A few years ago when I moved in with my Arpette, I made him an advent calender as part of that years winters gift.
I was inspired by a calender from one of my favourite craft books Homemade by the lovely Ros Badger and the very much missed Elspeth Thompson. Although this book has been out a good few years now, I think it is still one of the best modern craft books around, I always find it inspirational to look at and the picture of that crochet blanket on pg 181 never fails to make my heart skip a beat. (I’m currently knitting the gloves on pg 189, I’m not a very fast or confident knitter so am just knitting them in one colour using some beautiful wool from Jamieson’s of Shetland).
In the book the calender has been hand painted and I tried doing it like theirs but my attempts looked like I had let the cat loose with the fabric paints (especially if I’d tied the paint brush to his tail), so promptly put what I’d painted in the bin and then decided to hand sew and applique Christmassy/Winter motifs instead. (a bit more timey but a lot less messy)
It did take me a while to sew together, but I was able to sew some of the applique pieces during my lunch break, any sewing that was done at home had to be furtively covered whenever a cup of tea was brought upstairs for me (goodness knows what he thought I was up to in my sewing room). All the applique is hand sewn using pure wool felt, and then I machine sewed the pockets to the main fabric. (It’s made from an old sheet that really had seen better days)
I think the tree in the centre is my favourite (partly because of Bernard we don’t have a tree as he isn’t to be trusted with dangley things, shiney things, nice things……) The yellow circles on the 21st and 22nd have embroidered sun faces on them and represent the Winter Solstice.
It seems to be one of the more popular things I have made the Arpette over the years, and I like filling up a few days at a time with small chocolate items. The central pocket is large enough for a big bar of chocolate which we tend to share Christmas Eve while watching The Muppet’s Christmas Movie (possibly the best Christmas film ever).
The following year we made a calender for our niece Maggie, I drew the shapes, the Arpette cut them out and arranged where they would all go, then I sewed them. I showed him how to chain piece on the sewing machine, so he was able to sew the red scallop edging and then I sewed the pockets into place. It was nice making something together for her, and I think it would be something that was pretty easy to do with children (seriously if he can use a sewing machine I’d think a supervised child would be pretty safe)
I didn’t have time to get the calender up yesterday but put it up a little while ago today, instantly the living room seems warm, cosy and Christmassy (but not in a big shop, flashy, heart racing, plastic way, but in a soulful, quiet, heart warming, smiley way).