Review time! Are you looking for a DIY Advent calendar but you are a complete crafty beginner? Then this might be right up your street. It's the Christmas Advent Calendar craft kit from Buttonbag available from John Lewis.
Now this kit involves a bit of stitchery but you don't need a sewing machine and you get all the fabric, threads and needles you need to complete it. You get a 48 x 80 cm printed cotton panel that acts as the backdrop that you then stitch the 24 different coloured felt squares to make the little pockets to fill with toys or sweeties or whatever you want. The toys and sweeties aren't included though!
You get a rainbow of embroidery thread that you can use to decorate and stitch on the pockets with. There are also some ordinary threads in three colours plus black and white, some pins and a single snap fastener, I'm not really sure why that is in there...answers on a postcard...erm?
Also in the box are four large rectangles of sticky-back felt to make the decorations with. There are some shapes, numbers and an alphabet printed in the accompanying leaflet that you can use as templates. The leaflet also has the instructions and a rundown of Buttonbag's other craft kits you can buy. Finally in the box you will also find a little strip of twill tape, which you can make hooks to help hang the calender with.
The box is nicely presented and the contents are good quality. You get a lovely range of colours with the pockets and the embroidery thread, which is nice and there are a few options of the sticky-back felt too.
The back cloth has some lovely snowflakes and stars printed on it, but I have no idea why as you cover them all up with the pockets you stitch on, which is a real shame. But I suppose that does mean that you don't have to use it as an advent calender if you didn't want to, you could use it for a countdown or some other fun pocket-filling use. Perhaps as a
bribe incentive mechanism for getting chores done?
I suspect, although I haven't tried it, that it might prove a little hard to hang up and you may need to add three hooks to the calendar rather than the two suggested in the instructions. You may also need to get some hooks that attach to your door or wall to hang it up on and you might also want to just fill it with things that are light. I would also be wary of stitching into the gummed felt as it might leave the needles tacky and impossible to use on the rest of the make, cutting it might be a pain too.
The kit is extremely simple: all you really need is some common sense and to know how to thread a needle and how to stitch a basic stitch to complete it. If you don't know anything about stitching, there are no instructions on how to sew, but then that is what the internet is for.
If you are an experienced stitcher then you will find this kit too basic for you and you probably have all the threads and felt you need stuffed away in a draw some where don't you? You could always use things that aren't in the box to decorate your advent calendar and practise some of your embroidery stitches to add some interest.
This would be a good kit for beginners so it would be good for crafty children or for a totally non-stitchy or non-crafty adult who wants to make a handmade advent calendar and doesn't have a collection of fabric scraps and threads lying about.
The Buttonbag Christmas Advent Calendar retails at £16 and you can check it out, plus other Advent Calendars, over on the John Lewis website.
I would love to know if you have an advent calendar this year, did you make it yourself? Or do you have this or any of the other Buttonbag kits? I would love to hear about them.
Catch you later.
[Disclaimer Time: This is a sponsored review but as with all my reviews I always try to give you my honest, unbiased opinion. (Prices correct for the date the blog post went live)]