Those Advent elves – options

I have been trying to get back to this but got sidetracked by a variety of things which I’ll get to at the end. But I wanted to add a bit more, some options, and a link to a tutorial that I adapted for my own use.

First, you remember the cone-head ornaments from the other day. I had originally thought that I would construct the countdown a bit like the Snorfs, with this sort of bottom added to stick them to a base:


The problem with that, and indeed the problem with the Snorfs 12 days countdown, is that it is tricky to store.  The cone-heads, when loose, stack and would store easily in a small box


Leaving them loose I had two ideas for adding the countdown aspect – beginning with the easiest one, stick the text strip inside the cone like so:


I liked that as you could then hang them on the tree with nothing to get lost or come loose.  They would always be the same, which may not be an issue, but if you wanted to vary them each year, sticking them in won’t do.  Another option is again like the Snorfs, a little strip with a number on the side that tucks into the tab slit like so:


To access it you just pull it out.  Again, no base required and so long as you do the thing then store the tab, you can use them every year, shift the order around, easily make lots of ones to pick from in future years. I think the cones could be hung on a painted branch, or just set out on a table or the mantle.

But the one thing I know MY kids loved about advent calendars is missing – the chocolate!  So I wanted a way to add that and still have most of the rest of the advantages of each option still there.  I think I cracked it.

First, I have to go back to something I bookmarked in a previous browser that I didn’t transfer over.  It was actually two browsers ago so it took some hunting to find it again but I did.  I remembered the basics, but I really wanted to add the link so I had to hunt it down.  What I wanted to do was sort of invert the process, and use the punched strip to make a holder.  This is how I did it.

You will need:

cardstock enough for

  • six 2 inch circles
  • eight 1 inch circles
  • seven 1 x 8 inch strips


  • ribbon slot punch – mine is Fiskars but I think there are others that will do the same thing
  • adhesive

1. Either add adhesive (like Stick It!, which you can punch or die cut even after the adhesive is in place) or punch then add adhesive to the circles.


2.Punch the slits all along the strips of cardstock


3. Score just past the slits


and cut along the edge to turn the slits into tabs


4. Curl the strip around the circles, sticking the tabs to the adhesive


When you get to the last couple of tabs you will want to add adhesive to both the tabs and up to the edge to close the cup


and give you this:


I’m not QUITE done yet, but this will give you an idea of how it will come together:


So, the bottom of the cup gets stuck to the base, and either the circles can be stuck in or you can have a little bag of them and simply place them in, and add a chocolate on top (a wrapped one, obviously!) then place the cones over them. Taking each cone off in turn, the kids can then add them to the tree.  Since the cones are all loose, they can stack for storage, and the base is an A4/US letter size so would slip into, say, a cereal box for storage.

As you can see there is still plenty of room if you wanted a longer countdown – I don’t think it would quite make a full month-long one on an A4 sheet but you could get 10 days or a fortnight, I think, with ease.  Mine isn’t done cause I am just not sure what I want to do – make 18 more elves or leave it as a final-week one.  We don;t have room on our tree for 22 elves, I know THAT. Anyway, there are a few ideas – if you make one, do share it with me.


Why I am so frustrated.  Warning: it’s long and most people won’t “get” it.  Really.  Skip it – and if you don’t, remember, I did warn you. But I just felt the need to vent.

