Easy Origami Advent Calendar

Origami Advent Calendar // Boots and Cats

Advent calendars have really become all the rage in recent years, especially for adults. You can find calendars filled with fancy chocolate, wine, gin, beauty products…you name it! For the past 3 years (alongside my fancy chocolate calendar) Rory and I have had a calendar full of Christmas-time activities to get us into the spirit of the season. It has lived in many forms, including a scrapbook and hanging ornaments, and needed a fresh face for this year.

I wanted something bold and pretty (geometric has also been my jam lately) but also very quick and easy (all honesty, I put this together 2 days ago). I was toying with the idea of origami boxes or the like, then Rory suggested folding ‘fortune tellers’ that we used to make in school. This would also make the calendar into a bit of a daily game and adding to the surprise of what we reveal each day.

Origami Advent Calendar // Boots and Cats

December snuck up on us quickly this year, so no judgement if you didn’t have time to make one of the many beautiful crafty calendars Pinterest can provide. This one is quick, easy and full of things that will bring you closer together with friends and family and fill you up with holiday cheer.

You can totally whip this up this weekend in an hour or so and you can join in on the fun!

Origami Advent Calendar // Boots and Cats

You’ll need:

  • Christmas-coloured card stock (whatever Christmas colours means to you and your decor)
  • Scissors
  • String
  • Pens
  • Hole punch

Origami Advent Calendar // Boots and Cats

Begin by refreshing your grade-school memory on how to fold ‘fortune-tellers’. I made sure to practice on a scrap piece of paper before moving onto the good stuff, but it turns out, it’s just like riding a bike. Each one will hold 4 activities, so for the 24 days til Christmas, you’ll have to make 6 of them.

This is an opportunity to play with your paper colour selection. You can make all 6 from the same colour, multiple colours alternating in a pattern, or sort of a gradient effect like I did. This is the most ‘design-y’ part of the project. (For me personally, finding good card stock in a variety of pretty, saturated tones was always a challenge, until I found this!). If you enjoy the simplicity of the folded lines, leave them as is, but if you’re all about the holiday bling – go nuts with glitter, ribbons and any other ‘accessorizing’ you can think of.

Origami Advent Calendar // Boots and Cats

Once those are folded up, brainstorm 24 activities, treats and things to do each day that will bring festive excitement and merriment. Some of my favourites we use are “go out for tea”, “go tobogganing”, and “watch Christmas cartoons”. If you are bold, you can go for an activity each day, but I am not gonna lie, about 12 of our activities are “eat chocolate from the Christmas stash” because as delightful as these things are; December is a busy month! We’d be exhausted (and not to mention probably resentful of our calendar) if we forced ourselves to do something every single day. This is an unfortunate side effect of adulthood.

Once you’ve narrowed down your activities (and chocolates) it’s time to fill up your calendar. On the inside, on top of the flaps, write a word or symbol (Christmas related is preferred) that will act as the ‘door’ that will reveal your treat for the day. Underneath, write down one item from your list. Randomness is totally valid here, as your daily activity will be chosen by surprise chance. I did keep a bit of balance and wrote 2 activities and 2 chocolate treats on each one.

Origami Advent Calendar // Boots and Cats

Once all 6 are filled in, you’re done! If you’re ambitious like me (and still have a giant stick from years past) you can punch a small hole in each ‘fortune teller’ and hang them on the wall, but these are cute enough on their own, or stashed in a festive bowl or basket.

Origami Advent Calendar // Boots and Cats

Now it’s time to play! If you remember playing these on the school yard, you’re ready to go. If your memory is a little foggy; it goes a little something like this: Hold the fortune teller in two hands, thumbs and fingers in each section so you can move it around, kind of like a puppet. For the first round, switch the sides the number of times as the date of the month (Eg. today is the 2nd, so we’d move it twice; once forwards, then again to the sides). Then from the two visible symbols (or words) on the inside, have your friend or partner choose one and count out again the letters of the word. Eg. Candy cane would switch 9 times c-a-n-d-y-c-a-n-e. From there, they chose one of the two visible symbols, then lift the flap they chose and voila! Your treat for the day.

I hope you all have a magical and crafty December. Cheers.

Creative Gift Wrapping // Fabric Scrap Ribbons

Creative gift wrapping with fabric // Boots & Cats

Aside from finding the perfect gift for someone, wrapping those gifts is my absolute favourite thing about the holidays. Even from a young age I was all about matching paper to ribbons (and I ALWAYS preferred ribbons over those stick-on bows) and trying to make my gifts the most beautiful ones under the tree. It got to the point where I often wished I had more people to buy gifts for, solely on the fact that it would mean I would have more presents to wrap.

