Advent “wreath” tutorial

Have a wonderful 1st of Advent!


If you still do not have an Advent wreath but would like one – here comes your post! :-)

I show you what Advent wreaths I am using this year. And yes, this year I have TWO! Last year we used an Advent “box”:

To find out more about the Advent box click HERE.

This year I made two – one for the kitchen where we eat and one for the living room. The basic idea for them is similar to the Adent box above. Here comes “wreath” number 1.

Cake pan Advent wreath: 

Tiny tutorial:

1. Search for (old) cake pan.

2. Fill the pan with bird sand.

3. Put candles in there.

4. Put some nuts on top … or something else decorative that will cover the sand.

5. Light candles and admire your great work!

I have to admit though that this wreath was more a collaboration than my idea. I started out and did everything until step 3 and had left it at that. Then my kids decided that the nuts that we had collected that day would look good in the pan and just started to fill up the pan. I did not want to start a big fuzz so I decided to let them do it – I could change it later. But when they were done I loved so much what they had done that I just left it like that. :-)

And wreath number 2.

Big glass bowl Advent wreath:

Tiny tutorial:
see above ;-)
Just exchange the pan with a big glass bowl. And instead of sand you use sugar or salt – looks prettier in the glass bowl. Kinda like snow. Then decorate whichever way you want. My kids used pine cones cause they were everywhere in our apartment from our last walks in the woods.
What I love about these “wreaths” – you can use pretty much anything you find and you like. So if you do not have an old cake pan or a big glass bowl – just search for something else. You will probably find something in your kitchen or basement that you can work with.

How do you like my untraditional Advent “wreaths”?

And what does your Advent wreath look like this year?

More Inspiration via email for you?

Panicky Pre-Christmas-Post

Today was a really stupid day!

Everyone has one of those at some point. I know. But unfortunately in my case stupid days lead to stupid thoughts. So if you are a person who gets panicky when reading about other people’s panick 



Hey, I said stop!

Well, I warned you! Your choice ….
I really do like Christmas!
And even more I like Advent. I LOVE Advent – the time before Christmas. 
I do not like stress, hectic hustling, trying to finish what feels like 100 projects at a time …

When I started to get this panicky feeling when realizing that next weekend is the 1st of Advent – I tried to calm myself. I told myself “You can do this” No problem!


I will just make a list with all the things that need to get done before Christmas. And then I can distribute all those things over the days to come! 


Easy, right?!

No stress at all.

Quiet nice Advent-days.



Well … kinda …

It did sound rather simple in my head.

Unfortunately the reality had a somewhat different look:



I sit down and write my list.

I write.

And I write.

And I write.

I pause.

I realize that I could keep writing for a REALLY long time.

I realize that I could not by any means finish off the things I already have on my sheet of paper until Christmas. No way.

Not even with stress.

So … I declare list-writing to be finished and am frustrated!


Apparently my problem solving strategy went straight down the hill. 

So therefore my question:

 How do you deal with pre-Christmas-panick?

Or am I really the only one who ever gets that?

 And even more important:

How do you do it that you can actually ENJOY Advent and Christmas time – and not just survive it?
More Inspiration via email for you?


Christmas in a nutshell ;-)

Christmas in a nutshell ;-)
Handgemachte Krippe in Nussschale von Ursula Markgraf/Handmade manger in nutshell by Ursula Markgraf
More Inspiration via email for you?


(Deutsch) Gehäkeltes Lebkuchenhaus-Nadelkissen mit Lebkuchen-Knöpfen

Heute kann ich Euch ENDLICH zeigen, was ich schon vor einer Weile gehäkelt habe – 
mit Mini-Lebkuchen-Knöpfen 


Was sagt Ihr dazu????
Oh, dass ich ein bisschen mit den Knöpfen und Stecknadeln übertreibe, braucht Ihr nicht schreiben. *lach*
Das weiss ich! :-)
More Inspiration via email for you?


Bascetta stars from musical sheets (recycling)

I actually made these Bascetta stars already a while ago. But somehow finding the time to type up posts becomes harder and harder.

Well, just shortly before Christmas … and during Christmas actually … I learned how to make these folded stars.

They are made out of square papers and are just folded – and stuck together.

You have to fold 30 pieces of paper.
In Germany they are called Bascetta stars.

Anyone can tell me whether they are called Bascetta stars in the rest of the world, too?

