Monday, December 2, 2013

Holiday Advent Calendar


I pinned this advent calendar on Pinterest a few months ago:

Cloth advent calendar  1

but couldn’t afford the $85 + shipping + duty (= arm & a leg) price tag.  So I decided to attempt to try to sew it myself. What you should probably know about me is that I bought my $60 costco special sewing machine solely for cardmaking and haven’t actually sewn fabric since my grade 7 home-ec class.  Thankfully, there’s a youtube video for everything these days, and once an 11 year old taught me to thread a bobbin, I decided to wing it without a pattern. 

If you’re looking for directions for the pockets, I highly recommend Aunt Louisa’s Pleated Pocket Advent Calendar tutorial.

If you’re starting without a pattern, like I did, the easiest way to do it is to use cardboard to figure out how big you want everything to be.  I wanted my pockets to be 4x5” and 1.5” deep, so I started measuring strips of white canvas that were 29” long and 6” high (7” of fabric per pocket, 4 pockets in a row, with excess on the edge to attach it).   I then sewed the edge detail onto the tops of each strip.  Then, using the cardboard pieces as a guide, I followed the pleated pocket tutorial above and ironed and pinned each pocket into place, sewing the pockets onto the canvas backing and securing the pleats all at once.

Once all the pockets are sewn on, fold the top and bottom edges of the backing over and sew, leaving enough space for a wooden dowel inside (we had some left over from other projects that we used).  Attach a ribbon to the top dowel, and you’re done (we used thumb tacks, but finishing nails would work too).


For the numbers, I designed them using random fonts I thought went well together.  Originally I laid the design out in Illustrator (you can use MSWord), and then printed and taped the numbers in place to make sure that’s what I wanted before finally printing them on to Avery iron on transfer paper and affixing them permanently (follow the instructions on the package).  You can download the printable numbers I used below.

The final product ended up being 18x50 inches.


A few things I learned:

  • Sewing in a straight line is a lot harder than I thought.  I had to rip out more than a few stitches, and the top seam for the dowel still looks like it was sewn by a drunk.
  • You don’t need to use super industrial outdoor fabric. While I thought it would make it more durable, my El Cheapo sewing machine couldn’t handle it and I went through 7 sewing machine needles trying to get through the multi-layered pleats.  (I also don’t recommend trying to replace said needles at Michaels during a sale weekend while caring for 2 tantrum-prone children…send wine).
  • The hotter the iron the better, for all tasks.  It gets the pleats crisp before you sew them, and helps the iron on transfers stick faster.

The packages were provided by Grandma.  I have no idea what they contain.  My only rule was that they were task-based or educational; I didn’t want it to be a month of presents.  Grandma even learned how to use Pinterest for this.  I hope it went much better than when she learned to use “the Twitter”.

Download the Advent Numbers

Sunday, December 1, 2013

And we’re back

So I took a looong break  from the blog.  I went back to work, which doesn’t leave a lot of time when you factor in raising a toddler and sleeping (I suppose you could cut out the sleeping).  But I’m back on maternity leave and am promising a ton more printables in the upcoming days.  I’m also doing a lot of toddler crafts these days, so stay tuned for some crafting ideas for the holidays. 

I will try to get to some of the requests in the comments section soon!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Vintage Wedding Kits

Things have been busy here with the little one.  We took a bit of a hiatus on everything while TC finished up his Masters.  In the meantime though, I’ve been busy working on a variety of projects that I’ll try to post in the coming weeks.

One of my newest projects are wedding stationary kits that I’ll be selling through my etsy shop at:




Each kit will be personalized and delivered as a pdf, though I will offer a printing option.  It’s been so much fun working on these.  Stay tuned for more to come!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Coat Rack Bookends


I’m sure you’ve seen the IKEA spice rack book holders on pinterest that are so popular that it’s becoming impossible to find them in stock at an IKEA store:


Original Source

Originally, I was hoping to do something similar, but we couldn’t find them in stock at our local IKEA.  While I love the bookends I made a while back for the nursery, they aren’t durable enough to withstand the wear a soon to be walking kid will impart.  Instead, I came up with the idea of putting pegs in the shelf at intervals to hold up the books, but keep the spines visible.  Since I didn’t want to drill directly into the shelves (the particleboard and melamine combo can be a pain to drill cleanly), we decided to go with the coat rack look.

The wood was scrap from home depot (less than $1), and the pegs were $0.69 for 2.  If you’re super resourceful, you could probably pick one up at a garage sale for less.


Sunday, February 26, 2012

Book of Faces


We live far from our families, but wanted to make sure that our daughter had a sense of who her family is.  Since babies are really attracted to faces, I thought putting together a book of headshots is a simple way for her to get to know her extended family.  We go through the book whenever we’re sitting down to read, and you do get a sense that she’s gradually getting more familiar with the faces. prints on board book style cardboard, which is great for babies and ships quickly.  I waited for a sale and this book cost me 7.99 to print, and you can’t beat that.


Sunday, February 5, 2012

Month Old Signs


We’ve been taking monthly pictures of our kidlet to track her growth since everything changes so fast in these first months (that and we’re proud parents, so we really don’t need an excuse to crack out the camera and taunt the kid with stuffed animals). 

In today’s edition of ‘now you can too’, I’ve uploaded the monthly circles in 4 separate colours so you too can annoy your friends with monthly pictures…I mean, track your child’s growth.  I used a lollypop stick, but a popsicle stick, old chopstick or any other child-safe pokey bit will do.  I glued (good ole’ Elmer’s) it to a piece of cardstock that I cut to the same size as the rounds, like so:


Each month I peel off the previous month’s, and attach the new month with a glue stick, and voila!


Download Blue Circles

Download Pink Circles

Download Mod Orange

Download Mod Purple