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

Happy Holidays!

Happy Holidays | The Urban Pig

Merry Christmas! This picture was from last night, during our tradition of driving to look at lights on Christmas eve. I hope you all have had a wonderful holiday spent with friends and family! My parents are scheduled to arrive in Colorado tomorrow evening, so today, Connor and I mostly spent with just the two of us, but we did have dinner with some friends. Considering most holidays we spend with so much family, it was just nice to get out and see some faces.

This Christmas has been very different from those in the previous years in many ways. Like this last thanksgiving, it was our first Christmas away from our families. Even though my parents will be here tomorrow, it still seems strange to wake up Christmas morning to just the two of us. We made a yummy breakfast and watched a movie, and opened a few gifts. This year was also different in the gift-giving category, as well. Of course I love gifts, but this year Connor and I decided we would not get anything for each other, since we have been spending so much on the house. It was definitely weird to have Christmas very much unfocused on the gifts, but it was also sort of refreshing. Although we spent much of the day cleaning and preparing our house for my parents’ visit, we also had a slow, relaxing morning where we simply enjoyed our time with each other. I began to just think about how appreciative I am for all that I have, both in the “material world” and more importantly, the loving husband I have. I am very blessed.

It’s crazy to think this is the last blog post I will have for the year of 2013. I feel that Connor and I are ending this year well, and although time seems to be flying by, I am so excited for 2014 and the changes I hope for it to bring.

Happy holidays, see you in 2014!!

Countdown to Christmas

The Urban PigSome days it feels like winter is here, and some days it feels like Spring. The weather has been soo nice, and Connor and I are fighting back to keep the Christmas spirit alive. We have been doing little things, like wandering the malls to look at lights. Last weekend, we went to a mall nearby for the first time, because we heard of an ice rink they had. Although we weren’t prepared to go skating, we had fun watching the little kids go around the rink. The mall was fully decorated with lights, and even had a large outdoor fireplace to keep our noses warm. It was a great place.

We have also been continuing to decorate here and there, as well as watch lots of Christmas movies while drinking hot cocoa. And of course, plenty of shopping and work to be done around here to get our home set up for my parents to visit in a week. So excited for them to see our house!

The Urban Pig

Last, enjoying the winter sunrises as we commute to work each morning. They are absolutely beautiful, and every morning, I find myself telling Connor to hurry and take a picture. It comes and goes quickly.

The Urban Pig

The Urban Pig

I hope you have a fantastic week while the countdown to Christmas continues!

DIY Christmas Ornaments (And Other Classy Decor Ideas)

DIY Christmas Ornaments | The Urban Pig

It took me a while before I finally realized this is the second Christmas Connor and I have had together in a place of our own (last year at our apartment while I was in school), but it will be the first Christmas where we actually have a tree and some decent decorations! I am not a big fan of all the crazy, and often times cheesy, decor for the holidays. I wanted ours to be special and unique, which is why I decided to make our own ornaments for the tree. We were at the craft store when I found some fabric ribbon that had a sort of vintage stamped appearance. I fell in love with them and luckily they were on sale because we bought like 20 spools. It was more than enough to cover all of our ornaments and fill the tree. Today, I am sharing some of the pictures from the long, tedious process of gluing fabric to ornaments, but all the while being patient to get a unique, “rustic-glam” Christmas tree.

DIY Christmas Ornaments | The Urban Pig

DIY Christmas Ornaments | The Urban Pig

DIY Christmas Ornaments | The Urban Pig

DIY Christmas Ornaments | The Urban Pig

For those of you wanting to do this project, consider waiting for a sale or after-Christmas clearance on ornaments. You can even buy the ugliest ones in the store, because you are just going to cover them up anyway. We got clear glass ones because they were on sale, and we wanted to keep a few unwrapped so we could still get some sparkle on our tree. They didn’t come with ornament hooks, so we made our own out of hemp/twine, which seemed to work better than hooks, anyway.

A few tips: Find a ribbon that is very flexible (don’t use ribbon with wire inside — we tried and it made it bulky). We used a hot glue gun and made sure to get all the edges glued down. Glue your ribbon starting from the cap of the ornament, wrapped around, and ending at the other side of the cap. Make a cross on the bottom, then work your way through the in-between areas. We used 6 pieces for each ornament, the length will vary depending on your ornament size. We thought the standard size was perfect, but make sure to get a smooth ornament (not textured or oddly shaped).

DIY Christmas Ornaments | The Urban Pig

DIY Christmas Ornaments | The Urban Pig

Hang with care, and enjoy! Want to see more of my favorite  holiday decoration projects? Check out this pinecone garland, burlap and lace tree skirt, stick monogram, and simple hanging wreaths. You better believe that I have done, or plan on doing, most of these!

Kicking off Winter with Advent Activities

advent

[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!

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