Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Tutorial - Tea Advent Calendar

It's been a long time since I been around, it's been a long time but I'm back in town! haha, I'll stop now. Anyway, It's been forever since I've blogged but I've decided that I'd make my first comeback post a good one. I hope it lives up to my words...but I'm pretty excited about this project.

Most of my friends and family know that I'm a tea addict. I think there's also something that happens when Autumn rolls around, my obsession gets stronger. It must be that I feel the fall chill in the air and crave a warm drink in between my palms.

Maybe you understand how I feel? Do you start talking about tea and mention things that the average person cannot relate to? For me, my own sister doesn't get I decided to make an awesome little handmade gift of tea for her to share my obsession. Then maybe by Christmas, she'll be hooked? One can hope so.

Today I'll be guiding you through the process of hand making a tea advent calendar

It's a cup of tea for 25 days counting down to Christmas!

Let's begin with discussing my inspiration:

24 days of tea from DAVIDsTEA: their yearly Advent Calendar that retails for $34.50.
I would say it's their most popular collection and usually sells out within a day of being released (both online and in-store). I was physically holding a box on the day it was released but I knew that my collection of teas was already too big. I've also tried the majority of the teas in the set already. So I talked myself out of it. Later that day, they were practically sold out everywhere. You can find yourself a set for about $70 - $100 on sites like eBay or Kijiji (a Canadian site like Craigslist)!

So why spend up to $100 on a box of 232 grams of tea when you can customize your own? I'm sure you or your giftee would much rather have a calendar that is filled with hand-picked flavours of tea. Plus, not only can you personalize the set to taste, you can customize it around allergies and dietary restrictions.

I think that's enough talking, how about we get started?

What you need:
-25 wooden Clothes Pins (plastic is fine too)
-Printed Napkins (or Wrapping Paper)
-1 sheet of Card Stock/thicker paper
-White String (25 pieces x 6 inches)
-Twine (approximately 40 inches)
-25 miniature Adhesive Labels
-25 miniature Zip Lock Bags
-Black Permanent Marker
-25 different types of Tea
-Gift Box or Bag
-Scrap Paper
-Chisel-Tipped Permanent Maker or Paint (Colour of your Choice)
-(Tag-Shaped) Paper Puncher
-Colourful Pens

Cut tags out of the card stock. I used a paper puncher and the size of the tag is 11/4" x 21/16". No need to purchase a tag puncher, unless you have one handy. This one cost me about $10 but you can be creative and cut tags of any shape or size!

Number the tags with your permanent marker from 1 - 25. You can even write "DAY __" rather than just a number.

Colour or paint your clothes pins. If you have plastic pins or like the pins the way they are, perfect! Skip this step.

Thread the twine through all 25 clothes pins. If you have difficulty; you can use a sewing needle to push the twine through the pins. If your twine is less rough, you may have issues with the pins sliding around. This would be a good time to tie little knots in between the pins.

Tie a loop on each end of the twine. This is so it can be hung on a wall, bulletin board or fireplace.

Take the white strings and staple them to the tags. Make sure that you position the string in the centre of the staple.

Take your scrap paper and trace around your mini zip lock bag while it's folded in half. Then add 1/8" to the sides of the box you traced and 1/2" - 1" on the top of the box. Make sure that there's enough room for you to fold the paper in half along the bottom of that box.

Cut out your pattern piece. It should look something like this.

Now comes the fun part. Pick 25 various teas. If you don't have 25, feel free to repeat the teas that you or your recipient would enjoy more! I used all loose-leaf teas but you can also use tea bags!

Write down the name of the tea, type of tea (I colour coded them), temperature of water, steeping time and caffeine level. No need for amount of tea because all teas will be pre-measured to one serving.

Stick all the labels onto the zip lock bags.

Scoop one serving (or more) into the designated baggy. I just measured out 1/2 a tablespoon which is equivalent to 1.5 teaspoons. This step can be messy so keep a vacuum handy!

Admire all your pretty little teas!

I got lucky with these napkins that I picked up. They just happened to be printed with 4 PERFECT sized segments! I didn't end up using the pattern that I made but this is the step to put that pretty little pattern to good use!

I folded the napkin right sides together and stapled it about 1 inch up. This step is only necessary if the bottom portion of your "tea bag" is open. In my case it was because of the way that the Santas & Snowmen were printed.

Flip the napkin right side out and staple one side of the napkin.

Insert your folded bag of tea into your "tea bag".

Staple the open side. You may do this more than once to keep the teas concealed.

Fold the top corners of the "tea bag" down. It should form a point at the centre.

Fold that point down.

Staple the other end of your white strings to the top of the "tea bag".  Make sure all the folds and string are only visible from the back. Only a single staple should be visible from the front.

Clip your "tea bags" onto the clothes line by the tags.

This is optional but you can write up a cute little guide

Complete your handmade gift by placing it into a festive container

...and here it is in all it's glory. A fantastic home made advent calendar! Warning: please be very careful if you decide to hang this calendar on your fireplace! Please remove it if you have a fire going.

All that tea...the thought of one steep a day is just fantastic.

These napkins are amazing. They resemble tea bags perfectly!

A steep a day. That is one December that they will never forget.

When I was making this tutorial, I found that there were so many variations and options I had. Please keep that in mind when making this lovely gift. I know some materials may be more difficult to find depending on your location but don't be discouraged or afraid to use your creativity! You can even include more than one serving per day!
After I completed this calendar, I found very useful alternative options like:
-A mini clothes line with pins (for cards) with Santa hats and numbers from 1-25 on them! (dollar store find)
-A wooden tree with 25 drawers in it! (a Target find)

Anyhow, let's talk about cost. Assuming that I didn't even have a single office supply - this project cost me a total of $28.91!! But really, $12.93 was the cost of materials.

Here's the breakdown:
Materials: $12.93
$0.50 - 25 miniature Adhesive Labels ($1 for 500)
$0.02 - 3.81m of White String ($0.50 for 100m)
$0.31 - 25 Miniature Zip Lock Bags ($1 for 80)
$0.06 - 1 sheet of Card Stock ($7 for 125)
$0.01 - 1.02m of Twine ($0.50 for 100m)
$9.38 - 62.5 grams of Tea (~$7.50 / 50g)
$0.42 - 25 Clothes Pins ($1 for 60)
$0.23 - 7 Napkins ($1 for 30)
FREE - Scrap Paper
$2 - Gift Tin

Supplies: $15.98
$1.00 - Chisel-Tipped Permanent Maker
$0.88 - Colourful Pens ($1 for 8)
$1.00 - Black Permanent Marker
$10.00 - Paper Tag Puncher
$0.10 - Pen ($1 for 10)
$1.00 - Scissors
$1.00 - Stapler
$1.00 - Ruler

What do you think? Would you be happy about receiving a hand made Advent Calendar similar to this one? Do you make Advent Calendars? If not, will you this year?

Can't wait to see what you have to share! Mention us @sylandsam or use #sylandsam on Instagram to show and tell!

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