Thursday, 2 December 2010

Advent


A few weeks ago my father arrived with a beautiful (or beautifully tasty) advent calendar for me and Mr Teacakes. It is a Hotel Chocolat calendar especially made for a pair, with a truffle each for every day of advent. There's something wonderfully romantic about these little twin truffles and the idea of not having to share is most delightful (she said, with her trotters at the ready to open door number 2. I started writing this post yesterday - the trotters have now already broken their way through door number two).


However, a few days ago I realised that I wanted to make sure that my father's own advent had daily makers. Unsure that I could beat the loveliness of a Hotel Chocolat calendar with anything left in the shops, I decided to make a calendar myself and could think of nothing that my mother or father would more enjoy opening each day than a message from the smallest Teacakes. With them enthusiastically in on the plan I began sewing until late each evening to have it ready in time for December 1st and the small ones have been busily creating the cards to be put inside each pocket.


I spent a long time drawing out grids to achieve an even pocket placement...and got some of the way through writing this up to share with you, when I realised that it may be a tutorial to save for next year as few people begin making their advent calendars on the 1st December. This may be a good thing, as the pictures for it would have been gloomy (or cosy, if one's looking at things in a positive light), when all the sewing was carried out late at night by lamplight so that Mr Teacakes could try to sleep.


Here it is finished...nearly.

The photos of this are truly awful - I'm sorry. The sky is so full of snow that no light seems to be getting through.
I thought that I'd finished, but then I realised that a Christmas tree motif might look nice in space number 25...


Here are some of the cards that the Teacakes made - I left them completely to their own devices with these and they are far more humorous and lovely for it, complete with idiosyncratic spellings:


December 1st arrived, the calendar was finished, the pockets were full, but the car was immobilised by snow in the driveway. So after school yesterday we decided that it would be a lot of fun to carry out a surprise delivery and make the four-mile round trip to my parents' house on foot....we would almost be like Father Christmas. We had such fun and it was our first outing with the beautiful wooden sledge that my father had given us during the summer (I know that he would want it documented that he winkled this beauty out for a mere £2. Yes, he is a deluxe bargain hunter extraordinaire). I found that for much of the way I was able to pull both of them on it and they encouraged me by singing loudly and telling me to go slower, so that I would feel encouraged by how fast I was managing to go (they stumbled upon this reverse psychology when they realised that when they implored me to go faster it resulted in my gradually slowing down). After making a pit-stop at my parents house where they delightedly received the calendar and plied us with cherry juice and biscuits, we returned home. It's not a route I would normally venture down alone after dark, with woods on both sides, but lit up by the whiteness of the snow, it felt completely unscary and more Narnia-like than Watcher-in-the-Woods. Mr Teacakes walked out and met us nearer home for an annual visit to the chip shop and pulled me some of the way back on the sledge while the small ones ran along beside - I'm not sure anything could be more fun. Eager that he shouldn't miss out we found that the sledge is perfectly capable of holding the weight of a 6ft 2 man and that I am perfectly capable of pulling this weight. My muscles are HUGE today! Eager to pack a year's worth of arm-toning into just one week we are off out again soon.

I hope you are having fun wherever you are.

Happy advent,
Florence x

29 comments:

  1. Lovely post! Sounds like you had a great day, loved the image of you lot off into the snow with the sledge. Will definitely have to bookmark this to remind me to look up the tutorial in time for next year. :)

    M x

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  2. What a lovely idea, I am sure your parents will be thrilled to open each pocket and read the little cards and pictures their grandchildren have made. I hope you share the tutorial with us in plenty of time for Advent 2011.

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  3. Brilliant, I always plan to make one and then life gets in the way and we end up with something far less special. Maybe december 1st would be the time for me to start then it'd be ready in time for Christmas next year?! Looking forward to the tute. xxx

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  4. That is a wonderful idea. I'm sure my parents would love it too.

    I'm glad you're having fun in the snow. We have barely a covering in Cambridge and certainly not enough for sledging. I am trying not to pout ...

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  5. A little message each day is very thoughtful.

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  6. Sounds like a perfect day! I love your advent calendar idea-- what a sweet idea to have your children make the little notes. I will have to file this away for sometime in the future...
    ~natalie

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  7. I'm amused by my imagined picture of you pulling Mr Teacakes on the sledge - would be a bit too hilly here I think! This weather makes me wish we still had a St Bernard who could pull me up the slopes.

