Creative Advent Calendar

by CSweeney on September 20, 2014

in Christmas,Christmas Countdown

There are many, many ways that people around the world prepare for Christmas. We, of course, talk about this a lot on this blog as it relates to stockings, ornaments and other Christmas decorations. A very meaningful practice that is really universal is the preparation time called Advent. Advent begins on the the 4th Sunday before Christmas, and is a time of expectant waiting for the celebration of the birth of Jesus and Christmas Day.

advent calendar

There are often readings that accompany Advent, and many Christian churches light a candle and participate. We are encouraged to couple these things with practices of our own at home, and the Advent Calendar has been one of the practical ways many have adopted.

I think this lovely, handmade Advent Calendar is really wonderful. The little bags that hang are filled with treats, and are a great way to involve children in the anticipation of something more than just the gifts they’ll be receiving.

There are whole books that have been written on the history of Advent and its practice today, and you can find those with a simple google search. Couple the daily treat with a short reading, and this  will instill in both your children’s and your own heart the true meaning of Christmas!

And, of course, the simplicity of this Advent Calendar cannot be beat! Using tension rods that fit the window you’ll hang this in, small muslin bags, and some green felt, you can craft your own Advent Calendar.  Find full instructions for this project here.

Do you practice Advent in your home? It’s a great way to remember the reason for the season.

 

Photo credit:  betterhomesandgardens.com

 

 

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rustic buttonOne of the things my creative mind loves doing the most is finding multiple uses for simple, ordinary things. It is my industrious character trait coupled with creativity and, of course, frugality at work! And, what could be more basic than a button?

I dare say few things are more rudimentary than a button. :) Think about it, we’ve been making buttons to clasp things closed for a very long time, way before we learned to make them in a factory. Wood sticks and loops of twine is just one example!

I think we can take this inexpensive little thing called a button and make some really charming Christmas items. Here are just a few examples:

 

button card

Now isn’t that just about the cutest card you’ve ever seen? It has that minimalist look too that is so popular, and what you see ends up being way more than the sum of its parts.

 

button cookies

How about button cookies? These are simple sugar or butter cookies, too! After you roll out your dough and cut your circle, take a cookie cutter just a little smaller and press lightly for the groove. Then poke 2 holes in the center with a skewer. I think these would be adorable as a table favor at a ladies Christmas party, or a very creative way to bundle up plain sugar cookies for a cookie exchange.

 

button ornament

I LOVE this idea. It involves a package of colored buttons in various shades, some thin wire and ribbon. These can be ornaments for the tree or even gift tags! This is a tag that your sewing friend will definitely not throw away, and will forever think of you as their most creative friend.

While going to the spendy department store for their annual Christmas ornament is a tradition for many, I simply love the idea of crafting one of our own annual ornaments from the staples of life.

 

Photo credit:  Wooden stick, card, cookies, ornament/gift tag

 

 

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One of the things I love the most about Halloween is that it’s a holiday for everyone. The littles get all dressed up, the bigs pull pranks, and even adults get a charge out of finding THE best costume for the annual neighborhood party. Somehow when we dress up in a disguise, we lose our inhibitions and end up having a blast. What’s not to love about that?

halloween wreathMerry Stockings, while primarily a Christmas stocking and decoration website, has got the most adorable Witch’s Brew Bucilla Wreath kit for Halloween. The picture to the left here was actually sent in by a customer who purchased the kit and created the wreath! She did a fantastic job, don’t you think? If you agree, head on over to Facebook and tell her so! You can find the post about D. Copeland on our fan page.

It’s always fun to add a few new decorations to our holiday collections, and this one is really fun. It’s one of Bucilla’s felt applique wreath kits, and just like the other kits they make, comes complete with everything you’ll need to complete it. Hang it in a window or on the door where the trick or treaters will come ‘a knockin’, it’s sure to be a hit!

The wreath measures out to 17″  x 17″ when finished, and the price is only $27.99, 20% off list price! You can grab yours on the Merry Stockings website right now. :)

This will make a perfect early Christmas gift for that person in your life that really loves Halloween.

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Elf-on-the-Shelf-Ideas-09There are some trends that seem to stick around longer than you’d like, but Elf on the Shelf just is NOT one of those! With his innocent, adorable and yet mischievous nature, there is something about this trend that makes nearly everyone smile.

We have shared some very cute ideas with you on how to incorporate this growing tradition, and I just love this one. Hang it from the bathroom light fixture so his cute little greeting will be seen by even the sleepiest eyes. For more ideas just check out the pictures here.