This one is a star made out of special paper that has different prints/ colors on both sides.
It looks really pretty, don’t you think?
After I had made this one I was out of the pretty paper … and I figured I could ge a bit inventive …

So I ended up using old music sheets out of a pretty old song book:

This is a rather old book with musical notes.

I love musical sheets. 

So I had to try whether it would look good. And this is how it turned out:


I totally adore it!
And as you have to cut the pages to squares there is always a paper strip left over. So what did I do?
I cut squares out of the left over bits … and made a tiny star:


Here you can see both Bascetta stars together:


This was so much fun!
I am actually working on another recycled star. 
No musical sheets though … curious? ;-)
But it might take a bit until it is done …


The folding and the putting together is really relaxing … but the cutting of the squares is simply booooooring! :-)
If you try to make the Bascetta stars let me know in the comments!
And if you wanna get creative with less folding but more playing with paint and colors … try my free mixed media workshop:

Cute Christmastree Pillow for Little Ones (Tutorial)

When I was thinking of presents to make for the kids for Christmas I found it hard to come up with something for my little boy. He is just one year old. He will play with anything, really.
But what would be kinda special to him?
So I tried to come up with something that would go well with things he likes …
He loves to cuddle! :-)
He will carry around stuffed pets and cuddle them. Steal his sister’s tiny pillow. Try to haul away the big bear that is almost his own size …
Also he loves to play with small things. Take things apart. He especially likes when taking things apart is accompanied by some noise.
And he is totally fascinated by the Advent calendar I made for his sister some years ago.
SO ….
This is what I came up with:
A soft cuddly pillow in a Christmastree-shape with Christmas baubles that attach with velcro
and therefore make that odd ripping sound when you pull them off.
He is going to love that! ;-)
And I figured maybe you also have some little guy – or girl – at home that would like one. So here is a tutorial on how to make it.
Sorry, I should have included more photos. But I was kinda hurrying to get it all done …
It is easy though! So I am sure you can do it even if there is not a photo for each single step!
Here is what you need:
– fabric for the Christmas baubles – I made 6 baubles and used 6 different cotton prints
– green fleece
– matching thread
– paper for pattern
– scissors for cutting your pattern
– fabric scissors or rotary cutter
– velcro
– stuffing
1. Make your pattern
This is really easy. All you gotta do is figure out how big you want your pillow to be and draw a simplyfied treeshape (triangle with a stem) on a big piece of paper. I used some wrapping paper and newspaper.
When you have your treeshape figure out how big your baubles should be (all the same size or different sizes) and how many you want on your tree. Make a pattern (or several patterns if you want different sizes) for the baubles, too.
2. Cut your fabric
Cut two pieces for the tree out of green fleece. Remember to add your seam allowance!
Cut two pieces for each bauble you want to make out of your cottons – or whatever you use for the baubles*. Here also add your seam allowance.
3. Make the baubles
Take two fabric circles and sew the hooks of the velcro to one fabric circle.
Then sew the circles together with the right sides facing each other – leave a hole for turning!!!
Turn the bauble and put some stuffing in there if you like. Close the hole by top stitching around the whole bauble!



Now I  have to say I was VERY surprised how hard I found it to sew small fabric circles like that! My seams turned out quite crooked. (As you can easily see in the photos.)
I was not too worried this time as I figured little man simply will not care at all about the seams. ;-)
But I figured if I wanted the baubles to LOOK more pretty I would have used fleece for them as well instead of cottons.
* With fleece you could just cut two circle shapes, sew on the velcro and sew both shapes together left side on left side! So NO TURNING. Just cut the fleece close to the seam – and that would be it!
Repeat this step until you have all baubles finished.
4. Make the tree
Take your tree-shaped fleece and play around with your baubles to figure out where you want them to go.
Pin the soft side of the velcro in place. (I used the soft side of the velcro on the pillow rather than on the baubles as I figured it would be less scratchy if the kids happen to cuddle up with it withouth the baubles attached.)
Sew the velcro in place!
Then put the two fleece pieces together right side facing each other. Close all seams – but again leave a (generous!) hole for turning and stuffing!


Then turn inside out and it should look like in the photo above.
Stuff the tree and close the hole. I did this by hand. At first I wanted to topstitch the whole tree but decided against it in the end.
Now you can admire your Christmastree pillow and play around with the baubles. ;-)

Have fun!
And I would love to know if you make one! :-)

P.S. This pattern is for personal use only. Thank you.
More Inspiration via email for you?


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?


More Inspiration via email for you?


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!

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!!!!

More Inspiration via email for you?


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!


More Inspiration via email for you?