Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Advent adventure

Last Christmas, I got to follow along from afar (via phone and e-mail) as my precious friend Polly and her fairy-doll daughter Claire had a Christmas art adventure, creating an advent calendar. I loved their ideas so much! And then I saw a photo of the finished project, and it was even more wonderful than I had imagined.

So today, with Polly’s permission, I’m sharing it with you, along with Polly’s description in case you want to try this. Polly says:

“The advent calendar is made from an old, wooden Coca-Cola delivery crate, the kind designed to hold 24 glass Coke bottles upright and separate as they are carried into a store. Who knows where I got this, but I picked it up several years ago thinking it might make an interesting advent calendar. When turned upright on the long side, the 2.5 x 2.5 inch cubbies that make up the interior of the crate are the perfect size for advent gifts and treats. I found the boxes to insert in the cubbies at the Dollar Store (unfortunately, not in the dollar section). The boxes are matte-finished wedding gift boxes with flapped lids. The store only had 20, so I made up the difference with a slightly different style of box, one that mimicked a Chinese takeout box with a wire carrying handle.

“Claire and I spent an entire Sunday decorating the fronts of the boxes—never changing out of our pajamas and eating only snack food. We used old Christmas cards, beads, ribbon and whatever odds-and-ends we found in our craft drawers. The numbers were clipped from old calendars and magazines or pulled from our substantial pile of alphabet/number stickers. Credit for many of our materials goes to you, my friend, because you’ve been steadily sending us Ziplock bags of your favorite craft materials over the years.

“The flap-close boxes created one challenge for us: When the box is fully pushed into the cubby, it’s hard to get out. Adding a small loop of ribbon secured with a brad to the top of the box front did the trick. The ribbon-loop sticks out just enough to serve as a handle.

“Among my favorite boxes are those that Claire created herself or inspired. For example, she devised the ornamental number on the box for the eighth day by putting together two pieces of jewelry hardware from one of your craft bags. We had a wonderful day creating this—even the mother-daughter ‘creative differences’ that arose later in the day are now a fond memory.

“Mom: ‘How about this ribbon?’
“Claire: ‘No, it’s my box. Let me decide.’
“Mom: ‘Hey, I wanted that bead give it back.’

“Claire decided that the four boxes with the wire handles are the ones she fills for me. I fill the rest with whatever little gifts fit (literally): chapstick, bubble gum, hair clips, Christmas ornaments. Last year, I asked my family and friends to e-mail notes about what Christmas means to them and included these in the boxes as well. We also found a miniature wreath and Christmas tree in a bag of antique decorations. I put these in the box that corresponds with the day we plan to haul the Christmas ornaments out of the basement and go get the tree. Claire gives me nuts, beads and other items she deems as precious.

“When I pulled out the advent calendar this year, Claire was very excited, as was I. We’d both forgotten about it over the year and we had a great time getting to know it again and picking out our favorite boxes. My art (what little there is of it) always looks better to me when I’ve ignored it for a year or so. What looked like an imperfect mother-daughter craft project when we finished it last year, now looks like a precious family treasure.”

Precious, indeed. Thank you so much for sharing it, sister of my heart.

1 comment:

casserole said...

Love it! This is such a treasure!