_elf-on-the--the-shelf_v2KOAs you can see, having more than one of these little guys around makes the fun even grander. That’s why I want to share with you the Bucilla Elf on the Shelf Ornament Kit. Hang these on your tree or place in strategic places. It makes for a very fun game because you never know where this red suit is going to show up.

The kit is available on the Merry Stockings website right now, too. Each of the ornaments measures about 5″, and of course just like all the other Bucilla kits, comes with everything you  need to complete your project.

Photo credit

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I have a facebook friend who lives in Alaska, and today she showed a video of the striking, no, breathtaking beauty that is Alaska! Image after image was postcard perfect, creating at least a desire to visit. My friend tells me that it is entirely possible to ride her bike year round too. Say what? Isn’t Alaska the epitome of frigidity, snow and ice? Apparently there’s more to it. I have to say  that tho I can live my life without the cold, there is something so appealing about the rustic feel of Alaska.

outdoor ornamentsSo, this got me thinking about Christmas ornaments that fall into this style….rustic. I have always loved the brushed bronze look, and so it’s no wonder that this very lovely outdoor ornament drew my eye. These are described as outdoor ornaments, but of course they can always be used inside too. I think they are just so pretty!

You won’t believe how utterly simple they are to make either.  In the picture these look, well, ginormous don’t they? When I checked out the details on the purchase page, I learned that apparently we are seeing an illusion. The largest ornament shown is 18″…now that’s pretty big for an ornament, but the picture makes it look 3 feet, right?

I think we can make these! Let’s start small though with regular sized ornaments and just see how it goes before we attempt the really large one. I gotta say tho, I really really want to make the 3 foot version!

Let’s begin with a regular sized glass ball ornament. Using a glue gun, draw whatever design you want on the glass…or even a monogram. Let it dry, then spray paint. Add a bow on the top, and voila, you’re done!

Any ideas what we could use for the super large version? Maybe an exercise ball?

Photo credit

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presentI know I’ve told you all this before, about how my mother considered the wrapping of a gift to actually be a part OF the gift? I have more-or-less adopted her point of view on this, and am always on the look-out for unique ways to dress up my gifts.

What if we could make a gift tag that would fit the unique criteria, but also double as an ornament? Would you be interested in it? What if it was, in true Merry Stockings blog style, simple and affordable to make? Yeah, I thought so…..and what could be simpler, and even a bit primitive, than corn starch and baking soda ingredients? I dare say nothing.

I have seen these types of tags/ornaments before, but what always disappointed me was how they would turn out yellow-ish when done. You could always paint them, but somehow a pure white outcome was always what I was looking for.

gift tags

So, I discovered a way to make these homespun gift tags so that they would indeed come out as white as the snow.

The trick? Air dry them!!  Who knew?! For a speedier result, you can always bake them, but by air drying you retain almost a sparkly, shimmery look! I like that for Christmas especially! To enhance that you can add a little white glitter to the dough, but the effect is really quite lovely without it.

You can get all the step-by-step instructions on how to make these gift tags/ornaments here. I think this’ll be really fun!

Photo credit:  gift, tags

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farmlandThis past week I took a road trip to western Michigan. My husband was sent there on business, and since I had time off work I decided to join him for a few days. One thing I have always loved about road trips is riding through the country, seeing the roots of American life played out on farms everywhere. In our modern society where we think of beef wrapped in plastic from the meat counter, there is something charmingly primitive about seeing cows grazing on the hillside with the silo and barn as the backdrop.

It is with this nostalgia that I present to you a brand new Bucilla stocking that we here at Merry Stockings designed ourselves! Bucilla is still doing the manufacturing of course, but we are so excited to offer to you this limited release, completely exclusive felt stocking kit with pure American love in our hearts.

Christmas on the farmIn this unique and fun felt applique stocking, Santa is clearly working the family farm on his personalized tractor.  In true Christmas style, a green wreath with a cute red bow lights the way, and everyone’ll know it’s him by his license plate! And, we just couldn’t leave out the silo, the barn and all the other adorable details! You can even modify some parts, like the license plate with the person’s name. If you are a John Deere loyal fan, replace the tractor color with green, too!

This stocking is perfect for those who love the farm life…..or anyone else (ahmmmm, me!) for that matter. You can order it, of course, from the Merry Stockings website, and this exclusive stocking kit will begin shipping September 10.

