Archive for the ‘holidays’ Category

the kids’ christmas tree

xeroxed christmas tree

Instead of one big tree last year, we had two little trees: one for the living room and one for the kids room. They loved falling asleep by the tree glowing with twinkle lights (and I did too). But this year the baby moved in and now there are three kids sleeping in this little room. So instead of a real tree, I went to Kinko’s printed one out.

colored paper tree

I found a copyright free image of a tree on pinterest and emailed it to kinko’s (I know it’s fedex now, but it’ll always be kinkos to me). They printed out a 36 x48 black and white copy on their plotter (i.e. big ass printer). It cost me all of 9 bucks! It turned out even better than I had hoped, which I was kind of disappointed about.

See I wanted something super low quality and grainy–when I tried to explain this to my local print shop, they could not understand it (hence kinkos). I think the image I used was too big. Next time I’ll blow up something smaller. Or blow an image up even bigger! I think this print would make a pretty fantastic temporary tree. Say, if you are going to grandma’s for christmas and don’t want to spend 50 bucks on a real tree.

kinkos christmas tree

We put the tree up yesterday and the kids and I colored it. Today we’re planning on making ornaments. I think I’ll let the kids go crazy with construction paper, then tape them to the tree. I’ll be sure to take a picture when it’s done. I’m guessing you won’t be able to see the tree anymore.


**oh while I was in the kids’ room the light was good, so I took a bunch of photos. The room isn’t done, done, but it’s as done as it’s going to be for a while. So would you like the big before/after thing now or should I wait until January?

advent activities

pompom garland and my christmas tree

Today is the first day of advent! Did you make your advent calendar yet? We are still using the string of lights advent calendar I made a few years ago. I put activities in each of the little bulbs and I love it. I write up the activity the night before (surprise your kids, not yourself!) and all the projects keep me on task for christmas.  If cookies need to be made, or christmas cards written, or gifts wrapped it’s going to happen if it is in the advent calendar–the 4 and 6 year olds will demand it!

A friend of mine (hi Ellen!) asked me to write up a little list of activities she could use, so here they are! I divided them into effort needed, because sometimes you really need to drink some (spiked) eggnog while the kids watch a movie.

meringue snowmen

big projects

gingerbread mobile

little projects


if it’s cold and snowy projects


snowman coloring page

phoning it in projects

  • hot chocolate with marshmallows
  • call grandma and grandpa
  • dress up like an elf/santa/wise man/christmas tree
  • dance to christmas music
  • camp out under the tree (this may or may not be an easy one)
  • color christmasy pictures–oh look I have a bunch right here
  • look at pictures from christmases past
  • I think one year I actually wrote down “eat christmas cookies” for an activity

our little christmas tree

for the whole family

  • drive around looking at chrismtas lights
  • dress up in your fanciest for dinner
  • make popcorn and watch a christmas movie
  • go see the nutcracker/christmas carol/holiday concert
  • cut down a christmas tree/ put up your christmas tree
  • decorate the tree!
  • put up lights outside
  • go for a evening walk

string of lights advent calendar

This list is my no means exhaustive. Some of these we do every year, some are new ones I’d like to try. Do you have any christmas activities or projects for advent? I’m always on the look out for good ones.

december sponsorship


We had a lovely Thanksgiving (thanks for asking). I mean look at that table–it’s about as american as it gets! We stuffed ourselves with delicious food, went for a walk, then came back to eat some more. And now it’s on to the next holiday!

December is going to be fantastic month here at elsie marley: christmas candies, and christmas cookies, and christmas cards, and maybe even a christmas tutorial or two.  So what do you say? How about sponsoring some holiday cheer? If you would like a sponsor spot for December ($25/month) please drop me a line at:

I welcome new (and of course returning) sponsors! Happy Holidays!

christmas tree

a fab felt holiday by betz white


It’s hard for me to get full on christmas crazy until after thanksgiving, but that time is just a 12 lb turkey away. I do have a few christmasy things made already, thanks to the fabulous Betz White. Betz asked me to take a look at her online course: A Fab Felt Holiday, do a project or two, and tell you all about it (and offer you, dear readers, $10 off)

pointsettia patterns

I’ve never taken an online crafts course before, which is ridiculous because they are super awesome. You can sit at your kitchen table with some coffee and bits of felt and Betz will sit right there next to you and tell you how to make an adorable gingerbread houses and humongous snowflakes and poinsettia brooches (and lots more).

felt pointsettia brooch

Betz’s course is from Craftsy, which I hadn’t heard of before, which is also ridiculous because it is fantastic.  Craftsy’s focus is on well produced video classes and tutorials. And they are very well done. Fab Felt Holiday course has 7 projects with a video tutorial for each that you can watch and pause and skip ahead and use however you like. You can also ask Betz questions while you watch and take notes too–Craftsy has got it all covered.

felt pointsettias

I chose to make the poinsettia brooches (obviously). I printed out the template at 100%, 75% and 50%. The 50% was a frustratingly small, but everything tiny is adorable.  I like the original size, but not everyone is crazy for a big, big brooch–75% is the way to go for those people. All these felt flowers have a pin back so you can put them on your winter coat, but you can also slip a ribbon through the closed pin and use them as gift toppers: 2 gifts in one! Put one on top of a little box of cookies and you have a pretty fantastic teacher gift.

felt pointsettias

To see more fabulous felt holiday projects, check out all of the stops on the Fab Felt Holiday tour. Or just go buy the course and make your own!

Week of October 3rd: A Sewing Journal
Week of October 10th: House on Hill Road
Week of October 31st: Maureen Cracknell Handmade
Week of November 7th and 14th: Stumbles & Stitches
Week of November 21st: Elsie Marley

easter is coming

bunny from a baby sock

Soon, so soon! Easter is a few weeks away and I might just have a tutorial or two up my sleeve to celebrate. They are kind of stuck there–up in my sleeve–at the moment, so in the mean time if you can find a baby sock, you can make this cute little bunny to get in the spirit.

Tangrams would be a nice, non-candy addition to an easter basket too. The lovely ladies at Mes Petites Mains (an online magazine full of projects for parents and kids) thought so too and kindly included it in their spring issue!  There are other good things coming up too: guest posts and recipes and projects I’m super excited about making if I could only find the time and the energy to actual get them done. Know what I mean?