Monday, December 21, 2015

More Christmas Stockings...


Last week I mentioned that I would take photos of the Christmas stockings that my daughter-in-law Meghann made during our sew fest on Saturday. You may remember that I made a muslin stocking to test the pattern that I had altered from the pattern I had used on my husbands and my stockings I'd made earlier in the week.


Meghann wanted their stockings to be a longer, thinner, version with a long cuff. We both agreed the dimensions of the new "test" stocking was ok -- except for the bottom of the stocking. The boot part needed to be larger, so we easily changed that on the pattern by adding 1/4" all around the boot.

I absolutely died when she showed me the fabric she chose. Sooo dang cute! Here are the almost finished stockings...


It's difficult to see the texture on these beautifully luxurious fabrics, but here's a close-up of both...



All three fabrics were found in the home decorating fabrics at Hobby Lobby. So pretty. Meghann plans to finish them off with a few buttons on each stocking -- placed here...


As I said the I love the fabric choices she made.


Before I sign off I need to show you two more adorable stockings. These were made by another daughter-in-law, Stephanie. This goes without saying, but I have very talented DILs! Once again I love the fabric choice.  I love red stripes at Christmastime!



Friday, December 18, 2015

Tips for Creating or Altering Patterns...


For me creating patterns from scratch is deceptively challenging. Even with a simple idea -- like a Christmas stocking -- you can be surprised at the outcome. Often when I make up a pattern or take an existing pattern and alter it, I first make a "test" product with inexpensive muslin before I create the real deal with more expensive fabric. That's what I did when I created the Christmas stockings for the hubs and I a few days ago...


I began by printing out the stocking pattern from Fabric Worm, then I altered it by making the heel a little more pronounced and a few other small changes. I also used a smaller seam allowance to make it a little more stout. Finally, I made a stocking out of muslin to see if I liked the end result before I went ahead and used that pretty fur and wool.

One of my daughters-in-law, Meghann, is coming over tomorrow morning for a sew-fest. We're going to be making some Christmas stockings for her and my son. She decorates in whites, creams, and silver/grays at Christmastime, so she showed me these stockings as an example of what she likes...


She wants their stockings to be longer, a little thinner, with a long cuff. The swoop on the cuff on the stockings below also appealed to her...


Yesterday I whipped up a new pattern with these styles in mind. We may still make a few nips and tucks here and there, but it's a place to start. I began by using the pattern from Fabric Worm. The pattern was made longer, and I used a wider seam allowance {from 3/8" to 5/8"} to make the boot part a little smaller and the length a little thinner. It's amazing how much 1/4" on all sides changes the shape something. I also made a swoop on the cuff and finished it off with bias tape. Here's the muslin version of the new pattern next to the stocking I made earlier...


As I said when Meghann comes tomorrow, she may decide she wants it a little smaller here or larger there, but this muslin version will give us a reference point. For example, I think the toe end of the boot needs to be a little longer. That part of the pattern can be easily altered tomorrow morning. The muslin test stocking cost less than $2 to make, which is pennies on the dollar and well worth the effort. I'll try to take a few photos of the finished stockings. Meghann is such a talented girl when it comes to creating and decorating, so I'm excited to see her fabric choices!

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Reindeer Noses Treat Bags...


My mother lives in an apartment in a dependent/independent living center for seniors. It's a wonderful place in many ways, but a transition from living on your own to senior living can be challenging. As I was thinking about my mother a few months ago, I realized that one thing that is presently lacking in her life is the spirit of giving. Throughout my mother's life she has been an example of thoughtful, kind, and helpful acts of service. I thought if she could perform a small act of service for those around her it would help lift her spirits. I was determined to figure out a project(s) that would be simple enough for a 92 year old woman to put together and distribute to friends...

In the month of October, I gathered the "ingredients" for some little gift sacks, and, while I was visiting my mother, we put them together. I was there when she marched into the dining room and passed out the treats to her new friends and care givers. I knew this act of service would help my mother, but I didn't realize how much it would be appreciated by her friends! They were thrilled to get a little treat similar to this...


Since then, she handed out Thanksgiving treats, and this month she assembled these treats with my sister...


I featured this treat bag on my blog several years ago. At that time I gave them to children in my Sunday school class, but they are a perfect treat for seniors as well. I bought the 4"x6" self sealing bags at Hobby Lobby, printed off the tags (courtesy of Katie Hadfield Designs) onto cardstock, and bought the goodies. You can find "Nice! Cherry Sours" {Rudolph's nose} and Whoppers {Comet, Cupid, Donner, etc.} at Walgreens. All those elements were packed in a box and shipped off to my mother, and once again she delighted in handing out these cute Christmas treats to her friends! I plan on helping to keep the spirit of giving in my mother's life with these small gift bags throughout the year {Valentine's Day, Easter, 4th of July, etc.}.



