Monday, December 12, 2011

A Finished Advent Calendar. Finally

It’s finished! Finally! Only 10 days into the 25 on the calendar.
The Munchkins are thrilled.
We have a huge, wall-sized Advent Calendar.
Each day is represented by a pocket and each pocket is filled with one sweet treat for each kidlet plus a slip of paper noting what day it is, how many days left until Christmas, and an small act of kindness that each needs to perform that day.

For example, Saturday they were instructed to each make someone else's bed.
And they all turned out so sweet: with stuffed animals arranged  just-so on everyone's comforters.  Sunday they were to do one secretly nice thing for someone else, and then we discussed what everyone did over bed-time prayers at the end of the day...

We’ve been working on being kind lately. Ever since The Monkey discovered that her favorite expletive was “butt-head” and Mr. Man’s has been “dummy”. Hearing these just makes me cringe. It makes my heart hurt a little to hear them be purposefully mean to each other. It’s been a rough few weeks on the homestead, and I’m running out of ideas to inspire spontaneous kindness. So, maybe kindness just needs a little nudge. And my hope is that with these daily suggestions, and correlating bribery or chocolates, The Munchkins will treat each other with just a little more kindness. Right now it's more of a game to them than anything, but if that works? I'm okay with it.

The calendar itself wasn't difficult to make, it was just time consuming.
And with so many other projects needing completion before the first week of December, it just didn't get finished in time for the first. But it's done now, and it's done right (perfectionist much? I may still re-do all the day numbers after the season and before I pack it away, but it'll do for now).

 And, in case you get a wild hair and want to make your own, or are just curious how I made mine...

You’ll need:
-Two 30”x42” pieces of your basic fabric
(I just used up some off-white Muslin from my stash)
-One piece of 30”x42” batting.
-Bias Tape to go around the edges. I just made my own out of that candy-cane striped fabric. I’m estimating two packages of store bought tape would do the trick
-1/2 yard each of your four alternating pocket fabrics.
-Various bits of felt for the Christmas Tree appliqué for December 25th
- Embroidery Floss for the Words & Numbers
- Thread, scissors, etc.

Calendar Front:
You need to divide your Calendar top into a grid for your 25 days. I used a simple 5-across, 5-down pattern.
Using a pencil, or disappearing fabric ink pen, sketch our your grid from the bottom up (because you’ll have to allow extra fabric at the top for your Advent Calendar Embroidery!) each square on the grid was 6”x6”.

Cut out all your fabric pieces for your pockets – I originally cut 6”x6” square of each fabric.
Iron under ½” on all four sides (I actually ended up folding and ironing down 1½” at the top because I liked the look of a longer, shallower pocket in the end).
Pin each pocket onto your top layer grid then stitch along each side and the bottom – don’t close up your top!

*Now would be an excellent time to add any embroidery you’d like along the top of your calendar.
It was also be an ideal time to hand embroider and/or attach any numbers to each day on the grid.
Or, you can be like me and completely forget this step until your Calendar is assembled and then grumble and groan through adding each piece because you skipped it earlier on. Oops.

Putting it all together
Make a fabric/quilt sandwich: Bottom (right side down), batting, top fabric (right side up)
Pin METICULOUSLY! Your fabric can and will shift here, so take the extra time to pin the heck out of that thing, or, if you have it, use some basting/adhesive spray to keep your layers together and immobilized.

Stitch in the ditch between each row of pockets. You could also complete your grid by stitching between each column as well, but I was happy with my rows and left it at that.

Pin your star-on-a-leash in place in the upper left hand corner
*My star is just a hand-sketched star cut out of yellow felt and stuffed with a little Polyfil. Attach a length of yarn, and it becomes a sweet little marker of which day you’re on.
I just cut a piece of yarn the length of the diagonal, so there'd be enough for the star to reach each pocket.

Attach your bias tape around the exterior of your calendar, making sure you capture that strand of yarn in your stitches.
 With your remaining bias tape scraps, create three or four small loops and attach to the back of your calendar in even intervals.

Hang it Up!
Slide a dowel rod or, in an pinch, a small tension rod, through your loops. Hang.
Now step back and admire!

I initially thought I'd pre-fill every day with treats and notes, but quickly nixed that idea when I realized The Munchkins have even less will power than I do and would jump ahead.
So, each night when everyone's abed, I sneak down and fill the following day's pocket.

1 comment:

  1. Yay for you!!! I actually bought one this year -- I'm so terrible! I just ran out of time!!

    I tried to respond to your comment on my giveaway, but you're a non-reply commenter. You might want to fix that! ;) I hope I hear from you again!!

    Merry Christmas,


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