Preparing My Heart for Christ with Belgian Chocolate
I’m sure you’ve all been wondering how I spent my free time in November. I spent it making advent calendars for me and Dave. Heads up for the devout among you, this has nothing to do with preparing my heart for the coming of Christ and everything to do with preparing my mouth for a daily piece of delicious chocolate (sanctioned by Jesus!).
Because I’m a 5-year old trapped in a 38-year old body, I get a Neuhaus advent calendar every year (two because I don’t want to share with Dave). I love the designs on the front and the anticipation of opening the little paper door to reveal my surprise treat each day…until the day when I’m greeted by a piece of dark chocolate. Then my 5-year old palate wrinkles its nose.
In past years, I’ve toyed with the idea of making my own advent calendar so I can fill it with chocolates of my choosing. But I’m lazy and not even remotely crafty.
But early in November, my ADD took over and I searched the internet for homemade advent calendar ideas. Because that was the best use of my time. Oh how my to-do list suffers when I get one of these brilliant “project” ideas.
This homemade advent calendar idea resonated most with me. But I think I might have mentioned I’m lazy? So I thought about buying these pre-made tins on Etsy. But as lazy as I am, I’m also cheap and picky. Since I want to retire early and have super cute tins, I decided to make my own in my voluminous free time.
This is the part of the craft project blog post where I’m supposed to say how easy this project was. This was
a raging pain in the ass so easy. I started this nonsense during the first week of November and I didn’t finish until December 1st, which is actually four days after advent started, but who’s counting. Advent calendars always start on December 1st, I don’t make the rules. I stopped counting the time this project took when it reached 12 hours.
Now is the time in the craft project blog post when I’m supposed to tell you how to
torture yourself do this.
“High-Maintenance Homemade Advent Calendar” Steps:
1.) Buy shit: Having no crafting experience, this involved making a non-technical shopping list (i.e. paper cutter thingie, stuff to make paper stick to the tins, way to make numbers appear on the paper, etc…) and losing my Michael’s virginity. The only reason I didn’t leave in a huff when the cashier asked for $99 (seriously?!?) was that I’d already blown an hour and half wandering around the store in a stupor. I was by that point what I like to call committed.
2.) Design and cut (with fancy new circle cutter I can’t imagine ever using again as long as I live) two decorative paper circles for each tin. Curse each time the paper slipped and the cutter created a useless ellipse.
3.) Realize cutting circles out of the paper wastes a ton and return to Michael’s for two more packages.
4.) Tape (using special tape I had to order) smaller decorative paper circles onto larger background circles.
5.) Freak out about something happening to the paper given how much time steps 1-4 took. Research paper preservation products. Select acrylic sealer spray.
6.) Decide not to number the circles. Hope no one ever dares to question this decision. Thank you.
7.) Obsessively worry about my spraying competence and ruining my precious circles. Become frightened by how often the phrase “my precious circles” enters everyday conversation. Find YouTube spraying tutorial and consider hiring a professional spray person. Wonder if inhaling a toxin and the possible subsequent failure of my internal organs is a reasonable response to an aversion to dark chocolate.
8.) Choose the windiest fucking day since Hurricane Irene to spray toxic shit onto the circles. End up shellacking myself (three coats!).
9.) Wash tins. Dry tins. Be completely blown away when this takes two hours.
10.) Find Simon & Garfunkel limited engagement channel on Sirius. Finally learn Art’s harmony on “You Can Tell The World.” Sort of.
11.) Tape circles to tin lids.
12.) Stick magnets to bottom of tins.
13.) Obsessively arrange tins on magnet board. Take many mediocre photos.
14.) Buy chocolate. Feel the need to explain project to store clerk. Ignore her look.
15.) Use a random number generator to randomize the order of the chocolates. If you think I’m kidding, you don’t know me very well.
16.) Insert chocolates into tins.
17.) Eat delicious chocolate daily.
Enjoyable steps include: 10, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, and portions of 1 and 2.
Now is the time when I smugly tell you how much money I saved by doing this myself.
–Two Neuhaus advent calendars = $60 plus tax
–Two sets of premade magnetic tins from Etsy plus a magnet board = ~$120
–“High-Maintenance Homemade Advent Calendars” = $222.57 ($139.01 without the chocolate)
So I spent a lot of time making homemade advent calendars that were more expensive than what I could have bought premade. But my calendars are super cute.
Here are my precious circles waiting to be shellacked. Each one is stuck to the paper-lined cardboard with painters’ tape.
Here are my 24 finished tins on the magnet board. I couldn’t get a good picture of all 48, so use the reflection to imagine Dave’s set too.
Close up of my favorite pattern.
The chocolate on the left is called Louise and is filled with milk chocolate (of course!) ganache. I think the confetti look is pretty. The chocolate on the right is called Sapho and it’s my favorite. It’s filled with almond praline.
The funky-looking chocolate below is called 1857 and is filled with praline studded with crushed spicy speculoos cookies.
Happy Advent! I hope your holiday preparations go smoothly. Do you do anything special to mark the days before Christmas?
*I toyed with the idea of naming this post “Oh my God, that’s the crafty shit,” based on the Prodigy song “Funky Shit.” Because I want to, you know, build community with other apathetic agnostic, advent-calendar making, listeners of the Prodigy on the internet. But since I had to explain the reference even to Dave, I decided there aren’t any other apathetic agnostic, advent-calendar making, listeners of the Prodigy. So much for finding my tribe.