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Rosette Wreath from Coffee Filters and Sheet Music

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Helloooooo friends. I know, I know, long time no blog.  I have no excuse, so please just accept my apologies. Today I’m giving a quick tutorial on the above wreath I made using coffee filters and sheet music.

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The coffee filters I used are the cheap, round, ruffle type.  For the wreath (it’s on a 14″ form) I made about 115 rosettes of which about 70 were constructed from the coffee filters.

So first off, you want to use a dry (no steam), hot iron and flatten out your coffee filters. Do these in batches since the humidity in the air will try to return them to their natural ruffle state.  I think I did about a dozen at a time.

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Now using a pencil I drew a spiral on one starting at the outside edge heading towards the middle.

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The trick here is to try to make your spiral sections about the same width like so

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Ok, now I don’t show this in the picture, but stack about 6 coffee filters neatly together then cut along the line – so that you’re cutting out 6 at a time. If you have sharper scissors than I, stack more at a time to cut more at a time.

Each should now look like this…

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Now, heat up your glue gun and start rolling.  Starting at the outside edge of the circle, roll the end in tightly.

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Keep rolling all the way to the center until it looks like this.

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The rosettes will be wound very tightly, but I like them a little looser (like I like my men😉) so I held the rosette in my palm then made like a “cage” with my hands and shook the rosette around for a few seconds. This allows it to unwind just a bit, leaving you with something that is less bud-like, and more rosette-Ish.

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Looking good! Now turn out the little coin of paper that once was the center of the coffee filter and now is at the very bottom of your flower.

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 This is where you’re going to put a liberal amount of hot glue.  Once you’ve done that, let the rest of the rosette rest on the glue and take a few seconds before the glue dries to make any adjustments you think are necessary.  Remember they are supposed to mimic their natural counterparts so you don’t want complete uniformity.

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You have just mastered the paper rosette.

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For the sheet music rosettes, I had bought a book of sheet music at my local thrift store awhile back, knowing that I would find a good craft project for it some day.  The day finally came!  I ripped out about 45 pages and, with about six sheets stacked together at a time, traced and cut out a circle.

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Now just repeat the above steps for all of these circles to make your sheet music rosettes.

Once you are done rolling, rolling, rolling those flowers, it’s time to assemble your wreath. I forgot to photograph along the way, but it’s super easy.

Get yourself a 14 – 16 inch styrofoam wreath form. The one I got (cheap cheap at Walmart) was green, so I wrapped it in wide white satin ribbon.  This is so that the form wouldn’t peek through in between the rosettes. I used hot glue to attach the ribbon to the form. Next, start adhering your rosettes, using a good sized blob of hot glue for each.  Put the glue on the bottom of a rose, pick a spot on the wreath and hold it in place for a few seconds.  Grab your next flower, glue it, then place it right next to the first one.  Continue this way, working your way around the wreath. Be sure to scatter the sheet music ones amidst the white ones. I made 6 white roses for every 4 music ones just as an FYI.

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And there you have it. A big, beautiful, gorgeous wreath that maybe cost $10. If anyone has a book loving friend who’s getting married, you could offer to make her a wedding bouquet out of book pages. Gorgeous, creative, incredibly inexpensive and she can keep it forever.  Or you can dye the coffee filters any color, or use colored paper even and make a pretty wreath for any occasion.  The possibilities are endless.

Best of luck with your own wreath!

DIY Wood Pallet Sign

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It’s our first Thanksgiving in North Carolina and we are so pleased to be expecting family in town from Massachusetts and Tennessee. I have have been in full-on preparation mode, including my attempts to make the house look more festive. Today, I made this sign to hang in our entryway.  We think it’ll give our guests some idea of what is expected of them during their stay 🙂

I had never done a sign like this before but was so happy with the completed project that I decided to blog a brief tutorial on it.

First thing, after you’ve decided on your wording, you need to design it and print it out on a computer, laptop tablet, etc.  I’m most comfortable with Excel, so that’s what I used, but whatever you choose, just be sure that it has a font (or two) that you like, and that you can print out really large letters.  Here is what mine looked like on my computer.

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Print it out and compare it to the wood that you’re planning to use. Adjust font size and reprint as necessary. Once you’ve got your final design in hand, cut out the words leaving 1/8″ blank paper around each word like so.

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Now you will flip each word over to the back of the paper and write all over the back of the words with a charcoal pencil. I used one that I got at Hobby Lobby in a package of 6 for $5.00. Here is what it looked like.

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As you can see, it’s a “soft” charcoal, which I recommend.  Here is what your paper should look like when you’re done writing on the back.

