Tag Archive | "Elf on the Shelf"

Elf on the Shelf Idea- Photo with Friends from the North Pole {Download}

We’ve been lazy Elf on the Shelfers this year, and even without the extravagant costume changes and scenes our boys, especially my 5 year old, have loved having Wyatt here.  His excitement each morning as he searches for the new location keeps me motivated.  Some days I forget and wake in the middle of the night (usually due to a crying 3 year old) and move Wyatt from Shelf A. to Shelf B.  I’m OK with that.

Then a few nights ago my son did the CUTEST thing ever.  He grabbed paper and wrote a note to his elf.  It is pictured but unless you speak 5 year old you will need a translator.

“Dear Wyatt,

I love you, so all the elves get together and take a picture.”

Then he went into the wrapping paper that we had out from earlier, and seeing the potential disaster, I helped him wrap the gift.  He added a tag, wrote the names, and aded a bow.  Then he went to where Wyatt was hanging from our fan that day and told him he had a gift for him to open when he could.

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Being the photoshopping/photographing mom that I am I knew I could get off my lazy good for nothing elf butt and make this one happen for my son.  While the kids slept I took my elf to my “studio” with my green screen still up.  I used my elf and posed him a few ways that I thought might work together as a group.   I even added a tissue skirt to Wyatt and had him cross dress for a moment for a bit of gender diversity.  He has seen the movie and knows there are girl elves too!

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The resulting photo was printed and put into a spare frame I had.  Wyatt set up shop next to my vintage Super 8 and my husband’s old camera from high school for a fitting background.

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That morning I followed my son around the house as he searched.  It took him a while to spot Wyatt in the corner.  I had to nudge him to get close enough to even see the 4×6 photo since he is so afraid of touching Wyatt.

“Oh look mom!  It is Wyatt and his family!”  Then he thought a minute and went to our living room.  There, he found the remnants of the gift wrapping.  ”He got my letter mom!”  And it clicked.  Whew.

Was the extra effort worth it?  This time, YES!  Doing that every single night, NO.  Not everyone has a mini photo studio or Photoshop so I tell ya what.  You can totally download this photo.  Of course, there are different elves with different skin tones and hair/eyes.  Not to mention that my elf is from 3 years ago and the new ones look totally different.  If your elf doesn’t match this won’t exactly work, but just in case, here it is.  I changed the text to a generic version, or you can download the blank and write in your child(ren)’s name(s) on the note.  Tomorrow, Wyatt will be on a bookshelf somewhere but today I was Mom of the Year in elf world.

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Download Elf Friends with Text

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Download Elf Friends with Blank

If you haven’t hacked your elf yet by adding wires to make him bendable here is my tutorial- Make your Elf on the Shelf Bendable and Grippy. It is the reason my elf is able to achieve those poses and not look like a lump.

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12 Elf on the Shelf Ideas

The Elf on the Shelf is a fun tradition our family looks forward to each year.  I enjoy finding new hiding places and scenarios for Wyatt and have come up with quite a few fun ones over the years.  I’ve decided to compile my favorites from past adventures and included a few new ideas that I’m planning to use this year!  Some days when I have the time Wyatt gets into more elaborate scenes than others.  If you’re wondering how our elf is able to strike such handsome poses it is thanks to the “Hack Your Elf on the Shelf” tutorial that you need to check out!  There is still time to find an Elf  and time to hack him/her if you hurry!

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2012 in Review- The Year of the Elf

Despite being the slowest year of my blog’s existence thanks to a LOT going on around the homefront 2012 was also the best year yet for DDL!  The blog has steadily grown since it started back in April 2009.  In fact readership has increaded 65% in 2012 compared to 2011!  That is with blogging a lot less than I did last year too.  Plus I had a little help from an Elf.

January was in insane month and thanks to the generosity of a lot of sponsors we raised enough money for the non-profit organization Giving Diapers, Giving Hope to help them apply for their non-profit status!  In case you haven’t heard of them yet GDGH provides cloth diapers for families in need who qualify.  In January something else pretty big happened- we bid on a home in Tampa FL and planned to move from our home in Syracuse.  At the time we had no idea what we would be entering into…

February was when I made an announcement here on the blog that we were moving.  I was unsure of how moving would impact the work I was doing here but I figured I would be around less during the transition.  I didn’t know then that the transition would take 6 months.  That month I also re-designed the look of the blog and did away with the old blue header in favor of what is still up today.

