DIY Advent Calendar

Nothing makes more Christmas season than the Advent calendar!

And there’s no real and true Advent calendar if there isn’t an everyday surprise and a chocolate gift!
Actually, we have never been so much interested in the ready-made ones, we highly prefer the DIY ones.
That’s why, since my children were just babies, we made our own versions of it.

This is our newest.
If you wonder how to to make it, here’s a tutorial.
Let’s go sewing!

Materials:

– about 10 m red ribbon
-about 3 m rick rack
– red thread
– about 110-120 cm of fabric (exceeded measure)
– Your own choice of colored felt numbers from 1 to 25, or some scraps of felt, to make your own appliqued numbers
Or, if you prefer painting to sewing, glittered fabric paint crayons.
– about 2m of thick twine
– 25 funny clothes pin

Step 1

Cut 10×20 cm 25 fabric pieces (fist make 5 20×10 cm strips, then cut every strip in 10 20×10 cm rectangles)


Step 2

On the piece of felt scrap, trace numbers silhouettes on the felt scrap. Or, just paint the numbers on half of the rectangles with the glittered crayons.


Step 3

Sew the rick-rack on the upper and shorter side of every rectangle. You can use chain sewing technique, to save time.

Step 4

About 12 cm from the top of the fabric, begin sewing the applique on the right side of half the rectangles, with a decorative stitch and a contrasting thread (I used red thread)

Step 5

Cut out 25 strips of ribbon (15 cm long)

Step 6

Pair all the rectangles right side together.
Insert one strip of ribbon in every longer side of paired rectangles, at about 4 cm from the top of the fabric, raw sides together, making sure the strip is parallel to the upper side of the fabric.

Step 7

Sew 3 sides of the paired rectangles, starting from one longer side, with 1 cm seam allowance, Make sure you won’t catch the rest of the ribbon in the sewing.

Step 8

Flatten both sides of the sachet, finger pressing the triangle you have made and sew a stitch at 7 mm from the top of the triangle, back-stitching at the beginning and at the end. Cut the upper side of the triangle at about 5 mm from sewing. Turn the sachet to the right side.


Step 9

Only for even numbered sachets, sew the handle: attach a strip of red ribbon on both sides of the upper edge of the sachet.

Step 10

Stuff the sachets with lovely cards, poetries, stickers, chocolate gifts, candies or other swets of your choices. Hang up the thick twine in place and pin up the sachet with the decorative clothes pins.

Practicing gratitude

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As every year, on the fourth Thursday of November, in a huge part of Western culture, and mostly in the United States of America, people celebrated Thanksgiving.
Although I don’t belong to the American culture, so different from mine, I have been feeling very close to that ceremony and to the profound meaning it has for millions of people around the world.
So, since last year, I have been inspired by Thanksgiving for reflecting on some particular cues of our family life and of the way we choose to live it.

What I mostly appreciate about Thanksgiving, is the mindful celebration of the abundance we have been conceded by, everyday and of the several blessings we can count, especially the ones coming from remarkable human relationships.
Thanksgiving , isn’t just about a dinner, an yearly get-together around the family table, laid with all kind of delicious foods. Actually, Thanksgiving is a way of living.

Indeed, pursuing Gratitude, is not a gift, or something related to a particular good nature behavior. But it’s a skill, everyone of us can practice, train and cultivate, everyday.
I really want my children to master it. In fact, it’s been said it is one of the most important aspects for building up happy lives.

I think there is no better moment than the Holiday season to help my children focusing on spiritual aspects. This path allows them to take the right distance form what can be called the abundance syndrome, that particular state of mind where the more you own, the more you want to get. Also, taking advantage of spiritual practices, helps children taking out pressure from media saturation, that, particularly during the Holiday season, wants to induct children in the need of owing useless and expensive items.

Last year, we made a small project about Gratitude. Every evening, right after dinner, everyone of us wrote a note on a card about the most significant thing to have been grateful of during the day and put it in a bowl placed on the family table. On Christmas morning, we read aloud together all the cards and thought about the huge amount of blessings we could count of, just in a month.
It was a simple and fun way to help children mastering the practice of gratitude. What I have noticed so far, is the fact children progressively and only led by their own instinct, expressed more gratitude towards get-togethers, emotional expectations or human relationships, than towards material items.

Additionally, it moved me so much looking at them as they showed up thankfulness to aspects they before used to perceive entitled, such food on the table, daily hot showers, dinners at family table, or a great afternoon spent at granny’s, just for noticing few.

Psychologists refer to this aspect as Economy of Gratitude, highlighting the skill of gratitude helps children and adults to feel happier and also stocks up such a huge added value as becoming an economy of proficts, where human energies are the main result.

This year, we have been thinking about some gratitude projects, as well.
One, is more directly related to preparing our hearts to Holy Christmas. But I will tell you about it, very soon.
The other is more about my own personal path through faith.

However, even if you are not Christian, you can perceive great value from practicing gratitude through several projects that involves you as a family and help it growing.

