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advent: part one

I know I'm one day late to the party, but I finally finished my little advent calendar last night, just in the nick of time. Nothing like a deadline to get me moving.

When I was little, we had a similar advent calendar. Made of felt, with snaps.. I think. I've combed through the attic at my parent's house on several occasions looking for it, but no luck. So I had to improvise and make my own. 

I love felt, especially the good stuff. I hope this calendar will be used for quite some time, pulled out year after year, so I didn't mind taking the time to stitch it by hand. (It also gave me a good excuse to watch a little TV and still feel productive.) Bee and C have been watching me make it, and are thrilled it is finally December at last! 

The pockets were stitched using the number template I made for the Purl Bee (and Page's advent calendar is so bright and lovely). The buttons on the tree are a mixed bunch, all from a big bag of antique buttons I splurged on at Quilt Market. Here are the ornaments for week 1, more to come!

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Reader Comments (63)

I absolutely love it, and I've been inspired to try to make something similar. I, too, look forward to hearing the dimensions. This might be a dumb question, but did you use floss or yarn to make hanging loops, and how did you attach them without sewing through the front? Thanks!

11.30.2009 | Unregistered CommenterCheryl

this is one of the most adorable advent calendars I've seen.. your ornaments are great!
Thank you for sharing- I've wanted to make one, and just may have to do this one!!

12.1.2009 | Unregistered Commentermauri

Absolutely gorgeous! You've definitely made an heirloom.

12.10.2009 | Unregistered Commentertara

This is beautiful! I had a similar one growing up that we still use every year, now with my children:

I particularly like the buttons sewn on. We pin ours every year and I always worry that one year they will start to fall apart. I may add green buttons with my mom's permission for next year.

Thanks for the lovely inspiration! Now that I have three daughters I think I'll have to make some more so I can give them as heirlooms to them :)


12.15.2009 | Unregistered CommenterNutmeg

never too late for something as cute as this!

12.19.2009 | Unregistered CommenterAllison

Oh my gosh. I had one as a kid and my Mom misplaced it. I have been on for the search for something similiar and here it is:) thank you so much!!!!!!!!

01.4.2010 | Unregistered CommenterCynthia


I just love your work! The advent calendar is fantastic and I would desperately love some tips on how to make it for my family.

A list of the ornaments would be greatly appreciated.

Hope you see this post.


01.8.2010 | Unregistered CommenterAngela Mitchell

When I was a teenager, I saw a kit for a very similar calendar in a store, but knew I could do something on my own. Mine uses red felt for the background and pockets and of course a green felt tree. Then just used various odds and ends for the "ornaments", with some specifics for our family (wedding bells on the 18th for my parents wedding anniversary, baby booties on the 15th for a cousin's birthday, mittens on the 21st for the first day of winter). Later, I made another one using mini cross stitch "ornaments" for my parents when I moved out and took mine with me. Mom and Dad still put out their advent calendar (mumble mumble) years later.

Hullo! I was wondering if you had perchance had a moment to take the dimensions of this lovely calendar! I just found out I'm going to be an aunt for the first time -- for twin boys! -- and I want to make one for them! I saw that you thought the white part was about 20 inches wide and 35 inches long . . . would you be willing to share any other information? Thank you so, so much for sharing such lovely things with us!!

01.21.2010 | Unregistered CommenterDevorit

I know I'm SUPER late to the party :>) but I just stumbled across these and was amazed! The level of detail is awesome!! I linked on my weekly roundup - post is under my name. Thanks for sharing!

I've been searching hundreds of advent calendars, and I LOVE yours!!! It closely resembles the one I had as a kid as well. Would you mind sharing any more dimensions, tips, tricks, patterns, ect? How did you attach the string to the ornaments? Is it embroidery floss? Did you stitch everything with floss or just thread? It looks thin? Anything you would change, leave out, add? Thanks so much for your help!

11.8.2010 | Unregistered CommenterAngela Ottley

Hi Angela,
I don't have a pattern or anything for the advent calender, I just made it up based on the memory of one I had growing up. The whole thing is like 20" wide and 35" high. The pockets are made using this download from the Purl Bee.


You need a heat transfer pencil to transfer the numbers to the felt so you can embroider on top of them.

I bought most of my felt at Purlsoho.com. I used the good 100% wool stuff, which means it's pricey. But they do have some nice colors.. and it will last forever. (I find that cheaper felt tends to stretch and pull.)

I hand stitched it all with embroidery floss, I like to use two strands of floss (not the full six strands it comes with.. you just pull it apart. Except I did use all six strands for the loops that they hang from, so they'd be extra strong.

I don't think there's much I'd change. Several of the ornaments have special meaning for our family (like the yellow taxi cab reminds us of our years in NYC) so you might want to swap out a few.

It goes pretty quickly if you really focus and just do it. I would get all excited about mine, work on it for a few weeks, then forget all about it. Dig it out a few months
later, work on it some more..

I'm sure yours will go much faster if you stay focused on it! Though I don't mind that mine took me forever.. it's really a keepsake for our family now.


11.9.2010 | Registered CommenterBrooke

You have inspired me !
I am on line ordering the supplies from Purl Soho and I would love to ask a couple specific questions re: the directions - do you have them posted ?
What is your over all calendar height ?
Tree height ?
Thank you so much !
I do not hold out hope for ornaments as cute as yours are, however I will have fun trying :)

10.31.2011 | Unregistered CommenterSheri

OK ,
I now see the post above mine and I apologize -
You answered most of my questions there.
Did you start with pockets, lay them out and then decide on tree (green triangle)

10.31.2011 | Unregistered CommenterSheri

Thank you for your idea!!!!

11.3.2011 | Unregistered CommenterTeresa

I found this super cute & creative idea on pinterest! LOVE it! I featured it http://livinglifeintentionally.blogspot.com/2011/11/advent-calendar-ideas-part-2.html
If you want an I was Featured Button feel free to grab one from the TGIF section =-)

11.9.2011 | Unregistered CommenterBeth

I absolutely love this. I am going to help my child's class make it as an auction item for their school Gala. Is there any chance that you could give some general dimensions. Such as, how big are the pockets and how large is the project backround, the white felt piece. I just love this and I think the kids will have fun creating the ornaments for this project.

12.14.2011 | Unregistered CommenterMeridith Anderson

Oops! I missed some of the earlier posts. Sorry about that! I see that you gave quite a bit of info already so never mind! Merry Christmas!

12.23.2011 | Unregistered CommenterMeridith Anderson

Thank you so much for the tutorial on how to make this unique and amazing advent calendar! I have been combing the internet to find the perfect calendar that I can make for my own family, and none of them seemed to be just what I had in mind. This one is perfect for us. I am planning on making each ornament represent a winter activity such as skating or baking that we will do on that day, and at the end of the season our tree will remind us of all the fun we had this December! Thanks again, I think this is just brilliant

11.10.2012 | Unregistered CommenterJess

I love this idea!!! I had to share it on my blog today: http://www.vixenmade.com/2012/11/20-adorable-advent-ideas.html

11.14.2012 | Unregistered CommenterVictoria

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