Friday, November 23, 2012

DIY: Unconventional Advent Calendar

Well, Thanksgiving is over, so it must be Christmastime, right? I mean, I've been hearing holiday music at the grocery store for about three weeks now. (Slight eye roll.) Still, it's hard to deny that once we near the end of November, the Christmas spirit starts creeping up, and that spirit is aggressive. Well, this year I'm ready because I made an advent calendar...

Maybe you're thinking: Advent calendar, huh? Why's that better than a regular calendar? Umm, only because it involves little presents or candy. And I've seen all sorts of really innovative ideas lately--way beyond the wall-hanging, paper door with chocolates calendars we had growing up. For my advent calendar I wandered around the apartment looking for inspiration, and I realized I had one thing in a fairly large quantity: glass jars. Yes, I found 25 of them. What can I say? I'm unable to recycle a good jar.

In addition to glass jars, you'll also need a Sharpie, scissors, string, and fabric (any color or pattern you like). And the most important part: something to put inside your jars. Roasted nuts, candy, love notes, toys, jewelry, natures treasures, tiny winter dioramas, or any other trinket that strikes your fancy. 

1. Make a template for the fabric that will cover the jar lids. Most of my jars had lids of similar size, so a couple templates worked for the whole shebang. The most important thing is to make your fabric circle at least an inch and a half bigger than the jar lid...otherwise you won't be able to catch the fabric edges beneath the string. I encountered this problem. Believe me, it is very annoying.

2. Cut out all the fabric circles. They don't have to be perfect--you can always trim a little once you have them tied onto the jar. You could also iron the fabric...if that's what you're into. Not for me, thanks. My grandma ironed pillowcases, so my aversion is likely a generational backlash. However, I do acknowledge that ironed fabric would look nice.

3. Write all the numbers on your circles. I just freehanded while holding the fabric tight with my left hand. If you're feeling like a perfectionist, you could print out templates and use an embroidery hoop to secure the fabric. I said if.

3 1/2. Now would be the time to fill your jars with little treasures. If your jars are large enough, small wrapped gifts may fit inside. Otherwise, you can use tissue paper, tinsel, or shredded paper to hide loose items. Or don't hide them at all. Surprise ruined!

4. Lay out the fabric circles on top of your jars. I employed a rubberband to keep the fabric tight and in place while I fastened the string, but you might be more dexterous than I. Either way, secure the string just beneath the lip of the jar lid, and tie it tight. If you use a rubberband, just roll it down the side of the jar once your string is tied. All done...

Advent calendar: ACTIVATE!

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