Nativity scene advent calendar.
Christmas is my favourite holiday so naturally I love anything related to it! Whenever the season comes around, I get so excited for every order that I receive! When I was asked to make a Nativity Scene advent calendar, I could not wait to get started! Immediately I began researching... how would I set up the scene? What would the characters look like? Other than the expected (Mary, Joseph, Baby Jesus, and the Three Wise Men), what other pieces would I make?
I took to pinterest and etsy to look for inspirational ideas. I came across a few pictures that served as my inspiration. What I loved about the characters is the detail in each. I knew that meant a lot of time and effort would have to go into each piece, but I was not phased by this. I couldn't wait to bring these little characters to life!
I began this project by roughly drawing out the scene on a huge piece of paper and writing out a list of pieces that would make up the entire scene. This scene would be comprised of 25 pieces, one for each day in December up until Christmas Day. Each day, one piece would get placed on the background such that by Christmas time, the nativity scene would be complete. My plan was to make: Mary, Joseph, Baby Jesus, manger, three wise men, 3 angels, 2 shepherds, guiding star, 3 camels, 3 sheep, donkey, cow, horse, goat, palm tree, and hanging lantern. The background for the scene would be a simple stable on green ground and dark skies. Twenty-five small, numbered pockets would be made below the scene to house each piece.
How cute are Mary and Joseph with baby Jesus sleeping in his manger? I'm happy I was able to accurately replicate these characters from the inspiration ideas. And check out the little lantern hanging on the side of the stable!
Angels playing trumpets and singing in the sky above the stable, while the guiding star shines bright.
Two shepherds and their flock of sheep.
The camels and the three wise men were my favourite to work on. I loved adding the tiny details on the camels and being able to use bright and contrasting colours of felt.
To make the three wise men, I used my favourite features from the inspiration characters; I liked the three different head covers and beard shapes on the one set and the capes on the other set of men. I love the way these little guys turned out! And check out the detail on the goat; it has a little furry beard!
The green backdrop for the entire calendar and pockets was cut from quality thick felt. A wooden dowel and just twine were attached to the top for hanging. The scene background (grass, dark sky, and stable) were cut from thinner felt and adhered to the thick felt. All calendar pieces were also made of felt and were stuffed with polyester stuffing to give dimension and make them plushy. I stitched the parimeter of each piece using my sewing machine while tiny details such as the eyes, mouths/lips, and noses were sewn on by hand. All other details like noses, hair, bears, crowns, capes, etc.) were applied using hot glue. A small piece of velcro was attached to the back of each piece to ensure that it would adhere to the felt background without falling off. The numbers for the pockets were also cut out of felt and adhered with hot glue. Finally, gold ric-rac ribbon was used to outline the pockets and to frame the sections of the nativity scene. It also gave the entire calendar a finished look.
I've got to say that this was probably my favourite project from this past Christmas season. I spent a few really late nights working on this calendar (I had lost track of how many hours exactly!) but it was so worth the effort! The customer was thrilled with the final result and I was honoured that I was able to contribute to her family's Christmas tradition.