Can you believe today is December 1st? I shake my head so often over how fast time flies. Tonight we are going to our local zoo to see their holiday lights. The kids don’t know we are going yet, so they will be very excited when we tell them.
Today also marks the official countdown to Christmas. I wanted to do something special for an Advent/countdown calendar. About two weeks ago, I received the Creative Play Stamps newsletter and they highlighted the Kaisercraft Advent Calendar. It was a bit more than I would normally consider spending on an Advent calendar, but I figured this would be used year after year.
There were no instructions included with the calendar. I’m sure I could have figured it all out, but I decided to Google just in case. I found a PDF downloadable set of instructions on the Kaisercraft site. (This blog post shows 3 different calendars and has the link to the instructions.)
I started out, as directed, carefully breaking apart the frame pieces and cutting off the remaining bits. An exacto knife worked great. I used sand paper to smooth out any remaining bumps. The next step was to paint and this can get dicey. MDF expands after being painted (they even tell you this in the directions). If you aren’t really careful, you will end up doing a lot of sanding to get the pieces to fit together. Unfortunately, this is what I had to do. I had to sand each frame piece down, as well as in the slots because of paint settling in there. The additional sanding probably added about 2 hours of time to the project. If I were to do it again, I may not chose to paint.
I also had to paint the chipboard numbers. I picked out pink, light blue, green and a teal to paint. While the paint was drying on the chipboard, I started to cover the chipboard boxes with paper. The paper was cut in strips approximately 1 5/8″ x 7 1/8. I chose paper from K & Company’s Secret Santa and Me & My Big Ideas Christmas stack. I wrapped each box with a strip of 1/8″ Scor-Tape, which not only held the paper in place, but also helped keep the boxes in shape. Using an exacto knife, I cut out the half circle, which wasn’t as clean as I hoped. Before adhering the numbers, I spritzed them with Shimmerz Spritz in Baby’s Breath. Using more Score-Tape, I then adhered the numbers to the boxes.
Decorating the inside was the hardest step for me. I couldn’t decide what I wanted to do. I knew I wanted to use a picture of my kids, but that was about it. Because I didn’t have a recent picture of the kids together, I decided to use photo corners so that I can swap out the picture over the years. I mounted the picture on Pure Poppy and New Leaf from PTI. The background paper is from the K&Co pack of paper and is cut 8 7/8″ square.
I decided to create a Christmas scene. Using my Pine Tree Nesties, I used the largest die and cut out 3 trees. Two from New Leaf and one from a cereal box. I wanted the tree to have a bit of dimension and stability. I covered the back with one New Leaf tree and the other, after embossing it with Swiss Dots, covered the front. To decorate it, I used my 1/4″ punch to cut ornaments from left over patterned paper. I topped the tree with a silver star, cut & embossed with the smallest Nestie star die.
Since every tree needs some presents, I cut out more cereal box with square & rectangle Nesties. I covered them with paper and added bows or ribbon. Santa also left his hat under the tree — cut from the Holiday Cheer dies and a little Polar White Flower Soft to add a touch of softness. The other corner needed something and I put in a pretty poinsettia — also cut from Nesties. All of these things are mounted with glue dots.
As a final touch, I wanted to hang some “lights” from the top. I had picked up these cute old-fashioned lights at Hobby Lobby last year. I tried to string them up on cording, but they woudln’t face front when I hung them. Right now, they are up there in an “ode to glue dots”. I have a mini glue dot at the top of each light and am hoping they hold.
To top it all off, I wrapped it in a nice pretty red polka-dotted bow. Overall, I think it turned out really well. It is a surprise for the kids — my daughter wanted to know what I was painting and I told her she had to wait until today. I think they will like it!
Christmas Countdown Calendar
Paper: PTI New Leaf and Pure Poppy; K & Co Secret Santa designer Paper; Me & My Big Ideas Oh What Fun designer paper
Other Stuff: Shimmerz Spritz Baby’s Breath, Flower Soft Polar White, Cuttlebug Swiss Dots embossing folder, Nesties (Pine Tree, Poinsettia, Star, Holiday Cheer Shapeabilities); Christmas light embellishments, 1/4″ circle punch, cereal box, glue dots, dimensionals, ribbon
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