12/1/09

Hello, December


For the last three years I've been meaning to make an Advent calendar before the end of November and every year December 1st sneaks up on me. NOT THIS YEAR. I needed something I could easily finish in the time it took both kids to fall asleep and wake up again yesterday afternoon. After trying to come up with some ingenious use of inexpensive craft supplies to make something the world has NEVER SEEN BEFORE (I often have these ridiculous notions) I decided to do something aesthetically pleasing with what I had on hand that would help us to incorporate fun memories throughout the rest of the busy month.


I started with some gray wool that I found in a bargain bin last year and cut it to measure about 16" x 24". I hemmed the edges and made a pocket hem for the top edge in order to hang it on a rod (or stand in ruler). I found my cream felt and cut five rows so that they would fit my allotted space and pinned them down. I then sewed down all three outer edges of each felt panel. After measuring the distance needed for five spaces each, I stitched lines to create pockets. I then carefully hand cut felt numbers and glued them on with tacky glue. Finally, I cut an old ruler down to size using a serrated kitchen knife because I never have any dowel rods on hand, and added a pom-pom hanger.


Next, I cut down 25 individual cards from scrapbook paper I saved from last winter's lines, rounded off the corners and arranged them so that they looked mixed up. Then I made a list of all of the activities I could do with Sebastian or that we could do as a family to make each day this month a little more special. I thought about which days lent themselves to simple activities like making brownies and which days we could do something more specific such as enjoying the bounce house at the YMCA this Friday. Most of the activities will cost nothing or very little but will surely keep us focused on enjoying each other during the holidays.


One of the few treats that included a purchase was accomplished Tuesday evening. We took Sebastian to Target to get a pair of snow boots that fit his ever growing feet because our forecast calls for a chance of snow on Wednesday! 'Tis the season for a boy to have snow boots just in case.

Sebastian understood the concept of pulling out one card per day as we count down to Christmas and got really excited that each day held a new surprise. I'm hoping we'll be able to keep up with our own grand intentions and let this be a new family tradition that helps us stay mindful of why we celebrate Christmas and how special time with each other can be.

Next on the list of holiday cheer is to finish two smaller versions of the crocheted garland I made for Elsie's birthday gift, hang white Christmas lights in the windows, and drink more hot chocolate! We'll see if Ruby decides to take her naps so I can be hands free on Wednesday.

xoxo,
Rachel

24 comments:

maedchenmitherz said...

i love how pretty this is... everything jusr matches. (colours etc)
and i think, it's brilliant to put little surprise cards in it, because you know... there are usually sweets in there and those are gone sooo fast ^^ and now... there's always something to remember. hope, you all have fun with this <3

heyjenrenee said...

totally gorgeous! love how you can change up the cards each year, too - brilliant, as usual. :)

Toni Brockliss said...

you are your family are so beautiful. i love traditions.
x

Maggie said...

that's really sweet. I like that it's activities instead of... crappy plastic toys or lollies. It's an advent calender that can adapt year by year by changing the activities.

Rachel Kay said...

This is so lovely, and I am so impressed at the length of time it took you to make it! It would have taken me 2 hours alone to cut out all those numbers! :)

deadweight on velveteen said...

what a fantastic genius idea :D well done and congrats on such a wonderful design !!!

Amanda said...

ADORABLE calendar. I love it. I wonder how fast I could whip this up myself? Hmmm. And I too like the cards idea. No more junk.

Meg said...

I think this is the best idea I've ever seen for an advent calendar! I don't much enjoy candy, but this is such a lovely way to make family memories!

Stefan, Sarah and Lukka said...

I love your simple and beautiful advent calendar...and the little ideas you had inside! I always thought 3 is a good year to start something like that....my toddler (18 mo last xmas, 2 1/2 this year) just didn't get the idea of only one per day. Looking forward to making something like this for next year!
Have fun with your family!!
PS-**loved** that plum garland!!!!
Sarah M

Chris & Ashley said...

So beautiful. A friend of mine made one similar to this by mounting envelopes on a board...with activities inside like yours. So much better than little trinkets and candy. One of these years I'll get around to making mine, but doesn't look like this year is that year!

Illinivicki said...

Of all the Advent calendars I've run across the past week or so, yours is by far my favorite. Sweet colors, sweet ideas!

Laurie Anne said...

Great idea! Love that there aren't sweets in the pockets...my kids eat the whole advent calendar in the first week :)
No snow here just yet {bittersweet}

Mandi said...

awwww yeah! The coolest. I'll make an advant calendar when I have children some day. It seems like an awful lot of the magic of the holidays just doesn't happen without the excitement that kids bring to it.

Jill said...

Beautiful Rachel! Sometimes simple is best, especially when little kids are involved. I love the whole idea of messages instead of candy or chocolate.

Lexi said...

Ahh..snow boots. Picked up a few pairs for my 2 boys yesterday at Target too. Spiderman ones that light up, of course .. Because nothing says "snow day" like super hero feet ;) And seriously, where is the snow?!?

Vanessa said...

so so gorgeous!

letter {A} studio said...

Absolutely LOVE this!

katie said...

when i saw this on flickr it made me so happy. seriously, rachel, your style is just so spot-on! it's sweet and cute without being cloying, vintage-y without being musty or cliche, the colors are always just right. lady, keep on doing what you're doing!

Shannon said...

I love the idea of the activity cards. We have inherited an advent calendar, each day is a new small ornament to put on the tree. But I think now I'm going to stick a little card in each day too...

RachelDenbow said...

Thanks, everyone. I appreciate it and it's been fun to give us something obvious to do together every day.

Donna said...

Love it! Looks pretty easy to whip up, maybe I'll try to use up our extra felt and make one today!

Katie @ goodLife {eats} said...

I love this! I don't have a sewing machine, but maybe I can convince Grandma to make it. :)

drew-o-rama.com said...

i had a similar one when i was little. my mom and sister made it out of felt in the late 70s. it had a pocket for each day and a christmas tree above. you'd remove an ornament from a pocket then pin it on the tree. my mom still has it and brings it out for the grandkids.

Laura Clemons said...

I love the simplicity of this advent calendar! I plan on making this for my boyfriend and I for next year, I think it would be a nice tradition for us to begin. The only difference is that we do not have a sewing machine so I'm going to try my darnest to sew it by hand, I'm a newbie to sewing this will be my first project, so wish me luck! :)

Thanks for the wonderful simply design!
Merry Christmas.
Laura