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Spotlight of the Month – Advent Calendars

Well, here is the 2nd spotlight of the month.  I’ve made it to #2 – woo hoo!

I thought today I would highlight the advent calendars that I’ve designed.  Now that I have munchkins these become even more dear to me and I will certainly get good use out of my samples.  Actually, I believe that once they come into the Wurzer home, they will never be fit for “quilt shop display” again – ha!

Here are this month’s featured designs:

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Here we have the Reindeer Advent and Santa Advent Calendars

What made me think of creating advent calendars?  When I was a little girl, each holiday season someone sent us an advent calendar.  They were made of cardboard and usually were very colorful with an entire holiday scene on them.  In the scene you could make out the little doors that you had to open each day to reveal the goodie beneath the door, which was a chocolate – a german chocolate if I recall.  I think my aunt sent them to us, who at the time was living in Germany.  Oh how we loved those calendars and I’m sure we fought over who got to open the door each day and more importantly gobble up the chocolate inside.

So, I got to reminiscing one day about these memorable calendars and wondered if I could come up with a clever design for such an advent calendar, quilted of course.  Obviously, little doors with chocolates hiding beneath them just wasn’t in the realm of design with fabric, but I could make little pockets that could be prefilled with goodies or a candy cane that could be removed and enjoyed each day leading up to the “big day”.

The idea of pockets was a great idea, but then how to make them the least complicated – meaning I didn’t want to cut out squares and hem them all the way around so they didn’t fray from the yearly use – then I ran across a piece of wool felt!  Ta da!  Wool felt doesn’t fray on the edges – and the idea for pockets was complete.  Now all I needed was a way to get a number on each pocket – because after all, the numbers are kinda important on a “calendar”.  Hmm.  I’m a genius I know.  (can you smell the sarcasm?)

Okay, so numbers, numbers, how will I put numbers on the pockets?  Am I up for embroidering them . . . uh yeah right.  No not really.  I mean, I like some hand work to do while watching the boob-tube at night, but not that much.  By the way, funny little side note here:  since I call the TV the “boob-tube”, Lewie is now learning the word – I laugh when he tries to say boob-tube.  Now on with the story . . . . . What about machine embroidered numbers?  Hmmm. I don’t have a machine that will do it, but I know someone who does.  And nuh nuh nuh-nah I had a set of numbers all embroidered for me, and she would produce as many sets as I needed.  Sa-weet I said.  The designs of Reindeer and Santa were easy – I just had to draw a hat long enough for all the numbers to fit on them.  And so the first 2 advent calendars were born.

These were a huge hit when I first released them and keeping up with the sets of embroidered numbers was a challenge, but worth it.  And soon I had 2 more design ideas for advent calendars –

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here we have Olaf (left) and Lars (right) snowmen advent calendars – they use the same embroidered number set as the Reindeer and Santa.  These 2 snowmen were based off my earlier small 6″x22″ designs of Sven & Olie – who were massive hits.  Here’s a peek at them:

P57 P58

P57 Sven & P58 Olie

All the advent calendars measure 11″ x 40″

They fit perfect upon any 12″ hanger – and are especially cute on the over the door hangers by Ackfeld – which is where mine will be this December, on a door.

reindeeradventThis image shows the Reindeer on the Merry Christmas hanger which has a set of Over the Door Holders attached to it.  How cute is this?  To hang an advent calendar right upon the door!  I love this idea, rather than finding a spot on one of my walls at Christmas time, let alone putting another nail in the wall.

adventhanger14in_doorholders

12″ Merry Christmas w/door holders attached           &          14″ Over the Door Holders

I just acquired this newly designed hanger from my great friends at Ackfeld Mfg.  This is not the high quality image I’d hoped to share, but it will do temporarily – as it was taken here in my not-s0-bright office.  Anyway, they had the hanger available, but it could not be used with Over the Door Holders, so upon my request (wink wink and a flash of my dimples) they tweeked it a bit and added screw holes for adding on the Over the Door Holders.

Now, about the Advent Calendar patterns themselves – each pattern comes complete with a set of embroidered wool felt numbers.  Oh yeah!  You don’t have to do a thing, but . .. well . . make the sample and then cut apart the numbers.  But aside from that, no hemming of the pockets, just cut out the squares, stitch them on, finish the entire hanging and stuff some candy canes or goodies in the pockets for the kids . . . or yourself if you must.  HA!

