It’s coming round to that time of year wherein I look at the calendar and panic. I’ve not even started to think about Christmas presents for friends and family, let alone creating an advent calendar. And this year is particularly difficult as I’m trying to do it all whilst sleep deprived and often with a Munchkin who won’t let me put her down. So this year, I’m remaking some of the advents I created last year and thought you might want to do so too.
So here’s a slightly revised Little Mr Robot advent blog post:
A friend of mine dropped into conversation that she thought that I sketch I’d done years ago would look rather cute as an advent calendar. So I spent a little time this week playing with it to see if I could get it to work. Et voilà!! Here is the result!
If you live in Australia, New Zealand, the United States, Peru, Switzerland, Canada, Belgium or Brazil (along with a host of other countries) it’s coming up to Mothers Day. Stumped as to a gift idea? Why not make or bake your mum something sweet and nestle it in a cute hexagon gift box?
I’ve had a bit of fun messing around with watercolour splodges and have come up with a couple of templates for you to download and make up. Or you can download the blank template and decorate as you wish!
For this project you’ll need:
Adhesive or double-sided tape
The thickest A4 card stock you can put through your printer (mine takes 200gsm, but check your printer for details)
Scissors, scalpel or exacto knife
Some decorative ribbon (I’ve marked cutouts to allow for 10mm wide ribbon)
Some paints, crayons, pencils or other decorative materials (if working with the blank template)
The templates make up 2 sized boxes 72mm wide in diameter (point to point) x 60mm high
and 90mm wide in diameter (point to point) x 43mm high
You could easily scale them up and print on A3 card if you required them to be larger.
For the ones above I did some quick watercolour scribbles and added handwritten notes in white pencil (white charcoal pencil to be exact). But the sky is the limit. You could bedazzle, embroider, paint, draw… whatever you’d like! This would be rather a lovely project to work on with a small child as you could cut it out and they could decorate the box as they wish and with a little help from you, assemble it.
Print and cut out your desired template. I cut my templates out using my Graphtec cutter/ plotter but it’s not a difficult template to cut out by hand.
If you’ve printed out the plain template, now is the time to get scribbling and decorating to your hearts content!
Fold along each of the dotted lines and glue the edge tab to the underside of the opposing panel to create the hexagonal shape.
If you need a ‘base’ in your gift box for heavier gifts, glue one set of the top tabs and gift box lids together for extra support as shown (I used strong double-sided tape).
To attach the ribbon, glue the ribbon to the underside of the tab shown and thread through the ribbon slot as shown.
Then thread through the corresponding ribbon slot in the lid, pulling though and aligning the lid and tabs. Repeat on both sides and tie into a pretty bow.
And there you have it. Pretty hexagonal gift boxes ready for your gift!
Due to illness and lethargy, I’ve not made any eggs this year. But for the many of you who have found next to nicx over the last few months, I thought I’d share some of the eggs I made last year.
They were very easy.
I made stencils out of sticky backed plastic on my plotter cutter (but you could easily use store bought stickers).
I then carefully applied them to the blown and cleaned eggs.
Painting the eggs and over the stencils with matt acrylic paint.
When the paint had dried, I run a scalpel along the edges of the stencil to make sure the edges were nice and clean.
Very carefully removing the stencil and then cleaning up some of the messier lines with a scalpel (you can etch into the egg slightly).
I then ran ribbon and a bead through the holes in the top and bottom of the blown eggs for hanging.
I was really happy with how they turned out.
Here’s the Star Wars egg I made for my husband. I hope eventually to have made him an army
I hope you’re all having a wonderful Easter weekend!
It’s been a tough couple of months. Pregnancy for me has been a bit of a trial. It’s meant that I’ve been unable to do much more than vegetate on the couch. There is now a Nicola shaped impression permanently pressed into the couch cushions. But I’ve just ticked over to 14 weeks and the nausea and chronic illness have started to abate. I’m now able to eat small meals and my energy levels have slowly increased. The munchkin is in good health and according to the ultrasounds he/she is having a fabulous time doing somersaults and jazz hands, not affected by my lethargy at all! All of which have made me happy.
But something that truly made my day on Tuesday was opening my post box parcel shelf to discover this gorgeous little Easter gift! My friend Sandra had made my husband and I an origami easter bunny basket and filled it with delicious little chocolate Easter eggs! It was such a sweet little gift to leave and positively made my day!
I did a bit of googling and found a fabulous video tutorial that shows you how to make them, so you can have a go at making them too. It’s the wonderful work of Leyla Torres. Enjoy!
How was your New Years? Our was rather quiet as seems to be the norm in Switzerland. There are no big fireworks displays or outdoor festivals in Switzerland to celebrate the arrival of a new year.
