DIY Advent Calendar Village

I have promised to post about our this year’s Advent calendar, so here we go. Ever since I have kids, each year I make a DIY Advent calendar (you can all see them in the DIY section).

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We had a lovely Advent Houses calendar last year, which you can see here.  Some houses got damaged and were thrown away, but most of them I put away in a box, so we could reuse them this year. There were 16 houses preserved, so I had to make 8 more things to go with them.

I decided not to make more houses again, but instead to add a little bit of landscape to it. Also, there were a few things I got as calendar stuffers, that didn’t fit into the houses anyway (like the bottle of bubble bath, plastelines, kaleidoscopes…), so I had to make something bigger to hide them.

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I really wanted to make those cone-shaped trees and the hills in the back from the beginning. Funny were those kaleidoscopes. They actually didn’t fit into any of those trees either, not to mention if I even tried to put them together. Also I was kind of short on coloured paper (and on time… and on ideas…), so I ended up just rolling them into red paper… and then making at least an arch out of it. To add a Christmas-y feeling to it, I added a yellow star on the arch. Which actually looked like an ode to communism on the red background, haha, definitely not what I intended, so I added a comet-tail behind it. ;-)

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Also the tattoos didn’t go anywhere, since I didn’t want to break the surface, so I made an ice-skating area out of them.

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Fun fact: Liv hasn’t discovered it yet, but underneath the big mountain, there’s a treasure chest hidden. I was going to go for an owl or something like that, but then I put those Chocolate gold coins in there and it just called for a treasure… hah.

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So yeah. That’s about it. Once again it reminded me that paper + glue + super precise work is not exactly my piano forte. But my kids are not harsh critics (yet), and it is kind of fun anyway.

(Btw, this is my favourite of all houses… One that Liv took last year and draw on it and added the green roof and yard!) <3

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And if you haven’t read my post on what we put inside, here is a detailed post about it. As always, I tried to go for stuff they either needed, or I knew wanted but also would get used, something more or less creative… and a few sweets, to make them happy after all. It’s funny how I’m always anxious in the beginning to find enough meaningful little things that would go in there beside sweets (want to narrow them down to rather less than more), and in the end it always seems that I found/got rather more things than I intended…

Anyway. Here’s the whole picture again of everything we put inside this year.

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Have a wonderful Advent!

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DIY Advent Calendar Stuffing Ideas

Hello friends!

Need a last-minute inspiration for your DIY Advent calendar stuffers? Here’s what I got my kids this year.
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  • Gloves (because they need them!)
  • Glitter paint (hey, after all, it’s Christmas time..) for Liv and marbles for Sebi
  • Some sweets
  • Chocolate gold coins
  • Play-doh
  • Bath-tub paints
  • Beads and sequins
  • Christmas lights! (’cause who doesn’t love those!:-)
  • Llama and horse-shaped stick-its
  • Kids-friendly temporary tattoos
  • Sylvanian family hedgehogs (actually, this one is from my mum)
  • Grape-sugar lollipops
  • Paper straws (though, I’m not a big fan of straws, they love them, so at least a bit more eco friendly version of that…)
  • Bubble bath
  • Colours for decorating cookies
  • Kaleidoscopes (those are actually too from my mum)
  • Stamps (one saying “Made with love” … :-)
  • Toy car and trucks (call me cheap, but I found those in my parent’s cellar and took them.. :-)
  • Lego princes figures (ok, those are more for Liv, because her princesses need men, haha, but anyway..)
  • Paper cut-outs
  • Lip balms
  • Kid-friendly nail polish (only because Liv started asking for one not long ago…)
  • Deco tapes
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I’d love to hear what you made/got for your kids this year!

A whole post on our this year’s Advent calendar will come soon (tomorrow?). So keep tuned! :-)

DIY Advent Calendar Idea!

