Tag Archives: Christmas decorations

Moving Toward the End of the Year

I was enjoying writing and posting more, and then got side-tracked for several days with a couple of things. Back now, with some unrelated thoughts.

  1. Do any of you other WordPress users look at your spam folder regularly? What kind of spam comments do you get? Most of mine are links (presumably — I’ve never checked them!) for lesbian porn. Why? Why any porn?
  2. Do you ever feel like no good deed goes unpunished? That’s not really fair, as I think I did a few good deeds over the last week and mostly they went great. Jim and I found a wallet and were able to return it to the owner; a young woman with a toddler in full-meltdown mode needed a kind word and an arm around her shoulder; I pulled together an ad hoc presentation on quilts and quilting for an adult English learners class, and they seemed to enjoy it, as did I. In truth, I need to get over my momentary annoyance and remember, “this is just something I don’t need to worry about.” That thinking helps me a lot, in a wide variety of circumstances!
  3. My guild had our last meeting of the calendar year last Monday, and it was fun. We had a special Christmas show & tell, so people could bring couch throws or tree skirts or baby quilts or whatever quilted holiday objects they want. I shared one, which I’ll tell you more about below. We also had cookies. I ate too many and remembered why I don’t eat a lot of sweets. ugh…
  4. I’m not making Christmas presents this year, unlike some others. No pillowcases, no throw quilts, no table runners, no placemats, no stockings. No. (Now I just need to keep reminding myself of that. I’m NOT making Christmas presents this year. I’m not making Christmas presents this year. I’m not…)
  5. My studio is a Mess. Yes, “mess” with a capital M. So many things out that need to be put away. So many pieces of paper, a lot of it quilt guild stuff, but a lot of it my own. Fabrics that need to be restashed, books that need to be reshelved… Maybe my next task needs to be cleaning, since I’m not making Christmas presents this year.
  6. Speaking of stash, I recently saw a post on the use of the word “stash.” I can’t find the post again or I’d link it. Anyway, the writer seemed to object to the word, because of the connotation that a stash is something to be hidden or to be ashamed of, like your stash of drugs. I don’t know about that. I have a stash of migraine drugs and I’m not ashamed to admit it! While i do think words are important, and certainly I have no shame about my fabric “collection,” (a word she seemed to prefer,) I think “stash” in terms of quilting is just part of quilting jargon and not something to get twisted about. Also, I DO NOT “collect” fabric. It is a raw material in my process, not something to display as a pretty thing on my shelves, like my rabbits. What do you think of the word “stash?”
  7. I’ve been thinking about my Word of the Year and will share about how that went in a later post.

This morning I finished a quilt, which I shared at my guild meeting on Monday. It’s a two-sided Christmas table runner.

Christmas Houses. 47.5″ x 21″. Modified pattern of Amish Houses by Monique (Dillard) Jacobs of Open Gate Quilts. Free pattern for the full lap-throw size. https://www.opengatequilts.com/pdf-patterns/free-amish-homes-pattern

I made an adaptation of Monique Jacobs’ Amish Houses quilt. Free pattern available at this link. She is a talented designer and my guild is hosting her in June. She’ll be teaching the pattern in a workshop. My version provides a sample for my guild-mates, and also shows that you can make this pattern in beautiful Amish-style solids, or in fabrics of your choice. The pattern instructions are clear and it went together beautifully.

Because it’s a table runner, when I quilted it I figured the backing fabric didn’t matter. I pulled a piece from my stash (YES, my stash, not collection!) that hasn’t been very useful to me. It is white with small, pale-pink roses on it. hmm. Well, it worked fine as a backing but frankly looked terrible. Plain muslin would have been better, but I didn’t have any pieces big enough. I decided to make a false back to cover the pink flowers. And since I rarely do things the simple way, I appliquéd big, simple snowflakes on it.

The snowflakes are just 60° diamonds that I cut out three at a time from white Kona Snow. I used a piece of freezer paper as the template for them, starting with the largest ones and then trimming the freezer paper smaller for the other two. I spritzed the white pieces with basting spray and arranged them, then appliquéd with a narrow zigzag. This morning I finished the binding, securing the false back to the rest of it.

Christmas Houses back. 47.5″ x 21″. My design.

Currently my dining room table is covered with presents that need to be wrapped and mailed. Once it is visible again, this runner will decorate it. Because it isn’t very specifically Christmasy, it will work well until Spring.

If you made it to the end of this long post, thanks so much for reading! I hope your December is going well. It certainly is going fast!

Christmas Stockings

[In the last few days I’ve been thinking about Christmas stockings and what to ask Santa to bring this year. Son always gets a Hot Wheels car, and lately I’ve been getting sudoku books. Son and FFDIL usually get some kitchen gadgets. I think this year there may be a whisk and a silicone handle grabber, for Son’s cast iron skillet. Caramels and peppermint patties are on the list for Jim, too.

