The first year I made an advent calendar quilt. (You can find that tutorial here.)
In the seasons since, I've delighted in watching little hands make their way into these pockets, finding a handmade ornament, a small treat, and an advent story, stories that lead us to the birth of the Christ child.
Last year I hand stitched 16 felt bird ornaments. (The pattern by itself can be found here.)
These birds reminded me of my Scandinavian heritage and Christmases spent with my maternal grandparents. Such Christmases always included a crackling fire in the fireplace, nine stockings -one for both of my grandparents and each their seven children - hung from one mantle, a bustling kitchen, and lots of aunts, uncles, and cousins. And one can hardly imagine any Scandinavian holiday without lefse!
This year, after choosing to keep things simple, I settled on a felt ball garland.
Indigo was fascinated with these small wool balls, chatting on about which color was her favorite and which ball should be strung on the garland next.
She helped me slide the balls down the green embroidery floss, being sure to leave space between each one.
The meditative rhythm of stringing one ball after another was exactly what I need on that particularly chaotic afternoon.
Before we knew it, two 5 foot long garlands were strung and hanging on our tree.
So simple? Indeed. Whether simple or complicated, quick or time consuming, love was poured into each project. These handmade items are so much more than a calendar, ornaments, or garland. They are physical representations of the traditions we've created for our own family and the memories we hold dear. And that's why, each year, I continue to make them.