I am STILL struggling with the word verification on Blogger.  I was fine for the first 5 or so blogs yesterday, still trying to get to my WOYWW visits, when all of a sudden, either because I had done too many in one go so they assumed I was a spammer, OR because maybe I typed the numbers in wrong, it switched to word verification on all of them.  My eyes are just incapable of seeing the garbled word.  If it takes me 10 minutes to cycle thru a few options then two or three attempts to get one right, it takes me an hour to do a few blogs.  And I am not a brief commenter, usually. I had hoped that with a new day the number verification would come back.  It didn’t.  I am guessing there is some cookie or another Google has put on my machine that tells it to show me word verification instead of the easier number one. And after spending a ridiculous amount of time trying to figure out exactly what to type in to block that, and reading a tone of post complaining about it on Blogger forums, I know two things – first, it is not the fault of the blogger.  This is Blogger’s way to stop spam. The Blogger bloggers can’t stop it even if they want to.   Secondly, a side benefit to Google is you can avoid the word verification (but still have to do the number one) so long as you are logged in to Google.  I tried it. It works.  The advice they give on the forum is to get a Google account and log in to it to comment.  This is not something I choose to do.  If I had an option that worked I would not be using Chrome.  I don’t like things being displayed or worse, things being blocked or NOT displayed, based on my tracked “habits” so I try never to stay logged in to anything (Facebook or Goggle or Pinterest or Amazon) that tracks my browsing.  I did try to log in, make a comment, then log out and see but as soon as I logged out, the word verification replaced the number on before my very eyes. So I am left with the decision to either bail on WOYWW (a great joy every week) cause I can’t comment, do something that goes against every fibre of my being and log in to Google to comment (perhaps do only that in a session then log out and carry on) or carry on posting my link and never commenting on any Blogger/Blogspot blog.  None of the options make me at all happy, hence the annoyance.  Having used WordPress for my blogging and seen how elegant and reliable the Askimet spam filter is (over 60k of spam comments blocked, and in all the years I have been blogging I would say no more than 10 not-spam comments ever got blocked) I just can’t believe that Blogger can’t put something as good in place.  Instead it’s been weeks of frustration just finding out the specifics of what needed to be done thru trial and error.  Was there a memo that every single Blogger blogger I read missed, one that said you can only easily get comments now from Google-logged in people?  I have open ID and anonymous commenting on my blog.  I moderate if WordPress asks for that, but only some comments require it and I’ve not figured out what triggers it. So I am just going to have to decide before next week what I am going to do.  And see if things change again and the number verification returns for me – I will HAPPILY take the extra time to work thru that, cause I can read it. But not word verification. Never.

So sorry for the rant.  Believe me, I know I am peculiar in this.  And 99% of readers won’t care or will find another blog to read.  But when technology thwarts me I just have to vent.


WOYWW 283 – annoyed

Hello WOYWWers! Noticed the wrong number for WOYWW?  It’s really 284!  Aren’t we all so polite and kind to each other, no one mentioned it 🙂  Silly me….

Lots of stuff all over my desk, no surprises there:


I dragged out my old knitting stitch dictionary to flick thru while awaiting an online “webinar” on the Slow Stitching Movement. THAT was a complete fiasco.  Every single bit of info told me the version of Mac OS I was running was fine and yet when I tried to join the told me my version was too old – AND it downloaded a bit of software to my computer that made it do funny things as well.  I won’t be doing that again. Now we’ll see if my refund comes thru. I also have a pattern for socks I want to try – both the book and the pattern are moving on from plain stockinette stitch but I’ll probably dither a bit more (and finish up the 2nd sock and the pair I am halfway thru first) before casting on


What else?  Ah.  long-time readers may recall I buy a heart-shaped ornament every year for Christmas, in memory of our first son.  This is the one for this year:


And a bit of progress on the little countdown figures from yesterday, but not much:


and finally something that may come to nothing in the end – some chipboard covers and a spine, and dividers, for a mini-book.  I was planning on making one as a Christmas gift then found a published version of what I wanted that was so cool I felt the handmade version wasn’t needed.

So anyway, have a great WOYWW day – I’ve been suffering with a bit of a bad back this week, and my poor car is in the shop and likely to be there for a couple of weeks (loooonnng story) so desk hopping is def. going to be the bright spot in my week!


