behind the advent calendar

So JBB's family has a felt advent calendar, and I'd been thinking off and on about making one for us.  I kept seeing Purl Soho's advent calendar pattern and kit with wool felt last year and was like, YES I will do this.  Then promptly forgot about it for a solid year.

Til this November.  When I saw the Purl Soho one again, and was like, hmm.  And forgot about it again until right before Thanksgiving, when I realized it was full on crazy to kick this project off a week from December 1st, and yet... I had a FULL WEEK, yo.  That was AGES of time.

But I didn't love some of the ornament choices (I don't like repeating shapes in different colors, feels like a cheat) and felt color choices (that pink, whoah) of the Purl Soho one and I really did not love the attachment of the ornaments via straight pin, and did some online/Pinterest research.  I loved the idea of a slightly retro-modern wool felt calendar with ornaments hanging off of buttons (pretty ones), and lo and behold had a shit ton of wool felt stashed away. I even got so far as to save some icon images on which to base some of the designs, and pulled together a list of 24 ornaments and several extras for just in case the original ideas prove to be too much of a pain in the ass.

And then I scrapped the idea entirely because hi, ONE WEEK. 

And then the next day I had to kill time before an appointment and realized JoAnn's was open early and oh look they have some cream wool felt on sale...and some lovely green wool felt on sale...and check out these buttons that would totally work sewn onto the tree ...and WHAT HI METALLIC PERLE COTTON I LOVE YOU AND WANT TO MARRY YOU EVEN THOUGH YOU TANGLE LIKE A SONOFABITCH AND CUT MY HANDS.

So yeah. This happened:

why yes, that is a giant tinker toy arm it's hanging off of, so good of you to notice.

The Wednesday before Thanksgiving, just 6 hours before we packed our stuff up to go to the in-laws for the holiday, I decided to cut out the pieces.  The cream wool felt is thick and fluffy, and not nearly as stable as I'd like, so I knew it needed to be doubled for the backing, with some interfacing between to stabilize it.  But I laid it out, drew the tree freehand on the green felt (which is much thinner but more stable), and cut out that sucker--scissors for the tree, rotary cutter (god bless that thing) for the background.  And then 24 2.5" squares.  Pencil didn't transfer well to the cream felt, so I wrote out sample numbers about the right size on a sheet of paper, and packed the red perle cotton, 24 squares, 1 embroidery needle, and the swan embroidery scissors and winged those suckers.

not pictured: the glass of wine.

not pictured: the glass of wine.

The embroidery was the easy part--done by the day after Thanksgiving.  The pain in the ass part was assembly, and I just didn't have the room. And so I carted it off to my mom's when we returned.  And thanks to her, and despite her being allergic to wool, we got that sucker sewed down (and reinforced with interfacing for the backing and a second thinner piece of felt for the squares) in an afternoon.  And by "we" I mean "my mom"--she did all the sewing, I did the placing. 

That night I cut out 24 itty bitty little ornaments from the wool felt and started sewing 6 of them. The next day--November 30th--I finished sewing the 6 itty bitty ornaments and crocheted 24 ornament hangers from yarn or crochet cotton held together with sparkly perle cotton.  And late that night I finished sewing all the damn buttons on.

The ornament hangers. Sparkle, Neely, sparkle! 

So as of this writing, I am 6 days ahead.  I just gotta be 1 day ahead and we're all good.