Sometimes it's difficult to think of something to give the seniors in our lives, but this seems to help with two challenges elderly parents and their children face. First, it's nice to spend time with your elderly parent that isn't associated with paying bills, helping run errands, or other sundry tasks. Sitting and putting together these little bags gave us something to do while we chatted and laughed! Second, for parents who've worked, loved, and cared for others all their lives, it gives them a lift as they express kindness through a cute and thoughtful treat.


Go here for the PDF of the bag topper!

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Rustic Christmas Stockings...


It was a cold and snowy day yesterday in Colorado, which made the perfect setting for a "sew day!" The day before I'd bought some tweedy, woolly fabrics to make a couple of Christmas stockings for the hubs and me. I was inspired by the article in Homespun magazine that featured some wool stockings...


We have a number of Christmas trees in our home -- each with a bit of a theme. The one in our family room is more rustic than the others probably due to Dear Gus. He's a year-round fixture in our family room...


Handsome devil, isn't he? 

Anyway, we do live in Colorado, which definitely has a rustic, mountainous, forest-like vibe, so Gus feels right at home. This week I was in the mood to make a couple of new stockings that had the same lodge feel.

This is the one I made for my hubs...


And here's mine...


Mine has a little more glam with the homespun blossom, but I like the rustic buttons too.

These were both made from a wool blend. The fabrics were bought at Hancock Fabrics, as was the beautiful dark chocolate colored faux fur. {Faux fur is pain to sew with, but definitely worth the trouble for a project like this.}


I used the stocking pattern provided by Fabric Worm -- enlarging it just a wee-bit {1/4" all the way around}.

Here's a very basic tutorial for this type of stocking... Cut out your fabric using the stocking pattern above. Sew the side seams of the stocking front and back together, trim seam and turn right side out. Press. Then sew the lining front and back together, trim seam, leave wrong side out. Fit the lining inside the stocking -- wrong sides together and baste the top lining to the top of the stocking. Make a tab to hang the stocking and attach it to the inside lining at the side seam on the top on the "heel" side.



Cut a rectangular piece 16 1/2" x 7" for the fur cuff. Sew the short ends together, then fold it in half lengthwise, aligning the unfinished edges. Baste. Slip the cuff into the stocking {right side of cuff to right side of lining}, and sew the top of the cuff to the top of the stocking. Zig-zag edge of seam to finish off. Fold the cuff over the top of the stocking. Tack fabric flower, buttons, or other embellishment to the cuff.


I love the proportions of these stockings. They are definitely big enough to fit a toothbrush, white underwear, and socks if the owner has been naughty -- or fun stocking stuffers, chocolate candies, and cinnamon bears, if he/she has been a good boy/girl. {My preference, chocolate covered cinnamon bears -- soooo good!}

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Textile Tuesday...


It's a hunker-down kind of day in Colorado! A day for hibernating and sipping hot chocolate.


Schools have been cancelled, and there are few cars on the roads.


In other words, it's the perfect day for a sewfest! Fortunately, yesterday I picked up these tweedy and furry fabrics. I'm in the mood to make a couple of Christmas Stockings for the hubs and I.


I can't wait to see these warm and woolly stockings hanging from the mantel.


Monday, December 14, 2015

Homespun Magazine feature...


Guess what I got in the mail the other day???


This is a copy of Homespun Magazine -- the #1 craft magazine in Australia. Last August I was contacted by their writer/online editor wondering if they could feature my little girl Crossbody Owl Purse in one of their upcoming issues. Among other noteworthy distinctions, Homespun Magazine has been named “Best Magazine” for the 2015 Australian Craft Industry Awards. With pleasure permission was granted to highlight my purses and pattern, and the other day a copy of Homespun Magazine was delivered to my mailbox. In a corner on page 16...


After reading through the magazine, I was so honored to have been featured on one of its pages!  There is a range of ideas in the magazine, but in the upfront news pages they showcase all sorts of crafty ideas and news -- which is where my little purses landed.


In addition the magazine if filled with inspiring projects and ideas. Like this beautiful advent calendar...


and these tweedy, houndstoothy and tartan-esque Christmas stockings...

{found in this Etsy store}

Feeling happy & blessed. 

Tuesday, December 01, 2015

Textile Tuesday...


Some of my favorite color combinations are oranges and blues, 
so it's no surprise I'm in love with this fabric collection called
"Heirloom" by Joel Dewberry...


I love the rich, timeless florals in this collection.

Go here to see the entire collection.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Friday's Fabulous Finds...


I hope you {in the USA} had a wonderful Thanksgiving. 

 I spy this fine day with my little eye...
a Christmas project.

Clockwise, starting top left:


Wishing you a beautiful weekend.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Textile Tuesday...


I'm back home for a little while. In the last month I've been to California, Washington D.C. and back to California for two weeks. It feels good to be home, but I had a wonderful time at each place visiting with family. Today on Textile Tuesday I'm featuring some beautiful prints by Katarina Roccella for Art Gallery. The collection is titled "Indelible", which means "making marks that cannot be erased or removed." Her artwork is just beautiful!


Clockwise, starting top left: