modern luxe advent calendar

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 i have always wanted to start the christmas tradition of doing an advent calendar with my kids, but the busyness of the season has always pushed it to the side – how sad is that?!  well, not this year!  i finally created an advent calendar we can reuse each year, and make changes each year if we want.

this year i have completely revamped our christmas decor.  in the past, i have gone all out elaborate with with the traditional reds, but also threw in lime, pink and turquoise!  its definitely festive, but this year i wanted to try something completely different:  i’m calling it luxe lodge.  i wanted to go for a warm, rustic feeling, then cover it in glitz and glitter!  think pinecones, flannel and antlers mixed with feathers, faux fur and crystals.  like it?  me too!

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 want to learn how to make a modern advent calendar for yourself?  its super easy!  i started off by heading to home depot… and got a little distracted ;)

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 i bought a 2′ x 4′ plywood panel,

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 a small pot of quick-drying stain, and some essential prep supplies, like swifter 360* dusters and bounty towels for prep and cleanup, and febreeze to help eliminate the odor of the stain (it was a rainy day, so this project was going to be done indoors).

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 while the board i bought was precut and already pretty smooth, it still had a few spots that could use some smoothing out, so i lightly sanded the entire board with 100 grit sandpaper, paying special attention to the edges.

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 anytime i do a sanding project i like to use swifter projects since they pick up the dust better than any tack cloth.

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 the staining was super quick & easy – maybe 5-10 minutes.

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 next i gave the stain a little shake and open it up.  do you know about the coin trick?  if you don’t have a paint can opener or a flathead screwdriver on hand, a quarter can easily pop open the lid!

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 i used an inexpensive chip brush (so i could just toss it when i was done)

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 and painted a heavy coat of stain along the grain.

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 as soon as i had covered the whole length of the board, i wiped it down with a rag, again in the direction of the grain.

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 then i stained another section, the full length of the board, and wiped again, until the board was completed.  the stain was created to dry in an hour, so i was able to complete this project the same day i stained it!

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 i wanted to use 25 hand-made envelopes for this project, so i grabbed a variety of envelopes i had on hand to get an idea for size and spacing.

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 next i gathered a handful of decorative papers (scrapbook paper and wrapping paper)

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 you can buy an envelope template, but i wanted to have several different sizes of envelopes and didn’t want to pay for them, so i made my own – its super easy.  all you have to do is take an existing envelope in a size you like and open it up completely, pulling apart the sections that were adhered together.  lay it flat and you have your envelope template!

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 with a pencil, i traced the template on the back of the papers so if i made any wonky lines i wouldn’t see them on the outside of the envelope.

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 also, i made sure the pattern placement of the paper was how i liked it as well.

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 after i cut out the envelope template outline, i folded it, using the corners as my guide.

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 for most of the cards i used double sided tape to stick the 3 sides to each other, but he glitter paper was a bit feistier, so i brought out the big guns (glue gun, that is).

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 one of my favorite things to do is play with color, pattern and style, so laying out the cards in  a pleasing order was really fun for me!  once i got them all in place, i used some washi tape to hold the cards down without damaging the paper.

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 i used tiny binder clips and itty bitty nails to secure the envelopes to the board.

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 thankfully, the wood i chose was fairly soft, so this task was pretty easy.

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 well, i heard it was easy – sean did it for me so i could take pictures!

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 the advent calendar hangs in our little hallway off our kitchen, where our family rules canvas usually hangs.  i used a striped ribbon bow draped over a glass knob to look like the calendar is hanging from it, but its really hanging from wire in the back.

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 i found some great paper with advent numbers on it (basically anything with 1-25 will work), so i cut them out and simply hot glued them right on the envelopes so we know which envelope to open on which day!

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 i love all the variety of paper, the bits of glimmer mixed with newsprint, and the one red envelope.

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when i was doing my layout of the envelopes, i wanted to leave a little space at the top to do something fun!  i spelled out “joy” with some glittered letters i had and a mini wreath as the “o”.  they are all held on with thumbtacks – so easy!  and i wanted to add a little pop of color and tie in to the rest of the holiday decor, so i added a striped red bow to the top, hung by a vintage glass knob.

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 what i love most about this calendar is that i can easily change it up next year if i decide to change my decor again.  i can add in a couple more colorful envelopes or even paint over the stain.  i love that its going to be so versatile for our family, and for me, who can never make a permanent decision!

 *This is a Sponsored Post, but all opinions are my own.

 

recycled planter

recycled planter

i found this great igloo drink dispenser years ago at a flea market and have used it a ton.  i loved it so much, that even when we weren’t using it, i left it out in our yard because it was so cute.  that was a mistake.  water leaked in through the lid and rusted out the bottom.  bummer.

recycled planter

so now i still get to enjoy it the great container, and it gets used everyday!  here’s how i did it:

first sean drilled a handful of wide holes in the base, so we had adequate drainage.  then i took an old plastic pot, like the kind that plants come in, and places it at the base upside down.  then i took some styrofoam packing peanuts that i had saved up from a recent shipment and filled up the base of the igloo about 2/3 up.  then i added potting soil and plants and gave it a good watering.

so fun!