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An advent  tree?  What in heaven’s name is that you ask?  If you haven’t heard of an advent tree before, there’s a good reason for it – that’s because as far as I know, no one has ever done one….unitl now *lol*!

The advent tree is a brainchild that hit me during our Stampin’ Up! Demonstrator Stampfest.  Another demonstrator – Heather Arsenault -was showing me some adorable magnets she made using small watchmaker tins which she purchased at Michael’s.  They looked just like the watchmaker tins used to create advent calendars such as this one – only they were smaller – measuring 1 1/4″ in diameter.  At the time, I was already busy thinking about my Holiday Blitz event and what types of projects I wanted to feature. I knew I wanted to do some type of advent calendar, but as is typical for me, I wanted to see if I could come up my own unique twist on it – so, the idea for the advent tree was born!

An advent tree is used to countdown the days until Christmas in the same way as you would with an advent calendar – however instead of being little boxes or tins on a calendar format, I turned them into ornaments on my tree.  Every day my children will open up one of the ornaments and inside there will be a little note.  On the note will be either an activity to do (such as watch a Christmas movie, bake cookies, go toboganning, make a card, etc.), or there will be a clue to send them on a hunt for a treat hidden somewhere in the house.  Today I’ll be sharing with you a few key pictures on how I made & decorated this tree just in case you decide you want to make one yourself.  I do warn you however – this is time consuming (it took me about 5-6 hours) and depending on where you get your supplies (i.e. the tins and other decorations) it can be kind of costly.  You can click on the picture below to get a larger view.

This tree stands about 2 1/2  feet tall.  The supplies I used to make it are as follows (all supplies are Stampin’ Up! unless otherwise indicated).

Stamps: star stamp from Nursery Necessities stamp set, Calendar Alphabet & Numbers stamp set
Paper:  Ski Slope DP, Whisper White CS
Ink: So Saffron Craft & Classic, Basic Black, VersaMark
Non- Stampin’ Up! Accessories: styrofoam cone, mini watchmaker tins, dressmaker pins, decorative Christmas garlands, decorative tacks (all from Michael’s), wooden skewer, hot glue gun & glue sticks, hammer, scrap board to hammer on, nail
Stampin’ Up! Accessories: 1″ circle punch, small star punch, silver cord (the one that was retired – you could use the current one), Crystal Effects, Stampin’ Dimensionals, Chipboard Star, Iridescent Ice embossing powder, heat tool

Step 1:  Cut your DP into 1″ x 4″ strips (set aside enough paper to cut a few 1/2″ x 4″ pieces to act as fillers).  You want to bring the two ends of the paper strip together, but you don’t want to actually fold it because you want there to be a “loop” as shown in the picture below.  Using a dressmaker pin, pin the “loop” along the bottom edge of the styrofoam cone so that the “loop” part just touches the table. Once you’ve finished the first layer and gone all the way around the cone, you then start the second layer.  You want the second layer to overlap the first layer by about 1/2″ inch.  Continue all the way up until the tree is completely covered.

Step 2: For the very top of the tree I created a “cone” shape out of DP and placed it over the top of the tree – this hides the flat top of the styrofoam cone. To create my star, I took two chipboard stars, covered them on both sides with So Saffron Craft ink, heat embossed one side of each with Iridescent Ice embossing powder, and stuck them to a wooden skewer with my hot glue gun.

Step 3: To create the advent tins, I used the supplies pictured below: little watchmaker tins (they are 1 1/4″ in diameter), some decorative tacks (they look like large, curved thumbtacks), sticky strip and red grosgrain ribbon.

Step 4: I started by taking the lid off of my tin.  I place the bottom of my tin onto a scrap piece of wood and using a nail, I hammered a little hole in the center of the tin.

Step 5:  I then removed the nail and pushed my decorative tack through the hole.  I lined the side with sticky strip, removed the red backing, cut a 4″ piece of ribbon and stuck the ribbon to the sticky strip, around the tin. Using a hot glue gun, I applied a liberal gob of glue to the outside back of the tin and glued the base of the tin to the tree.  Tip:  before you glue them to the tree I suggest you first find where you want to put them, poke them in to make sure they sit just right, and once you’re happy with their placement, THEN you glue them in place.

Step 6:  I bought two different types of garland at Michael’s.  The first one you can see below.  I cut the string and removed the largest of the “balls”.  They were actually make of styrofoam, so I poked a dressmaker pin through the hole and then poked the end of the pin into the tree. Unfortunately the pictures below don’t render the color too well – they were actually a combination of gold & silver.

Step 7: I purchased a second type of garland that you can see below (again the color didn’t render too well).  I used my craft and rubber scissors to snip it apart and used the various pieces as “ornaments” on my tree. I finished off my tree by wrapping silver cord around it.

Step 8: to create the advent ornaments I punched a circle out of Ski Slope DP using the 1″ circle punch,  I centered and stuck it to the center of the glass lid using Crystal Effects.  I then stamped the star from Nursery Necessities onto a scrap of white CS in So Saffron ink 24 times and  I stamped the numbers onto each star. I then patted my VersaMark pad all over the stars, covered them in Iridescent Ice embossing powder, heat embossed them & punched them out.  Lastly I mounted them to the center of each tin cover using a Stampin’ Dimensional.  You can click on the picture below for a larger view.

That’s all there is to it.  Very easy, just time consuming as I mentioned earlier.