Wednesday, December 1, 2010

handmade stockings and an advent calendar

This is what I've been busy doing these past few weeks:
I made felt stockings 6 years ago for Chad, Addie and I, but they just weren't that cute. They had stripes and polka dots, but I wanted each family member to have something on their stocking that they really liked that would make it more personal. So I went online and found some inspiration. The stockings I really wanted from Pottery Barn Kids and Land of Nod were adorable, but I wasn't about to pony-up the $100+ it would cost to get 5 personalized.

So, I just bought some felt and started cutting out shapes. It's really not that difficult. If you can draw shapes, you can make these stockings.

It helps to have a picture to go from. For example, I got Tate's and Addie's stocking ideas from the Pottery Barn Kids ones I liked.

And for Millie's and mine, I just googled "felt stockings" and found some inspiration for these cute critters.

I surprised Chad with Sparty (he's a Michigan State grad and therefore huge Spartan fan). He had mentioned it in passing, but he didn't think I'd actually let him have Sparty on his stocking. I'll admit, it's not really my taste, but it was worth seeing the grin on his face when he first saw it.

Here are some tips (free of charge!) if you want to give this a try:

*If you have trouble free-handing the designs, try printing off a picture of what you want, blowing it up to the right size, cutting it out, and tracing it onto the felt. You can cut up the different parts of the picture and trace them onto the different colors of felt you want to use. Does that make sense? I'm so not good at explaining things sometimes...

*I also recommend gluing the shapes in place before you hand-stitch them on (I just used a simple back stitch). This helps keep them from moving all over the place when your'e trying to stitch them on.

*Also, I do NOT recommend using sticky-back felt. I thought I would use it just for the names, but it does not stick to felt well AT ALL! So, then I had to stitch through it anyways, making my needle all sticky.

Another project I did just today after reading Peter Marie's blog, was this advent calendar. She used a mini-muffin tin, which I just so happened to have on hand.

I really loved Peter Marie's calendar with the ornaments on each day (seriously, check it out if you haven't already - and browse her blog for other cute crafts too - she's the crafting queen), but I didn't have enough old ornaments lying around the house and didn't feel like lugging the kids out to the Dollar Tree on this blustery cold day to buy any, so I just glued scrapbook paper to cardstock and googled "vintage Christmas clipart" to find some cute pictures to print off. Then I modge-podged each square and hot-glued strong little round magnets to the backs. I'm going to fill each day with little slips of paper with a fun activity to do or treat to get for that day.

I absolutely loved all the fun, FREE, vintage Christmas clipart I found. I mean, who could resist this dancing elephant?

Or this adorable little drummer boy?

One that is sure to be a hit with the kids - sledding dogs. How cute.

And my personal favorite:
Oh, what a sweet baby.

I really want this calendar to focus on the true meaning of Christmas, so a lot of the days will include something like reading one of our Christmas books about baby Jesus and the reason He came to earth, donating toys to those in need, and different acts of kindness. Of course, they'll have some more "fun" ones in there too, like making gingerbread houses and ornaments and such. But the definition of "advent" is "an arrival or coming, especially one which is awaited," so doesn't it seem fitting that these days of waiting focus on the One for whom we wait?  

I don't have all the days filled yet, and would love some ideas for fun and/or purposeful activities.  Any ideas?


Lenae said...

The stockings are ADORABLE! What a crafty mama you are! Seriously, awesome job.

Also love the Advent calendar. I've been researching things to do with our littles for Advent and this is definitely going on the list :)

peter marie said...

LOVE the stocking and calendar!! I'm totally jealous of those vintage cut-outs...totally going to check out that sight.

I haven't filled mine up with anything yet, but never thought about little notes with activities to do. I love that! I gotta get busy now....

Julie said...

Wow! Those are so stinkin' cute. Did you buy felt stockings or sew them? I think they look better than the ones online! I may have to look into that for next year. We are doing an advent calendar too! I should blog about it soon. So far I only have 11 ideas so I need to get going, since today is the first day:)

The Sneaky Mommy said...

Awesome job on those stockings! So cute--cuter and more special than any you would buy!
Your advent calendar is super cute, too! I'm really going to have to figure that out!

This Heavenly Life said...

I'm SO intimidated! Those stockings...that Advent calendar?! I think I'll try the calendar, since...felt makes me go all screechy inside ;) But seriously, Katie -- good work!

H-Mama said...

You are one crafty mama! I was looking into buying new ones soon, but this is so much more personal... I may have to attempt it! Pictures may not follow though. ;)

Katie@The Baby Factory said...

So fun :) The stockings are awesome....if only I could sew :)
No advent calendar for us this year. December always sneaksup on me :( Bah!

Amy@My Front Porch said...

Oh my goodness, those stockings are ADORABLE! I can just bet mine would not turn out nearly as cute! And I loooove the Advent calendar!

Hyacynth said...

Could you pleasepleaseplease come to my house and do arts and crafts time with me?! You are SO good!

The stockings are adorable and so is the advent calendar.

As for meaningful activities ... maybe you could have make 10 Christmas cards for a solider, or sing 3 favorite Christmas carols about the real meaning of Christmas or write seven little notes on postits and put them around the house expressing your appreciation for people. Maybe?

Deborah said...

These are really, really cute do-it-yourself projects! I am really impress & inspired.