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Now, carefully lay out your words, right side up, on your board and once you have them all in place, tape them down at the edges to keep them from shifting around. I forgot to take a picture of this so hopefully, I’m clear.

Carefully, using a ball point pen, trace around each letter’s edge.  By doing this, you are transferring the loose charcoal from the back of your paper to the wood.  Sort of like an old fashioned carbon copy (so that’s what “cc” means).

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Once you’ve finished a word, you can carefully  untape it and remove it from your board. Look what you did!

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How cool is that?  Think of what you are capable of!  You can transfer your favorite team logo, silhouette, saying, image?  The possibilities are endless!

Once I was done transferring the whole saying, I painted the letters on with a paint pen.  I also got these at Hobby Lobby.  Mine came in a 2-pack and looks like this.

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It was too easy.  Much more so than using paint and a brush I think, especially since painting is not my strong suit in the Great Big World of Crafts.

I didn’t bother sealing my sign with polyurethane since it is strictly for indoor decorative use, but if I were planning on using it outside, I would’ve given it a couple of coats of clear varnish.

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Stay tuned for more projects using this method.  Good luck with your own, and Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!

DYI Posable Skeleton Hands – Made with wire, tin foil and masking tape

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I made these scary hands as part of my son’s Halloween costume this year. My initial intent was to just stuff some gloves with polyfil as I had done in years past, but I saw something similar to these on Pinterest and decided to give them a go.

First, gather up your supplies: wire (I used 4 wire clothes hangers), tin foil, masking tape, a piece of paper and a pencil, a Sharpie, scissors, pliers and wire cutters.

Lay your hand on the paper and trace around it.  Then, mark off where your knuckles are.  If you think your hands are kind of small, borrow the hand of a larger person.

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Now, cut and bend your wire to follow the lines of your finger and hand bones.  Use the picture and your own hand as your guide. I found that holding the wire with the pliers and using my hands to bend it worked best.

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Transfer the knuckle marks to your wires with a sharpie.

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Now, using your tape and starting with the palm, tape the four fingers together, leaving spaces between the fingers as you go.  You should have masking tape “webbing” between each wire when you’re done, and should still be able to line it up to your picture.

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Use some scissors to shape the upper edge so that it stays just below the knuckle lines.  Now do the same for the thumb and wrist.

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Fun!  Now you can start posing your fingers, using those joint markers as guides. It helps to pose your own hand the way you want the fake hand to be, and refer to it as you go. It should be noted that when I started posing the hand, I realized that I had limited my thumb’s mobility by making the gap between it and the index finger too tight. To fix this, I cut down the webbing, moved the thumb, then re-taped the thumb webbing.

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Much better.  So now we start adding the knuckles and fingers. You want to add a little flesh to your wires, or bulk up the bones, and to do this, you will wrap them in tin foil. Starting with the fingers first, take a small ball of foil to make the first knuckle.  Hold the ball in place then take a 1″ wide strip of foil and wrap it around the knuckle to hold it in place, then continue wrapping the strip of foil up the finger to the next joint.  When your strip of foil runs out, grab another and keep going.  Make another knuckle-ball (keeping in mind that the joints get a bit smaller as you go out the length of each finger), hold it in place and wrap it up in your foil strip.

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Keep doing this until you reach the end of the finger.

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Now, wrap your finger in masking tape using small strips of tape. Start at the base of the finger, being sure to secure the first knuckle to the hand with your first strip.  You may find it easier to work with thinner strips of tape for the fingers than you did for the hand.  If so, just rip the masking tape into more manageable size pieces. Feel free to pinch and mold the fingers as you go.   Continue until you have finished all the fingers and the thumb.

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Now, you can start fleshing out the palm.  Keep in mind that most of the “meat” in your hand runs around, but not into, the center of the palm, shape some tin foil to fit under the four fingers and down the pinky side of the palm.  Make a separate piece for the base of the thumb, again using your own hand as a guide.

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Cover the the first piece with masking tape.

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And now cover the thumb side piece.

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Add a little flesh to the center of the palm, and that will finish off the palm side of your hand.

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Creepy!  For the back of the hand, you need only add a little foil below the knuckles, as our bones really do show through back there.

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Cover it with tape and the back is done.

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Now for the hard part…repeat the whole thing for your second hand, making sure to reverse it so that you don’t end up with two lefts or two rights.  I took my original drawing, traced it through to the back of the paper and went from there.

Here are my finished hands, front and back.

