DIY Advent Calendar

DIY Advent Calendar | The Urban Pig

Today, I wanted to share the Advent Calendar I have been working on the last few weeks, as it is finally complete! I went back and forth about many different ideas, but felt super inspired by the tags, fabric, and textures in this little project by Jones Design Company and all of a sudden I was ready to go for it.

I went to the craft store at a perfect time, too. All of their holiday fabrics were on sale (not that I needed much, anyway), and I got the holiday fabric and burlap for a total of $5.00. Woohoo! I had the doilies from some of the projects we used at our wedding, and they were ready to be re-purposed into snowflakes! (Another doily project here from our wedding). The large tags were just a couple dollars, and the wooden dowel was $1.00. So, not only was this project a fun and useful Christmas decoration, it was SUPER inexpensive!

DIY Advent Calendar | The Urban Pig

DIY Advent Calendar | The Urban Pig

I cut the holiday fabric into little squares and sewed them onto the paper tags. I am still learning to sew, and this was a great project for practicing straight lines, which from the close-ups photos you can tell I still have a lot to work on! Then we stamped the tags with numbers for each day, 1-24. For the burlap, I just folded the edges over to get clean looking sides and used a hot glue gun to secure it. I also used hot glue to attach the doilies. Finally, I cut down a wooden dowel, slipped it through the top of the fabric, and used some hemp twine to hang the whole thing. The tags were fastened using little pins through the burlap. I debated using an actual bulletin board behind, but I chose to go without so the whole thing can be disassembled and rolled up for easy storage!

Last year, a friend and I came up with advent activities, so I printed those out, selected the ones we would do this year, folded up the papers, and put each activity in a fabric pocket. I realized we definitely need more adult-friendly ones, as most of the activities we came up with were more aimed toward kids. Any activity ideas you can share would be much appreciated!

Day 1 of our advent activity this year will be setting up the Christmas tree, and I am just so excited to get started!

DIY Advent Calendar | The Urban Pig

Kicking off Winter with Advent Activities


[photo and diy advent via oh happy day]

Today, what they are calling a “Siberian arctic cold front” is moving into town and staying for longer than it is welcome. Temperatures are dropping to under 15 degrees and even into the negatives! Winter is definitely on it’s way. This last weekend Connor and I started putting up Christmas decorations and making some of our own decor, which I will share  throughout the month as we complete them. But today, I wanted to share a list that my friend and I came up with, along with activities we compiled from around the web, looking for ideas for winter activities. I hope to make an advent calendar, but that might be a project for next Christmas. Either way, I know advent calendars are popular and it is tough to come up with ideas, so I wanted to share. Even if you aren’t into advent calendars, they are great occasional activities to get you and your family into the holiday spirit! It’s never too late to start the list!

Make a snowman

Take a drive to look at Christmas lights

Visit Santa Claus

Write a letter to Santa

Go ice skating

Bake a treat and give them to a friend

Mail Christmas cards

Take Christmas photos in the snow

Have an evening by the fire

Drink hot cocoa

Watch a favorite Christmas movie, or two!

Host a Christmas Sweater party

Make a gingerbread house and decorate it

Read a Christmas story

Plan a service activity

Sing or listen to favorite Christmas songs

Make cookies and reindeer food for Santa’s visit

Decorate the Christmas tree

Arrange Christmas decorations

Have a slumber party next to the Christmas tree

Gather up old toys to donate

Go sledding

Make homemade caramel corn

Make homemade ornaments that represent your child’s age

Cut out paper snowflakes

Go snowshoeing

Go skiing

Go Christmas present shopping

Help little ones wrap their special presents

Make red and green play dough

Write a list of five to ten things you are thankful for

Go for a walk in the snow

Have a snowball fight

Make snow angels

Make an igloo or snow fort

Watch the snow fall

Have a big breakfast with favorite foods

See the nutcracker ballet

Have a family game night

Pull out old coats and donate them to local coat drive

Shovel the snow for the neighbors

Make gingerbread men cookies and decorate

Go on a train ride

Stay in a mountain cabin for a night

Have a fondue night

Celebrate another religious or cultural holiday by trying new foods, learning songs, etc.

Sing Christmas carols

Go to the library and pick out Christmas books to read

Attend a local lighting festival or holiday concert

Read the Christmas story from the bible (Luke 1:26-2:40)

Hang stockings by the fire

Paint wrapping paper to wrap gifts

Play Christmas bingo

Make a wreath for the front door

Decorate your room with Christmas lights

Write “nice notes” for your family members and put them by their pillows

Have a bake day — bake all of your favorite treats, share with friends and family

Hang the mistletoe in a special spot!

Buy a candle or two in a warm, holiday scent.

Time to program your radio with a holiday music station! Listen to it on your commute.

Have a candle-lit holiday feast with your favorite foods and friends.

Go to a shopping center, grab a snack and warm drink, and people-watch during the holiday bustle.

Do a random act of kindness for someone you know, or even better, someone you don’t know!

I love ideas for the service activities, especially around the holidays. Today, as the radio announcers talk about the quickly filling up homeless shelters before the winter freeze, I think of the many people without a warm place to stay. I am always inspired by my grandma who lives in Seattle, and knits gloves, hats, and scarves and takes them to the homeless. There is always something we can do, and even the smallest acts of kindness can mean so much to someone in need.

What is your favorite holiday tradition or activity? I would love to keep this list going, so please share!

Calendars & Planners

The Urban Pig

[via Livet Hemma]

Truly, I have been soo excited to get a new planner for the last few months that I have been approaching the end on mine. And now that it is time for me to get one (I have less than a week left), there are no good-looking ones to be found. Seriously!? I considered the option to make my own, and with all this free time on my hands I still might, but I need to hurry and do one thing or the other because I feel so lost without the ability to plan my weeks and jot down ideas and notes. It’s funny how sometimes we don’t realize the habits we have until we are forced to give them up.

There is also something about having that paper right in front of you, and scratching off tasks after they have completed. It is oddly fulfilling to me. When I found myself in this planner predicament, I considered switching to a digital calendar on my phone or computer, but it just didn’t feel right for me. Call me old-fashioned, but I am the same way when it comes to reading books (none of those e-books for me).

I loved the example in the picture above. The use of plywood offers a great texture and focal point, although I am not sure how well the sticky notes would stay. I also need something a little bit more portable! Either way, it’s a great inspiration piece and maybe I will still consider it as an option for an at-home calendar. How do you organize your dates and tasks and thoughts?

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