Sunday, November 24, 2013


Happy Thanksgiving a little early everyone!

I hope that you will excuse me "jumping the gun" a little bit by creating a Christmas themed piece when Thanksgiving is not quite upon us yet!

But, with our theme at Simon Says Stamp Monday Challenge of "HOLIDAY COUNTDOWN" this week, I just had to create a Christmas perpetual calendar!

Now THIS is a fun and vintage way to count down to Christmas!

As with almost all of my work, this is my own design and I was sort of flying by the seat of my pants as I was putting this together.  That is typically how I approach all of my pieces ... create as I go.  But that is the fun of creating.  Just let the project take you where it wants to go.

A quick story of how this little piece came about ... when I saw the "Holiday Countdown" theme, I immediately thought of doing a little perpetual calendar.  But when I checked my stash of wooden blocks, all I had was a 1" size to use for the numbers. So, I created this entire piece based on the size of those little wooden blocks.  So, when you see all of the dimensions of my chipboard, it is based on the 1" size blocks.  The final piece stands 7" tall and 3 1/2" wide.

I began with medium weight chipboard.  I doubled most of the pieces to create a sturdier finished cabinet for my blocks.  (This picture is short one of the pieces.  I was figuring this out as I went.) Here are my chipboard sizes:

1 - 5 1/4" x 3 3/8" for the back
4 - 1 1/4" x 3 3/8" for the top and bottom of the compartment holding the blocks
4 - 1 1/4" x 1 1/4"  for the small sides of the compartment holding the blocks 

Structure Strips made out of Kraft Cardstock and cut into 1" width (and whatever the length of your paper is) strips.  Then score in the middle and add 1/4" Scor Tape running lengthwise down either side of the score mark.

Constructing the Basic Calendar Cabinet

1. Glue two of the 1 1/4" x 1 1/4" pieces together and then sand all of the edges.  Glue two 
1 1/4" x 3 3/8" together and sand all of the edges. (Sanding helps to conceal the space between the two pieces of chipboard.)

2. Completely paint the pieces that will become the block compartment.  Paint the edges the piece that will become the back of the cabinet.  Cut a structure strip to the width of the bottom of the back of the cabinet and adhere one side of the strip in place at the bottom of the backing along the score mark.  For this piece, I chose Fired Brick Distress Paint.

3. Remove the tape backing.  Stand the painted piece of chipboard that will become then bottom of the block compartment up on it's end and press it against the back.  Pull the other side of the structure strip up to tape against the bottom of the painted chipboard piece then lay the 1 1/4" x 3 3/8" piece of painted chipboard flat on the table.  Attaching the structure strip in this manner will allow space for when you join them at a 90 degree angle.  Add a little bead of Glossy Accents between that joint and pull the back up at a 90 degree angle to the bottom of the block compartment.  Hold in place for about 30 seconds for the Glossy Accents to make a tight connection.  

4. Add structure strips to the two sides of the bottom of the compartment in the same manner you did on the back.  Add a bead of Glossy Accents to the bottom of the two sides and attach them as you attached the bottom.

5. Add more structure strips to the outside top, bottom and back sides to insure a tight fit.  Then paint the kraft paper structure strips with your chosen color.  Note - It is better to have the structure strips the exact length of the edge you are covering.  I got a little sloppy here.  Oops!  You will cover most of this with cardstock and it will not even be noticeable but the edges could be seen.

6. Measure and cut cardstock to cover the majority of the chipboard sides.  I also ink all of the edges before gluing them in place.  In this case, I used Gathered Twigs and a touch of Black Soot Distress Inks to ink all of my edges of cardstock.

 Don't forget the backside and the bottom of your piece! Cover those as well!   At the very end of putting this together, I decided that I wanted my cabinet to be up on "legs" so I found some little wooden knobs, painted them with Fired Brick Distress Paint and hot glued them in place.  You will see them in the finished photos.

Now that the basic cabinet was constructed, I needed to figure out how to embellish it. is the beginning of that thought process.  More things evolved as I was playing.

These pieces are Tim Holtz' Mini Flourishes, his Mini Poinsettias from his Movers & Shapers Mini Cardinal and Poinsettias and my favorite of his Pediments. The Flourishes, Pediment and 5 of the Poinsettias are cut from Grungeboard.  The remaining Poinsettias are cut from Tim Holtz' Seasonal Paper Stash-the sheet music paper.  (The Grungeboard for the five Poinsettias was first covered with the sheet music and then die cut.)

Note:  I have recently learned that Tim's Mini Cardinal and Poinsettia is being discontinued.  However, his Tattered Poinsettia is very much in stock!  So, if you like the way I have finished off these poinsettias, you can definitely do this technique with the Tattered Poinsettias!

