On the twelfth day of Christmas, my podcast partner gave to me…. quite possibly one of our coolest projects ever. It all began back in November, when we saw all these amazing advent calendars popping up all over the place. They were all so fabulous, but also niche. What if, went the theory, we DIYed it? What if we made 12 small and easy projects, either finished, or something the other could use, and did a swap.
It was brilliant. We spent a month madly planning and brainstorming and making. It was rather tricky, because where we would normally vent to each other about project frustrations, we suddenly had to bite our tongue, and be satisfied with “remind me to tell you about this afterwards”. Instagram was also tricky – in a season where I was creating and crafting a prodigious amount, I was limited as to what I could actually show. Ditto for the blog. To make it even more fun, we decided to do a joint calendar, for a friend as a surprise. She was working almost everyday on the lead up to Christmas Day, so the surprise factor was important so she wouldn’t feel obligated to spend time she didn’t have on a project she was roped into. Another 6 projects I was working on and couldn’t share.
By the afternoon of Christmas Day, we were on a countdown, all three of us anxiously watching the clock tick down the final hours until we could open our first parcel. From Boxing Day, all the way through to Epiphany/Twelfth Night, we had a little parcel of joy. It was such a fabulous way to wrap up the tail end of the busy Christmas season.
For day one, I received a tin of watercolour crayons – I’ve been wanting to try them for ages, and Car had a spare set she no longer used. It was such an amazing gift to open, in a super cute tin, for my first gift. Day two a mini embroidery of the “me” half of our podcast logo, that I can’t wait to hang in my craft nook in the new house (presuming it ever actually gets built!). I’ve been having a stack of fun with my gelli plate lately, and Car enabled the addiction on day three, with a bundle of goodies to use to add interest to my prints. Day four made me laugh out loud – a pack of smarties. A whole lot of life happened between the start of the project, and the posting date, and any time Car starting stressing about getting it done in time, I told her to chill, buy a 12 pack of smarties mini packs, wrap one a day and call it done. Day five was a watercolour blob bookmark, followed by a knitted face washer for day six. The second half of the calendar kicked off with a Harry Potter quiz card game for day seven. Day eight brought a set of scrubby dots – I did mention that on top of the face washer, if day nine turned out to be a bar of soap I would start getting paranoid! For day nine, I received a box of collage words for my journaling bible, all hand stamped, and taped to some of Car’s cherished paper remnants. Day ten had me squealing over the tiniest dori you’ve ever seen. Wrapping it all up, day eleven was a carved gnome stamp in honour of our Christmas challenge, and for the grand finale, a fun little canvas with some of our best location jokes over the years.
I had so much fun coming up with my twelve items to send. The first one was sugar cookies that I baked with the children and decorated with stamped fondant. Day two was a project pouch, with our podcast logo on the front thanks to some printable iron on transfer paper. Continuing the podcast theme, day three was a hand stamped journal charm, saying “the minister”. Once upon a time, I participated in a Hogwarts themed swap, and the person I was making for noted that “potions” would be her favourite class. For that swap, I created a potions kit with essential oils, and knowing Car was both an oil user and a Harry Potter lover, I decided to replicate that project. I picked seven blends I thought would be most useful, and created a little kit with mini bottles of oils, a recipe book, and a pack of rollers. I knew I needed to include something involving my cricut, so for day five, I made a little 4×6 stencil. It took a while to come up with the “what” of the stencil, but in the end, I made up a file in procreate of some of my favourite mark making shapes for journaling, and transferred it to design space to cut out. Great minds think alike, and day six was my turn for a carved stamp – in this case, nothing as cool as a gnome, but a simple leaf design that should be useful for pattern and background making. Day seven was a bit of a cheat – a million years ago, back in 2019, Car challenged me to make a quilled picture. The finished picture, and it’s frame, has been sitting in my current projects box since then, included after we moved in early 2020, and it was one of the first projects I added to my list.
The gnome theme runs strong, and for day eight, I made a gnome needle minder – because don’t all projects need a properly themed needle minder? Day nine was a simple beaded bracelet, from some pretty green gemstone beads I had in stash. In theory it was supposed to be a diffuser bracelet, but some fool forgot to add the lava beads. Day ten was another recycled project. Back in 2012, our quilting group ran a secret Santa, and one of the things I sent was a little cross stitch kit. I took the same pattern, with a couple of tweaks, and made up a little Christmas themed kit. One of the funnest features, which I forgot to photograph, was the mini skeins of floss I included, complete with custom MOCS wrappers. I went a bit lazy for day eleven, and popped in a pack of my letterpress notecards that I still had in stash. I giggled for weeks over day twelve, specifically nominated to be the final package to open (the rest were a lucky dip). Does it look familiar, podcast listeners? It’s none other than the knitted finish flag the me blob holds in the logo! And yes, I deliberately left the ends unwoven, just like the logo, because I am well known for avoiding the weaving in of ends like the damn plague.
And of course, we can’t forget the six items I made for our surprise bonus calendar! Again it was a lucky dip, with only day two marked – the same bikkies I sent for Car. I also made a kitten proof yarn pouch – designed to hold a ball of our favourite Stylecraft yarn, with an eyelet set into the top for yarn to be fed through, and the pouch kept closed to foil any cheeky kitties thinking they might have a new toy. I also added a pocket to the back for scissors or hooks, which bears not only the Ministry logo, but the very official “Department of Enabling” designation. There was an oil roller with a blend called “On My Path”, and a little glass bottle filled with glitter glue – some mojo dust. Full time work can be a bit of a mojo zapper, and sometimes we need a little bit of magic to get it back. The final two were a riff on some of our favourite recurring jokes – a sticker via the cricut, and a matchbox diorama. Both include names and location specific information so I’ve left them out for this post.
It was so fun, we are backing it up again with a Christmas in July swap, and this time we are expanding it – the Department of Enabling is joining us in the making this time as well, and we are going to make a calendar for each person. This time, we’ll send two calendars and receive two. I’m already working on my list. I’m really pleased we left it as a post-Christmas calendar, it was a nice little moment each morning to sit in the peace and quiet with a coffee and that days gift, rather than it being another item on the advent to-do list. Day thirteen, with nothing to open, I do have to say, was quite the anti-climax.
But as nice as it was, Christmas is over, so is twelve days and our calendar. The tree is packed away, and most of the goodies have been taken to the container to be filed away in my stash. The crayons are hanging about for my daily projects this year. The bookmark is tucked into the book shelf of my trolley. The smarties are long gone. Real life is back, and I’m slowly easing into it. I’ve had a big week of ticking off jobs I had to get done to clear the decks for the year, and next week blogging should be back on track. My daily projects are taking a bit to get into, though my weekly projects are fitting in easier. I’ve had some crafty time in amongst the busyness, some quality time with my cricut, playing with watercolour classes, and dreaming of new quilts. Someone remind me again how I live in a tiny house and don’t have space for a large project like a quilt. I’m hoping the weekend might give me a chance to get some sewing done, to flesh out my summer wardrobe a bit. First though, it’s time to welcome the weekend in the best possible way – kicking back with my lashes book, number seven for the year. Happy Friday friends, have a great one!