Monday, December 2, 2013

Advent Calendars

It seems that the Advent calendar is all the rage during the Christmas season.  Kerri and I have so many memories of our Advent calendars growing up and I have memories of my own kid's advent calendars. 
Since Kerri and I live in different states and our kids are of different ages (or decades..haha), we each decided to make our own Advent calendar and share them both with you!  Nice, huh?!

As you know my kids are grown and (out on their own) I had nobody to make a calendar for this year...but then I remembered my friend has an adorable grandson (above photo) that needed his own Advent calendar. 
That's all I excuse to make one!
I saw this advent calendar on Pinterest and fell in love with it.  
Of course, as usual I put my own twist on it and this is what I came up with.
First, I put the pallet wood together.  I used 2 pieces of the pallet on the back side and screwed them to the front boards (see below photo).  My husband had taken apart a couple of pallets and saved the wood for me (he knows me so well!).  
Then, I made the pockets out of wired polkadot ribbon.  
I cut 25-8 inch pieces of the ribbon, folded it in half and hot glued the sides.  
Before I glued them, I folded about a 1/4 inch of the ribbon down (so I could attach it to the twine and attach the numbers to the front).
After that, I attached the numbers to the front of each pocket (I spelled out the words with my alphabet stamps, so Crew could learn how to read..that's the teacher coming out in me).  
To do this, I pulled red wire through the ribbon then wrapped it around itself (sorry I forgot to take a picture), then I curled it for its cuteness!
When I attached the twine (each row) to the board I used thumbtacks, just in case they wanted to use the wood for something else after Christmas.
I filled each pocket with an ornament (Crew has a cute little tree in his room & needed some ornaments).  I did however run out of time and stuck some candy canes in a few of the pockets.  The pockets were not very big, so smaller ornaments fit the best.  I also thought it would be cute (for older kids) to have activities for some of the days (see Kerri's below for ideas).
So, even if your kids are all grown up and gone you can find an excuse to make an Advent calendar! I hope you are enjoying the start of the Christmas season!
~ Julie

This seems to be the first year that my 3-year old can actually get the concept of the Advent calendar, so I jumped on the opportunity to make one for her because of how much I loved mine growing up!   I wanted to do an 'activity' advent calendar since my daughter loves to be creative as well as active and I felt by doing something Christmas themed everyday she would really get into the Christmas spirit! I searched the amazing Pinterest and found a few ideas that would work, considered what I already had in my 'craft closet' and came up with this...

I had a ton of these bags left over from my baby shower. They were used as part of the party favor. Cute, right?! My mom had replaced the ties with the red and white bakers twine to match the shower theme, so I didn't even need to do that!
 Julie had told me about this super cute burlap ribbon at Michael's and with my 40% off coupon, I only spent about $2 on it!
So, here is what you will need:
Cloth bags, cardboard, stencil (so hard to find, but I finally found one at Staples), acrylic red paint, sponge paint brush, twine (I used solid red), clothes pins and of course, your 25 activities!!

These are the 25 activities I came up with:
1. Hang Christmas lights and help Mommy decorate the house
2. Color a Snowman mask
3. Watch the Backyardigan's Christmas movie
4. Decorate a Santa's hat
5. Paint Christmas trees with your hand
6. Go with Mommy & Daddy to pick out a Christmas tree
7. Decorate the Christmas tree
8. Go shopping for Daddy's Christmas gift
9. Paint ornaments
10. Make ornaments in the oven
11. Attend my Christmas musical
12. Color Christmas mugs
13. Attend a Christmas play
14. Go shopping for Mommy's Christmas gift
15. Make hot chocolate
16. Grow candy canes and Christmas trees 
17. Read a Christmas story
18. Bake Christmas ornaments
19. Wrap your teachers Christmas gifts
20. Drive to Arizona for Christmas
21. Make a Gingerbread house
22. Bake Christmas cookies
23. Watch Rudolf the Red Nose reindeer
24. Paint Christmas coloring pages
25. Celebrate Christmas

Here is what I did...
I started with stenciling the numbers onto each bag.

I took pieces of cardboard I cut from a box and put them in the bag so that when I stenciled the numbers on them it wouldn't bleed thinking!

I had my husband measure and cut some left over bead board we had into a 2 1/2 ft wide and 3 feet long piece. I went with these measurements because that was what I had room for on my wall.
Then, I strung the red twine across the board making 5 rows, which gave enough space between the bag, and had my husband hang it! 

Finally, I added my décor and it was done!  I can't wait to see my daughter's face each morning when she takes out the slip of paper that tells her what she gets to do that day!

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