What if you want to make more than one calendar?  Do you need to buy more patterns to get the sets of embroidered numbers?  Nope – already thought of that, I did.  I have the extra sets of numbers available in either color, red or green.

wwgreen wwred

As you can see, a ton of thought went into these Advent Calendar patterns, from the designs all the way to the new hanger.  I’m especially excited about the new hanger and over the door option.  You can bet that Reindeer calendar seen above hanging on the door will be broken in come December 1st by Lewie.  HA – or rather Ho Ho Ho!

  Each image I’ve shown in this post contains a direct link to that particular page on my website:  http://www.patchabilities.com.  All items featured here are for sale on the online store – but please check with your local quilt shops first because we all want to keep them in business.

p.s.  if you’re thinking of ordering the new hanger via my online store, shipping is estimated at @ 3 weeks from the date of this post – as they are brand new and going into production.

As always, thanks for peeking in on me and your comments/questions are welcome.

~Julie

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New Sewing Table!

We women are guilty of it.  Making due with what we have, despite there being a better product that perfectly suits our need.  Hmmm.  Must be a genetic thing.

So, I’ve been sewing on pretty much any table which appears to be the correct height, both here at the office and at home.  I never gave it much thought.  Actually, I’ve always complained to my Mom that I cannot sit and sew for more than say an hour at a time, because I get this burning pain across the back of my shoulders.  I have often asked her how she can sit and sew ALL DAY?!  WTH!  Why can’t I?

Imagine, you’re a quilt pattern designer by trade.  I mean, seriously, my livelihood depends upon me sewing up new designs.  Duh!  How can I not enjoy sitting for lovely long periods of time . . . just me, my fabric, my sewing machine and my oh-so-very anticipated new design in process?????  Yes, I know what you’re thinking and it puzzled me too.

I wasn’t looking for an answer to my “burning shoulder/short sewing stint” dilemma, but keep your eyes open, I say, and you’ll see something new.  So one day while at my Mom’s (who is the owner of the most fabulous quilt shop in all of Iowa – Merry’s Stitchins) she asked if I would assemble her new sewing table for her.  Yes of course I will, if she’ll snuggle on Lewie while I’m busy.  She was already snuggling on him, just as she is seen here after a bath:

ImageHe is just too cute for words folks!  But, on with the story.  So, I get her table all put together and my oh my is it nice and large with an insert for your machine.  Plus is has a clear insert that cradles your machine, so that when it’s set properly, sits flush with the table and machine.  Thus, you have one large level sewing/maneuvering area.  Holy crap!  How snazzy is that?  I said “I could really use one of these.”  Because as I said, I had been making due and using any table to sew upon and my total sewing surface was the little 4″ x 6″ piece that snapped onto my machine.  What was I thinking??!!

Well, a couple weeks later, the quilting fairy delivers a new large sewing table and insert right to my door!  I must be a good girl.  HA!

So – my hubby Chad helped me adjust the height of the insert this morning so I could work on the applique of one of the new designs for the book. . . . and TAH DAH!  Here is my new sewing table!

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Look how the entire project is level!  OMG!  How will I act?  Giddy, that’s how!

ImageAnd here it is from another angle – you can see what a huge field of work space it is!  Yowza!  So cool, so awesome and so mine!

I forgot to mention it is height adjustable, so I can just crank it up or down.  Crank it up for a nice cutting table, or lower it to sew.  What a deal.

Here’s the table info, in case you’re interested in upgrading your sewing table.  The company is Kangaroo Kabinets/Arrow Sewing Cabinets.  This table is the:

Tasmanian Height Adjustable Table

Tasmanian Height Adjustable Table

And here is the web page which it can be found upon.  http://www.kangarookabinets.com/gallery/photo/8/

I know that these tables are only available thru a shop, as they are just too huge and expensive to ship to homes.  I only know of one quilt shop that sells them . . . . my Mom’s shop here in Iowa carries them.  So, if you will be in the area of Jesup, IA you can snatch one up at “Merry’s Stitchins.”  Or call their shop:  319-827-6703.  I’m sure you could contact the company to find a dealer near you if a trip to Jesup, IA is just a bit out of the way.  HA.

So, that’s my new tool folks!  I love it already.  My skill level has bumped up a couple notches simply by default.  Hmmm.  What am I capable of now, I ask myself?

Thanks for peeking in on me.  ~Julie