An update of what’s been on my sewing table, Christmas edition. Ahh, the Christmas Season. Never goes *quite* how we planned, does it? Such is the case (yet again!) for me this year. Some typical December unforeseen events that changed my original plans, extra special family gatherings, and some events that were really quite sudden and shocking. Even though sewing time was scaled back this month, I do have a few finishes and some WIPs (Works in Progress) to share.
With Thanksgiving early this year, I felt like I was on track to be super organized and on the ball – in part because of simplifying a lot of stuff. But still the proverbial wrench was thrown into the mix. First of all: I got the “cousin cold” that was passed around at our Thanksgiving weekend gathering. No regrets – it was so great to be with my parents and all of my siblings + their families. And that’s just the hazard of gathering. And fortunately it wasn’t anything worse. But, it did wipe me out for almost 2 weeks! Bleh. So that put a halt to some of the progress and planning. You all know how it goes!
So my 2022 Christmas quilt is on hold (below) – still waiting for the borders. Hopefully next week after the hoopla it’ll get finished and sent off to the long-arm quilter. And maybe next week I’ll have sometime to play with the other blocks currently on my design wall too and get a head start on next Christmas’s quilts.
In the mean time I’ve been doing some Santa Sewing. About a month ago my cousin, who I grew up with, reached out to me to ask for my help with a special project. His dad, my Uncle John is celebrating his 85th birthday this month. I grew up just a few blocks away from these cousins and they + my Aunt and Uncle were a big part of my childhood. During those years Uncle John’s almost-daily at home outfit was a polyester flight suit/leisure suit. I remember it vividly through the 70’s and 80’s.
When my Aunt and Uncle downsized from the home they’d lived in for 45+ years (longer than I’d been alive) the jumpsuit was relegated to the dumpster. But, unbeknownst to anyone else, my intrepid cousin rescued this family heirloom and hung onto it for a few years trying to figure out what to do with it. A few months ago someone showed him a picture of a family shirt made into a pillow and that caused a light bulb moment. Since he doesn’t sew, he reached out to me for help with his plan: to make 5-6 pillows out of the jumpsuit. I was honored to be asked.
The project definitely took some creativity plus trial and error – I’ve never made pillows from a polyester jumpsuit before. But I was able to get 6 pillows done in the nick of time before the birthday deadline last Sunday. Here is all that was left of the jumpsuit when I got done:
Cutting it very close. Literally.
And here are the final results:
Please don’t ask me how I did it. 😆 (But you can google How to Make Pillows from Clothing like I did. There are some helpful resources.)
It was a bit of a wing and a prayer experience for me. Lots of ripping seams and unpicking elements that could be spread around to the different pillows not to mention experimenting with stabilizers, etc. I’ll only ever do this for someone that I share DNA with. But the reaction when the pillows were pulled out and shared with family members was priceless. It was a sweet memory of this December.
Since I was on a pillow kick and definitely not going to finish any quilts by Christmas, I did pull out a couple of pillow projects for some satisfying small wins.
One pillow was a 4-year-old WIP that I unearthed earlier this month. I made a bunch of Merry & Bright Buffalo Check pillow tops a few years back with my Baby Lock Destiny II Embroidery machine. I gave a few of them away as gifts, but never finished the top I’d made for myself. (I thought it was 3 years and was extra surprised when I went back and really checked and it was 4! Yikes!) So definitely time to finish this one up.
And since it was mostly done and the back was already cut, I was able to finish it pretty quick – including zipper enclosure! *pats self on the back* I bought the fabric at JoAnn’s 4 years ago and the Merry & Bright embroidery file here.
Another quick finish is this All is Calm All is Bright pillow made from the Cheer and Merriment panel by Fancy That Design House that I bought from Maker Valley. (Panels still available from Etsy as well.)
All of the rest of the fabric was from my stash, including the remnant of a binding from a quilt long ago. *pats self on the back again*
This pillow back was made using this method. It was another fast finish and quick win. So I did get some 2022 Christmas projects done after all.
Lastly – and much more sad. The first week of December I suddenly lost a dear friend. So suddenly that I never saw it coming. We were visiting at church on Sunday and making plans to meet a friend for lunch that week. And then Thursday morning I got a call saying she was gone. It was such a shocking turn of events. I am not sad for her. She was almost 80 and lived an amazing, active and full life embracing her Latina heritage. Busy to the end doing, growing, creating, and learning. She volunteered weekly as a support person at a local Addiction Recovery program for the past 4 years. I seriously hope my life is as engaged and productive.
While I am not sad for her, I’m sad for the rest of us – especially her family that she loved so much. She was the glue that held them together.
One of the things we connected on was our love of making. She was an incredible seamstress – had made multiple wedding and prom dresses among other things. Her sewing machine was still busy almost every day.
Last Christmas I was paring down my house and gave her one of my quilt samples. She doesn’t quilt, but like all hand-makers, recognized the effort. The next week she brought me a gift as well. This darling apron covered with sewing machines and notions. I loved it so much. But it was way to cute to worry about ruining with food on it, so I rarely wore it.
But that Thursday morning she passed, I put it on in honor of my friend and wore it for the rest of the weekend. It’s an even sweeter treasure to me now. Special friends are special for lots of reason. But they’re extra special when they “get” your love of making. ❤
As sad as this loss has been, it’s also been a reminder of what matters most. And that’s people and relationships and making the world better for them. Puts Christmas in a more meaningful perspective this season.
Hopefully your holidays are full of warm spirits and new memories.
If you’re also having some unexpected (and maybe unwelcome) Christmas surprises this season, well, you’re not alone.
Most likely along the way there will also be some burned food, a puking kid, new clothes that don’t fit, hurt feelings, or something (or someone) that didn’t show up on time. That seems to be part of Christmas too. One year I wrote about this phenomenon of Imperfectly Perfect Christmases here . And the sentiment still rings true: don’t let the sweet moments of kindness, love, and grace be missed or overshadowed.
Sending much love from my house to yours this holiday season. Seasons Greetings! Merry Christmas! Happy Hanukkah! Joyous Kwanzaa! Happy Holidays! Happy New Year! Peach on Earth, Goodwill toward all.
Whatever way you are celebrating this season, I’m wishing you and those you love the very best. Thank you so much for your support and encouragement here. It’s a gift in my life to connect with so many more makers and kindred spirits.