adventfillersblog

Last week we shared an easy Advent Calendar DIY, and now let’s get busy filling those calendars up. Chocolate’s fun – but chocolate will always be fun (and anyway, aren’t they already wiggly and giggly enough?). This is about childhood and wonder and sparkling eyes: so from us to you, here are 25 extra-special, creative ideas for advent calendar gifts.

1. a prism on a string for bedroom rainbows

2. tops to spin under the tree

3. oversized, patterned balloons for a family game of keep-it-off-the-floor

4. pocket binoculars for casual adventurers

5. a handwritten voucher for a just-us visit to the zoo

6. stamps for decorating January thank you notes

7. hair barrettes to keep those bright eyes clear

8. fake tattoos for covering those tiny arms you love

9. a bouncy ball to get the goofies out

10. fresh new crayons for fresh new refrigerator art

11. a paper crown for insta-royalty

12. wind-up animals for races on restaurant tables

13. a homemade ticket for at-home movie night

14. a yoyo for passing down valuable life skills

15. a pocket harmonica for portable symphonies

16. alphabet magnets for refrigerator spelling bees

17. 5 knock-knock jokes written on brightly colored paper

18. postage stamps in fun designs for raising a snail mail-er

19. a rainbow of pom-poms for everything

20. 4 quarters for 4 chances to get the best color gum ball

21. a new mini animal friend to love

22. googly eyes for glueing on the tops of bookmarks

23. moldable beeswax bars to keep car ride hands busy

24. capsules to grow magical sponge creatures

25. a handwritten voucher for twice the bedtime stories (and three times the hugs)

petitcollageadventweb

Advent begins next Sunday, and today we’re sharing an easy Advent Calendar DIY. We love the idea of filling the whole month of December with small moments of big smiles: it’s a whirlwind time of year, and creating a special corner of your home where you and your little one return each day adds a bit of routine (and festivity!)

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Last year Lorena put together her daughter’s Confetti Advent Calendar using our patterned fabric wall decals, and it was a big hit (just ask Matilda!). Here’s how to make your own:

  •  Gather wall decals and an assortment of 25 envelopes and small bags; art, party, and even office supply stores will have plenty to choose from (and you’ll be surprised what you might find in drawers and closets!).
  • Using stamps, markers, or cut-outs from paper scraps, number your envelopes and bags from 1 through 25.
  • Arrange them on the wall: make rows, the shape of a tree, or any pattern you like.

Check back soon for our list of 25 treasures for filling your calendar (we promise, no chocolate involved).

 

babyshowerblog2

It’s no coincidence that, as the days shorten and cool, our calendars fill with festivities. Dining rooms clatter with noisy family Thanksgivings, the kitchen table is strewn with sprinkles and crumbs at the annual cookie decorating party, crumpled tissue paper and cardboard box tops cover the living room floor as beloved decorations and ornaments are pulled out of storage: our homes become the place to celebrate joy and the people we hold close to our hearts (and also our love of pie, cookies, and other seasonal delights).

As a perfect kick-off to the season, we want to share a peek into a baby shower hosted last weekend by a friend of Lorena’s. Athena held the shower at her house here in San Francisco, and it has that warm, welcoming look of a home opened up to friends on a joyful occasion. We love her use of gentle, late-fall colors – cool greens, earthy browns, and a touch of shine – and of course we adore the special appearances by the animal cast of our Wooden Puzzle+Play! Those guys are always surprising us with their versatility and love of a party…

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Seeing these pictures has us itching to dive into a season of joyous, bright gatherings in friends’ and family’s homes. We’re ready for a good serving of holiday celebrations, beautifully decorated homes and – you guessed it – pie!

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This weekend we flipped our calenders forward to November and our clocks back to that time of  year when we start craving a little extra warmth and glow to fight the dark outside our windows. We’re especially keen to pile the coziness on for our little ones; after all (not to get too sappy, but), they brighten our days – why not brighten theirs? (Plus, there’s just nothing cuter than a baby in a knit hat with animal ears, right?)

