Every festive season we count down to December 25th with a Christmas Book Advent.
Once upon a time, I used to wrap each book in colourful paper and embellish with pom poms and all kinds of decorative paraphenalia.
These days, I ain’t got time for that. Nor do I wish to give myself RSI or a bazillion paper cuts doing so.
So here’s how I intend on rocking the Christmas Book Advent in a more environmentally-friendly fashion this year with 3 kids.
I’ve handsewn some sweet little bags and each day I will simply place a new book in each child’s bag.
I originally saw this idea done by Hana, and I love that it also creates a keepsake that can be used year after year.
(Hana and I are both suckers for creating traditions and love-soaked memories with our littles.)
Oh, and did I mention that sewing is not my strong point?
So if you are not the most confident seamstress, take heart. It’s a project simple enough for even those who flunked Home Economics in high school.
What you will need:
A length of fabric (Ours measured 40cm x 50cm)
Cord for the drawstring
I chose to cut my fabric to 40cm wide by 50cm tall. This was to accommodate the largest Christmas book in our collection.
You might like to make your bag smaller or bigger. So step 1 is simply cut to size, leaving about 2cm seam allowance.
Turn your fabric over and fold over a seam of about 2cm. Iron this down to get a nice sharp fold.
I chose to do a back stitch along this seam. Mainly because I’ve just learnt how to do such a stitch from my friend Trixi and I wanted to practice it. Apparently back stitching is an embroidery technique. I’m obviously not embroidering, but whatevs!
“Do what works for you” is totally one of my creative mantras. You could obviously just do a simple running stitch.
You will be threading your drawstring cord through this section, so don’t stitch too close to the edge.
Once that step is complete, fold your bag in half so the front halves are facing towards each other.
Stitch down the long side and then across the short side to meet the fold.
Again I had a seam allowance of about 2cm.
Let the record show, that at this point my husband declared “It’d be so much quicker if you just used a sewing machine.”
To which I responded with an eye roll and “Yeah but we don’t have a sewing machine.”
What a cheerleader!
You can now turn your bag out- and you have something that resembles a bag!
Before threading the drawstring cord through, I just turned in the edges of the drawstring openings and sewed that seam in to give you a nice, clean edge.
Time to thread the drawstring through and this may be the stage where you mutter a few sweary words.
Attach a safety pin to the end of the drawstring cord so that you can feed it through the seam.
Eventually it will come out the other end. But I warn you, it may take a few frustrating attempts.
Knot the ends of your cord to prevent them slipping back through the seam, and voila! A book bag!
We don’t have enough Christmas-related books to fill 24 days.
So I fill in the gaps with our favourite books from the year that was.
Any opportunity to celebrate reading and books!
We’re madly wrapping presents and planning cakes in preparation for my eldest’s 5th birthday.
(She requested a love heart cake. Then a cat-shaped cake. Now we’re back at the love heart request.)
Birthdays always make me sentimental and nostalgic.
Do you have any birthday traditions with your littles?
Back when she was about to turn 2, I posted these kids’ birthday interviews.
Cue all the lamenting about “where does the time go?!”
Every birthday, I print off an interview template and fill it in. I then keep them in a journal dedicated to each child.
(The title is meant to be filled in as “Your child’s nameatage they are.” E.G Emily at 5 years old.)
I like to think of it as a birthday time capsule.
Because I’m clearly not dealing with all the emotions of “how is she 5 alreadddyyyy?!” I created a few new designs for some fresher birthday interviews.
Want to print your own kids’ birthday interviews?
Click on the images below to download your own copy.
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When I think of summer in Australia, I feel the searing heat of the sun on my skin. Salty lips. Beach hair. Lazy days. Backyard BBQs. Prawns.
Yes, prawns. Because I can’t think of a BBQ without hearing the phrase “throw another prawn on the barbie.”
And that, my friends, is how this summer craft came about.
Create some felt prawns, a BBQ out of reused cardboard, make use of some velcro and you’ve got yourself a backyard summer game.
What You Will Need:
For the BBQ
Cardboard (we reused a box)
Craft knife / sharp scissors
Bowl to trace around
Velcro (Hook tape fastener)
Grey / silver spray paint
For the prawns Free prawn printable
Felt in colours of your choice
Thread and needle
Fiberfill / stuffing
How To Make the BBQ:
Raid your crockery cupboard, find a big bowl and trace around it onto cardboard.
Add handles if you wish.
Cut your round BBQ shape out.
If using a craft knife, use a mat and be careful! (Yes, mum.)
Paint your BBQ black and set aside to dry.
My hook fastener came in a roll.
I ran strips from one end of a box to the other end and then spray painted the strips.
Ensure that you spray paint in a well-ventilated area.
