Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Homemade Christmas Part I - Advent Calendar

I've decided this year to try to have a Homemade Christmas as much as possible. Besides the hope that it'll be cheaper than store-bought gifts, there's also the fact that Kyle works all day almost EVERY day, even Saturdays, so when am I supposed to get out to shop? Even when he has the work car and I have the van, which is only Friday and Saturday, I would still have the kids. I would either have to take them with me (disaster waiting to happen!) or dump them off with one of my kindly relatives, who I already take advantage of way too much.
Luckily, my kids are too young to care if the things are homemade and the people we have for both family gift exchanges seem pretty easy going about those things.

I've actually seen this craft on multiple blogs, and most if not all link back to another blog, so I'm not sure exactly who to give the credit to for this. This is a mini-muffin tin turned into an Advent calendar...genius!! Especially for me, since I got a mini muffin tin for our wedding and hardly ever use it because I HATE washing it! There's just enough room for a few candies behind the numbers, right where the muffins would be.
All the other calendars I've seen actually have the muffin tin sitting vertically, but I put mine horizontally because of how the decorative numbers turned out; I wasn't thinking and did only 4 designs, so all the polka dots would have been in one verticle line, all the green on red in another, the red on green in another, and the trees on another. I like matchey-matchey, but even that was too much matching for me. Horizontally works much better.
All the other ones I've seen use scrapbook paper and either print the numbers off or use a CriCut machine and then Mod Podge over it all and put mini magnets on the back. I do NOT like cutting out paper. (I think I failed that part of Kindergarten, because I seriously cannot cut in a straight line.) So, instead, I used some digital scrapbooking downloads I had and on one 4x6 picture that I printed out at WalMart I was able to fit 6 2x2 squares, so I printed out 4 pictures totaling somewhere around $0.76. Much cheaper and FASTER than if I'd done it the way everyone else does!
I did have to cut out each square, which wasnt great. Some are a bit smaller than others, but you cant tell that in the picture right? After I cut them out, I used Contact Paper to make them more durable. I searched for mini magnets but couldnt find anything small enough. So I bought a sheet of self-adhesive magnet and cut it into tiny pieces and stuck one in each corner of each square. By far the most time consuming part of the project!
I also lucked out and found a cheap easel at WalMart yesterday...$.86, I believe, compared to the cheapest one at JoAnns is over $5.00. Since I'll probably only be using it at Christmas I figured that would work just fine!
I printed off another set of numbers, in case I messed up the first ones. I think I'm going to make up another Advent calendar for Kyle's sister Brooke and her family, since thats who we have for the family gift exchange. They wont be able to use it this year, but they'll have it all ready for next year.
Tomorrow, check back to see what I've done to make this little lovely even lovelier:

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