Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Advent Calendar Filling Idea - Holiday hat

I'm a fan of silly hats on little kids.  It seems that it is a tradition for me to give a hat during the first week of Advent.  I like to knit so my hats have been knit, but there is no reason they would need to be knit or even need to be handmade.  I've done a Santa hat, and a red hat with a snowflake in the past.  This year I went with just a seasonal color. 
The Santa hat pattern is available for free online.  I modified it to knit in the round.  The snowflake hat isInca Snowflake by Susan B. Anderson from the book Itty-Bitty Hats. The green hat is Pointy Elf Hat by Joelle Hoverson  from the book More Last-Minute Knitted Gifts.  I added ear flaps to ensure that it would be warm and cozy.    

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Advent Calendar Filling Idea - Christmas Tree Felt Board

This will be too big for my Advent Calendar.  I think it would be fun to make it a treasure hunt.

Last year I saw a tutorial for an magnetic Christmas tree Advent calendar.  I loved that it would give kiddos their own tree to decorate.  I thought it would be really fun to make Bug his own Christmas tree to decorate. I wanted to do something other than a magnetic tree.  After a bit of contemplation I settled on making a felt board tree for Bug to decorate.  I chose to attach the tree to the felt board rather than leave it loose. 

Supplies
Foam core board or cardboard
Felt for background (I used wool blend - it seems sturdier  than craft felt) 
Green felt for tree
small scrap of brown felt for trunk
steam-a-seam or your preferred double sided fusible interfacing
UGlu Dashes or other glue dots

Directions
1.  Decide what size you would like your felt board - cut foam core board to size my board is 9" by 11"
2.  Cut a piece of felt that is at least a few inches bigger than the board - my felt backing is 13" by 15"
3.  Center felt backing over foam board - if you use light colored felt be sure to remove the backing sticker from the foam board

4.  Adhere the felt to the board - I used UGlu Dashes this project seems to be made for glue dots. Attach both long sides and then both short sides - I cut a square out of the corner so there would be less bulk

5.  Make a template for the tree - I chose some clip art I liked - modified it a bit and enlarged it as large as I could and have it print on a sheet of paper
6.Trace tree onto steam-a-seam
 7.  Trim away some of the excess steam-a-seam
8. Peel of the backing of the steam-a-seam place the sticky side of the steam-a-seam on the green felt - iron to fuse in place
9.  Cut the tree from the green felt
10. Iron a steam-a-seam to some brown felt
11.  Cut a rectangle from brown felt
12.  Place the trunk sticky side down where you would like it on the felt board
13.  Place the tree sticky side down slightly overlapping the trunk
14.  Iron to fuse the tree and trunk to the board

I like that it doesn't necessarily look like a toy.  I'll plan to give the felt board and a few ornaments on one day and give other small collections of ornaments on other days.
 I made ornaments from small scale cotton Christmas prints backed with felt to use as ornaments for the felt board the same way I made the new sew fabric ornaments.

Advent Calendar Filling Idea - No Sew Fabric Ornaments

I wanted to include some kid friendly ornaments in my Advent Calendar. I thought it would be nice to find a way to showcase fabrics that I liked without having to sew an ornament.  While I love sewing, ornament sewing can be a bit more fiddly than I would.  I wanted to come up with a quick no sew ornament that I would like and not mind a toddler playing with.

Supply list
decorative cotton fabric for ornament
steam-a-seam 2 (or your preferred fusible interfacing)
felt (I use wool blend felt or a premium felt)
punch (I use a crop-a-dile)
narrow ribbon for hanging

Directions
Place fabric with the wrong side facing up on the ironing board
Peel backing off the steam-a-seam and place it sticky side down on your fabric - iron to fuse in place
Trim away extra fabric
Place fabric sticky side down on top of the felt - be sure it is flat - iron to fuse in place (you may want to use a press cloth when pressing the felt)
Trim away excess fabric
Punch hole at the top of the ornament

Add a ribbon loop for hanging






Monday, November 21, 2011

Pleated Pocket Advent Calendar

 At long last here's my pleated pocket Advent calendar tutorial. 