 

 

Photo courtesy

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Fishing-Santa-Bucilla-Vintage-Stocking-Kit

Do you have a junior fisherman in your house? Or even a junior fisher-woman? I have great memories of my son walking around the lake near our home with his fishing pole–a long, curved stick–wearing a real fisherman’s hat and of course his boots. :) He’d gone fishin’, simple as that! I may be a bit partial, but I do believe he was the cutest little boy around on those particular days.

Imagine your little fisherman getting this stocking for Christmas! Decked out with all the necessary fishing gear, made complete with that adorable fishing “fly” on his hat, this stocking will be a sure hit for the little guy. This is a classic Bucilla stocking kit and has been discontinued by Bucilla, but Merry Stockings carries it as a part of our older vintage stocking line. You can get this charming stocking for 25% off today!

The kit comes complete with beads, felt, embroidery floss, sequins, needle and of course your easy to follow instructions. The finished product is 18″ and you can order it from the Merry Stockings website. The kit will ship out to you pronto so you can get started right away.

 

 

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A Few More Wreaths

by CSweeney on August 31, 2014

in decorating tips,felt applique kits

It’s about that time of year….the kids are heading back to school, soon the temps will be dropping into the cooler zone, and we’ll all be pulling out the sweaters and flannel sheets.  I feel this bittersweet push and pull about the autumn season ~ I love it but I always hate to see summer end! Still, there is nearly nothing better than the comfy feeling of jeans and a sweater, sipping hot cocoa or maybe a Pumpkin Spice Latte!

fall wreathAutumn conjures up thoughts of beautifully colored leaves, pumpkins, bales of hay, crisp temperatures against blue skies, and even sunflowers…just like this cheerful wreath. Yes, Merry Stockings is proud to bring you a little fall decor despite the fact that we are largely a Christmas site….see, we just can’t resist this lovely season!  Besides, it is the precursor, the warm up for what lies ahead…..Christmas!!

This is the newly released Bucilla Fall Harvest Wreath, and will adorn your home while you are busy making gifts, shopping for gifts, planning holiday gatherings and parties, and even making  Christmas decorations. This lovely decoration can be proudly displayed from the early fall months all the way through Thanksgiving. That’s 3 months! It’s a very pretty and practical choice, don’t you think?

It’s also a great value, because right now you can pick up this Bucilla kit for 29% off list price for just $24.99 on the Merry Stockings website. The kit, like most that Bucilla puts together, comes with everything you’ll need to complete the wreath, and the finished size is 15″ x 15″.

owl wreathIf you want something a little more spirited, how about the Bucilla Owl’s Harvest Wreath Kit? It’s pretty adorable! Same specs on this kit as the Fall Harvest Wreath, and you can pick it up for 20% off list price for just $27.99.

Something tells me we aren’t done with wreaths. :) They are the quintessential, universal decoration for the home!

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Are You Ready for Some Fall?

by CSweeney on August 30, 2014

in Christmas,Food,Holiday Recipes

pumpkinsI saw this picture this morning on one of my friends Facebook wall, and I have to admit that my heart sank just a little. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE the fall season and everything about it, but I’m just not quiiiiite ready to let go of summer. Nonetheless, the calendar will turn over to the ‘ber months in just a few short days, ready or not.

So, let’s start getting ready. Last time we explored this fabulous holiday aroma that will have everyone either salivating or plopping down on your couch for a visit. The scents of cinnamon lend a very homey, comfy feeling, don’t they? Even tho the spice combo that I shared with you is definitely a Christmas thing, it is also very fall-ish. Those warm spices ~ cinnamon and cloves ~ have a way of changing just about anyone’s mood for the better, and especially so in the fall months. Somehow a cup of spice fits perfectly with the changing of the colors!

Starbucks, for many years has hopped on board with these very popular palette pleasers when they created their pumpkin spice latte and Chai. There is nothing like running through the drive thru lane and treating yourself to one of these, yes? :) I’m right behind you, friends! Do you ever wonder how they make it taste so good?

pumpkinspiceI do, so I decided to find out exactly what they put in that addictive drink, and imagine my surprise to learn that there is actually NO real pumpkin in it! I will reserve comment on the other ingredients, because we aren’t here to bash the coffee giant, just to learn to make a worthy rival of one of their most popular drinks. And one that is, shall I dare say, healthy? Okay, I’ll say it. It IS healthy, and especially if you sub out the 2 tablespoons of sugar in the recipe I’ll be sharing and, in it’s place, use honey or monk fruit or even chicory!

Dying to know how to make your own Pumpkin Spice Lattee? Here ya go, you can find the full on recipe right here, complete with instructions!

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