Hey there! Do you like to do your own Advent Calendar for your kids? Need a last minute idea to give it a special tweak? :-)

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Since I have kids, I do our advent calendars myself… This one, however, is not for us. (For my kids, I am doing an update on our last year’s Advent House Village… but a full post about that is [hopefully] going to come tomorrow.

This one I made for my friend and her two lovely kids! She called me 2 days ago with this idea to make a Santa backdrop on which she would attach her own packages and asked me to help her make the backdrop.

It was actually so much fun! I hadn’t done any such large(r)-scale painting for a very long time, so it was fun to get back to something like that.

The Santas are about 1m high, made out of something we call here Kappa Board. (Cardboard with foam in the middle… usually used for model-making.) You could use any cardboard really, but this one has the advantage that you can just pin the packages (if they’re little) on it if you want, since there’s foam in between the paper-sheets. And it’s great to work with. And also, I just happened to have it at home, so it was convenient, hah.

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I’m not a very big fan of the whole Santa Claus-y thing, but this was really fun. Found a pretty illustration on pinterest, and I liked the fact that it’s not the classic Santa in red..

I will write an update on this, when I get a photo from my friend with the packages on it. Just thought, this might be a fun last-minute thing someone might want to do with their advent calendars. :-) My kids (Liv) sure want that for next year! It was hard keeping them away from it :-)

Two-Layered Super Funky Summer Dress

Summer is slowly coming to it’s end, but as long as this Indian summer lasts, I would like to share this fun summer dress with you… It was probably our THE most favourite dress of this summer!

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Ok, I know the phrase “Indian summer” is probably not quite just yet the right phrase, it’s more of just “late summer”, but it seemed like the matching phrase to use with those photos, because we were actually doing some Indian chanting to make rain go away, so it wouldn’t kill our campfire, haha :-)
(And guess what- it worked!!)

So here’s a short story “how it happened to be” (and I mean the dress, not the Indian chanting, heh)… We were somewhere downtown with our friends, and Liv’s friend had this amazing jersey two-layer-looking dress on, and I just couldn’t get my eyes off it, hah. How convenient for us, they are our besties and also our almost neighbours, so while I had an approximately done sketch already of them, one day I just borrowed the dress for one night and actually traced it to make life easier for me.

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And so, do-de-doli-do, I made my version of that dress. And it’s so nice, and comfy, and funky, Liv and I just both love it.

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The top fabric is a lovely flower print Art Gallery fabric, which I matched up with some thin turqoise-green-ish jersey I had left from some other project at home. Ah, long live those scrap fabrics, right? :-)

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Actually, I first used the flower-y Art Gallery fabric to make a shirt for myself some time ago, but it didn’t turn out as well as I wanted, which was kind of sad since the fabric is pretty awesome, beautiful and super soft, but I was glad I could redo it into something else for Liv instead. It suits her so much better anyway…

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Next year I absolutely have to make a version for myself of it…! Damn it, what is it about those kid’s dresses that most of the time I like them so much more than my own?! :-D

 

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Hello, Robin Hood

As I have mentioned before, there are a few posts about costumes coming up. This is one of them, and I am glad you came to have a look. :-)

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Last year Liv was introduced to the story of Robin Hood. And she absolutely fell in love with it. Right after she had seen the story (yes, the Disney version), she started looking for things she could use as his clothes and hat and so we had get together something as soon as possible (to stop hearing about how she needed it).

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I had this green jersey at home, which was just the perfect colour, so I made a long shirt with a simple collar for her.

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I admit, I thought this was going to be enough, but Liv insisted she needed a hat like Robin Hood!

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I didn’t have the right colour of felt at home, nor did I find any at a shop, but I had a nice wood green linen fabric, so I took that, made a double layer of fabric, fused with vlieseline interlining so it would hold the shape as Robin’s, and there it was. Easy as pie (as I hear Daddy Pig’s voice in my head from Peppa Pig, which Liv was watching today). :-)))

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That’s it, really… we then found a few suitable accessories, like the braided belt and a leather bag for her wooden arrows (from my old toy crossbow, hah) and my husband made a provisional bow.. Later we bought her a lovely wooden toy bow…

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So yeah. And for the whole (last) summer, she was Robin Hood. And usually I had to play Lady Marianne, so I have the loveliest memories of Liv telling me how much she loves me, but telling me as Robin Hood to Lady Marianne. Ah, sweet memories.

