I did it! I finally did it!! I am so excited that I was able to actually get this made so that I could use it for THIS Christmas! (I'm 5 days late in getting in started, but we are making up for it by opening a couple of boxes each day until we catch up!!...my kids sure don't mind that!) I was inspired by 2 things I saw while at the Stampin' Up! Convention this past summer. They showed us this cool Christmas Countdown Framed Artwork in one of the General Sessions & then had it on display so we could take pictures of it. I thought it was soooo cool!! (As did everyone else in attendance!) Then on the tour of the Riverton Campus, I saw something else that sparked my interest. It was a different type of Christmas Countdown/Advent Calendar that you could write different ideas,Bible Verses, or activities to do throughout the Christmas season. Actually, I think I saw this idea first! Anyway, if you scroll down, you'll see a picture of it, too. So, I created a little pocket on the back of the numbers for a tag that lists a different activity for us to do each day until Christmas (I haven't actually made the tags yet. That might have to wait until next year.)
Okay, so just how did I make MY Countdown to Christmas?? I'll tell you just the basics because it would take FOREVER to give all the details. I'm sure this is going to be long anyway! :)
1. I used the Real Red Medium sized Christmas Countdown Decor Elements from Stampin' Up!'s Phase 2 line. (Just click on the Decor Elements Brochure in my left side bar to see this & the other cool products in this line) I found the center of the matboard, and put a small pencil mark on it. Then I found the center of the Decor Element & put a mark on the top, so that I could line them up. I also made a few other pencil marks on the matboard for where the sides & the tops of the Decor Element should be. I actually got it lined up just as I hoped! WHEW! But I will admit that it was quite an accomplishment to get all the little red dots to stay on the sticky top layer. Patience & a little determination is all I can say!
2. My backing is a piece of textured matboard that was cut down to fit in the 18x24 frame I got at Hobby Lobby (at half price). They cut it for me for $0.50 per cut which sounded just fine to me so I didn't have to figure out how to cut it nicely!
3. The boxes I used were different sized paper-mache boxes. Some I purchased recently at H.L. & some that were purchased several years ago. (Now that I'm getting another good look at the one that Stampin' Up! made, I think they might have used kraft paper jewelry boxes because their boxes sure are a lot more streamlined than mine. Mine stick out quite a bit (more room for candy!)..not quite sure how I'm going to be storing it!
4. To mount them I started with the four corner boxes. I drew very light pencil lines to help make sure the boxes were somewhat straight. I placed a piece of wide Terrific Tacky Tape (from H.L.--it's just like Stampin' Up's Sticky Strip, but was one inch wide.) Since I was mounting them on a "paper" matboard, I wanted to be sure they would be really secure, so you will see in the photos that I even put 2 brads inside each box that went through both the box & the matboard. (I think the one Stampin' Up! made was from plywood that was painted & I think they used velcro to hold up the boxes. I wanted to make sure my boxes stayed straight & that they wouldn't tear up the matboard.)
5. After the boxes were all mounted, I put a small piece of Ski Slope DSP inside each box and a piece on top of the lid. I attached it with SNAIL, but looking back, I probably should have used the Tombow Multipurpose adhesive or Modge Podge.
a. For the small pieces I put inside the boxes, I punched 2 small holes on both short ends of the DSP, put the SNAIL on, put it inside the box & then using my Paper Piercer from my Crafter's Tool Kit, I pierced through my punched holes through both the box & matboard, & finally, I attached the gold brads.
b. For the pieces I put on the lids, after I used the SNAIL, I flipped the lids over & used my 1/8 Anywhere Hole Punch Tool from my Crafter's Tool Kit to punch 2 holes near the middle so that I could attach the ribbon. (I think the Stampin' Up! one has the ribbons tied in a knot & attached with a glue dot, but again, I wanted mine to be VERY secure.)
**Don't forget that you can click on any picture to make it larger to see more details.
6. For the Countdown Numbers:
a. I first made 25 scallops using the #2 Scallops BIGZ die on my Sizzix Big Shot. I used Textured Cardstock in Real Red, Kiwi Kiss, Chocolate Chip, & Baja Breeze to go with the Ski Slope DSP---I know that it has Old Olive, but I was OUT & felt like Kiwi Kiss was a good alternative for a gal who was not willing to wait one moment longer in making this! I made some additional scallops that I cut in half to make the pockets on the back. I adhered them with a 1/8 inche Terrific Tacky Tape (again, just like the Stampin' Up! Sticky Strip but thinner.) You'll see that in the photos below.
b. Next I cut 25 circles with my Coluzzle on Shimmery White Cardstock--I thought the Shimmer was a nice festive touch & because of the slight slickness to it, I was able to reposition some of the #s when they didn't go exactly where I wanted them to. Then I adhered the Shimmery Circles to the scallops.
c. Finally, I was able to apply the Decor Elements Numbers to the scallops. I used a small piece of a scallop to help line things up for me. I also cut apart the double digit numbers & put the numbers closer to each other. You will see that in the photos below.
d. I attached a small clothes pin to the matboard with both of piece of Sticky Strip & I punched holes with my Paper Piercer so that I could actually tie the clothes pin to the matboard with ribbon.
I think that might actually be all of my "basic" directions. Your actual measurements will vary with the size of the Christmas Countdown Decor Elements & the size of the frame you have. If you have any questions, I will be more than willing to try to help you out! Here are a couple more photos, just incase you haven't already seen enough!!
No, all the boxes are not filled with candy while it's hanging on the wall!! Do you think I'm crazy?? I just wanted you to see what it would look like with the candy in it. I've got three kiddos, so thankfully, I could get 3 pieces into most of the boxes. If they don't all fit, I'll be sure to have the extra one close by because WATCH OUT if there's not a piece for everyone!! YIKES! I made a special box to put my numbers in that you'll have to wait to see until tomorrow because it's not quite finished. You are gonna love it!!
And finally, here she is again in all her glory! I just look at it on the wall & it makes me so happy that I smile!! :) See you tomorrow....Erin