Thursday, December 2, 2010

DIY Pottery Barn Inspired Ornament Advent Calendar

Alright, I did it.  I made the advent calendar I have been wanting to make all of November.  Finally!  :)  I procrastinated and procrastinated, and then of course I ended up doing it in two nights.  Phew, I finished it up December 1st...just in the nick of time.  I must admit, I wanted to have several types of advent calendars to use this year (different styles and functions), but I just could not find the time think we are only going to do this one.  Next year, I'm giving myself WAY more time to prepare.  I'm so looking forward to all the advent possibilities next time around.  Christmas time traditions melt my heart and never get old.

Okay, you ready?

I saw THIS post in regard to this Pottery Barn Advent Calendar.  Love.  You take one ornament off daily to add to your tree.  So chic and sophisticated, with a little bit of whimsy.  The understated metal tones, the muted colors, the touches of sparkle, and the simplicity of the presentation make my heart go pitter patter.  But who wants to pay Pottery Barn prices when you see that it can be redone on a dime?


Katie over at Bower Power made her own thrifty version of this advent calendar, and not only is it just as beautiful, but it inspired me to give it a go and make my own.  Easy enough, right?

I thought this style of advent calendar would be perfect to enjoy with our little buddy each evening, and a great way to make trimming the tree last the whole season!  With a little of this and a little of that, here is the version I came up with.  

It's not at all the advent calendar I had envisioned.  I think I like it, don't know
if I love it, just going to go with it for now, and feel led to do a little explaining.

First, I found a cork board at the Goodwill for 2.99.  It was pretty roughed up and ugly.
Then, I washed and cut a piece from a curtain panel I found at Target on clearance for 8.00.  

It kind of looks like linen.  Simply beautiful.  Love it.  Then I ironed all the wrinkles out.

I planned on using my staple gun to secure it to the back of the board, but 
Coop was sleeping.  I busted out the masking tape, and it seemed to do the trick nicely.

Once the board was all covered, I did things a little out of order.

First, I took little silver push pins with silver balls on the tip and started pushing them in.  I found the middle first, and just continued from there, measuring and pinning.  What's nice about this material and board is that if I placed the pin incorrectly, or wanted to change the spacing as I went, the holes and mistakes didn't show.  

Once all the pins were in, I was ready to make the tags that would hang behind the ornaments.  I actually wanted them to look very similar to my Pottery Barn inspiration...thinking I would cut off the top corners to make them look more tag like and print the numbers on the computer and cut them to size...perfect numbers nicely printed.  I also had the idea to print a verse on each card below the number (or maybe on the backside) so that when we took the ornaments off, the board wouldn't look so blank.  Alas, all those things just did not happen.  I don't have those fun, fancy cutting machines, and it being 11pm on December 1st, I  just kept with the squared off tags, writing the numbers on myself, and left off the bible verses.  I just used a pencil (thinking I would trace over them with one of my all time favorite tools...the Sharpie), but I ended up just sticking with the penciled numbers.  Although it was killing me that the numbers weren't as dark as I'd wanted them, I just let it go.  I was tired.  Can you tell the procrastination is starting to kick my buns a bit?!  :)

Once I had made all the tags, I realized I forgot to attach the hanger first.  Oopsies.  So I taped all the pins (that had come out the back side by quite a bit...wasn't thinking about that) because they wouldn't bend flat against the back and attached the hangers very carefully.  I used the medium size hanger from this Attach-It pack, and by golly, these suckers are fantastic.  These hangers don't leave much of a mark on your wall, and it takes literally seconds to hang anything from the littlest to the hugest of items.  I couldn't recommend them highly enough.  

Alright, now I was finally ready for ornaments.  This step was actually a little harder than I thought it would be.  I was thinking about all the ornaments I could use...remembering having millions of white, silver, and metal ornaments...but when I busted out the ornament boxes and started hunting down the perfect 25, I was sorely mistaken.   

I took a deep breath and just kept plugging along.  I realized that my color scheme would just have to involve more red (which is fun, because I'm using lots of little touches of red for Christmas this year) and went with ornaments that were a little more chunky and playful.  A little less chic and sophisticated, a little more fun.  At this point, it was really getting late, so I did not allow the little details that were not adding up make me crazy (which was huge for me...I am a DETAILS person).  Feels really good to just let things go!  Hallelujah!

I placed all the ornaments on quite randomly.  I had the thought of putting ornaments on the calendar that would coordinate with our activities for the day.  For example, we are going to see the Santa Train soon, so I thought it would be fun to hang the train ornament on that day of December.  That just didn't seem to work out.  I don't know that my eye feels they are all perfectly placed, but once again, I just let that go.  I threw perfection out the window...and just let it be.

I think it adds a lot of charm to our boring wall near the entry.  I'm not sure how I'm going to feel about it once it starts looking empty...think I am going to have to find little snowflakes or something to replace the ornaments each day.  But overall, it makes me happy, and I think it will be a fun advent tradition for Cooper.

Like I said, I think I like it, not sure
if I love it, just going to go with it.

I hope there wasn't too much of a Debbie Downer tone to this post.  I really had fun doing this and am so thankful that I found a fun inspiration piece to attempt myself.  Such a fun project, and I look forward to enjoying the fun family time it's going to provide us.

There is always next year.  In the mean time, better start working on these...

Christmas Blessings to You,

Edited 12.6.10 to include this inspirational version from Stephanie Lynn at
Under the Table and Dreaming.  I love the frame and muted elegant tones.

Linking to...

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  1. I think it turned out great! I love your version! Such a great way to start a tradition with your son!

  2. Thanks ladies! I think I might change a few things for next year, but it's growing on me. Kinda fun to walk in the front door and see this on the right. Makes me smile.

    And, the Hubbs complimented it. He thought it was fun. That's always a bonus!

  3. It turned out great! What a great idea!


  4. Love this...and your blog! Thanks for joining the party. I will be featuring this on my FB page.

  5. I love your advent calendar. I also made one like this, but I truly love the way yours is so bright and child centered. Also love the fact that you take off a decoration and add it to your tree each day - great idea!

  6. what a super cute idea not only fun but looks great as well

  7. Hands down, this is one of my very fav advent calender ideas. It's gorgeous, takes up virtually no room and you get to display all the things you label as pretty for your own decor. Brilliantly done!

    SNS #59 sidebar feature for you this weekend. :)


  8. Very inspiring. Not only is it a fun advent but it is pretty to have in your home too.

  9. What is nice about this is: You don't even have to put the ornaments on the tree. It is a nice wall decoration, especially when you have extra things.

  10. This is WAY cute!! You should LOVE it!! I like it better than the PB version.

  11. I think you did a fabulous job & I love it! What a great tradition to have started.


  12. Wow!!! I love yours better than the store bought one. Beautiful.

  13. What a wonderful, non commercial tradition! Absolutely love this! :)

  14. Super job. I love it. And it's not chocolate! I'm filing this idea for next year.

  15. Holly! This is great! Wonderful job! And an excellent tutorial!
    Thanks for linking up to Making It With Allie! I can't wait to see what you have for next week!

  16. Hi Holly! Adorable! I have had that pb photo in my file too! I love your take with the red and green. I'll be posting mine tonight =) Thanks so much for linking to the party - I greatly appreciate it! I featured these today - stop by and grab a featured button if you like. Hope you have a lovely week! ~ Stephanie Lynn

  17. Thank you all so much for your sweet and kind words! Although this calendar didn't turn out exactly how I envisioned it, we are actually loving it!

    You all inspire me so much! Thanks for peeking in!

  18. Your calendar looks wonderful. I love the idea of adding an ornament everyday.

  19. Hi Holly!
    I just wanted to let you know I featured this today. Come on over and grab a featured button, if you'd like. Thank you for linking up your great ideas to Weekend Wander!


  20. So pretty and lots of fun. Really like the red touches; they add SOOO much! Thanks for sharing. Oh, and I think it's perfect just the way you made it.

  21. This is so cute. I am doing something similar but different (ha, ha!) I love the traditional colors of your..beautiful and fun!

  22. I absolutely love this! Definitely a fun way to combine an advent tradition with decorating your tree. Brilliant.

  23. i really love this advent!
    one year my bf and i decided to make the tree decorating last longer, the first day, we just put the tree up, the next we added lights, the next, tinsel garland, then plain ball ornaments, then the fancy ornaments and last, the star on top. I love how well this idea could work. i have been wanting to photograph all my ornaments and write a message on the back of the photo about where it came from, why its special etc, i can see the back of your tags having a similar message so you can talk about the ornament the day you put it up, then store the tags for future years, wheather you use the same advent or not.

  24. fantastic! I hope you'll come link it up today!

  25. I really love this idea! Did it seem sad to see it empty? I think I might try to do something similar just for a decoration. We don't put up our tree until pretty late in Advent.

  26. Where did you find the adorable Letters to Santa metal tube?

  27. Hi Holly,
    Just a quick comment to say I love your advent calendar and that I have included it in a post on calendars for this Christmas.

    You can see it if you like at

    Beautiful blog you have here.
    Ally of harrysdesk.

  28. Wow so beautiful! I have clipped onto


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