As Pinterest entered my life I became aware of a gift wrap world beyond shiny printed snowman paper and curling ribbons. I saw stunning glittered gifts, simple plain paper, baubles, florals and more. To say the gift wrap obsession increased may be an understatement. I began wrapping gifts in classic dotted kraft paper wrap, tied with twine and topped with jingle bells. And last year created my own stamped paper patterns.

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This year, in the midst of tackling my overzealous stash of basically useless fabric scraps, I was inspired to utilize what I already had and make some fabric ribbons.

Perfect for seamstresses who have offcut hems, homemade bias-tape gone wrong, selvage trims and other long strips of fabric, this gift wrap inspiration is for you! If you are sewing gifts for people, use the scraps of that project as the ribbon! It’s a subtle hint of what awaits inside.

Creative gift wrapping with fabric // Boots & Cats

You’ll need:

  • Wrapping paper
  • Fabric Scissors
  • Fabric scraps, cut into strips
  • Accessories!

It’s perfect if you already have fabric scraps cut into ribbon-like strips, but if you don’t, there are a few ways around it. For smaller segments that don’t quite reach around your gift, just sew the ends together and hide the seams on the bottom of your gift. Or if you can transform short, wide shaped pieces by using the zig zag cutting method (pictures explaining that here).

Creative gift wrapping with fabric // Boots & Cats

I had quite a bit of my kid’s craft easel paper left over from last year to be a blank canvas underneath. Once I chose my fabric for the ribbons, I used metallic Sharpies to doodle simple designs. This way, the paper complemented my fabric, but still let it be the star.

Really inspired by the use of greenery this season, I accessorized my gifts with gold dipped branches, frosted pine, teal florals and sparkly ornaments. Take a trip to the dollar store (or outdoors!) for some fun branches and baubles to elevate the whole presentation.

Creative gift wrapping with fabric // Boots & Cats

Even if you aren’t able to hand make each of your gifts this year, a custom, creative wrapping just adds that personal touch.  It’s such a joy to receive a beautifully wrapped present. Your friends may not even want to open them!

Enjoy the hustle and bustle of the week ahead and happy gift wrapping! Merry Christmas!

Creative Gift Wrap // Custom Stamping!

Stamped Gift Wrap // Boots & Cats

Tis the season to get crafty! My general crafting output goes up 500% as Christmas approaches as there are always little opportunities to try something new and make things more personal. Gift wrap is one of those places where the opportunities are endless; you can try colour blocking, play with ribbons & accessories, add pieces from nature and scraps from your craft bin.

Stamped Gift Wrap // Boots & Cats

Last year I opted for polka-dotted kraft paper and dainty strings and jingle bells, and while it was very lovely and darling, something new was in order this year.

Almost a year ago, I carved myself some custom stamps to make stationery with and decided to revive them for the holidays.

Stamped Gift Wrap // Boots & Cats

Instead of getting the  expensive white ‘gift wrap’ paper from the store, I wandered into the kids section, grabbed some ‘easel paper’ for twice the size at half the price. It pays to think outside the box sometimes.

Stamped Gift Wrap // Boots & Cats

I considered pre-stamping my paper for all-round patterns, but thought it would be fun to create designs that corresponded with the shape of the gift, so I wrapped everything up first and went stamping away!

Stamped Gift Wrap // Boots & Cats

I used flowers for snowflakes, made candy cane stripes, used my triangles for trees and did a duo stamp with both red and green for some really festive hearts.

Stamped Gift Wrap // Boots & Cats

If you are quick enough you can dust a little glitter on your fresh-pressed stamp before the ink dries and it’ll stick!

Stamped Gift Wrap // Boots & Cats

Stamped Gift Wrap // Boots & CatsOnce you are all stamped and dried, add your tags, stickers, ribbons, pom-poms and other details to complete the picture. (Warning, cats WILL eat those yarn poms. It’s just inevitable…)

Stamped Gift Wrap // Boots & Cats

This was such an easy and fun way to add a little extra something to the gift wrap process. Stamps are so easy to find or make you can easily make something that works just for you.

The crafting couldn’t stop there though, as I finished up writing my cards as well, I needed some envelopes! Using pages from magazines I have stashed for far too long, I made custom envelopes (tutorial here). I had fun matching the images to the people I would be giving them too. 

Stamped Gift Wrap // Boots & CatsI still have a few gifts left to make and it’s coming down to the wire! Here’s to a whirlwind few weeks and loving every minute of it!

