Advent calendar Note Had this written and ready…

{Advent calendar

Note: Had this written and ready to go up but the KNK site took a tumble, but I had my post saved!!


It’s my birthday too yeah.

That has absolutely nothing to do with my post today. Except that it really is my birthday [3 weeks ago!! but I did make the post date my birthday date]

Before I launch into my project, you know I have to babble a bit, so grab a cuppa joe or whatever your poison is and go on this crazy ride with me.


The Zings were released this week. I didn’t buy one, though I was very, very tempted. In fact, I still am. As I turned on Mr. Maxx, I thought about how I have three years of experience with this machine and while I wouldn’t call myself an expert, I get around it pretty well. I remember when I first got it, my mouth dropped open and I said what-the-f-bomb-did-I-do. I was so overwhelmed, I wanted to put it back in the box, go crouch in a corner and suck my thumb. I haven’t sucked my thumb since I was eight (it wasn’t an easy habit for me to break, I remember).

Finally, I told myself to buck up and take this thing on. I’m not one for reading manuals. I’m just not. But something told me with this thing, I’d better do the manual thing, whether I liked it or not. So I did.

I carefully put the pen in the machine, followed the steps and before I knew it, I was drawing all over a piece of paper. I was so proud of myself, I may have started jumping up and down and screaming with joy. I thought, I’m big stuff now and I can graduate to actually making some cuts.

Yeah, well, my first cut went all over that brand new mat. I completely missed the paper.

Carved right into my new mat. A few more f-bombs may have let loose from my lips. Then I shrugged my shoulders and said, “It had to happen sometime, might as well get it out of the way now.”

My mat is now very decorated and it’s okay. It’s like the velveteen rabbit that has been loved until it has a bald spot and it’s fur is dirty. My mat shows every project I’ve made (where I missed the paper anyway) and for that, I’m a little proud. Kind of like a badge of honor, you know?

Why am I telling you this? Well, because I truly believe that 99% of the time, it isn’t the machine’s fault. It is user error when something goes wrong. Today illustrated one of those days for me. EVERYTHING was going wrong. I’ve found that this usually happens when I get in a hurry.

I went over to and picked up the advent calendar. I thought that would be a good project for Team KNK and thought, “Self, you can DO this.”

I imported all the .svgs into MTC and got to work cutting. Everything went great, until this very last piece:

The first time, the paper got snagged on the blade and basically got dragged all over the place. Turned out my mat needed to be restickied (restuck?). So I restickied and tried again.

The blade dragged right across a fresh clean piece of card stock (couldn’t have happened the last time, right? Two mistakes on one piece of paper? Not me.) Turned out I didn’t tighten the blade holder enough. It will eventually work loose (Murphy’s Law or Law of Nature or something). You gotta check that thing and make sure everything’s snug.

Went in for time number three with a fresh sheet of paper, meanwhile grumbling that I was adding to my scrap box more than I was producing anything. This time, the mat slipped and the cut came out wonky. The first thing I checked was that I put the levers down (not that I’d have experience with that or anything, wink wink). They were down, but on the Maxx, they need to be in a certain spot or they won’t do their job. And two of them were way off. If Maxx could talk, he’d say, “If you would do your job correctly, I could do mine correctly so get it together.”

The fourth time I stuck my paper in the wrong spot. (My fault).

The fifth time…. I don’t even remember what happened the fifth time. But it was my fault too.

The sixth time was the charm.

The bottom line is that things can and will not always go as planned. These machines aren’t like the silhouette where there is very little thought involved in making a cut. I’m not going to lie, I had the Silhouette out of the box and cutting in 20 minutes. It’s that easy. BUT. (Yep, there is a big but). It is so limiting on what it can do. It can’t cut thicker materials than card stock, it can’t cut over 8 1/2 inches wide (even less when you are doing a print and cut) and your print and cuts are limited to white or light colored paper or the little optic eye can’t do its thing.

