Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Variations on a Theme: Alice's Advent Blocks ....

become our new, permanent Advent Calendar!

When Alice G. posted about her "advent block" idea (look for the Nov 12th post), the wheels in my head started working overtime. I like to create one new thing each Advent season, something that we will then incorporate into our Advent and Christmas traditions. The advent block idea really seemed like a cool way to create a new tradition, but we had already created a Jesse Tree last year.

And, as I can't stand to "follow directions" or repeat someone else's suggestions completely, I've made a couple of alterations to this already fantastic idea.

So, here's what we did:

First, I went to my favorite craft store, Hobby Lobby, and purchased the above: two packages of 1-inch wood blocks (the extras will go in the craft cupboard for some other wild idea!), foam paint brushes, a small (8 x 6 inches) wooden box with sliding lid, a package of six 8 x 3/4 x 1/4 inch wood pieces, acrylic paints (I always buy Delta's Ceramacoat rather than the Plaid products -- they just work better) in a barn red, Christmas Green and white (although I technically should have done the Advent Calendar in Advent colors (purple/pink) but I always think of Advent/Christmas in the same vein and so I often use the same colors, matte finish spray, and some Sharpie metallic markers.

I sawed just a bit off three of the wood slats so they would fit into the box. I then base-coated all the pieces as shown above.

I then glued the painted slats into the box, making three evenly spaced "shelves". I used the gold Sharpie to title the box (so when it's in storage, we remember what it is!). The one inch cubes fit perfectly on the shelves, six across and four rows.

Here are the cubes -- so that I wouldn't get confused (and because I tend to try to use technology whenever possible!) I set up an Excel spreadsheet with six categories (for the six sides of the cubes) and numbered one through 24. The categories (like Alice's) are: items for a homemade Creche, Saints of the season, treats for after dinner each evening, prayers, family activity, Advent/Christmas symbol. The plan for these cubes is to have one family member each night pull a cube and we'll do five of the six things on the cube. The sixth side, the seasonal symbol, will be placed face out on the shelf as we do the cubes. This way, the box becomes an instant reminder of how many days are left (each cube will cover the number so the highest number exposed is how many days left) while also being seasonally decorative.

The final touch, is to sign and date the box so that you'll remember exactly how long we've been doing this Advent/Christmas tradition! Click here to see the box full of the blocks ....


Anonymous said...

A very original idea, which will bring your family many happy Advent memories.
I am working on a set of Advent blocks too, but I'm lacking in creativity and am copying the idea of a mom in Texas.
I'll be posting them later this week, come over and visit!

Cajun Cay said...

What a great organizational/storage/usage idea...all in one. :)

Alice said...

Mary, these are absolutely fabulous!!! I am so excited to see how beautifully your family has used this idea. It is just so gorgeous!

May God bless you this Advent season and always! You are a beautiful friend!

Anonymous said...

Wow! Looks great and sounds very memorable:)