By March the boys and I had moved out to Charlotte NC.  Because the home we bid on was a short sale there was no timeline saying it would take 30, 60, or even 90 days until closing.  It was a stressful roller coaster ride of emotions as we waited for word.  We were in limbo- not in our old home where Everett was born and not yet to what we hoped would be a perfect home for our family.  March is also when I started taking a serious interest in learning how to use my DSLR so that was keeping me busy and giving me a hobby to focus on while living with my in-laws and impatiently waiting for news about our home.

April was a VERY big month.  Life had to go on and with no end in sight about our home I decided to find a NC screenprinter for a design I had made while still in Syracuse.  Then DDL Apparel was born and my dream of providing stylish cloth diaper advocacy shirts came to life!   I started printing in March but blogged about the new venture in April. April was a big month for cloth diaper advocacy as well thanks to the 2nd Annual Great Cloth Diaper Change.  I participated in the Charlotte location hosted by Jack Be Natural and even sold a few of my shirts there too.  To go with the vibe that month I also published one of my favorite posts of the year- “How to be a better cloth diaper advocate.”  This month I also hit my breaking point and vented about the frustrations of living 10 hours away from my husband and not receiving any word about the status of our short sale.

May.  The 2nd Annual Flats and Handwashing Challenge came and went even though I was living with family.  They looked at me like I had a third eye while I used a camp style washer and handwashed diapers.  They have always been a little wary of my regular cloth diapers so this was a real treat for them.  Once again we had a lot of participation and helped spread the message that cloth diapering CAN be done no matter what if you really need to.

June was the month I started working on another dream project of mine that I’ve wanted to do for years.  I set out to record a video interview with my grandparents about cloth diapering.  It was such an amazing experience.  It took me almost 6 months to actually publish the video after wanting to make sure it was perfect.  That month I also asked the question “Are Cloth Diapers Too Advanced?” and discussed why sometimes the simplest diapers are the best.

July 4th 2012 was the day my family was reunited.  We closed on the home at the end of June and packed into our car for the 10 hour drive to Tampa.  It was a very long 6 months; and even though I can’t say we didn’t enjoy the chance to reconnect with our families in Charlotte that we lived apart from for 5 years it was nice to be in our new home.  The waiting was the hardest part but what was to come was hard in another way.  Unpacking, and remodeling a home that was sold “as is” and needed a lot of TLC.  Still, it was so nice to have a place to call home.   That month I fit in very little blogging but did make time to make another video I really loved- “Washing Cloth Diapers is the Easy Part.”  Oh, and July 24 marked my 5 Year Wedding Anniversary.  I’m just glad we were together for that because it didn’t seem like that would happen the month before.

In August I left my family for a quick trip to BlogHer in NYC.  I had the time of my LIFE getting the chance to be with my other blogging friends and learning more about this craft I’ve been perfecting for almost 4 years.  It was difficult to move and then leave for a work trip because all I really wanted to do was conitnue beautifying the home.  August also became the month DDL started morphing into a “DIY” blog while I began documenting the work on our home.   ALready I had painted the entryway, the front livingroom, and the guest bedroom (which is designed to be a Golden Girls Room).  My husband and I also started working on remodeling the second bathroom and launched a 4 month long project that took that room down to the studs and back.  Lets just say it was difficult with 2 kids constantly at home.  

September was a month dedicated to Cloth Diapers in Daycare.  I was able to showcase the cloth diapers that work best for care providers and picked several that I loved.  I also had many guest articles that month from readers willing to share their experiences.  I continued sharing progress posts about our work in the house, this time about our entryway and my amazing thrift store chairs.  

