Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Fabric Candy or Activity advent calendar

Our Mother made advent calendars for each of us kids, when we were growing up. I don't know when she made them, as I just always remember having them. These are super easy and cute! My Mother's version was made out of one layer of counted cross stitch material, yarn, a bell, a Santa Head, and the saying. Copying that would be SUPER easy! The Santa head is a pin that's just pinned to the fabric. The poem is just a rectangle piece of paper, glued onto the material, with a yarn border and bow glued on. We got to have a piece of candy tied on each of those strings! I even remember watching my Mom sort the candy out and tie them on to each of the kids advent calendars.
As a Mother, I can't bring myself to let my kids eat that much candy. I wont even let them have one advent calendar to share. I just think that December brings enough sugar with it! So, my twist on our family's traditional advent calendar is to put in rolled up pieces of paper, in place of candy. For the last couple of years I have made sure to do one activity that was about Christmas, a day, for the whole month of December. So, I thought I could turn this into an actual advent by having the kids get to untie that days activity. I mostly do free things, with a few larger ones thrown in. I also try to make them be things that add to family togetherness and not add to the stress! Just simple, easy activities to help make the season memorable and enjoyable by all (including myself).
I printed up my fun Christmas activities in a grid. Here are 2 sheets of ideas to get you going. Obviously cater this to your area, and your family's likes. I have included one day that has to be opened on Dec 5, leave shoes out. This is a new tradition that I want to start. My kids will get their ornament for the year, on that day. The ornament gets left in their shoe. This way our ornaments can go on the tree before Christmas. I always pick an ornament for them that is representative of the last year for them. Most times I make them. There is another one that has to be on Dec 13, St Lucia's Day. This is another tradition that we have always celebrated, in my family. Love it. You will come up with your list of 24 activities. Think through if they are supposed to be done on certain days, and be sure to tie them to that days tie!
I thought the red writing on the white scrolls would be so cute. So, you guys can just print those out and use them as is. For myself, I remembered that my material is white. I wanted the scrolls to have more POP then that. So, I printed them in grayscale and one on red paper and the other on green.
Now to the actual making of these calendars. I used a cute Christmas material, and then backed it in the same cross stitch material my Mother had used. You don't need to back it this way, but for me I had to use the xstitch material like my Mom's. I also used a fusible webbing in the middle.

1. Iron the webbing in between the christmas material and the xstitch material, following the instructions on the fusible webbing.

2. Cut all 3 materials 3 inches by 35 inches (christmas material, xstitch material, and fusible webbing).
3. Cut the bottom off to form a V shape, by folding the bottom in half and cutting diagonally down to the fold.
4. You now need to mark where you want your yarn ties to be. Here is a diagram of how the ties are laid out on the calendar.
5. The above shows that I needed 13 even rows. I figured my spacing out to be 3/4 of an inch from each side, and 1 3/4 of an inch between each row. So, I cut out a piece of paper with those dimensions, to help me mark the whole thing out.
6. Add the bell by sewing one onto the bottom and tying it on with a pretty yarn ribbon, as in the above picture.
7. Stitch your ties on. I found that I liked the length of yarn to be 12 inches long. I cut 12 pieces of red and 12 pieces of green yarn. I stitch from the top to the back, over a square (on the xstitch material) and back forward. Then, you go back into the first hole you just made and back to the front through the second hole you made. You want the ends to be evenly hanging in the front. Do this for every hole that you marked. I alternated the yarn colors by row.
8. Cut out all of your adventure squares. Roll the squares around a pen. Tie each of these scrolls onto the advent using the hanging ties you just stitched in. I tied red paper scrolls onto the green ties.
9. Next up is the poem for this advent calendar. I am providing you with a copy of this poem in a few variations for your use.
10. I printed up my poem onto a bell shape that I cut out of green paper.
11. Next you add the Santa. I chose to stay with a Santa head, because that's what the one from my childhood had. I cut up the parts for a Santa head and labeled each part what color I would need to cut it out of.
12. Cut the parts out of polymer clay that you have rolled out to 1/4 inch thickness.
13. Here is my assembled and baked Santa head. I baked him at 225 degrees for fifteen minutes.
14. Attach the Santa head and paper poem to the advent calendar. I have glued mine on.
15. Last, you want to have a way to hang this fun advent calendar. Cut a long piece of yarn and lay it onto the backside of the calendar, about an inch down. Fold the top edge of the advent calendar back and down over the piece of yarn. Glue or stitch down. Tie the yarn into a bow and this will form the way you can hang your advent calendar.
16. Admire the labor of your work. Really it's not hard labor, just a few steps involved.
If you make this now, you will be ready to start this on December 1st. One thing OFF your Christmas to do list!
I hope you go and make this and have a great time with your 24 days of Christmas activities, or your kids will just really enjoy their 24 treats! ;)

Remember, this is part of a whole week of advent calendars. Be sure to check out #1 which is a magnetic tin advent , #2 which is a framed button ornament advent, #4 which is a fabric or paper chain advent, and#5 is an embellished felt ornament and fabric advent!


Heartfelt and Handmade Holidays


Anonymous said...

Good morning Anjeanette, I just love your blog. I'm bookmarking today! I'm scheming to make that pizza advent calendar with friends and I think this "candy" one would be cute to send to my great nieces and nephews. Thanks for sharing! Ellen aka neighbor!

Anonymous said...

I LOVE this and can't wait to make my own! Thanks :)