Such a great tradition for my family to share each Christmas!

How to Make The Ultimate Advent Calendar!

Growing up, my grandparents would mail us advent calendars from the UK. Customs wouldn’t allow chocolate so we got the simple paper flap ones. My grandparents were limited to what they could send us and it was a tradition, but I was always envious of my friends who got a chocolate each day counting down to Christmas or had a more elaborate one. So I wanted my son to have the most amazing Advent Calendar I could think of!!! I made it last year and at 18 months, he enjoyed sticking the decorations on the tree and playing with them. As planned, I completed the other levels of the calendar for this year, now that he’s old enough to enjoy them. Here it is, start to finish!!!

What you will need:

  • A meter of green felt.
  • 1 1/2 meters of white felt (I used a heavy felt so it wouldn’t curl up and I want it to last for years!).
  • Brown felt for the tree stump.
  • White felt for the back of the letter pieces.
  • A variety of colours of felt to make ornaments, pouches, number tags, etc.
  • Rough Velcro (you can buy this on its own by the metre at Fabricland)…enough for 48 squares.
  • Computer, printer, laminating sheets (you can get self laminating sheets at Dollarama if you don’t have access to a laminator).
  • 2 wood dowels, 1/2″ in thickness and 3 feet long
  • Sewing machine and thread matching the colours of your felt.
  • Just over 3ft of twine or rope to hang with.
  • Number stencil if you can’t draw numbers free hand.

I started with some heavy, thick white felt for the background. 3ft wide and 49″ long. I made 2 button holes on the top approximately 3 inches from the sides and 1 3/4 inches from the top (make sure they’ve aligned).

Button Holes

After sewing and cutting the button holes I folded the felt over and sewed it so there was a big enough gap to slide a dowel in. I didn’t slide the dowel in until I was finished so I could maneuver the felt in the sewing machine.

I also folded 1 1/2″ of felt at the bottom and sewed it, leaving a gap for a dowel at the bottom to prevent the advent calendar from rolling up.

From there, I drew and cut out a tree from the green felt so I knew how big to make my ornaments to all fit nicely in the Christmas tree. My tree measures approximately 30.5″ tall and 28″ wide.

From there, I did the fun part, I chose and designed my 24 felt decorations for my son to add to the tree each day leading up to Christmas. If you search for “free felt ornament pattern” in Google or Pinterest you will find 100s! Be sure to add a small square of velcro on the back of each ornament before sewing it together.

After making your ornaments, cut out 24 pieces of different coloured felt for your pouches. 4″ tall and 4 1/2″ wide. Lay your tree and pouches on the felt to see where you want to position them and sew the pouches on, obviously leaving the top open and with a bit of give so your child can put the ornaments and cards in and out with ease.

How to Make an Advent Calendar

I hand stitched my tree on because I wanted the look of big stitches (that’s true love because I hate hand sewing things!!) but you can easily use your machine to sew the stump and tree on.

Now for the numbers pieces. I used a number stencil so they would all be uniform. I traced all the numbers i needed and cut them out. Then I cut out the pieces of felt, 24 white pieces and a variety of colours. Each piece was 2 1/2″ wide and 2″ tall.

I sewed the numbers on the coloured pieces and velcro squares on the white pieces and then sewed the pieces together.

There is it, the felt part of the Advent Calendar is complete! Now for the next levels.

Scripture and Activity Cards

I wrote my own verses for each sheet with the help of some online examples but and here they are if you would like to print them! advent scripture.

Print your scriptures off and then place paper back in printer so your activities will print on opposite side of paper. Here are the Advent Activities I used that will align with the scripture.

Cut out the squares and laminate each one or place in the self laminating sheets.

The Ultimate Advent Calendar with detailed instructions and free printables

Tie the twine around one end of a dowel and slide through the top. Pull the twine through the button holes and ties it to the other end by pulling the dowel out a bit at the other end. Push the other dowel through at the bottom.

Each year, on November 30th, your child can choose where each number goes on the pouches. Match the number on the scripture sheet to each pouch number and place inside. Choose which ornament goes in which pouch (I like the star to go in 24).

Each day after that, your child can search for the correct number pouch and pull out the ornament inside and choose where to place it on the tree. Together you can read the scripture and talk about the true meaning of Christmas and then plan to do the activity on the other side together as a family. I’m am so excited to carry this tradition on with my son this year!

The Ultimate Advent Calendar with detailed instructions and free printables

If you are going to make this Ultimate Advent Calendar, make sure you give yourself enough time to make each ornament, depending on how detailed you want them, they can take some time!