 

Wall Hanging Advent Calendar

Wall Hanging Advent Calendar // Boots & Cats

Even though I tell myself that I have out-grown chocolate advent calendars, there’s still that part of me that longs for a special treat each morning in December. Last year, Rory and I set out with daily festive activities to be documented in our scrapbook calendar. In theory the idea was brilliant, in action though, we just didn’t have our schedules synced up enough to do an activity a day. We often hoarded a week’s worth of prompts and tried to bust it all out on the weekend. Technically it worked, but it didn’t always get us into the holiday spirit as intended.

This year, I decided to relax the rules a little, and have maybe 10 activities scattered throughout the month, with chocolates and treats filling in the other days. Less pressure AND chocolate, the ideal Christmas.

Wall Hanging Advent Calendar // Boots & CatsOf course the inclusion of 3D objects meant I couldn’t store the daily treat in a book and needed something a little more interactive. Inspired by the bevvy of beautiful and unique wall hangings and wreaths I’ve seen recently, mixed with the urge to break things open like a pinata, I came up with this hanging wall advent calendar that now hangs in my kitchen waiting for December.

This project requires only a few supplies, and almost all of it I already had on hand.

Wall Hanging Advent Calendar // Boots & Cats

What you’ll need:

  • 24 toilet paper roll or paper towel tube pieces that will fit your treats. (I cut 8 tp rolls in half and had one paper towel roll which yielded 6 good sized pieces)
  • Card stock for tube backing
  • Tissue paper
  • String
  • Glitter
  • Glue
  • Scissors and/or Xacto knife
  • Large, sturdy cardboard or wooden branch

After cutting my paper rolls into the appropriate sized pieces, I traced the size of the circle onto card stock, cut it out and hot-glued it to the back opening of the tube. This ensures my treats won’t slide out.

I then cut larger circles from my tissue paper. I went with traditional red, green, gold and white, but any colours will do depending on your decor. On the tissue paper, write the number for each day with white glue and dust with glitter (or simply use glitter glue and save a step!)

Wall Hanging Advent Calendar // Boots & Cats

You are now ready for the fun part. Randomly fill each tube with an activity or chocolate (or both!) and seal inside by brushing white glue along the sides of the tube and covering with the tissue paper. Let dry.

To make hanging the tubes like ornaments easy (as I didn’t want to accidentally break them open early) I tied a small piece of string around the center and hot glued it on the bottom and sides so it wouldn’t slide about. I then tied the longer hanging string to the loop.

Wall Hanging Advent Calendar // Boots & Cats

For the branch, I traced out a tree-like shape on a cardboard sheet and cut out with an xacto knife. To keep it from bending, I reinforced the back with some popsicle sticks. I then made 24 small notches along the width and tied on my ornaments.

I am looking quite forward to breaking open the tissue each day to reveal the treat inside. Activities such as winter walks, Christmas cartoons, baking cookies, going out for tea and decorating await, not to mention all the chocolates hidden in there too.

Wall Hanging Advent Calendar // Boots & CatsNext year I hope to include a real branch for the support, and possibly add some greenery too, to bring even more life to the project.

Do you have a special holiday calendar for December? I love the variety of ideas out there. Tidings of comfort and joy to all!

Holiday Snapshots

Happy Holidays to all // from Boots & CatsI hope everyone is having a wonderful winter season and a fantastic break ahead. Whether you celebrate Christmas or just enjoy cookies by the fireplace with family, I hope you find warmth in these dark, cold winter days.

Here is a peek of what I have been up to this month to prepare for this crazy, hectic time of year.

gift wrappingsI tried a new style of gift-wrapping this year. I am usually over the top with glittering, springy ribbons, but I opted for the simplicity of paper snowflakes and jingle bells.

cardsEvery year my friends and I exchange cards at our ‘Friendsmas’ dinner. My favorite part is making them, although I tend to go overboard with the glitter sometimes.

windowThis year, Rory and I decorated our living room window with window paint in a festive snowman scene. It is really cool, especially as the sun moves throughout the day.

chiThis one needs a little background. Years ago when Rory lived on his own, I was very sad that he didn’t have a Christmas tree to brighten up his place. He also wanted a Chia Pet really bad. So we lucked out when he recieved a Christmas ‘Chi’ for his birthday. We plant him every year, and he even has his own carol.

hotchocoHot chocolate is my favorite part of the season.

CupcakesFinally, decorating some cupcakes. (With icing that never seems to get the red color you hope it has)

Thanks for reading my little blog this year, you’ve all made 2013 something special. I look forward to 2014 and all the adventures we will have here. Merry wishes to all of your and your families this week and always! xoxo