Monday, December 9, 2013

Mini Christmas Advent Calendar

I know, I know.  December is well under way and I'm bringing you an Advent DIY for my last Christmas project.  Really, this should have been my first, right?  As much as I'd like to say I'm on the ball with getting stuff like this done on time, I'm not.  I could say that I've had this done for a while but took forever to write the post, but I didn't.  I finished just a couple of days ago.  Just a few days into December.  Ah well.

To be honest, I'm not sure how much of a DIY this will be.  The little shelf I used was something of my mom's that she had forever.

I mean, check out this sticker on the back:

When was the last time you saw that logo from Wal-Mart??

Like I said, I'm not sure how many of you would have a shelf like this, but I did a quick search and found a few on ebay, and this board on Pinterest shows a couple of options as well.  I love the typesetter drawers, and those are fairly common in antique venues.

My mom loved cats, was a collector of all things cats, and she kept her miniature cat collection in this knick-knack shelf.  But after moving a couple of times, I guess she figured she wasn't going to display them anymore -- I'm not sure -- but I found the shelf in a closet one day and asked her what she was going to do with it.  She told me nothing, that I could have it, and when I counted 25 spots, I knew it would make a cute Advent calendar.

That was a couple of years ago actually, but life happened and I remembered this year I had that thing and decided to do something with it.

First of all, the sad brown wood would have to go.  It was just not in good shape, and overall was too dark.  But before I painted the thing, I had decided the numbers would be done like I did my design on my corkboard redo -- I'd pull off the stickers to reveal the background color.  {Side note:  anybody know what that process is called??  Apparently I like using it and I'd like to know what to call it, ha ha!}

I wanted my calendar to be fun, so I picked different Christmas-y colors and randomly painted spots in each section.

Then I picked my numbers from several different sticker sets in different fonts.  I also decided to spell out a few of the numbers, just to mix it up.

Once I had each number in place, I painted the entire shelf.  Which took much more paint than I thought it would, and was much more tedious than I expected.

That's why I finished last night.  Instead of before December 1.  That, and painting with an 18-month old running around thinking he needs to be painting, too, can be a little difficult!  O, but I love it.

After I painted the whole thing white, I painted the little decorative brackets at the top gold, and then free-handed a gold star on the top of the roof, where the roof "hip" is.

Once the paint was dry, I began peeling off my stickers.

Here's some advice should you want to try this method:  use plastic stickers.  These would be -- in my experience -- the ones that come on a clear plastic sheet, not on a white sheet where when you peel them off, you see the outline of the letter still on the sheet.  Those are made of paper, and do not peel well when wetted with paint.  Well, their paper layers peel well.  Ugh.

So after carefully and frustratingly peeling layer after layer of my stickers -- and having to touch-up a few places -- my Advent calendar was complete.

I really like how it turned out.  My hubby said it was very Christmas-y.  Well, that works!  :D

When my brother and I were growing up, my mom did an Advent calendar for us, although at the time I didn't know that's what it was.  We just got a little gift everyday for 25 days before Christmas, and it was awesome!

And even though my husband and I don't have kids, I don't see why that means we can't have fun with an Advent calendar, too!  This year I just stuck some candy and then these cute little felt ornaments I found in there.  But I thought it would be fun if he and I take turns -- i.e., he gets odd, I get even -- and find cute little things for each other.  The challenge of finding little, miniature gifts is exciting for me, although I'd be pretty easy.  I mean, a ring or a pair of earrings or a necklace would fit easy in any of those compartments, ha ha!!  He'd be fairly easy, too, with his love of toy police cars.  {BTW, he's reading this idea for the first time just like the rest of you.  Surprise sweetie! ;)  Don't you think that would be a great idea?!}

Just browsing Etsy, I found all kinds of cute, fun things:

Some of those are a bit pricey for an Advent calendar, but I think the hunt will be fun!  Target One Spot would also be a great place to find cute mini gifts.

Well, friends, that's all for my Christmas posts this year.  We got our tree and decorated this weekend, then decorated our house.  We had a crazy strong cold front come through a few days ago, so now, here in South Texas, it is feeling more like winter, which gets me more in a Christmas spirit.  It's just hard to get in the mood when you are running around in shorts and flip-flops!  Know what I'm sayin'??  But its perfect weather for chili, hot chocolate and Christmas movies, all while decorating!  Ya-hoo!

And, in case you're reading this post first, here are my other Christmas projects:
*Tomato Cage Christmas Tree Card Holder*
*Frosted Woodland Snow Globes*
*DIY Fleece Ruffle Wreath*
*Christmas Wreath from a Fan Cover*


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Sunday, December 1, 2013

A Christmas Wreath from a Fan Cover

At the risk of giving you back-to-back posts on wreaths, I wanted to share my most favorite project from last year.

Which was a total fluke.

After I had decorated my dresser drawer shelves, I realized there was a huge hole in the entire composition:  at the top middle.  It was just screaming for something...something round...something like a wreath.

See what I mean??
But at this point, I wasn't interested in buying more decor, so I scavenged through my existing Christmas decorations to see what I had.


But inspiration is everywhere, and when I saw this fan grate in the garbage pile, I knew it would have a new life as my wreath.

It. is. so. fabulous!!

And was super simple to make!

All I did was weave ribbon I already had through the grating, a burlap ribbon first, then a lace ribbon over that.

For a bit of Christmas color I wove a wired sparkly red ribbon around the edge, then tied it in a bow.

Even though that might have been enough, you could still see the "plate" on the front that bears the company name.  So I quickly created the "JOY" banner using kraft cardstock and those same little paper doilies I used for the frosted snow globe windows.

The holes in the doilies made it easy to weave a twine string through for hanging.

Once I had it hung, I felt like it still needed a little something.  A little bit of green.

So I found a few faux holly leaves in my decoration stash and simply laid them in the bottom of the bowl.

And voila!  The coolest wreath ever!

I love it, and can't wait to hang it up this year!

Whadya think??

I suppose the lesson here is to think outside of the box and to look at things not as what they are, but what they could be.  Because I would never have thought of a fan grate/cover as being an awesome Christmas wreath.  Would you?

Well, just one more Christmas-specific project coming for you guys, then I'm calling it quits.  On the Christmas DIY, that is, for this year.  I am excited to get my decorations up and absorb their beauty this year.  I think the hubby has decided we are going to put up our lights outside this year, which I'm stoked about!  I always loved getting them strung, then turning them on for the first time and seeing the glowing wonder.  Because we live way out in the boonies, we didn't feel like there was a point to putting them up, but I think we've decided we want to do it for ourselves.  If you follow me on Instagram, you just might get a glimpse!  Yay for Christmas!!


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