Countdown to Christmas! DIY Christmas Advent Calendar

“Haul out the holly; Put up the tree … Fill up the stocking.  I may be rushing things, but deck the halls again now.  Santa, dear, we’re in a hurry.”  I am in a hurry!  I planned on showing you how to make this charming and nostalgic Advent Calendar on the first day of December!  However, the countdown to Christmas continues and this Calendar is so easy and fun to make, you’ll be able to enjoy it for the rest of the season and psssst! …. your “kids” of all ages “from 1 to 92” will love playing catch-up when you finish making it and opening several envelopes at once! (;

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Click on the following link Ella Claire Free Printable Vintage Christmas Advent Calendar for complete instructions and a free printable for making the envelopes and cards.  I love these miniature envelopes and the little pine cone sprig on the card insert.  I’m already planning other “fun” ways to use them!  The printable is free and I chose a creamy 8 1/2″ x 11″ card stock paper from Michael’s to print my envelopes and cards on.

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 This is a sample of what the envelope looks like after I cut out the pattern.  I’ve penciled in dashed lines to show you where to fold your envelopes.  Note: The vertical fold-line on both sides is where the rounded slope of the paper meets the straight cut!  The card stock paper I used was thick and I used the plastic grip of my scissors to firmly crease each fold. (Hey, I just thought of a stocking stuffer I need … a bone folder! (: ) I didn’t want to wait for my envelopes to dry so instead of using glue, I taped my envelopes together with clear Scotch tape.

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After you finish making all your envelopes, write different Christmas activities you would enjoy doing on each of the 25 cards and slip the card into a corresponding envelope. e.g. pop some popcorn and watch a Hallmark Christmas movie … make hot chocolate, top with Cool Whip, decorate with lots of sprinkles and sip with a peppermint straw! … put the kids in their pajamas and go for a drive to look at Christmas lights!   I wrote my activity on the card that wasn’t dated, so it will be easy to use the same calendar next year and I can easily re-arrange my activities. cards and envelopes snowman.png

 I also tucked a little “trinket” in each envelope. Little gifts of candy, Christmas cookie cutters and tiny ornaments for a special tiny Christmas tree for little folks!

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I nailed my ribbons (needed for hanging the envelopes) to the frame of my “4 the seasons” chalkboard I love this rustic chalkboard with it’s natural cedar frame that a dear friend made for me.  I added some “chalk art” before nailing in my ribbon … with the heading “Countdown to Christmas” and a border of holly leaves.  Ella draped her calendar over a vintage ladder; you can hang your advent calendar across a mirror, on a bulletin board, or on a door in your family room.

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And … all the envelopes “were hung by the ‘chalkboard’ with care.” (;

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I set up our Advent Calendar on a little table in our screened porch where Richard and I sit and have our morning coffee.  Our Texas winter’s are so delightful, we enjoy sitting out here every season, especially since we have an electric reproduction stove with “pretend” flames for the coldest days! (;

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A little “Holly Jolly” cuteness to start the day!

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 Daisy, our little grand dog … waiting for Santa!

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You know one of my favorite decorating “tricks” is using every day objects in unusual ways.  I filled this wrought iron planter with Christmas books and a basket of poinsettias … handy, and “at the ready” beside our chairs for reading!  I think it’s a perfect book cache for our outdoor room!

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“Have a holly, jolly Christmas; It’s the best time of the year …” 

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“I don’t know if there’ll be snow but have a cup of cheer …”

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Sweet little envelopes all pinned up on a ribbon clothesline … Countdown to Christmas!

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Get your paper and printer ready, make yourself a large “cup of cheer,” put your feet up and have fun making this Advent Calendar … 

“For we need a little Christmas

Right this very minute,

Candles in the window,

Carols at the spinet.

Yes, we need a little Christmas

Right this very minute.

It hasn’t snowed a single flurry,

But Santa, dear, we’re in a hurry;

So climb down the chimney;

Put up the brightest string of lights I’ve ever seen.

Slice up the fruitcake;

It’s time we hung some tinsel on that evergreen bough …”

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As this Christmas season of busy-ness begins, my desire is to have my heart “tuned” to focus on Jesus, the reason for the season!  These words from our Choir Christmas Cantata written by Sue Smith haunt me.  “There was no room in the inn.  No room for Heaven’s amazing gift of love.  No room for the long-awaited Messiah.  No room for our only hope of salvation.  No room.  Time and again these two simple words stir our hearts, and we vow to make sure it never happens with us.” 

These words are a solemn reminder; my prayer this Christmas is … Lord, whatever I do or don’t get done during this Christmas season, let my focus be on YOU!  I want Him to know … I have a room reserved just for Him; there IS room in the Inn! ❤

“O come let us adore Him … Christ the Lord!

