starting a tradition, making a lasting treasure

We had plenty of Christmas traditions growing up, ones that I still do for myself and my kids. I adore traditions and the more I can partake in with my little family, the better.
One traditional Christmas activity that my family didn’t do was an advent calender. It’s something I always wanted to do though.
But each year, Christmas time would come and go and I didn’t even attempt to create one. I kept telling myself that I should do it in the months outside of the Christmas season so I could take my time and not feel the looming pressure of December 1st. Because once the 1st is here and gone, it just doesn’t make sense, the whole thing is blown. BLOWN. Sometimes I’m just very rigid yo.

My production schedule this fall season going into holiday and winter is NUTS. More than I can handle comfortably. But I just couldn’t let another year go by without making an advent calendar. I was determined! So I decided to do some image searches in hopes of finding something that struck my fancy. And was relatively simple.

Quickly, I came across this one. Adorbs, right?

I like how cute it is, how simple and clean the overall design is, and that it reminded me of a traditional advent calender. I usually think of little boxes or pockets. Specifically with the idea that each day is an ornament to be placed onto a tree.

I gave myself 1-2 days ONLY in order to complete this project. Very ambitious! My fingers were quite sore and angry with me when all was said and done. Every single bit of wool blend felt was hand-cut and fused together with fusible webbing using a ripping hot iron. Actually the felt work reminded me a lot of the alphabet train I made for the boys a few years ago.

I snapped some pics throughout my process:

The layout:


LOTS of numbers to trace and cut out:


Fusing all of the pockets and numbers down:


I usually don’t work this messy:


Each ornament tucked into their cozy pockets:


Mitten, horn, skate, wreath, reindeer:


Toy soldier, gingerbread house, candle, ball ornament, candy cane:


Christmas lightbulb, peppermint candy, drum, present, sleigh:


Santa, bell, gingerbread man, snowman, holly:


Angel, stocking, dove, poinsettia, and of course the King of Kings!


All together!


I’m just in love with it! And my kids and Mike think it’s wonderful too, which is just icing on the cake. It’s something that I hope will last all the years of our family, throughout our history and future. Perhaps even being handed to a new generation. Just like tradition.

materials used:

wool blend felt
fusible webbing
wood dowel
ribbon for hanging (not pictured)

new tree skirt

It took me a while to FINALLY get around to making a new Christmas tree skirt. The old one we had was awful. Cheap felt, weird appliqued poinsettia, just tacky and ugly. But I’m pretty easy going and I just used it for a few years because it was functionally adequate. The only real issue that I had was because we always get a real tree, the needles would drop over time and would stick to the felt. This meant I couldn’t easily pick them up to keep under the tree clean and neat. I know it’s a minor thing but it was annoying!

This year was when I finally said ENOUGH! And I set to work on a new skirt. I had purchased this odd outdoor poly vinyl fabric from IKEA a few months ago. I didn’t know what I would do with it at the time of purchase. But I bought it anyway because I’m a sucker for polka dots! Especially red and white ones!

On the underside I wanted to use something contrasting and well, cheap. Funnily enough I decided to use blue felt. Mostly because it’s easy to buy wide yardage of felt. Other fabrics, not so much. I needed the fabric to be at least 54 inches wide in order to make a proper circle with cutting it down the middle and joining it. I didn’t want to bother with seaming.

As I begin to cut my fabric, I felt ambitious and decided to do a scalloped edge. It was SUPER fussy and added a lot of time to this project, but I’m so glad that I stuck it out because I adore the finished product.