December is almost here – it’s time to get ready. It doesn’t have to be expensive, either! Christmas is a great time of year to make crafts with your kids, or on your own. Have a Do-It-Yourself Christmas this year – start by making an Advent Calendar. Here are some of my favourite ideas:
Advent Gift Tags (pictured) – here’s a set I made using the Candlelight Christmas designer paper and 25 and Counting stamp set from Stampin’ Up! Pretty ribbon is used to tie the tags to any gifts you choose. I also made a set using paper favour boxes, by adhering punched out snowflakes with the 25-and-counting images (also shown at right). The boxes are thumb-tacked to a cork board that was covered with Christmas paper and ribbon.
Other ideas to inspire you:
Canadian Living Home & Crafts has a ton of great ideas, including an Advent Calendar:
DIY Christmas: Make a chic Advent calendar – Canadian Living.
Martha Stewart, always a go-to:
The Crafty Crow – A Children’s Craft Collective
This site is a treasure trove of ideas, including these ones. Many use recycled and scrap materials and will appeal to kids: http://www.thecraftycrow.net/2010/11/24-advent-calendars-to-make.html
You probably know that Fiskars makes a lot of fabulous scissors and other cutting/punching tools for papercrafting. I just discovered their Crafts website – here is a link to their Advent Calendar ideas:
Mixed Bunch and Warm Winter Wishes stamp sets, blossom punch, chevron embossing folde
Artwork is copyright Stampin’ Up!
Colours: gum ball green, whisper white, and raspberry ripple.
Emboss the white card stock with the Chevron Embossing Folder using the Big Shot Machine. Stamp in Raspberry Ripple and cut out two Keepsake Ornaments using the framelits dies and the Big Shot. Tie a Gumball Green stitched satin ribbon around the white card stock and adhere to the Gumball Green Card (half a letter-sized sheet). Stamp the Warm Winter Wishes in Raspberry Ripple onto the white cardstock. Use a sparkly rhinestone to embellish each ornament. Adhere a white cardstock liner inside the card. And you’re done!
One of my customers made this super-cute card with the Scentsational Season bundle and the woodgrain embossing folder.
I used to love that French crochet magazine Magic Crochet, which is no longer in print. Jam-packed with designs for doilies and table runners made in thread, with both graphic and written instructions, it featured many lovely and challenging patterns. Now, when shopping for crochet magazines at the newsstand, I’m often disappointed by the usual selection. It’s wonderful that crochet has experienced a revival, but we in North America have been taken back through all the beginner stuff in the past few years. Fortunately the market is maturing a bit and there is a rich treasure trove of inspiration to be found online from North America and beyond. Here are a few of my favourites:
- Crochet Me, an online magazine by Interweave. Interweave Crochet is an excellent publication. Yes, it’s American, but it is far and away above the average magazines.This site has downloadable patterns and e-books, videos and techniques, a gallery of members’ work, and articles by the editors. I enjoyed this post on Crocheted Gifts which encourages us to think beyond hats and scarves. Although beginners are welcomed with plenty of how-to guides, Interweave is also an excellent resource for intermediate and advanced crafters, and their patterns are anything but ordinary. Essays on the history of crochet are frequently published in these issues. http://www.crochetme.com/blogs/crochet_daily/archive/2012/10/04/beyond-hats-crochet-gift-ideas.aspx
- Duplet Magazine and Zhurnal MOD – these are Russion publications with distinctive use of traditional Irish modular crochet patterns. If you thought crochet thread was only for doilies, you must look at this. The magazines only have graphic patterns for the motifs, not full instructions for the garments shown. The text is in Russian but the graphic patterns transcend language and you will love the beautiful outfits. They have everything from bikinis to wedding dresses. If you like to crochet with thread, you will love this magazine. (Note: subscriptions are not available in Canada. I bought a few issues from Ebay.)
- Elann.com, for yarns, patterns, tools, and notions. Based in Canada, Elann sources excellent quality natural fibre yarns including alpaca, wool, and organic cotton. Check often for great deals on luxury yarns from famous name companies. They also have their own store brand with lovely yarns and exclusive patterns. I have always been happy with my orders from Elann. The delivery is quick and the service is excellent.
- Garnstudio Drops Design – this is a manufacturer’s website with a rich pattern library of both knit and crochet. Their patterns feature trendy European designs for adults and children.
- Vogue Knitting – long one of my favourites (for knitting, sewing, and crochet), Vogue has published a number of excellent crochet patterns, and recently published an entire issue devoted to crochet. This is high-fashion, wearable stuff. My mother owned a copy of the Vogue Sewing book, which I read cover to cover (still have to learn to sew, though!). I own the Vogue Knitting book, which is an authoritative guide to design and finishing techniques, many of which can be translated for crochet. Their online crochet site also contains a section of fine finishing techniques for crocheted garments.
What are your favourites? Do you love or loathe the Granny Square? What projects do you have on the go?