November 29, 2012
Christmas is around the corner! And nothing is more exciting than counting down the days for Christmas with an Advent Calendar right?
Keeping the tradition I crafted a new one this year too, for something unique, special and interesting :).
Well, at a first glance, it looks complicated and without much resemblance to an Advent Calendar…
The idea started from those socks I made a couple of years ago (to refresh your memory: each day my daughters would find a paper with an image inside the mini socks showing where I placed the small gift-of-the-day). My oldest daughter is a a first grader now and husband suggested I could make some type of riddle for each day, to practice her reading and calculating skills (yea, we are such nerds…).
So how to do that in a sane way? Inventing a game of course! More like a letter puzzle (hangman anyone?).
2012 Advent Calendar – Letter Puzzle game
Each day my girls will receive one envelope (numbered from 1 to 24) containing a card with a question and a letter-sticker. Simple math problems or matching games to practice letters and words. I added couple of “easy” ones for my 5 yo daughter too.
“How many (snowflakes)?”
“Is the image a : skier, skater or runner?”
“How many syllables are in the word snowman?”
Solving the question of the day will show them where to glue the sticker-letter in the puzzle display board. By completing the diagram they will be capable to read the “mysterious sentence” : The present (the Advent Calendar big gift) is hidden at grandpa´s place (written in Finnish conveniently using 24 elements :)
We thought that getting a “big” gift instead of little small things each day is as well fun. Besides, a “pre” Christmas present is not that bad (stand the wait for Santa!!) and everyone can enjoy it together. The gift is a board game to be played on Christmas Eve ^_^.
- And! To deliver the envelopes, a Christmas mailbox I crafted using an empty cereal box and red card stock. Awesome isn´t it? The front door is attached with magnets (Oh… I am so happy with the result!). Maybe my daughters will find some treats there too… who knows? ;)
For now, fingers crossed the girls will enjoy this year´s Advent Calendar. Poor little ones to have such mad mad loony mother … >.<
Happy December friends!
PS. Isn’t that polka dot fabric tape the cutest? ha!
November 30, 2011
Tell me what that means… Christmas is coming! Am I stressed? Nah…
This time I decided to take it easier… too much happened during the second half of the year, end of it should be more relaxing… (< did you just giggle there? I mean, I think I saw you smiling at least :)
As I told before, I invented this tradition to make a homemade Advent Calendar every year. After many rejected ideas (the most from my husband I must say :P) I decided for this Christmas Wreath, not as superb as the previous calendars, yet hopefully good enough to celebrate each day of the month and the most important: to get my girls excited about the upcoming holiday :)
I really considered skipping the tradition this year. I changed my mind when the other day, while browsing for ready chocolate-filled Advent Calendars at a shop, I was asked by my daughters if I was going make one for them… “because they still remember how the last year´s was”… *swoon* I melted.
2011 Advent Calendar – Christmas Wreath
Keeping in mind “it must be easy and fun”, this no-frills calendar was quite quick to assemble. I used a silver vine wreath (from a craft shop), “goodies” wrapped with red crêpe paper, wires and embellishments.
Brilliant right?! :D
I diminish the amount of treats they will receive each day considerably. Pretty much into a no-waste/keepsake style, using a 250 pieces puzzle for the filling (and plus! I can keep the wreath afterwards! Yay!). My girls love puzzles (we recently built a 1000 pieces puzzle together) and I thought it will be thrilling for them to build the puzzle during the countdown, not actually knowing what the final image is. Once I used the same idea with small Lego kits (Technic and Star Wars) and the results were quite funny and interesting!
How I made it:
- Dealing with the treats: after cutting the colored paper into 24 large squares, I put about 10 puzzle pieces in each, wrapping to form a ball, twisting the ends. Note!!! Sharp pieces and crêpe paper are a no-no combo… I totally recommend to use gifts that won’t rip the paper :P. Perhaps a cool option would be to use that sort of metallic plastic wrapping paper, if you have it on hands (I didn’t)
- Now the hard work. Using a craft wire (0.3mm), which I found to be more controllable than thread, I tied the little packages to the wreath, firmly so they stay on place. Be careful to hide the wire ends when done with the attaching.
- Finishing it: I decorated with small polka dots jingle bells, sparkling snow flake stickers, ribbons and a red bell. At very last, I added the numbers on each paper-ball.
I think it will be very easy just to pull apart the little packages from the wreath during the countdown… let´s see! ;)
Happy December friends!