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Book Ornament Workshop!

Posted on November 30, 2016 at 10:00 AM Comments comments (0)



My workshop hosted by Westboro Brainery at the Dovercourt Recreation Centere here in Ottawa was a smashing success. Transformed many old books into holiday ornaments including Christmas trees, snowmen, and stars.




What a great way to spend an evening with a group of lovely, lively ladies. And, pssst, they actually pay me for doing this!! Check out more photos here.


Picture sources: Westboro Brainery

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Wrap and Tag - Brown Paper Packages

Posted on November 21, 2016 at 9:30 AM Comments comments (0)

Have you got all your gifts bought (or made), wrapped, and tucked away somewhere safe from prying eyes yet? Well, I don't. This year, at least for the grown-ups, I'll be making most, if not all, of my gifts. Since I have to wait for some of them to grow, wrapping up has to wait. It's been my experience that one of the joys of getting a gift is the gift wrap and so, one of the things I've learned about gift wrapping is that it's often the outside of the gift that creates the excitement - who cares what's inside! Well, maybe not.


My favourite wrapping is, of course, something that I've recycled and often it's the brown postal wrap that I get when friends send me gifts. I usually smooth out the paper and roll it around those cardboard paper towel inserts until I need to use. it.


Picture Source


Anyway, this year I will be wrapping all my gifts in my recycled brown paper wrap. Not only is this gift wrap easy on your wallet but it saves you have to run around the malls or shops to find that PERFECT wrap. If you don't have a horde of your own brown paper (like I do) t's readily available at your local post office. My friend Sean calls it the LBD of gift wrap because, just like that little black dress, brown paper wrap can easily be dressed up for any occasion. The ways to transform this seemingly ho-hum wrap are, to use an old cliché, endless.


Here are a few ideas I spotted for decorating plain brown paper wrapping:


DIY LINO STAMPS



Here's an idea from Ideas Magazine (November 2016 edition) - make your own lino stamps using photos and then dress up that old kraft wrapping paper with the image. Now, I'm not attempting this one as if I did, my fingers would be cut off in pieces - I'm not too handy with Xacto knives but if your fingers are agile enough, go for it.


The online version of this magazine is now gone unfortunately, but I did find instructions for making your own lino stamps here.


THE PERFECT MATCHING BOW!



No need to run out and buy fancy bows for your plain Jane wrapper - just use the same paper to make the bows. Blogger Amy from My Life From Home shares her gran's instructions for making a bow to match your gift wrap. For gran's instructions, click here.


NEED A RIDE? 




The folks over at Anthropology know a good thing when they see it and so 'borrowed' this idea of a toy car or truck with a mini tree on top. It appeared everywhere on Instagram and Pinterest last year and it really is cute. Anthropology used this wrap idea for flogging soap but it's easy enough to 'borrow' for other gifts for both kids and adults (hint, hint).



If, like me, drawing is not your strong suit, the guys over at Junior Card Designer have a good tutorial, originally designed for young children, for drawing a car. If you have a car lover in the family, this site will keep them busy for quite a while For a little car tutorial, click here.


You know you've made it when Anthropology 'borrows' your idea!


CARS NOT YOUR THING? HIT THE BEACH! 



Actually, journalist and blogger, Heather Young, at Growing Spaces intended this idea for summer gifting but it's one that is easy enough to adapt for Christmas (if you can draw!) by drawing what might be in the parcel.



I think the picnic hamper would be a cute idea for any food gift wrapper - just add a bit of holly berries and leaves, maybe. Click here for Heather's instructions.


MY CANADIAN WRAP AND TAG



Couldn't leave this post without one of my own ideas. I made a pompom from twine that I also used to wrap around the gift. The moose was copied from an old book on forest animals of the north. 


A FINAL NOTE


All the these ideas can be made by you and any little ones in your life. Why not invite friends (of all ages) over to create any one or all of the above ideas. And there are loads more online.


Ciao!