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And yeah, I admit, I thought it was a really great first (role model) hero to be reenacting.. It was not the first movie she saw, but it was the first that grabbed her so much, she wanted to play! And boy (girl!), did it last for quite some time!

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Btw, those pictures were taken last summer… Can’t believe, it took me a whole year to post it! Yayks. And also, the saturation of those photos is quite by accident, I happen to have hit a button by accident, that added a comic-book-look or something like that, and I noticed only afterwards. I like it, though, as they are :-)

Liv’s Princess Dress

Hello there again! It’s been a while since I last wrote, the imaginary pile in my head what I want to share is very high, and so I wanted to “open” after this long time with something grand.

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The photos I made are not (all) as grand as I imagined, but I’m not going to wait any more for a better opportunity, or else this blog might just absolutely die off, if I wait for things to be perfect. :-) I already made my peace with things not being perfect anyway. And Liv is getting an awful habit of running away from me when I want to take pictures of her (in something I did), so it’s probably not going to get better. Sigh, I have to admit, I do know where she might have picked up that attitude towards camera lenses (finger pointing at myself). It’s a shame really, she is my most wonderful model :-)

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Yup, that’s what I’m speaking about.

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So here we are.

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Liv has, probably in the last year or so, found great liking in dressing up, preferably as her favourite heroes from stories (so you can expect a series of costumes coming up if I keep it up!). Haha, nobody can guess who this dress is inspired by, right? Of course, me being a costume designer and a (hobby?) seamstress, I’m all in for making costumes for this little girl! Oh, I only wish I had more time (and energy) to do all the costumes she would like! That would be so much fun..

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Ok, needless to say, I guess, this dress is a bit inspired by Cinderella. However, I didn’t want to make a replica of Disney’s Cinderella’s dress. I much rather wanted to make a dress that would be at least coming near to a historically (more) correct dress for a girl (for mid 19th century), which would only give her enough hints to be able to get away with also being a Cinderella dress just as much as any neutral princess or such. Also I have to admit, I am still dreaming of finishing that 1860s dress that I started doing long time ago and if would get to make it we could have a lovely historical picnic in a park…! If she doesn’t outgrow her dress before I get to ever do mine…. sigh.

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(Haha, see that wonderful Cinderella’s shoe? This one’s not going to get missing so easily! Should have worn proper shoes too, Cinderella! ;-) They’re also much better for dancing, heh. Not to mention those lovely dotted socks!)

Speaking of outgrowing, this dress is actually a bit big for Liv yet, because I have done it a bit wider, so she might grow a bit into it, rather than outgrowing it too soon. However I  might have done it a bit too wide, and I will probably take a bit off from the bodice.

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Overall I do not see the dress as being quite finished yet. I will presumably add some details and embellishments to it. After all, I did the whole thing in two kind of crazy night before Liv’s birthday (yes, this stupid habit of having to do something quite last minute).. But for now, we’re happy with it.

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Pitty, I didn’t do a photo of the petticoat. I should add that later. I do like the details on the skirt, though.

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Oh, I should say, Liv is wearing a shirt with long sleeves underneath, as it was a bit of a colder day that day… Those white sleeves are not part of the dress. Also all the rest of her styling is her own doing :-)

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DIY Advent Calendar(s) With Illustrated Windows

I have started two years ago a tradition (it seems) in our household to make each year a DIY advent calendar for my little one(s).

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This year the book shop and publisher Artforum was giving away printed pictures of Vladimir Kral’s illustrations from the wonderful Slovak version of the Christmas Mystery by Jostein Gaarder (in honour of it’s this year’s reprint) to cut out and use for your DIY Advent Calendar. So I just had to use those (since Vladimir Kral’s illustrations are just truly wonderful!).

