December in Hawaii. How's your weather?
I'm not sure the history of advent calendars, but I love the idea of them and figured it would be an easy way to have something a little holiday-ish to tide me over until January. But here it is the day before and advent calendars aren't really a make-in-an-hour kind of project. So, being a little naughty, I decided to spoil us with a Playmobil advent calendar which are surprisingly affordable and pretty cute. (I admit a deep love for the oddly specific Playmobil designs, but have never owned any before now.)
It's going to be a store-bought (rather than handmade) Yule-Mas this December. XD
First thing I did is run, last minute, to the craft store. We don't have nearly as many craft stores where I live as I'm used to having, and the one that's nearby was incredibly picked over. Still, I managed to get the last mini tree and Flora hauled it from 'the fields' into the front door.
My haul was pretty simple. The plan was just to make a small layout for the advent calendar to add a little cheer. In my house, we were always real tree people, but in Hawaii, all of the real trees are shipped in in shipping containers across the ocean and it seems kind of wasteful to me so I've become (temporarily) a fake tree person so I can use it year after year. The secret is in lighting a pine candle. >.>
So it's not homemade... but I'm secretly stoked about the cheesy-rific awesomeness of that crazy fluffy garland! I also picked up some mini ornaments, some bead garland, and some little wood figures to make an angel with. I figured I should at least have -something- handmade. It's going to be cheeser all the way.
Cute holiday advent calendar from Playmobil! Have you ever had one of those or seen them before? It's 24 cubbies with a playmobil figurine in each. It comes with a matching landscape so you can build a themed setting over the course of the month. So excited about it. I also got some LED lights. I've never had any, so I'm stoked to check them out.
Dorky Retro-ish Fantastic Mr. Archangel::
(Or take it seriously and make something adorable.)
- Wooden figures
- Felt or cloth
- Acrylic paint
- Gold toned wire or metallic gold wired-edge ribbon
- Decorative ribbon
- Tacky glue
- Opt: Dremel or power drill and bits
I've seen little figures like this all over the internet with cute, painted faces. They're really sweet, simple little dolls that I've seen made into everything from dollhouse toys to wedding toppers. They're usually very quirky-cute with delicate features. Their short, squat bodies lend well to the cartoony acrylic colors and make sort of Kawaii-Style cute finished products.
That's not what I'm doing with this angel. So be prepared.
Step One:: Drill/Cone
Mark the center of your doll with a pen and then drill a hole with a rotary tool, like a Dremel, or a power drill. If you don't have one or you want to do this project with kids, you could glue a piece of cardstock around the figure that extends the body in a little cone or cylindrical shape.
What you're looking for is a well in the bottom deep enough or a cone glued onto it so when you pop your archangel onto the tree it will, you know, stay there.
Step Two:: Paint
So, we pretty much love foxes. The advent calendar comes with foxes (yay!) and our favorite recent movie was The Fantastic Mr. Fox (It juuuuust migh be under the Yule-Mas tree this year... just saying...) and my husband and I played a game with a fox character in it so I've decided to dork out by making my angel an archangel fox for that little bit of WTFery needed to make this setting pop and make up for some of the store-boughtness effect it has going on.
I observed the little wooden doll aesthetic and decided that to get that cute, simple wooden doll look that's so popular, one should keep the features plain. Mouths should either be skipped or be just a line. Keep eyes low and wide spread. Blushy cheeks are sweet too. It's best to avoid painting too much detail. I think Mr. Archangel has kind of a nice face at this point. If I would just leave him well enough alone, he could be kind of adorable. But I won't leave him alone. He has to get odder.
Step Three:: Wings
By far my favorite part! My mom had these crazy little cherub ornaments from the early 50s that were a little kitschy and cool. They had totally fabu-silly foil wings on them and I had to do it on my angel.
Ideally, you'd want to use spray glue and layer heavy-duty tin foil until you got a thicker sheet, but I was in a hurry to surprise my honey before he got home from work so decided to freehand cut from a single sheet. It will display well enough.
Regardless of how many layers you choose to do if you make yourself some retro angel foil wings, to add some decoration, use a soft pencil in a slightly squishy surface like a sheet of foam, or maybe even a notepad and you'll get cool, decorative indentations. I detailed some sort of stylized feather patterns.
Step Four:: Decorate
I felt a mixture of humor and embarrassment at what I'd created. I opted for my cheap craft felt rather than my good wool felt. It even has some wild sparkle stuff plastered to it. I gave him a rocking tinfoil sword, and... yeah. If I'd made this with any intent other than irony, I'd expect to be turned into Regretsy for what happened here. It's a little bit cute in the face, little bit retro in the tinfoil accessories, a little bit tacky garage sale cast off in the felt.
My husband loved it.
But don't get me wrong, I think this method could be used to produce a really cutesy angel. I'd just try to stick to high quality cloth, or maybe just paint entirely. Smaller wings and keeping the body short will make a more petite and sweet finished project. But, then again, if you have fun with it and it makes you laugh, maybe that's all that matters.
After putting up the lights and setting up the advent calendar's scenery stand, I really wanted to open up day one. ;...; Curses having to wait for tomorrow! It's all cheerful now, even if it's only on a few square feet out of the whole house.
I added some candles there because, at home, we would light a candle as a "snow candle" to wish for it to start snowing...
...Considering the back yard looks like this, I figured I'd need to light three snow candles to even get the temperature to drop a little.
Happy Winter Holidays/Yulchristmahanakwanzakuh/Athiest Non-Celebration/Shopping Season!