Monday, December 17, 2012

Ready for Christmas!! (tree skirt is done!)

It's done, it's done!!!

Finally this weekend I had time to sit down and finish putting the binding together and get it on the tree skirt. I had to sew lots of long strips of green fabric together in order to make one really super long strip, then cut the slit & circle in the tree skirt so it would fit around the tree, then sew the really super long strip to all the outside edges (and the edges of the slit and around the circle in the middle). Whew!  But, I got up early on Sunday and finished it while everyone slept. Took me about an hour, including making the ties and putting those on. That circle was a little difficult!!

Since this is just a tree skirt, I did cheat and just pin/clip it in place and sew one time by machine. None of that "sew onto the front, then fold and fold again so it wraps around, then hand sew with invisible stitches on the back so it doesn't show up at all...." stuff. Not for something that will only ever live on the floor below the tree, covered in presents.  I am just not that into the finishing details, and the little stitches that show on the binding (that wrapped edge) don't bother me anyway. If I ever want to enter a quilt into a quilt show, I'm in trouble....

While I was making the tree skirt, it reached a size I felt was good so I decided to skip adding the called-for borders. Seeing it under the tree, with plenty of room for gifts and all but not sticking out far enough that we are stepping on it, I'm glad I made that call. That's what freed up extra fabric for the stockings, too, so definitely a win-win.
in place under the tree....(lights are turned off)
(the kids decorate the tree.....)

And, bonus -- this is the same pattern as Dad & Kim's tree skirt (which she made several years ago) and was a gift from them, so every time I pull this out in years to come, I'll have a sweet reminder of some very special people in my life. Thanks again, you guys!! I absolutely love it!!

plenty big enough for gifts without 4" more on every side!

Monday, December 10, 2012

The Stockings are hung....

I did it! I made homemade stockings for us this year!! I've wanted to do this for some time, since I first started sewing by hand. Actually, before that, when my sister made awesome stockings for her family using recycled (or upcycled, I should say...) men's dress shirts. Oh my word, those were darling!!! I don't have a picture, but trust me --- a more gorgeous, sweet, vintage-feel Christmas stocking you have never seen. -sigh-

Alas, at the time, I had zero sewing skills, and she and I lived too far apart for it to be practical of me to demand she make stockings for us, too. Drat those miles!!! But, inspired it left me, and now I've done it! And these say "our family" so much more even than my sister's adorable stockings would have (though her version says "her family" perfectly...).

It all started with a tree skirt, actually. A gorgeous fabric for the back of the tree skirt, to be precise. A fabric I couldn't bear to waste on something that would never see anything but the floor. So I decided it had to be in stockings, too. I left the borders off the tree skirt, and then gave the boys a choice of fabric (gulp!) and so I had enough. I now have enough left over to make a table runner or Christmas place mats or something, too. Woot!!

front of the tree skirt;
I still need to make and apply the binding...(and cut the center hole)

Isn't this fabric beautiful?!

the back
isn't that just way too pretty to only ever see the floor????

The stockings came about slowly. I let each boy choose what I would applique to the front of the stocking. I wasn't planning to let them choose their fabric, but one boy just matter-of-factly asked for a specific fabric and I couldn't say no. I had several scraps (all from the tree skirt, so they all coordinate nicely) and one blue Christmas fat quarter I bought a while ago. The blue doesn't coordinate as perfectly, but it works. So I set about taking orders.

The Artist was most definite about what he wanted --- a present on the front. A blue present, with a white ribbon. And a cat popping out. And the cuff should be candy cane striped. No problem, right? Right. Or, well, it wasn't easy, and it took forever, but I did it, because how could I not?

The stripes, by the way, are made from half-square triangle scraps left over from the tree skirt cutting. I joined the triangles into squares, then carefully arranged them to make the diagonal stripes. Then added more when I realized that the rows shrank (darn seam allowances!). He loves it, that's all that matters.

the Artist's cat stocking
and The Adventurer's santa stocking

The Adventurer was set on one thing and one thing only; Santa Claus. Oye. Not complicated at all, dear, no. Sure I can applique a Santa for you! Totally!! Oye. I am so glad that over on The Quilt Show forums they mentioned using washable glue stick to hold down seams, applique, etc. Lifesaver!! I cut and glued all the pieces and then just did a raw-edge applique with the machine. Whew! Felt for the cuffs and beard and such.

The Writer wanted a cross, to show the real meaning of Christmas. Yes, normally symbolized by a manger at this time of year, but the message is the same. Easy, and not bad looking, I hope. Whew!

Mr. Snowman and The Writer's cross

The Chemist really had no preference except he wanted the blue fabric. Of course. I came up with the idea to do a Mr. and Mrs. Snowman on his and mine, used the gorgeous fabric for each of our cuffs, and used some of the red for mine since no one else had picked red yet. By the time I got to mine, I finally had down exactly how to attach those darn cuffs! I really should have found a good pattern to use.....

The nativities that line the mantel come from around Brazil. I've decided I'm collecting them. It started with the plain white one, which was a gift from my mom one year ages ago. Then here the first one I added was the tree with the manger scene inside it; that's by the same artist who did the world tree that heads up the blog. Love his stuff. Love the juxtaposition of a secular symbol and a Christian symbol. Sweet! The next I got was the little 2 story one with doors that open; that came from the local craft fair.  Then I added the colorful clay one with the flying doves overhead (anyone know why the doves???) which came from an art gallery in Paraty.  After that I got the glass one at a nearby city that specializes in blown glass, and the 2 little tiny ones on the end are from our US trip this summer, from the Mt. Rushmore area. I still want to return to Natal and add one from there, although we mostly saw sets of the 3 wise men there. I didn't snag one on our first trip up there.....

nativities and mantel
and the tree, waiting for the tree skirt....

How do you decorate for Christmas?