Every year I feast on all the goodness Thanksgiving has to offer and I smile as I think of the coming Christmas season. When kids came into the picture the idea of setting up holiday tradition gained importance and I dreamed of ways to make their holidays both meaningful and mindful. I wanted to make sure they had memories to look back on fondly, that their little hearts burst with joy from gifts given and received, and that [most importantly] they understood why we were celebrating.
So, every year as I did this thinking with my belly fully of turkey I’d think, “Oh, we should do an advent calendar.” But, you know, it’s Thanksgiving: there are dishes to be washed, gift shopping to brave, and halls to deck. I always think of it too late. So this year I committed: We’re going to do an advent calendar. And I’m going to make it. And I’m going to tell my sister what I’m doing so she can hold me accountable [isn’t that what older sisters are for!?].
With just enough pride and excitement for the impending season, here’s what I came up with.
I started with a neutral backdrop because I wanted this calendar to match the decor of our house [we’ve got a blue, tan, brown thing going]. The tan is actually a piece of a painter’s drop cloth that I removed the plastic backing from. So I serged the edges of my tan guy. I didn’t measure, I actually just cut the biggest piece I could from the drop cloth, left over from another project. The final project ended up being about 13 inches wide by 33 inches long.
I also serged a piece of blue lightweight upholstery fabric 9 1/2 inches wide by 28 1/2 inches long. I took my blue fabric and had my lovely husband with dreamy handwriting [I know!] write out the numbers one through twenty-five in lower-case cursive. I put that into an embroidery hoop and went to town. I’m no hand embroidery whiz [I like to do a lot of things marginally well. Insert a winky faced emoticon here.] but my goal was to not spend all of my time embroidering the words. I tried to meet at the intersection of cute enough and quick enough. After the embroidery was done [it took about four nights of post-bedtime tv watching] I sewed the blue fabric to the tan. I did so by using a zigzag stitch over the serged edge in the same color thread. I didn’t want to distract from the serged edges.
I used the red thread to sew a couple evergreens on top. I was inspired by this tutorial for hanging a map to come up with the dowel situation.
So I went back and forth for how to “point” to the days. I considered sewing lines between each of the words before I attached the blue to the tan to create pockets on the right side. I also considered sewing a button beside each word and having something that attached to it [still considering that]. But for now, because projects looming more than a week make me twitch and project making time is slim, I made a felt star and attached a magnet to the back. To make it I first cut out two stars from grey felt. I used those as a guide to cut out two smaller stars from quilt batting and then I used a whip stitch [here’s an example] to sew it up.
[I just noticed, looking at this picture, that somebody knocked the frame off the blue books and gave ’em a shake. Landon, I’m looking at you, kid.]
Here’s the calendar hanging out underneath our acorn display and next to the bookcase. It’s going to be a lot of fun to move the star down each day. To engage the kids we’re going to try out the Truth in Tinsel e-book with a cousin [maybe some skype crafting playdates!].
I also like The Activity Mom’s Advent Activity Links. So I think we’ll be adding some of those in, too.
Anyone else feeling the joy, yet? I’m ready to get that tree up. Let’s celebrate!