November 30, 2011

advent calendar: a tutorial

The day after Thanksgiving, Evelyn bounded onto our bed at 6:03 in the morning and asked "Is today Christmas?"

It's become a bit of a routine.
What we needed, was an Advent Calendar. Actually, we needed a Last-Week-of-November-Plus-Advent Calendar. Not a problem. Last year I made no fewer than four Advent Calendars for various articles, some of which could be changed to add a few extra days. So after day two of way earlier than we need to get up on a four day weekend mornings, I got out our bin of Holiday decorations and found that.... I'd left them all in storage.
All of them. Even the old ones that we'd had for ages. I'm sure that, back in the spring when I was sorting things to be stored and things to go to New York, I assumed I would be making more Advent Calendars anyway. Or maybe I was just packing-crazy by the time I hit the Christmas things. Who knows. Either way, we needed a new one.

I know, I know, just go get a chocolate open-the-door thingie. Kids love those! I love those! They always make me think of this moment during the first season of Vicar of Dibley (What? You don't know that show? Run! Run to Youtube and watch them all. But go to the bathroom first otherwise you might pee your pants laughing) And I will get one for each of them, just as soon as I get myself to Trader Joe's. But I'm a crafty girl, and I like to have crafty things like DIY Advent Calendars.
The theme of this year's Grimm Family Advent Calendar is USE WHAT YOU HAVE. Because, even in it's pared down form, my craft supplies overrunneth at the moment. And I'm going to be hitting a Hobby Lobby within the next 30 day to stock up on more, so I need to make room.

Last year I made little packages for filling with holiday candy using magazine pages sewn into tubes. Despite the fact that I never made the homemade candy to go int hem, I've wanted to find another way to use the idea since. Plus I love Christmas Crackers, and these remind me a little of them, except without the bang. Maybe next year I'll figure out how to add that to the mix.

Magazine Tube Advent Calendar

You'll need:

24 pages from a magazine or catalogue. I used non-peopled pages from the latest Anthropologie Catalogue for this but anything with a bright colors or holiday pictures would be perfect
Sewing Machine - you only need to straight stitch, so don't panic here. In a pinch, you could even use tape. Stickers, candy, little plastic animals or toys - I had lots of things from the dollar bin hanging around
String of 34 Christmas lights
Ribbon Tags numbered 1-24 * Hole punch

Roll one of the magazine pages roughly into thirds, but don't fold. Pinch one end flat and stitch straight across, leaving about 1/2 inch seam allowance. Fill with treats and then pinch the other end shut the opposite direction from the first and sew. This gives it a cute little twist and distorts the image so it just looks bright and colorful instead of like a page from a catalogue.
Repeat with the remaining 23 pages. Punch a hole at one end of each tube between the stitching and the edge of the paper.
Thread a tag and a tube onto a 6 six inch piece of ribbon but don't tie it. Once they are all be-tagged and be-ribboned, hang the lights around a doorway and tie each package just above a light. The light will help keep the tubes evenly spaced and in place. I kept my tubes on the sides but you could go all the way around as well. FYI, the pompoms over the door are just Styrofoam balls with cupcake liners glued on. Super easy.
I had planned to let the kids take the right package down each day but I like the way the whole thing looks so I'm thinking we'll just cut the bottom off and let the treasures tumble out pinata style.
What do you do for Advent? Chocolate doors? Candles?

* The Tags were also DIY, but you could use ready made, stickers, or just open one package a day. I used my Silhouette to cut both green and red tags and also cut the numbers out of the green ones. Once they were all cut, I glued a green and red together with plain old glue stick.

** Be careful with the lights and paper combo. No fires please.