I also added a bunch of Tim Holtz Mini Holly leaves die cut from the sheet music cardstock and a Mini Reindeer cut from Grungeboard covered with sheet music cardstock.  

I got carried away with the fun of playing and forgot to take alot of pictures of each step in creating all of the embellishments! But I can tell you what I did and what colors I used on everything.

Pediment and Blocks:  First painted with Peeled Paint Distress Paint and then distressed with Pine Needles Distress Ink.  I then added a gold edge to all of them using a Gold Paint Dabber tapped onto a craft sheet and then adding the paint with my finger.

Fourishes:  Painted with a Gold Paint Dabber.  I also pounced the paint onto the Flourishes rather than smooth strokes so that they would have a bit of a gritty texture.

Holly Leaves:  Distressed with Pine Needles Distress Ink.  Then covered with Rock Candy Distress Crackle Paint and allowed to dry.  When dry, I added Mercury Glass Stickles just to the edges.

Mini Reindeer:  Distressed with Vintage Photo followed by Gathered Twigs Distress Inks.  I added a piece of purchased holly garland wrapped with some 1/8" red ribbon that I fashioned into a wreath around his neck.  I also glued on a mini jingle bell.  

Poinsettias:  Distressed with Fired Brick Distress Ink.  Then covered with Rock Candy Distress Crackle Paint and allowed to dry.  When dry, I added Mercury Glass Stickles to all of the edges.  When dry, I poked a hole into the center of all of the petals.  I used the Grungeboard petals for the base and added the cardstock petals on top so I could stand those petals up.  I joined them all together with a Long Fastener that was touched with a Gold Paint Dabber to create a vintage center.

Here is a picture of the poinsettias before I attached them to the cabinet.

The blocks were painted but now they needed numbers on them so that they could keep track of the days until Christmas or I could keep track of the day's date.  I love Queen's Gold Embossing Powder.  It's a beautiful vintage gold, not a more brassy or vivid gold.  I used the numbers from Tim Holtz' Little Labels stamp set.  They were the perfect size for my 1" blocks!  Lucky me!  So, I inked each of the numbers separately with Versamark Ink and centered each one on a side of a block.  Then I moved the block onto a piece of regular paper so that I could catch the extra embossing powder and return it to the container after I had added it to the embossing ink.  I sprinkled the ink just on top of the number, returning the excess to the container and then heat set the number.  Here are the numbers on each block, so that you will have perpetual numbers ...
One one block, you will have the numbers 0,1,2,3,4,5
On the other block you will have the numbers 0,1,2,7,8,9

Now, I could have added a third block that could have even more numbers to really countdown the days to Christmas into the hundreds or I could stamp "Dec" or a snowflake or something.  But, honestly, I didn't have another block ... so it is what it is.  But, with my design, you could add a third block.

Here are the finished blocks.

And what would any Christmas countdown calendar be without Santa?  
This vintage beauty is from Tim Holtz' New Old Fashioned Christmas Stamp set.  He is stamped onto Cream Neenah paper and colored with a Detailer Water Brush.  I used several colors on him, all shown below in the links.  I also added Cotton Ball Flock to his beard, cuff and hat cuff to give him a little more dimension.  On the final piece, I ended up cutting off his drum.  I cut him out, leaving just a small border of Neenah paper.  Then I added Mercury Glass Stickles all around him.  As you can see on this photo, he also has Mercury Glass buttons and some accents.

Now it was time to put everything together.

I began by added a 1/4" Scor Tape strip to either side of the back and added a piece of Tim Holtz' red Tinsel Twine from his Winter collection.  I love tinsel on Christmas stuff!!  So festive!  Next I hot glued the gold flourishes on either side of the cabinet.

I cut off some of Santa's bottom but left enough that I could fold under and attach with a piece of 1/4" Scor Tape.  I added some holly leaves and hot glued one of the poinsettias on top.  Then I hot glued the feet of the Mini Reindeer and stuck him on top of the poinsettia.

I added Holly Leaves to each of the flourish sides and then hot glued a mini poinsettia on top.

I added mini poinsettias to either side of the Pediment but it still needed something.  So, I added a little piece of red Tinsel Twine draped across the center and added a little bottle brush wreath from Tim Holtz' Woodland Trees set.  The wreath is a cream color so I sprayed it with some Pine Needles Stain that I have converted into a 2 oz. Mister Bottle.  Then I hot glued in some little vintage beads as ornaments.

Finally, I sprayed the cabinet with a spray adhesive and lightly sprinkled some Mica Flakes all over it.  I love Mica Flakes on Christmas pieces.  It gives such a sweet vintage feeling of snow.  Here is the back ...

And here is the front again ... all finished and ready to countdown til' Christmas!

Happy Holidays everyone!
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The products used in creating this little vintage countdown cabinet can be found at 
Simon Says Stamp: