Thursday, December 1, 2011

Christmas Craft Challenge 2011 - Day 1

It's here, it's here!! No Christmas Day has not magically appeared to move time and be NOW!!! (Thank goodness) But it is Day 1 of my third annual (hello what else can it be) Christmas Craft Challenge.
This year I have done a LOT MORE pre-planning so I'm confident the wheels will not fall off like last year. I'm also hoping to pre-write some blogs and then schedule them but that is going to happen behind the scenes so you won't even know I'm doing it... maybe I shouldn't have told you then... hmm oh well. 
I can't help it. I'm finally starting to feel a bit more enthusiastic about Christmas. My darling hubbie and were saying only a couple of weeks ago that we really didn't feel like we had the Christmas Spirit at the moment and hadn't really felt "in the mood" for Christmas for a couple of years, but hopefully that is starting to dissipate as we rediscover what Christmas is all about for us as a family.
I think part of it is that Christmas time for us has been tainted by some bad memories with family illnesses. Last year was our children's maternal grandfather, a few year's before that my father-in-law. And whilst we try to keep positive and enthusiastic, at times that is easier said than done. For now though, enough reflection on what has been for it is time to start the Christmas Countdown... or should that be Count-Up.

So what is this Christmas Craft Challenge thingey all about.
It start three years ago in 2009 when I issued myself the challenge of making and blogging about one Christmas related craft item(s) every day from 1st December through to 24th December. It was partly because I wanted some more Christmas decorations for my tree and house, but was also because I needed something to motivate me to get crafty. I'm a procrastinator... there I said it. I have been one as long as I can remember and though I am trying to get myself out of what is for the most part a 'bad' habit I think it will always be a part of who I am. I know that I work best and can usually pull all stops, get it done, produce the goods and beat the odds when I am under pressure. So having such a demanding schedule as having to craft things in as many days (as well as working full-time, being a mum, nana, wife, hosting Christmas, running a business and sleeping somewhere in amongst all that) suits me to a "T".
I digress... so over the next 24 (possibly 25 days) I will be sharing with you my Christmas Craft Creations. Sometimes the definition of "Craft Creations" and even "Christmas" maybe a little stretched, a little broad but when it comes down to it, it's my blog and I can do what I like :-)
I really do hope that you will join me for the next 24 days and longer. Be sure to stop by daily. If you are joining in the Christmas Craft Challenge, doing your own Craft thing or your own version of some of these creations... please let me know and I will post a link to your blog. I would love to see what you are creating and I'm sure there are hundreds of other people who would love to see them as well.

Day 1 - Advent Calendar
Until I started the Craft Challenge we never really had an advent calendar other than a pre-made, chocolate billed, latest cartoon character inspired version. My first year I made an advent calendar which I still totally love so I'm sharing it with you here again.
I pulled it out again last night. I need to fill it with lollies today so we can start to count up to Christmas. We replaced the TV this year to a slim-line one, so we need to find a new home to display it but it will be proudly displayed somewhere in the lounge.
I think the snow on the roof will be in for a bit of an overhaul after Christmas as its starting to look a little tatty (or should that be melty) so some more photos of that once it's done.
Here it is... the first Advent Calendar:
This year I have made another advent calendar, this one is just for me. 
I wanted to do something that didn't revolve around food for a change and I have seen some amazing advent calendars which had fun tasks to do each day or inspirational quotes so this sounded like a great starting point.

  1. I started with some DLE envelopes which I have sealed closed. You can use new envelopes like I did (the self-stick was becoming a little dodgy) or recycle old envelopes. 
  2. Cut the envelope in half (short half not long half) to give two almost squares (not two long rectangles).
  3. Decorate both sides of envelope with a square of patterned Christmas paper. I cut my square 10cm x 10cm so I could get 9 out of each sheet of patterned paper. I used 6 sheets of different but coordinated patterned paper from the DCVW Mrs Claus Kitchen Stack. I choose papers that all had an underlying light gingerbread (beige) colour scheme. I inked each square with Tim Holtz Distress ink - Walnut Ink.
  4. Numbered the envelopes 1 - 24 after sorting them so that there was some variety, (then resorting them several times because I'm a perfectionist). I used three colours of numbers and alternated them - green, gold & red - all were $2 shop letter packs I picked up cheap.
  5. Printed inserts, sliced using my Tonic Studios Cutter and slipped them into the envelopes.
  6. Placed all the envelopes in naked remote control holder I picked up a while ago from Countdown. I will decorate it at some stage, still just contemplating how.
Now here is the little twist. Instead of fun tasks or inspirational quotes I decided to create a place where I can write something about each day.
  • What about today appealed to me? 
  • Inspired me? 
  • Stood out about today?
  • Made today magical?
  • Made today memorable?
  • Reminded me about the Christmas Spirit?
  • Made me stop and think or smell the roses?
  • What about today was different or amazing or momentous or made my heart sing or my eyes twinkle or my face flush with anticipation?
  • What made today special?
Once I have completed every day's thought for the day and the hectic events of Christmas are over, I will then be able to turn each day's thoughts into a mini album... and a new Christmas Tradition for me each year.
Now doesn't that sound so much better than chocolates???


Gypsy said...

sound like you need to do a photo a day for the flip side- then you have a very simple and best of all easy approach to the Daily December Album.

Lainie said...

Great idea here Paula. I miiiight look at doing this next year.