In October my youngest baby turned 2.  I still can’t believe that.  When my babies have birthdays I’m usually busy making their epic yearly video and October was no exeption.  It was a great one!  We took a drive back up to NC for my Sister-in-law’s wedding and got to play around with my new camera- the Nikon D90.  We were still in love with our new house and getting close to the finish line with our big projects.

November was insane.  Steven and I were literally scurrying around like crazy people getting things wrapped up in time for visitors.  We had to complete the bathroom so that people had a place to use the restroom other than the one in our bedroom.  I painted the kitchen, the front door, and refinished 2 doors that month.  Plus we finished our huge bathroom remodel.    Then there was Thanksgiving AND my son’s 4th birthday and these fell on the same day!  That was fun.  So was working for 8 hours straight until 5 am on Fletcher’s birthday video.  It is my best one yet.

December has been a really amazing month.  Mostly because we are finally feeling settled in our new home after working tirelessly on it for 6 months.  We celebrated Christmas here as a family for the first time, and even though we didn’t have our extended family with us it was still really wonderful.  I did work extra hard to bring cheer to our home for the holidays since it is weird to wear a tank top in December.  This was also the month I finally got my butt in gear and completed the video interview with my grandparents.  I’m so proud of that video and consider it the best film I’ve done yet.  I would be remiss if I didn’t mention my Elf on the Shelf hack.  December was the biggest month for my blog thanks to a post from last year about hacking your Elf on the Shelf.  Thank you Wyatt and Pinterest for bringing gobs of new visitors to DDL.  The Elf also brought a lot of strife too after a photo of mine was stolen and went viral.  I was mad.  

With 2013 around the corner I’m ready to face it head on.  I’ve decided to devote more time to creating more videos beyond just cloth diaper reviews.  Video editing is something I very much enjoy and the most fun (and hardest) thing about this blog.  I’ll never be a huge blog like so many of my friends who began at the same time as me.  As much as I get down on myself about this fact as I watch others become household blog names I know that as a cloth diaper blog that will never be the case.   And I don’t think I want that either.  Blogging takes a lot of work and a lot of time away from my children.  By slowing down this year I’ve realized how much time away I spent when I was at a break neck blogging speed.  These days we spend most of our time playing outside and that is better than the headaches of running a huge blog any day.  I only have 2 more rooms to paint in our new home, a few doors to refinish, and some door trims to re-paint then it is done.  I’m really excited to eventually post a Before/After showing the entire house and how different it looks.

I have lots of video ideas and I really can’t wait to get started.  2013 will hopefully be the year I have no babies in diapers.  Then what?  I’m not sure.  Will I let others review diapers for me?  Will I continue filming diapers but not publish reviews?  Will I start focusing more on my life and less on cloth diapering?  I really just don’t know and I’m not a good planner.  It is a miracle when you see an event here because that means I planned ahead!

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7 Elf on the Shelf Ideas- Week 2

I’m back to share more of our adventures with Wyatt the Elf.  I think the theme for this week was “Oh CRAP!” because at least 4 of the nights I moved him after laying in bed trying to fall asleep.  At least once he was moved at 1 am when the baby woke up and I “zombie” moved him.  The next morning it was as if he truly moved himself because I didn’t remember it.  How is THAT for magic?  All our moves this week were “level 1″ in terms of actual effort except for Chimney Sweep Elf.  He took quite a but of prop design.  You will also notice that he is using his new magnetic super powers and the tutorial for that is here: Magnetize and Accesorize Your Elf on the Shelf.  The original tutorial to make your Elf have “bones” and make him bendable is here: Hack Your Elf on the Shelf.

Our Elf discovered a new treasure in the form of a German Christmas Boot and had to try it on. He didn’t stomp any Goombas though.

A little known job of the Elves is to clean the dirty chimneys. Wyatt swept out the ashes to get ready for Santa’s visit.

Wyatt added holiday cheer to the top of the cabinets but got stuck in the process. I swear no elves were eaten. (ignore the naughty message on our counters LOL)

Wyatt failed his Cirque de Elf auditions for the aerial silks. He still practices every day so that one day his dream will come true.

