Thursday, November 17, 2016

Time Machine Advent Calendar

Time Machine Calendar

This is the sixth year of creating advent calendars for two young recipients who are now ages seven and five (though the five-year-old missed out on the earliest ones). This year's theme is time travel, based on a discussion back in October with the girls about how you can look forward to a future self or back to a past self and communicate with yourself along the timeline. I asked each of the girls what their message would be to a future self. I combined their responses with photos of them and had them made into jigsaw puzzles. See those results below.

Message to future self

Jigsaw version

Message to future self

Jigsaw version

The next step was to come up with time machine advent calendars that would slowly reveal to the girls the messages from their past selves as they receive a few jigsaw puzzle pieces each day and slowly put them together over the month. And here is one of the completed time machines:

The time machine

Time machine construction begins with a green plastic ginger ale soda bottle, which cut horizontally about a third of the way from the top and then embellished to within an inch of its life with ribbon, little jewels, and a name scribed on with glitter pair.

Embellished bottle

Time components - old watch parts

I used up my stash of old watch faces and innards to underscore the time traveling nature of this creation. I divided the puzzle pieces up and put a few in each little gift box, numbering the boxes for the days of the month and hanging them from a ribbon that dangles down within the bottle. Each box also contains either a foil-wrapped chocolate coin (traditional) or a Hershey's kiss - because kisses are 109 years old and have themselves travelled a long way through time. The result of the hanging boxes is a jumble: you have to hunt for the right number each day. Note in earlier pictures above the embellished wood washers I used just inside and outside the neck of the bottle to prevent the top loop (used for hanging the creation) from slipping back through the bottle, or the little boxes from all being pulled up into the inside of the bottle.

Little boxes, numbered by day

And here is how the little boxes were made. Start collecting toilet paper rolls!


Glue either paper or ribbon around toilet paper rolls. I used a lot of old sheet music from World War II (including "The Road to Mandalay" and "The Victory Polka") to reinforce the time traveling nature of this all.

TP roll covered in sheet music
Fold ends of the toilet paper roll in. This creates a nifty little box and the folded closures stay put until you open them.

Fold in ends

Voila! Instant little box

Embellish the boxes however you wish. I scored a sizable stash of little stick-on jewels and the like from a local art recycling depot. To dangle the box from the bottle, use an embroidery needle and string a ribbon or gold cord through one of the corners of the box. Put numbers of the days on the boxes with glitter paint.

Embellished hanging box

Ribbon glued around TP roll, embellished with little pearls

For about a quarter of the boxes I used old pictures of the girls from the past, converted them to sepia tone in Photoshop, and combined them with timepiece-themed images. These were then glued around the TP rolls instead of the sheet music or ribbon.

Embellished with photo from the past

And that is it for this year's calendar, all ready to ship. See creations from past years, including advent calendar couture, at the following link: Advent

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