This month on the blog we’ll be all about things that lighten up the gloom, and where else to start than with the obvious: lights! We’ve noticed a few especially delightful, modern kids’ lighting options recently, and wanted to share them with you. Light – whether natural or from a fixture – is such an important component of interior design and decor, and adding a new light to a nursery or playroom can change the whole feel of your child’s space. With the days growing shorter and more of playtime being relegated indoors, it’s the perfect time to freshen – and brighten – things up.

1: Modern Treetop Baby Birdhouse Light 2: Bright Lab Rainbow Strand Lights 3: Ikea Moon Wall Light 4: The Land of Nod Elephant Light 5: Miffy Bunny Lights on Giggle

treat

We’re in the spirit of this week’s Frightening Festivities with a site-wide 20% off sale. It’s the perfect time to start stocking up for that other Festivity peeking around the corner…the question is, WITCH treats will you pick?

aldea

masks

The Halloween countdown is speeding along – are your little ones getting SO excited?

This week we’re sharing the perfect Halloween arts and crafts project to get the whole family in the SPIRIT (sorry, we had to) of dressing up. It’s an animal mask DIY taken right from Lorena’s Craft Book; whether you use the masks to top off an animal costume for trick-or-treating next week or for dress-up every other day of the year, your kiddos will love getting to show off their wild side.

You’ll need:

  • Animal Masks templates (see links in instructions below)
  • thin, new or repurposed cardboard (such as a cereal box)
  • assorted colored or patterned papers
  • decoupage glue
  • elastic string or ribbon

+ Your Tools:

  • scissors
  • 1″-3″ (2.5cm-7.5cm) flat paintbrush
  • cutting mat
  • ruler or straightedge
  • bone folder
  • craft knife
  • pencil
  • ¼” (6mm) hole punch or large needle

Ready? Go!

  1. Begin constructing the mask pieces with the animal head templates. Select paper for the tiger head and the owl face. Using the templates for the tiger face and the owl face, cut out a piece of cardboard roughly the same outline. Coat each cardboard piece with decoupage glue and lay face down on the back of the chosen papers. Smooth it out with your hand and allow them to dry under a weight. Set aside.
  2. Using the templates, cut out the remaining animal pieces from the decorative papers you choose. Pick a sturdy paper for the tiger ears, tiger snout, and owl beak pieces. Crease the beak and snout pieces according to the templates. To do so, lay the corresponding template over the snout or beak piece. Set a ruler or straightedge on the crease lines and run a bone folder along the lines. These lines will transfer to the pieces below. Set aside.
  3. Cut the eye holes out of the tiger head, owl face, and owl eyes pieces using a craft knife. Apply the remaining pieces using decoupage glue.
  4. For the tiger snout: fold the flaps back from the center triangle of the tiger’s nose. Using decoupage glue, adhere the angled tabs together, forming the three-dimensional snout. The tabs at the base of the snout should be folded inward and will be hidden. Apply glue to these tabs and adhere the snout to the tiger’s face.
  5. For the owl beak: Fold backward away from the center diamond shape. Apply glue to the angled tabs and adhere the beak to the owl’s face.
  6. Once dry, use the hole punch to poke holes for the elastic string or ribbon, using the template as a visual guide.
  7. Thread the string through, leaving enough extra to knot.
  8. Let the wild rumpus begin! Hear them road and hoot!

The kiddos can certainly help with this project: take advantage of that giant imagination! Have them pick out the decorative paper (or even color new pieces to use), and they can help glue the pieces on, too. Need a different animal? Easy! By getting creative with color, stripes, ear size, etc., you can create a whole menagerie of creatures, real or imagined, sweet or ferocious.

Happy mask-making, and we’d LOVE to see your creations on Instagram: just tag ‘em with #petitcollage and we’ll be sure to share them.

