IKEA Moppe advent calendar

This year Christmas is looking a little different to us a family. With the cafe launch in January we are not able to visit any of our family (Joni parents are in Devon and mine are in Lithuania). This means for the first time it is only going to be just four of us at the Christmas dinner (five if you include the cat). I am feeling hopeful as I heard lots of good stuff about celebrating Christmas without big family involved therefore I am planning to make the best out of it! 

Christmas preparation is looking also very different this year. Although we don’t always have Christmas tree in, I tend to finish decorating before December. Obviously this is not the case this year! Which is why I decided to make the advent calendar part of our Christmas prep.

Besides that, our advent calendar have to be less wasteful. Last year when I did my origami advent calendar, we had a good chunk of paper wasted . So you can imagine that going with the advent calendar design that can be reused again and again was a big reason why I chose Ikea Moppe solution. After doing some research on different examples I decided to go with something very simple as this can be updated every year. In worst case scenario this can be repainted and used as a craft supply storage!

What took most of my time in preparation was not an actual making of the advent calendar but filling the drawers.

To glue 4 Moppe drawers together all I used PVA and clamps.

I used black marker and white chalk marker to draw windows and doors to imitate a building.

To imitate the roof I decided to go with the cardboard. Making out of wood would have taken me much longer! I lined it with polyester filling which essentially looks like artificial snow.

To attach the roof was a little tricky. I tried duck tape as well as hot glue gun. None of that worked. Eventually I resorted to staple gun (it works every time). Although I expect it made some damage, I think it will be easy to fix with some fillers and sanding. I will definitely try making roof out of wood next year!!

At the end of the day, I am happy with the result! It took me to make in about an hour while filling draws with activities took me more like 3h (oops).

Happy Christmas waiting!

Rasa xx

Origami advent calendar

Origami advent calendar DIYSo here it is, our advent calendar for this year :). Very very simple to make and I have already received many compliments from friends! I simply used some pattern designs that I created for watercolour challenge few months ago and it brighten up our living room already. Yey!
Each package contain origami idea which is great for me (I love learning something new!) and great with involving kids. I am planning to either teach Lukas how to make stuff by folding paper (for easy ones) or let him decorate completed origami item. I am also considering not to be stuck with using only paper. The possibilities are endless, regular blanket could turn into star for all you know. For those who are following me on social media be prepared for daily dosage of origami!Origami advent calendar DIY You ready to make your own origami advent for this year? Then let’s crack on!
You will need:

  • A4 or square size patterned paper, either printouts or shop bought gift wrapping paper
  • number tags
  • origami idea “ribbons”
  • scissors
  • treats to add into the packages (optional and we decided to go without this year)
  • a hanger
  • string or slim ribbon

First, cut out all the tags and origami idea “ribbons”.Origami advent calendar DIYMake all the packages for every 24 days. Begin with folding in corners (1.), then fold in the sides and insert all the contents (2.). Finally fold in the pointy corners once again on both sides (3) and secure it using double sided tape. Use a string or a ribbon to wrap the package like a gift (4.). Don’t forget to insert the tag before tying the knot.How to fold an envelope from A4 Once all the packages are complete, then all you need to do is tie them on the hanger and hang it on the wall.Origami advent calendar DIY Origami advent calendar DIYHappy Christmas waiting!
Rasa xoxo

Watercolour challenge: starry sky

Galaxy watercolour painting for card makingIt’s that time of year when the nights are long, Christmas cheer is all around us and neighbours started lighting up their fairy lights. It could not be a better time to learn how to do galaxy paintings (A must must have skill for water colour painters!). These could turn into magical magical Christmas cards, and invites, and so many other things as well as wall art.
First I began by working on my brush strokes. To achieve a deep night sky impression I moved my brush in circular movements to form cloud like patterns. It’s important to use a generous amount of water as well as layering the paint to build darker shades. To begin with I only worked with two basic colours which were black and blue.  Galaxy watercolour painting for card makingOnce the sky painting is dry, I sprinkled some “stars”. I used a heavy type of brush and using my thumb movement on it I successfully applied the micro sized stars. I then used thin paint brush to paint in bigger stars. Although majority galaxy paintings I have seen around are white, I thought it would be very cool to try gold colour acrylic paint to create some gold stars. I am totally in love with the variation!Galaxy watercolour painting for card makingOnce I mastered the galaxy painting with two colours I of course then tried including more colours. I even tried gold colour! Now, I don’t have gold watercolour paint, so I used watered down gold acrylic paint. This experiment actually worked!! The picture bellow cannot do its justice though, the painting sparkles in the real life!Galaxy watercolour painting for card makingFinally I experimented with painting into confined shape (circle). What changed are the brushstrokes. I tend to do longer brushstrokes to define the edges. The borders also meant that the painting had some sort of structure rather than ending up looking like continuous repeating pattern. Galaxy watercolour painting for card makingTip: when watercoloring with high amounts of water the paper becomes uneven and wrinkly. The best way to make the paper flat again is to iron it. Cover the painting with baking paper and iron it with steam free setting. I find this is safe even with the high temperature setting.Galaxy watercolour painting for card makingWhen the time came to make the Christmas cards I decided to experiment with foiling (I am so in love with gold right now!). Sadly this did not work out. I am sure it’s all my fault! This foil I bought meant to be used with the foiling machine, but someone suggested this could be used with iron. At the end the foil melted instead sticking onto paper. I even used PVA after unsuccessful application using toner pen. Nothing worked! I decided to leave foiling for later, I am sure I will figure this out some other time. Galaxy watercolour painting for card making I ended up using gold paint to paint the letters which was acceptable, but not ideal (hope my neighbours like it).Galaxy watercolour painting for card making White acrylic paint works fine too. If only I did not misspelled “Christmas” over here!Galaxy watercolour painting for card makingHope you found this helpful! Are you making your cards yourself this year?
Rasa xoxo

