Sunday, December 4, 2011

O Little Town of Paper-Towel-Tube Bethlehem

Hello hello!  I've finally finished the advent calendar I've been working on for the kiddos, and I'm thrilled with how it turned out. (Lily, who gets candy everyday from this magical creation, is even more thrilled.)  I actually have several advent calendars already.  As in, I have an entire box of them crammed in a closet because I'm just too overwhelmed by the idea of getting them all out and setting them up.  Why then, you may ask, would I create yet another?  Well, you see, I have a compulsive urge to make cute things that will not be shouted down by silly considerations like reasonableness.  I saw this idea on Pinterest and knew I could (and MUST) do it myself!

Via Pinterest
How. Cute. Are. Those?  I absolutely love them!  Lily saw me looking at them and immediately asked if we could make some.  Why yes, my sweet girl, we can!  As you can see, this crafter was just making a little village, but I thought it could be easily adapted to fit my advent calendar purposes.  I have a really lovely nativity scene (the Willow Tree set, actually) and I thought a little village of these houses would be a great stand in for Bethlehem, surrounding the stable.  This is the nativity scene the village surrounds:

To begin my project, I collected paper towel and toilet paper tubes until I had enough to make 24 little houses, which turned out to be just 2 of each type of tube.  (I may or may not have unrolled half a roll of paper towels and piled them on the counter because I was WAY too impatient to wait to get my hands on that roll, but that's neither here nor there.)  I first tried cutting up the tubes with scissors, but that didn't work at all.  It just mangled the fairly flimsy cardboard, much to my dismay.  I ended up using my largest butcher knife to saw through them.  It worked like a charm, but probably looked pretty odd.  I wish I could have gotten a picture of myself sawing away at toilet paper tubes with a huge knife.

Once the tubes were cut, I moved on to decorating and assembling them.  I really liked the white houses, but the red and green roofs don't really fit with my mostly green and blue decor.  To solve that little mismatch, I just used some scrapbook paper I already had in the right colors to create roofs for my little village.  I also didn't bother cutting out doors or windows, but painted them on instead.  Here's a close up shot of the houses:

After all the houses were assembled, I painted a number on each roof and arranged them on "hills" around the nativity scene.  For my hills, I just piled some books and covered each stack with a floursack kitchen towel.

I think they look snowy. :)  Was there really snow on the hills of Bethlehem the night Jesus was born?  I doubt it.  However, I think my little town of paper-towel-tube Bethlehem is pretty darn cute, inaccurate though it may be.

Doesn't it look good?  It's so fun to see Lily climb up on a chair and search for the house with the right number on it.  Even though she already knows what's under them (a Hershey's milk chocolate nugget), she's so excited to peek under each day's house.

I'm going to try to scrounge up a long, short box to put the little houses in once it's time to put them away, since I'm certainly keeping them!  It'll be so fun to see James joining in the fun next year :)  Do you have an advent calendar?  Have you ever made one?  Let me know!

The Lettered Cottage


  1. Really super cute - thanks for sharing!

  2. Anna, I couldn't find an email on your profile to get in touch with you so I'll just leave you a comment :) I got your email today with the comment on my Paper tablescape (and t.p. snowflake!) And yes, I did paint the table and chairs. It was my first furniture painting project and I ended up doing all the chairs with spray paint, Krylon White in Semi-Gloss. So yeah, it's a pretty palin white :) But I did add a dark glaze over the top so it makes the color a little different. Sorry that isn't very specific for you. For my next furniture project I am going to try Annie Sloan's chalk paint. Thanks again for your sweet comment!