Category Archives: Christmas

Baby Stocking

At about 11:30 p.m. on Christmas Eve, I addressed the problem of having no stocking for my 4 month old baby.  The fabric I purchased to make one that matches the family was still sitting on my sewing table, and I didn’t have time to make it then because it requires embroidering her name on it by hand.  I was already tired, and still had breakfast to make and gifts to wrap.

I remembered this sweater, sitting in my bag to go to goodwill.

 

Well, it’s not going there anymore.  I cut the back of it out to make a stocking, and I’m saving the rest for another project.  I took about 30 seconds to draw a stocking shape on it with my fabric marking pen.

 

Then I cut it out, folded it with the right sides together, and sewed around the edges.  I used the cable design around the original collar for the top of the stocking.  Simple and beautiful.  (And just for the record, yes, I know it’s crazy to start a project like this at a time like that.  But sometimes your mother’s heart just needs to do something.  I’ve learned that when I listen to those feelings I feel happy.)

 

I took a strip from the sleeve to make a little tab to hang it with.

 

It needed a little something more, so I cut a strip of silk fabric and made a rosette to embellish it with.  I used another piece from the sleeve as a sort of leaf, and then added a paper tag cut from vintage sheet music to write “first Christmas” on it.

 

Just a little bit of time, and my little bundle has a special first Christmas stocking!

 

Ten Stockings

 

This Christmas season felt to me like a reflection of my life this year:  lots of  little things causing what I call “speed bumps” which are frustrating and time wasting, but ultimately everything works out.

We got our Christmas tree mid-month.  It’s huge.

 

It was the 15th of the month, and we’d had scheduled activities every day in December.  We decided to go cut a tree, which of course meant finding winter gear for everyone.  Some of them fell asleep while we were driving, so we ended up with two asleep and others who were crying as they hiked through snow that was, for them, knee deep.  All of the trees were short, it was getting dark quickly, people were crying, and son #2 had Scouts in 40 minutes (and I was supposed to provide a plate of treats for him to take caroling).  We hiked to the first tree that was nice and tall and decided to cut it down.  At this point, I was just grateful we were getting a tree and decided to let go of all expectations.  My oldest daughter, however, was angry and upset and started ranting about how she wouldn’t even go in the family room to be with such an ugly tree.

We cut it, hiked back to the cars, and my Cub Scout and I jumped in the other car and left for Scouts.  We frosted cookies, got him out the door, and then the family arrived home and we went to work on the tree.   We cut it to the right size and brought it in…..

and the stand broke.  So now we have a Christmas tree (9 feet tall by 6 or 7 feet in diameter) laying on the floor in our family room.  We have crying hungry children, homework to do, you get the picture.  So I left to go buy a new stand.

1.5 hours later and after stopping at every store in town (Walmart, Target, Home Depot, etc.) I learn that everybody sold out of Christmas tree stands long before.  Seriously?  Finally, feeling discouraged, I was leaving Lowe’s to go home when I noticed three Christmas trees for sale standing in an obscure spot by their garden area.  I pulled over and discovered that they were in stands!  I parked again, went back in, and BEGGED them to sell me one.

3 employees went out to remove the 8 foot tree from the stand, find a SKU number, and I cheerfully dropped $50 to leave with a dirty, used Christmas tree stand.  Hooray!  Did it all work out?  Yes.  Did it take about 5 hours longer than we planned?  Yes.  Did it mean that all the other things I was planning to get done were put off (again)?  Yes.  Is that the story of my life?  YES!  But, I keep reminding myself that in spite of the detours it always seems to work out.

So we got the tree up, ran out of lights, couldn’t find any white lights in stock anywhere… do you see a pattern here?  Did it eventually work out?  Yes.  Did we finally get the tree decorated on, like the 19th of the month?  Yes.  And you know what?  I think it’s my favorite tree ever.  I don’t know if that’s because it truly is beautiful, or because I was just so relieved to have it done, or if it’s because I had no expectations.

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I enjoyed hanging the ornaments I bought last year on clearance, and I also borrowed all my big stars from my laundry room to stick in the tree.  I took my white starfish collection and added it as well.

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I unpacked Christmas boxes until I found the stockings, and then I quit.  It meant that the dining room got decorated.  I love the fresh, bright colors.

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I played with the curtain tiebacks and added color to all the vintage silver.

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And since I am obsessed with birds, I gave in to the urge to put them everywhere.

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A bit of color and my favorite nativity scene.

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Not nearly as much decorating as I usually do for Christmas, but this is the year of simplification.  A fussy baby and an overscheduled family have governed the month, and that’s ok.  And as I said, my Christmas lesson this year is that ready or not, it all works out.

Merry Christmas mini quilt

My youngest sister graduated from college last weekend.  Way to go Kris!
I made her an adorable Christmas mini quilt as a graduation gift, to go along with the rag quilt that we made in November.

The pattern is from Nancy Halvorsen’s book,  I Believe.  I spotted the pattern back in July and loved it.  I had planned to make several of them for my mom, sisters and some close friends, but it’s looking like this will be the lone quilt made this holiday season.  The book also has patterns to make a Christmas card holder and an apron using these same Merry Christmas letters.  I’d like to make one of each!

I changed the color combination to the traditional green, red and white and am very happy with it.

 

The project really wasn’t hard.  I began by tracing the letters onto interfacing.

 

Then I cut them out, but not on the line.  I cut about 1/4 inch outside the lines, and then ironed the letters onto the back of a variety of fabrics.  After this, I cut them out of the fabric by cutting on the lines I’d traced.

I used a black and white background because we did that in her other quilt, and just arranged the letters until they were all in place.  Then I peeled the paper off the backs and ironed them in place.  (Sorry about the poor lighting; it was around 1 a.m. and I obviously didn’t have any natural light.)

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When they’re all ironed in place, stand back and ooh and aah a little bit at how cute it is!

 

Next came the borders, simple and straightforward.

 

Ta, da!  The top is completed.

 

I decided to piece a backing so I could put in a strip of my favorite Christmas fabric.

 

I cut my batting the same size as the backing, and since the quilt is so little I decided to use basting spray to hold it together while I quilted it.

 

I laid some paper on the floor to protect my floor from the overspray.  Then I put my batting down and sprayed half of it.

 

I carefully placed my backing, right side up, on the batting, working from the middle to smooth it out really well.  Then I sprayed the other half of the batting and did the same thing.  Next I turned it over and sprayed the other side of the batting and put the top of the quilt on the same way.

Then came the only real time consuming part:  quilting around every one of those letters!  I most certainly didn’t do a perfect job, but I think it turned out fine.

 

When that was done, I used some leftover striped binding from a quilt I made a couple of years ago, and bound it.

Finished!  The quilt measures approximately 24 by 30 inches.

 

I love this pattern.  I think it’s one I will end up making several of (hopefully, next year!) because it’s just so happy and festive.  I’m really glad that she liked it.

Merry Christmas!

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