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You may already know that I have a fondness for advent calendar. I think I get it from my mom. As a child I remember her sewing together a large snowman advent calendar with pouches – inside each pouch was a felt ornament. Oh, how I loved it! She would also treat us to those store-bought advent calendars with a chocolate behind each door. Unfortunately I had to take turns opening the little doors with my little brothers.
Here’s a sampling of some advent calendars I’ve made in the past – I guess you won’t be shocked that they’re in book form!
This one is tiny, but chunky – the pockets are 2″ x 2″ and each one contains a tag. It seemed like a great idea at the time, but this book ended up taking about 8 hours to make! Between folding of the pockets, punching holes in each one, binding 24 signatures, gluing the pockets, then gluing the embellishments on each pocket…by the end of it, I was SO DONE.
This is a larger one – I made one for my mom last year (actually, today is her birthday – Happy Birthday, Mom!) and in each pocket I included a tag with “Merry Christmas” in a different language.
Do you have a great advent calendar you’d like to share? Please do!
Make travel journal for Switzerland trip. Check.
Finish Christmas shopping. Check.
Pack bags. Check.
I think I’m ready. At least, I hope so. The anal retentive part of me (which, by the way, is about 90% of me) keeps remembering things I need to do before my big trip. Getting up early tomorrow morning to drive to Buffalo, NY to catch my flight to Geneva. I’m very excited about this trip, and nervous too, although I don’t really know why…
I promise to provide a detailed report upon my return to Canada. I will definitely want to show off the super duper travel journal I made specifically for this trip.
Until then, dear friends, best wishes for the holiday season. Have a safe and happy Christmas!
See you all in 2008!
I am so in love with these – and they’re super easy to make!
Find the tutorial here.
Looks like I’ll be spending part of the Christmas holidays somewhere very special this year: Switzerland!!!
B has been commissioned to work on a project there for five weeks, and I’ll be joining him in late December. When checking out his schedule, we discovered he would be working in Gstaad at that time. Here’s what I found out about Gstaad on a tourism website:
GSTAAD – twinned expertly with Cannes – is an odd place. You’d think, from the high profile of its name, that it would be some kind of glittering Geneva-in-the-Alps, a fantastically expensive mountain paradise. Yet although its instant name recognition may effortlessly attract Europe’s royal households, celebrities galore and countless lesser hangers-on, Gstaad is in fact just a one-street village, a rather charming, attractively located place full of restored weathered-wood chalets – even if there is an overabundance of jewellery shops and furriers. Nonetheless, its high-roller status makes it a village like no other. If you fancy being snubbed by the world’s richest people, come here for Christmas week, scene of a heady round of sparkling soirées and lavish banquet-style dinner parties all but barred to ordinary mortals.
Glossy magazines may advertise the town as some kind of winter wonderland, but St Moritz steals its luxury-class thunder on this score: Gstaad is really more of a place to spend the odd ten grand renting a hillside chalet and sipping champagne around town than it is somewhere you can get stuck into any serious skiing. Where Gstaad really enters into its own, prosaically enough, is as a centre from which to hike the little-known Saanenland during the summer months.
Not quite sure what to make of this, considering that I wasn’t planning on sipping all that much champagne around town…
More encouragingly, I’ll be heading over to Zermatt for a day or two. This travelogue has me very excited about the place – imagine seeing the famous Matterhorn! Woo hoo!
I’ve mentioned a few times that I love participating in swaps, particularly on Swap-Bot.
The last swap I took part in required each participant to make a book filled with letters and envelopes filled with goodies. Here is what I came up with for my partner:
I created my book based on a Christmas theme – I found some wonderful old-fashioned clip art from a CD & book my mother gave me for Christmas last year. If you look closely, you’ll notice that each of the signatures is made from a mini file folder, with even smaller (minier?) file folders interpersed.
In one of the envelopes, I included the famous “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus” letter. In some pockets I added a packet of tea and one of minty hot chocolate.
All in all, this was a fun project to make. As usual, I wish I’d had more time to work on and embellish it…oh well, maybe next time.
This weekend was great, from a crafty perspective. I’m really getting into the Christmas spirit, despite being so exhausted from my day job. Worked on a few projects:
Project #1: Chunky Advent Book
Bought a kit to make this project and turned it into this:
Each page is a numbered mini-envelope with a tag inside. The book itself is 2″X2″, and refuses to shut close (but that’s exactly how I like it!).
