Thursday, December 8, 2011

Tis beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

December is here and we are already at the end of the first week (or at least my December Daily tells me this) ... where has 2011 gone?????
Well at least we have our handmade Advent Calendar ready for this year - a first!!!!  No more 'Barbie/Hi5/High School Musical' chockie countdown calendars for Lizzie's household. 

Let's go back to our wonderful Christmas in July Workshop and check out the gorgeous Advent Calendar we did. 

We get so many emails about this gorgeous project, with many asking if we have kits available... sadly no we don't ... but we love to share, so what we have decided to do is showcase this project again to show how it all came together.

If you look carefully you will see that we used a large canvas (long and elongated for that contemporary feel). We then cut the canvas away and used the back of the canvas frame - the idea was to have a 'shabby/vintage' look with the staples showing.

We then got stuck into inking and stamping, distressing the bits of canvas to give it that authentic 'vintage/shabby chic' look.
We then measured and used cotton twine and fabric to create our 'rungs' to attach our gorgeous numbered tags to ( by cute tiny wooden pegs). We made sure the string and fabric stayed securely in place by pulling out the staple gun and voila... the frames were complete.

To compliment our vintage feel we stuck to a black, white and red colour scheme.  We added lots of embellishments (or Embellees as we like to call them) to our tags, but we kept them simple and easy to construct.  No way when you are creating 25 tags do you want them to intricate (if you are anything like us it would end up being added to a pile of 'UFPs' aka Unfinished Projects).

So let's take a closer look at our Tags.  We used manila shipping tags for this project.  For those of you here in OZ you can purchase these at OfficeWorks in bulk (think it was about 100 for under $10.  For us here in Newcastle we purchased a bulk box from Combined Packaging in Shortland and it was 1,000 for about $30 or a bit less).

To finish my tags (Lizzie) I printed out activities and pasted to the back of each.  My DD loves this and I have commented on these below in our descriptions.  This was also a great way to use up our large stash of numbers and alphas ....

Tag #1

We embossed the background with the ever popular 'swiss dots'.  We added a hand stamped Santa, finished off with hand colouring and a bit of Kindy Glitz 'bling'.  A final touch was a digital print out and a Thickers number.

Hint: Activity for Tag #1 - Dear Santa Letter
Miss DD (age 9) still believes in Santa... so time to write that special letter to Santa and send it off.  She so loves that she gets a reply each year and, well I have to say I love having these in my collection to scrap.

Tag #2

Using the pre-purchased manila shipping tags as a template we added a few kraft cardstock tags as part of our vintage inspired theme.

We embossed the background with a Tim Holtz embossing folder, added a number tab from a set we picked up at Typo (oooh we love this shop).  The finishing touches were a piece of vintage crochet doily and a covered brad.  Remember our idea was to keep it simple/quick we still have another 23 tags to go!

Hint: Our activity for Tag #2 -  Christmas Decorations
Unpacking all our Christmas decorations that are stored in the garage.  In our household that takes a long time as we love to talk about all the gorgeous things we have collected.  The stories have become a favourite part of Christmas time for my 9 year old DD.

Tag #3

We embossed the background (Sizzix Christmas Embossing Folder). We placed this so that the #3 could be emphasised.  We used a red marker to outline the #3, some distress inks to shade the rest of the tag and stapled some cute mini pom-pom trim to finish off.

Hint: Activity for Tag #3 - Christmas Cards
Time to pick our Chrissy cards and getting them done (ok.. started). This meant DD got her class list of friends together, we went shopping to pick some cards this year (no way was I making 40 handmade jobbies), some cute candy canes and Chrissy pencils to finish off our activity ... all done ready to hand out at school this week.

Tag #4

We love us some digi goodness.  A mini bingo card, a glittered heart cut with our Spellbinders and a stapled ribbon threaded through the shipping tag to finish off.

Hint: Activity for Tag #4  -  2011 Christmas Decorations
We love to add at least one special ornament each year.  I started a tradition when my DD was born - 'a new ornament each year so that when she has her own home and first Christmas Tree I can present her with a box of all her ornaments collected since she was born'... we are about to do this for my 19 year old who has just purchased her first home... how exciting!

Tag #5

Still loving us some digi goodness.  A printed Christmas tag cut down, some gorgeous StampinUp papers to cover our shipping tag and finished off with some black and white baker's twine.

