My friend, Johnna, is a Craft Queen.
Nay, not merely a queen, but the Queen of the Craft Universe. A crafty artist, an artistic craftswoman. A Seamstress. A Cake Decorator. A Gluer Extraordinaire. (Johnna was hot-gluing things together long before I even dreamed that glue could be heated.) She has the ability to inspire awe in my children. (This reminds me of the time when Ramona was about four years old and was admiring my sister's interior decorating skills. "Mommy!" she said breathlessly, "Aunt Kathy made this clock out of air!" My children have never thought me capable of conjuring something from air. But I digress.)
Johnna's latest creation is a beautiful fabric Advent calendar which serves as a home for her Jesse Tree ornaments:
Each green pocket holds an index card with a note for a daily activity as well as one of these:
She made and painted the salt dough Jesse Tree ornaments, adapting ideas found in Celebrating the Faith in the Home: Advent and Christmas for the Christian Family by Teresa Zepeda and Laurie Navar Gill.
The red pockets at the bottom of the calendar will also hold an ornament and activity card for each of the Twelve Days of Christmas.
Didn't she do a beautiful job? She's so talented and yet so humble. (And organized! You should see her meal planning system ... but that's another post.)
Johnna's other recent idea was an Advent-Saver for me this year. I searched all over town and couldn't find our usual "chocolate-a-day" calendars anywhere. Granted, we have plenty of other Advent activities and calendars, but the daily chocolate is a must. In true Karen-Shortcut style, I thought I'd just throw a bowl of chocolates on the dining room table and invite the kids to have one every day. (My other thought was to make a calendar on poster board using old Christmas cards as the pockets, but we all know I probably wouldn't have gotten it done in time for this Advent ....)
What I would have considered a major project (because it involved plugging in the glue gun), Johnna saw as a blip in her day. My kids were hanging out at her house anyway so she decided, "Why not take care of this little problem?" They made these:
A Hershey kiss for every day of Advent, glued to ribbons. Primo candy at the top, for the Twelve Days of Christmas and Epiphany:
The girls just pop one off each day, all the while thanking their lucky stars for Magical Mrs. M.
I'm pretty thankful for her, too.
(Cross-posted at O Night Divine.)