Just a bit of fun – Christmas countdown

If you read here with any regularity, you know I am a big fan of printable and foldable paper toys.  I like to make them but have no ability when it comes to designing them.  So when I find one, I HAVE to print and fold it – it’s like a compulsion.  On some level I am pretty sure I think if I do enough of them eventually the knack to designing them will seep into my bones.  It hasn’t happened yet, so it probably never will.  Oh well…

I stumbled across this little set of printables – the shape certainly reminds me of the Snorfs, although they are far easier to cut and fold.  Up it the top right there is a click that says Nedelands or English.  I clicked for English but I’m not sure if the link will display that for you or not.  It’s teeny tiny, so knowing where to look may help. I printed and folded them, of course


and added the little hangers.  I also added a gem to Rudolph’s nose. They work perfectly fine as ornaments, I think, but I also think they could easily be turned into an advent calendar of sorts.  The problem is, you really don’t want to have to print a huge number of the same sheet to get what you would need.  My thought was to make a 7-day (or possibly 10-day) countdown.  A short one has a few advantages, the biggest being if you aren’t organized enough to make a 25 day countdown or advent calendar before 1st December, you can still make one of these! But another is these are easy enough you could print them, let the kids get involved with the cut and fold part (if you make the slit for the tab) and keep them busy for a bit.

So back to the printing – even doing a short 7 or 10-day countdown, you really only need ONE Mrs Claus, ONE Rudolph and ONE Santa, but you could use more of the smaller elves for all the other days.  This is what you can do:

1. Download the PDF

2. Using the TOOL menu and the SELECT tool, draw a selection around JUST the elf – see on the left?



3. Click CROP and make sure if the option to automatically resize is there it is toggled OFF. Once you have something that looks like the smaller left image BE SURE TO SAVE AS a new filename. If you SAVE it will overwrite the original PDF and you’ll have to go back and download it again.

4. You can print this 4 times by using your printer dialog box.  I did try to see if 6 on a sheet would work and it’s just that little bit too big.  If you are happy to resize them ever so slightly smaller you can and get more on a page!


Also worth noting (again!) is the difference between the HIGH quality print (the 4X one) and the original that I printed in standard quality, plain paper. You know by now this obsesses me too….


But I hope you can see they are the same size.

I have an idea for the countdown/advent calendar aspect that I need to try but need to carve out some time to do it.  When I have I’ll share! In the meantime you might find other fun things at the link that will keep you busy….



As I expected, you want all three versions

Not at all surprised the voting ended up with ALL THREE being the top pick.  I know I’ve only give it a day, but since I suspected it, I’m prepared.  You saw the sampler yesterday, which show all the text except one – that looks like this:


I think it works both ways if you accept the damask sideways. For the leaves and the white doodles, I don’t think there is one clear direction.  You can download the 3 page PDF (one version per page) here.

I am aware that is id mostly just us Yanks who celebrate thanksgiving as that, but we all have reasons to be thankful so I hope I’ve made the text useful for more than just Thanksgiving, the holiday. The font I love, but if you grab it you will notice that the T is not the T from the character map but the I.  I  just wasn’t keen on the actual T (the word looks more like CHANKS to my eye) and the upper case I looks more like how *I* make my Ts so I swapped them out.


If you like the T better you can always download the font, create the word with the T instead, print it out and cut it to stick over the top.

I’ll be closing the poll – I thought I used to be able to set the poll to expire at a certain time, but I am not seeing that option so I’ll have to close it manually.  I might give it a day, just to see if anyone prints the sampler and shares the colour experience.  I was surprised to see comments in the poll on the results page, but people have told me commenting on a WordPress blog can be tricky, so… anyone?  print and share?  If you send me a photo I’ll share it here, which would be very interesting in I get a couple of them at least…

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Thankful printables – three versions

One of my problems with making printables is I can never decide between colours, fonts and patterns.  Usually, before I add one, I have made three or four versions behind the scenes.  I thought you might find it interesting to see the variations.  Sometimes I will add more than one, but usually I just pick the one I like best  or that I think is likely to be the most useful.  S when I sat down to make some Thanksgiving printables, I had these three to choose from:


I like all of them and can’t decide which one I like best!  I’ve added a single page PDF of the above, a sampler, if you will, of the variations, and would be really interested in your thoughts.

First, just cause I’m curious… a poll:

Next, something interesting to note is the huge variation in colour between the ones I printed using matte photo paper and HIGH for the quality (in all cases, the darker versions) and the plain paper standard quality settings.  HUGE.




I would just say keep this in mind for mine or any one else’s printables. The sampler might be a very handy thing, to see you doing what I had to do before I thought of it, and printing the same sheet multiple times.  As a matter of fact, I wonder if adding a test strip to print for my printable sheets would be helpful, so you can print the swatch using different settings and compare.  For me, I really like the very dark blackish-brown of the doodle set, much more that the reddish-brown – but what sort of variations do YOU get when you print?Having thought of it now I have to try to test my theory.  Here is a PDF of just the colour swatches – you should be able to print it in one quality the flip the paper and print in a second quality and fit both on one side – then you can do two more on the back – to see which ones you like best.  Not sure about the paper size variations, but you will surely see enough of them to decide even if a bit gets cut off on US letter, for example.  I am SO curious to know how you get on.  I hope SOMEONE will do it and share the info.  Just FYI, I have a Canon iP4950 printer.  Be sure to say which one you have.


Completing the set – Hello Winter! PL printables

You may recall I have done printables in the same style for Spring, Summer, and Fall already but with the annual turning on of the heat It felt like the right time to add these to complete the set. You can download them here. Mostly blues but there is one Christmas-y one I snuck in. Like the Fall version, my hope is that at least a couple of them will work either portrait or landscape.


Here are the other three and you can download them if you don’t have them already and want the set: Spring, Summer, and Fall


WOYWW 283 – many and varied things, as usual

Happy WOYWW all.

Let’s have a look at my desk first:


So first I have the re-design of my advent envelopes.  Undecided if I will add them as a download, cause I’m just not sure if more than me will like them.


If you look back to yesterday you can see what the plan is.

I also have some woolly things – I bought a ball winder, so I can split a 100g ball of yarn into two centre-pull balls.


You can probably tell that the not-digital scale I have is rubbish for this sort of measurement – don’t misinterpret this, ladies, but my balls are two different sizes.  Oh dear. Although it was really cheap from Amazon, and it SAYS in the instructions you need the skein on a swift, so long as I hold the yarn guide and rest the yarn past it on my finger it winds really well and the resulting ball pulls from the centre with ease.

I need the two balls because I am doing the 2-socks, Magic loop thing, see?


I did mention the other day that adding a loom band kept the loop from pulling flat, but the thing is you have to remember to add it before you cast on! I didn’t, so that white thing is a small plastic bottle, topped and tailed and slit thru the middle. I can slip it over the cable or move it from needle to  needle as I turn my work and it keeps me from losing my loop.  And that zip lock bag trick?  Love that. So long as I grab the top of the bag in my hand with the needles and turn both over at the same time, the yarn stays in line with the sock that is using it.  No tangles. No need for the laundry tub and the gallon sized bag at all. Nice. The plan is to knit till the yarn is all used up then add the afterthought heel in the dark grey once DS in back from uni to try them on.  That is when it could all go horribly wrong, the snipping out a row with scissors. If I watch a bazillion more videos about afterthought heels I reckon I can do it…. oh PLEASE let it work…

I started WOYWW last week with the plan to visit every blog on WOYWW and failed.  It was a bit of a nightmare, the word verification thing.  I am just incapable of seeing one of the two words they always have.  One I can read perfectly fine – the other one takes me AGES to figure out, then my first guess is almost always wrong, so I try again…before you know it, 10 minutes have gone by and I give up in frustration. I am really hoping for better luck this week – especially as quite a few people got back to  me in comments or offline to assure me they don’t have WV running when in fact, they do …or at least they do for me.  I think it’s Google trying to make everyone sign in to be able to comment, especially non-Blogger bloggers, but that’s just me getting my paranoia on I’m sure {wink} I would love to know if you see word verification on Blogger/Blogspot blogs if you are a Google blogger and are logged in. My fervent hope is in the past week it’s all settled down and  it isn’t on every blog. Funny thing is the number one was a bit of a pain but I can ALWAYS read them. Do you have the option?  If so trust me, number is way better for your commenters ….


