It's Advent time!

Advent stocking garland

First off ... the Advent stocking garland. I made this two or three years ago (it's troubling that I can't remember!) using this kit from Magic Cabin. The idea did not even cross my mind at the time that I could design my own! (I sometimes think I am better at following a pattern or recipe than inventing one for myself.) But I like the results, anyway.

I was working outside the home last year and the year before, in jobs that required me to be away during the night, and my dear husband had to be responsible for doing much of the filling of Advent stockings. Last year was really tough, and there was many a night that we almost forgot to fill them. So, this year, I resolved not to have that problem again. I have accumulated all of the gifts already, and put them into these bags that I whipped out in the last two days. We have been thinking a lot lately about the "footprint" we leave on this earth, and I just didn't want to use plastic or paper bags for this when I didn't need to, so I decided to sew some that we could reuse again and again, even though we're the only ones who will ever see them.

Advent goodies for calendar

Many of them have "coupons" in them for outings (seeing lights, a holiday performance, carriage ride, etc.), and there are some actual gifts: some Ostheimer figures (we're collecting the farm figures), locally-made ornaments for each wee one to get the day we'll decorate our Christmas tree, and some craft supplies for days we'll make holiday crafts (today it was decorating an Advent candle -- pictures later, I'm sure!).

(SouleMama has a post on Kiddley with even more suggestions if this idea appeals to you. I also added a lot of suggestions to the comments on the flickr page for the top photo.)

Our Advent wreath form - just waiting on a delivery of a fresh evergreen wreath we get from a friend.

Advent wreath

I haven't shown our nature/seasonal table here yet, and it's kind of in a state of transition right now (we had to move the objects to make room for our nativity), but here it is in its current state:

Seasonal table for beginning of Advent

OK, back to the decorating, the Christmas music, and the fun!