Ali Edwards Capture life. Create art.

November 15, 2007

Christmas Projects : Follow Up Q & A

Here are some answers to recent comment section questions regarding the Christmas projects:

Q: RE: Star Lights. What are you doing with the star lights from Ikea?
A: I hung them up last night in an entry way that separates Simon’s bedroom and my office from the living room. Loving the twinkle. See below:


Q: RE: Framing Project. Where did you get the Christmas stamps?
A: I found those at my favorite local antique store called Ruthie B’s. It was in a little bag with a bunch of other small holiday paper pieces.

Q: RE: the button trees. Did you already have all of those buttons or are those purchased from somewhere?
A: I have been collecting them here and there for quite awhile in one big jar. Many of them are from Autumn Leaves and can be found here and here and here.

Q: How do you find time for all your traveling, projects + housework?
A: And family. I am a full-time working-at-home mom. Simon goes to school full day. Chris goes to work (or works from his office here at home). My day time is spent working on projects, writing, planning, etc. I am always behind on something and possibly ahead on something else. I don’t watch TV much at all (we Tivo The Office + a couple political shows). After Simon goes to bed around 7pm Chris and I get back to work or hang out until we go to bed. I schedule a ton. I make mistakes. I cook very simply. I think about exercise. I have stopped traveling so much and this has made a big difference in my ability to feel more balanced. I clean as I go. Balance is always my goal and family comes first. 

Q: RE: the button trees. Do you know where can I buy online those Styrofoam cones (with international shipping)?
A: Anyone have a good source/recommendation for these? Here’s a starting place: google search for cones.

Q: Are you making some of your gifts this year? If so can you share??
A: I love the idea of making gifts, but it is not likely that I will be making many this year. Have you seen this Buy Handmade? I am seriously considering going this route for many of my gifts. I also loved this post from Soule Mama about wood toys. I want to get more creative with my gifts this year – not "hands-on creative" but more from the "thinking creative" angle.

Q: RE: the tree cards. What font and size did you use on the 2×4 cards?
A: I purchased those from Paper Source. Here’s a cool free font that could work: Ghostwriter

Q: When and where are you teaching soon?
A: I will be teaching a new album track at CKU events in 2008. The site should be updated soon with more information.

Q: You take a lot of pictures in unexpected places.  Does Chris ever get aggravated with it?
A: At some point along the way he made the decision that photography would be his way of participating in my crazy love for this art. He has a great eye and is a willing participant + idea generator for lots of different shots. I think he may take more photos than I do…

Q: Did you plan that reflection or just get lucky?
A: As we were walking back to the car I spied that great big mirror and wanted to take a picture of the three of us together. Simon decided he was not interested in that and instead walked over to the pole. Totally a lucky shot with him hiding behind the pole – one of those times where it was not my intention but the result was cool. 

Q: RE: Advent Boxes. Do you know where I can find similar boxes?
A: Anyone have a good source/recommendation for these other than Ben Franklin Crafts? Here’s one place I found with a google search: Paper Mart. Here’s google search results for chipboard boxes with lids.

Are you going to be making a 2008 calender for Cafe Press?

A: I am in the process of putting a new one together – look for it soon.

Q: RE: December Daily Album. Who makes those cool little circle epoxy stickers sitting by the album?
A: Those great little circle accents are from Anna Griffin and can be found here.

Q: What kind of adhesive do you use on the acrylic and acetate pages?
A: As soon as I get this album back from CK I will share more specifics on adhesives (so I can include visuals). For the cover star I actually used red paint around the edge as an adhesive. Often I just use my favorite regular adhesive and will add an element on the back that is the same size and shape and will cover the adhesive.

Q: I was wondering about the bottle caps. My friend and I have been saving
bottlecaps because we wanted to make pins, but we don’t know what to
fill the caps with after we put our design in them. Any help will be

A: Check out this post for information on the bottle cap project.

I also wanted to make sure to say thank you to you all. As I read back through the comments from the last week or so I found so many cool ideas I want to implement into our holiday. Thank you for sharing the things you and your family enjoy.

I am taking off for a little weekend getaway tomorrow. Will post again when I get home. Have a great weekend. 


