Category Archives: Crafts

Handcrafted Advent Calendar :: Preparing for the Christ Child

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For our little family, trying to adhere to the Church’s liturgical seasons as much as possible, I have always resorted to crafting a new Advent calendar for the children each year.

While there are many lovely Advent calendars available for purchase, (like this lovely Kurt Adler Wooden Nativity Advent Calendar with 24 Magnetic Figures, or this: 24 Days of Christmas Musical Animated Holiday Advent Calendar 17.5″, or this one here: 17″ Magnetic and Wooden Nutcracker Suite Children’s Advent Calendar Set….), the yearly crafting extravaganza is mainly in part to my own stubbornness not being able  to stumble across a ready made, reusable, wooden calendar that contains no fewer than 28 days, (since Advent can range from 22-28 days depending on how the Sundays fall), and is not dosed in evergreen and crimson, (because I want my children to enjoy the WAITING of Advent before Christmas actually arrives!).

Well, after a stroll through the local craft store in search of a birthday gift for my mother, I just happened to stumble upon this wonderful and inexpensive chipboard Advent calendar among the seasonal decor.

Much like this one from Karen Foster!

I just knew that with a little ingenuity, I would be able to craft a reusable calendar  just like I envisioned (finally!).

Although this particular ready made chipboard calendar only contains 25 drawers, I was able to purchase 3 extra, giving me the maximum 28 days that can occur in certain year’s seasons.  In those years when Advent is a little longer, I will just place the extra boxes on the top ledge–not quite ideal, but it will do!

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I wanted our calendar to reflect the liturgical colors of violet and rose, so using violet card stock, I was able to cover the dull brown chipboard on all four sides, as well as the back of the box. Each drawer was then either painted in varying shades of violet or covered with extra card stock scraps. I even made sure to have one drawer covered in rose for Guadete Sunday, the third Sunday of Advent.

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Once everything was covered or painted, I then printed out last year’s Advent Calendar Tags onto heavy card stock.

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And since I want the calendar to be reused for many years to come, I chose to adhere Velcro dots to the front of each drawer so that the tags can be interchangeable throughout the years. This will allow for the calendar to reflect the Advent season’s featured feast days regardless of when the days actually fall in a given year.

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Just as with last year’s paper tube Advent calendar, I then filled each drawer with a daily activity, treat, or surprise for the children to discover each morning of Advent, (which I am sure they will be happy to admit is their favorite part of the whole thing!)

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We have been using our calendar since last Sunday, and it is holding up nicely. Each drawer moves easily in and out of it’s little cubbie, so I am sure that this calendar will last for years to come (as well as to  help create lasting memories for our family)!

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First Holy Communion Banner

Back in December, after making her First Reconciliation, my daughter, along with the rest of her catechist class at our parish, was asked to create a special banner for her upcoming First Communion.DSC_0075

After reviewing several of the online options for First Communion banner kits by Illuminated Ink, my daughter just couldn’t make up her mind! She liked the Lamb and Grapes from this kit, the Dove from this kit, and the Chalice and Cross desgin from this kit. Rather than purchase several different kits so that she could have the elements she wished, we settled on crafting the banner together ourselves.

Our parish supplied each child with a white felt square and wooden dowel to serve as the background. My daughter decided to use a dark brown felt piece as the backdrop to symbolize the empty tomb discovered on Easter Sunday.

Flying just above the empty tomb, she placed a dove, a reminder of the Holy Spirit and all of the graces she would receive from the Sacrament.

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Dove: symbol of the Holy Ghost and used especially in representations of our Lord’s Baptism and the Pentecost. It also symbolizes the release of the soul in death, and is used to recall Noe’s dove, a harbinger of hope.~Fisheaters

A light brown trefoil edged cross was added to help remind her of the cross that Christ endured so that we could be redeemed.

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Trefoil: a stylized shamrock, such as St. Patrick used in evangelizing Ireland, the trefoil is a symbol of the Most Holy Trinity.~Fisheaters


A white felt host, embroidered with Chi Rho , suspended above the golden chalice served as a reminder of what she would receive on her special day of the sacrament.

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“Chi-Rho” or “sigla”: the letters “X” and “P,” representing the first letters of the title “Christos,” were eventually put together to form this symbol for Christ (“Chi” is pronounced “Kie”). It is this form of the Cross that Constantine saw in his vision along with the Greek words, TOUTO NIKA, which are rendered in Latin as “In hoc signo vinces” and which mean “in this sign thou shalt conquer.~Fisheaters.

At the base of the chalice, laurel leaves with a cluster of purple grapes, symbolizing the everlasting life that would be granted for her faithfulness, as well as God’s eternal faithfulness to his people, was also a reminder of the fruits of the Holy Spirit and of the wine transformed into the blood of our Lord. DSC_0071

Laurel, often used in wreaths as in ancient Roman times, is a symbol of victory and accomplishment, and came to be seen as a symbol of Christ’s victory. Laurel is often see, too, on tombstones, and is the root of the word “laureate,” meaning crowned with laurel, or accomplished. ~Fisheaters

Nestled among the leaves, tablets embroidered with the roman numeral ten reminded her of the desire to hold true to the commandments of God and to remember the importance of the sacrament of Penance before entering into communion with the Lord. DSC_0070

The Symbology of Numbers: 10: the Commandments; the Plagues of Egypt ~Fisheaters

A white lamb just below the cross symbolized how our Lord sacrificed himself for us on Good Friday so that we could have everlasting life with him in heaven. It also symbolized the sacrifice of at the altar that would take place during Mass. DSC_0069

Lamb: symbol of Christ as the Paschal Lamb and also a symbol for Christians (as Christ is our Shepherd and Peter was told to feed His sheep). The lamb is also a symbol for St. Agnes (Feast Day 21 January), virgin martyr of the early Church.~Fisheaters

She was quite pleased with her finished banner and is happy that it serves as a wonderful treasure to help her remember the importance of her special day.

