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Posts Tagged ‘christmas’

advent matchbox kit

as a kid my mum would put together the BEST advent calendars for me – counting down to christmas was almost more fun than christmas day itself! when i was really small she bought fabulous cardboard calendars from europe – the ones with tiny doors you open, and there’s a little picture inside. these made a big impression on me; i was only about 2 or 3 but i can still remember some of the illustrations. each year i’d have a different kind of calendar: one year each day was a tiny book telling part of the sort of the nutcracker (to hang on the christmas tree). some years i’d get a little chocolate each day, and so on…

when i turned 7 mama stepped up her game – she made me a fabric advent calendar, with little pockets. each day of december she would tuck a little tiny present in there, or a slip of paper with an activity written on it. she did this for me every year until i turned 18 and moved to england. even then, she’d email me funny or cute things every day of december. so when i had my son i was thrilled to have the chance to pass on this tradition that had brought me SO much happiness through the years. its really only been a couple of christmases so far, but he totally gets it. we say the advent fairies come and leave little surprises for him and he rushes out every morning to see what’s arrived. i’ve been using the old fabric calendar my mum made, but this year i felt like something new and so, inspired by those fabulous vintage european matchbox labels, i created a printable kit of matchboxes to countdown to christmas with!

how to make them

first you need to purchase, download and save my advent matchbox kit:

Buy Now

the kit contains:

  • 24 individually designed matchbox labels by draw! pilgrim, all vintage style with an aged color tint, fake ‘off register’ color overlaps and a variety of european christmas greetings
  • 24 templates to fold up the matchbox bases/drawers
  • a template for slips of paper to write notes for treats or activities etc


what you will need

aside from the kit mentioned above, you’ll need to print the templates on heavy-ish paper: regular printer paper is quite flimsy – it’d be ok for using JUST this year, but if you want to use these matchboxes again i recommend something a little heavier, around 300gsm (i believe thats equivalent to 200lbs weight). printing at home is convenient but for paper advice you might want to splurge and take this project to the print shop where you can see what range of papers they have and decide what will fold best for your needs.

you will also need:

  • glue or double sided tape,
  • scissors and/or a guillotine paper cutter (it makes cutting down the sheets of labels a bit faster and neater)
  • a bone folder or scoring tool will really give you great crisp edges when folding.



what to fill the boxes with?


you know your own people best, but some ideas are:

  • tiny candies: jellybeans, m&ms etc
  • individual chocolates
  • hair accessories
  • teensy toys



or put in slips of paper hinting at where to find treats that are just a bit too big for the matchbox, e.g.: “look behind the dictionary!” and there will be hidden a new matchbox car or a little bottle of nail polish.


or write a list of treat experiences: “let’s put up the christmas tree!” “let’s go out for egg nog!” “gingerbread decorating day!” etc

how to display your calendar?


  • thread them on a string and hang them as a garland across a mantlepiece or door frame
  • add a strip of magnetic tape and put them up on your fridge
  • leave one each day on their bedside table
  • put one in their lunchbox
  • hang them all vertically on a length of string
  • …or just stick them all to a plain colored poster sheet!


so go ahead! its so much fun and a project that the whole family can get involved in.

did you have christmas countdown traditions too?


the log is yuled! the halls are decked! and the winter wonderland… is in the other hemisphere. but one thing is for certain is is definitely beginning to look a lot like christmas ’round here. want to see what i mean?

the wreath is up! i made this a couple of years ago after being dismayed at the boooooring wreaths in the shops. a lot of glitter, some synthethic leaves and some evenings in front of the tv with the hot glue gun and i have exactly what i wanted. satisfying!

here is a close-up of the pears and birdie. the pears were made from a styrofoam bell spliced with a sphere (er, you can see the seam!). its a franken-pear!

i made some fabric bunting this year. its not as fancy as some people’s but i didn’t have bias tape so i used some string. maybe a little rustic, but thrifty!

the pudding was made a few weeks ago, and its been maturing in the fridge since then. pictured above is the boozed up fruit, stewing away!

isn’t it a cute pudding?! almost too cute to eat. ha! who am i kidding?!

here are some gift tags i designed and printed using moo. they’re the perfect size for tags and as with the wreath, its sooo satisfying having exactly what you want! tied up with some red and white bakers twine and they look rather cute.

ah! the presents! all wrapped and ready to be torn apart in a frenzy of excitement. also pictured above are some of the gift tags in action.

