Monday, 18 July 2016

Felt Map of the World Christmas Advent Calendar

When I was growing up we had an advent calendar, in which you moved a bear throughout his house, looking for Christmas.  It was a simple & yet affective enough, that I still vividly remember it to this day. My brother had kids first, so my niece and nephew are the new proud owners of “A Beary Merry Christmas”.
This is actually selling online for up to $300!!
When I got pregnant with our first child, I wanted to create an advent calendar that he could grow up with, just like I did. My first thought was to recreate the bear in the house, but I wanted to make something that would change & grow throughout the years. (I don't exactly remember how old I was, but I'm sure I lost interest in that bear in the house in my pre-teens.) We’re a multi-country family and love travelling, so I thought I would create a map of the world.

We could now fly around the world looking for Christmas, exploring & discovering different animals, people & places. This also allows me to change what we look for and where we go each year, making it stage and interest appropriate for our little monster!

So here's how I made it.....  
You need to cut out your entire felt map beforehand- so you know how big to make your backing & board. My map was pieced together by downloading pictures of different parts of the world, sizing them on word, printing them out and then using that as a stencil for the felt. Now, I haven't made a stencil of my world map for you to print out- Sorry!
But as you can see my world map looks a little crazy- New Zealand, for one is NOT that big and Africa has a very funny top half. This happened because I wanted to make more relevant (to our family) places bigger. America would have been a lot bigger (because that’s where I’m from), but it would have had a big impact on all of North and South America. New Zealand is SO big, because that’s where my husband is from and UK got a boost too, because that's where we live.  I wanted Europe to be bigger, therefore Africa has a funny top! Africa at least had to look like it was touching Israel and be close to Spain............. RIGHT you get the picture, it’s a big higgly piggly made up map!! I totally recommend you make a map that suites your family, even if it’s just a big map of your country to explore! If you do want an easy already made up printable map of the world, you can get it for free from Imagine Our Life


Now you have your map cut out, you can size up your backing & boarder (make sure your boarder has enough room for the size of your pockets you'll be using). I just used what I had in the house, so I had to be inventive with my ocean- yes those are waves drawn on (insert crying laughing emoji). Anyways, you need to sew your boarder onto your backing (aka the ocean). Once this is done, you can sew your 25 days of pockets on.

For my pockets I bought a fabric advent calendar panel and used the already made squares (my 25th day is the Snowflake):
1&2: Cut each pocket out individually and iron the 3 side towards the middle on the back of the pocket to get a nice crease.
3: Place & pin ALL your pockets along your boarders – use a tape measure to get them all as evenly spaced as possible.
4: Sew along the bottom crease the pocket first – this will give you a nice seamless bottom to you pocket.
5: Then sew up both sides.

Because my advent calendar was so big I decided to add an inner cotton lining (to the WHOLE thing) to give it some support- extra stiffness really! I pinned the heck out of it and then sewed along the seams of the boarder to keep it in place.

Now it’s time to pin you map on. I suggest pinning the whole thing on before you start hand sewing (that’s right - hand sewing) any of it on- just so you for sure know where all the pieces go. Place a needlepoint hoop on the place you want to start and stitch away. I took of piece of the map as needed, but mostly left it on- totally got poked a few times!!) I used matching thread around my countries, but I think it would look cool to with contrasting thread too.
Once you have your whole map sewed on, you need to finish it off with a colourful backing and a cuff. Do this by sewing around the sides and bottom of your advent calendar- leaving the top open. (Remember to put your two sides front to front, so you get a nice smooth seam.) Next fold over and iron down a nice clean seam for your cuff- pin it down and then sew along the bottom of it- leaving both sides open, allowing you to insert a poll or rod for hanging.  

Now it’s time to start making animals & landmarks for your little monster to explore with - Imagine Our Life has a great (again free) selection to get you started! I used her Animals of the Ocean for a few of the days and going to make some Polaroid Pics of our families. Nothings off limit here- you can create anything and everything- My BuSY bOOks Pinterest board is full of ideas and I’ll keep you posted on our Facebook page of all new creations!!
Polaroid Ornaments - Dinosaurs
I'm so excited to explore and play with our little monster and the HUGE Map of the World Advent Calendar - now when I say huge, I’m mean so big that I’m really struggling to figure out how to hanging it and where to put it!!


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