Saturday, December 8, 2012

Holiday Crafting: Advent Calendar

Some of our holiday decorations (and only a little of my crafting mess)

I knew my Christmas decorations wouldn't have been complete without a Christmas countdown or Advent calendar of some kind. 

While I am definitely the crafting half of my household, I wanted A to have a stake in our first holiday decorations together as well. Luckily, he has a serious penchant for covering the chalkboard surfaces in our kitchen with sweet and silly drawings. We (I) decided that he would come up with a picture idea for each day in December leading up to the big day and draw them in little cards for me to open. He loved (complied with) the idea and I made the cards from some red construction paper and plain newsprint (if you're shopping online at all for the holidays, you'll probably wind up with as much plain newsprint as your heart could desire as packing material in boxes). I used tape instead of glue to stick the number squares and inner drawing squares to the cards since the newsprint was so thin (I think it still looks pretty good unless you get too close). A drew his ideas in the cards and we stuck them on the edge of the kitchen-living room wall. 

The drawings I've opened so far have been adorable and funny, just what I wanted. I love to surprise him with new decorations and crafts, so it's sweet to have some surprises of my own!

Advent calendars usually stop at 24, but I decided that for us, Christmas Day itself needed a card. We both have to work on Boxing Day this year, and coming home from our family celebration on Christmas night is always such a huge letdown. This year I'll have one last surprise to look forward to! 

Advent calendars are a great way for the less crafty partner to be involved in creating the holiday decorations. You could fill the cards with pictures like ours, love notes, messages of faith, or anything your heart desires!

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Thursday, December 6, 2012

Holiday Crafting: Christmas Card Holder

I love the look of burlap for holiday decorating! I had the idea a while back to use a ribbon and clothespins for a Christmas card holder, so when it came time to order crafting supplies, I knew I needed some burlap ribbon. 

This wire edged burlap ribbon was perfect--the color and texture I was looking for with a finished edge. Some natural and red mini clothespins were the only other necessary supplies. 

I cut the ribbon to the right length to wrap around the door of a cabinet in our living room, "finished" the ends with packing tape so they wouldn't unravel, and taped it tightly in place (if nobody can see them, who cares how nice the structural parts are?). Spacing the clothespins along the edge completed our card holder. 

This was definitely my quickest holiday craft!

Some of the links in this post have been provided by Amazon under the Amazon Affiliate program. Cantabridgette is not compensated solely for posting the links.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Holiday Crafting: Cinnamon-stick Candles

While searching Pinterest for holiday decorating ideas I came across an adorable candle craft that I had to make. I don't burn candles often but I knew these would look great with my holiday greenery. 

I assembled my supplies: 

  1. Five natural beeswax candles from an adorable shop on Etsy (the other two are in my red Ikea lanterns); 
  2. A whole lot of cinnamon sticks (if you buy a big bag, you can make mulled cider all winter); 
  3. My trusty thin jute string; and 
  4. Some maple log candle holders (I liked the rustic look). 

The assembly was really simple once I realized that I needed an adhesive to hold the cinnamon sticks to the candle while I was putting them together. If I were a craftier person and owned a glue gun, I would have run a thread of hot glue around the candle near the bottom. I am not that person (yet?), so I used double-sided tape around the bottom of the candle. If I do burn the candles, I'll make sure to stop above the tape line. 

When the sticks were in place, I first tied them up with a thicker jute twine, but decided I liked the jute string look better. 

They fit perfectly on the half wall between the living room and kitchen!

Some of the links in this post have been provided by Amazon under the Amazon Affiliate program. Cantabridgette is not compensated solely for posting the links.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Holiday Crafting: Paper Snowflakes

On the first weekend of November, the temperature dipped and I started to think about the holidays. After one evening of furious holiday pinning I was inspired to craft lots of decorations for our little home. We have a big opening between our kitchen and living room and a high ceiling, so my first decorating task was to fill some of that space. 

 I saw a couple of snowflake templates on Pinterest and was inspired to create some falling snowflakes in my doorway!

First I ordered my ingredients:
  1. 500 pack of thin white origami paper (the thinner the better to help make intricate cuts and avoid carpal tunnel--I've made over 100 snowflakes so far);
  2. A roll of thin jute (burlap) string (you could try fishing line or unwaxed dental floss, but the jute holds glue really well and it matches my overall Christmas decor strategy);
  3. A bottle of clear gel glue; and
  4. Little 3M hooks that match my walls.
I held off on decorating until the weekend before November. I like to observe the "no Christmas til after Thanksgiving" rule, but I figured a few snowflakes wouldn't violate the spirit of the rule.

I haven't made snowflakes in years, so I brushed up on the six point fold and got to snipping!

The only rule is to leave as little paper on the snowflake as possible!

I laid the snowflakes under the string and dotted glue where the string would lay. For at least a few of the glue spots on each flake I used a tiny scrap of paper to sandwich the string for extra security.

The hardest part of the whole project is to measure and space out the hooks and the lengths of the string. A measuring tape is your friend here. Since my ceiling is so high I alternated strings of three and two.

This project only took a few hours (approximately five episodes of The West Wing). It was easy enough that when I finished, I thought, "Why not cut 60 more snowflakes for each windowpane on the long side of our apartment (and 48 more for some friends)?"At the end of the latter process, I was ready to be done with snowflakes for a while. Luckily, all of my snowflakes have lasted the two weeks since they went up, and I'm confident that at least the garlands will last the season to be packed away for next year!

Some of the links in this post have been provided by Amazon under the Amazon Affiliate program. Cantabridgette is not compensated solely for posting the links.