The advent of our advent calendar...

I have had an advent calendar on my Christmas to-do list for such a very long time that I can't even remember exactly how long it's been there.  The cardboard variety emblazoned with all manner of commercial characters that you can pick up in the checkout aisle at K-Mart was never going to cut it for me, so my girls have been deprived of the delight of opening a little door every day during the month of December their entire lives while mummy got her act together.

Well mummy finally has and I'm pleased to report that as much as they probably would have been just as happy with one of the K-Mart jobs, the girls were over the moon when I unveiled the completed calendar, and the great thing about it is that it's sturdy enough to be used year after year, so it has the added bonus of environmental friendliness too :-)

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Can you guess what I used?

The last photo is a bit of a giveaway, and as an additional clue, I probably looked a little bit dodgy carrying and armful of these things out of the shop where I bought them.

In my haste to finish the calendar in time for December 1st, I forgot to take a "before" picture of what I used to put it together, but with Google  Images to the rescue, this gives you an idea of what I started with...

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...which probably also gives you an idea of why folks may have been looking at me sideways as I left the shop carrying four of them.

I wanted to keep it fairly simple for reasons of time and also fussiness.  Being that it would be covered in numbers, I didn't think it needed much in the way of embellishments, so a few off cuts of Jolly Holiday DSP and some co-ordinating cardstock, plus several goes of my Timeless Type Sizzlets numbers through the BigShot and it was pretty much done!

To hold it all together, I used a 12x12 sheet of chipboard and cut lines part way through with my paper trimmer so that I could fold the sides up around the edges of the boxes, having first stuck them down with some large pieces of heavy duty double sided foam tape.

I stuck the folded up edges of chipboard to the boxes with Sticky Strip, then wrapped a length of Old Olive wide grosgrain tightly around the whole thing and tied it in a bow at the top.

I finished it with a day to spare and popped it above our fireplace in readiness for the first opening after dinner this past Wednesday, which needless to say was approached with much anticipation and excitement.

The girls were pretty excited too ;-)

They get to take it in turns to open the numbers, with the one who does the opening scoring the chocolate and the other one getting the fruit lolly.

Here's my big girl doing the honours on day one with the small one looking on impatiently.

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And here they are with the fruits of their patient waiting until after dinner time/bath time...

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I'm thinking that I may have to invest some time and a couple of bottles of Crystal Effects to add a bit of a protective coating to the numbered panels as we have already had a bit of a chocolate covered fingers incident.  Not sure if I'll worry about that or not.

BUT, I'm just delighted to have finally struck this one off my list of Christmassy things to make and am super pleased that the final result surpassed any of the pre-conceived ideas I had of how it might turn out.

I am, however, very interested in any other ideas for homemade advent calendars just in case the chocolate covered fingers get out of hand (no pun intended!) and ruin this one, requiring me to make a new one in future years.

So if you know of any, be sure to leave a comment and let me know so I can file them away for future reference :-)

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"Pill Box Advent Calendar"Paper: Old Olive, Cherry Cobbler, Very Vanilla & Early Espresso cardstock, Jolly Holiday DSP Accessories: BigShot, Timeless Type Junior Alphabet Sizzlets, Old Olive wide Grosgrain Ribbon, Sticky Strip, Tombow Multipurpose Glue