Friday, November 7, 2014

Studio Calico Advent Calendar │a free download

Hello everyone, have you seen the super cute free Advent Calendar download that Studio Calico put up today? If not you can see it right here. I was sent the files a few days ago to make up one and I wanted to share a little bit of my process with you if you wanted to make something similar.

The first thing I did was take some time to think about what I wanted under each of the windows. Was it going to be a photo, some text or a mix of the two? This will not be the only Advent Calendar in our home this season so it didn't need to cover all of the bases, but take a more playful just for fun approach. As I made the list I noticed that it was turning into a sort of bucket list for the season. I added in all of the events I knew we were going to that had already been scheduled and then just added in more seasonal fun stuff to finish up the list.

Here is my list;
  1. Hello Twinkle! She's back! (our Elf on the Shelf)
  2. Watch a Christmas movie
  3. Make a Christmas playlist
  4. Make a Christmas craft
  5. Watch 'The Year without Santa' on TV
  6. Go Christmas Shopping
  7. Go see the Nutcracker
  8. Make a Gingerbread house
  9. Mail our Christmas Cards
  10. Happy 7th Birthday Simone!
  11. Have a fireside movie night
  12. Go see Christmas Lights
  13. Its Birthday Party Day!
  14. Go to the World of Christmas event
  15. Jingle some friends
  16. Pack up some old toys to donate
  17. Make Teacher Gifts
  18. Wrap presents
  19. Yay! Its the last day of school!
  20. Have a Starbucks date
  21. Watch 'The Little Drummer Boy' on TV
  22. Make Santa's cookies
  23. Clean my room!
  24. Go to church with the family, its Christmas Eve!
  25. Merry Christmas!
Just a tip, the ABC Family Channel provides their line up up Christmas specials online so I took a look at the list to make sure we caught the ones that aren't typically aired on network TV. So if you need that list you can see it right here.

I knew I didn't want to write out my items so I laid it all out using Photoshop Elements. I just went day by day and entered the text in the right space using the cut lines as my guide. I did have the main image open so I knew which box was which. The font I used for my text is Before Breakfast you can find it here

Once I had that laid out I had to work on the top. I ended up doing a print and cut and added in an offset on my Cameo so that it created a bit of the edge.  That was for two reasons a) to keep the pieces together, I didn't want the chimney smoke floating off by itself and b) because when I did the print and cut the registration marks would show on the page and I didn't want them on my finished piece. Here you can see what my document looked like in the Studio program.  I did have to freehand cut a few places at the very bottom of the document where it fell below the allowed cut area that the Cameo imposes when you do a print and cut but that can easily be fixed if you just shrink the piece down just a smidgen.

I did the same thing for the under layer with my text because I wanted it to match up exactly to the top layer when I placed it down on my page. In order to make sure it was all lined up correctly I used the same document above, just replaced the hand drawn house image with the one of my text so that I knew it would line up correctly when cut.

I made sure to delete the cut lines for the windows prior to printing because I didn't need to them cut. This is what I sent thru to my printer and then cut out. The only thing cut was the outer offset line.

Here you can see the finished piece with a few windows open, I did cut a bit too much away under one of the trees when I freehand cut those parts the Cameo didn't cut but its all good. All in all I was really happy with how everything lined up when the two layers were matched up.

I applied adhesive to the back of the top layer and had to make sure to go around some of the edges very carefully so they would stick down well when the windows were opened. I used Glossy Accents around those tight narrow areas and it worked great. The larger areas were glued just using my adhesive gun

I mounted both layers on top of a piece of red cardstock that I had first run thru my printer to add the title. I used the Voluptate free font found here for the word Christmas. This font doesn't provide capital letters so I just increased the size of just the letter C to make it appear as if it was capital. The font for the word countdown is CK Journaling found here. (note: please make sure you are careful when downloading fonts. Make sure you are aware of what you are clicking on and always have a virus protection program loaded on your computer before downloading anything. I cannot vouch for all download links, I just provide what I think is the best place possible so you can decided if you want to download it.)

I also added in a simple gold glitter enamel dot that came in a previous Studio Calico kit to dot the i, which just gives it a little something three dimensional.

I thought long and hard about coloring in the piece and I the first one I made was colored in with colored pencils and it looked super cute. I ultimately decided to go with a really graphic black and white feel but also wanted to color in a few bits and make it sparkle at the same time. I used the Gold Glitter Wink of Stella pen and went over a few spots, making sure to highlight a part of each of the numbers so they stood out. Its always hard to photograph anything with glitter but in the below image you can see a bit of how pretty and sparkly it looks in person.

I hope you have fun with the file, I can't wait to see what everyone does with it.

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