. 6th.  It is a really great story of a boy who inherited some serious wealth after his parents died, yet he chose to give it all away to the poor and needy.  Often by putting coins in the empty shoes of those needy individuals.  Of course, we know that St. Nick is Santa Claus’ namesake, so it may be worth reading about him.  Celebrating Saint Nicholas Day on this day with gift giving helps keep the focus of the birth of Jesus on Christmas day.  So, on Monday night, the Ristows will be choosing our shoes to put out on the porch and will wait and see what happens the next morning!  If you have young kids, I know VeggieTales makes a pretty good movie on Saint Nicholas.  It may be worth buying, renting or borrowing.  I found this video of Piper putting our boots out when she was two.

And last, but not least, I wanted to let you know about some unique Christmas gifts that not only will totally bless the person you give it to, but also support some really amazing global causes.  I’m calling it Christmas with a cause.  Have you heard of punjammies?  These do not go in the category with pajama jeans, let me just say that.  These are really cute pajama bottoms that are made by women in India who were rescued from a life of prostitution and are working to build a new life for themselves.  Talk about a good cause, and totally cute too.  Click here to go to the website.

My friend, Kaitlyn, just told me about this other organization called Sak Saum, which has a similar cause, but helps those that were forced into human trafficking in Cambodia.  This company sells handbags and other cute accessories.  It is really  worth checking out. The prices are reasonable and you and the receiver will both feel good knowing that your gift is kind of like a double gift!

cute wallets on Sak Saum

Lastly, I have to tell you about 31 Bits because these girls are my neighbors!  I am so excited for them because they are young little twenty somethings who went on a trip to Africa a few years back and came back with a vision.  They have started a company selling handmade jewelry from women in Uganda.  They have been pretty successful and I keep finding their product in new places all the time.  They even have a contract with Reef sandals.  I’m so proud of these girls, really!  Check out the website and read the stories of lives changed.  Truly truly amazing.

I know this blog was all over the place, but I hope that you walked away with something.  Go get your craft on, or your shop on or something!  I am hoping this wasn’t in vain on my part.

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2 responses »

  1. Never in vain, loved it! Thanks for all the ideas! We love the book one, although I wrap in tissue paper, maybe the Kraft paper is better! Happy st Nicklaus day!

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