Thursday, December 22, 2011

2011 Elf Yourself

Merry Christmas from our house to yours!!

Personalize funny videos and birthday eCards at JibJab!

Friday, December 16, 2011

2011 Gift Tag Round-Up

Okay folks, only one week left until the jolly old elf slides down your chimney bearing toys and Christmas joy. That means you only have 8 days to get everything wrapped and under the tree. My favourite part of wrapping gifts is the tag and with so many awesome (and free!) options being offered, there is no need to spend your money on the sticky labels from a big box store.

Here are some of my favourites that I came across in my searches. Any of these can be printed on card stock or full sheet labels and cut out.

Chevron Tags from Marry This

Bookmark gift tag by A House Full of Moxie
{download at Simply Modern Mom}

Blush Printables can always be counted on to have beautiful gift tags.
These traditionally coloured tags are this year's offering.

These round tags using the Skunkling font are also from Blush Printables.

These modern gold and purple tags are another Blush Printables design.
{download at The Sweetest Occasion

Modern red and green tags from domestifluff.

Feminine gift tags by Hello!Lucky.
{download at How About Orange}

These tags from Jones Design Company are available
in five different colourways.

Finally, if you are making any gifts or doing any canning, Frugal Living has various canning labels available for download. I particularly like these traditional ones.

Are there any labels you've come across that I missed?

Merry Christmas and happy wrapping!

Monday, December 05, 2011

Making an Advent calendar

Growing up we never had Advent calendars. I don't think it was for any particular reason, they just weren't a part of our Christmas tradition. When A. and I started living together we bought the cheap $3 calendars from Wal-Mart with the waxy chocolates that we stopped eating after day six. As M. gets older and understands more about Christmas I wanted to make something that would be meaningful and that would allow us to track which activities we did over the years. I pinned several different inspiration photos to Pinterest but the one that ultimately stole my heart was this library cards & pockets Advent calendar from Not on the High Street.

I used this picture as an inspiration for my own project. I used materials that were readily accessible and purchased what I needed (sturdy scrapbooking paper, vinyl stick-on numbers, and mini clothespins) from Michael's. My book pockets have an adhesive back so I cut the scrapbook paper to size and attached the pockets to the paper.

True to my library nerd nature I looked up the Library of Congress call number for Advent calendars (GT 4988.5 if you care) and created a Cutter number (signifies the author) for our last name. My brilliant co-worker (a crafting whiz in her own right) suggested the phrase "On the {number} day of Advent" as the title proper (fancy cataloging term) for each card.

I mapped out our activities on a calendar beforehand (some items had to be placed on weekends) and then wrote them out on the borrower line of the book card. This way we are easily able to see what we did year after year since each year will have its own line on the card.

I strung everything up on a heavy twine and each day we pick out the card as a family. I'm really loving it so far and hope it can turn into an annual tradition!

When I was trying to come up with 24 different activities I searched around and found some great lists like this one from Jordan Ferney and this one from Kim McCrary. I took a few ideas from them and came up some more that suited our family and arrived at the following list. Borrow at will!
  • Hang the wreath
  • Pick out a book for the Birth & Babies exchange
  • Make a tree topper
  • Decorate the tree
  • Hang stockings
  • Make a popcorn garland
  • Pick an item from the World Vision catalog
  • Listen to Christmas music
  • Pancakes for dinner
  • Go tobogganing
  • Make cookies
  • Make a Christmas craft
  • Hot chocolate in front of the fire
  • Drive around the neighbourhood to look at lights
  • Make snow angels
  • Hang yearly ornament (Tradition #1: M. gets a new ornament every year. She will then have a starter collection for when she has her own home.)
  • Go skating
  • Visit Santa
  • Pick a Christmas treat
  • Watch Mickey's Christmas Carol
  • Snowball fight
  • Unwrap a new book to read tonight
  • Christmas PJs (Tradition #2: New pajamas every year at Christmas)
  • Read "Twas the Night Before Christmas" (Tradition #3: We read from the same copy A. had as a child)

Do you have an Advent calendar every year? Have you ever made one?