Monday 30 November 2015

Our Crafty Advent Wooden House...

Well, it is officially "Christmas Time" at Chez Bishop - the tree is up, all the festive decorations are adorning the house, the Christmas china is washed and ready to use, the wreath is hung, the Yankee Candles are burning, and this year we even have a beautiful bespoke wooden advent calendar full of goodies just waiting for Bert to discover...!

It's no secret that I'm completely in love with Christmas-time and all it brings - the sights, the smells, the twinkling lights, the precious time with family, lovely gifts, glasses of steaming mulled wine and delicious treats.

If you don't LOVE Christmas then I'm afraid we probably can't be friends! Ha!

This year, the build up to December has been pretty tough for me personally. Not only is this the first year I'm having to juggle looking after busy Bert full time with working from home and organising Christmas, but I'm also battling some pretty horrendous pregnancy-nausea, which I've had from about week 7 until now (week 13) and it's still going strong! I'm feeling pretty dreadful from lunchtime onwards every day, especially in the evenings and it's knocking me for six...I'm tired and drained, only wanting to eat salty, carb-y rubbish and most of November has seen me wanting to hibernate completely. I'm now taking some medication prescribed by my GP which is helping a little, so at least that's something. The light reprieve has at least seen me tackle 90% of the Christmas shopping (online I hasten to add!) so at least that's something...I'm starting to feel more organised for the festive season now and now that the gift shopping is pretty much done I'm really starting to look forward to what's to come.

Yesterday saw us grab the festive boxes from the loft and adorn the house with all the twinkly Christmas goodies - my sister and brother came up from Surrey for the day to visit, and it was lovely to all pop the decorations up together and then head out for a lovely family lunch. Good times.

Usually, we opt for a chocolate advent calendar for Bert - he loves his choc choc and I have the fondest memories of opening my own chocolate advent as a child. In fact, I giggle as I remember that one year my twin sister ate all of her chocolates on Dec 1 and just closed the perforated windows hoping my mum wouldn't notice, haha! The past two years we've stuck with the chocolate calendar tradition for Bert, but this year I was sent a rather splendid wooden house advent calendar from Hobbycraft and set a challenge of decorating and filling it with £25 to spend in store. Challenge accepted!

Plain wooden advent house awaiting its decoration and filling...

I love me a crafty challenge, and have always loved the idea of re-usable advents - so this seemed like the perfect project for me. 

I had plenty of ideas about how I wanted to decorate my plain wooden house - you won't be surprised to know that my plan involved metallics (especially copper!), birds and twinkly lights (natch!).

Liam, Bert and I headed along to Hobbycraft with our £25 budget and managed to pick up everything we needed to create and fill our advent house. Here's the list of what we managed to pick up for £25.

-copper spray paint
-gold metallic acrylic paint
-paint brushes
-wooden advent number set
-PVA glue
-clip on robins x3
-LED battery operated fairy lights
-chocolate coins
-mini dinosaur figure set
-micro cars set

I couldn't wait to get crafting on the house, and so I made the most of it when my sister came to stay back in October - she amused Bert for me while I got my craft on!

Firstly, I spray painted the main body of the wooden house with the copper spray paint. I did two coats so that it was particularly bold, shiny and glossy.

Painting wooden numbers gold. 

Next I painted all 25 of the wooden numbers by hand with the gold paint, followed by the door handles, roof and chimney. A pretty fiddly job, but one I enjoyed nonetheless. Once dry, I clipped the robins onto the roof and chimney, and attached the lights to the roof and battery pack behind the house using good old fashioned blu-tack. 

Clip on Robins to add some final detail....

The whole thing was a fairly simple process, not too messy and I'm rather chuffed with the results. I love craft projects that are achievable and yet still satisfying. It is unrealistic for me to aim to build a wooden advent house from scratch - but decorating and personalising a ready-built one is the perfect middle ground. Especially for busy working parents. So, here we go, the finished advent house in all it's glory - Hopefully it looks festive without being gaudy, Christmasy without being too traditional, and has that 'handmade/I did it myself' charm...

Nestled below our Christmas tree - our metallic advent house.

All that was left to do was fill the house with the goodies I'd picked up in Hobbycraft - a rather seductive mix of Bert's favourite things: chocolate, dinosaurs and cars! I love the fact that this calendar can grow and change with Bert, and each year I can find something relevant and suitable for his current age/interest to fill it with (as well as chocolate coins, you never grow too old for them, right?)

Bert having a peek at his new advent house...patience is a virtue! 

I've been explaining to Bert the process of opening a door on the house each day until Christmas Day and I think he's understanding the concept. He seems pretty excited to open a door tomorrow & I can't wait to see his little face! For now, it's resting under our Christmas tree looking all sparkly and seductive! How long will it be until I find all the doors open & chocolate coin wrappers all over the living room? Hehe. 

Cars, dinosaurs and chocolate money - what more could any two year old boy want in his advent calendar?

Do you have a re-usable advent? Or are you chocolate calendar connoisseurs? Do you burn an advent candle? Or perhaps you have a beautiful old fashioned cardboard calendar with just images behind each door?

I have to admit Liam and I couldn't survive without our annual Hotel Chocolat advent calendar - this year we have the truffles for 2 calendar, kindly gifted to us from my lovely sister - thanks Jojo! Yum, yum! And in pure Miss Trunchball style, Hotel Chocolat is FAR TOO GOOD for Children, so I'm afraid we won't be sharing any with the Bertster - he's got his chocolate coins & they will just have to do. Ha!

Happy December for tomorrow folks! Exciting festive times ahead...

Mrs B


This crafty project is in association with Ocean Finance who sent the wooden advent house along with a £25 Hobbycraft voucher in exchange for this post.