Leave a comment

Not-so-lazy full Advent calendar

OK, so now you are feeling good because you managed to make a 7-day countdown with that printable.  You have vowed to do better next year.  This is something you can bookmark for next November!

I made a version from scratch. It was pretty easy.  With just a circle cutter and a punch you can make one too!


The sizes of MY circles – and these are slightly fluid, except as I’ve noted – are:

  • 7 3/4 inches for the numbers 1 to 18 – this one can’t be any smaller if you use a 1″ punch for the numbers or they won’t fit around the edge with room for a blank area. It can be bigger. A
  • 7 3/4 inches (or the same size) for the window circle that highlight the numbers B
  • 5 inches for the numbers 19 to 25 – this can be smaller (maybe even as small as 4 inches) but not bigger or it will cover the outer circle.  C
  • 5 inches (or the same size) for the window circle that highlights the numbers D

In addition I have a very large 10 inch circle that is decorative and a small 3 inch circle with the topper for the centre decoration.

Your circles can  be plain cardstock or card covered with patterned paper. Keep in mind your brad needs to be able to secure all the layers so don’t get crazy with the layers unless you have a really LONG-legged brad!

Start by finding the centre of each circle and punch a hole for your brad. I offset mine for a wonky look, cause I’m like that, but a centred hole is easier.

1. Print or stamp numbers 1 to 25.  They must be small enough to fit within a 1 inch punch. Punch them out. Punch 4 additional circles from plain cardstock to make tabs.


2. Punch a 1 inch hole in circle B. It should be about 1/8th inch from the edge.

3. Stack circle A and circle B and connect them with the brad.  Using the position of the hole in circle B, stick the numbers to circle A. This will ensure the number show thru the hole as the window is rotated.


Give some thought to how you want the numbers to look.  I chose the blank area to be at 12 o’clock.  I opted to have the numbers around the edge, perpendicular.


You can, instead, orient them as I did for the INNER circle, so the numbers read horizontal thru the window.  I’ve done one each way so you can see the effect and decide how you want to do yours! Likewise, decide if you want the tabs to the left or the right of the circles (again, I did one each way.) Might make a difference if you want to make a “lefty” version of this.

When you get to 18 there should be a blank area left.  Once you’ve counted down to there, the last week will count down using the inner circle!


4. Punch a 1 inch hole in circle D.  Repeat step 3 with circles C and D to create the final week of the countdown.

Make your centre decoration – I decided to use a STAR as that looks good even when it rotates and that makes the assembly very simple!

The real trick is which circles are stuck and which are only held with the brad, allowing them to move.


5. Thread a LONG brad thru circles A  B  C  and  D.  Orient the circles as you want them to be.  Test them.  See if you like them.  Once you are happy, stick circle A to either your framing circle or to your background.  I backed mine with a 12 x 12 inch piece of cardstock topped by a slightly smaller (11 1/2 x 11 1/2 inch) piece of patterned paper.

6. With the circles oriented, stick C to B and stick your topper over the brad. I also made the 25th a little special and added Merry Christmas! around the framing circle



Like with the printable version, you can add a bag to the back for 25 treats, and stick the whole piece to a folded cardboard stand.


Note this – the circles will perhaps rotate when you dont’ mean for them to  – this mostly happens with the back window circle.  If this bothers you or if you are letting a small child turn the circles I would set circles A and B on the blank spot between 18 and 1.  Punch a small  hole thru circle A, circle B, and your backing, just close to the outer edge, between two numbers.  When you are using the outer circle for the first 18 days, thread a brad only thru circle B  and fold the legs really flat – this will hide the hole but keep the brad from catching on anything.  Once you are done using the outer numbers, thread the brad thru both A and  B and the backing to hold the back circles in place.



That will still allow the window circle D to rotate.  Next year, just change it back to allow the rotation till day 19 once again!

So there you go.  Frankly I do not want or need another Advent Calendar/countdown so I just used bits hanging around on my desk and a paper collection that has been in my stash for a while, rather than sacrifice paper I loved to make a sample. But even so I rather like it and might see if DDs class would like to use it next year – they can always tuck little tasks, forfeits or fun challenges into the bag then the class can make a game of it.


Leave a comment

More Gelli print advent tags

VERY productive at my crop yesterday.  I got well ahead of the game with my Gelli print advent tags.


A couple need the little sequins added, like the stars and small dots seen on this one, and I have a few more backgrounds completed that need decorating, but I am no longer needing to do them every day before they can get used.


DD has seen them and pronounced them good and Christmas-y – if she’s happy so am I!

Tree is up and finally has had the ornaments added (too early for ME, but again DD insisted it go up last weekend where I usually try to put it off till mid-month) and this year we added only the front of the tree branches (artificial tree LOL!)  to the bottom half so is nestles nicely in the window curve with no need to move al the furniture around to fit it in.  That helped with me agreeing to have it up so early – in the past three years I seem to throw out my back EVERY TIME cause I try to move the heavy sofas in the lounge by myself.  You think I’d learn! Anyway, it’s starting to feel more like Christmas and after months of trying not to think about it I am finally getting into the spirit of it all.


