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Odd Sock Advent Calendar

Sock advent calendar

I try to avoid giving small one too many sweets, so every year I hunt for advent calendars without chocolate.

They’re nearly always more expensive than the chocolate calendars, so this year I decided I was going to make my own more permanent fabric advent calendar. Unfortunately this month has flown and by yesterday evening it was obvious that the wholesome, homespun advent of my dreams wasn’t going to happen.

I didn’t want to disappoint the children so, panic being the mother of invention, I gathered together all the odd and outgrown socks and gloves I could find and strung them together to make an odd sock advent calendar.

Sock advent calendarIt actually looks quite passable and there’s room in each “pocket” for 2 or 3 little presents which means opening the calendar will be a real family event this year.

If you find yourself in a similar situation, these are the instructions:

1. Find 24 small socks, mittens or gloves. Scratch mitts would be great for this project.

2. Organise them in a colour order you like. Small’s most recent socks have far too much pink, so I played with a bit of dye to get more variety. The socks don’t take vibrant colour and mittens didn’t dye at all so my results were a bit hit and miss. Scratch mitts would dye much better and if I’d not been scared of waking the kids, I would have probably grabbed some brighter colours from the loft but I actually quite like the muted blues, pinks and purples I ended up with.

3. Add numbers – these could be made of felt and stuck on, ironed on as appliques, embroidered or even drawn. I had some leftover bits of VELCRO® from a VELCRO® mask set we were sent for National VELCRO® month so I cut numbers out of that and just stuck them on.

4. Sew the socks and gloves onto a ribbon or string. I used knitting wool, threaded on a darning needle and just ran a running stitch through the backs of each pocket (be careful not to sew them closed!).

5. Hang your garland and add a gift into each pocket. I’m adding one day at a time and will be using a mix of sweets, stickers, craft bits, and anything else I can find that’s cheap and small!

Sock advent garland

National Velcro Month Blog ChallengeDisclosure: I was sent a hamper of VELCRO® products to try for National VELCRO® month. I didn’t plan to use it in this project but I liked that I could use the waste to do something useful and it was so much quicker than anything else I had to hand.

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Keeping it real


On 1st December, I posted a supremely unsuccessful advent linky.

I was going to delete it today, the first blog post I’ve ever thought of removing. And it’s not because it didn’t work. It’s not because, despite posting it on various bloggy forums, no-one else joined in. It’s because on Monday I attended a great little session for fashion bloggers in London (more about that later) and the thing that really stood out was how important it is to hold onto who you are. Your identity is your brand.

This blog was started as a “marketing arm” for MilkChic – the opportunity to actually talk to my visitors about things outside of MilkChic’s narrow remit. It’s become something I love, but it’s still part of MilkChic. So I post about breastfeeding, I post about parenting, I post all sorts of random tut. But I try to keep it relevant to mums with young families.

My little venture into memes wasn’t a bad idea, but it wasn’t true to me and my blog. If it wasn’t for one lovely lady who joined in yesterday, it would be gone now.

MilkChic is about fashion, family and breastfeeding. It’s about holding on to your identity and the best bits of your pre-baby self even when a small person has turned your world upside down, a groomed look means brushed hair and only a few (homemade) puree stains, and your body isn’t the same shape or texture that you remember.

I’m trying to make MilkChic more professional, and I need to raise its profile to keep it viable, but from now on I’m sticking to what I do best!

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Advent calendar linky!


advent calendarTo celebrate the first day of advent, and my return to the blog after our house move, I thought I would try and host my first linky. Every day this month, I’ll be posting the pictures from our advent calendars and sharing random Xmas thinkings from the MilkChic household.

Small one has a non-chocolate advent calendar this year with stickers, as while she may well end up getting a treat some mornings, I’d prefer her not to get used to sweet things every day. At the moment the stickers are proving beyond exciting for her and I’m rather proud of the way she is carefully sticking them on.

advent calendar snowmanToday’s sticker was a snowman!

We haven’t opened the older ones’ doors yet but were rather pleased to find the Simpsons calendar that the Curly one (11yr old girl) wanted for 99p in Superdrug yesterday. Curly has discovered the joys of hiding behind the whims of a cute toddler, and exercised her influence well yesterday, persuading Small that the calendar her brother (18) would really like was the pink Princess one.

Brub, to his credit, feigned great joy and said thank you nicely. Which probably means he’ll get another one next year…

It reminds me of a story my Dad tells about my Grandma, who bought my Grandad some canary yellow fluffy slippers in the sales (bargain hunting being a family pastime). When he refused to be seen in them, she gave one each to my Aunties to wrap up as Christmas presents. Naturally he didn’t have much choice in wearing them after that…

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Non-Chocolate Advent Calendars

If like me, you try to limit sweets and chocolate, this time of year is a bit of a challenge. I’ve been on a bit of a hunt, and here are my favourite non-chocolate advent calendars for younger kids and those with allergies.
Cheap & Cheerful:
For a young child, picture surprises are often just as exciting as sweets. Lidl and Aldi usually have traditional paper calendars at very sensible prices. Amazon also have a good selection under £2.50.
Something Special:
There are lots of pop-up and 3D options which are still traditional but a bit more special than a basic design:
Eric Carle Pop-Up Advent Calendar
Christmas Advent Calendar - The Townhouse - a cut-out advent calendar

Townhouse Advent

Non-Chocolate Gift Calendars:
At the lower end of the scale, sticker or colouring calendars are a great alternative to chocolate.
Advent Calendar to Colour
Advent Calendar to Colour
If you’ve got cash to spare, or want to spend on something with a bit more longevity, why not go for a calendar with toys inside? Playmobil and Lego have a great selection, but you can also find Ben 10, Bratz, Littlest Pet Shop and other designs at around the same price.
Reusable Advent Calendars:
Traditional felt and wooden calendars are a lovely investment and you can fill them with your own surprises year after year:
Wooden Train and Carriages Advent Calendar
Wooden Train Advent

Feeling crafty? There are lots of great ideas online or you can buy a kit to get you started.

Buttonbag Make Your Own
Advent Calendar £14.00
Clippykit house advent calendar not chocolate
Clippykit Home Sweet Home
Advent £14.99
3D Advent not chocolate
Clippykit Trim The Tree
Advent £14.99

For something completely different… why not try these advent crackers from M&S? Pull a cracker every day and slot together the 3D character inside. By Christmas Eve, you will have a full nativity!
Nativity Advent Crackers £20.00