Alternative not-so-traditional Advent wreath – Advent box

Alternative not-so-traditional Advent wreath – Advent box

Finally I get to show you my Advent wreath. It is however not round at all. And not really a wreath. I call it Advent box. ;-)

 Using a box has actually several advantages:

1. You can MOVE the wreath around. If you have small kids that definitely comes in handy!
2. Putting the box together is alot quicker than putting a wreath together.
3. You can easily make an Advent box even if you have forgotten to go shopping for wreath supplies. Like I do each year. ;-)

 I love our Advent box. And I love that I did not have to buy a single thing. 

I found the box in the basement … and some red paint. The moss is from our back yard. I luckily had some candles in one of the Christmas boxes from last year. Well, and nuts and pine cones are pretty much everywhere in our apartment right now as the kids love to collect them on our walks.

I also put some punched out snowflakes into the box … just for some added cuteness. :-)

 

 

What do you think? Do you like it?

 

 
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Tutorial for making straw stars

Here comes a tutorial on how to make these strawstars. 

Picture of tiny strawstar These stars are a traditional decoration here in Germany and they always remind me of my childhood as I was making them as a kid with my mother.

I love decorating with them!

By now you can buy them for little money over here in many stores. But the bought ones look slightly different … and also … well, they just are not homemade.
It is different to have real homemade ones!
I am still dreaming of one day having enough time to make so many that I can decorate my whole Christmas tree just with homemade straw stars and lights.
Well, maybe some gingerbread, too.
But that’s it! :-)

So if you want to try to make some, too, here is how to do it:

 What do you need?

Not much.
  – straw for crafting
– thread (I like red or silver one, but really any color is fine)
– scissors

If you have bought (or only can buy) straw that is still “round” – not as in the picture above – then you need to prepare your straw before you start with crafting.

If you have flat strips of straw you can just skip ahead to the actual making of the stars.

Okay, so if you still have the “real” straw what you do is
-slit the straw open with a sharp knife
-let soak in water for about 15 minutes
(I however had to soak mine alot longer. Do not know why.)
– then iron the straw open

You should end up with strips of flat straw that probably have varying width.
You can make the strips narrower if you want to just by cutting it with the scissors.
I do not find this step too much fun, so I would recommend buying the flat strips if you can. 

Now making the stars.

Of the flat straw strips cut 4 pieces to the same length.
If you have never made strawstars before try to choose straw pieces that have roughly the same width. That will make it easier.

 

 Then you make an “x” out of two straw pieces and hold it between your thumb and index finger.

With the other two straw pieces you make a “cross” and put the “cross” above the “x” as in the photo above.
Do not let go!

 

 Now it will get a bit complicated. But once you have mastered this part you are almost done!

 With (a long piece of thread) you weave around the middle of the star as shown above. You have to be careful to weave in a way so the star will not fall apart.

This is hard to explain in words – but you will know what I mean when you try it. For example the thread should not be UNDER the top straw piece but ABOVE it – like seen in the photo – otherwise the star will fall apart once you let go.
You can click on the photo above to make it larger and see more closely where the thread should go.

Do not let go before you have knot the thread! ;-)

I always weave one round and knot. After that I weave a couple more rounds but that is ALOT easier cause the star can not fall apart anymore.  

This is what your star should look like from the front if you have weaved around the middle once.

This is a photo from the back of the star after weaving around the middle a few times.

Now comes the really fun part.

You gotta cut the ends of the straw to make a star.
You can do this any way you like … round, pointed, …
And then you are done!
Yeah!

Wasn’t that hard, was it? 

Of course you can vary the look of the stars if you want to. You can user longer pieces of straw or shorter ones. Or both together … You can make really big or very small stars. You can put two stars on top of each other to make one fancy one.
Here just a few photos for inspiration:

A smaller and a larger star put on top of each other.

A very basic star.

Star made off narrow and wide straw strips.

A very small star. My favourite! I would love to make a whole bunch of these! :-)

Just a photo so you can see how small it is.
(Of course you could make even smaller ones.)

And just so you see that it is not THAT hard – this is a star that little bear – my 5 year old daughter – made with a little help with the weaving.

Well, and while making some stars I wanted to try something new … and tied a button to the middle of a star.
So this is the first button-strawstar I have ever seen. :-)

 

I do kinda like it.
I think it would look really awesome to have a bunch with red buttons. Unfortunately I was out of red buttons …
Maybe when I have more time on my hands I will try this.

Now what do you do with your stars?

Well, you can put them ANYwhere.

On a tree.
On a wreath.

This is my wreath in our living room.
You could also use them for gift wrapping – very cute!

I hope you will have fun trying this!

Let me know if you have any questions!!!!

 
 
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Quick Advent calendar tutorial

So today was the day when my daughter was allowed to open the first door of her Advent calender. Or rather the first sock. ;-)
 
If some of you are REALLY late with their calendar – well, here is one that you can do in almost no time! At least if you do have enough socks around. :-)
 
 
You need:

 
– 24 socks
Preferably sock that are too small for your kids – otherwise someone might be searching for them ;-)
Babysocks look REALLY cute!

– 24 wooden cloths pegs

– some type of cord or string
– optional: number stickers or paper, to write numbers on

I guess you know what to do now?! It is really esay :-)

Fill the socks with whatever you want and put them on the string/ cord with the pegs. Add some numbers if you want to. Done.

For the numbers I simply cut out stars with a hole punch and wrote the numbers on the stars.
(You can not see that in the pic above as I took the photo BEFORE I finished the numbers.)
I just added another photo below WITH the numbers …
I added the stars to the sock and cliped it all together with the cloths peg.
You can leave off the numbers if it does not matter in which order the socks are emptied.

My kids are not getting any chocolate or candy in their calender. Each sock holds a paper slip which has one activity on it. My daughter loves it! Last year’s favourite was
“Have hot chocolate with whipped cream”
:-)

Today the slip read “Write down a wishlist for Santa Claus”
You know what my daughter said after hearing that?

“I can not write that list today. First I have to finish looking through all the toy catalogues!”

Well, that much about making an informed decision … :-D

If you need some ideas what to write on your paper slips there is a whole lot out there in blogland. If you are interested I can also post the list I have accumulated …
Just let me know.

Wishing you a great 1st of December!

 

 
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