starting a tradition, making a lasting treasure

We had plenty of Christmas traditions growing up, ones that I still do for myself and my kids. I adore traditions and the more I can partake in with my little family, the better.
One traditional Christmas activity that my family didn’t do was an advent calender. It’s something I always wanted to do though.
But each year, Christmas time would come and go and I didn’t even attempt to create one. I kept telling myself that I should do it in the months outside of the Christmas season so I could take my time and not feel the looming pressure of December 1st. Because once the 1st is here and gone, it just doesn’t make sense, the whole thing is blown. BLOWN. Sometimes I’m just very rigid yo.

My production schedule this fall season going into holiday and winter is NUTS. More than I can handle comfortably. But I just couldn’t let another year go by without making an advent calendar. I was determined! So I decided to do some image searches in hopes of finding something that struck my fancy. And was relatively simple.

Quickly, I came across this one. Adorbs, right?

I like how cute it is, how simple and clean the overall design is, and that it reminded me of a traditional advent calender. I usually think of little boxes or pockets. Specifically with the idea that each day is an ornament to be placed onto a tree.

I gave myself 1-2 days ONLY in order to complete this project. Very ambitious! My fingers were quite sore and angry with me when all was said and done. Every single bit of wool blend felt was hand-cut and fused together with fusible webbing using a ripping hot iron. Actually the felt work reminded me a lot of the alphabet train I made for the boys a few years ago.

I snapped some pics throughout my process:

The layout:

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LOTS of numbers to trace and cut out:

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Fusing all of the pockets and numbers down:

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I usually don’t work this messy:

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Each ornament tucked into their cozy pockets:

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Mitten, horn, skate, wreath, reindeer:

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Toy soldier, gingerbread house, candle, ball ornament, candy cane:

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Christmas lightbulb, peppermint candy, drum, present, sleigh:

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Santa, bell, gingerbread man, snowman, holly:

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Angel, stocking, dove, poinsettia, and of course the King of Kings!

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All together!

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I’m just in love with it! And my kids and Mike think it’s wonderful too, which is just icing on the cake. It’s something that I hope will last all the years of our family, throughout our history and future. Perhaps even being handed to a new generation. Just like tradition.


materials used:

wool blend felt
fusible webbing
thread
wood dowel
ribbon for hanging (not pictured)

Enjoying the View

Polar Vortex anyone? The weather media really cracks me up. Some type of weather comes up, they name it, then talk about it incessantly until the next weather thing comes up. WEIRD.

I’m just happy we had some snow here this winter. Sleds and snowtubes for everyone!

After the cold fun, it’s nice to be indoors doing another favorite activity of mine.

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Can’t beat that view. Just a few short days until we take her down. Isn’t it just so cozy?

A Place for Specs

With the advent of eyewear as fashionwear (this was NOT a thing when I was a kid), it seems I have gotten a bit carried away. Zenni Optical SUCKED me right in with its vast selection and cheap prices. Not to mention the ones I purchased from my local eyewear place. AND the ones I’ve been hanging onto for many years as my backup backup BACKUP glasses. You know in case the other half dozen pairs I have break inexplicably.

The odd thing is that I wear my contacts more than my glasses. Gah, I make no sense.

Anyhoo, I was keeping them in a messy line on my dresser and kept telling myself to find them a better home. I was reading Racheal’s site way back when and she had made a cool display for her glasses. I was basically going to copy hers, but could not find an oval embroidery hoop. I have round ones, but I liked the look of the oval much better. I was also concerned that the yarn would started to droop, or I would get the glasses and yarn all tangled up when I was removing or replacing the frames.

So I came up with something similar but different.

I used an old picture frame! I painted it blue (with Rustoleum spray paint), cut strips of shades of purple gray and white wool felt and then stapled each strip to the back of the frame.
Voila! A new place for my many frames. (The frame fits many more frames (haha), I just added a few for the pic)

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Sweetheart Craft

I came across this tutorial a while ago and knew I would attempt it on my own. Typically I don’t do a literal interpretation of someone else’s design but I just loved the overall look so much, that I decided to make it as close to the original as possible. I’m in LOVE with it. All of it was hand stitched.

In progress:

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Finished and hanging on our front door:

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So this happened…

A few years back, I made a few new Christmas decorations for our home. I enjoyed our new items, though was challenged by one process in particular. The Christmas ball wreath, you can read about it here.