Another Advent Tag

Shameless plug:  Looking for inspiration? Drop by the UKScrappers Home Page every day for a variety of holiday projects.  There will be links to tutorials and members can be in with a chance to win a few prizes, including a Daylight lamp (UK resident members only), tickets to the Make It show in Farnborough in February, and a voucher to a UKS Sponsor shop.

Today is the day DD has insisted we put up the tree.  Not much time for crafty play, but I am still a day ahead making the tags for her new Advent calendar.  I did change out the numbers.  I like the black stencil numbers filled with gold glitter paper:



I learned from my last attempt at stencil letters.  I just cut them all quickly with Scal. popped out the number bits and backed it with some glittery paper. *I* would have chosen glitter paper that was black, so the glitter effect wasn’t quite so intensely sparkly, but then this is meant to be to DDs taste more than my own, and this paper does match the littler glittery ornaments so…

But I do like it better than the original number option:



and now (and I will replace the one on the first tag, just not in time to photo it):



I may still add some pearl bead drapes, maybe, when I find my strand of smaller beads, but over all I expect she will be quite pleased with it.  Now, where is that stash of chocolate coins?  Or should I get some Quality Streets instead?  Gaaaa!  Too may decisions…



Just a taster – Gelli advent calendar?

DOH!  DD informed me that the advent calendars I’ve already made aren’t Christmassy enough – I’m not a big fan of the traditional red and green shades, so one is hot pink glitter, burgundy and lime with a lot of white and the other one is very vintage, with lots of brown. So I really loved the look of the Gelli pulls over gold embossing, and I selected a couple of stencils that show thru the embossing nicely – all circles, to unify them. I also still have a few of the gold embellishments from the last advent calendar I can use – DD did like them.  Phew!



Really, how could she NOT like that??

Anyway, I have at least a couple ready but will have to sneak in a few when I get the chance in order to have them ready each day – like I need THAT pressure.  Here is a glimpse.  They are tags, fairly simple, and attach to a strand of creamy pearls with a clothes peg:



I always opt for a grungy sort of font with anything Gelli, as I think it suits the style better, but I am not 100% happy with these.  Now I’m thinking maybe a black stencil surround?  Maybe I’ll have time to play tomorrow and see. Oh and it may not look it but that dark flower is really a forest green, not black!

The treat goes in a match box stuck to the back of the tag

3gelliadventJust push it open from one side or the other to clam your surprise.



Hope she likes this one better – I’ll know tomorrow….



Making my Advent Calendar part 2

OK, so here’s the deal – I was happily working on this post then somehow I dropped my camera.  It broke.  Stupid, stupid, stupid me.  The photos are not complete and some are those I took previously, so may look a bit odd, but I’ll try to explain as best I can and hope you get it.

The Cardstock Covering Sheets

The front of the calendar is approx. 12 inches wide by 28 inches tall.  The base is a large sheet of foam core – Hobby Craft has HUGE sheets on sale for about £2.50 at the moment so grab one.

The 24 ornaments fit, 12 per sheet, on to two pieces of 12 x 12 cardstock.  If you are using different elements of different sizes to mine (making the ornaments info in the previous post) use these instructions as a guide for laying them out, but adjust for your size elements.

Start with your 12 x 12 cardstock sheets.  Working on the BACK, mark off 1 1/2 inches from the top and 1/2 inch on each side. Lay your first ornament with the left at the left line and the hanger top at the top line. Poke a hole thru the eyelet, into the cardstock.

Ignore the fact you see a 1/4 inch quilting rule here.  Cut a 1/2 x 12  inch strip of cardstock from scrap card to use as a measure.  Laying the 1/2 inch strip to the RIGHT of the ornament edge, move the ornament over, placing the LEFT edge against the RIGHT edge of the strip (clearly I knocked my desk and the strip slipped in the photo – make the ornament right up to the edge.)  Again, poke a hole thru the eyelet.

Now, instead of moving the strip over and doing the next one, PLACE THE ORNAMENT AGAINST THE RIGHT LINE ON THE CARDSTOCK, again with the hanger against the top line. Poke the hole.  Line up the thin strip with the LEFT side of the ornament, re-place it to the LEFT of the strip and poke a hole. Repeat.

To recap, you did two placements from the left edge towards the middle, then two from the right edge towards the middle. The measurement of the ornaments makes it not easy to place EXACTLY (I hate math), and doing it this way gives you a slightly wider area in the middle of the cardstock, with two evenly spaced ornaments either side.  My idea was that you could tie a ribbon around the whole things, to make it look like a wrapped package.  Not what I did for mine, but an idea I filed away for the next one. It also means when you flip the cardstock to the right side the hole placement will be the same.

Again, had I had a working camera I could have shown this in a photo much better!

