Unlike last year, I’ve been quiet about my industrious advent calendar-making this year. Thanks to a world-class babysitter (what would we do without moms?), I had the luxury of working on this year’s calendar at a leisurely pace, and though I’m not sure it packs quite the visual punch of last year’s, I’m so so pleased with these itty bitty houses. There’s a lot of love poured into them.
Yes, I made 24 balsa wood houses from scratch. Did you know you could cut balsa wood with scissors? Such a great discovery – it made things go really fast. These houses are three inches high, and each one is filled with either a sweet treat or an activity tag. The activities include things like “donate toys”, “color hair with chalk” (I got one of those hair chalks for when winter break starts), “breakfast in bed,” “go ice skating,” “family movie night with popcorn and the works,” etc. The treats are chocolate mint stars and peppermint fudge from Trader Joe’s and coin chocolates, which are always a big hit. I thought a daily treat was too much, so I inserted a sweet every other day (still too much? probably).
Clearly, I have a sickness. As I glued together house after house, and then painstakingly created shapes out of washi tape (no two houses have the same embellishments) etc. etc., I had to wonder what my purpose in life is.
I spent a crazy amount of time planning this calendar. And you know, it makes me so happy – all of it: the planning, the hunting down of the supplies, the executing. There were some trial and error (I started off making clay houses — that didn’t go so well), and my Washi tape collection was a little limited in color as I would have loved pops of pink and light orange, but overall, this was a very successful project since I had almost everything on hand. Oh, it’s hard to see, but I also added some white details with this cool paint pen.
When K wakes up every morning to peel off the roof from the house of the day, nothing compares to that look of giddy anticipation and sheer delight. Nothing. So worth it.
How about a little tutorial? I think these would make great ornaments too and the decoration possibilities are limitless. Here’s an illustrated step-by-step guide (you can, of course, make any size, but I got these handy dandy 2″x36″ thin balsa wood planks, which generated about 6 houses each. They’re only about $1.50 per plank at hardware stores, and I used 6 planks):