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They are very posable, but use care when manipulating them as you don’t want to crush the layer of tin foil too much.  I left the hands just like this, but some of you may want to paint them or coat them in a layer of liquid latex. If you plan to use them in your outdoor decor, you should at least coat them with a waterproof finish. My son used them for his costume, and the whole thing was a big hit in the neighborhood.

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Super creepy fun!  Let me know if you’ve got questions and good luck with your own creepy hands.

DIY Sherlock Holmes Costume


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So this Halloween, Trevor, my minion from last year, said he wanted to be the world’s greatest detective. I suggested Sherlock Holmes and after we looked at a few images on Google, he enthusiastically agreed. I think it was the magnifying glass and the pipe that really clinched it.

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I’m calling this post DIY Sherlock Holmes, but mostly it’ll be DIY Sherlock Holmes hat.  I did make the coat too, but I just followed a pattern, McCall’s #M6641.  We will not be telling Trevor that I made his coat from a “girl’s pattern” since you know how 9 year old boys can be.


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I made the coat shown here in yellow, but without the hood and the collar instead. Also, I didn’t bother putting pockets or a lining in it since it’s just a costume after all. Once I completed the coat, I made the cape  and attached it around the outside of the collar. To do that, I cut two big circles from my fabric, as big as I could.  My fabric was 45″ so it was just a little smaller than that in diameter.  I cut a hole in the middle big enough for his neck and collar then cut an opening all the way down the front. I sewed the two circles together (one for the inside of the cape, one for the outside of it), and attached it to the coat.  Moving on.

For the hat, I started with two brown baseball caps that I puchased for a couple of dollars each from EBay.

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After turning them back-to-back, fit one over the other.

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It should be noted that you should do this with the caps on the head of the person who will be wearing them so that you get a correct fit.  One you are confident of the fit, hot glue the two hats together.  I just spot-glued them around the inside band of the top hat.

Next, I covered the hat with the same fabric I had used to make the coat. First thing, I made a pattern piece that matched the wedge shape that makes up the hat.  This is what I mean

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The top of the ball cap is made up of six of these put together.  I made a pattern piece to match these out of craft paper.  To do this I took the piece of paper, laid it over the cap and scored along the seams with my fingernail  there was a little trial and error with this method, so if you know of a better way I encourage you to use it.

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Once you have the pattern piece in hand, cut out six of them, making sure to add a half inch seam allowance all the way around.  When you sew them together, I recommend using a quarter inch seam allowance as you need for it to fit over the hat and if it is exactly the same size, you will struggle.  Start sewing the wedges together, pieces should be right sides together and sew a straight seam from tip down one side.  When you finish adding the sixth wedge, sew the first to the last to make a continuous ring of wedges.  Clip seams at curves and turn it right side out.  It should look like this

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Iron all seams flat.

Next you will make the ear flaps.  Use the same pattern piece you used for the wedges, but cut the tup off to make it blunt-ended.  Cut out 4 of them then sew them into two sets with the straight side left open.  If I was thinking, I would have sandwiched the tie for these into the tip of the flap, but since I didn’t, I just tacked them on in a later step.

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So now, I matched up these ear flaps on the outside of my pieced-together cap, lining each up with a wedge on an opposite side of the cap. Stitch these on across the straight side, lining it up with the bottom hem of the cap. Like so…

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It looks a little weird now, but it’ll get better.  Now, flip the ear flaps up and iron a hem along the bottom band of the cap. You may want to slip it onto the baseball caps to get an idea of how big of a hem you’ll need, but mine was about a half inch, all the way around.  Once you’ve ironed it in place, sew it around, close to the fold making sure you have your ear flaps pointing up as you do.

Before you permanently add this to your hat, you will want to to first cover the bills of the hat.  I only covered the tops of the bills, leaving the underside plain brown.  I made a pattern for the bill using craft paper, and employing the same (rather crappy) method that I did when making the pattern for the cap. Trial and error, a little wine, and lots of patience.  I ended up with this

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A little blurry (must’ve been the wine), but you get the idea. Cut two of these from your fabric, then zig-zag, surge, or use liquid sealer around the edge to keep it from fraying.

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Now I hot-glued these to each brim of the hat.

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My fabric worked well with hot glue and left no visible traces or bleed-through marks.  If you find that your fabric isn’t as forgiving, you may want to try traditional fabric glue.  Just be sure to give it time to dry before moving on to subsequent steps.

