Christmas Color Stack Quilt

My frantic efforts to finish up Christmas quilts continue.  I haven’t quite reached my goal of a month with a festive Christmas quilt at the foot of each bed, but I’m really hoping to finish them this year so I can enjoy them next year.  I keep saying this is my gift to my 2020 self.  I made my Christmas Color Stack quilt top last year, and now it’s a finished quilt!

I still love the colors in this one.  It’s a mash-up of all the reds, greens, pinks and plenty of blues with a few oranges thrown in for good measure.  Definitely not my most traditional Christmas quilt, but lots of fun.

I decided to be brave with my quilting, and with thread color.  The bright red thread blends well in some spots and sticks out in others.  I quilted long feathers in each row, going opposite directions from one row to the next.  It felt a little tedious when I was quilting it, but the more I look at it now, the more I like it.

In the skinny rows I did a smaller pattern and it worked well.

Overall the texture is great and we will enjoy this quilt for many years, I hope!

I used the same Alexander Henry nutcracker print on the back that I used in the inserted strips on the front.  This print was the original inspiration behind putting ALL the colors in the quilt top.  I made a scrappy binding for this one.  It is finished by machine to save me time in an already crazy week.

My Christmas Color Stack Quilt is made using my Color Stack Pattern .  I added measurements for the inset strip in my post about the quilt top .  It’s a fun pattern that is easy to make!

Peppermint Quilt

I can’t seem to pick a favorite Christmas color scheme.  I like the traditional red and pine green, and I like jewel tones that bring in blues and hot pink.  Silver, gold and white?  Yes, I like that too.  But when I see candy colors and pastels added to the mix, I always smile.  This Peppermint Quilt makes me smile.

You may remember the peppermint version of my Anthem Quilt pattern .  I made this quilt top last year and finally quilted it.  I’m making progress on quilting all my Christmas quilt tops this year, and I have a few more yet to start.  (My Giant Hunter’s Star and Supergiant Hunter’s Star holiday quilts were finished last week, hooray!)

I decided to be brave in my quilting.  The red swirls in the stars continue the peppermint theme and create movement.  I practiced drawing these on scratch paper before I tried quilting them.

In the green background I used a green thread and quilted holly leaves.  Each holly leaf is half of each background color and I like how it looks.

The holly leaves almost look like snowflakes.  It was fun to try something new with my quilting and have it work!  I finished by quilting around the outline of each star.

I saved this “ho ho ho” sheet for years to use as a backing for a holiday quilt.  The minty green is the perfect color for my peppermint quilt.  The quilting looks pretty from the back, too.  (Relief!)

One thing I love about quilting is the way a pattern can look completely different, and it’s just a matter of fabric and color choice.  I still love my original Anthem Quilt with the red, white and blue stars, but a two color background and pink/red stars completely changes the final look.

Changing my Story: I’m Ready for Christmas

I hear it every year, busy women asking each other, “Are you ready for Christmas?”  The big question is followed by many responses.

Almost.  I haven’t started shopping.  I just have a few more things to do.  I’m not even close.

What is your answer to the question?  I’ve probably given almost all of them over the years, but this year that conversation is bothering me a little.  So I’ve made a decision and I’m changing my story:  I’m ready for Christmas.

My kids are ready for Christmas.  They’re ready for all of it:  Christmas movies, twinkling lights, the first snowfall, Christmas music on the radio, hot chocolate, Christmas stories.  No matter their age, their hearts are open to the magic of Christmas.  My college student has been watching Hallmark Christmas movies since October – that’s how ready she is.

What it really means is that they’re ready for the feeling of Christmas.  Their hearts are open to the beauty of it all.  The lights went up on the house and it was magic for them.  We chose a tree and it was magic again.  They came home from school to find the stockings hung:  magic.  Oh yes, they’re ready.

For me, and for many adults, the question of being ready for Christmas has become a discussion of our to-do lists instead of a state of being.  It’s about our tasks instead of our hearts, because I think it reveals a tendency to act like the holiday is something we provide.  In truth it’s a gift for our taking as much as for our children.

I turned toward November and December with a heart in need of nourishing and a little healing.  There’s no way to overstate the miraculous and generous ways in which my family has been blessed this year, but there are wounds that came before the miracles and they need binding up.  In many ways, I’ve never needed Christmas more, so I’m coming to the stable with a yearning heart.

As I pondered this difference between myself and my kids, I realized it’s my choice.  The bell can still ring for me at Christmas, the magic is mine for the savoring.  I AM NOT THE GIVER OF CHRISTMAS.  It’s a gift from God himself, in the form of his Son.  To quote Jeffrey R. Holland, “But first and forever there was just a little family, without toys or tinsel, with a baby, that’s how Christmas began.”  And that’s where the power of Christmas really comes from.  The lights and the tinsel won’t bind up my heart.  Christ will.

This is why I’m changing my story,  I’m ready for Christmas.  I’m ready for His love, ready to adore Him, most importantly I’m ready to celebrate what He has done for me.  That feeling, that celebration, is free for the taking, regardless of my to-do list.  My new story starts now, because I’m ready for Christmas in the only place that matters, my heart.  Won’t you join me?

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