Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Advent Calendar Hybrid Project

I’m so excited about the Advent Calendar the kids and I have been working on. I grew up with an Advent Calendar as a part of our Christmas celebration. We eagerly opened each door to find the candy behind it. We’d read the Advent devotionals, light the advent wreath/candles each Sunday, excitedly anticipating Christmas Day and Jesus Birth.

This year I wanted to find a way to combine all of those traditions and point to the Savior each day. I didn’t care so much about the chocolate – I wanted something else to be “hidden” behind each door. I wanted the kids to seek Jesus. He is, after all, the reason for the season.

So this is the result of my quest to create the “perfect” Advent calendar. I hope you enjoy it! And I’d LOVE to hear about your Advent traditions.

To create the “scene” for my Advent calendar, I purchased a miniature Christmas tree (or will purchase one).

Under the Christmas tree, I placed 25 folded paper boxes (directions for how to make these are listed below). I numbered each box 1 through 25. So box 1 would be open on December 1st, and so on. Now I do realize that Advent traditionally begins on the 4th Sunday before Christmas, but for simplicity sake, and so that we can reuse this from year to year, we’re doing it 25 days of December.

Within each box is a phrase, a Bible verse, and a symbol. I put the phrase and Bible verse for each day on the inside of the box top (i.e. Day 1 says, “We anticipate Jesus birth, just as they did many years ago.” The Bible verse, “Isaiah 11:1 Psalm 27:14” will immediately follow it.) I’m only putting the Bible verse reference on the box top – my purpose, especially as the kids grow up, is to have them look up and read each verse.

Within the inside of the box on the bottom is what the symbol for the day is (i.e. Day 1 says, “Branch.”) This reference corresponds to the symbol that will be inside. The symbol will be in the form of an ornament, which will be hung on the tree. For right now, I used clip art to make all the symbols. I cut them out in circles, laminated them, punched holes, and they will be ornaments. Moving forward, the kids and I will be on an ornament quest to find all of the proper symbols for each day in miniature to be made into an ornament.

Beginning on Day 18, we’ll build a Nativity Scene in front of the tree. So rather than ornaments, I’ll find a miniature nativity and put one piece in each box. The culmination, of course, will be Baby Jesus lying in a manger on Christmas Day.

I’m very eager to begin this tradition with my kids! We’re building and stuffing the boxes over Thanksgiving weekend. I welcome you to join me in this quest to point your children towards Jesus. Below I’ve listed each day, the phrase, the Bible verse, and the symbol. I’ve also included pictorial step-by-step directions for how to make the paper boxes. Please let me know if you decide to join me!

DAY 1: We anticipate Jesus’ birth, just as they did many years ago.
Isaiah 11:1 - A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.
Psalm 27:14 - Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.
Symbol: Branch

DAY 2: The Bible teaches us about God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
John 1:1-2 - In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.
2 Timothy 3:16-17 - All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
Symbol: Bible

DAY 3: Jesus came because we are sinners.
Genesis 3:6-7 - When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.
1Timothy 1:15 - Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst.
Symbol: Apple

DAY 4: Jesus paid the price for our sins.
Romans 5:8 - But God demonstrates his own love for us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Hebrews 12:2 - Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Symbol: Cross

DAY 5: Jesus came because God loves us.
John 3:16 - For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
Symbol: Heart

DAY 6: Because of Jesus, we can have eternal life.
John 3:36 - He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.
Symbol: Ring (eternal)

DAY 7: Jesus came so that we could join God’s family.
John 1:12 - But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name.
Symbol: Family Photo

DAY 8: Our joy comes from the Lord.
Psalm 126:3 - The LORD has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy.
Psalm 16:11 - You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.
Symbol: JOY Ornament

DAY 9: Jesus wanted to show us the way to the Father.
John 14:6-7 - Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him."
Symbol: Compass

DAY 10: He is the Alpha and the Omega.
Revelation 1:8 - I am the Alpha and the Omega," says the Lord God," who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty."
Revelation 21:6 - And He said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts.
Revelation 22:13 - I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.
Symbol: Alpha and Omega Ornament

DAY 11: He is the Lamb of God.
John 1:36 - When he saw Jesus passing by, he said, "Look, the Lamb of God!"
Symbol: Lamb

DAY 12: He is the Door.
John 10:9 - I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.
Symbol: Door

DAY 13: He is the Good Shepherd.
John 10:14-15 - I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep.
Symbol: Candy Cane

DAY 14: He is the Light of the World.
John 8:12 - When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life."
Symbol: Candle

DAY 15: He is the Bread of Life.
John 6:35 - Then Jesus declared, "I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.
John 6:51 - I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world."
Symbol: Bread

DAY 16: He is the King of Kings.
Revelation 19:16 - On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.
Symbol: Crown

DAY 17: Jesus Christ is the greatest gift.
Romans 6:23 - For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
James 1:17 - Every good and perfect gift is from above.
2 Corinthians 9:15 - Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!
Symbol: Present

DAY 18: Jesus was born in a humble stable. (Begin to set Nativity Scene.)
Luke 2:12 - This will be a sign to you: “You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger."
Symbol: Manger