“I’m a little candle, tall and thin…”

I’m not sure what I was thinking with this one. Because I wasn’t (half asleep). Kids were mildly amused…

Wyatt climbed the tree in an attempt to pull off an Ornament Heist and steal the most valued piece in our collection- a One of a Kind handmade ornament from grandma..

You can look back at our first week this year. I’ll have another post next week with the rest of our adventures.

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7 Elf on the Shelf Ideas- Week 1

This week I have been keeping Wyatt busy, but doing simple tasks and making easy moves.  I will say that the snowflake Elf and S’mores elf were my oldest son’s favorites this week.  Enjoy!

I let Wyatt open the first drawer in the advent calendar.

Wyatt found a place on an actual shelf. Imagine that.

Naughty Wyatt found his way to our bar but got caught on our Elf booby trap.

Elves love their sweets! Wyatt decided to raid our pantry and whip up Elf sized S’mores. Fletcher loved this one.

Wyatt found his way into my cloth diaper ornament.

Wyatt loves decorating for the holidays and thought Fletcher’s room needed more decorations.

Wyatt got into the bag of cookies I baked for the new neighbors. At least he offered to share his loot with the other weirdo elves.

Make sure you visit my original tutorial for making your Elf bendable and have grippy hands (these come in very handy) and my newest tutorial for giving your elf magnet mittens and a new snazzy pom-pom for his hat.

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Getting in the holiday spirit {even if it kills me}

Moving to Florida has been the best thing for our family and we are feeling so lucky to be where we are.  Of course one of the drawbacks of the amazing winter weather is that it doesn’t exactly put me in the Christmas Spirit when I’m going to a WinterFest in a sleeveless tank top and shorts.

December 3 at SeaWorld.

Things as simple as decorating the tree, decking the halls, and even the chore of taking a Christmas photo and designing the Christmas card all seem out of place.

To combat this and ensure that my family and I make the most of this holiday I’ve been laying it on a little thick around here.  My children need to have this holiday in their life.  I know that most of my fondest childhood memories revolve around the holiday season and just because it is currently 80 degrees outside it doesn’t mean that Christmas isn’t coming in 2o days!  Starting a few days after Thanksgiving I started decking the halls.  This year nearly every decoration was utilized including the extra artificial trees.  We have 4 trees in our home.  You read that right…  Everett has a mini tree that used to he his father’s and that has tiny little german wooden ornaments.  Fletcher has a leftover tree from our apartment days that is really by design an ornament tree.  He got to pick his favorite ornaments from our lot and hang them up.  This was incredibly exciting for a little boy and I’m sure we will let him have his own tree every year now; he really does love it!  The third tree is in the entryway and is the Charlie Brown Christmas Tree that I bought from Urban Outfitters when I was in college.   The fourth is out artificial 7.5 foot tree next to the fireplace.  We considered a real tree this year but again talked ourselves out of it even though we could definitely fit a taller tree here.

For heaven’s sake, I even decorated my mailbox and dressed my lions up in doggy Christmas sweaters.  Yes.  I.  Did.

The rest of house got the holiday treatment while I enjoyed the sounds of Christmas carols, because nothing gets me in the spirit like Christmas music.

We are also fully in the swing of our Elf on the Shelf adventures already and this is the first year Fletcher is “getting” the story behind it so I have to be very careful!  I had to hide my computer and photos of butchering the poor elf for his “hacks” to spare Fletcher the truth.  Despite being an atheist family we do enjoy the traditions that come with Christmas such as Elf on the Shelf and I think it drives me even more towards the deep-end to make sure the kids have pleasant memories of this time in their lives.

Oh boy… then there is the Christmas card photo.  My husband and I were near divorce over this, as it seems to happen every year that I want an elaborate set-up.  With no family or friends to take our photo we have to DIY with a tripod and a wireless remote (such a necessity that is more than worth the minimal cost.  We have used ours dozens of times).  This year I had an entire scene to create complete with props.  Since my cards haven’t been mailed out I won’t share the final image but here is a sneak peek:

 

Update:  Here is our Christmas Card.  I can share it now that they are mostly in the hands of our family and friends.  I’m entering it in The Paper Mama’s card contest.  There are so many fun entries and lots of inspiration.  It might be too late for this year’s card but next year go back and check it out.