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Toddler Made Place Settings for Your Thanksgiving Feast

For the last 2 years I’ve done the same thing, a handprint of my son turned into a turkey. It’s cute, it shows the size of his hand at the time, I liked it…and so did the family! However, this year I felt I should mix it up a little or atleast up my game.

great for babies first Thanksgiving!
I definitely wanted something my 2 year old could make because I know for a fact that no one wants a craft my son “made” aka he destroyed his attempt and I sat at his little table and did children’s crafts! So it was important for me to find something that my son can and will actually make!! I also like the idea of incorporating a handprint or footprint so we can look back over the years and see how much he grew each year.

I also think it’s important to include your toddler in holidays and this is a great way to do it. When they look at the table set, they see something they know they made and contributed. Everyone can comment on them and make your child feel proud of their work.

I found quite a few ideas and my son, being the trooper that he can be, helped me make them all! I think this year we will have a different themed place card for each person!
We did a turkey adoring again but this year livened it up with rainbow feathers! turkey with rainbow feathers

A turkey footprint with actual feathers glued on!turkey with actual feathers glued on

An acorn handprint! place in an acorn or cork to add a personal touch to your Thanksgiving Dinner!

An owl handprint on a branch!
place in an acorn or cork to add a personal touch to your Thanksgiving Dinner!

A corn on the cob footprint!

A fall coloured leaf! (You can do a variety of these in different fall colours) you can do these in any fall colour!

You can use a handprint or a footprint to make a cornucopia…but unless you use stickers for your child to place for food, you’re going to have to attempt some drawing! 

Put the place cards in a pine cone or a cork with a slit in the top and you’ve got a cute and personal touch to your Thanksgiving Dinner!

Dump Truck Photo Booth

Last week, with your help, I planned out the design for the Photo Booth for my son’s Construction themed birthday party. So I decided to get to it. The box we had wasn’t as big as I had in mind and Costco’s selection was lacking on the day I went to scout it out. So I made do with the box we had.

First, I got my supplies:

  • Picture of a dumptruck
  • Box
  • Exacto knife
  • pencil
  • Yellow, black, white & grey paint
  • Sharpies
  • Paint brushes
  • Strong Glue (I used Gorilla Glue)
  • Circlular things to trace because I’m no good at freehand!

I started by roughly drawing the window, front grill, lights and tires. Unfortunately, I forgot to draw the steering wheel! Ugh! So I made that seperately and have glued it on with super glue, hoping it will withstand a bunch of toddlers trying to turn it and drive the dump truck. Learn from my mistakes, leave the steering wheel on from the beginning!

   

 After drawing my dump truck and cutting it out with an Exacto knife, I was starting to see it all take form! The easiest way to cup cardboard it to lightly trace your outlines with the knife, but don’t cut all the way through. Then hold the cardboard up vertically and the knife will cut easily in the pre cut grooves.

I started to paint the truck. I use acrylic paints from the Dollar Store, nothing fancy because it’s not art, it’s a cardboard box, but use whatever kind of paint you have around the house or like to work with.

 Once the first paint is dry, move on to the next colour and so forth, colouring in all the parts of the truck.

When I was finished, I stepped back and my dump truck didn’t look like a dump truck!!! I thought it looked like a semi, my son called it a bus. Epic fail in the cardboard vehicle world.

  So after asking for your help yet again (THANK YOU!), I made some alterations and I’m starting to see a dump truck. WOOHOO!

I did some finishing touches with Sharpies and made it a bit sturdier by super glueing cardboard around frame and on tires. I also made a stand by glueing 2 cardboard triangles at the bottom. At first I was just going to leave it as an open box but to make alterations work and to make it more versatile for people of all heights, I decided to make it just a stand/frame. I am confident that the stands will not withstand toddler “gentleness”.

   

So here’s the final product. I don’t think it’s obvious that it’s a dump truck, but it looks more constructiony and dump truck like than it did before. I’m happy with it and I think it will make some fun pictures that capture the fun at my son’s 2nd birthday party. Now to hide it so my son doesn’t destroy it before his birthday!!!

Travelling with a Toddler

$25.00CDN for 1 sided $40.00CDN for double sided

here’s hoping for smooth travels with a toddler!!!

This is my 3rd airplane activity tray cover and I think the 11th flight with my little guy.  We go very prepared and so far (touch wood!!) he’s been pretty good.  I made this with my little guy in mind, he loves vehicles, especially buses! Whenever he sees anything to do with hockey he yells “GO GO GO!”. He loves dinosaurs and animals…especially if they roar and he loves playing peek-a-boo.

I make these custom to order in my Etsy Shop, I usually need about 2 weeks to complete and I love to make them as personal as possible for each individual child.  They are $30.00CDN for one sided covers or $50.00CDN for double sided as shown above.

My son will be testing this one out on our flight to Mexico in March, I’ll let you know how it goes! 🙂 Fingers crossed!