Wednesday, November 28, 2012

12 Projects: Advent Calendar

As a child, I always loved the chocolate filled advent calendars.  I remember waiting patiently for one each year, and managing to have the willpower to not eat all of the chocolate at once!  It combined the exciting countdown to Christmas Day with the reward of chocolate every day. As an adult this is slightly less exciting, as I can eat chocolate whenever I want, but there is something about the countdown that has stuck with me.  Instead of buying a paper calendar with cheap chocolate shapes, I decided to make my own holiday countdown.

The crafty blog world is full of advent calendars this week. There are some amazing ideas out there, especially for calendars that include a daily treat.  Since I don't have any children around, I went for a simple, grown up, activity based approach, using supplies I already had around the house.

I raided my fun paper stack for holiday papers.  I have a few packs I picked up on clearance after the holidays in past years.  I already had the paper punch, but it was bought on sale at Michaels awhile back. If they arent on sale, paper punches are a great item to use those 40 or 50 percent off coupons on.

 I punched out way more than I needed, so I could display different papers and mess with the organization.

I cut out a special tag for Christmas Day.

I would have loved to stamp the numbers in gold, or even just used a silver sharpie, but I was determined to make this calender with only stuff I have on hand.

I flipped them over, and wrote different activities on the back of each.  I included local events I wanted to attend anyway, like a holiday flea market or craft fair.  I also put down things I love to do during the holiday season, but often forget, like ice skating!  And yes, I looked up my local rink to make sure there were skating times that day.  

I stuck my tags to an empty part of my wall using removable double sided tape.  If you wanted your calendar to be a little more interactive, you could keep all the tags in a box, and put them up as each day passes.  

I like how all the papers go together, and how easily it dresses up my wall.  I hope this little calendar inspires me to make the most out of the holiday season!

I hope you are enjoying the 12 projects of Christmas!  Want a sneak peek at what's next?  Follow me on instagram as sirensfall, I've been posting random shots as I work on each project!

Looking for more holiday cheer?  My good friend Kristi(e) over at Ye Olde Fortress of Awesome has decided to undertake her own 12 Projects of Christmas.  She is focusing on papercrafting and party planning, activities she excels at!  

Are you feeling inspired too?  If you've decided to start your own 12 projects series, leave me a comment, and I'll link it up!

Missed something?  Check out The 12 Projects of Christmas.

Monday, November 26, 2012

12 Projects: Holiday Pillows

For my first project, I decided to dress up my couch for the holidays!  I already have a red couch, so it made a great starting point. I've been planning to do some pillows for everyday, but with Christmas right around the corner, I figured I would go for some with holiday designs first!

These three pillows are made from old sweaters. I cheated a little here, and bought them from a thrift store.The green one is children's, and the other two are adults. I chopped off the top halves, and stitched up the sides.

I cut shapes out of felt and glued them to the sweater pieces with Fabri-Tac. 

After letting them dry, I secured each shape with embroidery thread and a blanket stitch. 

This reindeer is probably my favorite.


I had some sparkly felt in my stash, perfect for tree ornaments. I used a chain stitch for the "strings".            

I also made two pillow covers for my regular couch pillows from an old curtain, painted with silver and glitter paint. It had been sitting in my closet waiting for the right project.  I made two very basic envelope backed pillow covers. You can find directions for making pillow covers here, at Martha Stewart.  

  My painting skills leave a lot to be desired, so I went with a simple snowflake design.  It is definitely not perfect, but the covers turned out pretty cute!

Please forgive my blank wall!
 I hope you enjoyed project number one!  See you later this week!

Missed something?  Check out The 12 Projects of Christmas.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

12 Projects of Christmas

Guys, I really love Christmas.  I always have.  I love the sparkly lights, the yummy smells (pine! cinnamon!), the food, the family time....everything!  Since Halloween ended, I've been waiting (im)patiently for it to be time to put up the Christmas decorations.  Don't worry, I still have fall stuff up for now, but as soon as Thanksgiving is over, I'll be switching it out.  I have a lot of decorations I've gathered through the last 5 years or so, but I always want to add something new.  As a bonus, this year i'm decorating a new space.  I've been wandering the aisles of some of my favorite stores, gathering ideas.  And, in an effort to blog more (and make sure I actually finish these projects) I am making myself accountable to you fine people.

My goal is to complete all of these and share them with you in plenty of time for us both to enjoy them for the holiday. Here is the lineup! 

11. Creative packaging

12. Christmas cocktails

After each post goes live, the list will become links, so you can find everything in one place! I'll also be linking up some ideas from other blogs and websites. One of my biggest goals here is to craft from my stash, so i'm hoping to spend minimal money on these projects.

Look for project number 1 coming soon!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Pressure to be Perfect

We've all seen those blogs, where the living room is immaculate, every project gets finished on time and the children are cheerful and posed perfectly for pictures.  Is that your life?  It certainly isn't mine.   

There is a definite pressure on bloggers to present a perfect life.  A sparklingly clean home, well behaved children, and stylish outfits every day.  But this pressure doesn't come from outside sources, but from ourselves. Sure, there are plenty of bloggers who look like they live perfect lives.  I am sure their houses are mostly clean and their children are usually good, but no one is perfect.  Everyone has a sloppy jeans and hoodie day.  But blogs are, in many ways, taking the place of magazines.  In some cases, they have even become a business of their own, using multiple writers to carefully curate the picture of a perfect life.

 I would love to be able to make it look like I live in a magazine.  I would love to tell you that there isn't currently yarn all over my couch (Wise Craft's granny square sampler), and that my cutting table isn't covered in fabric and other craft supplies.  I wish I were wearing a blogging worthy outfit, but instead, I am still in my PJs.  This is what my life looks like right now.  I don't think it will ever be magazine worthy.  But i'll keep striving for it.  And i'll blog about it, out of honesty, I suppose.   I've been blogging/online journaling for roughly 15 years (pre livejournal, guys), and as i've grown up, so has the world of blogs.  It has grown from a community sharing the details of their lives to something more public, less personal.  But guess what, bloggers.  Readers still want to see you in your blog, not just the life you've made to present to us.  It helps to remind us you are real people, just like us.