Anatomy of a Craft on World of Julie

1. Read a post at Maya Made telling me to save toilet paper tubes for some sort of advent calendar project. While waiting for her to announce what her project is, I come up with what I think it will be.

2. Maya reveals her project, which is not what I imagined. (Predictably, it’s a much better idea.) The one thing I like better about my idea, though, is it doesn’t require me to buy little things (or, come up with some sort of little something) to put into the tubes. I’ve seen a lot of really cute advent calendars this year, but each of them seems to require some kind of small giftie or sentiment to put in a pocket each day. I’m trying to reduce the amount of little bitsinesses around here, not add. We already have enough confetti-like scraps littering the floor.

3. Force my mom to do my craft idea for me the day after Thanksgiving. Here are the boys with many toilet paper and paper towel tubes, cut into 1-inch or 1.5-inch tubes. Eli makes a horn. Next they are going to wrap each little tube in wrapping paper and then glue on a number from 1 to 24. My mom is happily game and does this while Dave and I install new windows in our bedroom (winter’s a’comin!).

4. Not adequately describing my Artistic Vision, my mom puts the calendar numbers onto the little tubes sideways. Not her fault. Especially since she finished the project even though the boys were so totally not into it any more and had long ago abandoned her to do other things.

5. In a fit of extreme anal retentiveness, I rip off all the wrapping paper my mom glued on because it wasn’t perfect. In a fit of not-helpingness, Eli takes the ribbon upon which we are to string the advent calendar tubelets, and cuts it into little pieces. After I had just said not to cut up the ribbon because we needed it fr our important project. I throw a hissy fit and dump all the denuded tubelets into the recycling bin.

6. On Monday, Eli asks me roughly 70 times, “When’s Christmas?” and so I decide to try again on the project. This time, however, I do it all myself. If you are going to be fussy about a project, and your kids don’t care, and, truly, no one else cares, then for heaven’s sakes don’t subject them to forced projectitude, just do it yourself.

7. Wrap each tube bit in wrapping paper. You should have 24 tube pieces. I had three types of wrapping paper, so eight tubes per wrapping paper design. I used Mod Podge for the first time to glue on the wrapping paper. I’ve heard so much about it for so long and I kept expecting to have some sort of decoupage epiphany, but it sure seemed like a big expensive container of Elmer’s to me. What am I missing?

A funny thing about the wrapping paper: a few weeks ago I was in Target and decided to get Christmas wrapping paper so that task was all taken care of. They had tons of wrapping paper, and I was delighted to find exactly what I was looking for. They had wrapping paper that was all attractive and designy and was exactly the look I wanted to convey in wrapped presents, if I’m going to think too hard about it. And then I came home and there, on the cover of the Target toy catalog that we’d had kicking around the living room for about a week, were gifts wrapped in exactly the same three wrapping paper designs I’d bought. So I’m just a big ball of marketing goo, apparently.

Also, shockingly, I am getting absolutely no money from the producers of “Four Christmases” despite my obvious product placement above.

8. Spend roughly two hours wrapping not even half the little tubes. Why did it take so long? I’m sure it had nothing to do with the fact that I was trying to do it at 4:30 when everyone was all hungry and tired after our first day back on schedule after Thanksgiving vacation. Wonder why we can’t just start an advent calendar on December 15 so I don’t have to do so many little tubes. Give up. Consider pitching the whole project. Again.

9. Have a burst of let’s-get-it-done-edness while Zuzu takes a massive nap. Wrap all 24 tubes in wrapping paper, glue on little numbers. Take all the ribbon bits that Eli cut up and knot them together (because I’ll be damned if I’m going out and buying more new fancy Christmas ribbon for this dumb project).

10. Eli helps me put the tubeys into glass containers, which we put on the mantel. We string up the ribbon. It turns out to work much better with the knots in it, because it’s easier to keep it tied to the glass containers, and also keeps the tubes from shifting around too much.

I have to say that this whole thing looks way better in the photos than it does in real life. Remember this: maybe half the stuff on those crafty blogs looks kind of crappy in person. You are all welcome to do this little craft, but, frankly, I don’t recommend it. Maybe if you have nothing better to do when you are up late watching television and drinking wine. A lot of wine.

Happy Advent!

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