For backing one piece of fabric 65 inches by 44 inches

  1. Fold fabric in half (with right sides together) so that it measures 65 inches by 22 inches if fabric is thin you may want to add some interfacing           
  2. Iron folded fabric
  3. Stitch around edge leaving an opening for turning.  Leave an opening at one short end so you can turn the fabric inside out
  4. Clip corners  and trim seam allowances
  5. Turn the project so the right side is now visible
  6. Iron flat
  7. Stitch around the edge taking care to neatly close the opening from turning - Use a decorative stitch or thread if you would like to add interest

For pockets  strip of fabric 14 inches by 37 inches for each of the six pockets - you can use different fabrics or choose to keep the fabric the same - *You may want to experiment a bit with the length of the strip you cut as it the way the pleats are folded may change the amount of fabric you need. 
6 strips of craft fuse interfacing 6 ½ inches by 36 inches (I cut a piece of interfacing that was 36 inches long and then cut it into 6 1/2 inch strips you could also piece the interfacing)    

  1. Fold strip right sides together so it measures  7 by 37
  2. Fuse interfacing to the strip (if you need to piece the interfacing together just overlap the edges a bit)
  3. Sew around the edges leaving one short end open for turning
  4. Clip corners and seam allowances as needed
  5. Turn through opening so that the right side is out
  6. Iron
  7. Stitch opening for turning closed
To create pockets
Cut a strip 1 inch by about 8 inch strip of card stock and a 5 inch by about 8 inch strip of card stock to act as folding guides. 
Iron each fold well.

Starting with the front up and make fold in 1 inch from the left hand side of strip 
Flip strip so the back is facing up and your fold is still on the left
Measure 1 inch from left hand side of strip 
Fold at the 1 inch mark - this makes and accordion fold
Measure 5 inches (notice the measuring card is inserted into the first pleat)

 Fold the strip from right to left (notice that the front of the strip is now up)
 Measure 1 inch from fold on right hand side  of strip
Fold strip from left to right (notice the back of the strip is now facing up)
 Flip strip so the front of the strip is facing up
Measure 1 inch from fold
 Fold from right to left (notice the back of the strip is now facing up)
Measure 1 inch from the fold on the right of the strip
Fold from left to right (notice the front of the strip is now up) the first pocket is now completed  continue in this way to complete the strip - pleated pocket Advent calendar photo set for step by step pictures

When you are done the front of your strip will look this
The back of your strip with look like this

You will want to add your numbers after you've pleated the strips so you can decide on placement and still attach them easily.  I fused steam-a-seam to the back of some fabric and cut out numbers to iron on - there's no stitching required with the steam-a-seam.  Hopefully they will stick well.  Last year I printed numbers on printable fabric and sewed them to my calendar. Add numbers however you like or leave them off if you prefer. 
 
Assembling the pockets
I spaced my pockets about 2 inches apart. 
I did a double row of stitching on the bottom of each pocket to add stability. 
Stitch between each pleat being careful not to stitch pleats down (I had to move the pleats aside as I sewed)
To stitch the first and last pleat lift the pocket out of the way and only sew through one layer of pocket. 

Make a pocket for hanging by folding the top of the backing to the back of the calender just above the top of the pockets.  Sew in place. Having the deep hanging pocket gives a bit of stability to the top of the calendar. 

Now that I finally have my new Advent calender done I'm excited to come up with ways to fill it!  Do you have plans for an Advent calendar?

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Thinking about Advent

Yet again I'm wondering how time passes so quickly. How did it get to be November already? It seems like September just began. I'm starting to think about getting ready for Advent. I'm making another Advent calendar like the one I made last year.


I hope to have a tutorial ready to go in a few days for anybody that might be interested.  Is anybody else thinking about Advent.  Any great ideas to share?  I hope to be almost done with Advent plans in the next week or so.  I wonder how much I can get done this week.