  • 1.
    Dawn said…

    You’re so inspirational. I wish I had the time to do all of the projects you do. So cool. I went to Michael’s last night and *almost* bought them out of chipboard boxes. I’m going to attempt the Advent Calendar this weekend. Instead of hanging them on the wall, I’m opting for adding a magnet and putting it on the fridge. Can’t wait to see how it turns out!

  • 2.
    Peg Graham said…

    Ali- Just wanted to thank you for your link to ‘Contact your Member of Congress and urge them to vote YES on the veto override’…I sent mine.
    Many blessings to you and yours!
    The Graham Family

  • 3.
    Nichole Duenke said…

    Ali,you are a gem! Thanks so much for posting all the answers to these questions! I made the advent calendar last weekend I was SO inspired after seeing it here! My husband LOVES it! (we have no that bad?! haha) Thanks for all your inspiration! I love your take on this art form & life in general! So, so inspiring!

  • 4.
    jenn said…

    awesome informative post ali…love it!

  • 5.
    Erin Whelan said…

    Just wanted to cheer you on with your amazing Christmas projects. YOU ARE SO INSPIRING!
    Just wanted to add in the wrapping paper section of Ikea there are packages of circular nesting boxes (10-12) per package in bright fun colors.
    One project I am going to attempt this holiday season involves filling circular Xmas tree ornaments with journaling prompts one per day from Dec 1 to 26, I plan on journaling in a book similar to yours (except LSS in my area do not carry clear or acrylic albums – booo). The ornaments will be stored in a glass hurricane jar. Once I have choosen an ornament it will be placed on the tree.
    Happy Holidays! Erin

  • 6.
    Liz Simon said…

    I made the advent calander & it turned out SO cute, thanks for the inspiration!
    I got the boxes at Pat Catans in the paper mache section.

  • 7.
    Mary Rogers said…

    have a great weekend. Loved your post – so much cool information.

  • 8.
    shabbyVTchic said…

    I have to confess that I have NEVER created a holiday craft project with or for our children, to enjoy in our home. I’ve helped them create things for school, but never our home. When you think of my capabilities and all the many possibilities, it truly is embarrassing and definitively something I plan to start this year as a tradtion of sorts. I LOVE Christmas, and we are limited financially to what we can afford to purchase at the stores. And quite frankly, I love the look of a homemade craft so much more. So THANK YOU for inviting us into your home, where we can visualize and imagine the possibilities of creation in our own home. I am heading out tonight in search of those cones, and some boxes. If I can’t find the boxes, I plan to make some using a friends Accu-Cut. She has a couple of lovely dies (with scalloped tops even!) that will work perfectly. I cannot pin them to the wall as you have, because I have a very curious 2 yo who will tear them down for sure. So I’m going to adhere them to a tray (hoping to find inexpensive at a nearby Christmas Tree Shop), or a painted/distressed cookie sheet. This way I can hang it on a wall, and have the advantage of quickly moving it when she is up to no good. Would also be sweet displayed on a sofa table, etc. Thanks again for the inspiration and motivation! And also for the Autism link this morning. I do not personally know of a child with Autism, but I did for many years manage group homes for the developmentally disabled and have provided a home for a developmentally disabled adult for more than 8 years now. I care very much about their rights, and feel an obligation to follow-up on such situations. It’s just our responsibility. Thank you.

  • 9.
    Michelle said…

    I have always enjoyed this website and it inspires me in so many ways. And now that I know you watch The Office, well, it just got better. Poor Dwight, missing Angela :-(

  • 10.

    I love that you go back and post the answers to the questions you get. Sometimes people ask questions I wouldnt even think to ask.
    Also, thanks for signing a copy of your new book when my mom met you at CKU Orlando. She was so excited to give it to me when I went down for a visit last week.

  • 11.
    Holly said…

    Hi Ali!
    Thanks for all the information!
    p.s. I like to think about exercise too!!

  • 12.
    Frances M said…

    You’re killing me with inspiration! I know I’m probably the 50th person to say so. You are out of control this year! I mean that in the best way! I’ve been reading your blog over two years maybe three and just reading your blog gets me so EXCITED ABOUT THE HOLIDAYS! I’ve decided to do a digi daily december album and now I think I’m going to have to make those button trees with my son as well. Thanks for writing your blog! I LOVE IT….checking in is like grabbing my coffee each day! Can’t have a day without it! You ROCK ALI !