I’m just sayin…


Have a good one…..

Just to add – typical.  I was able to sail thru comments all day yesterday, and get thru a few this morning, with just the number verification, when all of a sudden every blog had word verification on it ! I even went back to look at a few that I had commented on yesterday to find that THEY now had word verification as well.  I give up.


Not another advent calendar!

I have just been dithering about making yet another advent calendar – the thing is, I LIKE making them, even if the kids are really well past the point of actually being excited to open them.  But although I have made the chocolate-holder style and the just flip or add style, one that I have seen but not made is an event sort of one.  The 12 Snorfs of Christmas was a bit like that, with little events or tasks added, but that was AFTER Christmas … you see, I am really working hard to justify this LOL!



So I have been working on a modern colour design, lime and turquoise, and based on little coin envelope style holders to contain fun holiday events.  My “desktop” – computer and actual, is littered with my play



and I am considering a slight redesign as well as considering black or white for the envelope options


We’ll see if it comes to anything or not…



Wearing my socks!

Ah, there is nothing like a little success when learning a new skill.  I mentioned I was experimenting with various sock constructions and patterns, beginning while my MIL was here (and knitting like a crazy woman, even taking time out to help me) and carrying on after she left. I have now completed the second sock  of the worsted weight ones, my first attempt at the magic loop method.  AND I AM WEARING THEM!  They are cozy and comfy, perfect for around the house, slouchy and warm.  But I have to show you a few shots.  The first sock was not very good at all.  Perhaps to be expected, but making one BAD ones helped me know when things were going wrong for the second one.  Let’s begin with circular needles – which ones you use matters. A LOT. The pattern is the one I linked to before. I don’t think it is meant to be a slouchy sock but maybe big feet and fine ankles makes that inevitable.

The magic loop is meant to help avoid ladders.  Well, the first sock was done on cheap Pony fixed circulars, and the cables were so rigid, I was tightening the intersection stitches so tight that I got a ridge rather than a ladder.


The 2nd sock I did on KnitPro interchangeable needles, and the transition between needles was much smoother.


More noticeable in the ribbing than the body of the sock. But the KnitPro’s snapped when picking up the gusset.  Luckily I had a set of short ones the same diameter I was able to switch to.


Great service from Amazon – they will be replacing it and didn’t make me send the broken one (and the one NOT broken) back, meaning I have a spare in case it happens again.  Now those were over £5. But look what I found at Tiger:


£2.  Limited sizes, so the 3mm was only on 60 cm cables and the 4mm only on 80 cm cables but still.  And the cables are really nicely joined and very flexible.


Looking forward to having a go at two socks on two circulars, at some point, but wonder if it can be as easy as the magic loop.

What else? Ah.  I had to rip back, and didn’t realize the stitches were twisted till much further on.  Now I know what they look like, I can keep that from happening.


And my paired decreases were a bit rubbish – I think the rigid cables were a big part of this problem too – just look at the difference!


And I did try to get a shot that made sense of the knitted grafting (rather than the Kitchener needle grafting)  but not sure how well you can see it


Again, I think I just pulled maybe a little tighter than required, and perhaps my hand inside is distorting it a bit.  It really is very smooth.

And on – lovely and cuddly, as noted before,  a bit slouchy round the ankle.



And I found a new stitch marker – not coded like the bead ones, but who has kids who DOESN’T have a gazillion loom bands kicking around??


One issue with the Magic Loop is I kept pulling the needle tip too far and closing the loop on the left.  Just adding a loom band to the loop kept that from happening, ever.  And we have 20 different colours so it is easy to use them to code my work to remind me what’s coming up.  And I will need them I’m sure cause the NEXT attempt…well it SHOULD be finishing off the 2nd sock from the striped pair, and that WILL be next, right after I have a go at two at once…and just for the fun of it, toe up with an afterthought heel…..the other ones I thought would be next, two at a time in sock yarn and Magic Loop is also on hold till I try another technique.  I want to figure out the pattern and the method that I like BEST, then maybe I can actually knock up a few pairs as gifts for other family feet…