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Advent Calendars to Make

Posted on November 8, 2016 at 11:20 AM Comments comments (0)

Here's what I've spotted this year in the way of Advent calendars. A number of my picks for Advent calendars are not in English but all provide great photos (and some printables) if you want to make these. Also, I tried to find calendars for this post that can be readily made with material such as cardboard boxes, paper towel rolls, leftover gift wrap, even toys. Some are more time consuming but, I think, worth the effort and one or two are just plain fun. 


Cardboard Box House Advent



If you've got a few cardboard boxes kicking around, here’s an idea for a larger than normal Advent calendar from Marie Claire Idees magazine that uses these boxes to create these three little buildings. Open small numbered windows of each building to find a small surprise inside. Instructions are in French and there are oodles of other Advent ideas if you’re not into building construction. For instructions, click here


Circus Tent Advent Calendar 



The cutest Advent calendar and the one on my To-Do list from Claudi at Was Fuer Mich. What kid (big or little) wouldn't love opening up each little gift until the big day. Claudi is a mom, journalist, and author and hers is an awesome site you really should visit. It’s in German but, no worries, lots of great photos to show you how to create this very original Advent calendar. For the tutorial, click here


Duplo Lego People Advent Calendar




If your kids have outgrown their lego people then here’s a way to reuse them into cute little Advent calendar figures. The idea comes from Jacks and Kate. Each numbered circle has an activity printed on the back. Full instructions and there’s a link to a circle printable as well.


For the tutorial, click here.


Cracker Advent Calendar



From Iva Alex over at Country Beyond the Arc, a Bulgarian website, we have this Christmas cracker Advent calendar created using cardboard paper rolls and crepe paper but you can substitute leftover gift wrap or even magazine pages. Each roll is filled with healthy treats such as nuts, raisins, etc. Very good photos to follow if you want to make your own version. You can click on English in the Language box for excellent instructions.


For the how-tos, click here.


Our Lady Martha's Advent Calendar



Of course, I can’t finish this post without a nod to our lady Martha. She shows you how to make an Advent calendar filled with treats using whatever you have on hand. It looks pretty easy to do and uses up whatever gift wrap you have on hand.


Click here.


Christmas Wreaths - More Ideas

Posted on November 6, 2016 at 3:15 PM Comments comments (0)

There are tons of ideas for making your own holiday wreath this Christmas. The trick to making one more personal is to add your own touches with material and decorations you've already got on hand. Not all of the wreaths that I'm posting here come with how-tos or a tutorial but it's easy enough to find instructions online for almost any kind of wreath you imagine. 


Backyard Twiggy Wreath



Are you pruning your backyard bushes? Don't toss those prunings. Instead turn them into a twiggy wreath that you can keep up even after Christmas. Pam over at Design Fanatic provides a full tutorial. You can always add a few holiday decorations or ornaments for Christmas and then remove after. 


For instructions, click here.


Donna's Twiggy Wreath




This is another twiggy version from Austrialian whiz chef, Donna Hay. No longer on offer but should be easy enough to make.


Paper Feather Wrath



You can easily make a wreath out of whatever paper you've got on hand! Lucy over at Craftberry Bush shows you how to make this wreath and you can use up any paper you have on hand.


Instructions here.


Wreath of Leaves



You can purchase this magnolia leaf wreath over at Painted Fox Home or you can replicate it with felt leaves instead. 



Cheaper too.


Dolly Peg Wreath



I recently sold my vintage clothes (dolly) peg collection and the lady who bought it made this mirror frame for her laundry room using those pegs. You'll need a few dozen dolly pegs and an embroidery hoop for this one. 


My Own Plastic Bag Wreath



Did you ever make these at grade school? We did and it appears kids still do. This wreath takes a bit of time to cut up all of the plastic strips but the results are pretty nice. Perfect for a long lasting outdoor wreath and it does last forever. Perfect for hanging outside.


For the link to the instructions for my plastic bag wreath, click here