Hint: Activity for Tag #5  -  Documenting Ornaments
Pictures of new ornaments to add to our scrap book album.  We love to take pics of those new purchases for our growing 'mini album' we created a few years ago.  I love to document why we purchased these ornaments, the significance... this year it was a beautiful nativity set... ooh must show you this photo - these were worth every penny... just gorgeous!

Tag #6

Using a Sizzix Tag Die Cut - back to the kraft cardstock and a nice new shape for this next tag.  Some more digi goodness for our circle definition stapled to our tag, finishing off with wrapped baker's twine and some great use of alpha stickers to spell out our number.

Hint: Activity for Tag #6  -  Trim the tree!

Tag #7

Using the same range of papers from StampinUp we covered this #7 tag, finishing it off with a kraft colour ring reinforcement, inked edges, Spellbinders die cut glittered cardstock star and some gorgeous binding tape across the bottom.

Hint: Activity for Tag #7  -  Christmas Stories
Getting out our collection of Christmas books. Starting our tradition of reading these until Christmas day... special books we save for this time of year. This year we are 'memorising' the 12 days of Christmas so we can sing the song and remember all the 'geese a laying, lords a leaping and well you get the idea'.

Tag #8

We love the gorgeous Chrissy stamps from StampinUp. Adding some small pieces of lace and cord trim to the bottom edge and a red felt  #8.

Hint: Activity for Tag #8  -  The Wishing Tree
Choosing a gift to put under the local 'wishing tree', wrapping it and taking it to place under the tree - a special treat and a reminder that it is just as important to give as to receive - my DD loves doing this every year.

Tag #9

Using the same range of papers from StampinUp we covered this #9 tag, added a gorgeous red silk flower (trim from Spotlight), ribbon stem and a leaf made out of book paper.  The number is stamped and hand cut... Miss Lisa (aka Lisa Greedy) really made this one of my favourite tags.

Hint: Activity for Tag #9  -  Gift Wrapping
We love to get creative with our wrapping on our 'very special gifts'.  This year we are making our gift tags from the 'left over shipping tags' (seriously we did purchase 1,000 of them), brown paper wrapping, paper doilies and baker's twine. 

Tag #10

We wrapped our #10 tag in 'sequin waste' (aka punchinello), added some Maya Road tape, hand cut glittered Christmas tree, some red bling and Scenic Route stickers.

Hint: Activity for Tag #10  -  December Birthdays
In our family and friends we have 8 birthdays in December.  We make a special effort to ensure that these birthday celebrations don't get lost in the 'hustle and bussle' of Christmas.

Tag #11

Miss Lisa got very inventive with this beautiful tag.  We wrapped it in lace dressmaking fabric - sticking to our red theme.  A stamped saying 'deconstructed' and this was not only quick but the simplicity is what makes it one of my favourite tags.

Hint: Activity for Tag #11  - New Christmas Outfits
This year we have a new sewing machine - so I have been busy making some gorgeous Chrissy dresses for the girlies in our family/friends...

Tag #12

Stamped background, another gorgeous StampinUp ornament stamp finished with baker's twine and some mini pompom trim.

Hint: Activity for Tag #12  - Teacher's & Staff Gifts
DD loves to hand make gifts for her teacher and I love to make something special for my colleagues... this year it is desk calendars (more digi goodness), rein-beers and chockies all wrapped with care!

Tag #13

Vintage book paper covering this shipping tag, hand cut tree out of hessian, baker's twine and more of our cute vintage inspired numbered tags from Typo stapled to finish off.

Hint: Activity for Tag #13  - Santa Photo

Tag #14

One of our favourites - Sizzix die cut tag in kraft cardstock, finished with an embossed background.  We added a Tim Holtz die cut dress form in red glittered cardstock, handmade tissue flower, pearl brad and tiny red alphas to add our #14.

Hint: Activity for Tag #14  - Carols by Candlelight

Tag #15

Tag #15 is all about stamping.  We stamped the background and added hand coloured stamps as embellishments (or Embellees as we like to call them).

Hint: Activity for Tag #15  - Christmas Parties
School party day, OOSH party, work party, family catchups... we make sure we have this all covered in the diary and can make it to as many as we can... just love celebrating with friends and family!

