It's not your mother's advent calendar!

Dani during the planning phase, next to the "original" advent calendar we used as a template.

Dani during the planning phase, next to the "original" advent calendar we used as a template.

Adrian's vintage Singer, which doesn't only look pretty--it works!

Adrian's vintage Singer, which doesn't only look pretty--it works!

sparkly magenta leaf ribbon!

sparkly magenta leaf ribbon!

Dani plotting her trim choices

Dani plotting her trim choices

Adrian combined aqua felt with gold ribbon.

Adrian combined aqua felt with gold ribbon.

Marlin swooped in and created his own felt tree in no time at all (featuring a bright orange feather!). So cute.

Marlin swooped in and created his own felt tree in no time at all (featuring a bright orange feather!). So cute.

Ideas for the felt ornaments

Ideas for the felt ornaments

Did you have an advent calendar when you were little? The kind where you do one thing every day of December until Christmas? I haven't thought about these for years. My sister and I used to take turns with the manger scene version my mom had, which had a piece of burlap as the background (hung from a stick instead of a dowel rod to complete the rustic look), with a brown felt barn and a host of felt characters and animals to be applied each day.

My lovely friend Adrian has a secular all-felt version her mother made in the 70's, and this Sunday, Adrian hosted a spectacular craft party where she, her friend Dani, and I each made our own. You know you've found some kindred spirits when the size of each other's felt collections makes you feel WAY better about your own felt habit.

We had so much fun putting a modern twist on this 70's version. Key changes:

  1. red sparkle felt for the background (I mean, obviously, right?)
  2. a clean, modern tree with no obvious branches
  3. a mix of new and vintage trim to decorate the tree
  4. a plan to reinforce the ornaments with an extra layer of felt backing for durability

Not gonna lie--this project is big. We started at 2 and worked well into dinner time (when we took a break for an absolutely delicious meal of homemade crab cakes served on a bed of arugula salad, which Adrian's husband Don whipped up while we worked), and we're still not quite finished. But, we got the bulk of the work done. We decided to make the ornaments on our own . . . I foresee a little coffee table/couch sewing action in my future.  

Not only is Coban going to love snapping these ornaments-to-be on the tree this year, but I haven't had so much fun on a Sunday in ages. 

My calendar on the left next to Adrian's mom's version.

My calendar on the left next to Adrian's mom's version.

Don's homemade crab cakes, with special sauce. I was about to fight someone for the last one, but luckily he had another batch waiting. 

Don's homemade crab cakes, with special sauce. I was about to fight someone for the last one, but luckily he had another batch waiting.