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!

my mom, my grandmas, my inspirations

I know I don’t  normally write on a Sunday, and of all Sundays, Mother’s Day should definitely be a day I take off but I wanted to make an exception to pay tribute to some of the wonderful mothers and grandmothers in my life.

I am loving my Etsy Shop and all the fun things I have been asked to make and I have 3 amazing, strong women to thank for my creativity and courage.    

1. My Mom. My mom came to Canada for a holiday in her twenties, met my dad and left everything she knew in England and started a new life with my dad in Canada. Growing up I always remember her encouraging my creativity. We made Pysanka, Dream Catchers and all kinds of neat crafts. I used to make my own crafts and set up shop in our living room, selling things such as a sun catcher (a colouring with vaseline smeared on it to make it transparent) and my mom would always bring her coins and help me earn my pocket money by purchasing these beautiful handmade goods for 5-10c. We once took a card making class together and I thank her for supporting and encouraging me all my life.

2. My Paternal Grandmother. My Grandma was born in Ukraine and came to Canada in 1914 with her family. She was a hard worker and even against the norm of her day, opened and ran her own flower shop in the town I grew up in. She first introduced me to knitting, although I didn’t quite pick it up with her and we spent countless afternoons doing beadwork and different crafts in her kitchen. My grandmother with her creativity and entrepreneur mind was definitely an inspiration to me.

3. My Maternal Grandmother. My Grandma was born and raised in the UK and was also a very hardworking lady. Losing her father at a young age lead to little money so she had no choice but to be creative. She also worked outside of the home, again not a norm for that generation, as a nurse and even received an award for Nurse of the Year. She was the one who really taught me to knit, we touched on sewing and she taught me that a way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. Which I have found to be very true with both my husband and son. I especially am thankful for my grandma today, as not only is it Mother’s Day but it is also the 2 year anniversary of her passing. Every time I pull out my knitting needles which I inherited from her, I think of her and those long hours, her getting frustrated with me for dropping yet another stitch but still sitting down with me and patiently showing me (again) how to fix it.

I am forever grateful for these 3 special ladies who have influenced my life. Who have inspired me in so many ways and who have always encouraged and appreciated my creative side.

1. A Week’s Worth of Fresh Air…Go For a Walk!

Spring is here, the weather (atleast here) is beautiful! So put on a hat, maybe some sunscreen and get out there and enjoy it. I know it’s not the beginning of a calendar week but because I don’t post everyday, I decided it doesn’t matter if I start midweek. If the nice weather can start now, so can I. So this is the first post for a Week’s Worth of Fresh Air.

My son LOVES being outside. Yesterday I took some potatoes outside and peeled and cut them up on a chopping board in the middle of our grass, just to give my kiddo an extra 10 minutes outside.

One of our favourite things to do outside is go for a walk. Sometimes we go for a long walk in his stroller or bike, other times we just take it with us and he likes to walk on his own or push his bike. Other times we just spend countless hours walking around our yard, him sometimes pushing his toy lawn mower, other times we just walk around pointing out what we see, there’s always something to look at when you’re outside.

We’re fortunate enough to live in the country and have a big yard to walk around and see all kinds of neat things. We don’t have any nearby playground to walk to, but we still enjoy walking down our road and pointing out EVERYTHING we see.

We use all our senses. When my son hears beeping or a loud engine, he knows there is a tractor near by and we both try to spot it and figure out where to go to get the best glimpse of his all time favourite thing. He knows the sound of a jet engine and looks up in the sky to see a plane flying over our house. We hear birds and spot them in the trees. He points out the water in the ditch down the road when he sees it and maybe the ducks if they’re there. He points out the bumps on our driveway when we ride over them and now he remembers where they are and calls out “bump!” before we even get there. There has been ongoing construction at the end of our road since we moved in so that is often our destination, my son can’t walk there fast enough to get a close up of all the tractors and trucks at work.

So what are you waiting for?! Get outside and go for a walk. Go to the park, go for ice cream or to a shop, walk around your yard or your neighbourhood. Take it all in, get some fresh air because I hate to say it so soon, but time flies and before we know it, summer will be over! So let’s make the most of it while we can! 🙂