I am, at heart, a planner. I tend to make lists and sketches and diagrams and schematics, and wrestle endlessly with ideas–talking them out loud to myself as I bring them to life–before I act on my plans. Sometimes this looks like procrastination, sometimes it looks like too many ideas, but it’s where my best work gets done as often as not. There are occasions, though, where I get an idea and it takes hold of me and I run with it. This is one of those times. Better yet, it’s one of the times when I get an idea from a plan I’ve been dreaming up, and the two have wild hairy babies and take off into the wild world, breeding huger plans that involve all of you, too. So, I’m kind of excited about this today, and hope you’ll play along with me.
Here’s what happened:
Yesterday, I was sort of lazily looking around the (messy) studio, thinking to myself, “What should I sew next?” in the lackadasical way of someone who has something to do but has forgotten about doing it. And then it hit me: Advent calendar. How many days left until December? Ooops.
Last year, I planned to sew an Advent calendar based on the one my mother had made when my sister and I were young. It never happened. So this year, at the Sewing Retreat, I was working through plans and deciding what I wanted it to look like, determined that I would get it done this year. I didn’t get it done yet. I had a vision of a patchworked and semi-quilted project that would last until my own children have children, very much in the style of the one my mother still hangs every year.
Last night, before I taught my class at the shop, I mentioned all this to Diana, our intrepid manager extraordinaire. I lamented how challenging it would be to make this calendar in one-and-a-half days, but was determined to see it happen this year. The design is a village path leading between houses, with a chapel at the end, twenty-four buildings in all. A (fabric) paper doll family moves from house to house over the course of the Advent season, arriving at the chapel on Christmas Eve to await the birth of the baby Jesus. The foundation of the whole thing, which is designed to hang on a door or wall, isn’t the challenge–it’s all those little houses! Diana, who always says just the right single word or phrase to fire off a million ideas in my head and make the final details click, says, “You can make one house a day.” That was all. And the light went on: What if I make one house a day? Like, through the Advent season? And this year, as the little family makes their way to the chapel, the village grows–and then next year and every year after, the calendar is done and ready to enjoy? Brilliant!
But of course, being me, I continued to think about the plan, and it began to take on a larger form all of its own: what if as I make each house, I blog each house? And share them with you, like an Advent house-of-the-day as December moves along? Fun! But then, I have some other really cool stuff I want to do on the blog this December, and I don’t want to pepper everyone with multiple posts per day. So maybe the houses go on their own page? And I link to them from the main page? But wait!! Wouldn’t it be cool if we could make little houses together? Like….like…like an Advent Calendar Sew-Along!
And now here we are! I’m delighted to invite you to join me in sewing my Advent calendar this December, bit by bit, all of us together so that we can finally, finally get it completed and share it with our families. It’s such a great tradition, and one I loved so deeply as a child, and I hear and read so much about so many of us wishing we’d found the time to make one. In the spirit of our 2010 Sewing Goals, let’s make the time and sew them alongside one another.
You’re certainly not limited to making a calendar like mine, although I’ll be sharing details, tutorials and templates as we go along if that’s what you want to do. I’ve compiled a list of amazing and modern and inspiring Advent calendars to sew all over the web for you to pick from–just making one while the rest of us do is enough to share the spirit!
I’ve placed a button in the sidebar to click each day and see the newest little house go up on the background. I’m super looking forward to seeing all the many, many variations out there, and can’t wait to see this one finished and drinking in the buzz and the warmth of Christmas!
Advent calendar designs, tutorials, and inspiration: