Wednesday, 27 November 2013

WOYWW - An Artful Dwelling Christmas Advent

Actually, my work space is empty.  You see I have been on a creative retreat this weekend and my bags are still packed....

I had a glorious time with an amazing group of women. There is nothing like crafting from morning til night, or if I am honest, the early hours.  I found my mojo two weeks ago on my last retreat.  Yes, two retreats in two weeks, how lucky am I?! 

This time I was inspired by a Christmas advent that I'd seen in the latest Craft Stamper magazine. It used Tim Holtz 'Artful Dwellings' die, but I decided I didn't want to buy this as the houses looked simple shapes. So I cut card templates and made my own. 50 of them in 4 different shapes.

Meanwhile a friend posted on Facebook, asking if anyone had the die that she could use. I offered her my templates but she managed to buy a die before the weekend, so that made two of us making this calendar. I turned up full of motivation. I have too much Christmas paper so using it up on this project pleased me.  I spent Friday evening cutting out paper to decorate the houses. And I did it again all Saturday morning. And afternoon. What had seemed a simple project turned into something much more complicated. Though perhaps that was just me over thinking things because trying to balance patterns, colours, size and shapes was much more time consuming than I ever imagined.  I was not going to bed before I had finished because I could not face getting up and working on it again! The row of 25 houses were attached with tape and backed with another house shape to give strength and neaten the back. Meanwhile, my friend with the die cut out her houses and papers in a short time. She used just a small selection of co-ordinating papers and the same for the numbers. Hers took a fraction of the time it took me and I learnt several good lessons:

a.  Using up old papers is a good idea in theory
b.  Using different sets of numbers and materials is also good in theory 
c.  Cutting out my own templates is cheaper than buying a die
d.  Cutting out my own templates takes considerably more time than using a die
e.  When you plan a project it is worth thinking about the time involved to prepare materials rather than assume using up your stash is a good idea
f.  You can save much time by using co-ordinating or complimenting papers and embellishments  
g.  Time has a cost.  Enjoyment can give way to frustration!

The day after I got home my friend let me know that Sizzix had the Artful Dwellings die at a great discounted price.  Guess what?  I BOUGHT THE DIE!!!  I also bought 9 others.   Next week these might be on my workspace.    Do pop back and see!

I hope your own creations have been less frustrating than mine, but I'm pleased to say I like the Advent Calendar now it is finished and on display.  What's more, it's a perfect fit. At least I got that right! 

This post is part of Julia's weekly sharing of 'What's On Your Work Desk?' To see what others have been up to why not pop over and see.


  1. Your patience paid off, the houses look beautiful on your mantlepiece, so worth the effort and completely unique. Although I was quite productive I think I would like to work on a project next time I go away.

  2. Thanks for sharing. xx Jan (85)

  3. Oh my goodness! What patience you have got! But what a lovely end result, you must be thrilled with it.

  4. I was so impressed with your hard work and I was so tempted to buy the die to make the advent houses but not sure how well it will go in my cuttlebug so didn't buy it! maybe I will borrow yours if we meet up next year! lol! Love the finished project xxx

  5. This is stunning,Sandie....I love it.

    1. Love this project and so glad to see the return of your Mojo x

  6. Sandie your advent looks beautiful on the mantle - I'm glad you kept with it - it really was worth it. xxx

  7. Neat project idea! Just think how much less time it'll take you to tackle this project again (if you dare!)

    Joel, aka Barf Snoodlefart #94

  8. Your little advent village is lovely! Glad you learned so many great lessons!
    Have a great WOYWW,
    Lisa #95

  9. Your houses are super cute, and will last for many years, so at least you can enjoy them over and over. Are you done for retreats this year or are you going to squeeze in any more?

  10. Sandie, I love the advent houses they came out wonderfully well! I really enjoyed reading your post! Your list of lesson was very insightfull. we all creat differently but I have to agree with your list especially about using up stash. I am also a quilter and I se other quilter keep the tiniest bits of fabric and end up being so burdened down trying to use them! Unlike fabric, paper is pretty cheap and I am not afraid to not use every tiny bit. I save it and pass it on to friends who get very happy when frustration sends their cortisol levels off the chart. Thanks for sharing and have a great weekend!! Ginny #19

  11. This is such an achievement, despite the frustration! And I love your list - I can think of a number if other projects to which your astute observations are applicable :). I'm smiling that you bought the die!


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