Monday, November 24, 2008


some crafty things in the works....


last years on thanksgiving we cracked out a huge box of vintage buttons, some straight pins and some styrafoam cones and made button trees. they were a HUGE hit and super kid friendly. plus they were a great entertainer for everyone since they take forever to make. we all wanted to do them again this year, but the problem is finding enough cool buttons. last year i hit the jackpot at an estate sale. the lady basically threw the box of vintage buttons in for free with all of the clothes i was hauling away. in order to make them, you need tons of buttons and the craft dept. at walmart is pretty lame as far as bulk buttons go and they are super expensinve at craft & hobby shops. so i checked around and found a lady on etsy who was willing to sell me a bulk lot of 10,000.... maybe i over did it a little, but we figured maybe a thousand a tree to be safe. some people like to do color themes but i prefer random sizes and colors. these things look great in clusters- having 3 or 4 trees of different sizes next to each other.

anyway, here they are from last year. i'll get pictures of the outcome this year:


also, i'm a big fan of advent calendars. my mom always had this quilted tree one hanging in our house with little ornament balls all over it. as each of the 24 days passed, we fought over who got to move the ornaments around. i loved it.

this year, i found a few advent calendar designs that i thought were cool so i'm combining them. this is a great way to keep your holidays a little less commercial and ad more quality family time. first, you find 12 pair of various sized socks in red, green & white patterns and colors. i say stick with baby/kid sizes. then you number them 1-24. i've seen this done several ways but i'm going to try the cute iron on letters in random sizes and styles that you can find at pretty much any craft store. (...or if i'm brave maybe hand stiching the numbers on...) next, pin them the stockings to a long peice of ribbon or twine garland using tiny clothespins.

in each sock, instead of candy or a treat- you roll a peice of paper with an activity for the day written on it. this is the fun part. you can basically come up with anything that your family would enjoy doing together. simple stuff like making cookies, drinking hot chocolate and eggnog, watching christmas movies, looking at Christmas lights or more involved stuff like gingerbread houses. (this reminds me of a couple of stories: one year we made some at my aunt noras house while arah and i were babysitting the kiddos so aunt nora could Christmas shop... we worked on those things ALL day. it must have taken forever to get all of the sugar glue off of the table...but it was worth it cause i still remember it. i also remember another gingerbread house i made in 1st grade. i was so proud of it and while i was walking home from school i dropped it and it broke. i was devestated but my mom glued it back together and put it on display in this little glass showcase table she had....i'll never forget that.)

anyway, the whole point is to get your family to make memories together. you can set the days up so that the activities land on good nights that will work best for everyone. i think i'll keep a list of all the activities and the dates so i can be prepared ahead for each day. my sister and becca and i are all going to make one during thanksgiving. this way we can buy 3 dozen socks to mix and match. here's a sample and i'll get a picture of the finished product too:

some ideas of activities to fill the stockings i've found:

make paper snowflakes and decorate the windows and hang from ceiling.
anonymously buy a gift for a family in need.
decorate the tree and drink eggnog .
go see the lights.
family game night.
make a paper chain.
go ice skating.
bake a batch of Christmas sugar cookies & decorate.
bake another batch of Christmas cookies and share with neighbors.
watch a Christmas movie with plenty of blankets pillows and treats.
make breakfast (maybe citrus french toast?so good...) for dinner.
check out the Christmas lights downtown and take the horsey carriage ride.
unwrap one present. (maybe a Christmas eve idea...)
have hot chocolate with all the fixings like candy canes stir sticks and marshmallows.
write a letter to santa.
make an ornament for the tree.
have a camp out around the Christmas tree.
make handmade gift tags for relativesget a fresh wreath.
polish toenails in Christmas colors.
make peanut butter pinecones to feed birds.
read the Christmas story and leave out milk and cookies for Santa.
going food shopping and bring food to a food bank.
telling Christmas stories by the fireplace.
go bowling.
plan our next family vacation.
have a slide show of photos on a projector.
build a snowman and snow angels and make snow cream.
do a little stargazing.
taking silly pictures all together of each other.
bake homemade bread from scratch.
make a great fort.
write down some questions and record interviews of kiddo.
have a fondue night. chocolate and cheese dipped goodness.
make a gingerbread house go pick out annual Christmas ornaments.
go sledding.

when i really think about what i love best about the holiday season is the relaxing, watching movies and having a cozy time with my family at home so those are probably the kinds of activities we will include the most.

got any more ideas before we make "thee official" list??


Darla said...

alright...didn't even read the post (YET), but I WANT to do those trees! Just wanted to let you know we're planning on coming up Dec. 12ish-16. How does that sound for you guys? That's pretty much all we can do..

Hetzlers said...

I love these Ideas!! You are so creative!! I think I especially love the sock advent/activity calendar...what a great way to establish traditions and keep them going year after year. I am going to seal this and do it!! I'll post pictures and you do it too!

Anonymous said...

Ok so I'm in love with your blogs I'm gonna stalk ya now. I have to get one going. You need to make a craft book your full of awesome ideas! We are going to do the trees and the socks love them. xoxo Love Selina Garica

lindsey said...

julie, you have such cute ideas. we're definitely going to do the sock thing. any way i can cut a treat out of my kids' diets is a good thing!

julie said...

selina!! you can stalk me anytime and you should start a blog. it would be eye candy for me with all of your creativity. and i would love to see your pictures. :)

Darla said...

p.s. SUCH cute ideas! I talkedl to my sis-in-laws and we all really want to do the button we just have to find the buttons. I'm so excited to come up! Hope it all works out! (:

marychild said...

Is everyone in your family a Martha Stuart clone? LOVE the button trees. Cute stuff Julie!

Kera said...

love the stocking idea. so fun and gets you to go out and do holiday things with the fam everyday.

DeAnne said...

i love this idea and i am stealing it and putting my own spin on it, except i am only going to do 12 days of christmas.