  • 13.
    janine said…

    The past few years I have really struggled to cope with how early Christmas begins to set in. But I have to confess that watching via your blog how you have been slipping a few little things into your home each day is making me want to go get the box down from the attic! Every time I come on here I feel just a wee bit indulgent and just a little more Christmassy. THANKS for getting me out of my bah humbugs!!

  • 14.
    Marty said…

    thanks for all your inspiration! I can’t wait to order a calendar for the 2008 year! I enjoy seeing your Christmas projects and getting so many how-tos…
    Enjoy your weekend! You really deserve it!
    thanks for all the answers to questions!

  • 15.
    Katy said…

    Great post full of information … thanks … have a great weekend. :)

  • 16.
    evelyne said…

    hi Ali
    here in Belgium we have a sort of Santa coming on December 6th.
    Tradition demands that you wait trimming trees or decorating your house with Christmasstuff untill he has passed your house and has filled your shoe with toys and goodies:(
    So I enjoy your christmasprojects through your house double and I just can’t wait to start leaving Christmastouches in my house!!!

  • 17.
    Amy Z said…

    yay for the calender!

  • 18.
    Francine said…

    Hi Ali, I’ve been loving all your projects and am planning a few of my own. I don’t know what country the person who asked about the cones is in, but here in France I found them at an art supply store that has a craft section, and they are also found at most craft stores. I hope this helps :)

  • 19.
    Yvonne said…

    The advent/paper mache/chipboard boxes are available at most bigger craft stores, AC Moore, Michaels, even some larger market Walmarts carry them.

  • 20.
    crafttealady said…

    Hi Ali,
    I bought my foam trees at Wmart, but saw them last night at the Dollar Tree store too. :)

  • 21.
    Amy Hummel said…

    OOOh, I LOVE those twinkle lights!!!

  • 22.
    Kara said…

    Just wanted to say thanks for sharing your Christmas projects, my son and I are working on the Button Tree. Well don’t you know it I ran out of white tipped pins about half way through it. I made a trip to Michael’s and they didn’t have any which was really disappointing as Joann’s is so far away. Well off to run another errand when my son says…Mom, why don’t you just paint your yellow ones white…so that’s what we did. I used a thicker white paint and dipped and swirled my way through enough pins that we finished our tree last night and have plans to so some balls for decorations around the house. Thanks again.

  • 23.
    Carole Hepburn said…

    Love reading about everyone’s questions – answered my own questions when I read them ! My advent calendar is completed and on the wall, my button trees are 1/2 way complete ~ I have one tree up ( I usually do three ) and have the outside lights ready to be put up ( my neighbor does it for me ) and have three holiday gatherings planned ~ Your inspiration is treasured, thank you for being you and willing to share with us ~ have a great weekend !!

  • 24.
    amanda said…

    Oh! I just found myself nodding my head to your entire response on ‘time management’. yes, yes. I think about exercising too. ;) For the most part – it does all manage to work, doesn’t it?
    Lovely star lights, too….I’m so tempted now to take a trip to IKEA before the holidays. Hmn…
    Have a wonderful weekend getaway!

  • 25.
    Camille said…

    What a plethora of information you are–thanks!
    Have a wonderful weekend, recharge those batteries!

  • 26.

    I have a question for you… you make SO MANY wonderful items. And for SO many of them, you say they are quick and easy to do. But I wonder…how long do you spend Planning the project, gathering supplies and getting your space ready to work on it? (I LOVE easy projects, but it seems like it takes FOREVER just for me to get STARTED on one, and then I have major clean-up to do once I am done.) How do you get around this deterrent?

  • 27.
    Dana Nichols said…

    Ali- Thank you so much for posting all your holiday ideas and tips and inspiration. You are helping me so much! I look forward to seeing what you have for us next. Thanks for caring enough to read comments and answer our burning questions!