Alright now, almost done!  One more thing you need to do before putting your homemade cap onto the finished hat is to tack on the ties that hold the flaps up. As I mentioned before, it would have made more sense to include these in the ear flap construction, but I wasn’t thinking ahead at the time.  So instead, I took a 8″ length of ribbon (I found one at Joann’s that looks more like a shoe lace) folded the end over and machine tacked it to the top inside of each ear flap

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Now give the cap one final ironing and fit it over your baseball caps, lining up the ear flaps on the sides and the center seams in the front and the back.  If your baseball cap has a button at the top, clip a few stitches at the point of the cap and pass it through to the outside.  Trim away any excess fabric at the tip of the cap.  Once you are happy with the overall fit, glue that sucker in place with dabs of hot or fabric glue around the inside of the bottom band. Allow it to dry then tie the ribbon at the top of the hat.  Trim ribbon if necessary. I also glued the knot in place because the hat really isn’t constructed to allow the flaps to hang down and I didnt want my son to be tempted to futz with them.

Here is the finished cap…

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He really does LOVE that magnifying glass.

With the coat and hat done, I gathered up the other pieces of his costume. I purchased his beloved pipe and magnifying glass on EBay.  The set cost me $5.99. He had some navy dress pants and dark socks.  Still need to get him some shoes but with Halloween still a few weeks off, I’m feeling ok about that. He might also get a white button down dress shirt, but I’m not sure if he needs one since I made him this fabulous ascot that covers his neck.

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I used this tutorial that that I found on Pinterest, which was very straightforward. I downsized it a bit for my 9-year old.  I’m didn’t bother giving his a pointed bottom since I knew it would be tucked into his jacket like so…

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So it’s pretty much all done except for the Trick or Treating.  And I don’t need to tell you that he loves it.

One costume down, one to go!  Stay tuned for my older son’s costume to be posted as soon as I finish it.

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An Old Cabinet Gets a New Makeover

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Just a quick post today. For anyone who hasn’t heard, I moved from Massachusetts to the coastal town of Hampstead North Carolina this Summer. So far, we are enjoying our new environment and embracing the new coastal feel of our community. I’ve just started making a few changes to our decor to reflect our new hometown.
Our old home was a colonial – a very “old New England style” home. It was decorated in a lot of mossy greens and cranberry colors with black accents. When we started planning our move, I knew that I wanted to lighten things up. A lot more creamy white, less black and red. I adopted a light teal or aqua color for my kitchen so when I decided to move a moss green cabinet in there I knew it needed a change of paint if it wasn’t going to clash. I decided to step out of my comfort zone and chose a coral pink color to add a bit of “pop” to the room. I love it! It’s the color of a pink flamingo. Because it’s only on the one piece, it’s the perfect amount of color for that room.

The paint is a satin finish Valspar called Sweet Melon. It’s really more pink than orange, so the color in my photo isn’t a great representation.  Think salmon or like I said, Pink Flamingo. I also switched out the antiqued looking hardware and went with a shiny gold for a more modern, updated feel.

So here is a photo of the old girl before her paint job.  Incidentally, this piece used to belong to BFF Wendy who bought it in the 90s and had painted it blue before she painted it green.

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That was in our old home. Now here she is, in the new house with her new look.

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Like a whole new cabinet!  I should mention that my husband, while tolerant of the color, definitely gave it a raise of the eyebrow when he first saw it painted coral.  I suppose that it is no coincidence that I waited until he was away on business before starting the project.  It’s growing on him, I’m pretty sure.

DIY Ladies’ Tank Top from Men’s Tee

tee6I went to my college reunion this weekend.  Twenty-fifth reunion from Westfield State College (now, it’s Westfield State University, la-di-da) and I had a FABULOUS time.  I missed my college friends more than I even knew was possible. Can’t wait until the next one! Here we are looking a little fuzzy.  I apologize for the poor focus, must’ve been the camera, or the beers, not sure which…

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That’s nothing.  After I’d had even MORE beers, we managed to get this shot off in the photo booth…

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So, so proud.

Anyway, while I was on campus, I bought myself this t-shirt.  It’s a men’s so it is both too long and too boxy.

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I set out to make it a tad more fashionable.  This whole process took me maybe 20 minutes, and that included me winding my bobbin and changing the thread in my machine.  So I started with the shirt laid out flat like so…

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Next, I took my shears and chopped away at it.  I cut off the sleeves, just inside of, and including, the seam that connects it to the body of the shirt.  then I cut the top of the shirt off straight across just under the collar.  Finally, I cut off the bottom hem, and cut another strip off the bottom of the shirt, about 1/2″ wide.  This last strip will serve as the tie at the top that holds your shirt together. tee7

Next, you sew two channels along the top edges so that you can loop the tie through them to hold your shirt up.  I just folded over about an inch and pinned it in place.  I then sewed about 3/4″ from the folded edge.

