Saturday, 18 April 2015

Christmas Crafting

Some of you are new visitors, popping over from the Ho Ho Ho and on We Sew link party - welcome.  Others are regular visitors - and if you haven't yet met Fiona and Paula and the other Ho Ho Ho-ers, do pop over and make their acquaintance.

They are on a mission to put a stop to the last minute sewing that all too often happens during December, and are encouraging us to take it easy, making bits and pieces throughout the whole year.

For those of you new to the Link Party, the posts are scheduled for the 18th of every month and the Link Party remains open until the end of the month to give our fellow bloggers lots of time to link up their Christmas and Holiday makes.

As well as encouraging us, there is a whole schedule of posts of Christmassy ideas to help us out
JanuaryCeltic Thistle StitchesFiona
FebruaryThreading My WayPam
MarchWonky PatchworkSally
AprilSLIK stitchesBenta
MayPractically PippyKaren
JuneCharly and Ben's Crafty CornerRuth

Patch the GiraffeChelsea
AugustSunshine Through the RainDeborah
SeptemberPractically PippyKaren

Party of Eight: Our StoryGina
OctoberElla and Nesta's Little RoomNesta
NovemberRose & DahliaJoanne
DecemberMud, Pies and PinsPaula

If you look careful at that list, at just about now, you'll see someone called Benta at SLIKstitches is due to share a Christmassy project . . . so I guess I'd better get on with it!

I have made a calorie free Advent Calendar - after years of chocolate ones when the girls were younger I think this one is much kinder to my waistline!

I used 1/2 yard each of three fabrics, plus extra to bind.  I used fabric that had been cut into charm squares (5"x5").

If you are using yardage, initially cut 12 squares from one fabric, and applique, embroider or use fabric pens to add the numbers 0 to 9, plus an extra 1 and 2.  If you choose to use bondaweb, or heat&bond or similar you probably wont need to stitch them down.  I am lucky enough to have an embroidery machine so mine have been machine appliqued.  Make another piece, a rectangle this time, twice the size, with the word "sleeps" on it using the same method

Starting with 1 and 2, place the two numbered pieces right sides together.  Pin two sections of thin ribbon a little bit in from the top corners to make the hanging loops.  These need to be *between* the two parts, touching the right side of both fabrics, hanging inside (so you can see the bits shown here in black, but the grey section isn't visible unless you look between the two pieces of fabric)

 Stitch most of the way round (including all 4 corners), but leave an opening for turning

Stuff with a handful of toy stuffing and then stitch the opening closed.  Continue with the other numbers, pairing 3 & 4, 5 & 6, 7 & 8, 9 & 0, and another 1 & 2 and finally pair "sleeps" with another piece of fabric

As I had charm squares I used six greens charms along the top and bottom, and I used a green, four creams and another green for each of the middle rows (16 greens and 8 creams in total), but you could use yardage or scraps.  Mine finished at about 27 x 17½" 

I spray basted it onto wadding (batting) with more fabric on the back, and quilted it with free range lines from left to right.  I used green thread for the green areas and cream for the cream areas

I arranged two number 'cushions' and the 'sleeps' cushion to a suitable place in the centre panel and marked where the top of the ribbons should be, and I stitched buttons in the right places.  
I also added six pairs on buttons below to park the unused cushions

I folded two charm squares in half diagonally and basted them in the top right and top left hand corners.  I then added the binding to the wall hanging including the triangle edges.

I could then use a stick the same width to hang it on my display hanger


Start with one piece of thread, but thread both ends through the needle.

This means you can use the loop at the end to anchor the thread - no knot required

You want a bit of space behind the button, to allow the ribbon to fall snugly behind it.  You can create this by including a pin on top of the button while you are sewing.  Stitch from hole to hole half a dozen times over the pin

Then remove the pin and wrap the end of the thread around several times, between the button and the cloth, to create a shank.  Knot the thread on the back and hide the ends in the fabric

Now the ribbon will fall easily behind the button.

I used elastic to hang up my little cushions - and I'm suggesting you use ribbon.  It seems the needle takes the path of least resistance and that will be either side of the elastic, not through it, so any pressure on the elastic will cause it to pop out!


If you are inspired by this or any other Ho Ho Ho and On We Sew post, do link up with Fiona and Paula - there are goodies to be won!!!

I have had major issues with adding the links - Fiona has been very patient but I.Just.Don't.Get.It!!!  This post is set to go live at midnight my time so I wont be checking it until 8 or so hours after that.  If the following looks fab, it's thanks to Fiona - if it looks like gobbledegook? Blame me!

This month's linkup is kindly sponsored, thank you very much, by

and the fab prize is this:


Thanks to all the regular sponsors too

Thank you to Fiona and Paula and all the other Ho Ho Ho-ers


  1. Could do with a calorie free Advent Calendar here too Benta and yours is lovely!
    You have gone to double the effort with the code and the images, so I am sure you will be happy to ditch the gobbledygook :)
    Don't forget this month's giveaway too, the Alpine Skier cushion pattern from Bustle and Sew is a cracker!

  2. I love the Advent calendar. Am adding it to my to do list!

  3. That's a scary though thinking of Christmas when Spring is here! I like the Advent calendar, my colleagues at work had a countdown last year starting in September, might be a good idea for them!

  4. what a great idea for an Advent Calendar - although I would miss the chocolate!

  5. If I made this, I'd have to finagle pockets for the little chocolates as everyone knows; christmas advent chocolate in the states packs zero calories.

  6. If I made this, I'd have to finagle pockets for the little chocolates as everyone knows; christmas advent chocolate in the states packs zero calories.

  7. What a great idea for an advent calender. I've never been into the choccie filled/gift ones myself so this is just the sort I love. The link up looks great, so well done on getting all the techie stuff sorted out.

  8. We used to get those little chocolate filled advent calendars for each of the kids at Christmas time. It might be fun to bring back the tradition with a calorie free version!

  9. Great idea, we could definitely do with a calorie free version round here, there always seems to be far too much chocolate in December even without Advent calendars! Love how you used the buttons for the hooks too!

  10. Thank you for the great tutorial. I'll be saving it to make my grandchildren one

  11. Your calorie free Advent Calendar is a great idea!!! Pinning for future reference.

  12. I love the idea of calorie free ... I think the chocolate in tastes yukkk in the other ones. Thankfully there are a few more sleep till Christmas!

  13. Thanks for sharing this not-so-sweet idea.
    Only 235 more sleeps til Christmas...

  14. Great advent calendar - we always counted by number of sleeps left as well - that takes me back 20 years to when mine were - well - still counting the sleeps until Christmas!

    Love the button sewing tip - that's a new to me method and it makes TOTAL sense. Most of my buttons are stitched onto lined zipper bags so the knot is hidden between the outside and the lining, but when I sew one onto a finished project, I hate having the knot on the back (or under the button). This is the perfect method to fix that little annoyance :D


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