Advent Calendar for my brother

Question: What can you do to make something your 26 year old brother will actually like?
Answer: Advent calendar filled with money!

I saw some pretty ideas for envelope Advent calendars on Pinterest and thought I’d make my own version. My brother is notoriously picky about presents and usually just wants the money so he can buy his own stuff. It makes for a pretty boring gift-giving experience, so I decided I’d make the Advent calendar with money in for each day. That way he could either open up one envelope per day or open them all on Christmas day and it seems like he has more presents. He has opted for the latter, so my board is currently sitting all sparkly and pristine, awaiting the carnage to come on Christmas day. Poor calendar.

I wanted to use materials that I either already had or could re-use. It’s a slightly more eco-thoughtful way to do things, and can save money on costs too.
I started off with a cheap cork board and covered it with brown paper. I then pinned on some jute fabric with glittery red stars, and added some old red cotton ribbon which was my Nanny Grethe’s. I cut lengths of string and tied them around pins and stuck them in the back of the cork board frame.

The envelopes are just the little ‘wages’ envelopes you can buy in stationary shops. I made sure to get the plain ones so I could decorate them. I used some old Christmas stickers that had been waiting to be put to work for years quite some time, and some number stickers I bought from The Works.
I put the money in each envelope, but decided not to glue them shut so they can be re-used in the future. They are attached to the string with little wooden pegs. Just hook the envelope flap over the back of the string, stick the peg on and voila!

The final touch was a money ‘jar’ I made using an old tablets bottle, some of Nanny Grethe’s old ribbon, some stretchy sparkly cord from a previous Christmas, a little holly embellishment, and a label made from leftover brown paper. The peg was a broken one, so now has a use.

I had a lot of fun making it, and you could even adapt the idea with different themes for different people, age groups or belief systems. Most importantly my brother seems to like it. That’s win-win for me.

advent-board_2016_copyright

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Stonehenge Christmas/Yule card

How can you not love this? I wish I had known about them sooner. Perfect for the Pagan or ancient history aficionado in your life… or as a treat for yourself.
They can be bought from the English Heritage website: http://www.english-heritageshop.org.uk/stationery/stonehenge-3d-pop-up-christmas-card

Lincoln Christmas Market – including the Medieval Market!

Lincoln Christmas Market – including the Medieval Market!

I made it! Last year mum wasn’t well enough so I didn’t go, and even though I had a migraine overnight I was determined to make it this year. The Lincoln Christmas Market is usually the highlight of my year. It’s spread out across the top of the city, winding through streets and even invading the Cathedral and Castle grounds. If I’ve been feeling ‘bah humbug’ about Christmas music this event usually cures me of it.
Sellers from all over Europe attend, so there’s usually quite a wide variety of items to look at.
Because many of the items are handmade I have included names and links to websites or pages where possible.
The photos are a mix of mine and mum’s, depending on who had the better photos. Most of the buildings photos are mum’s.

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