Friday, October 21, 2011

American Crafter Round 3 project-A {handy} Advent Calendar

I have SO much in my life to be grateful for (like being in round 3 of American Crafter-Eeeeek- Thank you for your votes last week)! And I love that, due to Thanksgiving, the month of November is a time specifically focused on showing gratitude for the amazing blessings in our lives.

Using the theme hands, I came up with an advent calendar that would help my kiddos be grateful for the MANY things their little hands can do. Being that it's Thanksgiving, I decided to create a turkey calendar-using a pumpkin mod podged in fabric, and a gourd-for the base, and used our hands to be the feathers. Dad's and Mom's hands are the the larger feathers that were cut out of craft foam and covered in fabric. My two kids' hands were cut straight onto fabric and sewn onto the larger hands. This way it's a very special, literal reminder, to ALL the members of our family that...Together, OUR hands can help YOUR hands create, explore, serve, celebrate, and show gratitude-the 5 different category's for the month. I then sewed a line between each of their little fingers to create the pockets to hold the "hand" activity for that day that corresponds to that weeks category. And of course, the BEST part about any advent calendar is the candy, so using twine I tied a tootsie roll to each finger for a treat once the activity for that day has been completed!

Okay, so I started with a few supplies...

***Total cost for this project was less than $10-I used fabric I already had on hand***
-1/2" thick craft foam
-pumpkin gourd
-traced hand-print for each member of the family
-fabric in different styles/colors (I prefer the traditional look for Thanksgiving, but if you're the rad type I think it would be fun to use funky colors like turquoise and black, purple and yellow, etc!)

First I used the hand stencils to trace Mr. Sweet Love's and my hand prints onto the craft foam. I did 3 daddy hands and 2 mommy hands (5 hands=25 fingers for 25 days. I only wanted 24 since it's an advent calendar for Thanksgiving, so I overlapped 2 of the fingers to count for the same day.)

Using a non-serrated knife I cut out each hand.

I then used pins to hold the fabric for the adult hands in place on the foam so I could decide where the kids cut-out fabric hands needed to be sewed on to.

I sewed each child hand print onto the adult hand fabric and then sewed between each little finger to create the pockets to hold the activity paper for that day.

I used hot glue to attach the fabric hand to each foam cut-out. (this was WAAAAAY more tricky than what I had imagined it would be when I dreamed it up. I almost gave up at this point because I couldn't get the dad-gum fabric to squeeze into all the places I needed it to. I'm frustrated all over just thinking about it! Ha Ha!! I'm glad I saw it through though b/c I love how it turned out!)

I then used E6000 to glue the hands together in a semi-circle, staggered, formation to create the feathers of the turkey.

When all the hands were glued together it looked like this:

I then mod podged some fabric onto the smaller pumpkin (using this technique) and used E6000 to glue that to the "feathers".

It didn't feel as sturdy as I liked, so I reinforced it with pins from the backside.

Next was the face of the turkey! I made a quick waddle to attach to his beak by sketching a waddle shape onto some leftover fabric. I cut out 2 opposite shapes so that I could sew them together and stuff it with batting.

Next I used rebar wire to make 2 turkey legs.

They stuck right into the bottom of the gourd and I hot glued around the hole to make sure they wouldn't slip out.

Awwww, isn't he cute?!

Then I came up with 24 activities that had to do with the 5 categories of using our hands (list of activities at bottom of this post) and inserted them into each of the pockets on the feathers.

Lastly I printed the theme of our advent calendar: Together, OUR hands can help YOUR hands... onto shimmery, red cardstock, and pinned it like a banner to the front of the turkey. I also made some tags with the name of the category for those 5 days and attached them to each hand with pins.

Twine was an easy way to tie up our incentive for completing our "hand" activity for the day!

Gobble Gobble! ;)

24 activities...
  • Our hands can help your hands CREATE...
1. A yummy treat
2. A fall tree with fingerprint leaves
3. Gratitude tree-each leaf has a different thing we're grateful for written on it.
4. Paint a fall mural
5. A turkey made out of homemade playdough
  • Explore
6. Collect treasures on a nature walk
7. Do a matching color leaves game
8. Crush as many leaves as we can with our hands and feel the texture
9. Go for a ride on the *Mayflower* we built together
10. Find and play at a new park
  • Serve
11. Make someone else's bed for them
12. Leave "love" notes all over for daddy
13. Bring in the neighbor's trash can from the street
14. Donate canned goods to the food bank
  • Celebrate
15. The pilgrims and Indians
16. Daddy's Birthday!
17. Go on a picnic and appreciate this beautiful world we live in
18. FALL time-rake up the leaves and then play in them!
19. All the good things we do and accomplish during the day by giving high 5's and HUGS
  • Show Gratitude
20. Leave a surprise "thank you" in the mailbox for the mailman
21. Pass out "Thanks for being a great neighbor" treats
22. Write each member of the family a note of why you're grateful for them
23. Hand out "thank you" cards to teachers in your lives-school/church/work, etc.
24. Say a family prayer of only THANKSgiving and ask for nothing.

Thanks SO much for stopping by today! Have a GREAT weekend!

Linking up to these great parties as well as:
The Idea Room


cnelson said...


Flour Blossoms said...

ohh my cuteness! I saw the finished picture first and had no idea you MADE the turkey. Gourds... what a great idea!.

Sylvia said...

Awesome project! Goodluck.

Amy said...

Wow! What a neat idea! I can't believe you made that much time and effort! Great job! Would you share it here?

Alison @ said...

What a fabulous idea! I think it is really important to teach our children gratitude! Thanks for the great idea! I will definitely be doing this with my family!

Chrissy said...

Super cute!! I am your newest follower!!

Rae said...

So cute! What a neat idea and your turkey makes me smile just looking at it.. such a happy thing to make

Anonymous said...

unbeLEEEEEvably adorable!!! I'm thinkin' this is finding it's way to my house soon! Fabulous idea!!

Mindie Hilton said...

very impressed, featuring on thursday at Bacon Time.

Sally said...

Adorable & creative! Love this idea too!

Tracy Suzanne said...

Hi Angela. I just saw this link over at Midwestern Sewing and had to check it out. Brilliant and cute as can be! Thanks for sharing it.

BTW - I'm your newest follower via gfc and email.

Hugs...Tracy @ Cotton Pickin Cute:)

NaDell said...

I'm over from Organizing and Decorating Everything. I love this idea for a Thanksgiving countdown. Thank you for sharing it!!!

Michelle said...

This is such a neat idea!

Jennifer said...

Oh girl! This is awesome!! I love it!! I really want to do an advent with Lil' Hunkie but just not sure...he just turned 2.
Thanks for sharing this at Show & Share!!

Jennifer said...

Ok! Making this a fav from last weeks party!! Hope you'll come grab a button!