Mixed-media paper crafter; stamper, freelance craft tutor, designer of PaperArtsy JOFY stamps

10 December 2015

A labour of love....

...  that we'll enjoy for the whole month of December...

The new advent calendar:

Last year after christmas I saw an advent calendar in the sale in Sainsburys - 24 little wood houses, the roof of each house lifts off so it can be filled with treats.. nice smooth surface for painting... well I couldn't NOT buy that could I?!

There was nothing wrong with them - just not my colour scheme... I planned to paint them in neutral colours so they could be hung on any tree... they could go on the main tree, or a garland or on their own tree as they have this year.

I love the end result, but they were a bigger job than I thought - TWENTY FOUR HOUSES... count them: TWENTY FOUR!! I'm just saying because I painted 18 of them with 2-3 layers of paint...(so technically that's 36 houses!) the festive spirit may have started to fade at some point - but it was worth it.
24 houses (there's that number again!) split into groups of 4 colour schemes, with 6 houses in each group.  It became a bit of a logistical juggle - I wanted my chosen colours to be used on each of the houses so remaining a group - (as the originals were - three colours used in different combinations)... I wanted the houses to be four different colours, the roofs four different colours too.... and I didn't want 2 dark houses together (at this point I may have started overthinking the whole project... lol)

The first thing I did was number the inside of the houses before I painted over the number on the outside- to keep the combinations evenly spaced - this was important if they were hung numerically along a banner - I wouldn't want to houses the same scheme side by side (not that I'm OCD or anything!)(ok, maybe a little bit)
House scheme A: 1,5,9,13,17,21
House scheme B: 2,6,10,14,18,22
House scheme C: 3,7,11,15,19,23
House scheme D: 4,8,12,16,20,24
It was the only way I could keep track of what I was doing!

I decided on colours - fairly neutral - Chalk, Snowflake, French Roast, Metallic Glaze, Slate and Annie Sloan Graphite chalk paint (I bought to paint a piece of furniture, its a lovely dark dark grey)...
I bought a couple of packs of snowflakes in Matalan that I wanted to use on the houses (I always head there at christmas - they often have really nice bits and pieces), book text  and corrugated card board (there's always corrugated cardboard isn't there lol).  The originally the houses were just painted - I wanted my make-over to have a bit more texture..  oh and glitter - there has to be glitter!

Here are the finished houses - they all follow the same format - snowflake on the front (attached with Matte Medium), snowflakes (JM07) stamped in Metallic Glaze stamped on the back with the number in Chalk or Black Archival ink on the back.. The number are a MaVinci stamp set called Fortress - I like this font because its a little bit distressed.

House scheme A:  Graphite house, with a Chalk room covered in book text that has been washed with diluted Chalk paint. The bottom edge of the house has been glittered with Stampendous Frantage Crushed Glass Glitter in Gold.

House scheme B: Painted  in Chalk, and the roof in Graphite. 

I thought the roof was too plain so I covered it wood effect scrapbook paper.. which was too white so I diluted a very small amount of French Roast and paint the roof... several times... until I achieved the colour I wanted...


House scheme D:  Slate roof, dry brushed with French Roast to break up the colour, & the ridges were edged with Stampendous Frantage Crushed Glass Glitter in Silver (seems to be more of a very pale gold - very pretty).  The house was covered in book text and white washed to soften the text.


House scheme D:  Slate house, with a Chalk roof covered in fine corrugation cardboard that has been 'peeled'.  I lightly dragged Matte Medium over the roof and sprinkled on Cosmic Shimmer Iced Snow Glitter Jewels - the glitter is translucent so is only seen when the light catches it.

Don't tell the other houses but I think 'House D' is my favourite - its grey (love grey), the glitter is so subtle, pretty & christmassy! (its closely followed by the book text house in my affections).

Here are the roofs:

... and the houses on the tree..  the plan for 'opening' the advent calendar is the houses are hung with numbers facing out, they once opened they re-hung with the snowflakes facing out...

These were quite a lot of work but were fun to decorate, and will come out for several christmases to come.



  1. Great project! I don't think I've got the patience, lol xxx

  2. FAB project and the end result was well worth the effort


  3. wow they are fabulous x

  4. wow, they look fabulous - what a task you gave yourself though!

  5. Wow! What a labour of love; but so worth it. They look absolutely gorgeous. I am deeply jealous. Of course, if you're sick of the sight of them after all that painting I could definitely take them off your hands... Just say the word... I don't mind... Honestly :oD Lx

  6. Love your refurbished advent houses, they look wonderful on your advent tree. x

  7. Wow so nice these houses are after been painted. Lovely

  8. How lovely! Left this to read today when I had some time to enjoy it! Hope the houses are filed with delicious treats.

  9. Oh my these are gorgeous! Definitely a labor of love but what a fabulous result. I have avoided Christmas decoration sections this year (I'm sure I have more than enough) but you are tempting me badly. I will have to try to avoid Sainsburys and Matalan until everything has gone!

    Lesley Xx


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