Updated: May 30
One of my favorite ways to celebrate CHRISTmas is sewing gifts to give. Though sometimes I think it would be easier to just go buy gifts, that just isn’t as much fun, and certainly not as meaningful – at least to me. While I stitch, I contemplate the real meaning of CHRISTmas – that God sent Jesus here to teach us how to live and love.
SEW – now that they are given, here is a round-up of the gifts I created this year. A few deserve Blog Posts of their own, and I’ll get to that soon, so subscribe and watch for the detailed posts.
Starting at the upper left:
Memory Inspiration Throw
Though I made it last, it definitely has the most time (and tears) put into it. I have already blogged on it – which you can find HERE. After asking around, it seems what I used was a laser printer, and what would have worked is a dot matrix printer.....
My daughter 3 yr-old granddaughter informed her Mommy that she wasn’t really a cook – and my daughter finally figured it out that it was because she didn’t have an apron. So yes – I can do that, but then the 18-month old sister does everything that big sister does, so of course, I made 1 for her as well. No pictures of them actually wearing them yet, but here are pictures I snapped.
For the 3-year-old, I played with creating ‘wipe your hand’ areas as I saw on a sponsored Facebook Ad for adults. One washcloth was all it took, and I tried to make them look kind of hand-mitten type shape. The fabric was a scrap from a friend. I actually used some double fold bias tape in red for the armhole binding. And, there is a completely self-lined extra pocket layer at the lower portion. I stitched it vertically through all layers to create 5 different pocket sections.
A guild member brought this pattern and the bag she’d made to our Jackson Sewing Guild. I loved it, and thought it would make a good gift for my son’s fiance. I used one of those pre-cut bundles of 2.5″ fabric strips – and it didn’t take all of that. The pattern comes with fusible interfacing marked off in 3 sections of grids, 2.5″ markings. What you do is cut 2.5″ square pieces, arrange as you like, fuse to the interfacing, then fold and stitch all one way, then the other way. Pretty slick if I do say so myself! I took pictures so that I can do it again without purchasing pre-marked fusible interfacing. I would also use 5″ squares the next time around, as this was ALOT of work! The incorporated fusible interfacing (non-woven, as I never use in garments) gives it just the right amount of body along with the lining. Quilt pattern designers are one smart group of ladies IMHO! This was repetitive sewing, something I really do NOT enjoy – but sometimes it can be kind of mindless fun. Although – I wouldn’t say this one is ‘mindless’! This was the only gift in which I didn’t use fabric/stuff from my STASH – an emphasis I’m trying to adhere to lately.
Peacocks became my daughter’s ‘animal’ long before they were popular. I bought this panel (and the alphabet panel coming up next) at a wonderful quilt shop, Quilts & Quilts we ran into in Branson, MO this fall. Again, I’m not a quilt fanatic, but I found this shop to be VERY inspiring – especially due to the lovely displays. As a past fabric shop owner, I truly appreciate all the effort that goes into making a shop attractive and inspirational. There is an entire area devoted to baby stuff, so if you’re a Grandma, beware!
Hunting for the perfect fabrics to border it with was fun. I looked hard to find the perfect periwinkle ‘mixer’ for the innermost border. I’ll admit, I looked first at JOANN fabrics, coupon in hand, but with no luck. You just can’t beat the lovely fabrics and amazing color range that is generally available at local quilt shops and yes, they DO feel nicer! This one, and the brown, I found at Sew Many Ideas here in Jackson, TN. If I remember right, I only needed 1/4 yard. The backing and outermost binding WERE from my Stash, as was the crib-sized batting. These are my daughter’s colors, so it will be interesting to see what wall she puts it on. I figure living room or her bedroom.
I did free-motion quilt all around the birds, feathers, flowers, and leaves using YLI Wonder Thread monofilament thread in Clear. I did this work through the panel and the batting, and BEFORE adding the borders. I learned back in my ‘quilting days’ that the trick to keeping things square is to cut the borders the proper size, and ease the ‘quilt’ to fit the borders and OH MY this was SO true on this project. I love handwork, so finishing the outermost border by hand on the back was a treat in front of a holiday movie.
Girl’s Alphabet Hanging/Cover
I picked up this panel at the same store in Branson. It will hang in their room – perhaps even as a ‘darkening’ tool over the window for naps. Or – it can be a quilt to snuggle up in and learn their letters. Same principles to stitch as above, except I got a bit lazy on the quilting…opting instead to just freehand quilt in ‘sections’ around each letter/picture.
Minkee Jersey-Lined Ponchos
Dear daughter says ponchos are the ‘bomb’ for the girls in the car in their car seats when it is cold. I had made some for them before out of luxe polar fleece, but they were outgrown. Purple is a favorite color, and the ‘swirly’ Minkee said ‘Use ME!’ I decided to totally line them in jersey knit – which led to some challenges. Bordering the hood and lower edge is loopy VERY chunky yarn from JOANN. Sew…this will be an up-coming separate blog post as I did take pictures as I worked. This is the best pic so far, with my very handsome son-in-law. Had to buy everything, but I did come up with the pattern on my own…
Microwave Cozy Bowls
Speaking of that son-in-law, we got him a bright red small microwave oven that he has installed under a shelf in his box truck for his carpentry work. So – I felt some ‘cozy’ bowls would be useful. I’d never made these before, but easily found directions for a Soup Bowl Cozy online at Craft Warehouse. I made various sizes, and took notes and pictures as I went. I think my sewing students will love making these for gifts – will be great for Mother’s Day. That silly boy put them upside-down on his head! EVERYTHING was available in my stash too!
Screen Tote Bags
I made 4 of these – again from stuff I had on hand. I’d had my students make these in class, but this gave me a chance to take more pics and I’ll be refining the directions: watch for another Blog Post. The screening is ‘Pet Screen’ – black nylon, and very very easy to stitch. The directions make 2 at once. I made 4 of these – perfect for friends and Niece/Nephew. They can hold ALOT of groceries!
I made one almost identical to this for the older sister last Christmas, and was smart enough to create duplicate pages as I worked. They sat around waiting to be bound and put into a book all year long. I did handle the ‘book’ assembly different for this one, using grommets. I’ll make a blog post on that technique…sometime. So, now there is a 3rd granddaughter due in March. HER book will be different altogether, but a couple of years off. Yes, Hadasah is her name… and we all love it. That is the Jewish name for who we know as Queen Esther in the Bible.
I also made a sheer Unicorn Vest and Scrunchie for a niece – see my post on that HERE, and a set of baseball fabric pillowcases for my nephew.
NOT Sewin But Labors of Love
The hardest gifts were Photo Memory books for both of my kids. At least Hubby helped with this one – separating and filing all the photos from boxes. I was SO grateful that I had kept calendars of every year during their childhoods. There is no way I would have remembered what year what happened, even the years we moved, or where we went which years on vacations. If you’re a new Mom, grab a new calendar for 2020 and just make notes of momentous events. Christmas Letter copies were helpful in all this also. I used Photomyne – a really neat APP that enabled me to scan more than one photo at a time with my iphone, yet saving each one separately. After some research, I used Shutterfly to make the books. Even at half price, I felt they cost plenty, but both kids seem to appreciate the effort. Boxes of their photos accompanied their books. We are working very hard at cleaning through all our ‘stuff’ so that when the time comes for US to leave our home, our kids won’t have the challenge that we did with all our parents’ stuff. It was fun to see each of the kids go through their ‘life’ with their husband/fiance. Of course, there are some mistakes, but this was all on computer, not the sewing machine, Files and scans are ready for books for my hubby and I, but not anytime soon!