Tag #16

We have used a gorgeous Ippity Stamp as our background on this tag (courtesy of our friend Alex).  We finished this off with a digi printout hand coloured and backed with a die cut felt scalloped circle, some Kindy Glitz and tiny alphas for our #16!

Hint: Activity for Tag #16  - Santa List
I can plan in advance all I want, but DD often changes her mind from the time I start shopping back at the sales in June/July.  I always get her to do a last minute Santa Wish List - for my last minute shopping and maybe some quick changes in the stocking contents!  Also a great addition to my December Daily!

Tag #17

Tag #17 is all wrapped up in vintage book paper finished at the top with a scalloped die cut edge, spot ribbon, mini pompom trim, Maya Road tape and felt Thickers for our #17.

Hint: Activity for Tag #17  - Christmas PJs
We love getting new Christmas Outfits, but we always make sure we have some lovely new PJs ... want those early morning photos and video on Christmas Day to have us looking somewhat decent!

Tag #18

Another one of our favourite StampinUp Chrissy Stamps (courtesy of our wonderful StampinUp Demonstrator - Miss Cassie - check out her blog here) has been hand coloured, adding some stamped words on notepaper and some  ribbon tied to finish off our #18 tag.

Hint: Activity for Tag #18  - Christmas Scrapping
Scrapping our Santa Photo for our Christmas Santa album.  Now DD is older she also scraps her version.  I am sure she will love seeing how her scrapping evolved over the years.

Tag #19

This tag is covered in another lovely StampinUp paper.  Some lovely red ribbon trim, a handmade rosette made out of vintage book paper and red felt Thicker numbers. 

Hint: Activity for Tag #19  - Holiday Planning
By day 19 school is finishing up and vacation care kicks in for our household.  DD and I love to make up a 'vacation calendar' of all the things we want to do throughout the School Holidays... much negotiation goes on in this process!!

Tag #20

We couldn't design our Advent Calendar without adding a Tim Holtz die cut birdcage.  We just love this die cut and we finished it off on a hand cut kraft cardstock tag, a large rhinestone brad and baker's twine.  Our bird is cut out of the same range of papers we have used throughout the calendar from StampinUp.

Hint: Activity for Tag #20  - Christmas Lights
Time to trawl our neighbourhood - we just love visiting the local Christmas lights!!!

Tag #21

Another Sizzix die cut tag in kraft cardstock (just love the shape of this tag).  We have finished this with a mini paper doily wrapped around the right side of the tag, add some tied baker's twine and a Spellbinders cut bird and tag #21 is ready to add to our Advent Calendar.

Hint: Activity for Tag #21  - Christmas Cooking
As DD gets older she wants to learn how to cook.  Each year we experiment with a new Chrissy recipe.  Not sure what we have on our 'plate' this year... time to do some research.

Tag #22

Only three more sleeps.... another StampinUp paper from the same range covers this shipping tag.  It is finished with a digi tag and one of our favourite techniques - Dymo labelling (gotta love that retro look).

Hint: Activity for Tag #22  - Shop till you Drop
Time for DD and I to do any last minute shopping... no matter how organised we are, there always seems to be some last minute things we need to pick up.

Tag #23

This is one of our all time favourite StampinUp Stamps.  This lovely stamped tree is finished with some Kindy Glitz and red bling.  We added some more colour with  ribbon stapled in place and tiny alphas for our #23.

Hint: Activity for Tag #22 - December Daily

We love to document our Christmas each year. We do a special album documenting our activities and what we did in the lead up to the special day. This year we already had our 'December Daily' ready for our pics and journalling - thanks to our Christmas in July Workshop.

Tag #24
Yes, we are nearly there. We have hand cut a hessian overlay for this tag, added a Spellbinder die cut star in red felt and a button.

Hint: Activity for Tag #24 - Christmas Eve
Our Christmas Eve is all about getting our food organised - just love that DD is happy (and old enough) to help peel the veggies.  But our special treat is still putting out Santa's treat and something for the reindeer.  Like all parents a late night for me!


Tag #25

Our final tag.  We have inked around the edges of our shipping tag in black.  Added a hand coloured digi saying, a black and white  bow and red button. 

Hint: Activity for Tag #25 - Christmas Day

So hope you have enjoyed our Christmas Advent Calendar project ... now time to put another one together for a very special friend.

Be back soon
Lizzie and Lisa