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Sunday, December 5, 2010

Christmas Advent Calendar - by Annie Zorzo

Have you noticed that all of the Christmas papers that come out from the manufacturers are designed around white and snowy Christmases of the northern hemisphere?  Snow capped houses, snowmen, birds with snow covered hats etc etc.  I guess that's why I tend to steer clear of the a-typical christmas papers.  Like last weeks entry, I've done another Christmas project for you this week and I've stayed almost entirely away from anything Christmas - well a snow related Christmas that is.

This week I have an advent calendar for you based on an Australian Christmas at the beach. 

I know we're now past the first of December but if you can find one and dedicate yourself a day to putting it together, you'll have a basic one done.  Mine has taken a bit longer but that's with alot of stop starting due to kids.  What-ever you do, I can promise you that there is unlikely to be another one exactly the same.  Using stuff out of your stash, plus some great purchases make it just right for you, your family and your home.  My eldest daughter is already getting much enjoyment out of ours!

My materials list for this is also quite long so I'll break it up:
Main Shell
Kaisercraft Advent Calendar
Making Memories Paint
Kindy Glitz

Papers of Boxes
Imaginisce - Splash Dance
My Minds Eye - Penny Lane

Embellishments of Boxes
American Craft Thickers - various
Various Alpha Stickers
Various Christmas Element Stickers, Chipboard & Rubons
Ribbon Buckles
JudiKins Glitter Embossing Powders
Kindy Glitz
Kaisercraft Rhinestones
Versa Magic Ink Pads
Zig Pen

Papers of Main Photo Area
Glitter Cardstock
Imaginisce - Splash Dance

Embellishments of Main Photo Area
Mesh Ribbon 
Watermark Stamp Pad
Judi Kins Glitter Embossing Powders
Christmas Chipboard - Tree and Presents
Sequin Ribbon
Bella Bling
Versa Magic Ink Pad
Clear Embossing Powder
Filigree Beads & Sequins (Tanyah has these in the shop but not on-line.  Contact her at ScrapnCraft w T)

Invisible Thread
3D mounting Tape

And like the materials list, if I was to break down how I put this all together into steps, you would be here reading all day.  So I'm just going to give you a few hints, tips and ideas for your construction and embellishments.

Main Shell - HINTS & IDEAS
- I painted mine after it was all put together.  There is no reason why you can't paint it first to do away having to get into all the corners.  I painted everything but the actual back.
- After the paint was dry I applied Kindy Glitz to give it some sparkle - like the sun on the ocean.
- I hot glue gunned my boxes together.  When doing it, I found it easiest to do the two front edges and then the back edges.  This allows you to hold them in place until the glue sets.
- I also painted the bottom, top edges and insides of my boxes.  This is an extra step that you might not decide to do, but I wanted the same ocean colour to show when you pull out the drawers.

Covering and Embellishing the boxes - HINTS & IDEAS

- Make the most out of your paper, measure the height of the box and then cut a rectangle strip the full 12" width of the paper, and then cut in half at 6".  As you're not going to be pulling out the boxes all the way, it won't matter that the paper doesn't completely touch on the back side.

- I can't stress enough that you shouldn't worry if your papers don't have a Christmas theme or if once covered they don't look festive enough.  Be patient - wait until after you have embellished the boxes and created your central scene.  After all this if you still don't think it's festive enough - go back and embellish some more.  Here's a few close ups...
- When embellishing, be aware that anything else that you wrap around the box - ie ribbon or ribbon stickers will make it more snug for the box and a bit difficult to pull out.  Limit doing this or just have them going across the front.
- I mixed up the type of numerals I used to make it more fun to find the next day.
- To give it that Christmas feel, I added lots of sparkle, some Christmas rubons, stickers and chip embellishments.

Embellishing the Main Area - HINTS & IDEAS
- As I was going for a beach/ocean feel, I wanted a beach scene.  To create the beach I used the American Crafts Glitter Cardstock and glued it down in an arc so it was raised.  You'll have to hold in place until the glue sets and a hot glue gun is good for this.
- For the waves, I pulled some mesh ribbon from each side so it became wavy.  I then folded and stuck it down along the middle in two different lengths.
- As I get a Santa photo of my girls every year, I wanted to incorporate that but also be able to change it.  To make this inter-changeable hanging piece I ripped off the back cover of a Little Golden Book to have something sturdy.  I then cut it down slightly larger than a 6 x 4" photo - leaving more space at the top to secure it to the Advent Calendar.  I then covered it front and back and put a final layer of vellum on the top side.  I then ripped the vellum so I could easily secure a photo in behind the tears without the need to glue it down.  I then embossed the vellum and trimmed it with ribbon.
- To hang the Santa photo, I made two holes along the top edge of my photo board.  I glued the centre section of a length of ribbon to the top underside of the Advent Calendar and threaded the ends through the holes and tied it off in a bow.
- For my Christmas on the beach seen, it wouldn't be complete without a surfboard.  I embossed the hibiscus flower and Christmas tree.  Added some decorations (sequin ribbon and bling) and then layered them on top of my 'sand' using glue and mounting tape.  I did the same with the presents down the bottom.
- My dangling ornaments are filigree beads which I've threaded with invisible thread and secured with sequins and beads.  I've tied it off and glued to the top underside with another sequin disguising the end of the thread.
Other Ideas
- I specially wanted a beach theme as this is where we spend our Christmas holidays.  I haven't made one of these any other way, but I believe if you have a theme or direction in mind before you start, your progress will be quicker.
- For a simple Advent, try using just one or two papers (get a few sheets) and use the numerals within the KaiserCraft pack.
- Depending on where you spend your Christmas, you could have that as your central theme - what about a Christmas on the farm with a tractor, picket fence and a normal tree decorated as a Christmas tree.
- You could also have a monochromatic theme with varying shades of the one colour - this I think could be quite exciting.
- If you have more than one child that is going to be opening the boxes, figure out if they will take turns on alternate days (good for older kids) or if you have to include something on each day for each child.  Some things you can add:
1. Lollies
2. Christmas jokes
3. Money (my kids get 30 cents and 10 cents....Christmas budget LOL!!!)
4. Treasure map to a bigger surprise.
5. Make up tickets for an outing - ie admit one to the local pool.

So I hope I've given you enough ideas to get started.  Grab an idea, set yourself time and get to it.  You might have missed a few days but you can start counting down as soon as you get it finished.

Merry Christmas to you all.  I hope that the festive season has hit your house as hard as it's hit ours.  I have a new love for this time of year when I see the excitement on my little girls face on anything and everything that is related to Santa and Christmas.

Enjoy and see you next week.

1 comment:

Susan said...

Thank you for the detailed instructions and ideas, Annie! I just bought one of these Dusty Attic Advent Calendars and need to decorate it. You have really given me some good ideas :) I love yours, by the way.