Thursday, November 12, 2009

Handcrafted Christmas: Homespun Advent Wreath

You all know by now that when I say my friend Grace and I got together there was some crafting taking place, right?! This weekend was no exception! We both had sewing projects to work on - but managed to come up with and squeeze this project in as well.

I've been wanting to add the tradition of the advent wreath to our home. Last year we sort of did it and maybe one other year. But, this year I wanted to really do it right. One day I was talking with Carrie about advent wreaths and have done a lot of searching for something I liked and wanted to use in our home.

However, apparently - what I was looking for did not exist. Everything I saw just wasn't right for some reason or another. Coming up with a new idea seemed like a good option. I did struggle with wondering if doing something was a little bit irreverent, but realized that God is the one who gives us our creativity and it does not say anywhere in the Bible that we should have an advent wreath or exactly how it should look. The heart behind it is what is important!

So, here is what we started with: (the completed project was right around $10 not including candles)

* an advent wreath base (found on sale at Jo Ann's for $4.99) includes the metal wreath form and four candle holders plus a basic greenery wreath
* four cuts of Christmas fabric (we bought 1/4 yard of each and only used about half of this to make two wreaths)
* Christmas paper that coordinates

Next, we cut strips of fabric with pinking shears and tied them on to branches of wreath. We just kept adding fabric until it looked the way we liked it.

After that, we made little tags with the fun paper and wrote meaningful Christmas words on them - the words we used were:

* Noel
* peace
* joy
* come (what advent means)
* King
* lamb
* behold
* Jesus
* Emmanuel
* hope
* glory
* light

These little tags were tied on with red and white string around the wreath. We finished this the fabric and tags while watching Flywheel ~ a relaxing evening!

Add your candles and you are finished! We had a hard time finding taper candles! I am not really crazy about these candles - but they are what we could find and I chose not to do the traditional purple/pink candles.

Now I am anxious to get the Christmas books out of the attic and brush up on how to implement this. Do you have a great online resource for celebrating advent? Please share!

I'd love to get this book ~ and I know it's a long shot, but before I order it does anyone have a copy they'd like to sell?


Wendi said...

Love the look of the wreath with the fabric tied on.

Leanne said...

Monica, I love the wreath. I grew up Catholic, and Christmas does not feel "right" to me without celebrating Advent! I get more excited about Advent, than I do Christmas! If you purchase the book, I will tell you ITS TOTALLY WORTH THE MONEY. You will not be disappointed. Your children will LOVE it!

Angela - Life w/ Two Busy Boys said...

Love love love this! I am going to do this right away! I've been looking for a wreath too and haven't found the right one but this is perfect. THanks!

Mom said...

Your wreaths turned out very nice! I'd never heard of this book -- have you seen one or how did you hear about it? Thanks for sharing -- Love you, Mom

Grace said...

YAY!! love how they turned out!! thanks for the idea and I am so glad that I decided to do it with you!! I love that book too (never seen it before). I might put it on my Christmas list.

Dawn said...

I love the wreath! I have been wanting to start this tradition, but I am clueless where to begin. We always do an advent calendar, but I love the idea of the candles. Oh, and that book you linked to. I just bought it. It looks fabulous! I hope you get one too. Thank you so much for sharing. :-)

aspiritofsimplicity said...

Oh I love this advent wreath. What a wonderful idea. I actually already have the wreath itself but I always thought it was kind of plain. All I need is some fabric and paper to dress it up. thanks for sharing.

Kelly Hallahan said...

Love this! so cute! We do advent envelopes at our house. You can check it out here:


April said...

Beautiful wreath! I made one for family with a grapevine wreath and sheer ribbons in varying colors of purple. I also tucked dried lavender and eucalyptus into it.

I'm also very thankful for the book suggestion. I have one I've loved using -- it's called Before and After Christmas by Debbie Trafton O'Neal. She also has one for the Lent period, if you want to do Easter preparation in a similar manner.

Thanks again for your good ideas! Many blessings!

Bevy @ Treasured Up and Pondered said...