Foraged winter wreath + make your own willow wreath base

Foraged winter wreath DIYSo it turns out this kind of wreath (pic above) is called a foraged wreath. I am so surprised! You see I have been using tree branches and dried plants for deco for years and never considered it as a positive thing to do. When I was little my grandad told me off for breaking the branches off the tree, “if someone broke your fingers off, you would’t like it would you?” he said. So ever since I have been feeling guilty when I “vandalise” (as I call it), but then felt inspired when I see the beauty of nature in my home. Therefore word “foraging” is so much more positive! It sort of makes you feel like you are being savvy and forest wise. Hmm, besides foraging a bit of fir tree branches (pine tree in my case) is better than taking the whole tree just to decorate for Christmas?? Also, not forgetting this is free!!Foraging with kids + Foraged winter wreath DIYTo make a foraged winter wreath collect some tree branches from your forest. Since it is for Christmas you want to pick evergreen tree branches. I picked two pine tree branches and some larch (I was surprised to see that it got coloured for the autumn!). Sadly there were no fir trees in our forest. I did however pick a few bits to accessorise my wreath. Dry dead plants and red berries are great! Foraged winter wreath DIYSince I wanted this wreath be as natural as it can be, I decided to make my own wreath base out of willow. To be honest I made mine out of any twigs I could find. Willow is good because it is supper flexible, but do not worry if you don’t have it in hand. It’s important to pick long twigs that comes from a live tree. You really can’t bend dry tree branch. It would just break! To make the wreath base you will also need florist wire and some good gardener shears. Foraged winter wreath DIYTo begin with take the largest twig and bend it to a circle. Secure the ends with some florist wire. Use the next twig to wrap around the circle you have already made. Secure the ends with the florist wire. Carry on wrapping the wreath base with more and more twigs till you achieve your desired thickness. Try to avoid using florist wire on any areas you are planning to leave exposed.Foraged winter wreath DIYI ended up leaving the top of the wreath base exposed. I deliberately focused on tree branch arrangement in the bottom part of wreath base. I as I added more on I placed different pine tree branches between the twig gaps I could find in the wreath base until I filled in the gaps. Foraged winter wreath DIYI secured the ends of the pine tree branches at the back of the wreath. This way it is less visible on the exposed side. Foraged winter wreath DIYFinally I added dry plant bits and berries to decorate the wreath.Foraged winter wreath DIY Now the question is how long this wreath will last. I wonder if my wreath would last till Christmas. Turns out there is hope! Apparently it lasts best outside in the cold (check!), then I read that it may last longer if I spray it with some water when I can (will do!). Finally if any part of the wreath dies out, you can carefully replace it with some fresh branches. Foraged winter wreath DIY Foraged winter wreath DIYHappy Christmas waiting (sorry, but not sorry for mentioning it so early!)
Rasa xoxo

Croissants with poppy seed filling

Croissants with poppy seed filling recipe  In Lithuania we are big on poppy seed, especially when it comes to Christmas. This is why I feel that these croissants filled with poppy seed goodness is very appropriate for this season. I have been wanting to make this hundred leaves cake to begin with (It’s so traditional in Lithuania like fruit cake in England), but I felt it was too time consuming. This is when this croissant idea came around! You see the dough of hundred leaves cake is kind of similar to croissant dough so I decided to incorporate it with the shop bought dough. Everything went swimmingly well and the rest is history.
CROISSANTS WITH POPPY SEED FILLING
makes 6

