Wednesday, November 30, 2011

{1st day of christmas: diy advent calendars}

Can you believe it's almost December?!

With the approach of the holidays (and Darkroom and Dearly's one year anniversary!), I'm going to celebrate the season with a 12 Days of Christmas DIY countdown! Starting today, the next 12 posts until Christmas Eve will be 12 different DIY Christmas crafts you can make on your own to decorate your home and share with your family.

Today's craft is dedicated to Advent Calendars: the perfect way to countdown to Christmas, and provided just in time for December 1st!

{diy advent calendar}

For my calendar, I went with the same theme as my {refrigerator magnets}. I used my leftover glass beads and round magnets (I picked mine up at Michaels, but you can get them at any craft store) to create my days of the month.

I traced the beads on pieces of paper and wrote the numbers 1-24 (for Christmas I drew a tree) on them for the days of December. It's important to cut out your numbers slightly smaller than your outline, otherwise the paper will hang over the edge of the bead. Also, remember to write small! The beads magnify whatever you write.

Glue your numbers to the back of the beads with a craft glue (make sure it says it bonds to glass). Let dry. Paste the magnets to the back of the beads in the same manner. Let dry overnight.

For my calendar squares, I used green, red, and patterned craft paper to cut out twenty-five 1.5"x1.5" squares.

When the beads dried in the morning, I stuck them to the fridge on top of each calendar square. Voila - a very simple Advent calendar! As December goes on, Tanner and I will pull down each square as the day passes to count the days until Christmas.

If you'd like to make the calendar even more fun, you can write fun gifts or dates on the back of each square - "dinner out" or "candy canes" - and turn each one over throughout the month. It's a great way to celebrate the holiday!

Here are more clever calendars to try:

Felt Coins via {she knits shizknits} Magnetic cookie sheet via {pink paisley}
Felt pockets via {all sorts} Template calendar via {the hybrid chick}

P.S.- in case any of you were curious, the 12 Days of Christmas actually fall between Christmas (Dec 25) and Epiphany (Jan 6), the day the Wise Men arrived at the stable in Bethlehem. Just a little bit of holiday trivia for you. :)

Monday, November 28, 2011

{ski holiday}

We skied on Thanksgiving, and it was wonderful. On the east coast, a ski trip is a highly-planned and highly-anticipated affair, the result of months of planning, culminating into one all-too-short-and-expensive getaway weekend.

Now that we live in Oregon, a "ski trip" is only a short hour drive away, and can be repeated as often as we please throughout the season... I'm still getting used to that. How novel! And so, not two days later from our first trip to the slopes, we had another day off work and arrived there again, still a bit sore and still a lot excited. This is hardly routine, yet. This is still new and fresh and delightful. Skiing whenever we want? On every day off if we choose? Yes, please.

The weather was warm, the sky was sunny, and we kept screaming over and over at the snowy, gorgeous mountain, we can't believe we live here!

Friday, November 25, 2011


Thanksgiving was a delightful respite from the every day... it may have been raining in Portland, but it was sunny with bluebird skies on Mt. Hood (isn't our mountain beautiful??), so that's where we spent the day! Skiing, snowboarding, soaking in the snow-capped mountainside... and then tightening our gaiters and mittens when that afternoon snowstorm blew in. By 3:00 pm we were buried under six inches of new snow. Our muscles sore and our stomachs growling, we headed home and hunkered up next to a fire, whipped up a crockpot turkey that had been stewing all day, and munched on delicious sides before passing out at 7:00 pm. Is there a better way to spend the holiday?

I'm thankful for family near at heart, even if far away, good friends with which to spend the holiday, and a beautiful landscape to play with them in.
What are you thankful for this season?

Friday, November 18, 2011

{diy: hanging jewelry displays}

I don't know about you, but I have the hardest time finding the right mode of display for my jewelry. I've tried everything from caboodles (remember those??) to fabric rolls with pockets, to dishes of rings, to plastic hooks stuck to the closet wall (not pretty). I love those metal trees and jewelry cases you can buy at jewelry stores, but they end up being impractical for what I own.

After many years of experimentation, I think I finally have the perfect jewelry displays. And best of all -- they're really easy to make! My mom was a big part in getting this figured out for me; she used it for her jewelry for a long time, and when I moved, she made me one to take with me.

Here's the tutorial:

All you need for the earring display is a swatch of burlap (or any other kind of fabric that is heavy with open weave) and some small dowel rods.

Wrap the top and bottoms of the fabric around the dowel rods and sew shut. If you hate sewing, like me, you can cheat and use duct tape. No one will ever know... promise. :)

Push earrings through the weave in the burlap and secure on the back. It's easier to remove earrings with backs if you put them closer to the bottom.
Pin or attach the burlap to the wall of your closet, bathroom, or bedroom, and admire your earrings!

For necklaces, I like hanging them on the wall best. Metal jewelry holders tend to get my necklaces tangled and messy, but keeping them on hooks on the wall looks nicer. I picked up this wooden hook rack from IKEA, but really you can go with any display that suits your fancy.

I hang mine near the bathroom for ease of dressing in the morning in the dark. (And since it's winter in Portland, it's pretty much dark all the time, now.)

If those DIY jewelry projects don't suit your fancy, here are some more delightful displays that caught my eye. Pick your favorite, click on the photo for the diy, and dress up your vanity!

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