Saturday, December 27, 2014

Christmas 2014: Advent, Ornaments, and Wrapping

I have quite a few things I made for Christmas this year, so I'm starting with the most Christmas-y of them, and working on down to the gifts and outfits. =) I meant to post some of these earlier this month, but I was too busy sewing to blog! First up, the advent calendar I made!

  A couple of years ago this calender was making the rounds on a bunch of blogs, and I loved it. Unfortunately for me, it was made using a Silhouette cutting machine, (at that time I think everyone was using the Silhouette SD), and I didn't have one. As it was a temporary deal, I couldn't buy the shelf and cut files when I got my Silhouette... but the company brought it back for Black Friday this year! I immediately ordered it, but Black Friday was a mere 3 days before December 1st this year, so I was pretty sure it wouldn't arrive on time. It did. It arrived on the 1st! And I spent most of the rest of the day cutting and assembling boxes.

  The only cardstock I had on hand was plain white or pink, and when I tried using kraft paper to make the boxes they were really floppy, so it was all pretty plain when I was done assembling. I'm definitely not an all-white person. I ended up spray painting the finished boxes with Rustoleum Chalkboard and Rustoleum Antique Brass Metallic spray paints. I did it inside, but with a window and door open on a covered surface. I regretted that decision, because that chalkboard paint has a ridiculous amount of over-spray, and I ended up with paint on my kitchen floor, which I proceeded to spend the next two hours scrubbing up. It's still a bit grubby-looking, but luckily it's cheap-y linoleum and I don't care all that much. Anyway, the boxes came out really cute! I just did one coat of either, and for the most part the coverage was pretty good. There are a few spots that could use another coat though.

  And finally, I used washi tape, ribbon, and markers (I should have used a printer for the numbers, or chalk, but I didn't have any) to gussy the boxes up and was done! ...At about midnight, after the kids were already in bed, so we still didn't get to use the calendar that day, but they enjoyed it every day after. =) I don't love all of the boxes... some of them I might re-do, but some of them I really like. This one is my favorite:

  I thought the calendar was only going to be available on Black Friday, but apparently it's still for sale right now, here, and if you use the code HOLIDAY it's 40% off until December 31st, which is about what I got it for.

  By the way, that is not an affiliate link. Silhouette America has no idea I'm posting about this... I just really like it, for the most part. There were two things I didn't love. One, the whole thing is a lot smaller than I expected. Most of the boxes are about 2" high, and even the taller ones aren't more than 3.5". Second, the shelf stank horribly of paint... even before I spray-painted the boxes. Luckily the smell has faded now.

  Anyway, you won't be able to use it as an Advent calendar if you buy it right now, but you could use it for... button storage or... something until next December. =)
  I'm hoping to re-size the boxes and use them for gifts and things throughout the year, so I get a bit more out of the price I paid. =)

  The next project also used the Silhouette! Pinafores and Pinwheels posted these really pretty ornaments with silver vinyl a bit ago, and I used her free cut file to copy them.

  Mine aren't so pretty as the originals... I used ornaments that were already matte black (found at Hobby Lobby), but they were a bit smaller than the ones Stephanie used and I should have downsized the cut file a bit more. I still like them though!

  I was giving these to three families, and only had six ornaments, so I only cut the 'Joy to the World' and 'Peace on Earth' files so they could have one of each. I would have made more for myself, but we didn't end up decorating for Christmas at all this year. Maybe next year.

  I was planning on using the Silhouette for decorations and boxes when I was wrapping presents, but I ended up out of time, wrapping presents in a rush late at night, so I mostly used free printable tags and things I already had on hand.

 I'd spray painted some kraft paper with the same colors I used in the advent calendar a few days ahead of time, so I used that to wrap some of the gifts. I still like the idea, but it wasn't the easiest wrapping paper to use.... kraft paper already requires a very strong tape to stick, and the spray paint reduced its stick-ability even more. I had to use large pieces of packaging tape to make it work at all, so if I were to do this again I'd use a lighter-weight paper like freezer paper as the base under the spray paint.

  I used pages 28, 29, and 41 of the printable tags available at the last page of this online magazine for some of the gifts.

  Other tags I used were these and these from Decorator's Notebook (I printed them on white cardstock and colored some in with a red marker), these from Kelli Murray, these from Lia Griffith, and these from Domestifluff. I think that's all. =)

  I used some fancy plaid fabric my friend Karen sent me for some of the gifts... it's a little glitzier than I wanted to use for this year's Christmas outfits, but was great for wrapping things. It's like two gifts in one, because the recipient then has pretty fabric to use! =)

  Oh, and I made one gift bag. I'd planned on making more but didn't have enough interfacing or heavy fabric... this one was a test bag to see if it would be stiff enough with just two layers of quilting-weight fabric treated as one. It worked well enough that I used the bag, but not well enough that I made more.

  I used this pattern in the large size with the pocket, but made a small change at the sides to make it even more gift-bag-ish. I folded the triangle tabs up to the sides, pinched them together with the side fabric, and edge-stitched the two together up to the middle side seam. I'm not sure that's the best explanation... I'll try to clear things up if anyone asks.

  I managed to stuff quite a few gifts into some small white boxes, which I then decorated with washi tape, baker's twine, ribbon, tags, and pinecones as I saw fit. =)

  The boxes are some of the huge stack I found on Amazon (affiliate link) earlier this year for this baby shower... I knew they would come in handy! =)

  I also used this box, which I got from Pick Your Plum a few months ago. I have a lot more of these in slightly different designs, but all of the other gifts were too big to fit in them.

  And finally, I've had this gift bag hanging around for about 6 years now. I'm very happy to have finally used it.

  Individually, I like the way almost all of the gifts turned out. As a collection, it's a bit lacking. I kind of wish I hadn't introduced the plaid and had kept the wrapping to just two base colors.

  There were a few more plaid gifts in the second set of gifts that didn't make it into the photo. Mostly because they weren't wrapped yet. ;-)

  All right, that's everything for this post!
Thanks for stopping by,


  1. Oh, I think the plaid makes it! I kept things simple this year. For my extended family I made frozen cinnamon rolls so I just put those in gallon Ziploc bags and tied some vintage, green seam binding for a bow (I don't know how to use seam binding anyway) and a simple paper punch tag from Christmas cardstock. Of course, this was finished just before we had to leave. :) I love how coordinated your things are and it looks like you had a lot of fun with your Silhouette!

    1. Thank you! That sounds like a really nice gift... one I wouldn't mind receiving for sure! =) I did have fun with the Silhouette... sometimes it does things that seem really random and are annoying, but usually I can figure it out and make it work. I just try to have a bit of extra materials on hand, just in case. ;-) It's definitely nice to have though!