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“Come, let us bow down in worship. let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker …”  Psalm 95:6

From my cottage to yours  ~  Trenda 

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DIY “Jolly Jack-o-Lantern” Halloween Wreath … by Trenda

“A Halloween of Memory Past” by Trenda  In just a little over a “fortnight” we will have a host of little ghosts and goblins coming to our doorstep.  Once, not really so very long ago, I was one of those happy “trick or treater’s” … traipsing down the streets, I peered to see out of my plastic mask that was always askew, had eye slots that were cut too small to properly see and was held in place by a thin rubber band that pulled my hair and I was always afraid would snap and pop me in the face!  I made sure I stayed close to my strong, broad shouldered father and seeing his comforting silhouette outlined in the shadows was particularly assuring on a night called All Hallows’ Eve!  My father carried a railroad lantern to lead his little band and family of mix-matched character’s … a hobo, a skeleton, 2 gypsies, and a clown … and I remember the red glow cast by his lantern, added to the mystique of the evening. (to be continued)piccollage

 

Remembering that feeling, I love to make our home as welcoming as possible on Halloween and enjoy creating an expectant atmosphere, befitting the night, that the children can sense as they climb up each step to our door.

Now with all that in mind … today I am writing the DIY instructions for this Jolly Jack-o-Lantern Halloween wreath that you can make and hang on your front door to welcome each of your little visitors!  The “jewel and sparkle” a wreath adds to your door, is like adding a necklace to your outfit! (: 

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Below, is a list of supplies you will need to make your wreath.

Materials needed:

  •  metal wreath form
  • up to 3 rolls of mesh in your choice of Halloween colors
  • pipe cleaners
  • glue gun and glue sticks
  • assorted Halloween decorations
  • scissors & wire cutters

Instructions:

First, make a simple loop hanger using a pipe cleaner and wrap it around the back of the wire wreath form.  This is the hanger you will use to display your wreath on your door, but it is also convenient to use while constructing your wreath.  TipI always use  pipe cleaners that match the colors I am using in my wreath.  Then, when I am finished they aren’t easily seen and “blend” right into the decorations and colors of the wreath.   Take your first color of mesh and go around the form of your wreath, bunching the mesh loosely.  To form a “poof” or segment, wrap a pipe cleaner around the mesh and wire wreath form to secure the mesh to the form.  I trim my pipe cleaners off at this point to keep things neat and so they won’t get “in the way” and snag my material.  Continue bunching and securing mesh around the perimeter of your wreath form.  Don’t be timid!  There’s no wrong way to do this! (:   

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Then, do the same thing again with the next color you have chosen for your wreath.  Gather and bunch your mesh and secure it with pipe cleaners to your wreath form.  Be sure and “stagger” where you bunch and secure your mesh, not conforming with the same pattern you used with the first color.  This will make your wreath fuller.  See picture below.

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Repeat the same procedure again, using your last color of mesh and making sure to weave and bunch your mesh in areas you see that need more fullness.  Note:  It is up to you how many colors of mesh you use.  Sometimes, I use only 2 fabrics or even one color of mesh or burlap.  Just make sure when you are using fewer colors that you bunch your fabric tighter, so you have a full wreath.

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Now, the fun part begins!  Take your decorations and just hot glue them to your wreath.  I add my biggest items first … next, any smaller items I have.

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Then … I add my “filler” last.  Filler is added to your entire wreath and “pulls” the look of your wreath together, unifying and blending all your colors and decorations on the wreath.  Filler can be any material – it adds texture and conformity.   In the photo below … see how I’ve used my neon green curly twigs as filler.

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Then, I added a few “bursts” of accent with a ribbon that incorporated all the colors of my 3 different mesh … a purple, orange and black plaid.  Wherever I wanted a little more color, I cut some random lengths of my plaid ribbon and “wove it” into the mesh ribbon, and hot glued the ends to hold.  The final step was gluing some sparkly wrapped paper candies … table confetti, that I found at Hobby Lobby for only $1.50 … in just my colors of purple, orange, and neon green! 

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Now when …

“Silent phantoms

of the night

In their robes

of ghostly white.

They are always to be seen

On the night of Halloween.”

come to your door, they will be delighted to see the wreath you made welcoming them to your haunt! 

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Thank you so much for spending some time with me today!  I’d love to hear from you and I am truly delighted, reading what you have to say.  Please leave a comment, below.  Don’t be alarmed when your comment doesn’t post, immediately.  Word Press makes sure each post I send or that I receive hasn’t any SPAM attached … “it’s a good thing!” (: 

From my cottage to yours  ~  Trenda