Now you have your first row.  To do the next row, re-place the 1st ornament at the starting point, upper left corner. Lay the 1/2 inch strip along the bottom of the ornament, and re-place the ornament with the hanger against the bottom of the strip, and against the left line.  Now you can use a ruler and the strip to find the intersection of the second line and the columns.  Just lay them out and poke your holes for the other ornaments at the intersection. Can you make sense of that from this photo??

Once you have all 12 holes poked you can repeat the process for the 2nd sheet.  You will have some extra at the bottom, which will allow you to butt together or overlap the two sheets.  If you look at mine, you will see the ornament area takes up about 18 inches.

I topped the calendar with the top of a sheet of decorative cardstock, and used some of the bottom of the same sheet at the bottom of the calendar.  I used a punch-out strip across the middle to disguise the join! If you plan to do this, you need to cut the topper and the bottom, so you know how much space they will take up before cutting the foam core background.

The Holes (set one)

OK, so now we have to create the holes that will hold the treats!

I cut another circle, slightly smaller that the 2″ punch, to ensure it will be hidden by the ornament.  Tailor your size hole to your ornament!

The critical thing here is you need to be able to cut these holes in the background cardstock so need some free-standing cutter.  The Circle scissor or the old CM circle cutter is what you want – a punch, unless it is an ANYWHERE punch, is not going to work.

I have NO PHOTOS of this but what you need to do is, using your poked holes as a guide, place the smaller circle on to the back of the cardstock and line them up so they will fall behind the ornaments when they are in place.  This photo sort of helps, as it shows the way I did it, which was to draw all the vertical lines joining the holes, then cross lines placed to match the center of the circle on the front of the ornament. This is actually the circles on the foam core, but you get the idea.

Cut all the circles in the cardstock . Next, using something like a Big Bite or old anywhere-hole punch, punch the smaller holes in the cardstock centered over each tiny pierced hole (the circled ones you see below.)

If you have made it this far I applaud you.  But we are not quite done yet.

The Foam Core Base

Decide on the height of you calendar.  You can simply make it 12 x 24, with no extra top and bottom, but you can see on mine I added the topper and bottom, and in that area a circle for 25, Christmas day.  If you want that, make sure your foam core piece is big enough to accommodate it. If you have cut a topper and a bottom strip, you need to lay it out and measure it!  Lay out the two cardstock sheets, overlapped but with space for whatever you will use to hide the join (I would stick them together NOW so there is no chance of them getting out of line later)  then add the topper and the bottom, as you want it to appear.  Measure and mark the foam core for height, then 12 inches for the width.

Cut the foam core to size.  Use a sharp craft knife and a new blade.  Cut thru the paper cover and into the foam, but DO NOT try to cut thru the whole depth in one go,  if you want neat edges – best to cut the top and into the foam, then on the second pass, finish cutting the foam and thru the backing paper. Lay out your layers, topper at the top edge, then the cardstock with the holes, exactly where you want it to be. Mark where the top edge of the cardstock falls on the overall foam core piece.  You will need to make sure that the holes yo will now cut line up.

The Holes (set two)

Lay your cardstock face up, on the foam core and transfer the circles/holes to the foam core with a pencil.  MAKE SURE the cardstock and foam core edges are PERFECTLY aligned and that you have the TOP of the cardstock at the TOP of the foam core and you have not somehow flipped it around!

This next bit is a bit tedious.  They do have things called foam core drills, that drill perfect circles in foam core, but a. the one I saw was £23 and b. the biggest drill bit was too small.  So I used a craft knife and cut out each hole.
Using a slightly up-and-down motion work around the hole with the knife.  If your pierce the backing with each stroke you should be able to push the circle out thru the back.

OK so the hole is a little raggedy.  It is pretty well hidden by the covering cardstock, but I wanted a nice finish for something this labour intensive. Using about 1/2 a roll of Washi tape, I cut small strips (and this was the first one, where I was not even trying to be frugal with the tape!  You really can actually get away with fairly small pieces, about 1/2 to 3/4 inch, to line the holes.

I also covered the outside edges with long strips of the same tape.


Add all the ornaments to the cardstock sheets with a brad.  The eyelet will raise it up just ever so slightly, so the brad holds it firmly in place, but you can still rotate it out of the way to access the treat.

Now, stick the cardstock joined cardstock sheet, with the ornaments attached, to the front of the foam core, matching the line and making sure the holes are all lined up behind the ornaments (you should be able to see this from the back.) If you have not already covered the join do so now.  Use lots of good strong double-sided adhesive at the top and bottom and between the rows and columns!

I backed mine with cardstock, but in thinking about it I may then back it with matte board – mine is super lightweight, and the matte board will make it heavier, but I think it will stand up to storage year after year much better with the heavier firm back.  If you live someplace dry and can store it flat, you may be OK with just cardstock backing, but it’s so damp here and our storage is in the garage, so I worry it might bend or warp .

Lordy that is LONG.  I know it is wordy and the lack of photos makes it a pain.  If I decide to make another one I’ll make sure I capture it and do a PDF or a You Tube doodah.