Photo Advent

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Since our parents live far away, they don't get to see Xavier & India nearly enough.  This year, we decided to stay home and celebrate the holidays alone.  
Since we couldn't give our parents a Christmas with their grandkids, we thought we'd do something extra special and give them the second best thing.  Our parents are always complaining that we don't send enough pictures (I feel as if many of you may hear the same thing from your family members...).  

This advent is the perfect thing to make up for all of those missed photos.  Each "page" of the book is actually an envelope with a count to Christmas number on it.  Inside each sealed envelope is a picture of the kids.  We had a few choices here - we could gather pictures from the year and choose our favorites or we could go all out and take 24 brand new Christmas-themed photos.   When in doubt, always take the complicated route!

Our photo shoots were sooooooo fun!

 Xavier and India woke up to a Cookie & Cocoa Party invitation!  After they put on their best party clothes (at 7 am), they headed downstairs and were greeted by this scene - a table set for two, complete with chocolate chip cookies and hot chocolate.  What a way to wake up.

Xavier and India woke up to a Cookie & Cocoa Party invitation!  After they put on their best party clothes (at 7 am), they headed downstairs and were greeted by this scene - a table set for two, complete with chocolate chip cookies and hot chocolate.  What a way to wake up.

We kept it pretty simple, and I had a fantastic time doing set design and logistics!  Xavier & India were impressive, too - 5 days, 20 scenes, 25 outfit changes, 2500 photos and not one meltdown.  I am so lucky.  Plus, we were pretty careful to balance sugar, sleep, and fun!

 

 Here's our living room - the set for "Midnight Catburglars on Christmas Eve (Scene 14)"

Here's our living room - the set for "Midnight Catburglars on Christmas Eve (Scene 14)"

So after the photography fun was over, it was time to put the book together.  For the cover, I used two 6"x8" canvases.  I painted them with gold glitter spray-paint and when that was dry, I used black ink and holiday stamps to decorate the cover.  

Next, onto the interior of the book.  I took twenty-four envelopes (half white and half cream colored) and punched two holes in them.  The holes should be punched at the bottom of the envelope so that the flap is free to open and close.  

Decorate the front of the envelopes using washi tape.  Washi tape is perfect  - just tape on strips that coordinate, putting some strips going the short way and others going the long.  Don't worry about the tape overhang, just go back with an X-acto knife and trim it to the edge of the envelopes.

 Here's a pile of envelopes before they've been trimmed.  

Here's a pile of envelopes before they've been trimmed.  

 Annoying, but very rewarding - as each washi tape strip is trimmed the envelopes begin looking professionally decorated!

Annoying, but very rewarding - as each washi tape strip is trimmed the envelopes begin looking professionally decorated!

 As you can plainly see...

As you can plainly see...

 Here's the larger circle being glued on - try to mix middle, left, right, high, and low placement.  Oh!  And remember that the holes are punched at the bottom of the envelope, so you should use the bottom edge as your top.  Does that make sense?

Here's the larger circle being glued on - try to mix middle, left, right, high, and low placement.  Oh!  And remember that the holes are punched at the bottom of the envelope, so you should use the bottom edge as your top.  Does that make sense?

Next, use the circle punch to cut a large circle out of holiday-themed paper (I suggest mixing a bunch of fun and festive papers) and the smaller punch to cut a slightly smaller circle out of white paper.  You'll need 24 of each size.  Use a gold marker to write the numbers 1-24.

 If you don't like your handwriting, print out festive numbers using Pages or Word and glue them on.  Also, you can google something like, "Christmas fonts" and see if a font strikes your fancy.  If it does, just try to imitate the numbers as best you can with the gold pen.

If you don't like your handwriting, print out festive numbers using Pages or Word and glue them on.  Also, you can google something like, "Christmas fonts" and see if a font strikes your fancy.  If it does, just try to imitate the numbers as best you can with the gold pen.

After those are done, glue the numbers inside the larger circles, put the binder rings through the cover, envelopes (in order), and backing.  Add photos to each envelope and close it with a gold seal.  Give it to someone you love and make their month.

This makes a great gift for grandparents, godparents, aunts, uncles, teachers, babysitters, and anyone else who loves your children (or you, if you want to take that many selfies).  

Happy Holidays!