DIY Advent Calendar

Meet our newest advent calendar. Our first one, I think, doesn't count. It was an impulse buy at Trader Joe's a few years ago — it had chocolate in it and I think we bought it a few weeks in and had to "catch up" on eating the candy. We were close to buying a cute one from Target last year, decided to wait until it really went on sale, and then it was gone. Fortunately, there are so many ways to make your own advent calendar. I didn't want to buy one this time around. Not after I've seen so many creative ways to count down to Christmas.

I started out by purchasing an old picture from the thrift store. It was ugly. Really ugly. The cashier didn't think so (to each their own) and actually mentioned how beautiful it was as she was putting it in the bag. No one tell her that I got home only to pull it apart, discard the glass, and paint the frame white. The backing is foam core, cut to fit the frame and covered in thrift store fabric (I think it was a drawstring laundry bag before I took my scissors to it). I created the outline for the tags in InDesign and printed them, cut them, and stamped them with metallic silver ink and a stamp I used for our wedding invitations. The number tags, I also created in InDesign. Any of the things I did on the computer could be easily done by hand though.

The only other materials I used were sewing pins and ornaments. The sewing pins were multi-colored until I decided to dip them in glue followed by glitter. Some of the ornaments are really ornaments, others I made with materials I found around our house. I did strategically place few of them on certain days — the "D" is on the 17th to celebrate Daphne turning 18 months, the Hannukah ornament is on the 21st because that is the first day of Hannukah this year, and the tree is on the 25th for obvious reasons.

Before I go, I need to mention that this was based off Katie Bower's advent calendar — maybe last year's? Or the year before? Either way, it stuck with me and I couldn't wait to make my own version. My next big craft is a felt circle garland for our tree. I physically can't stop making Christmas decorations. Also, this calendar is a much healthier option than the chocolate ones — each day in December, you have to walk over to the tree to put an ornament on. Built-in exercise. Your welcome.


My New Eye Candy: Striped Built-Ins

One day, Brian was at work. That same day, I decided that I was going to get all crazy-like and paint stripes behind our built-ins. I didn't tell anyone. Not even Daphne. I thought about it all day and anxiously awaited Daphne's nap time. I knew I could get just one section done within that glorious window of time. I knew if I told Brian, he'd probably insist that I used those fancy measuring tools (aka measuring tape). I've known all along in my heart of hearts that I'm pretty good at eyeing things. 20/20 vision since '83...what, what!

I started with the middle section because I could reach it without standing on something and Daphne couldn't reach it when she woke up. I decided that if I screwed something up, it was easy to paint it back. I started pressing down painters tape. I figured that if I planned the stripes to be about as thick as the tape, it would be pretty easy to eyeball the distance between the tape. In the end, you'd think I'd regret my decision to avoid measuring tools because that is how stories like this go. Spoiler, I didn't.

The only thing I did regret is not testing out a better painters tape. We've had issues in the past with the blue painters tape. As careful as I was to really press it down firmly, white paint still seeped through a little bit. I've heard some good things about the green painters tape, so in the future, we may switch over. I'm not sure why the green would be better than the blue, but I won't try to analyze it too much.

Over the past 10 months, the objects on the built-ins have shifted around. Items have moved to other places, back to the built-ins, and then moved to the basement -- our graveyard of reject home decor items. I have a tendency to get bored with things where they are and feel the need to make changes. I used to rearrange my room a lot as a kid -- so I guess this makes sense.

I haven't been able to stop staring at the built-ins. They are like candy to my eyes. I am so happy with the finished product. Moral of the story: don't tell your husband when you are going to drastically change something in your house and don't EVER measure anything.


Fall is...

  1. ...pretending to be a famous photographer and taking photos of fall foliage.
  2. ...carving pumpkins (for the first time! because we have a porch for the first time!).
  3. ...snuggling up with daddy and reading a household favorite.
  4. ...playing with leaves.
  5. ...apparently a good season to sport a Starter jacket.
  6. ...hurling babies high in the air (and catching them).
  7. ...playing with wood chips that Mommy wishes weren't in her backyard.
  8. ...decorating with fake pumpkins, otherwise known as "Funkins".
  9. ...baking cupcakes and spending more time on the cupcake sleeves.
  10. ...setting up your tripod and trying to get a decent family photo together.