Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Advent Calendars

Advent Calendar

Well, happy first day of winter.  And did you have your advent calendar ready?  Or, like me, where you up to the wee small hours sticking chocolates into little packages.  

I say Advent Calendars (plural) as I have made a number of them this year.  My Little Foxes school's Christmas Bazaar was on the weekend and I was in charge of the craft stall.  As a result I have made 6 advent calendars, 5 for sale (and they sold - Phew!) and one for Little Una and Little Louis Fox. 

The picture above is not my children's calendar, but one that was sold.  I really thought that this one turned out well, so, I thought I would share how I made it.

A piece of wood, approx 1m long
24 or 25 pegs
24 or 25 envelopes
garden twine, approx 120cm
2 screws
coloured paper 
glue gun, scissors, numbers

I used a piece of architrave left over from decorating the back sitting room, but you could use any piece of wood at least 10cm or so wide and approx 100cm long.  First paint the architrave, I used pale green emulsion left over from decorating the boot room.  I like to re-cycle as you know.

Then I glued thin strips of paper, the same width, onto each of the pegs.  While these were drying I turned my attention to the envelopes.  

I printed out a set of FREE advent tags from the lovely Rebecca's blog simpleasthat, she has more FREE printables and beautiful and inspiring family photography ideas.  Envelopes were decorated with the same paper used on the pegs, and a number added to each. 

Once dry the pegs were stuck onto the architrave, equally spaced apart, using my hot glue gun.  I added two screws to the back of the wood and tied on the garden twine.

I filled each envelope with chocolate.  You could of course put a little gift in there instead, but I don't give my kid's sweets as a rule so I let them indulge a little at Christmas.  Then, starting with the last number in your advent I pegged each envelope to the wood. Ta Da - Done!

My friend Ann and I have debated if there should be 24 or 25 treats on the advent calendar.  Advent is after all the countdown to Christmas, you get your presents on Christmas day.  What do you think?
And below is the advent calendar I made for my Little Foxes, with Brian the Elf who always arrives along with the calendar.

As Chief Craft Elf for our school's Christmas Bazaar, I looked at a fair few ideas for advent calendars, here are some of my favourites.

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Sunday, 1 November 2015


halloween bunting

This year we had our first Mrs Fox's Craft Day at our new Little Hadham HQ, just east of Bishop's Stortford, in rural East Hertfordshire.  The children signed in to the craft party with a white hand print that we later used to make a spooky ghost bunting.

paper jack o lanterns
Paper Jack O'Lanterns
We had loads of fun creating paper Jack O'Lanterns, which we lit with little battery operated tea-lights.  They looked beautiful, all hung in the shop window as they dried.

paper bat sweetie cone
Paper Bat Sweetie Cones
With children ranging in age from 5 - 8 years old we were soon having great fun making a mess of the old butchers shop where Mrs Fox now resides.  We had only 8 children in the session so we were able to allow children to go at their own speed.

halloween crafting

The children seemed to enjoy the crafts as they explored their own creativity, developed simple crafting skills, learning to use templates, cutting round simple shapes, gluing and colouring.

I learnt something too; I need to get some children's left handed scissors and I think I will try and do multiple examples of some of the crafts to give the children more confidence to do their own thing and be even more expressive and creative.

There was quite a bit of creativity demonstrated in some of the costumes, I have to admit Finlay's was my favourite.

I will also admit to being exhausted by the end of our hour and a half crafting, but, I had a great time and I hope all the children did too.

At our next kid's crafting day will be making Christmas crafts.   If you are local and interested in joining us go along to the Facebook page and sign up, or if you can't make 5th December but would like to know when our next event is, sign up to the newsletter below to keep up with all our news.

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Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Getting Ready for Halloween

I'm looking forward to some crafting with some of the local children to celebrate Halloween.  The materials for our crafts have arrived, and Bea the dog is looking like she's interested.

The crafts are all designed, a paper Jack O'lantern, a bat sweetie cone, a black cat badge, and I think we'll make some communal halloween bunting too.

It will be the first time we've used the shop for one of our craft events, so I've started a bit of clearing and tidying in there too, much to the Little Foxes annoyance, it's their play room at the moment.

halloween bunting - boo

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Monday, 5 October 2015

New Foxes

I'm working on some new foxes for the Folksy store in time for Christmas.

felted fox

With a fine wire armature, this sculpture stands unaided and can be posed.

felted fox head textildermy faux_taxidermy

Textiledermy or faux taxidermy - a felted fox head mounted on a wooden disc to hang on the wall. Wood sourced from the garden at Ash Cottage.

What do you think?
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Sunday, 27 September 2015

Una's First Felted Fox

I've been working on some new foxes for the Folksy Handmade shop.   Little Una Fox asked if she could try felting too.  Here is her first attempt.  Brilliant isn't it?

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Thursday, 6 August 2015

An Underwater Collage

The Summer holidays are here - YAY!  And if you are having that moment (or ten), just not knowing what to do with the kids, I have a suggestion - An underwater collage.

I will admit, that the little foxes and I did this last year, or the year before that maybe, doesn't time fly?  It was one of the crafts for our Seaside crafty box.

A collage is a way of creating a picture with a group of different materials and techniques.  Or, in our house it means; checking out what bits and pieces of junk mummy has rescued from the recycling because they look "interesting" and put into the craft box to be used at a later date.

First we created a watery background with 4 sheets of blue paper taped together.  Onto this we painted our jellyfish.  This is a really easy way to make jelly fish.  Mix some paint with water, paint a few gloopy circles in blue/green/purple paint onto the paper, then with a brush dab more water on and tip your paper so that the paint starts to run, making the jelly fish tentacles.  

Once you are happy with how your jelly fish look you can flick some more paint onto the paper to create bubbles.

Once we'd made our background we populated our underwater world with animals that we created in a variety of ways.  Fish were painted on the back of cereal boxes with patterns in every hue.

We made turtles with egg boxes and more card from the recycling box.

We used the edges of a paper plate to get the ridges just right on our sea horses, and little bits of felt to give him a multicoloured belly.

My favourite has to be our lobster, made from the kids' hands and foot prints.

Our animals were all cut out and glued onto the back-ground along with various strips of coloured paper and felt for seaweed, and some shell illustrations that I had scanned from and old book.  I've uploaded the scans in case you would like to use them in your own art work.  They're here:


I have one last Seaside themed crafty box if anyone would like it for the very special price of £12.  It includes shells and fixings to make a shell keyring, full instructions and templates for the collage above and a milk carton boat.  Great for the summer holidays. 

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