Once the paint on the BBQ and the velcro strips has dried, peel the backing away from the velcro strips and stick onto the BBQ.
How To Make the Prawns:
Print and cut out the prawn template. (I used the larger size.)
Place your template on two pieces of felt and cut out your prawn.
I used a simple running stitch to sew the two pieces of felt together.
Before sewing up the whole prawn, be sure to add stuffing.
Look, we don’t judge around here.
If the thought of sewing gives you heebie-jeebies, then use a hot glue or fabric glue to seal the felt together.
Embellish your prawns as you please. I just glued on a googly eye.
I made antennae with pipe cleaners and then pushed the pipe cleaner between a gap in stitching.
Now the fun part. Determining the rules of the game.
Do different zones of the BBQ bring different points?
Do you earn extra points for “flamboyant” prawn-throwing?
Do you have to stand a certain distance from the BBQ?
So many possibilities.
We also made medals for the Grand Throwing-a-Prawn-on-the-Barbie Champion.
We traced around a lid to create the medal.
Using the smaller prawn on the template, we decorated them with paint sticks and collage materials.
Then we glued the prawn onto the BBQs, punched a hole and strung some yarn through.
All right stop, collaborate and listen.
I’m fairly certain that Vanilla Ice was not referring to this kind of collaboration when he sang “Ice, Ice Baby.”
But I can’t help humming it when I think about the Craftmas collaboration.
15 creative ladies from across the globe came together to share their love of all things Christmas crafts.
It was the sparkliest, most delightful of collaborations.
I had the Hobbycraft team on my blog.
And now I’m delighted to share with you all the projects from all the ladies on all the blogs.
A reindeer walks into a bar…. oh wait, no, wrong story.
A reindeer lands on an island.
How did this reindeer land on an island?
Well, that’s how this reindeer wall hanging came about.
Awhile back, I connected with an amazingly rad group of creative ladies over on Instagram.
We workshopped arty, crafty problems. We chatted through the highs and lows of motherhood. Use of the past tense here is misleading as we still do all those things now. Errrry day.
We marvelled at the fact that, despite being spread across the globe, we still felt entwined in each others’ lives thanks to social media.
We joked that, one day, we would buy an island together, hang out and solve the world’s problems, one creative project at a time.
Introducing the Island Creative Collective.
A group of 8 creative females who all possess a fierve love of cardboard.
So we created this free eBook as a festive ode to cardboard.
It’s our Christmas present to you.
The eBook contains the templates, tips and tricks you will need to make this reindeer wall hanging.
I hope he has his sunscreen on so that he can enjoy Island Life to the max.
How do I get my hands on this eBook?
Sign up to my newsletter to grab your free copy of The Island Creative Collective’s 8 Easy, Recycled Holiday Crafts,
Click to download your copy of the Island Collective Holiday eBook
Every Christmas, I ambitiously plan all these projects we are going to tackle in the lead up- baking, decluttering and donating to charity, Christmas crafts, homemade gifts the kids can make…..
I am then alarmed to discover that December does not indeed contain 60 days, and there is not enough time for all the things I want to do.
It happens every year. Every year. CURRENT STATUS: We have just finished working on some homemade gifts for the kids’ preschool teachers and the other important people in their lives.
If you need some sweet homemade gifts for your kids to make, you’ve still got time to make these beaded creations.
What you will need:
natural wooden beads*
acrylic paint (We used IKEA’s Mala paints.)
necklace cord or floristry wire
imitation gold leaf
Place your wooden beads in a shoebox.
Squeeze in some paint, close the lid and shake, shake, shake.
This is possibly the best part of the process- opening the box to reveal your beaded beauties.
Set your shoe box of beads aside to dry. TIP: Jiggle the shoe box every 30 minutes or so, otherwise your beads will dry to the shoe box base.
We also had some oven-bake clay so we exercised our fine motor muscles and created clay beads too.
You can find more tips here on how to use oven bake clay.
You know that my life mantra is MORE IS MORE, right?! I think these gifts would be beautiful just with the painted beads, but we kept finding more things to add.
In a temporary moment of insanity, I bought some imitation gold leaf at the local craft shop.
Be warned: it gets messy! Best wear some gloves whilst you decorate with it!
We placed our dried beads in an egg carton and painted them with glue.
Then, we crumbled the imitation gold leaf over the top of them. It all started out very contained but quickly descended into a free-for-all mess. You have been warned.
Once our salt dough decorations were dried, we painted them and glued some gold leaf on to them.
Then the real fun begins. The stringing and creating.
We used necklace cord to create necklaces.
Floristry wire is excellent for bending into ornaments.We also made a few (unpictured) key rings.
So that’s one item ticked off the Christmas To-Do list.
How’s your To-Do list going?