A few Christmas gifts

A few pictures of Christmas gifts for my girls.
After buying a new house and paying for all the extra stuff a new house needs,
I didn’t want to spend a lot of money this Christmas.
(Plus, I like keeping expectations simple and not overwhelming my kids with “stuff.”)
Not that we didn’t buy our kids some gifts, but I was also interested in
creating gifts from things I already had on hand.
Like fabric scraps.
And because it’s fun to make stuff.
So I made a couple of notebook covers for each of my girls.
Here’s the back.
This was super easy and a really fun way to use up those scraps.
Click here for the pattern link.
(The one thing I changed is instead of squaring up the pieced front and back to 10 1/2″ x 15 1/2″,
I squared up to 10 1/2″ x 16“)
My almost 11-year-old has been using a pink plastic Hello Kitty wallet
for the past 7 years or so and has really been wanting a new one.
And I kept telling her not to buy one because I would make one.
Well I finally did.
And I’m happy to report that she really liked it.
(Her favorite colors are light blue and green right now.)
Tutorial found here. Another really quick and easy one.

Christmas has been fun. I’ve eaten way too many sugar cookies,
kept my kids up late too many nights in a row,
got poked in the eyeball by a plastic helicopter on Christmas morning
-all things that usually have negative consequences, unless it’s Christmas,
when it’s all part of the hoopla.
You just roll with it.

I love this week between Christmas and New Year’s.
It’s when I enjoy the music, lights, and food of Christmas, without the stress.

Happy Boxing Day.

I hope you’re enjoying all the magic of the season.
Tonight we went to see the lights at Temple Square in Salt Lake City.
I’m looking forward to posting about some new projects early next week.
If the fates allow.
If not, we’re enjoying our break and I hope you are too.
I’ll see you soon!

Merry Christmas

Enjoy what makes this season so special.
My favorite painting from the National Gallery, London.

This is another more recent favorite – so cool.


It’s almost here.
Today I hung the stockings by the chimney with care.
We have a fireplace for the first time in our married career and I love it!
This is the stocking I received at my birth lo these many years ago. (mid 1970’s.)

Sixty years ago my mother received a stocking like this from her grandmother Naomi Dagmar (how’s that for a fabulous name?) who died only a few years later. This great-grandmother of mine started this tradition, knitting stockings for her posterity. When she passed away, my great Aunt Daphne took over the tradition and knit stockings as wedding presents (when someone joined the family by marriage) or baby gifts. My Dad and all my siblings have one. After my marriage, my mom polished her knitting skills and started knitting stockings for all the sons-in-law and new grandchildren. She’s on stocking number 12 now. I love this tradition and I love these stockings! I think they’re my favorite part of Christmas nostalgia.

I’m curious about the history of this pattern. My aunts have them and one of my aunts is over 70. One time we came across another family who had the same stockings in their family. Has anyone else out there seen this pattern before?

Other fun Christmas stuff: last night we visited an older couple from our last neighborhood. The wife had some amazing vintage felt creations from her past. One was a gorgeous tree skirt from the 60’s in mint condition. It was extra fun because the colors were so current: gold, turquoise, magenta, lime green. I was dying that I didn’t have my camera. Next year I’m going to get a picture! She also made these little ornaments for each of my kids. The felt is so soft! I’m sure it’s from her own vintage stash.

I have been going pedal to the metal sewing final projects for Christmas presents and I’m having so much fun! (When I get a quiet minute.) Can’t show any finishes yet (can’t spoil the surprise!) but here’s a little sneak peak of one.

And here is today’s view. Couldn’t see any mountains today.
We got a good dusting of fresh snow just in time for Christmas.
Tomorrow is the first day of vacation.
I dream of sewing in my pajamas with a cup of hot chocolate next to me.
I’m sure reality will be drastically different trying to keep a bunch of hyper-anxious kids entertained
during the most impatient-kid-drama-too-much-sugar week of the year.
Hopefully some cozy time on the couch, wrapped up in quilts,
watching Christmas movies will help us all.