Christmas Card "Not a Creature Was Stirring"

Christmas Card “Not a Creature Was Stirring”

Even my husband got on board and put out the Christmas Lights on our house over the weekend. We are nearly dead but it seems like Christmas is coming and by going the extra mile hopefully it will actually feel like Christmas when the time comes. The boys are getting a very large gift so I am hoping we won’t go overboard on the presents like we did last year. I read somewhere that when you grow up poor you tend to overbuy gifts for others and that rings true for me.

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Hack Your Elf on the Shelf Part 2: Magnetize and Accessorize

Last year I revolutionized the Elf on the Shelf game with my tutorial to make him bendable like an action figure and grippy, enabling him to participate in far more antics and giving him a more lifelike appearance than the floppy doll-ness he came out of the box with.  Over 60,000 people so far have visited to learn how to hack their Elf and I’ve heard from a lot of happy customers how much fun they’ve with their new and improved Elf on the Shelf.

This year I wanted to finish what I started.  My original idea was to add magnets to the inside of my elf’s hands to make them stick together- but unable to find small and strong enough magnets for the job I used velcro instead.  Still, I kept thinking about how COOL it would be if Wyatt could have magnetic powers just for special occasions and without having to have another major surgery.

Introducing the Elf on the Shelf magnet mittens!

It really couldn’t be any easier but adding magnets to your elf requires that you already have velcro attached from the original hack.  If you just want to skip to adding magnets keep in mind that I have one hand with velcro hooks and one with loops so that they attach to one another.

Step 1: Choose your magnets wisely.  Elf on the Shelf elves have big heads and thus their bodies are heavy.  I happened to have an ancient bag of super strong dime sized magnets in my craft drawer.  Last year I tried buying the roll of magnets and this wasn’t strong enough plus it is expensive!  Because the magnets are not a permanent part of the elf the size and appearance isn’t much of a concern.  I would be safe and buy the big and strong ones for this exercise and not risk your child see his beloved elf slowly slide down your fridge in horror.

Step 2: Gather your supplies.  You will need Velcro in any color really (I already had black on hand), your magnets (2), hot glue and a glue gun, and scissors.  Most of you already have all but the magnets in your craft drawer.

 

Step 3:  You will need to cut one circle or rectangle of each velcro type (1 hooks and 1 loops).  Circle or rectangle, that is your aesthetic choice- the circle can be cut to the size of your magnet or you can just cut a rectangle the size of the velcro on your elf’s hand.   They both work.

Step 3: Hot glue the velcro to the magnets.  That’s it!

 

Now you can attach the magnets to your elf’s hands and let him hang from any metal surface!  Fridge’s are an obvious choice and I am sure your Elf on the Shelf can leave fun notes for your children, drawings, or even a recipe for Elf Treats.  If you survey your home you might find many other places he can use his new Spidey powers too!  The magnets aren’t as much of a game changer as adding the wires and velcro but they can definitely add more versatility to his powers and it only takes minutes to set him up with magnet mittens.

Make an Elf-Sized Pom-Pom

You might have also noticed that in some of the photos Wyatt the Elf is looking a little more authentic to the book with a festive pom-pom affixed to his hat.  I will quickly give you a run down on how to accessorize your elf.  It really adds to his appearance, I think!

I modified the bunny tail tutorial from Easter to make a simple yarn pom-pom.  I skipped the cardboard and just looped yarn up and down to where I had about 5-6 loops on top and bottom with the total length from tip to tip of the loops being about 3/4″.  If that is too small to work with you can make it longer and just trim the entire thing down to make it smaller.  It is more work after but less frustration to work with the short yarn.  While pinching the middle I tied regular thread (embroidery thread works too but yarn is too thick for the middle) in a knot around the center and pulled tight..  Next I snipped open the loops on both ends then trimmed any longer strings.  Fluff it by rolling it gently in between your palms and you have a tiny elf-sized pom-pom.

Next just sew it to the tip of the hat.  Done.  I already had the supplies at home but you can also easily buy a tiny pom-pom from the craft store although you would likely have to buy an entire baggie of pom-poms!  This also only took 5 minutes which includes making the pom-pom and sewing it on.

