Advent Tree

One of my favorite blogs to follow is Angela's Adventures. She recently published a post about an advent calendar that she'd made. I thought it was a great idea and I was between diversions, so I decided to make one too! It involves making 25 fabric pockets, putting a slip of paper with various Christmas activities in each one, and hanging them on a small Christmas tree. It ended up being a lot of work, but I love the way it turned out.
My first mistake was waiting until December 1st to begin a project that ought to be done by... December 1st. In my defense, I didn't get the idea until three days before, so I couldn't have started much sooner if I'd tried. I like to say that I work better under pressure anyway. That's really just a Procrastinator's Justification, but I'm gonna go with it.
I went out and purchased all the necessary supplies: silver glitter ribbon, chocolate brown canvas (they didn't have the color of burlap I wanted), number stencils, white paint, and a real Christmas tree to hang all the little pockets on. The real tree is also a kind of experiment. I have seen such an improvement in my allergies since I went gluten-free and then (mostly) vegan that I thought maybe I can finally be in the same house as one without experiencing anaphylaxis.
Now, I can remember every dish that each member of my family has ordered at every restaurant we've eaten at in the past month (or more). I know lots of big words and I can spell and appropriately use most of them. I can trim the claws of even the most frightening house cat. But... I am terrified of my sewing machine. Terrified. This was the first project I've undertaken that involved any real sewing and I didn't (still don't) know how to use the thing.
I asked Irene (Doug's mom) to teach me and she was more than willing to help. Unfortunately, the machine, which belonged to my grandmother (still living, but no longer in need of a sewing machine), is missing the bobbin. I didn't have time the desire to go back to the fabric store, so I ended up sewing all the pockets by hand. I stayed up until midnight on the 1st, cutting and sewing, with some much appreciated help from my husband.
I decided to call it a night, with five pockets left to sew, when I accidentally impaled my finger on the blunt end of my sewing needle. Thankfully, I was able to finish the rest of the work after the kids went to bed the next night. Doug, Renee, and I sat around and watched National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation while I worked and the only mishap that occurred was when I ran out of silver glitter ribbon (as seen in photo).
Now the tree is up and there is a fun Christmas surprise tucked away in each pocket. We had a Family Meeting on Saturday morning to discuss what activities we wanted to include, so the kids know what is coming but not on which day. I am enjoying the intentionality of the whole thing. It's easy to say, "I want to have a family Christmas carol time," and then never get around to doing it. Those little slips of paper and the eager children who read them are going to make sure our "wants" actually happen this year!

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