I hope everyone else’s final Christmas preparations are going well.
Any favorite pieces of Christmas nostalgia you have a spare second to share?

Snowflake Pillow Tutorial

I was wanting some more graphic, modern-looking Christmas throws and had an idea.The story of this pillow starts here, funny enough.
I made this Halloween costume last year and had a much easier time sewing on the felt cross of St. George to the knight tunic than I thought I would. So as I was pondering my new pillow design, I remembered I had plenty of supplies left over from Halloween and decided to put them to use.
Here are the supplies I used: canvas, Heat N Bond, and red felt.
Also needed for finishing: stuffing (or pillow form) and backing fabric.

The canvas works really well – gives the throw pillow stability and shape. I used the cheap flannel this time. Usually I prefer wool, but the cheap stuff works really well for this project. (And, knowing these pillows will probably end up serving as a path over ‘hot lava’ or elements of various couch forts, I’ll panic less knowing that these pillows weren’t that costly.) I would also suggest HeatNBond on the heavier side. I used a light-weight one and it took some effort to get it to work with the heavier felt and canvas.

Here’s the fun part: To start, cut your own snowflake. May I recommend a really simple pattern. It’s much easier to cut and sew the felt if you don’t have too many curves or windows. This is the snowflake I cut for the pillow above. I used an 8 1/2″ square piece of paper, folded into sixths.

Once the snowflake is cut out and you’re happy with the design, trace it onto the HeatNBond paper side.

Carefully press the traced HeatNBond onto the felt.
Cut out the snowflake.

Cut a square from your canvas. I cut a 14″ square because I had a 14″ pillow form.
Fold the square into fourths (creasing the folds) to find the center and stick in a pin.
Peel the paper from the back of the snowflake, fold into fourths and find the center.

Match the centers, using creases to line-up the points of the snowflake. Press the snowflake, adhering it to the canvas, careful to keep it centered and flat. (I used the smooth side of the canvas.)

Using coordinating thread, top-stitch around all the edges of the snowflake to give it a finished appearance and to permanently secure the snowflake to the canvas.

Choose a cute, coordinating backing fabric and cut it the same size as the canvas top. Put right sides together and sew around all edges, leaving an opening big enough to stuff the pillow when turned right side out. Hand sew opening together after sufficiently stuffing the pillow.

This is such a quick project. I made three pillows in one evening. And you don’t have to stop at snowflakes! I found some felt in shades of green that I liked and tried something else. Have fun. Be creative. And send me pictures if you make anything fun!

I couldn’t resist showing the holly pillow backing fabric, because I love it so much. Cute little retro-kids from Michael Miller.

And finally, while I was taking pictures, my three-year-old wanted to share his nice airplane sculpture with all of you.

“Why does Christmas always come at the busiest time of the year?” and other important questions

Whew! Life’s been a bit crazy!

You too, huh?

First off: the lucky numbers from the magic Random Number Generator are #12 & #2!
(How’s that for random?!)

Quilt Hollow gets the ‘remnants’ and Alisa gets the ‘scraps’!

I’ll be getting in touch with both of you today to get address info.

Yesterday my neighbor offered to watch my kids for 5 hours (we swapped – I watched her’s last week) so I could finish my Christmas shopping. FEELS SO GOOD TO BE DONE. Between that, post office runs, excel spreadsheets, piano lessons, and a Christmas dinner party last night I’ve had no time (unless I was playing accountant) to sit at the computer. Or sew. But now, all that stuff is done. I was so excited to just stay home today and fold laundry and clean my bathroom (really!) And listen to Christmas music. And eat Candy Cane Hershey Kisses. And make snowflake pillows!

Tomorrow I’ll finally publish how. (When you see it, you’re going to think, “this is so anticlimactic.”)
And finally questions:

First: Does anyone know of a cute, simple A-line toddler dress pattern? I’m having a hard time finding a good one.

Second (from my 5-year-old): “Mom, why does Elvis live at the North Pole?”