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The owls have risen. (with tutorial)

The owls have risen. (with tutorial)
December 15, 2009 Mary Jo


75 or so odd owls, made by hand in a frenzy with a looming Christmas deadline.  Christmas 2007, that is.  The deadline came and went; the owls who were to be the centerpiece of a Christmas tree garland retreated to a dark corner to percolate.  But the corner proved to be not dark enough, as they became a favorite plaything of the little girl who wanders these parts.  One of these owls, a very special one indeed, was Chosen and elevated to status of Sleeping Buddy.  She was granted domicile in a custom-designed hanging nest on said girl’s bedroom curtain.  The other 70-odd owls remained in their dark corner, searching for their new incarnation.  Christmas 2008 came and went.  No owls.  No garland.

Enter Christmas 2009.  The Wandering Girl is, more than ever before, a whirling dervish of the ebullient anticipation that is the Christmas season.  She’s also beginning to try to wrap her arms around the concept of time.  ‘Aha,’ said The Momma.  ‘Owls:  come forth.’

What we needed was an Advent Calendar, a tangible representation of  days and time and just how long this seemingly-endless wait will be.

And did I mention that I was participating in Sew Liberated’s Holiday Traditions Exchange?   Why not make two Advent calendars (there are plenty of owls, after all) and send the second off as the handmade portion of the exchange?  Perfect.  Here’s where The Momma’s own shaky grip on the concept of time comes into play, thinking that making two at the same time would be barely more time commitment than just the one.  It’s not; they both sucked up more than their fair share of time. But they are done; the second mailed off with well wishes and the hope that it is lovingly received and adored.

This is the finished Advent calendar for our family.  It was made entirely from the fabrics in my stash.  I can’t even begin to describe how satisfying it is to start paring that stash down a bit.

This is the calendar made for my exchange partner.  I had two concepts of how the owls would migrate to the tree throughout the month and it was nice to be able to see both to fruition.  The calendar above shows the starting point, before December 1st. Any wonkiness you might notice is due to the fact that, moments before completing it, it got soiled and promptly thrown in the wash.

This  (above) shot shows the calendar updated to the date I sent it off, midway through December.

And this is how it will look on December 24th.

Oh!  I’ve not yet mentioned my acquisition of an industrial-strength snap press!  I think it goes without saying that since receiving it, I’ve found all kinds of applications, including the mounting of these owls.  They snap in place on the calendar as they both wait in line and fly off to the tree.  (of course this proves me right in believing I couldn’t live without the snap press)

So do you like the owls?  Again, I fear they might become victims of a passing design trend.  But they live so nicely on our calendar tree that I think they’ll age quite well in our house.  I never claimed to be a trendsetter.  That said, if you find yourself wishing you could make your own, I wrote up the how-to and pattern, which you can find here.  While I drew my own pattern and instructions, I most definitely did not invent the idea.  These owls were all over the blogosphere and flickr a few years ago.  If I could find my point of inspiration, I’d certainly cite it, but alas, my record keeping is crap. Oh wait – here was my inspiration.  These were stuffed and 3D; mine are adapted from the same concept but flat. A note about my pattern:  I intended for them to be whimsical and decidedly not symmetrical.  If that’s not how you roll, you’ll need to carefully re-draft your own pattern.

Now, let the countdown begin!

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