Tuesday, November 30, 2010

PJs and Wrapping Gifts

I love the look of beautifully wrapped gifts.  Growing up we always saved gift wrap to reuse as long as possible.  Good quality wrapping paper has been known to last a long time in my family.  Last year we finally parted with some wrapping paper from the 80s!  I'm sure it wasn't used every year, but I find it quite impressive that it lasted that long!

In the last few years the piles of wrapping that need to be thrown away  have made me uncomfortable.  I really dislike the idea of waste.   I've been trying to come up with ways to make gift wrap that is reusable but is still festive.

I love to make little boxes out of cards or scrapbook paper.  I made a few today, but I'll hold off making any more so I can make them fit the gifts.

I like to make a few new drawstring bags to use as gift bags every year.   I made several today.   I might make a few more to live in the Christmas stockings to hold gifts after they come out of the stockings.  I'd like to avoid as much wear and tear on the knit stockings as possible.

I really love this Eco Christmas Gift Wrap tutorial.  It seems to me that it would be fun as a gift for pretend play as well.  I just had to try it out.  I'm pleased with the results.  I'll definitely make some more.

I finished some pj pants today.  I'm also sending off some pillowcases with them so I wrapped them up in pillowcases. 

How do you like to wrap your gifts?

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Ideas for filling Advent calendars for little ones

Advent calendars play a big part in my childhood Christmas memories. When my nephew was born last year I thought it would be fun to make his family an Advent calendar.  My childhood memories of Advent calendars are mostly of paper chain calendars with an activity listed inside.  I didn't think an experiential Advent calendar would be practical for a three month old so I decided to go with a pocket style Advent calendar and fill it with items for celebrating the holiday season.  Last year I followed the Advent calendar tutorial at Sew Mama Sew I loved it, but lots of my items were a bit too big for the pockets.  This year I made a over the door shoe holder style Advent calendar to give me a bit more room for my gifts.

Some of my ideas for filling an Advent calendar for a baby or toddler include

pieces of a child friendly nativity scene (spread out over multiple days)
soft toys made by sewing together Christmas symbols and stuffing them
holiday related board book
ball sewn from holiday fabrics
sippy cup leash  made with holiday ribbon
fabric ornaments
felt ornaments
stroller blanket made from festive material
socks - I like the idea of red socks because they are festive and can be worn any time
bib  - I love making washcloth bibs one in holiday colors would be fun
leg warmers
holiday hat
onesie or shirt with holiday applique
a holiday outfit
holiday pjs (a perfect Christmas Eve gift)

Because I did my Advent calendar as a gift to a family I made some days treats for the parents and included chocolates, gift tags, and ribbons.  What would you put in a family Advent calendar?  Do you have any favorite Advent traditions?

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Christmas Pajamas

I love the idea of having new pajamas to wear on Christmas morning.  It makes for some fun pictures having festive pajamas.  I modified a costume pattern for these pjs.  I think they'll be nice and cozy.

Do you do new pajamas for Christmas?

Christmas Pillowcases

I'm making some kiddos in my life pajama pants for Christmas this year.  I decided that I would make Christmas pillowcases to wrap the pajamas.  It was my first try making the pillowcases.  I'll definitely make more.   I like the idea of a functional wrapping for gifts.

Advent Calendars

I love using Advent calendars to count down to Christmas.  We always had Advent calendars when I was growing  up.  When I went away to college my mother sent me a piece of Advent mail every day in December.  I loved knowing that there would be something special in my mail box for me.

Last year I made an Advent calendar from a tutorial shared on Sew Mama Sew.  It was a fun project.  I was quite pleased with the finished project.  When I started to fill the calendar, I realized that the pockets were too small to hold most of the items I had gathered.  I didn't want to choose smaller items because they were gifts for a baby.

This year rather than have an Advent calendar with a pile of gifts next to it, I decided to make one with bigger pockets.  I thought about modifying an over the door shoe holder, but I never found one locally that seemed like it would be perfect.  I decided  that I would look for something perfect until September.  I didn't find a pattern or shoe holder that I really liked, so I decided to try making something reminiscent of a shoe holder.

I think this was the most complicated thing I've ever made without a pattern or tutorial to follow.  It was great fun to see it take shape. I loved seeing it come together and getting a bit more confidence as each step was finished that it would be a functional calendar.  It looks like the pockets are a perfect size for gifts for toddlers.  I really like it!  I may decide to make another that allows for different sized pockets to allow for gifts of various sizes.  I like the idea of a pocket for pajamas on Christmas Eve.

Advent calendar before stuffing

Advent calendar full of toddler gifts

I decided to make pleated pockets so they could expand to hold thick gifts if need be.  I used printable fabric for the numbers.  I'm excited to see what it looks like in use!   

I'm excited to be almost done with Advent already.  Last year I was filling the calendar as December progressed.  This year I have 23 gifts wrapped and ready to go already.  Do you celebrate Advent?  If so, how do you celebrate?