In any event, I did get through it all and I loved loved loved the look of the ball wreath. I totally could have made it with the plastic balls that LOOK like the glass balls, but I wanted to “be authentic”, or whatever. So I made it with glass balls and it was tough, but I did it and it looked great and yadayadayada. Once Christmas was over, I delicately packed it away and hoped for the best. The year rolled by and 2011 hit and I retrieved it from our storage and all was well. It looked great and nothing had broken.

Flashfoward to today. It’s time for us to decorate the home again and I gingerly removed the wreath from its resting place. I got our door wreath hanger hook thingie and set to put the wreath out. And then…

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I, could have cried. Mike looked over at me as I was just standing there staring down at the pile of shards. Sigh.

We nimbly cleaned it up and I thought about what to do next. Some of the balls were intact and just fine. Could I salvage this? I had no more large glass balls but maybe I could get some more? Hmmm. I had previously gotten them on sale from Michael’s. (all ornaments were 50% off then) Would they still be reasonably priced? I had to check!

Much to my luck, they were! I got a few more boxes and set to work.

All refurbished and looking pretty:

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Actually, I think it looks even better than before.

New Bed, New Pillows

So remember I said we got a new bed from IKEA on our last trip? We put that baby together and wow, it’s BIG! To be sure, we’ve had a king size mattress/boxspring for the last few years but we’ve never had a proper head/foot board. A kingsize frame isn’t all that big. We were both giggling a lot when the bed was finally assembled and we had to literally CLIMB into it. And we’re both very tall people!

But honestly, I love it so. It makes me very happy whenever I walk into our bedroom. In addition to the bedframe, we purchased a duvet cover to brighten up the place.

Our bedroom has always been cozy and comfortable. If not a little blah/ho-hum.

See:

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And now? Look how CHEERY!

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It’s exactly what I needed!

I was so excited about the new bed that yesterday I bought a new sheet set from Target and the last few nights I’ve been making new pillow covers for our pillows.

It was the first time using cover tutorial from design sponge. I had bookmarked that baby SO LONG ago and I finally used it! It was SUPER easy and I quickly fell in love with it. It’s my new favorite way to make pillow covers.

I went through my stash and found a number of fabrics that went just perfectly with the new bedclothes. And I had plenty of zippers on hand! Now it’s easier than ever to clean or change our covers and pillows. 🙂

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And this one is more like a standard pillow case.

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All together now:

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Isn’t it amazing/insane/hilarious how many pillows on our bed? There’s eleven total! Our couch is like that too. I LOVE pillows!

Felt and Yarn Wreaths

I love these wreaths, I do. I REALLY do. It’s such a pleasing project. The yarn and felt. YUM-MY. Two of my favorite materials.

The people who aren’t me and their lovely wreathes:

From goody-goody

And, Take Heart

All such good stuff.

This is the fifth wreath I have completed and I simply cannot pick a favorite.

This is the latest:

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Done in my very favorite color combination, turquoise and red. It makes me very happy.

Hearts on the Door

Today I crafted up some lovey love for our front door:

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As much as I don’t really like/enjoy/believe in Valentine’s Day as a legitimate holiday, I DO love hearts. LOVE hearts. I would put them on anything and everything if I could.

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Positive vs. Negative

A long time ago I discovered an artist, Elsa Mora. I can’t remember how I stumbled upon her work but since that day, I’ve been so glad I did. She has a wonderful story and whenever she posts something on her blog I know it’s going to be heartfelt and important.

One day back in November, she wrote about being positive. It spoke to me at a time that I needed to try and do anything to lift my spirit and look towards a brighter future. Reading her entry and seeing her image, it gave me an awareness. Awareness of a power that we all have.

Do we want to think and be positive?
Or do we want to be negative and fill our brains with negative thoughts?

I find myself consciously putting myself at that fork. Forcing myself to think, “Which road do I REALLY want to go down here?”

It’s hard. It is. Because most all of my life I looked down and traveled along that negative path. It’s well worn and I know the way. To attempt the other way is foreign and scary. But exciting. The idea that I have the power to choose is well, powerful.

I need to keep reminding myself.

So I printed Elsa’s lovely image onto fabric, outlined it in wool felt and placed it inside a frame I picked up from Goodwill. I added a sweet flower to the outside. I think it’s perfect.

It resides in my workspace and is visible from just about anywhere in our apartment.
Nudging me to take the positive path.

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Snowman Friend

Remember these? Me too! I do miss Christmas time. Can we have wreathes (is it wreaths?) year ’round? Here’s hoping.

I made this one today, in hopes it will appease whatever weather god is in charge of bringing some SNOW here please. I mean, c’MON already.

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