Saturday, December 13, 2014

Advent Banners and Family Fun

My five children had Advent Candy Banners when they were little, made of felt with decorative Christmas ribbon down the center and yarn ties down both sides to tie the candy to the banner. 
I thought it would be a fun project for the grandchildren to make, since we will all be together for Thanksgiving, I dug out some pretty upholstery-weight fabric
from my stash, bought to use as accents for tote bags and purses some years ago…. It’s antique gold chenille with subtle purple highlights and a lot of texture.  I cut the banners 12” by 27”, and since the fabric was 54” wide, I got two from each 12” pass.  I sewed the rectangle into a tube, right sides together.  I turned it right side out and pressed it well.  I folded it right sides together on the bottom edge , and sewed across the four layers… make sure your sewing machine will handle heavy fabrics in multiple layers, or use a lighter weight fabric with some interfacing to stiffen it if your machine will not handle heavy jobs.
Trim that seam and turn it right side out, and it will form a point, like it did in the table runner tutorial.  Stitch across the open top of the point on the backside.  Stitch the open end closed, just sewing through both layers in about a ½” seam.  
Choose a jelly roll fabric or cut your own 2-1/2” strips for the center decoration.  I cut mine in half, so they are about 20” to 22” long. 
Fold in half the long way, right sides together, and stitch across the bottom, again forming a point when you turn it right side out.  Press under ¼” on both long sides and pin it to the banner you made from upholstery.  I found out the hard way that I needed to situate the point of the decorative strip ABOVE the triangle forming the point on the banner, as it is just too thick to sew through without making your machine work too hard. 

Topstitch along both sides, around the point and across the top of the decorative strip.  I did not turn the top under, because the poem will cover that part.  Fold the top of the banner to the backside, making about a 3” rod pocket.  Topstitch through all layers. 
Mark both sides of the center strip with magic marker dots, so you know where to sew the 24 lengths of yarn for the candy ties.  My marks were about 1-1/2" apart.   Cut the yarn in 12” segments, and take one stitch to anchor it to the banner, then knot it twice, forming a square knot.  Sherri, Ava and I sewed the yarn ties on.   Attach a bell on the bottom point of the banner.  Insert a dowel or twig through the casing at the top of   Griffin cut our twigs from bushes bordering the yard in back, and they worked great!  Bella, Ava, and my sister, Sherri, added decorative bows on the bottom made of various things. You may add additional decorations, if you choose.  Print the following poem out on card stock paper and glue that to another piece of heavyweight cardstock or thin cardboard using rubber cement.  Glue the cardstock to the top of the banner with a good craft glue.   Attach a 12” length of Jute, cord, or raffia to each end of the twig to hang the banner. We put a dab of craft glue on the place where the jute cord was knotted on the twig to ensure it stays put.  The photo below, right, shows many of the banners completed, waiting for the yarn ties, bell, and hanger.  Maddie printed off the poems for us and cut them to size.
December first ‘til Christmas
Is the longest time of year.
It seems as though old Santa Claus
Never will appear.
How many days until Christmas?
It's mighty hard to count.
So this little candy banner
Will show you the amount.
Untie a candy every day
When Sandman casts his spell
And Christmas Eve will be here
By the time you reach the bell.

Your Advent Candy Banner is now complete and ready for you to tie on wrapped candy pieces.  The banner should follow your child into adulthood, and perhaps someday will be used by your grandchild.

My grandchildren and the two little great-grands had a lot of fun choosing their candy… the littlest ones needed help tying them to the banner.  I had an assortment of wrapped candy, dum-dums, and fun-sized candy bars.  Little Charlotte was so funny… hers was mostly cookies and cream chocolate bars!   She very seriously told us they were her favorite. 

While everyone was busy doing their thing, after Bella finished her banner, she painted henna art on everyone who wanted it… from little Lucas to the adults.  She is an excellent Henna Artist, and everyone had a lot of fun getting their own Henna tattoo.  In this photo, she is painting the henna on her Auntie April, Mark's wife, and the finished tattoo is shown on the right.  
It was a wonderful holiday, filled with a lot of laughter.            
It’s a joy to me, as a mother, to see how much fun my five children have together as adults.  Sherri commented to me at one point, “We’ve got some really good kids!”  And I agree wholeheartedly.  Everyone is busy leading their own lives, but when we come together, there is Love.  And that is the greatest gift my children can give me.
Now, midway to Christmas, the children should be half way to the bell.  I hope the memory of this first Christmas making their Advent Banners will be something they will remember for a very long time.  I hope your holiday season is also sweetened with the love of friends and family! 

Happy Holidays from our house to yours!  I hope the New Year brings all good things your way. 
In the words of one of our favorite yuletide songs... We wish you a Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year!

1 comment:

  1. What a wonderful project! I have saved that quick "table runner' idea before and now I realize because of you that it can turn into other magical things. A beautiful family in all ways..just lovely gathering together!!!