Bonus! In the Bay Area? Need more crafting? Read on!

aldea

inmypatchfinal

Leave the fear and fright for the big kids: when you have youngsters at home, celebrating Fall and Halloween is a different story. We’ve loved seeing all kinds of Halloween arts + crafts and toddler-friendly costumes popping up around the web recently, and thought we’d join in by sharing some of our favorite Autumn and Halloween-themed picture books for young children. They’re sweet, silly, and only a tiny bit spooky — the perfect October mix.

In My Patch: Sara Gillingham + Lorena Siminovich

Perfect for: 2 +

What’s the story? A teensy tiny mouse lives in a pumpkin patch with curling vines, crunchy leaves, bright fall colors, and most importantly, his family.

Why we love it: How fun it is to collaborate with your friends! In My Patch is part of a family of books illustrated by Lorena with text from her good buddy Sara; each one features die-cut pages able to withstand a toddler’s enthusiasm, a short-and-sweet story, signature collaged artwork, and – best of all! – a finger puppet critter at the center.

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Ghosts In The House! Kazuno Kohara

Perfect for: ages 3 – 6

What’s the story? Here’s what to do if you live in a haunted house: grab those ghosts, toss them in the washing machine, air them out, and – presto! you’ve got sofa covers and cozy bedsheets.

Why we love it: The entire book is done in oh-so-Halloweeny orange and black, and the clever heroine will have readers giggling all the way through.

andthencomeshallofinal

And Then Comes Halloween: Tom Brenner + Holly Meade

Perfect for: ages 4 – 8.

What’s the story? All throughout October, children rake leaves, carve pumpkins, and hang skeletons in their yard. Finally, finally, it’s Halloween night!

Why we love it: Collaged illustrations and poetic text make this picture book a beauty. And really, what’s the best part of Halloween? Dreaming about NEXT year’s costume while you sneak an extra piece of candy before bedtime, of course!

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A Tiger Called Thomas: Charlotte Zolotow

Perfect for: ages 4 – 8.

What’s the story? It’s tough being the new kid on the block, and Thomas is afraid nobody likes him. But when he puts on a tiger costume and goes trick-or-treating, he discovers that his neighbors are quite happy he’s around.

Why we love it: A Halloween picture book teaching a feel-good lesson about just being yourself? Sounds pretty tiger-riffic to us.

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One Spooky Night: Kate Stone

Perfect for: ages 3 – 6.

What’s the story? A young monster encounters a host of Halloween characters as he adventures through a spooky forest. He finds a very Happy Halloween ending in the delightfully haunted house at the end of the path.

Why we love it: Elaborate cut-outs and sheets of ghostly velum are perfect for a Halloween story, and preschoolers will love the the fold-out grand finale.

 

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Humbug Witch: Lorna Balian

Perfect for: ages 4 – 8.

What’s the story? She looks like a witch, with her pointy black hat and stripey red tights. But why can’t she get her magic to work? Turns out, beneath her hat and behind her mask, she’s a sweet little girl playing dress-up.

Why we love it: A classic since 1965, the quirky illustrations and simple text make Halloween silly and heart-warming, and not a bit scary.
Have your own favorite Halloween picture books? Share them in the comments or shoot them our way on Twitter!

halloweentriofinal

Call it a tradition, or call it the reality of a packed to the gills lifestyle: when it comes to Halloween, Petit Collage founder Lorena is a master at whipping up made-in-one-day, no-sew costumes for her daughter Matilda.

We dug up snapshots of Matilda’s baby and toddler DIY Halloween costumes from the past few years to share with you, because — well, they’re pretty darn cute! But they also say a lot about our approach to crafting: with enough creativity and resourcefulness, it’s possible to magic up a last minute gift, a bit of brightness for a dark corner, or even a Halloween costume on the morning of October 31st.

Lorena put each outfit together in just one day, grabbing whatever supplies she had at home. Planning ahead? Sewing? Maybe next year.

owlbabyforblog

Matilda’s first foray into the land of Halloween. What a hoot! (Plus, check out those chubby baby legs.)

