Before I started stamping, I cut a piece of card stock a bit smaller than the bag and inserted it into the bag so that that the paint would not bleed through to the other side. It worked out perfectly. When it came time to stamp my bags I painted the stamp with silver paint, being careful to smooth out clumps, and pressed firmly to make sure the paint penetrated the fabric. I love how the fabric took the paint- it has a nice mottled look and each bag is unique. I had 25 bags and I only needed 24 so I had an extra to practice my technique which was helpful.
I kept the bags simple with just the number and a small snowflake. They look a little plain against the white mantle but next year they will be mounted on a board and I don't want them to look busy when that happens. I can always jazz them up later: maybe a circle around the number or give the snowflakes some punch with crystals or beads. I actually bought some crystals for the snowflakes but I guess I left them in the shopping cart because they weren't in my bag when I got home!
I'm pretty sure I could have bought red clothespins but, again, I waited 'till the last minute so I had to paint... 24... tiny... clothespins. Ugh!
I sent Daddy to the dollar store for some toys and candy for our bags. I also made some coupons for some fun things. I asked the boy what kind of things he would like to do if he was allowed and he said, "go to the bowling alley and help you and dad do things around the house." How cute is it that he wants to help us with some home projects? He's so sweet. And naive. Haha.
Once the bags were dry, which only took a few minutes, I stuffed them with the goodies and tied the strings into a bow for easy hanging.
When it was time to assemble, I spread out all of my twine and clipped on my bags, spacing them out about three inches. I left six inches or so of twine on each end for attaching the garland to the mantle. After it was hung, the clips were all askew so I re-clipped each bag so that the clips stood up straight. I added some simple bows and a couple of potted rosemary trees to the mantle and called it a day! I got the "trees" from Lowes and the pots from Hobby Lobby. I absolutely love my holiday mantle! Except for the TV (I hate TVs above a fireplace) and the wire that we still can't figure out how to get behind the wall.
Now I'm not sure where our stockings are going to go. I may have to move the garland or just put up the kids' stockings on the ends and put ours up on Christmas Eve. Any thoughts on how you would incorporate the stockings are greatly appreciated!
Do you guys use an advent calender of some sort? What kind of goodies do you put in yours? I am really loving ours and so does the little guy. It's been a long time coming thanks to my procrastination but it all worked out in the end!