This is one of those projects you can do in a matter of minutes and then after the holidays all you have to do is add a message with chalk and write your thank you note. Using leftover chalkboard paint, lightweight tag board and mismatched envelopes, I cut note cards to fit each envelope. Lay out your cards and using a flat 1″ brush, just paint a swoosh along the top. Each will be a little different and that’s part of the charm. You can also add a small brush stroke on the back of the envelope for the return address.
Write your thank you message using chalk like we did here or a use white paint pen or silver sharpie.
This year’s advent calendar was inspired by a vintage copy of “A Charles Dickens Christmas” that I found at a thrift store in Laguna Beach, CA. I loved the ivory colored pages with gray and red illustrations and I essentially wallpapered a small narrow wall in the front of our house with a mirror which by lucky coincidence was the perfect size for 24 small bags.
I love to use office and school supplies along with things we already own, so this came together quite easily and for a total cost of about $20. The most time consuming part was attaching the book pages to the wall. Here’s how I did it and what I used:
A vintage copy of “A Charles Dickens Christmas” found at a thrift store for .50 cents
Two packages of muslin favor bags which I stenciled numbers 1 – 24
Martha Stewart number stencils
small brush and paint
2 packages of Tacky Dot Singles to hang book pages without harming wall
mirror – I found mine which is perfect in size (approx. 15 x 29) for $25 at the Rose bowl Flea Market, but a chalkboard would work well too.
I always get emails asking what kind of gifts I put in each little bag. Since this advent calendar was inspired by a book, it would make a lot of sense to wrap up 24 books and inside each bag put a little clue or a note as to the title of the book and where they might find it hidden somewhere in the house. Sort of like a treasure hunt for a Christmas book. …since these are really tiny and my kids are older, I decided this year I would make it about experiences. This would actually work well at all ages. On one I put “dinner at Patsy’s” and on another, “tickets to a Nets game”….
I may be a little ahead of myself since it’s not even Thanksgiving, but the first week in Advent falls on Sunday, December First, which is the end of Thanksgiving weekend. Growing up one of our Christmas traditions was an Advent Wreath with three purple and one rose candle. This year, I’m using the traditional four candles, recycled cans and simple, but bold numbers from the hardware store. I saw the candles at Stew Leonard’s a few weeks ago and wasn’t quite sure how I would make it for this season, but knew I was going with traditional colors. It seemed like I had two of something or three of another container that might work, but not four of the right size. While in the basement staring at shelves lined with planters and bowls, I saw four cans that for some reason I had saved. I’m sure it was something I saw on Pinterest!
I used Ikea candle holders in the bottom of each can, filled it with soil and nestled a little moss from my stone walls around the base of each candle. If I still lived at the beach I would probably fill my cans with sand instead of soil and moss. They’ll need a little misting throughout the season to stay green, but that’s about it. I’m not sure of the reaction I will get from my family with the recycled cans, but I think I like it. Here’s where I found the explanation about why three purple and one rose candle on the third Sunday. I do love holiday traditions, what about you?
We recently painted our garage black for reasons that I will explain later. One thing led to another and it seemed like the perfect time to have one last outdoor dinner party. You can read more about that on the tinyprints blog. Tinyprints takes me back to why we painted our garage black in the first place. For our Christmas cards, of course. I saw this on Pinterest and I thought somehow I could work it into our Christmas card this year. I love so many of the tinyprints cards it’s going to be difficult to choose. I love how you can upload your photo and sort of try them on for size. I think this is the one. Or maybe this one, or….
It’s easy to make little terrariums in recycled jars. This is a great project for kids and perfect for a teacher gift…I mean they are creating a miniature ecosystem. My kids never made them because they have very little interest in crafts. No matter how much I tried, they would just look at me as if to say, “when is she going to get the hint?” Well anyway, I think a miniature terrarium along side a gift card makes a wonderful gift.
I’ve made terrariums before and I always refer to Martha Stewarts How To video just to make sure I don’t forget something. All you need is a container, a little soil, small stones or pebbles, moss (which I can easily collect all over my property, but it’s easy to find at the base of trees in the park. Just take a plastic spoon and gently lift the moss from the soil beneath and it comes off in a clump or a sheet, depending on the type. A few tiny plants that you can buy or find in the park or your yard and some twine if you want to hang them as I did. After you have planted your terrariums, give them a spritz of water and place near light. That’s it!
This is a super easy project and these little wood ornaments could be used on the tree or a gift. My husband cut thin pieces from a birch tree branch and drilled a small hole at the top. I painted them with chalkboard paint and then using a Sharpie paint pen, I made stars, hearts and trees. I put a little twine through each hole, tied a knot and they are ready for the tree.
An interesting side note…I collected the fallen birch tree branches from Waveny Park last year after Hurricane Sandy. Can you believe that was one year ago?
We painted our detached garage black…not really for Halloween, but I have to say pumpkins and mums look pretty great against the black. Only nine Fridays until Christmas…I’ll be back with a holiday craft tomorrow.