My boys enjoyed our Christmas advent calendar so much this year. They were excited each morning to race down the stairs to the calendar; and their daily ritual helped them anticipate when the big day would arrive. I figured we could keep that excitement going in the new year as we gear up to celebrate birthdays in January and February so I created this Birthday Countdown Calendar. The boys loved it and I hope it becomes a family tradition in years to come.
Working on this project was a lot of fun. Not only did the boys follow my progress, but they were really interested in how the sewing machine worked, how the numbers should be placed in order, and…most importantly to them…how soon their birthdays would be here! Both of their birthdays are towards the ends of the months of January and February so, for us, it worked to list the numbers like a calendar starting at 1 and working our way up to 24. If your child’s birthday is in the beginning of the month, you might want to make a countdown calendar for ten days or maybe have thirty spots but start in the prior month to work up to the special day. I am sure there are plenty of variations, this is just what worked at our house.
Felt: a background color of your choice, brown for the cupcake base and I used white for the cupcake icing)
Poly-fil (although not necessary)
Felt number stickers
Felt stars (or other shape) stickers
1. Decide what size your cupcake will be first and cut the background color. Then cut out two identical pieces of the base and one of the topping so that it fits on your felt (the background color). The second piece on the base will become your pockets for your daily “treasures”.
2. Cut your second piece of base material into three or four strips to form the size of the pockets, leaving a small space between each row of pockets. In hindsight, it would have been easier if I had followed a typical calendar pattern in which all the numbers lined up in rows and columns. I spaced mine out and it made for a trickier path of sewing them onto the base.
3. Pin the base onto the background. I sewed the horizontal lines of the pocket pieces first, then spaced out my numbers to make sure my 24 days would fit. Next, sew the vertical lines in between your numbers so that you make an individual pocket for each one. Be sure to make the pockets big enough for your stickers.
4. Now sew the top of the cupcake on to the background felt, leaving a few inches of a gap so that you can stuff your cupcake if you wish to do so. Next time I think I’ll leave mine flat but the boys seemed happy to help me add the filling so that made it more fun! Sew the gap once you have finished with the filing.
5. You could cut out any design of felt pieces to decorate your cupcake; I chose an easy route and bought felt sticker shapes. They stuck to the cupcake but also can be removed easily and used again. I did cut out the shape of a candle to be added on the last day– the actual birthday. It made the cupcake complete.
6. I hung the calendar using 3M’s Command Brand strips for picture hanging. The velcro-like strips fastened to the felt nicely and made it easy to hang the calendar. You could also make a sleeve at the top by folding over an inch of material and sewing a line straight across. Insert a dowel and hang using a ribbon and a nail or hook on the wall.
I think it would be nice to make a name banner to put across the top of the Countdown Calendar. That way, each child would have his own countdown just for his special birthday month. This first time, though, they were so happy with the novelty of it that they didn’t seem to mind that it wasn’t personalized. Maybe next year!
I linked to http://www.houseofhepworths.com/2012/01/25/hookin-up-with-hoh-84/
and to http://www.toysinthedryer.com/2012/01/fun-stuff-fridays-8.html
and to http://tatertotsandjello.com/2012/01/weekend-wrap-up-party-and-the-confident-mom-giveaway.html
and to http://www.skiptomylou.org/2012/01/30/made-by-you-monday-87/