Thursday, December 2, 2010

Library Pocket Advent Calendar

As I have mentioned in previous posts, I LOVE Christmas!  As a special way of leading up to Christmas Day, our family has set aside a special activity for each day of Advent.  We have used many formats for our Advent calendars/activities over the years.  This year, I decided to try something new. 

A friend of mine posted this idea on her Facebook wall, and I absolutely loved it.  Thank you Paula!  I had most of the supplies on hand, and headed straight out to get the rest.  Here is a quick tutorial for this fun and cute Library Pocket Advent Calendar.

25 Library Pockets (I used Red and Green) - available at teacher supply stores or here.
Scrapbook Paper
1" Book Ring
Number Stamps & Ink Pad
Scissors or Cutting Tools
Hole Punch
Scrapbook Adhesive, Double Stick Tape or Glue
Hook (I used a Command Hook)

To begin, cut circles out of your scrapbook paper.  

Glue or adhesive the circle to a contrasting print and cut a square that is slightly larger than the circle.

Punch out or cut a smaller circle out of solid paper or cardstock.

Glue or adhesive the smaller circle on top of the larger one.

Glue or adhesive the entire square to the front (pocket side) of the Library Pocket.

Next, prepare your stamp with the # you will be using.  I prefer acrylic stamps to rubber because you can see what you are doing.  Stamp your # in the center of the smaller circle.

Punch a hole in the upper left corner.  You might want to do this step all together so the holes are all lined up.

Use a 1" book ring to hold the pockets in place.

Next, print off your activities for each day.  I print mine onto white cardstock and use red and green ink.  The cards should measure approximately 3.25" by 4.25" to fit nicely into the pockets.  Cut them out and place them into the pockets.  You can download and print the activities we use by clicking on the document below:

Finish off with a bow and hang!  I pull off the pocket at the end of each day and move it to the back so that the new one is in front.  

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Christmas Nails

Several years ago, our family started a tradition of making and giving out Christmas Nails to various people we come into contact with throughout the Advent season.  We make a big batch of them at the start of the season, which is always a fun and special time.  As we are making the ornaments, we are praying for the people who will ultimately receive them

Once they are made, we keep some in a basket by our front door to give to delivery people or visitors, and we always have a few with us in my purse for when we are out.  We give these to waiters, grocery store clerks, postal workers, etc. - really anyone we come into contact with in the weeks leading up to Christmas.  

It is such a joy to see the faces of these people light up when they are given an unexpected gift.  They are always surprised and humble, and I have never had one turned down.

I have gotten several hugs and lots of tears.  Store clerks in particular are very touched, as many of the people they deal with this time of year are less than patient and way over-stressed.  Sadly, these clerks get the brunt of a lot of that frustration taken out on them.  

The ornaments are so easy to make.  All you need are a few basic supplies and a few minutes!  

7 3/4" Landscaping Nails (available at your local home improvement store)
Ribbon or Cording
Cardstock, any color
Scissors or a Paper Cutter
Hole Punch
Match, Lighter or Fray Check (optional)

Begin by clicking the printable below to download and print the explanation cards onto your cardstock.  I use white or ivory cardstock and a color printer, but you could easily use red or green cardstock and black ink.

Cut out the individual cards using either scissors or a paper cutter.

Punch a hole in the upper left corner of each card.

Run ribbon through hole and tie onto nail using a square knot.

Tie a second square knot at the top, forming a loop to hang the nail with.  I use a fireplace lighter to defray the two ends of the ribbon.  Just gently hold the flame over the very edge of the ribbon for 1/2 a second.  I do this with all my ribbons and bows!  It is an optional step, but keeps them looking nice for years to come. You can also use a match or Fray Check.

Pray over each ornament and experience the incredible joy of blessing the unexpected recipient with a special gift!

May you feel the love of Christ, as you allow Him to shine on others through you this Christmas season!