Muffin Tin Advent Calendar with Angela from Love Sweet Love

I have an amazing guest today, guys...I first met Angela right before we both participated in the American Crafter competition...and I immediately was struck by her kindness, beauty, creativity & talent...she is one remarkable will love her blog & you will LOVE this project...

HeLlO hElLo m{s}g readers!!! I am Angela, the voice behind Love Sweet Love, and I am super-duper EcStAtIc to be here doing a guest post for the fantastic Maggie today! 

Maggie is one of my all-time favorite bloggers and Christmas is my all-time favorite holiday so putting these two together is like unwrapping the perfect gift on Christmas morning! Thank you for inviting me today Maggie!!!!

I use my little corner of the blogging universe to share my creative ideas that involve easy DIY projects for the home, craft ideas for kids, thrift store makeovers like this and this, organization ideas, and holiday decorating (the reason I started blogging!). My life is over-flowing with Sweet Love and I needed a place to share it!!

I Love LOVE Love everything about Christmas! The decorations, the lights, the music, the colors, the smells, giving gifts, mistletoe :), and the pure JOY and excitement that those 24 days leading up to it entail! I created a fun way to help your sweet families kick off your Christmas season and squeeze every ounce of tradition, laughter, service and creativity out of the month of December...a Christmas Advent with 24 Christmas activites. 

I first got this idea, of using a muffin tin, from my sweet neighbor (who's not a blogger :) ). I've been wanting to make an advent for the last TWO Christmas's but couldn't find the *perfect* one for us, so when I saw this style I knew it would fit our family perfectly! I got on pinterest (BAD idea) to see if I could find an example of how to make one-thinking just because I hadn't seen it before it would be a rare, if not original, idea. HA! (Is there anything now that hasn't been done in some way before?!?!) Sooooo, there are LOTS of muffin tin advent ideas on pinterest if you care to look, but I was surprised to find that a lot of them are just for sale, or no tutorials are offered along with the picture. SO just in case you ARE interested in the 'how-to', I have written up a tutorial with some pictures to walk you through it. This would be the perfect sort of advent to make if you're looking to do something quick, cheap, easy and FuN! 

You'll start with: -A mini 24 cupcake muffin tin (about $5 at Walmart) -A few sheets of scrapbook paper and coordinating cardstock -embellishments (stickers, buttons, ribbon, etc) -Magnet roll -glue dots If you have a device that cuts paper (cricut, silhouette, punches,etc) this will be LOADS easier for you :). I started by cutting out 24 small circles (using my cricut) to place into the bottom of each muffin tin. 

I used mini glue dots to adhere them to the pan. **TIP**since mine is a non-stick tin just one glue dot doesn't hold it in place so you'll need to use about 3 per circle. 

I wasn't sure if I was going to hang mine up or just string some ribbon through it for a little added embellishment, but either way I needed 2 small holes at the top of the pan, so the hubby drilled them right out for me! :) (you can buy pans with holes already in them, but they're about double the price).

Next I cut 12 scalloped and 12 regular circles out of 4 different types of holiday paper big enough to cover the hole. (my paper is from Hobby Lobby) I also cut 24 smaller circles out of cardstock to place one on top of each of the bigger circles so the numbers would stand out better. 

Then I decided to vintagey them up a smidge so I used some brown ink and a paper towel to distress up the sides of all the paper circles. (I did not use the circle below as it turned out to be a total flop-ha! It took me a couple tries to figure out what I was doing!) 

To get the look below, I found that I needed to press the paper towel into the ink and then, while the paper circle was lying flat on another paper towel, lightly swoosh the ink, quickly, back and forth around the outer perimeter of the circle. (I'm sure you all already know this but just in case there are some newbie ink distresser's out there... :) ) 

I think the added step gives it JUST the touch it needs to add some character to the project! 

And then the BEST part about this project...embellishing!!! This is where this project becomes ALL your own!! Your style, your talent, your ideas shine through right now and it doesn't matter how many of these you find online, yours will be unique and special to you! 

Detail is everything to me! I love a little bling here, a little saying there, a little glitter pretty much everywhere! So for mine, I made sure to include little tags on the presents that say 'from santa' (they were stickers I didn't actually MAKE all the tags-ha ha even I'm not that crazy), glittery numbers (stickers) for the countdown, tree toppers, tags (cut from my cricut) with some of our favorite Christmas songs hand written on them, your imagination is the limit!! 

Once each circle is decorated the way you want it and they're all numbered you're ready to add some magnet to the back. I used a magnet roll I already had and just cut pieces off of it and that white part peels off and it sticks right to your paper! So easy!

Behind each day is a *Kiss* and an activity to do for that day (24 activities at the end of this post). The Christmas season is always busy so I didn't want this to become something that stressed us out and made us feel obligated to add ONE more thing to our day, so most of these activities are things we would already be doing, it just make it more fun to pull it out of a tin and get a treat! :) 

And that's all! You could whip this up in 1 or 2 days EASY and your kids will LOOOOVE it, I promise!

My kids have been DYING to start doing this right away since we put it up this weekend! They love opening the little magnet "doors" and seeing their treat in there waiting for them!

I opted to set mine on an easel to display and just tie a simple bow on the top because I think there's enough going on on the advent itself and a fancy bow on top would just be distracting. Buuuut if you did simpler embellishments, a big poofy, sparkly bow would be perfect! :) 

24 Christmas Activities:
  1. Put the star on the top of the Christmas tree
  2. First gift of Christmas *Our first gift of Christmas is a gift we set aside for our Savior. We each write down what we would like to *give* Jesus this year (talk kinder to our siblings, do one act of service everyday, etc.) and we put all the papers in a gift box and put it under the tree. A great reminder of 'the reason for the season'!
  3. Write letters to Santa
  4. Watch the First Presidency devotional
  5. Decorate Gingerbread Houses
  6. Make a Christmas craft
  7. Serve a neighbor
  8. Snow day (sledding, build snowman, etc)
  9. Leave love notes for daddy around the house
  10. Christmas craft
  11. Drive around to see Christmas lights in the neighborhood
  12. Pick out and donate toys to an organization
  13. Start our '12 days of Christmas' project for a needy family
  14. Go see the newest Christmas/kids movie at the theater
  15. Baking Day
  16. Go out to dinner and anonymously pay for another family's meal
  17. Deliver Christmas treats/goodies to friends and neighbor's
  18. Invite a new family or widow over for dinner
  19. Christmas craft
  20. Go see Santa
  21. Christmas movie with popcorn night at home
  22. Go to Salt Lake City to see the lights on Temple Square
  23. Read Christmas stories by the tree with Hot Chocolate and cookies
  24. Open one present!
  25. Merry Christmas! (our family pic last year :) ) 

Thank you so much Maggie for letting me share a little of my passion for Christmas with your readers today! Isn't Maggie one of the most beautiful, and talented, and stylish people you have ever met?!?! I'm one lucky girl that's for sure! Stop over at my place for a visit anytime; Merry Christmas friends!!!

What did I tell you? Isn't that a wonderful project??? And I love love love that Angela shared her Christmas photo...what a lovely family...and she is definitely a girl after my own heart...details can make or break a project (in my opinion) and this girl is right on...every detail is just perfect...thank you so much for being here, Angela!

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