Lorena’s Tip: Felt is your friend. Cut out any shape you like, and the edges won’t fray a bit. She layered a few pieces together for the wings, and used craft glue to attach them to a basic cotton onesie. That’s a felt owl mask, too: easy to make and soft on the skin. 

 

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A is for Apple – and adorable.

Lorena’s Tip: Use the sleeve of an old shirt to create a head covering (here it’s an apple stem, but swap the leaves for ears and you’ve got yourself an animal head). And ribbon works well for pattern or stripes: just cut a few pieces and use your craft glue to attach it to the felt base. 

 autumnbirdforblog

Who says witches get to have all the stripey tights fun?

Lorena’s Tip: Be flexible! She originally set out to make Matilda a fall fairy costume, but ended up with an orange-feathered bird. (Of course this is also great practice for all those years where your kiddo changes what she’s going to be for Halloween every single day, starting in July…)

 

busybeeforblog

A classic Halloween color palette!

Lorena’s Tips: Get creative with sourcing supplies from around the house. That’s tape wrapped around Matilda for her bumblebee stripes, and to make the wings Lorena covered a simple wire frame with the gauzy styrofoam that had protected a recent delivery of electronics. Busy bee costume made easy. 

 Happy DIY Halloween, everyone!

 

 

woodlandnurseryboard

 

1: Winter Water Factory Hat + Romper 2: Maileg Wolf 3: Donna Wilson Blanket 4: Petit Collage Owl Family Mobile 5: Petit Collage Bird Push Toy 6: Serena + Lily Storage Crate 7: Petit Collage Prints on Wood

Fall is blowing in, and we’ve got thoughts of favorite sweaters, pumpkin pie countdowns, and justified hot cocoa on our minds in the Petit Collage studio. And one of the best parts of Fall? Permission to broadcast our love affair with woodland creatures loud and proud.

Big-eyed owls, bushy-tailed squirrels, burly bears — there’s a reason we return again and again to these critters in our work: they’re enduring, endearing, and flat-out adorable. They’re a constant in the children’s world (think fairy tales, picture book characters, Halloween costumes), and even as the fox has recently edged out the owl for most popular forest creature (have you noticed?), it’s clear we’re not out of the woods anytime soon — and that’s fine by us.

Woodland themes rank high on our go-to list for nursery decor. Gender neutral by default but easily adaptable for your tiny guy or gal, based on a gentle, earth-hued color palette, and open to the inclusion of soft touches from natures: it’s a win — and oh so sweet.

Plotting your own woodland themed nursery? We whisked up a couple woodland moodboards to get you dreaming, and scroll down further for in-real-life examples of nurseries with a woodsy feel.

 

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 1: Oeuf NYC Crib 2: Coral + Tusk Friends 3: Egmont Mushroom Lamp 4: Fiona Walker Wall Fox Head 5: Livie + Luca Fox Baby Shoes 6: Petit Collage Forest Friends 7: Donna Wilson Pillow 8: Pinecone Garland 9: Petit Collage Fox Print on Wood

 Warm colors and whimsical woodland touches. From Covet Garden, via Decor8.

Not quite a nursery, perhaps, but too inspiring not to share. From Bobby Rabbit.

Not quite a nursery, perhaps, but too inspiring not to share. From Bobby Rabbit.

Let nature in! Live plants and natural light set this space apart. From LaTonya Yvette.

Let nature in! Live plants and natural light set this space apart. From LaTonya Yvette.

Think you have to avoid a bright color palette to do woodsy? Not at all! Designer Donna Wilson went rich and bold for her baby boy's nursery, and we love it.

Think you have to avoid a bright color palette to do woodsy? Not at all! Designer Donna Wilson went rich and bold for her baby boy’s nursery, and we love it.

Need more inspiration? Check out our Forest Friends Board on Pinterest for a great big dose of woodland dreaming. And happy decorating!

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