Country Sampler Special Edition

Budget-Friendly Festivity


This project from Jennifer Voelkel of The Craft Patch blog is easy to assemble using supplies found at a dollar store. Each day, you pull a matchbox off the cookie sheet and open it to reveal a tiny toy, yummy treat or fun activity. To make your own, drill two holes at one end of a steel cookie sheet and then spray paint the sheet red. Gather 24 empty matchboxes and cover each with a 21⁄8" x 4½" strip of Christmas scrapbook paper, securing with a glue stick. Print numbers onto card stock and cut them out using a 1" circle punch. Glue a number circle to the front of each matchbox and stick an adhesive magnet to the back. Thread a ribbon through the holes in the cookie sheet and tie into a bow for a hanger.

Chic Circles

This no-fuss DIY design combines warm wood boards, numbered metal tags and a stenciled greeting.

STEP 1 Cut six craft-wood boards to length and darken with stain or a brown paint wash. When dry, sand edges and random areas for an aged look.

STEP 2 Stencil “Merry Christmas” on one board and then brush or spray with mattefinis­h sealer.

STEP 3 Attach the boards together using two vertical support boards on the back. Use a coin as a spacer to leave a narrow gap between each horizontal board.

STEP 4 Evenly space numbered metal key tags across each board and attach each with a small flat-head screw. Glue the head of an aged brass brad over each screw head.

STEP 5 Screw in an eye hook on each top end of the wall hanging. Knot a length of twine through the hooks for a hanger. Wire greenery and mini pinecones to the twine.

STEP 6 Find a metal index clip that will fit the space between the boards. With pliers, bend one end into a 90-degree angle. Bend a slight upward curve on the other end. Insert the flat end into the space between the boards.

STEP 7 Embellish a mini grapevine wreath with greens and pinecones. Hang the wreath from the curved end of the clip over the current day of the countdown.

Simply Rustic

The neutral tones of this Advent calendar will fit right in with any Christmas color palette. Chelsea Johnson of Making Manzanita crafted it using 25 birch rounds arranged in a tree shape on a wood tray. Drill a 1/8" hole in the top center of each birch round. Stain an unfinished wood tray a dark hue and then dry brush it with white chalky-finish paint. When dry, lightly distress the tray with sandpaper. Drive in 1¼" finish nails to hold the birch rounds. Spray the empty tray with sealant. Number the rounds with a permanent marker and add them to the tray. Spray with a final coat of sealant.

Kitchen Creation

Turn a holiday apron into a charming Advent calendar for the kitchen. Just sew numbered pockets and bags onto the apron in a random design. To make the pockets, cut out squares of material and hem all four sides. Position the squares on the apron and sew them on along the sides and bottom, leaving the top open. Attach premade fabric bags with pins. Add the numbers however you like, such as using stamps, stencils, a paint pen or iron-on designs. Hang the apron on the wall and tuck little toys, treats or activity cards into the pockets and bags.

Forest of Fun

Stay busy all season with this Advent calendar from Vanessa Brady of Tried & True. Visit her blog to print a page of free Christmas tree patterns and then cut them out. Trace the tree shapes in matching pairs (with the top edges together) onto green scrapbook papers. Cut out and fold the pairs to make 24 trees. Open each tree and write an activity inside. Use black paint and a paintbrush or a paint pen to number a premade wood place-card holder for each tree. When dry, insert a tree into each place-card holder and arrange the pieces wherever you like. DESIGNED AND PHOTOGRAPH­ED BY VANESSA BRADY OF TRIEDANDTR­UEBLOG.COM.

Daily Goodies

If you have a few hours, you can whip up this fun goodie-bag Advent calendar, according to Lisa Tutman-Oglesby of Celebrate Creativity. Stencil and paint red numbers onto 25 premade drawstring bags and then decorate the bags with whatever you have on hand. Lisa used sprigs of plastic greenery and red-and-white baker's twine for her bags. Tie the bags onto a long string of jute to make the garland. DESIGNED AND PHOTOGRAPH­ED BY LISA TUTMAN-OGLESBY OF CELEBRATE-CREATIVITY.COM.

Retro Look

Since it's already divided into 24 compartmen­ts, an oldfashion­ed soda-pop box is ideal for a vintage-style Advent calendar. Adhere circular wood bingo numbers under each compartmen­t, using the top of the box for 25. Fill each cubicle with a treasured family ornament, and set aside time each day to take out the ornament and hang it on the tree. Or, keep the ornaments in a decorative basket next to the wooden box and place an ornament in a cubby until the box is completely full by December 25.

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