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Once you do this, you’re almost done!  Now you take your tie piece and cut it so that it’s one long strip of material.  Take a safety pin and pin it to one end so that you can easily thread the tie through the channel.  Here you can see I’m all ready to start…

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And the finished product!  I chose to tie it at one shoulder with a decorative bow, but you could just as easily either knot or sew the ends together then bury them in the channel to hide the seam/knot.  Or another pretty option would be to use a coordinating ribbon or cord as the tie and gussy it up!  Let your creativity run wild!

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There, now isn’t that a bit more feminine?  And much cooler for the hot summer months too.

Now I’ve got my eye on a handful of tees in my husband’s drawer that just might need a little repurposing.

 

DIY Advent Calendar – Gift Box Chain

DIY Advent Calendar – Gift Box Chain

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A few years ago, I made this Advent calendar, actually I  made two of them -one for each of my boys. They LOVE them. I took the idea from my good friend Martha Stewart who you may have heard of.  Ok, so I don’t know Martha Stewart personally, but I do read her magazine on occasion.  Anyway, I made them to be reusable, so now we are going into our 3rd year with them.

Each of the “calendars” consists of a chain of 24 boxes hung from the ceiling.  Each box contains a small gift such as a piece of candy, a small toy or a Christmas ornament.  I go into crazy-lady shopping mode the last week of November, trying to find teeny-tiny things to fit into the teeny-tiny boxes.  But in the end, my kids really do love them, so it’s well worth the effort.  Once filled, the boxes are hung in a chain with number 1 at the bottom and number 24 at the top.  Each day, starting on December 1st, they cut the bottom box off the chain and open it up.  On day one, they are laying on the floor to cut, and by Christmas Eve, they need to climb onto a chair to reach the last one.  Very, very cute.

To recreate one (or two or three…) of these, you want to measure the vertical space where you plan to hang your calendar an divide it by 24. Whatever that number is, you need to allow for the space in between, above and below each box, so  keep that in mind.   I ended up with half and half, 3″ square and 2″ square boxes. I would recommend that you not go any smaller than 2″ as it gets harder to find things to fit in the boxes the smaller they are.   I got my boxes by searching “favor boxes” on EBay. You can get them in any color, but at the time, the white ones were cheapest, so I got the white.  I then got some patterned paper, cut it into strips and wrapped each box around the middle only.  I did this so that the wrapping wouldn’t be ruined when the boxes were opened so that I wouldn’t have to rewrap them each year.  I also labled each box with a number 1 through 24.   Check it out…

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Once this is done, you can fill up the boxes and shut them all.  Keep in mind that they will be opened starting with number 1 and ending with number 24 in case you have a specific sequence you were looking to achieve.

Now you will need some strong string to hang your chains.  I found some waxed twine in red, which was both strong and pretty, but last year I used red and white striped bakers twine which was nice too.  Make sure that your chain of boxes is adequately anchored to the ceiling, since depending on what you’ve got in your boxes, it could get kind of heavy.  I hang mine in the doorway between my kitchen and diningroom.  To anchor each, I have a 1-1/2″ piece of  grosgrain ribbon that I staple (with a staple gun) to the moulding above the door, both on the inside and the outside.

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This gives me a loop from which to start hanging my chain.

So, starting with box number 24 you need to first tightly wrap your box with string and leave 4 – 6 inches of leftover string above the knot.

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Tie this first box to your anchor…

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You can then cut off most of the leftover strings.  Now repeat with the number 23 box.  When you tie the string around your box, you want to keep the knot as close as possible to the box with no slack.  Any slack will add to the overall length of your chain with could lead to a chain that is too long for its designated spot.  To keep your knot as tight as possible, tie it once like so…

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That gap under the knot is what you don’t want when you’re done.  So next, you pass one of the strings underneath the string running across the top of the box.

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Pull it tight then make one more knot to anchor everything in place.

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Now, to attach this box to the previous one on your chain, slip one of the strings from this box through the cross on the bottom of the previous one.

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Pull it tight then double knot it.  Cut off most of the leftover strings.  Continue building your chain of boxes, counting backwards, one after the other until you end with box number one on the bottom.  Here are my two chains, one on either side of the doorway.  Amazingly, they just fit in the opening with the number one box just resting on the floor.

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To cut each box off, you want to cut through the knot only.  This will ensure that you only cut off the bottom box in the chain.

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Younger kids might need a little guidance.  Here are my happy kids on December 1st with their number one boxes.

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And here is Trevor showing how his chain looks on December 21st.

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Good luck with your own calendar.  If you do it right, save all your boxes and store them carefully, you will be able to use it for many years to come!