Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Advent Calendar- Part FINISHED!

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I'm in love! I'm in love! and I don't care who knows it!
With my Jesse Tree Advent Calendar.
And better still is that I finished it [not before the beginning of Advent but] before the 1st!

If you've missed the details on the ornaments, check them out...

Days 1-12
click here

Days 13-24
click here

For the pockets, I embroidered the numbers on light blue squares.
This took quite a bit of time, but I think it was worth it.

Then, I backed the blue squares with more white felt.
I wasn't planning on this step, but it turned out much better, so I'm pleased with it.

phew... 24 squares later...

I spaced the squares on my red felt for the banner

Note: I got mine from the remnant pile at the fabric store.You need a good amount of it, and the felt by the yard is usually nice and thick, so I'm hoping that it will wear well.

I pinned them all in place, double-checked that I had them in numerical order since my brain has turned to much, and sewed the left, bottom, and right to make a pocket.

Next, I placed my ornaments on some green felt and cut ouf the tree around them.

I marked spots for my bottons and sewed those on....

I found a scrap of brown felt for the trunk...

Then pinned the trunk and the tree on the banner in place.

I hand-sewed them on with matching threads.
I sewed the edges (about a 1/2 inch seam allowance) on the left, right and bottom,
and sewed the top, leaving an inch so I could put the dowel through.
The dowel was the only thing that I didn't have on hand, but it was 99 cents so I didn't feel so badly about it.
I sawed off one end to shorten it to the right length, drilled a hole in each side and threaded matching ribbon through, and done!

Put my ornaments inside...

and it's finished!

Now, we're just waiting for tomorrow to begin the countdown!

But for a sneak peek...

I'm pretty psyched.

If anyone would like my exact dimensions for the banner or some templates for the ornaments, I would be happy to provide them

(with the condition that it probably won't happen until I get more Christmas presents finished)

Just leave me a comment below, and I can post them for you. :)
Happy Advent, everyone!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Advent Calendar- Part Two

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As promised...
here are the ornaments for days 13-24 of my
Jesse Tree Advent Calendar.

If you missed days 1-12,

Day 13: Solomon
1 Kings 3:5-14, 16-28

Day 14: Joseph
Matthew 1:18-25

Day 15: Mary
Matthew 1:18-25; Luke 1:26-38

Day 16: John the Baptist
Mark 1:1-8

On December 17th, the Church begins the "O" Antiphons. The following ornaments are based off of these antiphons from the Liturgy of the Hours.

Day 17: Jesus is Wisdom
Sirach 24:2; Wisdom 8:1

Day 18: Jesus is Lord
Exodus 3:2; 20:1

Day 19: Jesus is Flower of Jesse
Isaiah 11:1-3

Day 20: Jesus is Key of David
Isaiah 22:22

Day 21: Jesus is Radiant Dawn
Psalm 19:6-7

Day 22: Jesus is King of the Gentiles
Psalm 2:7-8; Ephesians 2:14-20

Day 23: Jesus is Emmanuel
Isaiah 7:14; 33:22

Day 24: Jesus is Light of the World
John 1:1-14

So it's crunch time! I'm getting the pockets embroidered right now for the ornaments to live in before their time comes... phew. slowly but surely...

14.5 down, 9.5 to go!

Tune in next week for a post on the whole shebang.
I'm pretty excited about getting the calendar portion together.
Let's just hope it's finished by December 1st!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Advent Calendar- Part One

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I've said it once. I'll say it again.
No one loves Christmas more than me (I?.... whatever).

I've been looking for a nice Advent calendar for a couple of years. It didn't take long for me to figure out that most Advent calendars are: 1) lame, and 2) have little to nothing to do with Advent.

The images I found on said lame calendars included Santa hats (not quite Christmas), mice in elf clothes (huh?), and my personal favorite (of Christmas images to hate): a cat curled up by a fireplace... ick.

So anywho... I decided to make my own (duh).

I found many that were really cute, including this one from Homemade by Jill
Photo Source: Homemade by Jill
For her blog posts on this advent calendar, you can follow this link.
I believe Jill's was inspired by this one from Pottery Barn Kids
Photo Source: Pottery Barn Kids

I pulled together my felt... ahh so pretty, did some research, and started making my ornaments.

Mine is a Jesse Tree Advent calendar. Many of you know what a Jesse Tree is. If you don't know and want more information,
Short version: a Jesse Tree is a countdown to Christmas which is based on history's countdown to the birth of Jesus which we (I for one) celebrate at Christmas.
It's all about the story of our salvation.

This project has come together really nicely... and VERY affordable.
I actually had all of the materials on hand.
The felt I've collected from various craft projects and, yes, the remnant pile at the fabric store.
I used ribbon for the ornaments' loops.
You could use embroidery floss for the stitching.
I actually found this sewing kit at a yard sale over the summer for $1, and it has served me well for both The Sandwich Game, as well as this project.