  • 100g poppy seed
  • 50g raisins
  • 1tbsp honey (optional)
  • uncooked croissant dough ( I used Jus-Rol brand as it seem the only one available in the shops)
  • 1 egg, whisked for egg wash

1. Place poppy seeds and raisins into the bowl and pour over boiling water over it. Let it sit for an hour or so till it is well soaked and doubled in size.
2. Using the blender whizz poppy seeds and raisins till it becomes like a paste. Add honey if needed for the sweetness, otherwise it is quite sweet from the raisins.Croissants with poppy seed filling recipe  3. Roll out the dough and cut into triangles. Spoon some poppy seed mixture into each triangle and wrap it using the corners. Place croissants parcels into lined baking tray and brush it with egg wash. Bake the croissants in preheated 180C oven for 10-15min.Croissants with poppy seed filling recipe Croissants with poppy seed filling recipe Croissants with poppy seed filling recipe Happy Christmas waiting!
Rasa xoxo

Christmas wreath chandelier

Christmas wreath chandelier DIY I don’t know how 2017 Christmas came round so quickly, but our house is still not there yet with all the DIY’s. Although I am glad with current progress on our new kitchen that might be functional this year (yey!), when it comes to Christmas decoration I realised we are still not ready for an actual Christmas tree. For starters, children would rip it apart in few seconds. So not worth the stress…
Unless I can hang it? And this is how Christmas chandelier idea came around :-).Make your own Christmas wreath chandelier To begin with I made the wreath. For this you will need some sort of hoop. I ripped our old lamp shade apart to get the hoop that turned out to be a bit rusted (never mind), but maybe you can use embroidery hoop instead (the inner part)?? Anyways, this is why I categorised this project as upcycled ;-).Make your own Christmas wreath chandelier Because I ripped our old lampshade I also got an attachment to connect the hoop to the lamp. I covered both (the attachment and the hoop) with some greenery (mostly parts of the tree in my friends garden). Make your own Christmas wreath chandelierI used three treads to connect the attachment with the hoop. Hope it’s visible in the picture bellow.Make your own Christmas wreath chandelier As for Christmas “tree” deco I chose baubles that I decided to customise myself. I thought to paint with the acrylic that I already have… very risky I know! But I have to be frugal sometimes. Turned out to be ok actually, not sure how long it would last. The black acrylic pain was a bit watery and run in places a bit, but created a nice sort of vintage look. Make your own Christmas wreath chandelierAfter hanging all there baubles on the wreath, there were few leftover. I mounted them above our mantelpiece so everything looks Christmas ready. If only we stayed at home for all the celebrations.Make your own Christmas wreath chandelierHope you feel inspired and ready ahead with Christmas decorating.
Rasa xoxo

Gingerbread advent calendar

How to make gingerbread cookie advent calendarI have not made an advent calendar for a while so this year I thought I better not miss out and count the days till Christmas in style . I thought I should at least try and make it for Lukas and I am glad that I did. I made it out of gingerbread which means it can be eaten day by day. The only problem is that I made it a little early, a whole two weeks before December! Now daily (sometimes hourly) Lukas asks me for “a bisc” which means biscuit in his language. It’s wonderful to see him so excited but hopefully the calendar will last till advent begins without too many tears!How to make gingerbread cookie advent calendar I used this recipe to make the dough for the gingerbread cookies. I made sure I made a hole in each cookie before baking it so I can feed a tread through it and that way cookie can be hanged. How to make gingerbread cookie advent calendar I used basic icing (icing sugar mixed with little bit of water) to write the number on each cookie. I originally was planning to use food colouring to make it black, but I am glad I stayed with basics. Sometimes easy and simple stuff look best!How to make gingerbread cookie advent calendar Last job was to arrange the cookies. I first arranged the cookies on white surface so I can find the nicest arrangement before actually hanging everything. I used a little bit of greenery as it brings out a lovely contrast that I love. Gingerbread cookie advent calendarI been very lucky that we have picture rails in our house. I only now discovered the real purpose of them. Before I used to think that it is just a nice trim! If you would like an alternative hanging solution then check out here. I used a wire hanger to make my last advent calendar three years ago.How to make gingerbread cookie advent calendar How to make gingerbread cookie advent calendar How to make gingerbread cookie advent calendar How to make gingerbread cookie advent calendarHope you have been inspired and I am wishing you all an exciting Christmas season!
Rasa xoxo

Garlic rye bread and bean salad

Rye garlic bread and bean salad recipe It’s becoming to look like Christmas and I decided to share a recipe for a salad that is traditional to have for Christmas Eve. It is that simple and tasty that my brother used to voluntarily go on salad making duty because of that. Hope you like it as much as we do! Rye garlic bread and bean salad recipe GARLIC RYE BREAD AND BEAN SALAD
Makes one medium serving bowl (I made half portion here)

