Advent calendar saga, part 1

J is three years old, and this is the first year he’s really looking forward to Christmas. He’s constantly asking “is it Christmas today?” when he wakes up in the morning, and keeps asking about Christmas tree and decorating. So I thought it would be nice to have an advent calendar for him, to keep track of days. I didn’t want a chocolate one, though… When I was a kid we always had those paper calendars where you open a flap, and then there’s a part of a story or a picture underneath. Our local little Christian bookstore has had them in the past, so we went looking for one last week. But they were sold out!

Well, I had already told J about the calendar so now we needed to get one. I had a DIY inspiration moment, and hit Pinterest for ideas. There are lots of lovely ideas to choose from. And really, how hard could it be…?

I decided to make a calendar like this, with the Jesse Tree ornaments and story. Jesse Tree tells the stories of waiting for the Messiah in the Old Testament, and then the story of Jesus’ birth, the fulfilment of all the waiting. Even in my most ambitious DIY moments I usually manage to keep some sense of reality (hah!), so I found printable ornaments for the tree here, and maybe I’ll make felt ones or something next year.

So, I just need to make the calendar itself this year. December 1st is Monday. I started on Thursday, after J had gone to bed, and cut out all the felt rectangles for the pockets.

Since it was only 10 pm when I was done, I decided to cut out the numbers too. That shouldn’t take too long, right?

At around midnight I decided to leave the rest for later. Cutting out little bits is a LOT slower than cutting out rectangles!

Friday. I managed to cut out the rest of the numbers in the afternoon, and went to the fabric store to pick up some canvas for the background as well as a bigger piece of green felt for the tree. In the evening I had no time to do anything at all – I had to get ready for a craft fair on Saturday.

Saturday. I pulled out the hot glue gun after J had gone to bed, and started attaching the numbers on the pockets. An hour and a few minor burns later they were done. Whoever designed the hot glue gun probably didn’t envision it being used to glue on tiny, floppy pieces of felt… It was just about impossible to hold on to a number and put glue on it without getting some on my fingertips.

So now it’s Sunday. Sewing day! First I cut out the tree (the easiest part of the whole process so far) and the background piece. Then I started pinning the pockets on the background. I quickly noticed that the canvas piece wasn’t quite wide enough, and I had to trim the pockets a little to make them fit. Good thing too, because they weren’t exactly all the same size. Ahem… One of these days I’ll learn to measure my projects properly before cutting…

The tree and 1/3 of the pockets have finally been attached to the background. The rest will have to wait – it’s 11 pm and I can’t sew a straight line anymore… One thing I may regret later is using cheap craft felt instead of the better wool stuff. I had lots and lots of felt at home, so I used it for the pockets, and bought more of the same for the tree. But it stretches out when I sew – I’m afraid this might not become an heirloom after all… But at this point I fail to care. The main goal is to get it done.

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