I published this post about a year ago. I hope you enjoy it.]

When I was a kid, the Christmas stocking was a feature of our family holiday celebration. My mom, an incredibly creative woman, lovingly made our stockings, decorating each differently. We all knew the stocking itself was a manifestation of her love for us. Besides that, though, we never had a lot of money, and the nuts, fruit and candy in the stockings were a relatively large part of our presents. Last but not least, we were allowed to open our stockings immediately, not waiting for the rest of the package opening ritual!

When our son was born, it was important to me that he have a stocking, too. I didn’t have a sewing machine, nor the creative skills of my mom, so I bought one for him, which he still uses. I chose a plaid stocking, with plaid representative of his Scottish heritage. On his first Christmas, Santa brought him one present, a small stuffed Curious George doll that fit just right into the top of that stocking. I’ll never forget the look of wonder on my son’s face when he locked eyes with the little monkey.

After he got engaged to his high school sweetheart, he asked if I would make a stocking for her. Her parents live a few blocks from us, and she has a stocking there, so I hadn’t planned to. But she is part of our family now, too, so I did anyway.

I started by visiting the local fabric store to see if there were pre-quilted fabrics I might use. Late in the season, all choices were gone.

Instead I decided to quilt my own. I had a couple of Christmas fabrics in my stash and chose one with leaping reindeers. I like it to represent her because she grew up as a dancer, and I see the deer dancing across the fabric. I also found fabric for the back (the inside of the stocking), and I quilted it on my long-arm. For this small of a project, it would be easy to use a DSM, too.

Next I used his stocking to make a pattern, adding about a half inch all the way around to make a seam allowance.

I drew around the pattern with chalk, reversing the pattern for the back of the stocking. I cut on the chalk line to make the front and back of the stocking. With right sides of the fabric together, I sewed around, leaving the top open. It looks like this when turned right side out.

The cuff came next. I didn’t have any white eyelet, which was used on his so sweetly. I decided to use a contrasting piece of Christmas fabric. Ultimately I might update his with a cuff like this. Once the cuff was constructed with a thin layer of batting inside, I attached it to the top.

Last step is to wait for Santa to fill it with goodies.

Do you have memories to share of Christmas stockings? Did you get special trinkets or gifts, fruits, crossword puzzle books? What do you like to fill stockings with now? Who do they go to in your family — just the little children?

Christmas Stockings

When I was a kid, the Christmas stocking was a feature of our family holiday celebration. My mom, an incredibly creative woman, lovingly made our stockings, decorating each differently. We all knew the stocking itself was a manifestation of her love for us. Besides that, though, we never had a lot of money, and the nuts, fruit and candy in the stockings were a relatively large part of our presents. Last but not least, we were allowed to open our stockings immediately, not waiting for the rest of the package opening ritual!

When our son was born, it was important to me that he have a stocking, too. I didn’t have a sewing machine, nor the creative skills of my mom, so I bought one for him, which he still uses. I chose a plaid stocking, with plaid representative of his Scottish heritage. On his first Christmas, Santa brought him one present, a small stuffed Curious George doll that fit just right into the top of that stocking. I’ll never forget the look of wonder on my son’s face when he locked eyes with the little monkey.

After he got engaged to his high school sweetheart, he asked if I would make a stocking for her. Her parents live a few blocks from us, and she has a stocking there, so I hadn’t planned to. But she is part of our family now, too, so I did anyway.

I started by visiting the local fabric store to see if there were pre-quilted fabrics I might use. Late in the season, all choices were gone.

Instead I decided to quilt my own. I had a couple of Christmas fabrics in my stash and chose one with leaping reindeers. I like it to represent her because she grew up as a dancer, and I see the deer dancing across the fabric. I also found fabric for the back (the inside of the stocking), and I quilted it on my long-arm. For this small of a project, it would be easy to use a DSM, too.

Next I used his stocking to make a pattern, adding about a half inch all the way around to make a seam allowance.

I drew around the pattern with chalk, reversing the pattern for the back of the stocking. I cut on the chalk line to make the front and back of the stocking. With right sides of the fabric together, I sewed around, leaving the top open. It looks like this when turned right side out.

The cuff came next. I didn’t have any white eyelet, which was used on his so sweetly. I decided to use a contrasting piece of Christmas fabric. Ultimately I might update his with a cuff like this. Once the cuff was constructed with a thin layer of batting inside, I attached it to the top.

Last step is to wait for Santa to fill it with goodies.

Do you have memories to share of Christmas stockings? Did you get special trinkets or gifts, fruits, crossword puzzle books? What do you like to fill stockings with now? Who do they go to in your family — just the little children?