It wasn’t until I started to put together this list that I realized every non-quilt thing I’ve been working on is Christmas related. And then I realized it’s July. Without even trying I’m living the cliché!
TNBC Advent Calendar Shelf
Finished this TNBC shelf – finally. What should have been a super simple project (the circle and swirl were both purchased laser cuts for crying out loud!) has taken me 6+ months.
I thought purple color change spray paint would make the silhouette look really cool, but it seemed to be discontinued, so tracking down a couple of cans wasn’t easy. Then I found out why it was discontinued – it was impossible to get a smooth, clean coat with that stuff.
No matter what I did, and trust me I tried! Coat after coat after coat. Finally I gave up and now it’s black. Which is fine as I think the mini Funko POPs from the TNBC Advent calendar might show up better against the black anyway. At least it’s done.
Spiral Advent Calendar
Some craft projects you fight with, some just flow, and this Spiral Advent Calendar is one of the latter. At the risk of sounding a little bit sappy, the bright, cheerful colors of this felt penny rug literally make my soul happy.
Every so often I’m scrolling Pinterest and something I’ve never seen before comes across my feed. Most recently, this spiral Advent calendar craze. There’s a few ways you can make them – using textiles or wood are the most common – but the main point is a game-piece like marker moves around a spiral with 24 ‘stops’ towards the center which represents Christmas Day.
It only took 4-5 attempts to get a swirl that looked right! Just kidding, but I was surprised that the layout is not entirely symmetrical. It actually looked best with the center slightly off center. The felt circles are then decoratively stitched down (a bit of basting glue kept everything in place, but probably wasn’t completely necessary.) French knots have been an embroidery nemesis of mine for decades, but I felt by the end I was getting a really good feel for them. Practice does make perfect!
But the outside border is my favorite part. I’d originally planned to add beads to the blanket stitch, but the beads I thought I had on hand have disappeared. While looking for another option, I realized I had a LOT of the tiny felt circles available and figured out – on my own! – how to attach them. I’m sure someone else has done this before, but I didn’t look at any tutorials at all, just puzzled on it until I figured it out. Proud crafter here!
Elf ranks right up there on my list of favorite Christmas shows – below anything Grinch-related of course – but it’s still a must-watch several times each season year. So, naturally, I fell in love with this tutorial from the Ugly Christmas Sweater Party blog for making your own Buddy the Elf Spirit Clausometer! If singing is the best way to spread Christmas cheer, crafting must be not far behind because, as you can see, Christmas spirit around here is 100% ALL. THE. TIME!
Based on the tutorial, almost any old cheap clock will do, but since I wanted to go a bit larger and make two to use as holiday wreaths on our front doors, mine started as these red diner-styler clocks from the home goods store At Home. Creating the clausometer face image in Photoshop was fun because I’d never really done curved text before. It wasn’t particularly easy to get the spacing just right, but high school geometry came to my rescue (see, kids, you will use it as an adult!) The images were then matte printed on photography paper at Shutterfly.
These particular clocks had a lot of ‘innards’ that blocked where the lights were going to go, so my solution was to build up a couple layers of rings cut from ¼” craft foam. This raised the face enough to fit battery-operated lights inside so the clausometers will light up for several hours each evening without needing to turn them on every day. You can almost see the lights in this photo of them displayed on our front doors, but it is July and there’s a lot of sunshine getting in the way!
It’s nice to have all three of these projects done, just in time to focus on new Halloween and Christmas quilted countdown calendars for Whimzie Quiltz Etsy! In a way, Christmas in July will be spilling over into Advent in August 🙂 but I don’t want to miss the 2021 selling season. Hopefully, I’ll be posting my new designs here soon as I’ve got some really fun ideas for both holidays – think voodoo dolls, vampires, corgis and pugs (I’ll leave it up to you to imagine which are for which holiday!)