Advent Calendar

Traditionally, (I’m talking about my childhood in the 1960’s), Advent Calendars were a just paper, or card, the little windows had no chocolate or treats behind them, only a little picture and I remember the excitement of seeing what might be behind the little door each day.

I finished this in January of this year; I’d found the Advent Calendar panel, bought years ago, in amongst some Christmas fabrics when I was looking for something else.  I decided that although I’d not get it done for Christmas, Advent was almost half way through, I’d start and plan to finish it, a stitch in time, so that I could hang it for Advent 2021.

It’s just a panel, which has the printed background and a strip of pockets, which are to be cut out and applied to the same image on the background fabric.

 Each pocket was cut, the raw edges turned and I tacked the edge down so that I could see the slim gold line at the edge. The plan was to topstitch the pockets onto the backing with a gold thread, but I didn’t like the effect, so I unpicked the ones I’d done and topstitched in a matching thread. 

 I also considered topstitching in various thread colours to match the colour of the pocket numbers, but that was beginning to look messy, that didn’t work either.

Once the pockets were sewn on, there needed to be more quilting to reduce the puffiness where the pocket were not placed.  I just picked out motifs in the same matching cream thread. Mostly these were hand stitched, because they were fiddly and in some cases too near the pockets for the machine foot to sew without pushing and pulling the fabric.

 I was determined not to buy any more fabric for this Advent Calendar project.  Seriously I have enough fabric to sink a ship. So I found a piece of ivory fabric with a gold and black motif in the Christmas box, which was not quite wide enough, and added green borders to make it fit the back. 

 The reason I chose green, (I’d rather have used red) was so that the edge at the front would match the edge on the back and any wobbliness or misalignment would be less apparent.  It worked and I’m happy with it. There was also enough of the green to make a hanging sleeve.

So the Advent Calendar was finished… well almost.  Traditionally, (I’m talking about my childhood in the 1960’s), Advent Calendars were a just paper, or card, the little windows had no chocolate or treats behind them, only a little picture and I remember the excitement of seeing what might be behind the little door each day.

 I didn’t want to just drop a sweet or wrapped chocolate in each pocket, I don’t need the calories anyway, and I couldn’t guarantee to have the self -discipline not to go chocolate rustling late at night, nor trust the beloved not to do so either. So what to put in the pockets?

As I took down my Christmas cards at Epiphany I began thinking about those little pictures behind the doors on my childhood Advent Calendars.  Would an image on its own be enough?  I cut a number of cardboard squares, small enough to fit into the pockets, each with a Christmassy image, Robins seem to be well represented, but then I like Robins.

That’s where I left it, the Advent Calendar with a temporary hanging cane and a string to hang it by and the pockets full of little squares of Christmas card.

Last month I rooted out the Advent Calendar from its resting place and began thinking about how it should be finished.  I wanted a wellbeing theme, something positive to think about each day, something maybe to do for my wellbeing.  My Niece has an Advent Calendar, which she made from downloaded materials from Calm Moment you can find it here, (https://www.calmmoment.com/mindfulness/mindful-christmas-advent-calendar/ )

 I printed the 24 wellbeing suggestions from the Calm Moment Advent Calendar cut them approximately square and folded each one diagonally twice, tucking it into the pockets on the Advent Calendar. I also searched Pinterest for Christmassy quotes, printed those very small and glued one to each of my little squares of Christmas card.

 Through Advent I will have a Christmas affirming quote and a wellbeing suggestion for every day and not a calorie in sight.

The only thing is… The hanging arrangements still don’t work for me, I need a metre or so of gold cord, and a stick  (with knobs on,) that I can paint gold., and tie the gold cord to. Inevitably even with my best efforts, it wasn’t ready in time for Advent. Shoot me! I’m still working full time and looking after my old Ma, and we have to keep a sense of proportion.  I’ll go into town on Saturday and buy gold cord, the stick I have, knobs are on order, (wooden beads actually) and all will be complete before Advent is over, honestly!  

Potholder for Mum

So what does a kind and loving daughter do when her mother confides… she has lost her pot holder?

 So what does a kind and loving daughter do when her mother confides… she has lost her pot holder? She thinks maybe it got thrown out with some newspapers which had been sitting by the kitchen door ready for recycling.

Make her a new one of course.

It took me a while to come up with a plan, I didn’t have suitable heat resistant wadding, well who does? So I needed to use a fabric which would be substantial enough to be heat resistant. Denim perhaps?

Denim jeans £1 , such a bargain.
Charity shop denim

In my stash I had a pair of jeans bought for £1 in a charity shop, I’d been thinking about a floor covering made from denim, but that would need a LOT  of denim. Not sure what I might do with the legs, but I will come up with something, what about a gardening apron? Hmm, I’ll need to think about that.

For my pot holders I needed two pieces of denim about 8-9 inches square, and a pocket on each one would give me more heat resistance in the middle, or a handy way to help keep hold of the potholder. With a pair, they could be used like ovengloves.

Sorting through my fabrics I came across the left overs from another project, Miriam’s cushion (http://www.mycrosspatch.com/blog/2018/05/11/making-miriams-cushion/)   half square triangles. Just what I needed, I’d seen a block on instagram just a few days before and saved it, now that’s  what I could do with my HSTs. (https://www.instagram.com/p/CANjHUUnDnF/…)

The Potholder only needed a simple quilting design to hold the layers together . I made a pair, one is handy but two is better, they aren’t exactly a pair but I’m happy with them, and so is MUM.   

Maybe I could make myself a pair too, when lockdown is over, and my local charity shop reopens.