For instance, as parents, considering the fact our older children are now 6 and 8, we have been gradually involving them on focusing on aspects of our everyday life related to suffering: as children living in scarcity or orphans, children who are born in war lands, little babies in hospitals and so on, trying to answer the better we can to their specific questions about them.

These issues must be taken straightly, only if they are paired with mindfulness about our own privileged state of living.
Letting children mindfully practicing altruism, compassion and empathy in alleviating others’ sufferings, not only helps people in need, but also allows children to find a peaceful place in their soul, knowing every little crumb can comfort and lift someone who suffers.
And, what’s more, it helps children to face several inadequacies and injustices of our world, letting them mindful about the fact they can really make the difference, even if they are only 6 and 8 years old, and being part of a human movement of compassion and fraternity.

As a family we are slowly approaching to enjoy the Christmas season. Trying to savour every moment together and hoping to transform the waiting in a mindful path towards the Birth.
Do you want to join us?

Here is, just for cheering on you, a wonderful video about the inner meaning of Gratitude.

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Digitizing memories

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Since the school years of childhood, but perhaps to think of it, even while those of the nest, our house was invaded daily by a huge amount of paper , under different forms of touching, vibrant, beautiful and eclectic art forms of expression.

The initial joy and the miraculous feeling of being able to touch, the power and capacity of our young artists iconography of the house, which accoglievamo initially enraptured expression and cries of wonder, with the passage of time, he left as the place to smiles and happy faces always a bit ‘more concerned that the time already pregustavano little sublime in which, those wonderful jobs, those fun and colorful amplification of the self-changing of our children would have to enter force pushes accortacciamenti and lightning raids and decided, in our, by now, too small, closet hobby.

Oh yes, because now, of space, there no more and despite our good intentions, piles of paper stacked on the desk stand designed , waiting to be looked at with due attention and then being placed in some ring binders, now overflowing, I am sorry admit it, of perhaps too many wonderful works of art of our children.

How to happen to many parents, find extreme discomfort to part with these memories , particular expressions and shiny testimonies of the different stages of their childhood, of specific moments in their lives of children, but also that of us parents.

Yes, because many of those drawings, they helped us on many occasions, to feel more united and grow together as a family for a long time in fact, during the years of the pre-school, the designs of our children have played a role in so to speak, letters, or have allowed us as parents, to read those iconographic traits, as if they were real letters, through which our children are talking and communicating with us in a very effective . Through this interview is not written, but in fact, designed, we knew a lot about the state of their souls, their hardships, their questions. And not only that. Their designs in fact, there have only shown what was and made their world, but just as often , had the task of mostarci what was not there, that was missing and that he needed to find his way out and come forward.

Therefore, addressing the fateful moment when, inevitably, we must also deal with the need to make a selection, it is not for me thing.
But not for this, I do ‘pervinta. Like everywhere else, the important thing is clear ideas and start with small steps.

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Reflecting a little on the issue, in fact, I realized that I had about being too emotionally confused , which led me to keep everything, in the name of an idea of ​​the past but a bit ‘too theoretical and, certainly, a bit ‘too superficial.

consciously move the focus from the negative feeling, totally understandable, detachment from the past to the positive instead of the opening confident towards the future , has allowed me to actually keep only one who has a real value, not only as an element of the past, which concerns the childhood of our children, but also as an element that can tell us a lot about our present again as a family.

Use these parameters we are using, to take care of the most important memories and to ensure that they, and only they, have to actually be preserved with due care and attention.

1. Collect the drawings into a single point in the home. Ok, it is not elegant, but as the Americans say, an elephant is eaten one bite at a time. And if you do not know how big this elephant, will be completely diffcile understand how many bites you should eat it! We chose a corner of a room near a window. The battery makes us feel, but the fact that it is quite visible to our eyes all day, makes us always remember that this is a task to take care of as soon as there is occasion.

2. From that pile of papers, we started, in small bites, in fact, to make a selection , eliminating designs that can actually be trashed, which are not you have particular memory or that there seem to be more sighnificativi.

3. After this (lunga!) phase, begin to divide drawings by author and then by period precise (some had previously affixed to the date) or orientation (year or season). This task, which seems hard to say, it is really easy, if we have done a good job in preserving only the designs that we have memory!

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4. With the group selected sheets in hand, we can proceed to aupicabilmente digital scanning of them. We intend to devote a specific folder on your hard drive and make a backup copy of DVD or dedicated keys, dividing into sub-folders by period and author.
Convert to digital works will allow us to have many designs on hand and you can even work on it, presenting perhaps in a digital editing to be reviewed on-screen, as in a virtual art gallery.

5. And the originals? Depending on the number of scans, we will decide whether to proceed or save them all to a further selection of originals (50 to child?), Giving them new life (in a binder with a clear file divided by year and author), or choose to frame them rolling in their room.

6. Advantage for the future : certainly hope that this method will help us to better evaluate and weigh the designs of recent production, keeping only the works that respond to the ideas expressed above, making a selection at the moment and putting only those to be retained, author, year, before scanning them.

And you? What methods used to preserve (and not be constrained by) the family memories

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