Lastly, in case you are wondering, my elf has one more accessory.  The edging from one of my white socks.  Originally this was for my Inappropriate Elf entry but I loved it so much I think it will stay all year.  If you happen to have a pair of lace or scalloped edge socks you too can make your Elf a bonnet.  Trim it and thread some ribbon or embroidery floss through each side then tie in a pretty bow under his/her chin.

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Wyatt the Role-Playing Elf

Attention readers- this post is NOT intended to be viewed by children.  They won’t exactly “get” it but just in case lets make sure this blog post is only being viewed by your adult eyes.  There is no nudity, blood, or violence… just a little adult fetish humor for the Inappropriate Elf contest hosted by Baby Rabies.  Last year I entered my Elf on the Shelf, Wyatt, who was caught impersonating Dexter the serial killer.  This year he has decided to take on a more topical theme for my blog and something that I’ve encountered through the random Googles that come my way thanks to my blog’s topic: diapering.

Google Search Terms

These googles brought people to my page. This is just a small sampling of the variations of “adult diaper” wearers who find “Dirty Diaper Laundry” through Internet searches. So to honor this small sect of the population and exploit it for my own devious purposes I present to you…

Wyatt the Adult Baby.

Wyatt enjoys drinking his milk from bottles, rolling around on the ground in his baseball themed “nursery,” sleeping in his adult sized crib, and of course having his adult sized cloth diapers changed by his hired “mommy” who comes over twice a week to indulge him. He only eats pureed baby foods from airplane spoons and NEVER wants to try solids. His favorite part of being a “baby” involves having baby powder poofed onto his bottom by his “mommy.”

You can view the other hilarious Elves up to no good over at Baby Rabies and eventually vote for your favorite.  I’m already a big fan of the Time Cover “Are You Elf Enough” from The Eco Friendly Family.  Only visit if you want to die of laughter.  I’ll also pimp my own tutorial for “hacking” you Elf on the Shelf to make them an action figure.  This will definitely up your Elf antics this season.

Disclaimer: I’m neither for or against adult baby role-playing. I know it exists and as long as no actual underage children are being exploited or view for sexual purposes and all parties involved aren’t harming anyone then to each their own. So… don’t take this as me completely making fun of people or condoning it. It’s just a “thing” that has become an occupational hazard and made it’s way to light thanks to my naughty elf.  Also I considered scratching the entire idea since this might cause even MORE adult cloth diaper wearers to find me via Google.  After the contest I will make the post not search-able.  

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Elf on the Shelf Ideas: Week 3

December 12: Jack Sparrow the Elf

December 13: Naughty Stocking/ClothDiaper Switcher Elf

December 14: Doctor Feel Good Elf

December 15: Starbucks Drinking, Laptop Using, Table Hogging Elf

December 16: The Wolf Blitzer wearing (borrowed from The Bloggess) and posing in front of his Painting of a Painting in a Painting…. Elf

December 17: The Angry Birds Playing Elf

December 18: The Sexy Daddy Babywearing Elf

I am hard pressed to pick a favorite from this week. What is yours?
There is still time to make your Elf on the Shelf Pose-able using my Tutorial. You can also browse my past Elf on the Shelf Ideas from Week 1 and Week 2. Happy Elfing!

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Elf on the Shelf Ideas: Week 2

December 5: Jewel Theif Elf

December 6: Weight Lifting Elf

December 7: Piggy Break Robber Elf

December 8: Bad Sharpie Elf

December 9: Doggie Saving Fireman Elf

December 10: Tampon Nunchuck Ninja Elf

December 11: Trapped in the Castle and Watching you Sleep Elf

This week Wyatt has been VERY busy! He also channeled his darker sidewith his Dexter Morgan Scene (notseen by my kids of course) and started a Twitter Account. Follow him as @WyattTheElf to learn what it is really like being an Elf on the Shelf. Next week I will be back with more Elf on the Shelf Ideas!
PS: If you want to make your Elf pose-able like Wyatt I have a tutorial for that!

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