Monday, December 9, 2013

Advent Calendar

Growing up, I loved Advent calendars.  There was something so amazing about getting a little present every day while you waited for Christmas to FINALLY arrive!  Now as a parent it seems Christmas comes much too soon, but I still love the idea of little presents.  I've done a few different ones, mainly Playmobil and Lego, which were great, but really only worked for one child and since they were cardboard, didn't hold up.  I have various ages of children, so it's nice to be able to have something they all will like.  That led to the idea of pockets to hold little treats.

Somewhere online I found a pattern for simple pouches.  (It's been 2 years, I can't remember where!) A quick trip to Joann's for various Christmas fabrics and I was cutting pieces like a maniac.  That kicked off the Great Pocket Making Endeavor.  Followed by the Great Button Hole Endeavor.  And then the Great Button Sewing On Endeavor.  I recruited a child to help me pick out the buttons for each pocket, and she also drew and cut out the numbers for me while I sewed like a maniac.  We started sewing the numbers on, then discovered craft glue.

The first year I was finishing pockets the night before I needed them, so there was no thought to the display.

The next year I rigged a rather "special" hanging method involving ribbon and cording.  I'm very glad I couldn't find a picture, it was pretty sad.

This year I had a goal, make something 'better'  to display them.  I picked up some inexpensive fabric that I thought might match, mostly, and used some of my Black Friday flannel from last year (I just bought the bolts, didn't want to stand in TWO lines!) as a stand in for batting.  A little experimenting with layout and math, then I came up with a way to attach them.  I didn't have time to do binding (waited until November 30th to finally get around to it!), so I decided to do the sew and flip method to make it a closed edge.  Adding ribbon loops to the top let me slide a dowel in, and it looks a little better this year!  Maybe next year I'll even pretty up the pole or something... one step at a time!

The only thing left is to fill the pockets.  For the first week, I put in candy (one piece per child), but now I need to step it up a notch.  I have a Lego kit (is it mean to put only a few pieces in each pocket?), squinkies (also known as 'squishies' in our house), and just need to pick up some earrings for my oldest.  I like to get the packs of 12 from Claire's and cut them apart so that covers several days!  In previous years I put mini ornaments in the pockets, and let the kids put them on the big tree.  Maybe this year I'll remember to pick up a mini tree on clearance for next year... maybe.

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