I love advent calendars almost as much as I love Christmas. One of my favorite childhood Christmas traditions was putting the little ornaments on our advent calendar. It served to feed my excitement almost to a frenzy and I don't regret it. In fact, I want the same thing for my own children.
The magic of Christmas is love and giving. It manifests itself in kind deeds, the excitement of little children (and adults, if your adult people are anything like me), and the warmth of the knowledge of the Savior of mankind. This is Christmas.
I wanted to find some way to include my testimony of Jesus Christ into our daily magic. I want my children to know as surely as I do that the babe from Bethlehem grew into the man that would fulfill His Godly mission and atone for their sins. I want them to hear those scriptures as often as they hear jingle bells.
I ran across two different blogs whose authors shared this same vision. I used a little bit of this one and a little bit of that one and then incorporated some changes and ideas of my own. I love the way it turned out. I'm going to try my hand at a second one and play with different background colors because my little sister wants one too and I'm just that nice. And maybe I'll figure out a way to be successful at Mod Podge
before I'm done . . . or not, in which case I'll switch to spray paint.
I wanted my calendar to include daily scriptures and so I first decided which pictures I wanted to use and their accompanying scriptures. I know that many of my readers are not LDS, but I am, so if you're feeling a little confused by some of the references it's because they can be found in The Book of Mormon. I ordered 3x4 prints from Deseret Book and then cut them down to just slightly smaller than 3x3" to fit on my squares. More on that later.
- Journey To Bethlehem by Joseph Brickey: Luke 1:26-28, Matthew 1:18-25, Luke 2:1-5
- His Name Shall Be Called Wonderful by Simon Dewey: Luke 2:6-20
- Be It Unto Me by Liz Lemon Swindle: 1 Nephi 11:13-20
- For Unto Us A Child Is Born by Simon Dewey: Isaiah 9:6, Luke 2:21-35
- In Favor With God by Simon Dewey: Matthew 2, Luke 2:40
- Growing In Wisdom by Simon Dewey: Luke 2:41-52
- Light And Truth by Simon Dewey: Matthew 13:54-57
- To Fulfill All Righteousness by Simon Dewey: Matthew 3:13-17
- Seeking The One by Liz Lemon Swindle: John 10:14, Luke 15:3-5
- Peace, Be Still by Simon Dewey: Mark 4:35-41
- Living Water by Simon Dewey: John 4:6-14, John 6:35
- Fishers of Men by Simon Dewey: Matthew 4:18-20
- The Better Part by Simon Dewey: Luke 10:38-42
- From Darkness To Light by Simon Dewey: John 9:1-7, John 12:46
- Led By The Spirit by Simon Dewey: Luke 4:1-8
- In Humility by Simon Dewey: John 13:4-5 & 12-17
- The Last Supper by Simon Dewey: Matthew 26:20-30
- Gethsemane: Matthew 26:36-46, Mosiah 3:7
- Behold The Man by Simon Dewey: John 18 & 19, Mosiah 3:8-9
- Why Weepest Thou by Simon Dewey: John 20:1-17, Mosiah 3:10, D&C 76:22-24
- That Ye May Know by Simon Dewey: 3 Nephi 11:1-17
- Jesus Blesses The Children by Del Parsons: 3 Nephi 17:21-24
- Let Him Ask In Faith by Simon Dewey: Joseph Smith History 1:11-17
- The Second Coming: Acts 1:11, D&C 29:10-11
- Prince of Peace by Liz Lemon Swindle: 2 Nephi 25:26
I cut my board from 3/8" plywood. My handy husband cut it down to a 19x24" size for me. He also used a 2x4 to cut the 25 3x3" squares to 1/8" thick. They ended up not being quite uniform in thickness and I actually prefer that. I painted the edges of the little squares red.
After that I cut down the pictures of Christ and the scrapbook paper that I'd chosen for the other side to 2 7/8 x 2 7/8" sizes. This allowed a little bit of the red to show and also ensured that I wouldn't have to repair any of the cuts.
I mod podged the paper and the images to their rightful sides (on separate days). I put a layer of mod podge underneath and then over the top. I didn't put the top layer on the scrapbook paper sides until I had adhered the vinyl numbers (which were cut to be about 1x1"). I also used a brown ink pad on the edges of the scrapbook paper sides to add contrast and give them kind of an aged look . . . a brilliant idea from a friend of mine who is far craftier than I will ever be. She also prints my vinyl for me. I should probably just pay her to do these projects for me. It'd be better for my blood pressure.
I mod podged brick red scrapbook paper to the base board. That was a stinking disaster. I'll just be honest. It took one redo and then was still so bad that I tossed it in my room and vowed to just spray paint the other side the color I wanted when I was no longer mad. Well, it magically fixed itself as it sat in my room and the majority of the bubbles laid flat. I'm not going to promise that this sort of miracle will happen to you, however, because I refuse to make false claims . . . especially where mod podge is concerned.
I sanded down the edges of that board and the paper just to give it a feathery look. Then I used antiquing gel mixed with water and rubbed it where I had sanded. It added a little bit of contrast and darkened the edges (another brilliant idea from my friend).
I mod podged on a couple of contrasting sheets for my header that my sister-in-law helped me choose because she's way craftier than me also. I'm pretty sure everyone is, but I try. Then I adhered my vinyl lettering to that and mod podged a final layer over the top. The edges on my headers were also given that aged look on the edges by using the brown ink pad.
My handy dandy husband drilled the holes in my little squares for me. That was only semi disastrous. You have to wait to drill the holes until you've mod podged everything on both sides of your squares. I don't think there's any way around it. The drill bits go through just fine, but because the paper is firm from all of that special glue, pieces tended to rip or not come all the way off. I had to take a wire brush to the insides of the holes to at least partially clean them out. It was some work, but it turned out fine.
Then I laid out the squares where I wanted them to hang and hammered the nails into my board. Underneath the little squares is where I placed the scriptures. I was able to find Avery adhesive labels in a 2x2" size and a Kraft brown color. I printed the applicable scriptures for each square and then stuck them underneath their appropriate square. You can't see them except when you go to flip the square from the date to the image of Christ.
Once those stickers were on. I used Mod Podge Clear Acrylic Sealer
on the base. I probably could've used the sealer on each square also, but I didn't and am not sure it's necessary yet. The sealer keeps the mod podge from remaining so tacky even when it's dry. Hopefully it will keep the squares from sticking to it during storage. If not, then I guess I'll use the sealer on them too.
Anyway, I was so excited to be done! And I think it turned out great! I'm excited to try some other color combos as well. Although don't hold your breath for those just yet. I intended to be done with this a month ago so we could use it beginning December 1st. That obviously didn't happen. Sometimes I get caught up in a million different projects and things don't go exactly how I plan, but I finished this nonetheless.