Well I've finally finished it..my pocket advent bunting all ready for Christmas! If you follow my mousehouse page on Facebook you'll have seen a few pics already of the process, and some details of where I got the numbers and fabric but I'll share again on here for any of you that haven't seen my FB posts.
I got the idea to make advent bunting after seeing this gorgeous bunting on pinterest made by the very clever Jooles of Sew Sweet Violet. I'd already bought the screenprinted numbers over a year ago from Maze and Vale (which you just cut out and applique on to your chosen fabric) but I was still thinking of how I was going to make the calendar- there are a lot of great ideas out there! Once I saw the pocket bunting idea though I knew it would be a great project as I love bunting and it wouldn't take too long to make compared to some of the beautiful but more time consuming pocket quilt style advent calendars I've seen.
For the white fabric I used 'cotton duck' in off white- I love this fabric and used it for the christmas stockings I made a few years ago (here and here) as well- it's quite a heavy fabric, has a linen look and also looks quite 'vintagy' so works really well for lots of projects. (I buy it from Bernina here in Tauranga- I think it is about $14 a metre). For the back of the pockets I used fabrics from the Riley Blake 'Santa's Workshop' collection- I bought them from Bernina and Sew Pretty plus the aqua spot fabric from Spotlight. You can also find the range on Etsy. I used bias binding to join all the pockets together. I'm really happy with how it's turned out, especially the colours of all the fabrics together- it looks Christmassy but still bright and fun as well which suits our summer Christmas here in NZ.
I think I'm going to do something similar to what Vanessa wrote on my Facebook page about her advent calendar last year...she put notes in each pocket with things like "tomorrow we can bake gingerbread cookies" or "we will go and see the Christmas lights tomorrow night" or "you can stay up an hour later tonight to watch a Santa DVD" and then put a chocolate Santa or a candy cane every third day or so. Lots of great idea thanks Vanessa- I like the idea of mixing activities with treats! Here are some more ideas below…
I also loved Claire's idea on my FB page- she put notes in some of her advent pockets saying things like "Look in the washing basket" or she wrote clues to put in the pockets and they had to guess where she hid the treats!
Here is my list of Christmassy things I would like to do most years (time and energy willing!!) They are in no particular order and I doubt I'll get them all done but it'll be good to have a list here for ideas...
1. Unwrap some new summer PJ's- one year I might actually make these but for now I'll be buying them
2. Read a Christmas story (every year I want to buy a new Christmas book for each kiddo- this year I bought Mog's Christmas for Amelie, The Lighthouse Keeper's Christmas for Jack (both $11 on Fishpond with free delivery FYI) and Dora's Starry Christmas for Stella my little Dora fan :)
3. Go to the Christmas tree farm and pick out a Christmas tree www.christmastreefarm.co.nz
4. Hang the Christmas wreath and stockings and other decorations around the house
5. Decorate the Christmas tree
6. In one pocket I'll put 3 Christmas decorations with a note to hang them on the tree (I like the idea of making or buying a special Christmas decoration each year so they'll have a nice little collection by the time they have their own tree's!)
7. Go berry picking- list of places in NZ here...http://good.net.nz/blog/rebekah-white/pick-your-own
8. Write a letter to Santa
9. Watch Santa's message on http://www.portablenorthpole.com/home
10. Make/write Christmas cards
11. Do some Christmas baking (gingerbread, shortbread...lots of ideas on pinterest)
12. Do some Christmas drawing and crafting ( a few years ago I made a little craft kit with stickers, red and green card, crayons and some other bits and pieces from Dollar value so will try and do this again for Amelie and Stella).
There are also lots of christmas activity books like this one from Book Depository or FishPond so I might get one of them ...
or I'll find some Christmas colouring in pages and other simple kids craft ideas online (like this one I made a few years ago with Stella http://domesticblissnz.blogspot.co.nz/2010/12/diy-kids-art-for-christmas.html
13. Take a parcel of food to the local Foodbank and donate some old toys to an Op Shop
14. Go for a drive to see the Christmas lights-luckily there were quite a few houses that got into it last year in our neighbourhood!
15. Decorate a gingerbread house- I like the look of this one from Ezibuy as I can't imagine ever making my own gingerbread pieces!
16. Go to a Carols by Candlight performance (I think Te Puna Quarry here in Tauranga had one last year but the kids were a bit young..maybe this year we will give it a go)
17. Go to a Christmas church service that tells the Christmas story so the kids learn something about the meaning/history behind Christmas
18. Watch a Christmas movie (hoping to get a Muppets Christmas movie like 'The Muppet Christmas Carol' this year to watch among others like The Polar Express, How the Grinch stole Christmas, Santa Claus, A Charlie Brown Christmas...if you have a favourite Christmas movie would love to hear! More ideas here
19. Buy some Christmas lilies.
20. Make up a lolly jar of red/ green/ christmas themed lollies.
21. Make a christmas pillowcase with pocket
22. Have a kids christmas morning tea or lunch
23. Have Christmas drinks and nibbles (Christmas eve if here)
24. Have an adults 'end of year' dinner out
25. Elf on the Shelf- buy this year
26. Buy a new candle for the mantelpiece- christmassy scent...
27. Make some reindeer food using oats and glitter + carrots- put out letter, cookies and milk for Santa (jingle bells, chewed up carrot, note from Santa next morning)
28 New toothbrushes
29. Get a new christmas outfit and take a photo underneath the Christmas tree (christmas cards)
30. Decorate the dollshouse for Christmas
31. Go to a Santa parade
Phew this has turned into a very big blog post, no wonder its taken me about a week to finish it! If you want any more advent ideas if you are wanting to make your own one check out my Christmas pinterest board or search Etsy to buy a handmade one- there are thousands of beautiful ones on there!
And a big thanks to Jooles of Sew Sweet Violet for the fab idea to make advent pocket bunting- check out her store as she makes some really lovely things.
Please share any photo's of your DIY advent calendar or ideas on my Facebook page- would love to see them!
PS: The winner of the edible ink pen from my Muppets blog post is comment number 4- CC of Sevendog blog. Please email me your address to megan (at) mouse house dot co dot nz and I'll send the pen out to you :)