I had great hopes way back in November to write a post about our Advent Calendar (and actually post it sometime around December 1st). My original inspiration was this one from Kathy Mack at Pink Chalk Studio which she completed back in January of 2007 - right about when I started my own. I remember pouring over her photos and having one of those "I should do that" moments. So, I cut the tree shape and assembled the quilt top that same January (on the heals of putting away my decorations from the Christmas before, but planning ahead).
That was a big holiday season for me. That fall I discovered the world of craft blogs and was finding inspiration left and right. Little G. was born in November and she was such a good baby, I was left with lots of time for quiet activities like poking around on the internet and fumbling around with my sewing machine. Pink Chalk Studio quickly became one of my favorite places to visit everyday and it is still so obvious why - tons of wonderful sewing tips and inspiration coupled with great writing. What more could a wanna be crafty girl who loved reading ask for?
That was the same year I made my first tote to give as a gift. I made what I now refer to as "The Simple Tote" for my mom, along with a matching crochet hook roll. I am pretty sure she is still using both regularly for her crochet projects. I remember discovering Rainbow Fabrics in Fairfax - a funny little fabric store - and buying the fabric for my mom's tote and then going back the next day for more to make the Advent calendar. I remember having G. in the Bjorn when I bought the fat quarter of green fabric I used to make that perfect tree shape and digging around for scraps in the bin of leftovers for the pockets. Looking back, I remember that many little sewing projects were started that year, and so many little windows into the crafty life were discovered online - it really was the beginning of so much for me.
So back to this Advent calendar ... The buttons are all vintage and random finds from a box of thousands at Rainbow. So much fun to sift through! Of course I had never quilted anything in my life so I totally winged it. I pulled out the walking foot and went to town! I knew nothing at the time about making my own seam binding, so I just bought a package of red at JoAnn's, wrapped it around the edge and zigzagged. I imagine this is a total amateur move, but it worked at the time and I display it proudly. Sadly, all these steps, the quilting, the buttons, the zigzagging, the binding, took me something like two years and the thing is (in my mind) still a work in progress. Someday (maybe next year) I plan to make some handmade ornaments to adorn this quilted tree. Until then, my little store bought Santa's and candy canes will have to do.
How do we use it? Well, in each of the 25 pockets there is a little strip of paper and an ornament. The strips of paper have events, treats and special gifts printed on them. Some days the kids get stickers or other small gifts or a special dessert, other days they are treated to a special event like going to The Nutcracker or watching a Holiday movie. Each day, from December 1st through Christmas we pull an ornament and hang it from a button on the tree and enjoy that day's treat or gift. By Christmas we have a fully decorated "tree" and twenty-five days of fun to remember.