I was debating what to include on each of the tags, and finally decided I would write one self-reflective question for each day. The end of the year is always a time for me to look back on past accomplishments and to future goals. I love those end-of-year questionnaires so I figure I’ll adapt one for my chunky advent calendar.
Speaking of advent calendars, if you’re as obsessed with them as I am, check out this site – I was very pleased to see the star advent calendar I made several weeks back:
Project #2: Christmas Cards and Envies
Some days I’m convinced I’m insane to insist on making my own Christmas cards every year (or almost), but it’s so important to me and I love doing it. Here is what I made for this year:
The envelope has a small window, inside of which is stamped “let it snow”. (And it’s not diarrhea green, as in the photo; it’s actually a beautiful olive green. Trust me.)
Project #3: Ribbon-Hinged Albums
I was commissoned to make two ribbon-hinged albums, both of which I’ve started and almost finished. Photos to come…
Project #4: Personalized Journal
I was also commissioned to make a journal for a co-worker’s daughter. She (the daughter) is a ballerina whose photo was used on promotional material for a ballet school, and her mother has asked me to include some of the material as part of the journal. I love a great challenge! I think I’ve finally figured out what to do…again, photos to come…
All in all, a great weekend!
Spending way too much time online looking for Christmas projects and not enough time catching up on my sleep after a rough week (I organized three out-of-town events this week alone)… Planning on spending what’s left of today catching up on some commissions for handmade books and finishing my Christmas cards… Sometimes I wonder if I’m insane to insist on making my own cards and gifts when I barely have a moment to myself, but I can’t help it – Christmas has this effect on me….
Here are a few projects to inspire you, should you have some free time this weekend:
I’ve had this idea stuck in my head for several weeks now, and was trying to figure out how exactly I should execute it… This past weekend I finally produced my first star book/advent calendar – here’s what it looks like:
There are a total of 24 tiny envelopes, each containing a round tag that expresses “Merry Christmas” in a different language… That’s right, by the time Christmas rolls around, you’ll be able to say it in 24 languages! There are two tags per panel, with one extra panel at the front of the book where I added a short history of the advent calendar, and one at the back where I simply added “Merry Christmas” with a hand-drawn tree.
I’m very happy with how it turned out, although there are parts I’d like to tweak, such as the round tags. I’m thinking of replacing them with more traditional-looking tags. And I need to figure out how to decorate the covers, which are too plain-looking. I’m not one to embellish my handmade books – this is an enormous step for me! I love the colours on the outer panel (the ones the envelopes are glued to) – it looks Christmas-ish without looking too Christmas-y. Know what I’m sayin’???
I also received a great package in the mail yesterday – it was for the Handmade Happiness swap on Swap-Bot. As part of the swap, we were to send two handmade items to our two partners. Here is what I received from Lithmire:
It’s a tote bag made from a t-shirt! Brilliant! I love it – especially the t-shirt she made it with (I believe every town should have its own Rubber Chicken Festival). She also included a handmade bracelet in beautiful green and teal beads.
I’ve really become hooked on Swap-Bot – this past month alone so many great and creative swaps have come up. I think I’m signed up for at least 10! Better get my butt into gear and start creating…
It’s so sunny and peaceful in the house on this Christmas Eve morn. B. and his son are still in bed, so I have the whole place to myself, which is wonderful.
I’ve also bought a few presents for myself. After last month’s nasty crafting accident during which I sliced my finger, I got to thinking much more about safety. I bought a Fiskar rotary cutter and an O’Lipfa ruler (it has a lip at one edge that clamps to the edge of the chipboard or whatever else you’re cutting, therefore making it more stable). I’m looking forward to trying these out:
The books are thrift store finds; I’ll be ripping out the binding to use the pages in my handmade books. I like to choose colourful, informative books that have thicker paper for pages.
Friday I got a great package in the mail from my Swap-Bot partner Katrina. It was for the Holiday Stress Swap (we were supposed to send items that would make the holidays less stressful and more enjoyable).
My package from Katrina included some wrapping tape and gift tags, a skein of 100% alpaca wool from Peru, a box of minty truffles (my favourite!), gold and silver pipe cleaners, soft trouser socks, candy cane cocoa, handmade soap from Hawaii and some relaxing bath tea, which I can’t wait to try out! Thank you, Katrina!
I only discovered Swap-Bot about a month ago, but have since joined three swaps. They are highly addictive, so much fun to put together and even more fun to receive! I’ll definitely be joining more swaps in the new year.
I’d like to wish a safe and happy holiday season to everyone reading this, and best wishes in the new year!
Cheers all around!