That is so pretty - so you, with all the homespun fabric ties.

Alexandra said...

Ok, we are doing this!!! ;-) We've always read Jotham's Journey by Arnold Ytreeide for Advent, and this year we're reading the sequel, Bartholomew's Passage, as well. We always just used a $2 Christmas wreath from Walmart and stuck votives around it, to get the idea. ;-) But now I'm definately wanting to try this!!!!

angie said...

This wreath turned out great. I love making crafts that allow me to do two things at one time.
I checked paperbackswap, but The Advent Book is not posted there. I have some Advent materials. When I find them, I'll let you know of the source.

Tabby said...

A friend has the book, Jotham's Journey and loves it. I've heard many wonderful things about it. They have it at Timberdoodle for less than Amazon right now!

La Familia Garcia said...

That is great!!! I can't wait to try it!

barbara said...


Kimberly Eddy @ is having a sale (ends Saturday) on her ebook "Advent: Preparing for the Coming of the Lord." ($7.63!)On the left side bar of her home page, click on 'books & resources' and you will find the book under the heading of November specials.

jodi said...

could you email me please? i'd like permission to use one of your pictures in a presentation but would like to keep the details private.
ps1274ever AT gmail DOT com

Hannah said...

Thanks for sharing this idea! I have wanted to make an advent wreath for several years now, but just haven't done it. Yours turned out so lovely, it's good inspiration for me to finally get one made. And it doesn't seem overly difficult, which is certainly a bonus!

Angela said...

Hi Monica,

We started doing the advent wreath recently too. I read a wonderful blog in 2007 that was all about advent. I am trying to find it for you. We keep it extremely simple, and so far have used all white candles, lighting another one each week of advent during dinner, and Daddy reads a story from our Children's Bible while we're still at the table. The boys LOVE this!

Angela said...

P.S. We use a birthday celebration ring as our avent wreath since we had one. I admit I've been wanting to add greenery. When we light the last candle, we sing Happy Birthday Jesus.

Tracey said...

Love the wreath! I can hardly wait to start decorating for Christmas but I'm holding out until December.

Elise said...

I love how you took the idea and made it your own!! So cute!!
I was thinking of making an advent wreath of sorts, but with prayer candles{those tall white, Catholic kind} and wrapping scrapbook paper around them and embellishing and then putting them on a cake plate and maybe adding fresh greens around. Got that?!?! :) Bit of a run on sentence...

Simple Home said...

Monica, I love this wreath. I want to make one and already have most of the materials. I'll let you know how it turns out. I don't have the book you mentioned, but I went to the link, and it looks wonderful.

Monica Wilkinson said...

God is so good! I checked Amazon last night again and someone listed the book for $29.99 - I ordered it in a hurry!

Kathy said...

I love the Advent wreath ;) Growing up Catholic, this was part of my family's tradition - and I carried it forward when I had my son. Our church would give out a prayer for each week, and we would reflect on the theme for each week (ie Hope, Peace, Joy (Gaudete Sunday-Rejoice), Love)

There is some lovely info here: it is Catholic-oriented, but non-Catholic Christians can adapt the traditions as best suits their needs ;)

Have a blessed week everyone! Kathy

Tim and Susan said...

This is so cute and seem quite do-able too. Thanks for sharing the idea.

Laura said...

We too read Jotham's Journey and now this year will be reading it's sequal Bartholomew's Passage. My childrend wait in anticipation of these stories each year! I've never been able to find a wreath that I liked though. So thank you for this wonderful idea! We will definitely be making one this week!

amber said...

LOVE your wreath because it is cute AND easy!! i bought ribbon intead of fabric because i don't have pinking shears.... but i think the ribbon will pretty much produce the same effect! thank you SO much for sharing this wonderful idea!

noel piper (wife of john piper) has a great book that you might know about -- called Treasuring God in our Traditions. In it she shares many ideas for "every days" and holidays. great book!

also doorposts has an advent study that i just saw on their webiste (although i know you already found the book you were looking for :)

thanks again, and happy advent!