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  8. We have cold and ice, but not really enough snow to sledge on. I've always wanted to, as well, so now I'm green with envy (better than blue with cold!)

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  9. Thanks for that lovely Christmassy post! The snow really does light things up, doesn't it? I suddenly decided a snowy walk would be fun at 11pm last night, and the usually-a-bit-dark streets around here were positively glowing.

    My mum started making herself an advent calendar midway through November, madly choosing to embroider at little picture for every day. It turned into a bit of a chore, with tiny hemmed gingham curtains instead of doors/pockets, but she just about got it done!

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  10. I love everything about this post, from the beautful advent calendar, the wee notes, to the idea of a sledge delivery.

    I'm trying not to be jealous about all the snow, but really I feel every year like packing my bags and moving somewhere where there's a chance of snow...

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  11. What a lovely post.
    The advent calendar is beautiful and I loved hearing of your outing to deliver it.

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  12. I have so many thoughts on this post--I love it! First, that calendar is so you--the fabrics, the pictures, everything. I love it--I like it much better than those where there is a toy inside--the pictures can then be saved.
    Also--love the romanticness of sewing by lamplight (although in my head I thought candlelight) so your love could sleep. And the trek to the Grandparents on a sledge? Oh my word, the unspeakable Victorian loveliness of it all. I think I want to be one of your children....
    xo,
    Bethany

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  13. The calender is beautiful, and the little notes a brilliant idea. I'd love these from my grand children!

    I'm looking forward to the tutorial as plans for next year are beginning to cook.

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  14. A sky full of snow sounds rather lovely. We have hot sun and green grass and the weeds taking over here in down-under-land.
    I love your idea for the advent calendar - what a treasure for your parents!

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  15. Oh, what a delightful read. I don't know if I enjoyed the Advent Calendar story more than the beautiful trip to your parents' home, or vice versa. Here in Brisbane the sun has deserted us and we sit under a gloom of rain-filled clouds. Snow is far more romantic!

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  16. You have brought a smile to my face (again!). What a lovely idea, and a very pretty advent calender you have come up with. It looks like you will need more trips like that out in the snow if you are going to be scoffing truffles every day!!! x

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  17. What a truly lovely post - no chance of snow here in Australia - plenty of rain though!

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  18. What a lovely advent calendar and your trip in the snow sounds like such fun.

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  19. I do like your calendar. Lovely that it is staying in the family and that your children will be able to fill it again each year. The sledding sounds fun too.

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  20. Very adorable calendar and story, Florence.

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  21. I really enjoyed reading this post. The advent calendar is lovely, and I feel quite inspired to make one for next Christmas now. Thank you for sharing this slice of life, and Happy Advent to you all!

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  22. Surely this Is a scene from a story book, and not just a standard family moment.... oh for a white Christmas-here in South Australia we are doomed for yet another sweaty hot one. Boo. What lucky children you have to be swept up in such magical memory making x

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  23. sounds like a fun time and i love the advent calendar. saving the idea for next year for my parents in my to do section on my blog: http://www.thesewingdivaandherreluctantmodels.blogspot.com.
    stop by and grab a featured by button!

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  24. Picturing you pulling the sled made me laugh. My children would love to experience a snowy winter, but seeing as Dec 1 is the first day of SUMMER here, that's not going to happen anytime soon. It just sounds so romantic!

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  25. This was so charming! I love the calendar but most especially the little cards your babies made! I'm sure your parents were completely delighted by this wonderful gift. How much fun to take a walk like that in the snow!

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  26. What a wonderful advent calendar - and I agree the misspellings make it all the more lovely - something to cherish indeed (and I am now desperate to make sucha tasteful calendar for our house - or my Mum's!)

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  27. This is certainly something I want to make for the next year. I thought maybe leaving nice notes for each other with my husband, every other day. I am not sure that I could get my son to fill all the pockets for me, but one never knows. I just love the colours of your advent calendar as well. I am revelling in red/white/grey this Christmas and cannot get enough of polka dots! 'Big sigh of pleasure' while looking at your pictures.

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Thank you so much for taking the time to leave a message - it's always really lovely to hear from people.

I now tend to reply within the comments section, so please do check back if you've asked a question or wish to chat.

Florence x