I'm posting the first 12 of the 24 days now, the next 12 will be posted tomorrow, and the final post will be the whole calendar.
So here we go...

Day One: Creation
Genesis 1:1-31; 2:1-4

Day Two: Adam and Eve
Genesis 2:7-9 and 18-24

Day Three: The Fall of Man
Genesis 3:1-7 and 23-24

Day Four: Noah
Genesis 6:5-8, 13-22; 7:17, 23, 24; 8:1, 6-22

Day Five: Abraham
Genesis 12:1-3

Day Six: Isaac
Genesis 22:1-14

Day Seven: Jacob
Genesis 25:1-34; 28:10-15

Day Eight: Joseph
Genesis 37:23-28; 45:3-15

Day Nine: Moses
Exodus 3:1-15

Day Ten: Samuel
1 Samuel 3:1-18

Day Eleven: Jesse
1 Samuel 16:1-13

Day Twelve: David
1 Samuel 17:12-51

But a shoot shall sprout from the stump of Jesse, and from his roots a bud shall blossom.” (Is 11:1)

Have a blessed Advent, everyone!
Check back in tomorrow for Days 13-25

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Christmas Gift Preview- Pajama Eaters!

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My new friend, Jodi, over at Sew Fearless posted a pattern/tutorial awhile ago, and it was love at first sight.
Pajama Eaters.
 The kiddos can keep them on their beds, these little monsters "eat" the PJ's during the day, and politely give them back at night (perfect for storing pajamas out of sight for the day. Also, they're really cute).
I knew then that they would make awesome  Christmas gifts for some, if not all, of my many nephews.
But I moved onto to other projects...

Well, now it's November. This, of course, means that if I plan on accomplishing the daunting task of making one Pajama Eater for each of my numerous nephews, I need to get on the stick...
Three down... many more to go.

But I definitely wanted to share my progress as well as point you toward this great pattern (scroll down for the link).

Let's start at the very beginning. A very good place to start... that is, my find of the week at Goodwill... These men's jeans.

If you go into any thrift store, goodwill, yard sales, etc, you are likely to find a pair of men's jeans.
I found these for 50 cents a piece! ahh-mazing.

So I got a bunch of 'em, naturally.

I cut the jeans at the seams, so I had some workable fabric pieces, and guess what? 1 pair was almost exactly what I needed for one, with the back pockets and waist band areas left over, making this a great reuse project. I am, of course, keeping the extra pieces handy for another project. You'll just have to stop back in sometime to see what that project is. :)

FYI, with one of the legs, I kept the seam intact for the back of the body (see picture above).

So what do you get when you put together a pair of men's jeans, some fabric scraps, and a zipper?


They turned out great, in my opinion. I love that the denim is a little heavier than a traditional fabric, so it will wear well, and I mean really, 50 cents? No brainer.

Altogether, INCLUDING the pattern, it cost me well under 15 dollars to make my first one, much less if you consider that I'm making many of them, which made this Christmas project perfect for the "phews."

They are cute, affordable to make, simple to assemble, and quick.

Made with love by Aunt Meg. I'm adding in some new PJ's with each to round out the gift.

I really hope that you all will head over to Sew Fearless and check out the Pajama Eaters pattern.

You won't regret it.

In other, quasi-related news... I'm making major headway on my Jesse Tree Advent Calendar.
Check back in next week to see my results!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Fall Garden Update

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This is my first year attempting a fall garden.
The summer garden went pretty well, but it was depleted and sad earlier than I was anticipating... which was not so great.
Inspired by others' fall gardens, I optimistically planted a few things in my limited garden space.

Mind you, I don't get outside a lot to work in the garden at this point in parenthood. Ben is crawling everywhere and stuffing everything into his mouth, so I can't exactly set him down in the yard.
So most of my yard work is done like this...

With a baby strapped on my front and two dogs sniffing and barking, one at each side.

Luckily for me, the plants in my fall garden are extremely low maintenance, and while some of them have be totally massacred by the birds (I'm sorry, pea shoots... you really were my favorite), others have flourished despite my neglect and the poor weather (I mean, snow in October? Really???)

Pictured here are my spinach and radishes... so many radishes...
Does anyone out there have good ideas for preserving these suckers? I need help.

In other news, the leaves are beautiful. Can you tell I love fall leaves? :)
Our tree is pretty much done for the year...

Of course, the main downfall (pun intended) to this is...
leaves everywhere!

Good thing they're nice to look at.

And in spite of most things looking pretty much dead at this point, I'm finding just enough new life to keep me optimistic.
Hopefully it's enough optimism to get me through the snow this winter and into the spring.
We'll see.
Happy Fall, everyone!