Christmas Advent

Hi Lettered Cottage readers, I’m Beckie from Infarrantly Creative, Knock Off Décor and Roadkill Rescue.

Yep. I am a tri-blogger — in love with knock-off projects, curbside finds, and inexpensive craft and décor ideas.

It is a huge honor to be visiting TLC today. When I finished the advent calendar pillow project I’m going to blog about here today, I thought to myself, “this looks like it belongs in The Lettered Cottage“!

Confession: I have a thing for counting down to big events. Confession #2: I have a Dollar Tree Bucket Advent Calendar, the Silhouette calendar, and a billion Hershey Kiss Boards. I know, I know. It’s a countdown sickness. But there’s just something about counting them down that makes the days even more special to me!

My latest countdown creation was inspired by the Advent Calendar Pillow in the most recent Ballard Designs catalog…

ballard designs advent calendar pillow

Source: Ballard Designs

It retails for $69, so I thought I would try to make one myself for less. Here’s what I came up with:

advent calendar pillow


20” of black ticking fabric (I can’t find it locally so I purchased it at
sewing machine
black thread
ecru colored thread
burlap (Joann Fabrics)
Martha Stewart Crafts Fabric Medium (Michaels)
Martha Stewart Craft Beetle Black Paint (Michaels)
Red Ticking Fabric (Joann Fabrics)
Stamps or stencil for numbers
foam brush

(I already had many of these items, so I only spent about $15 total on this project.)

1. Cut one 19” x 19” piece, and two 19” x 13” pieces from the black ticking fabric. Also cut five 2-1/2” x 19” pieces of natural-colored burlap.

ballard designs advent calendar pillow (2)

2. Ballards serged the edges of the burlap, but since I don’t own a serger, I just used a satin stitch on the long edges of my burlap.

ballard designs advent calendar pillow (3)

3. I used a pencil and a ruler to mark where the calendar numbers would be stamped onto the burlap. It’s easiest to find the middle of your burlap strips first, and then measure out. I made a pencil mark every 3”.

ballard designs advent calendar pillow (5)

4. Then I mixed some fabric medium with some black craft paint. Using a foam brush, I painted the backs of my foam stamps and stamped on each number.

ballard designs advent calendar pillow (9)

ballard designs advent calendar pillow (7)

5. Using a ruler, I evenly spaced out my burlap strips on top of my ticking fabric, leaving 1-1/2” on the top and bottom, and about 1” between the numbered strips. After that, I pinned it all in place. Then, I sewed the bottoms of the burlap strips onto the 19” square of ticking fabric.

ballard designs advent calendar pillow (13)

6. To create pockets, I sewed a line down between the numbers using those pencil marks I made before as my guide.

ballard designs advent calendar pillow (14)

7. I made the back of my pillow envelope-style. I pressed the 19” edge under 1”, and then 1” again, and pressed it flat. Then I sewed it down. I did that with both pieces.

ballard designs advent calendar pillow (15)

8. With right sides together, I pinned the pillow front and back together, overlapping the two pieces in the back.

ballard designs advent calendar pillow (16)

9. I sewed along the edges and clipped off the excess material in the corners. After that, I added an 18” pillow form.

10. Then I needed to make the little stuffed candy cane. I just cut two candy cane-shaped pieces of red ticking fabric on the bias to create the look of a peppermint candy cane. Then I sewed them together (wrong sides out) leaving an opening at the bottom of the candy cane. Next, I turned it right side out, stuffed it with polyfill, and hand-stiched the bottom closed.

advent calendar pillow

advent calendar pillow (3)


Isn’t that great? :-) Thanks so much to Beckie for sharing this awesome Christmas craft today, and don’t forget about our Holiday Home linky parties next week.

We’ll be partyin’ over here bright and early next Monday, so if you have a table decor post you’d like to link up, I hope you’ll be here with (jingle) bells on!


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  1. says

    Love this! Pinned it…

    I have been looking for a way to create an Omer calendar to count the days between Resurrection and Pentecost. I would need to make 7 rows of 7, so I would need to adjust the size. But, very cool!

  2. Tracey says

    LOVE this! I love Ballard and Pottery Barn knock-offs. This came out really nice… I think I like it more than the Ballard pillow even!! Not sure I’ll have time to make it, but thanks so much for the tutorial! This will definitely be a part of our Christmas some time soon! 😀

  3. says

    Agree, this looks better than the Ballard one. Looked incredibly hard to do at first glance, but the tutorial is perfect. Thanks!

  4. says

    oh my goodness!
    this is just so wonderful!
    do you think she would make me one? 😉

    maybe i’ll dig out the ‘ol sewing machine after all!

    thanks guys!

  5. Diane J. says

    Love the knock off pillow so much more than the original. Will have to remember to make one for next year. Too much to do to have time this year. Thanks so much for the inspiration!!!!

  6. says

    SO DARN CUTE BECKIE, I LOVE IT. I so need to make an original Advent, there are so many cute ones out there. Great feature Layla. xo jen

  7. says

    Becky I love that pillow! So graphically appealing and very useful! I love it! (I would even pay for it!)

  8. says

    hi beckie!
    thanks for sharing this cute advent pillow. i love how easy it is to make plus i thank you for the info on buying black ticking as i’ve been looking for it. now, shouldn’t you post this on knock off decor too?! just sayin’.
    judi 😉

  9. says

    Thanks for the wonderful comments ladies…you are too sweet! And thank you Layla for letting me play at your house today.

  10. says

    That has got to be the cutest little advent calendar I love it. So simple and useful perfect for the couch.

  11. says

    Beckie, what can I say but fabulous! Can I get one done by tomorrow? Let’s see, skip meals, laundry, making beds…Yep I think I can. Thanks.

  12. Jane H says

    Hi Layla,

    Please let Beckie know that I was unable to view the pics with this post. As of the last week or so, I have not been able to view any pictures associated with her blog posts sent to my e-mail!

  13. says

    Thanks for the how to on the advent calender pillow. I think I can actually make this! This is would be a great gift to give my aunt and my mother. They go crazy for Christmas decor!