DIY Advent Calendar

Time for a timely post!

I made this advent calendar last year for my then 2 year old daughter… she loves it even more this year!

Materials:

  • Felt – A few different colors. Mostly I already had stuff kicking around, plus I felted an old green sweater. It gives the tree a nice 3D feeling.
  • Cotton fabric for the background – a neutral color or unobtrusive pattern works best.
  • Iron-on stiff backing material 
  • Sewing materials
  • Fun little treats and mini ornaments for the pockets. Sticky numbers for the pockets.

I’ll mostly lay this out in pictures.

 1. Cutting out pieces for the tree from an old sweater felted in hot water/air. Must be 100% wool or this will be a spectacular waste of time.

 2. Ironing on backing to my piece of background cotton.

 3. Arranging the tree. I like how the thicker sweater material pops up off of the background.

 4. Sewing the tree pieces on the the background. I went for a long stitch along the tall axis of the tree, but you can do whatever floats your boat as long as the tree doesn’t fall down.

 5. Laying out and sewing on pockets. I went for a pretty random pattern and assortment of shapes b/c that is how I roll, but you could make them all one color, or matching, or whatever. Just make sure you leave a gap in your sewing at the top of each pocket… otherwise it is not much of a pocket.

 I have a chronically “helpful” cat at my house. Bless.

 All stitched up and ready to apply the felt backing.

6. Final touches – I got lazy and used plastic stick-on numbers like you’d find in the scrapbook section of the craft store. You COULD embroider the numbers… if you are a SUPER CRAFTER. For the ornaments I scoured the dollar shelves and also used felt cut outs. Think of all the the options… this is the fun part.

Voila! This calendar is a sturdy piece of art – simply roll and store when you find yourself done with December.

Enjoy! And hey, if you make an advent calendar like this give me a shout and I’ll post a picture!

All images copyright Knitty Vet.

DIY Denim Heat Pack

We recently had a night that threatened frost… so this post is right on time!

What you need:
Old jeans. The softer the better, but not too threadbare or you may lose some rice.
Rice.
A sewing machine. Not strictly necessary but makes life easier.
Tea. Makes everything easier.

These jeans were the husband’s. They have a hole in an unfortunate location and so now belong to me.

And above is the tea. AWESOME TEA from Arbor Teas.

I trimmed the inner seam to make the heat pack a little more narrow than the full width of the leg. It ended up being about 7″ wide and almost 2 feet long.

Next I sewed the end shut and compartments for the rice so it wouldn’t all bunch at one end. I used yellow thread in a zig zag stitch because that’s the way I roll.

Next I sewed the cut edge partially, leaving holes into which I could pour rice. I poured rice. Mostly into the pack, but also on the table and floor. A funnel would make this a snap.

After the rice was in (not too full, you want a nice squishy pack), I finished sewing the edges. And continued to drink tea. About 2.5 minutes in the microwave (with a little cup of water) and the heating begins!!

And… pinnable!

Greening the Post Office – Sewn Parcels!

Lovely snowy day here- greened the (nearly daily) trip to the post office in two ways.

1. Walked. I love the days I get enough time to make the 2 mile round trip on foot (or bike in the summer). Today was especially great due to the fresh snowfall.2. Sewn packages! I have to admit that this was not all my idea. I have been trying to use recycled materials in my packaging as much as possible… I hate all of the waste that usually goes with mailing.

Because I wasn’t sure if it could go in paper recycling or not, we have a huge stack of brown paper padded wrapping that was around all of our artwork during our recent move. The sheets are huge but can be cut into manageable chunks easily enough. If folded and taped this wrapping made a perfect envelope for my cozies to sail through the mail…. but the amount of tape necessary was ridiculous, expensive, and certainly not green.

Enter my AMAZINGLY brilliant mother! “Why don’t you just sew them?” she asks…. Brilliant! A few little zig zags later we really had something. Cute, tough, and ready for the post. Now all I had to do was add the item and tape the edges closed (or sew if I felt really industrious and had left enough of an edge.) Let’s recap:

1. Cut wrapping material (brown paper etc) into sizes appropriate for what is being mailed.
2. Fold sides and sew down 2 seams with a zig zag or other strong stitch
3. Add item to mail- if it is a little more fragile, like a CD in a jewel case, you can wrap it in some left over bubble wrap first.
4. Sew top or tape closed.
5. Walk to the PO and ship!

I sewed a whole bunch of packages at one time since I know the size I’ll need most – this saved some time.

I hope this was helpful – everyone is welcome to share their own green ideas!