Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Christmas Stockings for the Girls

Another Christmas project finished just in the nick of time...stockings for the girls!  I'm so glad I got these done.  They look beautiful and will last for years and years to come.  The girls were truly excited to see them.  I hadn't told them about them so it was kind of a surprise for them to wake up to yesterday morning.  Little L LOVED the personal touch on hers - penguin fabric (as do I, it's so cute!) and Little V thought the Christmas bunnies and deer, along with Santa's sleigh, on her stocking was "so cute, mommy!"  This all makes for a happy mommy!

I initially planned on using Thimble Blossoms Merry pattern (I bought the pattern last year), but I ended up using a combination of several stocking patterns that I found online and from a friend.  I couldn't decide which quilting block pattern to use so I ended up just cutting my fabric into different sized strips and sewing them together.  I like the finished look of it because you get to really appreciate each fabric.  Sometimes with those tiny cut squares you aren't able to see how cute the fabric patterns are.  I embroidered the girls names with a slip stitch on the cuff before attaching it.  The stocking and cuff have a thick batting in them, which makes the stocking super puffy.  My husband thought they would make nice warm socks! I hope the batting will help add to their longevity.

The girls are in bed now, and I too should go soon, so Santa can come and fill these beautiful stockings tonight while we are all nestled in bed on this lovely Christmas Eve!



Thursday, December 19, 2013

Needle Felted Penguin

A couple of weeks ago I took a needle felting class with a friend at Needlework.  I had never needle felted before and knew very little about it, so I was excited to attend.  I LOVED it!  I actually found it addicting and had a hard time stopping!  There's something to be said about stabbing a needle repeatedly into some wool.  Very therapeutic!

We started by learning how to make a penguin, which was absolutely perfect for me, because Little L still loves penguins.  I made this adorable little penguin ornament, which will be wrapped and placed under the tree for Christmas morning, for Little L to open.

It was surprisingly pretty easy to make, and didn't take much time.  Needle felting is such a forgiving craft.  If things aren't turning out the way you had hoped, you can easily fine tune it.  I also made some little ball ornaments to hang on the tree with the girls initials on them.  I hope to make some garland with lots of little colourful felted balls for next Christmas.

While at Needlework, I couldn't help myself from buying this adorably sweet bunny fabric!  It's designed by Penguin & Fish, a new find for me.  Check out her blog, too, for some great craft ideas, including lots of embroidery stuff.  I was sold on the name of her business alone!

Thursday, December 05, 2013

Advent Calendar

It's finished, and surprisingly, was on time!  I actually finished it on December 1st, but that still counts!  I LOVE how it turned out.  I think it's beautiful!  I will boast, yes, because this was a big step for me and I'm very proud of myself for diving in and pulling it all off.  

I've never quilted before, which brings with it many new skills - making the binding, attaching it, using a walking foot, working with batting, and many more new steps which involve a lot of math, cutting and careful planning.  I didn't have a pattern, either, so I was trying to figure it all out as I went along.  Thanks to the internet, though, you can pretty much figure out how to do anything!

I really enjoyed making it, especially the quilting sections.  I'm excited to do another quilted project soon!  I'm also really enjoying embroidering these days.  I think it looks so beautiful.  I thought long and hard about how to put the numbers on this calendar and I just kept coming back to embroidery.  I knew it would look the best but I was worried about how long it would take and how tedious it would be.  In the end, it wasn't that bad.  I stitched the numbers onto some cotton ribbon and then sewed it on top of the pockets before attaching them to the background (linen).  


One thing I forgot to include in my plans was a way to hang it.  This never even occurred to me until I was attaching the last side of the binding by hand.  I tried to come up with a last minute attempt but I'm not completely sold on it.  I attached 3 looped tabs under the binding to hold a piece of dowel which I then tied some ribbon to.  I wasn't happy with the way the ribbon hung and the way it pulled on the calender, so I ended up just hanging it over a nail for now.  I'll have to tweak it later.  

I had fun filling the calendars pockets with little surprises.  I tried to do a variety of things - some stickers, stamps, notepads, tiny ornaments, and of course a few chocolates.  But I also included some notes with little messages on them. They say fun things like, make a gingerbread house together, make a snow globe, bake Christmas cookies and go see the Santa Claus Parade.  The girls really like it a lot and look forward to checking the little pocket each morning.  

It was a lot of work, but I know this calendar will be around for a long time, while providing my little girls with lasting memories of all the joy that the Christmas season brings.  I look forward to pulling it out each December and filling it with special little treats for us all to enjoy together as we count down the days until Christmas.