and do you know pippilotta delicatessa windowshade mackrelmint ephraim’s daughter longstocking? my son has enjoyed hearing the pippi longstocking stories multiple times this year, so i thought he might appreciate his mummy making him a pippi playmate of his very own.

what do you think? cheeky enough to do justice to pippi longstocking herself? she was so much fun to make.

this is my last post for 2009. i wish you all a beautiful and safe christmas and a brilliant, sparkly, new years eve.

thank you for reading draw! pilgrim, its been a tough, long year, but 2010 promises to be bigger, happier, and at least a bit more exciting in january when we’re off on our californian adventure! i really appreciate your comments and support and i can’t wait to share some exciting news come the end of january.

posting resumes january 11th, live! from the USA

i’ve made a festive pattern that you can use to decorate your desktop, or twitter, or facespace or maybe even your bathroom.

this is a bit of a random post: miscilanious merriness, free form festivity. it’s a linky christmas party!

you must have a look at the brilliant and very amusing christmas by color posters, gift wrap and cards
Frustrated at the plethora of Christmas reds, whites and greens we decided to explore the colours people really associate with their Christmas.

Thousands of people from around the world embraced the project and relished the opportunity to suggest their own colour and its personal meaning.”

our traditional christmas day cocktail is pimm’s no. 1 cup and dry ginger ale, garnished with lemon, orange and a sliver of cucumber. very refreshing for a warm australian summer’s day! do you have a favorite christmas libation you’d like to share? comment below and i’ll give it a try. sigh. it’s a tough job…

another australian christmas classic is white christmas slice. it fully embraces the non-dieting sentiment of christmas and has about the same nutritional content as you’d get from eating a synthetic christmas tree, but really its yum! and there simply aren’t enough opportunities to eat glacé cherries and rice krispies together.

do you have a favorite christmas movie? i admit completely without shame, that my all-time favorite is the muppet christmas carol. of course i appreciate the original story by charles dickens, but come on! who can resist the muppets+christmas+songs?!

when i was growing up i had to endure nearly half of december before we’d go and choose our christmas tree from the tree farm. my dad’s birthday was december 16th and it was insisted that we had to wait until the weekend after that birthday had passed before christmas could officially begin. what sweet, torturous anticipation that was! and finally, after a prickly, pine-needle filled ride home, jammed into the back of the station wagon with the tree, i could open the closest thing i had to a treasure trove, and study all those old decorations once again.

it was like an annual reunion for me and the box of decorations. each one has its story and i loved hearing them again and again. there were plays to be acted out with some, and some of the musically inclined angels had a band or orchestra. the tradition in our family was one new decoration per year (though i admit i’ve deviated recently and restocked the box a bit after a couple of cat related tree crashes knocked out a few glass baubles) and the tradition stretched back to my great grandparents. our tree is certainly not a perfectly styled, consistently decorated one. but its a patchwork, and a scavenger hunt, and a time machine.

here are a few of my favorite ornaments, they may be old and faded but their charm is in their history and the tradition they are a part of.

isn’t her face a scream!? she’s just so preppy it cracks me up. and i absolutely love candy canes, and stripy christmas candy.

this precious creature came from a close friend of my grandma rowie, whose tree was covered in these angels. her head is porcelain but her body/dress is made of nylon over a wire frame. she seems like the most pious of all our angels, possibly because she’s so delicate.

this little gent is so cute! look he has a toadstool! fun fact: my boyfriend prefers pronouncing pine cone “pie-neck-oh-knee” as a joke, of course!

this is the last remaining member of a trio of handmade bell/bauble/pipecleaner ornaments. there was a lady, and a clown to go with this santa and i believe they were made by my great grandmother’s neighbor. i really like the naive covering of the bell in simple aluminum foil.

this jazzy girl was always in my imaginary angel band games. i really like the color of her dress, and her gold glitter hair. she looks sort of jazz era with such short hair.

unfortunately this is one of the few survivors of the dreaded cat related tree felling that crushed a few of the fragile glass decorations (we had a very unstable base and a very unstable cat). i like the embossed trees and how its so sparsely colored.

poor father christmas is a bit faded now, but its pretty impressive he doesn’t look more moth eaten!

i love this angel’s hair and face, she looks a bit like a prim and proper mae west!

do you have favorite decorations you wait all year to see? do you have any special family decorations passed down? i would love to see!