Most years we’ve been in Switzerland we’ve had a quiet night in and have opened a bottle of champagne to toast the new year in. But we decided to do something a little different this year. We had a few of our friends around for dinner and games. Read more
I hope you’ve had a wonderful Christmas? Mine was fabulous and included a decadent seafood lunch at La Brasserie du Grand Chêne, more champagne and dessert with gorgeous friends, followed by an early night. All that eating and socialising is exhausting! Our planned morning Skype call with our family in Australia was postponed by a day due to a boomerang accident on the beach that resulted in a brief hospital visit (seriously… can you get any more stereotypically Australian?!). Note: both the boomerang and the person it hit are ok.
Whilst we were a little sad not to be spending this Christmas in Australia surrounded by family, it’s been lovely to spend some time at home and we’re feeling wonderfully relaxed. We head back to Australia every two years for Christmas and have commenced counting down to next years!
In the days leading up to Christmas I had an insatiable desire to make the house smell Christmassy and decided we needed Gingerbread! But I’d never made gluten free gingerbread before. Sasha (aka Liberty London Girl) had posted her recipe for Gingerbread tree decorations and I decided to adapt it so it was gluten free and used ingredients I had on hand and am able to get a hold of in Switzerland. I also increased the quantity so it made 150% of the original recipe. This would give you enough dough to make a good sized Gingerbread house if you wanted to make one (I ran out of time to make one this time).
The cookies came out fabulously, just the right combination of crunchy and a little soft in the middle. With the result that the batch I made is diminishing rapidly. Here’s my adjusted recipe.
115g Muscovado sugar (brown sugar being near impossible to get hold of in Switzerland)
3 tablespoons of golden syrup (with copious thanks to Meriel who provided me some from her stash)
1 1/2 tablespoons of honey (I didn’t have access to molasses or treacle)
1 1/2 tablespoon water
145 grams of butter cubed
1 1/2 teaspoons of cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons of ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon of ground cloves
1 teaspoon of freshly grated nutmeg
grated rind from 1 lemon
3/4 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
335 grams of sifted gluten free flour of your choice
3 grams of guar gum
Pre-heat your oven to 180 degrees celsius.
In a large saucepan combine the sugar, zest, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, nutmeg, water, honey and golden syrup. Over a medium / high heat, bring the mixture to the boil.
When boiling remove from the heat and add the bicarbonate of soda and cubed butter, stirring until well combined.
Add the combined flour and guar gum in 4 batches, stirring well after each addition. It should come together into a dough at this point, but it will still be very soft.
Wrap it in cling wrap and refrigerate the mixture for at least an hour.
Roll out the dough on baking paper using a lightly floured rolling pin to about 5 mm thick. And using your cutters, cut into desired shapes. Place onto a baking paper lined baking sheet. Cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned.
Christmas is almost upon us! Are you ready for it?
I wrapped the last of my presents today. And thought I’d show you one of my favourites. It’s quick and easy and allows you to really spruce up a present with nothing more than glue, a sharpie and some glitter. It’s perfect for those last minute gifts if you’ve been caught out without wrapping or ribbon. Read more
It’s that most wonderful time of the year…. The time when you feel like you’re running late (and you are) for about 3 weeks straight. You’re prepping for guests or for travel, hiding Christmas presents from loved ones (and trying to remember where you hid them later), making fruit cake and trying not to consume the alcohol for the cake… before it gets into the cake. And in amongst the chaos that is the festive season, you need to wrap presents!
And if most of the people I’ve discussed this with are anything to go by, you get to the night before the big day in question and the stash of wrap you grabbed as you raced out of the store but didn’t really look at properly taunts you. And you make do. Or you get to the gift wrap section and anything that is half decent is gone. All that’s left is the paper covered in gaudy glitter. The wrapping paper equivalent of a Christmas sweater featuring Rudolph with blinking nose. The one that doesn’t fall into the so bad it’s good category. It’s just bad.
So I’m here to help. I’ve come across so many gorgeous printables that you can use quickly and easily and I want to share them with you. They’ll enable you to present perfectly polished presents! So go grab a roll of brown paper, some bakers twine and your tape. Print and cut these out and you’ll be set!
These are some of my favourite this year! By Kelli Murray Art and Design. Click on the images to link through to the respective printable post.
In only 11 sleeps Christmas is here! My husband and I are staying in Switzerland this year and so I’ve been able to let myself go a little crazy in the decoration department. In part because we’re not going to be spending it with our family and we still want it to feel special!
I didn’t want to spend a lot of money but wanted a big statement piece over the dining table, I had decided to hang a series of small Christmas tree’s upside down over the table (we’ve 5 quite hefty hooks in the ceiling for just such decorating purposes). But DM pooh-poohed the idea. Read more
I’ve been busy creating items for Christmas this week. I’ve been struggling to pin down what I wanted to do for our Christmas cards. I love what I’ve made but there’s just a few things that I’m not 100% happy with. So I put the card project aside to come back to and started creating packaging for the Dulce de Leche I made the other day.
I thought that as I’m basically giving away cooked milk I’d put them into little milk cartons.
This is the result! What do you think?
I think they’d also make lovely boxes for small gifts or for biscuits or little Christmas cakes.