One of my most favorite things to do when I travel is to check out Independently owned Bookstores. Having been an owner of a few myself before retirement, I still get a thrill walking into them. I love the smell, the colors of the spines, the new titles displayed for all to see, and most of all revel in the creative and clever check out areas. Each store has it’s own unique style.
While traveling in Maine a few years ago, I stumbled upon this adorable little bookshop and couldn’t contain myself. I had a few spare minutes, so I wandered in. Along with an assortment of the newest latest and greatest books by famous authors, was a display of greeting cards and, yes you guessed it, Advent Calendars.
Ahhh… the memories. When I was young, my mom would pin an Advent Calendar to the living room lampshade on November 30th. My two brothers and I would take turns opening a window each day, revealing a surprise inside… then we’d rush out the door to catch the school bus. Oh the thrill, the excitement that little calendar gave us!
A light bulb moment popped in my head as I looked at these Calendars! “I should continue the tradition!”, I told myself. Why, yes! I’ll buy a calendar for each of my two brothers, and my three adult children who have flown the nest to begin their new families. Super idea!!
Personally I prefer the calendars with cute pictures behind each window, instead of a scripture reading, so I immediately disregarded any calendars with a Nativity scene. I also passed over any designs that were too, you know, ‘old school’. My eyes suddenly spotted the PERFECT calendar, with a whimsical snowman as the design. “Score!”. The bad news… there was only ONE. I needed FIVE. Crestfallen, I left the shop after the salesperson told me there was no way to order any more. “Sigh.”
I brainstormed the entire eight hour ride home. By the time I pulled into my driveway I just KNEW I could make my own Advent Calendars with the help of Google and Pinterest. Well… it didn’t turn out to be that easy. No where could I find directions or helpful hints on how to make an Advent Calendar like the one I wanted from years ago.
Oh yes, you could certainly find many directions for all different ways to make them… 25 tiny filled socks, paper bags, cloth drawstring bags, or (fill-in-the-blank). Someone wrapped 25 different Christmas Stories to be read each night, others made wallhangings out of felt with 25 pockets holding 25 tiny ornaments (or candy). None of those were what I was looking for.
I shut down my computer, grabbed my sketch pad and began drawing. The rest, as they say, is history. That year I hand cut each window with a sharp craft knife then using a bone folder I carefully creased each window so it would open effortlessly. Now I use a professional die cut machine. I’ve come a long way!
Check out my Etsy Shop (www.etsy.com/uniqueandnovel) to see my designs.