As a kid, I absolutely loved Advent Calendars. You know, the little paper calendars with the perforated doors. Sometimes there was a Christmas picture behind the little paper door and sometimes a bible verse. It didn’t matter, I loved the process of opening on each day. I wanted to create an Advent Calendar tradition with my own children, but I wanted to create a keepsake – something they would look forward to getting out each year.
So, I went to the interwebs to find something to inspire me – and the pickings were slim. This was in 2008, a pre-Pinterest era, and there just wasn’t a lot out there I loved. Enter Stitchcraft Creations with her super cute felt calendar. With her pretty version as my guide, I embarked on “adventures in Advent Calendars.”
For Dub’s first Christmas years ago, I decided I wanted to start the tradition of making something homemade for my kids for each Christmas. I ambitiously took on an activity book project to kick off the tradition, knowing I could add pages to it each year.
I drew inspiration from the interwebs and used a few patterns But mostly, I just winged it. Ididn’t want it to look perfect, I wanted it to look inviting and fun!
I did a lot of web surfing for inspiration. I used a few patterns from one of my favorite bloggers, Homemade by Jill.
From there, I narrowed down the pages and activities I wanted tobe in the book and madea list of the supplies I needed. I was patient with this and used 40% off coupons at Michael’sand JoAnn’s for several weeks to avoid paying full price on the more expensive supplies. Pre-planning is the most important step to any project, because having allthesupplies on hand means fewer half-finished projects laying around that were never picked back up after the inspiration left!
As a working mom, I made it my goal to complete at least two pages every weekend. This made the project much more manageable for me to take on. Looking face-on at a full weekend of sewing probably would have killed my motivation to start!
After all of the pages were complete, I paired pages two-by-two and sewed twosheetstogether back-to-back.
I then punched three grommets into each set of pages, like you would if you were going to add them to a binder.
Finally, I used loose leaf rings to secure them together. I chose to do it this way so I couldrepair pages or continue to add pages as I had kids.
White felt pages from the craft store (around 25 cents each)
Additional felt pages in various colors
Scrap fabric and notions, like a zipper and ricrac,
Assorted buttons I had saved over the years
Metal snaps (these are easier for little hands to use vs. the plastic snaps)
Finger puppets from Ikea for the Noah’s Ark page (pictured below). These are no longer available through Ikea but they pop up on ebay all the time!
I’m happy to say that 4 years later, this book still gets used by Dub and now Eve, too. It’s held up and only needed 1 small repair.
In retrospect, I wish I had more carefully documented the sewing process and made patterns for each page. It took me a long time pull this book together and it would have been so much easier if all the patterns had been in one place. I often wonder if I should go back and make the patterns to share for the next person. If you would like to see that in the future, please be sure to tell me in the comments below!