  • 1 medium rye bread loaf
  • 6 cloves of garlic, crushed and chopped
  • generous amount of oil for frying
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 onions, finelly chopped
  • 2tsp caraway seeds, soaked in water
  • 2 cans of butter beans or cannellini beans, rinsed under cold water
  • bunch of parsley, finelly chopped (optional)

1. Slice the bread and then chop the slices into 1cm cubes.Rye garlic bread and bean salad recipe2.Fry the bread together with garlic in generous amount of oil (very necessary, sorry for dieters). Season to taste and put it aside.Rye garlic bread and bean salad recipe3. Fry the onion together with caraway seeds until onions are nice and slightly transparent. Add the beans and take the pan off the heat.  Rye garlic bread and bean salad recipe4. Mix everything together.Rye garlic bread and bean salad recipe Rye garlic bread and bean salad recipeHope you don’t miss this humble salad at your Christmas table ;-).
Rasa xx

Christmas village display

Christmass village decoration I must admit, I was a bit scared of Christmas this year because of what is going on around us. House DIY, Lukas often ill (I’ve been told he is perfecting his immune system) and our new baby on the way have added a lot of pressures already, but also I could not quite think what gifts I should get for the family. The major additional pressure I find at Christmas is buying those gifts.  Since when did we lose the true meaning of Christmas? When did it get so materialistic? I dread every year of this gift giving madness when I am pushed to get gifts that somebody may not even like. I prefer spontaneous gifts that I put lots of thought in it (such as handmade ones perhaps), not something I got from the amazon to fulfil set occasions. Thankfully our family was very understanding and agreed to gives us a little break this year. My mother-in-law even said “that’s a relief”, bless her. I am very lucky to have such a wonderful mum in law! I was relieved myself as well of course and started looking forward to Christmas already. I took some time to make our home slightly Christmassy with this winter village display. Something to brighten up our otherwise dusty home :D.Christmass village decoration So here is how you could make your own Christmas village display. All you need is a card (can be a brown cardboard from packaging, but I had some white thick cardboard instead). Use the template below (or make your own) to draw the houses a couple inches above the bottom edge.  Christmass village decoration christmas-village-deco-1 christmas-village-deco-template2The next job is to cut out the houses as well as their windows. I used a craft knife and tried a swivel knife as well. The basic craft knife worked perfectly while swivel knife was actually swiveling in a way i couldn’t predict which made me feel out of control. Has somebody had any luck with this type of knife? It supposed to be really good with curves! Anyhow, choose whichever tool suits you best. Although I do recommend using a metal ruler for long straight lines.Christmass village decoration To make the village houses stand apply a card support on the back. I made some card strips and applied it using double sided tape. Tip: lightly score the strip to help it fold easily. Christmass village decorationPlace your Christmas village on the fire place, shelf, or window sill at least 5 cm away from the wall (I used sellotape to secure it).Christmass village decoration Fill the backside of the Christmas village with fairy lights!Christmass village decorationNow it’s time to make the “trees” (I vandalised the local park again this year…oops). I cut the branches into small segments and attached some blu-tack so I could stick them behind my village display.Christmass village decoration Christmass village decoration Christmass village decoration Christmass village decoration Christmass village decoration Christmass village decorationHappy Christmas waiting 🙂
Rasa xoxo

Our Christmas tree this year

DIY fairy light Christmas tree I was about to say no to Christmas decorations this year (with all that going on in the house), until I remembered it can actually hide all the ugly interiors that we are not able to amend just yet. Few years ago I posted about controversial Christmas tree DIY’s, I picked fairy light christmas tree for this years focal (and only) Christmas deco for our house. It is so simple to make that I could almost do it with a baby in one hand!
To make this fairy light Christmas tree you will only need 1. fairy lights (I had them since my house warming party in London!), masking tape & scissors (for attaching the lights onto the wall) and/or staple gun (more aggressive tool for attaching lights onto the wall if masking tape does not work).  DIY fairy light Christmas tree DIY fairy light Christmas tree I used a staple gun to attach and arrange the fairy lights onto the wall in fir tree shape because the masking tape just would not stick to the textured wall paper. I know you might be thinking that staple gun would destroy our walls. Well… yes and no! We are painting those walls among other things next year, so we will be treating and fixing those minor damages before doing that anyways. But I do agree the staple gun may not be a right tool for everyone (especially if you re living in the rented place).DIY fairy light Christmas tree As for gift wrapping I have been using what I have in the house (such as leftover wallpaper from London house I owned). I sort went with Art Deco style I would say (I am so in love with Art Deco style at this moment!).Christmas gift wrappingDIY fairy light Christmas treeHappy Christmas waiting!
Rasa xoxo