Monday, December 14, 2009

Last Year's Christmas Projects...

Last year, my youngest sister had asked that I make quilted Christmas stockings for her family. My mother-in-law (MIL) had made me one like my spouse's the first Christmas we'd been married. So, I created my own template which combined her style and measurements.

It was harder than I thought to pick out the appropriate fabrics. I wanted to choose fun fabrics, especially for the kids, but also considering that the kids will be aging and I wanted them to be comfortable with the stockings for as long as they live - so nothing too childish. I'm not sure that makes sense in type, but it does in my head. Once I'd picked out the fabric combinations, I cut a few strips in each of the four fabrics in varying widths. Then I chose a piece of cross-stitch fabric in a coordinating color (As you can see below, Holly's fabrics looked better with cream, while Hayden's looked better with white) and a coordinating color of cross-stitch floss to create their names for the top. I then laid out the strips and name plate to create the best, most aesthetically pleasing layout. After sewing and quilting the stockings, I hand-sewed some ribbons bows at the top to provide a loop for the stockings to hang from and for the kids, I added a jingle bell or two. They turned out pretty nice, if I do say so myself.

I liked the process so much, I thought it would also be nice to make my parents stockings as well. The stockings were such a hit that the rest of the family (except one brother and his wife) have requested Christmas stockings for themselves as well.

In addition, several of last year's presents were quilted. Every year, my siblings and I draw names and last year I drew one of my middle sisters. She had asked for a cookbook, and we bought a really nice kitchen knife to compliment it (after all, every good cook deserves a really nice kitchen knife, right?). After some thought, I wanted to add a scented trivet to the package. So, I chose the fabrics and began work. The only change I would make, should I do this again, is that I would account for changing scent packets in the future. But not bad for a first try.

The top (above) and the back (below).

One of my favorite projects last year was this wall quilt I made for my husband. He had a Jimmy Buffett concert t-shirt that was becoming quite tattered. A couple years prior, he had expressed an interest in preserving the t-shirt and I'd put it away until I could work on it. Last Christmas presented the perfect time to create this wall quilt. He was teaching and I was unemployed so I had large chunks of my day when I could secretly work on his present without him becoming suspicious. When I cut out the salvaged pieces of the t-shirt, one was larger than the other (and there was no way around it!). I compensated with the inner border - I love the way the blues play off each other. The outer border is a fabric of jungle greens which complimented both the t-shirt pieces and the inner border. The whole thing was backed and bound by black fabric. He was quite surprised and pleased with the results!

This provides just a taste of what will be appearing on this blog. We have since purchased a better camera, so photos in the future will be brighter and clearer. I also recently finished my Master's program and have a little more time to work on projects. In the coming weeks, I will have posts on this year's gift projects as well as those for baby showers and additions to our wall quilt selections.

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