Because there are so many things you can do with a KNK Maxx or Groove or Zing, it is not as easy as a machine like the Silhouette. There are different things you have to be thinking about and you have to not be afraid to trouble shoot when things don’t go as planned. I suffer from CRS (can’t remember shiiiii….you know the rest) and so I write things down. I have little sticky notes all over the place. For a long time I had them stuck all over the Maxx. Things like, “don’t forget to put the levers down” or “make sure you set the origin” or what settings I use for card stock or for thinner papers. I have made notes all over my user manual and it is something I refer to quite often…. remember this is coming from the person who doesn’t read manuals.

Anyway, after burning my fingers with the hot glue gun and gluing lace around the edge of this thing so you can’t see my mistakes, I have made an advent calendar. I was going to fill it with chocolate, but I ate it.

I almost don’t want to show you the close ups but remember I keep it real here so you are going to see all my mishaps and all.

It’s like a shadow box, which is kind of cool.

The Christmas tree is a Martha Stewart thing that someone at the MTC boards converted into a file. I reduced it to 80% in size. It still hangs over the box a bit, but I decided I didn’t care (read: I was tired, it was late and I wanted to be done).

The little drawers open so you can put candy in it. Remember I ate it so they’re all empty.

Oh yeah, ignore the hot glue mess.

I glued all those inside pieces and it was hard to get them straight.

All in all, it was an easy project to put together, it just took forever and a day to do it. The files were very well done and self-explanatory. I didn’t read the directions and I’m not so good with you tube videos (when I actually do look at directions, I like to see them written. I’m visual.) but I think I got it together on my own the way it is supposed to be.

This project was definitely a practice in patience and persistence. Kinda the same as using the KNK line of machines: you need to have patience and persistence and you will be rewarded with something really really great. And also remember the help is out there in abundance if you ask for it.

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About deb_m

By day, a teacher. By night, a geeky crafter. I have one hubby, 2 kids, and 4 dogs. I like to take pictures and like it even more when they don't suck. I use a KNK Maxx 24" machine, a Zing, and a Cameo.

17 thoughts on “Advent calendar Note Had this written and ready…

  1. Great project, Deb!!! If I start now, I could have one for next Christmas but I’d probably eat all of the candy too! I like the tree coming out of the box – more dimension.

  2. Love it! I too would need to start now to finish by next year. I should probably pop on over and buy the file though. Then I’ll have to try to remember I have it. Great job!!!

  3. What a great job! I felt like you when I first got my KNK Maxx, and feel the same way now. When I first heard people say they were designing and node editing I thought I would never even attempt it.Now it is second nature.

  4. YOU are too FUNNY!!! If you remember, I emailed you with that same feeling after I ordered my Maxxer….what did I flippin’ do?!?! LOL…and that was even before it was even in my house. It was the best decision…love my machine. Thanks to you and Sandy’s encouragement and help, I don’t feel so helpless any more. cool.
    That is one intense project there lady! I would have loved to watch you cut it out and put it together. I’m happy you are able to share it with us finally. Well worth the wait! 🙂

  5. Pingback: Digital Die Cutting With Sandy McCauley » Team KNK is Back!

  6. I’m still chuckling from your story. What a detailed project. The chocolate wouldn’t have made it into a calendar I made either!

  7. Nice project and thanks for the reminders of the patience it takes to learn these machines. BUT the REWARDS are worth it!

  8. Adorable! Putting it on the list for next year! Hopefully, I’ll be able to get through the list. Isn’t it suppose to be eat two chocolates use one, eat two …

  9. Love your adventures with KnK. You are right about the Maxx doing anything. I just wish it could cut thicker material, like matt board, and also cut on an angle (like matt board). Wouldn’t that be nice, to make custom mats! Are you listening Chad? LoL

  10. getting started early on Christmas projects, I am making this to send to my Grands… I love it thank you so much for sharing.

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