Sunday, November 24, 2013

DIY Advent Calendar

So, I have been pinning all these adorable advent calendars since last year, and this year I decided to make one myself. I love the idea of having my boys open a little gift every morning. We have done advent calendars in the past, they were pre made ones that I have found at the store, but I wanted mine to be unique and special. I'll give you hints of what I filled each day with later in the post. First, I will list the supplies that I used.
1. Scrapbook paper
2. Double sided tape
3. Scissors
4. Glue gun
5. Twine
6. Trims, washi tape, stickers, clip art
7. Clothes pins
I found the number vellum paper at Archivers Craft store. I'm sure it would be easy to make your own numbers too! All the other supplies I had at home, I kinda hoard craft supplies ;)
Making the envelopes out of scrapbook paper was pretty easy. I just fold the 12x12 sheet in half. Next I   folded the paper into 3 sections.
Then I cut the paper so that I had 3 separate pieces. Once this was done, I folded each piece in half. This made the envelop. I simply then left the top open, and used double sided tape to tape up the sides.
Once the envelopes were made, it was time to decorate them! This is the part where you can get really creative. 
I cut out all of the dates December 1-25th.
Then I began to decorate each of the envelopes individually. 
I found these little wreaths at Michaels Craft Store, I thought they added a fun touch to some of the envelopes.
Once I finished decorating all 25 of the envelopes, they were ready to be strung. I will say that I worked on this project over several days. I do not think it's a quick and easy project, so be sure to give yourself ample time if you want to start your calendar on December first this year. 
I have several vintage open frames, but none of them seem to be the size I wanted/needed to make my project work. So I went on the hunt down in our basement. I came across a gorgeous mirror that I had painted aqua. I had not found a place to put it in our home yet, and I worked out to be the perfect size. I would recommend checking out the size of your mirror/open frame first, then making your envelopes to accommodate that size. I just happened to luck out ;)
I used my aqua and cream twine, and ran four rows across the back. Each row has five envelopes. Once I secured the twine tightly, I started assembling my advent calendar. I used clothes pins, that I had been collecting, to clip each of the envelopes. Voila' It is finally finished, now I just need to put something in each one. Some ideas that I have, without giving out the surprises are, little lego guys, candy, a dollar bill, and each day I will put in there a special heartfelt message for my boys. I thought it would be nice to write little reminders of why they are special, and give them encouragement to participate in Christian acts that day. Because, after all, Christmas is about spreading love and joy! For example, one message may say. "Sit by someone new at lunch today" "Tell your teacher how much you appreciate them" 
So there you have it! That is my advent calendar. I am really looking forward to this tradition this year, and continuing it on for many years to come.
May your days be merry and bright, and may the joy of the season be ever in your heart! Thanks for stoping by.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Shadow box ornaments

I wanted to share with you an easy shadow box ornament that you can make. Tis' the season for ornament exchanges, and I thought it would be nice to have one that is handcrafted. This one is really easy to make, and took less than 30 mins.
What you will need:
A shadow box ornament. I found mine at Michaels
Some paper for the background
A bottle brush tree, you can see my previous post about how to bleach and dye them here.
Paint, to paint the shadow box, and a paint brush.
Some type of Holiday clip art
Tinsel for the outer edge of the box. This is optional
A glue gun and scissors
I also found these mini trees and the mini wreaths at Michaels.
The first thing that I did was paint the shadow box a minty bright green.
While it was drying I cut out the circle to go in the back of the box. I used the template that the box came with as my guide.
Once the shadow box was dried, I glued my scrapbook paper to the back of it. I used my glue gun for this.
Next I glittered my bottle brush tree. I just dabbed Elmer's glue on it, then sprinkled glitter on it over a plate.
I then glued the tinsel around the perimeter of the shadow box, and glued the banner "Merry Christmas" to the top. The last step was to glue the tree in the center. You could put whatever your creative mind comes up with! I would love to find some vintage reindeer and put one in the center. Still on the hunt for some small enough :) 
If you are going to make these for an ornament exchange, I think it would be nice to write your name and the date on the back, for a personal touch. I also think these would be fun to make with the kids over the holiday break.
Hoping to post some more Christmas DIY's, so be sure to check back.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Bottle Brush Trees

So a friend of mine, Leslie, posted a photo of her bleached bottle brush trees on Instagram. I had heard of doing this, and had done a little research myself, but seeing it in person convinced me that I could try it. I am so glad that I did! I love the results, and wanted to share them with you, and how I did it. I found a big bag of the dark green bottle brush trees at Michael's. They are near the tiny town displays. Be sure to print off your Michael's coupon if they are not on sale. The big bag of them is $21.99, not on sale. I think they have a 50% coupon this week. :)
Here are the steps I used. I poured a bottle of household bleach in our utility sink in the garage. I did it out there, one to keep the mess out there, and the smell is pretty strong. I added about 1 cup of water to the mixture. The stronger the mixture the faster the results. Put some gloves on, then put the trees in the mixture, and work them around, getting all the color off them. It goes pretty quickly. Once I got out all the color, and they were a creamy white, I rinsed them all in the sink with soapy water. I then brought them in the house, and dried them off. Once they are dry, then you can dye them. I mixed my Wilton food coloring with water in large bowls. A little goes a long way. If you want more pastel colors then I wouldn't use a lot. If you want more vibrant colors, then add some more food coloring. The colors I used were Pink Rose, and then I mixed Leaf Green and Sky Blue to get the aqua color. I also added about 2 tsp. of salt to the water mixture. I found that the pink took really quickly. Just a quick dip in the water and it was changed. I had to let the aqua soak a little longer. I decided to keep some of the trees the bleached white. And there you have it! Really easy, and I was happy to have my son Noah helping me with the coloring process. You could also add some glitter, which I think would be pretty. I think I may glitter the bases. Good luck with your project and if you are on Instagram I'd love for you to tag me in a photo of the trees you make. :)