Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Crazy Crafts: Nativity Advent Calendar

One of the biggest excitements for my brother and I at Christmas time was the Advent Calendar. We used to love opening up each of the little boxes on the one my mom had and listening to her read us a portion of the story of Jesus' birth.

As we got older, my mom started buying the chocolate Advent calendars that are available in stores. My mom would have us alternate who got the chocolate that day. Trust me, to a 10 year old having to share with her 7 year old brother, those off days were torture!

Pretty sure we bought this one at least once while I was growing up
I decided to try and alleviate that frustration for my future children by creating a calendar for each of them and filling the pockets with little trinkets, coins, cash, candy, etc. Since Penelope is the only child as of yet, she gets to be the guinea pig. This was originally going to be cat shaped, but didn't look Christmas-y at all, and just looked stupid, so it got turned into a nativity.

Crazy Craft: Nativity Advent Calendar

Materials:
1 yard light brown felt
*Red felt
*Green felt
*Dark brown felt
*Golden yellow felt
*Bright yellow felt
*Blue felt
*Black felt
*Flesh colored felt
White fabric paint
Craft glue (I used Aleene's Tacky Glue)
Heavy books (textbooks work great!)
Sewing machine (optional)
3/4" Wooden dowel
Ribbon

*Walmart sells felt in 20 sheet variety packages that contain all these colors for $4. I used sheets from both the primary set and the bright colors set.

Cutting:
1. Light brown felt: 23" x 25.5" rectangle. Round a short edge if desired.
2. Red felt: Cut 2" x 3" rectangles (12 of them)
3. Green felt: Cut 2' x 3' rectangles (12 of them)
4. **Dark brown felt: Cut 1" x 23" strips (2 of them) and 1" by 19" strips (2 of them): Cut 2" by 3" rectangle
5. ***Golden yellow felt: Cut 23" x 4.5" rectangle; Cut an oval shape that fits inside the small dark brown rectangle
6. Bright yellow felt: Cut a star shape
7. Blue felt: Cut into a 3" tall shape of Mary kneeling
8. Black felt: Cut 2" by 12" rectangles (2 of them)
9. Flesh colored felt: Cut into a 3.5" tall shape of Joseph standing and praying; Cut a small circle for Baby Jesus' head

** If using the felt packs from Walmart: the felt pieces aren't long enough to satisfy the full 23" (they're only 12" long), so you'll have to cut extra 1" strips to match the length.
***If using the felt packs from Walmart: the felt pieces aren't long enough to satisfy the full 23" (they're only 12" long), so cut 4.5" x 12" (2 of them)

Procedure:
1.  Fold and pin a 1.5" edge on the short edge (opposite the rounding if you rounded) and sew near the edge of the fabric. This creates a casing for the dowel for hanging

2. Position the golden yellow felt on the opposite edge from the dowel casing (rounded edge if rounded).

3. Lay the 1x19" strips of dark brown felt at the casing seam line so that the outer edges are at 5.5 inches and 17 inches. This divides the top into fourths. Remove the golden yellow felt, and glue the dark brown felt in place. Place books (textbooks work great!) on top and let dry overnight. Also, glue golden yellow oval to dark brown rectangle, and glue small flesh colored circle to golden yellow oval towards the top to create a manger. Place a textbook on top and let dry overnight.
Step 3
  4. Reposition golden yellow felt on the opposite edge of the casing. It should overlap the dark brown strips by approximately 0.5". Pin and sew into place. If you rounded the edges, after sewing, trim the excess yellow felt to match the curve of the light brown felt. If using the felt from the Walmart packs, line up the edges in the middle and sew both into place. Run a little bit of glue down the center seam. This will help to keep the edges down.
Step 4

 5. Position 1"x 23" strips of dark brown felt along outer edges, starting at the bottom edge of the golden yellow felt and ending at the casing seam. It's ok if it doesn't quite make it to the casing seam. It will be hidden. Glue into place, folding the corners over if you rounded the edge. Place a book on top of the outer "beams" (and the center golden yellow seam if using Walmart pack) and allow to dry overnight.
Step 5

6. This step lets you place and pin things to make sure everything will fit right. Place black rectangles at the casing seam and angle them so that the bottom corners meet in the middle. Place the star in the center. Place the red and green rectangles, alternating colors, in between the dark brown "beams." You should be able to get 5 in each of the outer sections and 10 in the middle section. Place Baby Jesus in the center of the "straw" and place Mary and Joseph around Him. Place the remaining 4 red and green rectangles around them. Play with the arrangement until you're happy with how it looks and pin the rectangles in place.
Step 6 minus the Holy Family

7. Remove the black strips and the star, and sew each rectangle into place, sewing along the left, right and bottom edges, creating a pocket. Reposition the black rectangles, making sure not to cover any of the pockets, and glue into place. Reposition and glue the star into place so that it covers the seam between the black rectangles. Reposition Baby Jesus and sew the left, right, and bottom edges, making a pocket. Reposition Mary and Joseph, and glue into place. Place textbooks over the black rectangles, stars, and Holy Family. Allow to dry overnight.
Step 7

8. Using white fabric paint, write a number on each pocket (1-24; Baby Jesus is pocket number 25). You can go across or down, either way will work. If desired, write the child's name along the roof in fabric paint. Allow fabric paint to dry overnight.

9. Cut the wooden dowel so that its approximately 29 inches long. You want about 3 inches of dowel sticking out on either side.  Tie your ribbon to the ends of the dowel leaving enough of of a tail that you can wrap around the knot to hide it. Make sure you leave enough slack between the knots so you can hang it. If you give more slack, the calendar will hang lower.
Step 8 and 9

 10. Fill with treats, toys, coins, candy, whatever! The possibilities are endless!
Step 10
I hope you enjoy this tutorial. Please let me know if anything is confusing. This is my first time writing a craft tutorial! Thanks!

Merry Christmas!!

1 comment:

Kathy said...

That came out beautifully!! I remember having to share with my sisters the candy from the calenders too! Funny, I hadn't thought about that one! What a wonderful tradition you are sharing with your daughter. Thanks for sharing that!!