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Somehow I had set my mind on making paper houses this year. Of course, I did not realize what it meant to make 24 paper houses, before I started. Haha. I’m just crazy, really. I drafted, cut and glued them all myself. But it was fun! It meant 3 nights with little sleep, but still it was fun! :-)

But I have to admit, had I started to do them earlier, it might be without the sleep deprivation. Though, then again…. naaah, who am I kidding… I know myself, I just would do it the same way, even if I had more time. I just can’t stop, once I start doing something (like this).

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Since it was not done in one night, Liv saw the making of her advent calendar. First, she said she didn’t want one. I said ok, I’ll do it for myself then. On the next day however, she already saw three finished houses. And she loved them right away.

Right away she wanted to add to the process of making them and said she will paint them. Though, my intention was to leave them white, I love that she wanted to do it with me, so I didn’t tell her anything. And she started to draw on them. And glue on them. And put surprises inside of them for me! How wonderful is that!

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This house already has it’s own garden and a drawing with daddy.

I do love the fact that it’s going to be something we both worked on! I know she will in time probably paint them all… And I’m so looking forward to it! Though I did not at all intend it that way, I think it’s so much better when she takes something I created for her and turns it into something else!

Call me crazy, but I also did a second advent calendar. Yes, I am cockoo.

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(Work in progress)

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Though I have two kids now, one doesn’t need an advent calendar yet. Still, I had those extra pictures… And I just wanted to try a second thing with them. Last year I wanted to make an advent calendar with toilet rolls, but we didn’t have enough rolls at home (and I decided to make it last minute, so there was no time to collect them), so I made something else. So this year I had put away toilet rolls throughout the year, and now I had a huge bunch of them stored away. And I just had my mind set on using them too. So I did.

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I did decide to use it somewhat differently though. This one is not full of things. It is actually empty. Yes, you heard (read) me right. One side is open. It is a calendar of Thankfulness. Because there is so much to be thankful for… and it has been on my mind this year a lot. We have been through such a difficult year, but I very strongly feel, that still, no matter our hardships to almost even put food on the table in a certain period of this year, we still have so much. So much. As opposed to others in this world, who struggle even so much more.
I know Liv is still young to fully understand this, but she has already such difficult themes going through her head, I thought it might be a good idea to bring in this idea of thankfulness. So each day, we say one thing what we are thankful for. And “put” it inside. In the end it will be (hopefully) full. And we can read all of the things we were thankful for on Christmas Eve.

I hope it will work out. :-)

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It can be any little thing. I don’t interfere with what she says she’s thankful for. Today for example it was that daddy bought new plasters (band-aids). :-)

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(Liv also came up with taping over the numbers of the days gone by, to see better the countdown of left days till Christmas. What a good idea!)

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Oh, almost forgot. What did we put inside this year?

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Well, actually Liv really needed new socks, panties and (less needed, but still) slippers. So not wanting to buy too many un-needed stuff, and not wanting to spend too much (and having to buy those anyway) I took advantage of that and put it in there. Also, I saw those cute wooden traffic signs somewhere for 6 euros. Liv loves to play with cars and she’s very interested in traffic signs lately. When we go somewhere we talk a lot about what those signs mean. So I bought those. And divided these into a few days. 11, to be exact. :-)

The rest is some little things. A play-dough, two lollipops, chocolate lollipop and two chocolate coins, a stamp, a cookie cutter, a jingle bell, a cute little striped suitcase, a wooden whale to paint on, decorative tapes, cooked chestnuts (Liv loves those), modeling clay and this thingy you can look through different glasses you add to see how insects see (cool, not?).

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I didn’t put numbers on the houses this time. I meant to. But then I thought… ah who cares, it doesn’t matter in what order she will open them.

Fun fact for the end. I put each slipper in a different house (because the houses were too small to put in both into one). Ha. :-)