  • 28.
    Jenn said…

    Ali, thanks to your green links, I am so all about reducing my carbon footprint. I love the Worsted Witch, and No Impact Man. Using up my stash instead of buying new. Reclaimed furniture; you should see the metal bookshelf that I just painted for my bedside table, you would definitely approve! Thanks for loads of inspiration. I am asking for a crank up radio for Christmas, and also greatly reducing tv time (only Sandi Genovese, hee hee). Peace out, Jennifer K. from the OC

  • 29.
    Tanya said…

    For anyone looking for advent boxes, Michael’s carries different sized jewelry boxes in the gift box aisle (where you find wrapping paper, gift bags, etc.) or near the jewelry section. They have many different sizes and also they carry them where you usually find paper mache boxes, too. Which is near the kids crafts at my Michael’s out here in the Boston area.

  • 30.
    Margaret Read said…

    You may have seen this already, but BluePrint Magazine’s website has a page where you can print your own wrapping paper!

  • 31.
    margaret said…

    On the “thinking creative” angle for Christmas presents, I have a suggestion for kids’ gifts. Ravensburger makes wonderful games & puzzles that span the age range from little kids to adults. My kids had the Amazing Labrinyth when they were little and ALWAYS beat the pants off me. :( Good spatial non-verbal thinking skills encouraged. Hope this isn’t TOO commercial. Just one of my favorites as a mom & grandma.

  • 32.
    Meredith said…

    Hi! I too love all your inspiring ideas. Although I can’t access some of the products so easily here in Australia and living in a rural area that is 7 hours from a big city that may have some of the products! The internet has helped. Then yesterday on our scrapping road trip (31/2 hours of driving and 3 small scrap shops, with 2 girl friends and 4 children I found bottle tops! Then I have been to my local family run furniture business and they are cutting acrylic for me to make a 6×6 and an 8×8 album!! I am slowly collecting products to use on the pages – transparencies, Hiedi Swapp tape etc.
    Thank you so much for the inspiration.Love, love, love your blog XO

  • 33.
    Debbie Poe said…

    I’m making my own boxes. I can’t remember where i got the pattern for them, but it works out great. I’m using paper I already have.

  • 34.
    Michelle T. said…

    My son Jaron is on the spectrum. I met you at CKU Nashville. I sent my letter urging Bart Gordon to vote YES to override the veto. Thanks so much for posting that. I had no idea. You’re the best!

  • 35.
    Jane Logan said…

    Simply thank you! Have a great weekend!

  • 36.
    tammy said…

    HELP! I can’t find an altered trading card holder anywhere? Any suggestions or other ideas? I even have my local Scrapbook Store on it and they’re coming up empty handed. They are all on back order. I so wanted to make one for a holiday project. I have twin 9 year old daughters and one has Down Syndrome. They are both the joy of my life and Taylor would absolutely LOVE turning it and looking at pix from Christmases past. Plus it would be soooo cute on my coffee table! Thanks for all you do and the inspiration you send out! And can you imagine how many of the little things in life we would miss if it weren’t for those special, amazing kids in our lives! Have a blessed day!

  • 37.
    Char said…

    I just got the new Oriental Trading scrapbooking catalog in the mail yesterday. They have jumbo bags of Christmas and winter themed buttons in assorted sizes, shapes, and colors. I thought, “These would be PERFECT for the button trees on Ali’s blog!” Planning on ordering right now! for the inspiration!

  • 38.
    Jennifer said…

    I love the advent boxes, I found boxes at Michael’s and Hobby Lobby.

  • 39.
    Marcee said…

    Thanks for taking the time to answer all of these question with added links and info!
    Have a wonderful weekend:)

  • 40.
    MariaM said…

    I love reading all the questions too!
    Thanks Ali – you are so inspiring! I feel like there are huge numbers of us out there this week shopping our local craft stores in search of styrofoam cones and boxes :) makes me wonder {and giggle} if the folks behind the checkout are scratching their heads thinking “what’s up with all the cones and boxes???”
    If you live near an ACMoore they have packages of 6 boxes for $2.49 in the paper mache box/wooden boxes section. Although they seem a bit smaller than what is used here, but still cute. They have assorted shapes too. At Michaels, the jewlery boxes would work too {already red and green, if you prefer}
    I haven’t made mine yet — I had to purchase a bit more buttons. Love the oriental trading buttons! I have to experiment also with “paper” buttons — I have a sizzix die that cuts cute little button shapes {and never used it ?} I think now’s the time :)

  • 41.
    suetreiber said…

    the twinkle lights are lovely. I bet they make Simon happy every time he comes through them!