DAY 19: Angels told the good news that the Savior was born.
Luke 2:8-14 - And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests."
Symbol: Angel

DAY 20: Shepherds came to worship Jesus.
Luke 2:15-20 - When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let's go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about." So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.
Symbol: Shepherds

DAY 21: A star lit the way to Jesus.
Matthew 2:9-10 - The star which they had seen in the East went before them, till it came and stood over where the young Child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceedingly great joy.
Symbol: Star

DAY 22: Wise men came to worship Jesus.
Matthew 2:11 - And when they had come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshiped Him. And when they had opened their treasures, they presented gifts to Him: gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
Symbol: Wise Men

DAY 23: Jesus’ mother was Mary.
Isaiah 7:14 - Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.
Luke 1:30-33 - The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name JESUS. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.”
Symbol: Mary

DAY 24: Mary was to be married to Joseph.
Matthew 1:20-23 - An angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, "Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins." All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: "The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel"—which means, "God with us.
Symbol: Joseph

DAY 25: Jesus, the Savior, is born!
Isaiah 9:6 - For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Revelation 22:16 - I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this testimony for the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star.
Symbol: Baby Jesus

Saturday, November 14, 2009

2010 Calendar Version 2 - Bible Verses

Ask, and ye shall receive.

This is actually the version I had in my mind to do from the start... it just took a bit longer to pull together than the month one I shared last weekend.

My primary goal with this calendar is to point to Christ. I want everyone who reads it to see Him in the words. To find hope. To find peace. To find light. To find purpose. To find freedom. For as the bottom middle verse (Acts 4:12) states: There is no other name by which we must be saved.

The style of this calendar is identical to the one I shared last week; the primary difference being the verses. The size (8.5x11), quality (300dpi), and file type (PSD) are all the same.

A couple people have asked where to print this. I used Lulu.com last year and honestly, I swore I'd never use them again because they printed it backwards (i.e. printed the calendar grid on the TOP and the pictures on the BOTTOM). (The reason for this is that they don't have a horizontal book option that's 8.5x11 and LANDSCAPE, so I chose an 8.5x11 PORTRAIT style book and rotated accordingly. The just rotated it 180 degrees from where I placed it.) However, I simply haven't found another place to print it as cheaply, so I'll probably go back there.

Lulu.com DOES have an option to print a calendar -- I haven't explored that option myself, but I believe you upload the photo side and use their grid. If you chose to use my templates to create that, you'd simply leave off the grid. That should work just fine.

Other people have gone to Kinkos, Staples, Office Depot and had them double side printed. I've also heard people laminate them and use a claw binding. You could also use page protectors and 3-ring binders if you desire. Lots of options!

Lastly, I have had a couple people ask if they can use these templates to create freebies. My answer is YES with the following 2 qualifiers:
1) Please give credit to Simply Sarah Designs and link back to this site.
2) Please email me to share that you've created a quick page/freebie so that I can show it here and link back to you.

And without further ado, go download the file HERE.


Sunday, November 8, 2009

2010 Calendar Templates / Version 1

Wow! It has been SO long since I've scrapped or been in the scrapping loop that I didn't even realize it was National Digital Scrapbooking Day! Hope you all had a good one and found many wonderful treasures!

A few weeks ago, a lovely lady asked me if I was planning to do a calendar again. At that point, I hadn't even given it a thought. Then it hit me just how quickly 2010 was coming, not to mention Christmas 2009, and I hadn't even begun thinking of gifts.

So I told her that one would be coming.

Here it is!

However, it's only the first one.

I really wanted to do one with Bible verses each month, as I've done in the past. However, because I've been out of the scrapping loop, I just couldn't make the designs gel... at all. It was SO frustrating, and I was getting no where fast.

So I took a different approach to it.

One night as I was falling asleep, and idea came to me. I thought of wordle.net (go visit it, if you haven't already). I have Wordle to thank for the basic design of the pages. I did make a few minor tweaks, and I did redo all the fonts, but the credit for the font blocks goes to Wordle. What a fun program!

So anyway... here's where you get to have some fun...

I know you all went on a download frenzy today. And I just bet you got some amazing templates and/or quick pages. You see that "square" in the center of each page? That's for your favorite layout of each month. Or if you don't want to go that route, you can put your favorite picture of the month there. Don't like that either? Take out the block altogether and put in a large picture or design of your own. The possibilities are endless with this one! I hope you will to.

As I mentioned, this is version 1. Version 2 is coming. I was going to wait and provide them both together, but since it is National Scrapbook Day and all, I thought I'd play my part! :)

Version 2 will have the same basic design, but instead of the month blocks, there will be Bible Verse word art for each month. Bear with me. I've got 8 months left to go. Hopefully I'll have that done within the week, but I'll make no promises!

Hope you all had a blessed day, and found some wonderful scrapbook treasures... or more importantly, created some!

Oh yeah -- the templates. You can find them HERE. There are 24 pages (top and bottom for each month) zipped into one file. Each page is 8.5x11 and 300dpi. Oh -- and the olive color background is just that -- a background for display. It's not on the file itself.