Wednesday, December 5, 2012

{DIY} Advent Pocket Calendar

It sure was nice having a whole week between Thanksgiving and the start of December this year. I was actually able to prep a little for advent and be ready to go December 1st. One of the projects that I wanted to add to this year's list was an advent calendar. We had been using mine that I grew up with and loved, but I wanted something bigger that would eventually include all our kids and be more interactive.

I had pinned a ton of ideas over the year for advent calendars: ones shaped like Christmas trees, made from felt, paper envelopes or brown paper bags, etc. Then I stumbled upon this image a few weeks ago and knew this was the one.

Buuuuut it don't come with a tutorial. So I fished around and found a few more images with the same modge-podged, saggy-pocket, rustic look.

 I bought a ten dollar 6 by 9 drop cloth {canvas tarp that painters use} from Walmart and got to work. {This is waaaay bigger than you'll ever need, but I want to make a tree skirt out of the same material.} All the "extras" I already had in my craft stash: buttons, ribbon trims, pom-poms, doilies, embroidery floss, fabric, felt, sewing machine, sharpie, and paint.

I cut and hemmed a piece of the drop cloth to measure about 36 inches long by 31 inches wide.
We have a little wall between our kitchen and eating are where our thankful tree was so I figured I'd hang this there too. So, I worked off the wall's size. I had several burlap squares leftover from my bubble burlap wreath project that I used for placement and pocket size. Then I just started switching some of them out for fabric and felt squares. And that's where the laborious, time-consuming part came in: decorating each pocket. Oh, the hours spent! And the mess that my kitchen table withstood!
I didn't plan ahead nor really tried to spend too much thought on any one pocket. I wanted it to look slightly messy and non-uniformed.

Once the pockets were decorated, I sewed each one in place. With the burlap ones, I went over them twice just to make sure wee lil' hands wouldn't tear them. I added three tab on top and stuck a wooden dowel through them. The last thing I did was tie some ribbon to each dowel end and hung it up!
Filling them was fun! I've been wanting to purchase a nativity set that the boys could role-play with for awhile. After some hunting, I decided on the Little People's set which has a bazillion pieces {make sure to get the one that has the shepherd!!}! I picked that up at Wally World along with the drop cloth.

I wrapped each nativity piece in some brown kraft paper and washi tape. I mingled the pieces with some chocolate and "activities tags". The tags are basically index cards that I added ribbon and tape to. I looked over this list and picked several that fit our family and the traditions we like to do during this time of year: Christmas lights drive, bake cookies, watch a Christmas movie, do a Christmas/winter related craft, have a picnic next to the Christmas tree, and make this year's ornament. I also tried to include a few "service"/acts of kindness type activities too. I was really inspired by this blogger's kindness project from a few years back. Hoping we can add more of these as the years go on and the kids are more capable!
I half-jokingly told W that this advent better end up as a heirloom after all the time I spent on it. It seriously took 3+ days to complete. Labor of love. But I love how it turned out and know it'll get many more years use out of it in the meantime. Our Christmas count-down has begun!


Megan said...

Jess, that is absolutely gorgeous! Love it!

Anonymous said...

Oh my goodness! I LOVE it Jess! It looks AM-A-ZING... you are so darn crafty girl! Keep up the awesome work!