  • 42.
    gabbe said…

    Thank you so much for all the great links and taking the time to answer all our questions!!
    Here’s my info on foam trees, buttons and the advent boxes:
    I got a bunch of foam trees at my local Joann store- the small ones came 2 in a package for $3.00
    I found great variety packs of buttons at Joann’s too in red and green for $2 per pack
    For our advent boxes, I used very inexpensive pre-scored cardboard boxes (they have the lids attached that fold in) I found them at Michael’s. They have a bunch of sizes available. I used 3 different sizes. The small ones were .50 each, the others were like .79-$1.00 each. I also had a couple of small jewelry boxes around that I recycled.
    I used double stick permanent tape (Scotch) and taped the finished boxes right to the glass of a big wide ready-frame (22×28) so far, they’re holding 8)
    isn’t this early Christmas spirit just awesome!!
    Have a wonderful weekend Ali & everyone!

  • 43.
    Christina said…

    For those looking for the chipboard/paper mache boxes, I found them at AC Moore near the wood stuff. Some sizes sold individually and others sold in packs of 6 – “Itty Boxes” or something like that. Good luck!

  • 44.
    Angi B said…

    lovin the lights, Ali. Just lovely.

  • 45.
    Lisa said…

    This is a thoughtful follow-up. Thanks for posting all the various links. I’ve been enjoying all your holiday projects. Especially love the advent boxes.

  • 46.
    Rose said…

    Thanks for all the answers to so many questions, and of course thank you for all the inspiration.
    I’ve got one better for you on the exercise. Rather then thinking about it, put one of those great exercise DVDs in and use it for background noise. Keeps you company and if you use the yoga ones like I do very relaxing as well ;)

  • 47.
    Jodie Winters said…

    Hey Ali-I have to apologise-I asked the question of how you manage your time and left out family! It’s amazing, I guess alot of us really are the same in how we manage things-I just feel like sometimes I’m the only one struggling to fit in all of the things that are important to us, but really It sounds like Im not alone. We all manage I guess to get things done-eventually-and I too think about excercise-but I think it’S time for me to get back out there and actually do it! It’s almost summer here in Australia and there is NO chance Im ready for a swimming cossie! I really feel great once I get to the gym or go for a walk-it’s just getting past the front door!
    As a woman and a wife and Mother, the most important thing to us is our family, and at the end of the day the laundry will still be there, but the moments we could have spent with our family rather than cleaning will be lost for ever. Have a great day (or night I’m never sure with the time difference!)

  • 48.
    Jodie Winters said…

    Hey Ali-I have to apologise-I asked the question of how you manage your time and left out family! It’s amazing, I guess alot of us really are the same in how we manage things-I just feel like sometimes I’m the only one struggling to fit in all of the things that are important to us, but really It sounds like Im not alone. We all manage I guess to get things done-eventually-and I too think about excercise-but I think it’S time for me to get back out there and actually do it! It’s almost summer here in Australia and there is NO chance Im ready for a swimming cossie! I really feel great once I get to the gym or go for a walk-it’s just getting past the front door!
    As a woman and a wife and Mother, the most important thing to us is our family, and at the end of the day the laundry will still be there, but the moments we could have spent with our family rather than cleaning will be lost for ever. Have a great day (or night I’m never sure with the time difference!)

  • 49.
    Sara said…

    Thank you so much for answering all those questions. I love the fact that you are a work at home mom. So am I! It works out great… but my little guy only goes to school three days a week right now, so time is limited. Anyway… have a great little get away this weekend.

  • 50.
    Deirdre said…

    Thanks again, Ali. Especially loved the link to Soule Mama–and her link to the wooden acorns. Getting little wooden snowmen and trees for my 5 yr old and his buddies to paint and decorate.
    Simon reminds me of my guy so I wanted to share this link too:
    Thanks to PBS’ “Super Why” show, my son is all about the gingerbread house this year, but in the past he has gotten frustrated when we made them, and his little brother keeps sneaking pieces of stale candy. This felt house is expensive, but can be reused every year—and I’m betting we can make our own cool additions to it with felt.
    Thanks for all the inspiration and honesty!

Post a comment