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Our Journey through Holy Week and the Easter Tridium

…:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::Palm Sunday:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::…

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 Holy Week Banner

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Parish Palm Sunday Egg Hunt and Family Day

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Donkey and Palm Tree Snack Plate

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The Road to Easter: What Happened During Holy Week?

…::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::Maundy Thursday:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::..

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Da Vinci’s Last Supper Craft

…:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::Good Friday:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

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Anxiously awaiting Dad’s arrival home

…:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::Holy Saturday::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::…

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Dying Easter Eggs

…::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::Easter Sunday:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::…

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Discovering books from the Family Easter Basket full of Catholic Symbolism

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La Toquette :: Pocking Easter Eggs

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Keeping a Holy Lent :: Holy Week Banner

While searching for a way to help make Holy Week more celebrated in our home, I came across Heart Felt Truths lovely Holy Week Banner on Etsy. In being a little ill prepared this year in the planning of Holy Week for my family, it was too late to order this set on Saturday afternoon in time for Palm Sunday!

Although I was a bit discouraged, I soon found that Heart Felt Truths offers all of their templates for making your own banner for FREE over on their blog. (Thank God for wonderful creative people who are willing to share the fruits of their labor!)

So after raiding the felt stash in my craft closet,  I set to work creating a Holy Week banner for our family. I started by using the original Easter banner I crafted a few years ago as the base.

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This Easter banner was made using a 12 x 12 felt square which I hot glued around a cardboard rod from a cloths hanger to serve as the dowel. A few inches of leftover ribbon were glued into the rod to serve as a hanger. (Can you tell I like to scavenger my crafting materials from items already in my home?)

To this base I added two more additional felt squares, one tan and one black. The tan will serve as the base of the symbols for Palm Sunday through Good Friday, and the black will be left blank and used for Holy Saturday to illustrate the darkness that comes before the Risen Lord on Easter Sunday. The felt symbols will stay in place against the background, and the felt will just simply be flipped over the rod to transition as the days progress throughout the week.

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To the bottom of the newly added tan felt square, a free handed tomb was cut into the dark felt which will serve as the Hill of Calvary. An empty cross was set atop Calvary, and will be surrounded by the symbols added each day as they pertain to the proceeding days of Holy Week.

Since Heart Felt Truths banner is slightly larger than mine, (theirs measures 11.5 x 32), I had to scale down and tweak their patterns for the symbols to suit what I already had on hand. Despite these differences, in the end, the symbols I created for the different aspects of our Lord’s Passion will serve as visual reminders of our Lord’s suffering and love to my children throughout the days of Holy Week.

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…:::Palm Sunday

Symbols: Palm Branch and Donkey

Verse: Matthew 21:1-11

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…:::Holy Monday

Symbol: Alabaster Jar

Verse: Matthew 26:6-13

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…:::Holy Tuesday

Symbols: Bread and Wine

Verse: Matthew 26: 17-29

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…:::Spy Wednesday

Symbols: Sword and Kiss

Verse: Matthew 26: 47-56

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…:::Maundy Thursday

Symbols: Washing of Hands

Verse: Matthew 26: 59-68, 27: 11-26

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…:::Good Friday

Symbols: Cross, Nails, Tomb and Body

Verse: Matthew 27: 35-60

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…:::Holy Saturday

Symbol: Tomb

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…:::Easter Sunday

Symbols: Dove, Cross and Risen Lord

Verse: Matthew 28:1-10

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Since Dad is away this week, the children and I will use our New Catholic Picture Bible to read each passage before adding the felt pieces during our morning devotions. The banner, along with our Resurrection Eggs and Stations of the Cross Montessori Box, will be a wonderful addition to our domestic church this year and hopefully will become a treasured tradition to share with Dad next Lent!

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How are you honoring these last few days of Lent? Are you reaching your goals with 40 Bags in 40 Days? Will your children find any Catholic symbols in their Easter Baskets this year? Tell us all about it!

Keeping a Holy Lent :: Stations of the Cross Box and Resurrection Eggs Covers (FREE Printable)

When I shared all about how our family prays the Stations of the Cross with our children in our home the first time around, I don’t know why I didn’t include this for all of you!

A few of you have emailed asking for this resource….

I should have known you all would have wanted to have the printable stickers to adhere to your own family boxes!

So, here are the free printable stickers I used to cover both the Stations of the Cross Montessori Box and the Resurrection Eggs for my little guys.

Just click the image to print without the copyright watermark.

Ressurection Eggs and Stations Mont Box Screen Shot

(To make things  slightly easier, print onto sticker paper, then peel and stick to your boxes. Of course regular copy paper will work, too. You will just need the help of a glue stick!)

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How is your Lenten season winding down?

Are you preparing for Palm Sunday and Holy Week yet? Share and inspire the rest of us!

(PSSST! Don’t for get to enter my giveaway to win a FREE copy of Journey’s End! It ends this Thursday!)