Please welcome Jessie from Friendly Badger to Narrating Life today. Jessie is a master of the throughtful handmade gift and I'm so excited that she will be sharing a handmade favorite with all of you! You're going to love it.
I'm so thrilledto be guest blogging for Miranda today, as well as flattered to have been asked. Miranda asked me to share one of my favorite handmade gifts, and it was very difficult to narrow my scope! Two years ago we did our first Handmade Holiday, making our first foray into the tradition. Last year almost our entireChristmaswas handmade, and this year we are planning to go all in! With many projects planned, and many past projects to choose from, I was stymied; Then I remembered a favorite I made last year for a friend.
Enter: My version of an Advent Calendar.
(last year's version)
Why do I love it?
—It was free.
—It involves paper crafting.
It goes on your fridge, making it an instant showpiece where your friends and family naturally congregate. Another bonus is you're sure to cross this one off before December 1st so it's done and done!
I had so much fun making it, completely from scraps and supplies on hand. Of course, you will probably have to at least purchase the tins. (Fortunately I had mine on hand.) The scheme is so simple it hardly begs a tutorial, but here are the basics.
So here's what you'll need:
25 tins of varying size. These are circular metal tins with clear lids, sometimes calledWatchmaker's Cases.I used 3 sizes: (6) 41mm (1 5/8”), (18) 53mm (2 1/8”) and (1) 70mm ( ). These can be difficult to find in your typical craft store, butLee Valleyis a great online resource, and where I purchased my most recent lot.
25 strong magnets. I useneodymium magnetswhich are small but very strong, and I order mine fromForcefield Magnets.They don't need to be very big as this type of magnet is very strong. The strength of the magnet you choose is important, more so depending on how heavy your filled tins become. If your magnets aren't strong enough they won't be able to hold the tins to the fridge once they're filled. The tins themselves are aluminum and very light weight, so keep these factors in mind and don't skimp on your magnets! (I really like magnets.)
One thing to note: occasionally the lids have a very loose fit on the tin, and when held vertically (like on the fridge) the lid will fall off, unable to hold any contents at all. Since the metal is so soft and malleable, you can press a small indentation into the side of the tin so that the lid can 'grab' it better. You won't see this little trick once the lid is on.
(notice the small flattened part of the tin resting on my thumb)
Scraps of paper.
CircleHole Punches.These are a girl's best friend. On my list of most-loved, oft-used, indispensable craft tools, these hover near the top. They make simple, quick, and neat work of cutting all those paper scraps to size. However, if you haven't yet amassed a collection of circle punches (though I highly advise that you do), don't despair. You can simply trace the lid of the tin, then cut your paper slightly smaller than that trace.
Numbers 1-25. I used a combination of dimensional foam and chipboard stickers, rub-ons, paper cutouts, glitter and chipboard.
Embellishments, if you choose. These would be fine (and simpler) with only the numbers on each tin, but I can't pass up a chance to use my Diamond Glaze, glitter paint or vintage buttons.
Hot glue gunto attach the magnets to the tins, as well as other adhesives for the paper and embellishments. I used the aforementioned Diamond Glaze, but make sure whatever adhesive you use to affix the paper to theinsideof the tins is clear.
Goodies to fill the tins. I chose to use a combination of holiday m&ms and suggested activities. You could also use small toys or trinkets, small ornaments, coupons, or other treats your family loves.Hereis a great link for activities as well as gifts to fill your Advent calendar.
I glued the paper to theinteriorof the clear lid, and used all of my other embellishments on theexterior. Go to town mixing patterns, colors, materials, and styles for an eclectic and fun look. By choosing materials within the same color palette you can still create a unified, cohesive, and clean effect. Have fun and throw out your presupposed rules! Mix those babies up on the fridge so it is more fun to find every day, and enjoy the month of December as you relish and look forward to each day.
(this year's version)
Now see, you hardly needed me to explain that all, did you?
Though I'm glad I got to.
Thank you Jessie! I really, really love this. I can't wait to make one!
Handmade Holiday 2010: A series about making it happen.