Saturday, December 26, 2015
Happy Handmade Christmas
The spirit of Christmas didn't clobber me over the head until the week I finished work - the week before Christmas. I don't have many people to buy presents for - a few friends, and a small family. I refused to go overboard this year - in embracing my new aspiring-to-be-a-minimalist lifestyle, I don't see why anyone else wants plastic junk either. I certainly don't want to buy it.
I wasn't anticipating making anything by hand for gifts. But I do like to sew for stress relief, and there was a pattern I'd been itching to try from Last Minute Patchwork and Quilted Gifts, so I got to cutting and sewing the night before my last day ... and then the next thing I knew I had six quilted coasters for a little Christmas gift for each of my workmates.
I used a lot of my stash of independent screen printed fabrics - Ink and Spindle, Auntie Cookie, Publisher Textiles to name a few - and also cotton batting scraps that I'd been hoarding for a project just like this. I think they came up really nicely! I enjoyed sewing them a lot more than I thought I would - I would even get up early before swimming laps to quilt a couple, and then hop on my bike to the pool.
I ended up making six different sets, and everyone who received a set (or a single) told me how nice they are. They didn't take long to make - once the fabric and batting was cut it took about an hour or so to sew up a set of 6. I still haven't made any for us at home - but I'm working on that.
My nephews are ages 9, 5 and 3 and I really wanted to make them something useful. They get so spoiled at Christmas with toys from Santa and the grandparents that it made me think I'd be a little more comfortable if Aunty Michelle could make them something ... that wasn't Lego (don't worry - in case you think I was sucking the joy of Christmas for my sweet nephews, they got a little Lego too. Next year - probably not. Sorry kids.)
I sewed the two older nephews a colour coordinated pencil roll each - again the pattern was from Last Minute Patchwork and Quilted Gifts. Cutting all those little fabrics strips was a total pain in the arse. But sewing it together was a blast - I had a lot of fun constructing it. The fabric was all stash fabric, and even the grosgrain ribbon ties were from the big box of trims I had from my Blythe sewing days. The only thing I had to buy was the set of pencils.
For the three-year-old I made a crayon roll. I loosely followed this tutorial from Skip to My Lou, however I adapted the measurements for a pack of 12 crayons, and constructed and quilted it like I did with the pencil rolls up above (one continuous line of quilting).
My one mistake was not making the roll wider to allow for chunkier crayons. In the end I had allowed for 1 inch pockets, but really they needed to be closer to 1 1/4 inches. The crayons are a little bit too squeezy for my liking, but my sister-in-law reckons they'll be good for his fine motor skills, so what would I know?
Apparently the gifts were well received and a great idea for the days that the boys have to join mum in the office. The nine-year-old is a little cartoonist in the making so I hope he enjoys using the roll.
This is a stock photo from 2012! For years now I have been making several batches of granola to give as gifts - head to the two dollar shop to get some nice jars and fill them up, add a bit of garden twine and a packing label listing what's in it, and it's the perfect edible Christmas gift! I used to make Christmas cakes, but granola is better for you, and the oven doesn't have to be on for as long to bake it.
And finally, what's Christmas without a new Christmas frock? Well, no Christmas frock was made this year, sadly, but I did spend a little time on Christmas morning taking up the hem of my first ever Simplicity 2929 by 7 inches to wear at Christmas lunch at our friends'. It was a warm day so this voile dress was perfect, and those big roses make it feel very Christmassy indeed!
Finally, I hope every here had a lovely Christmas Day, no matter how you spent it or who you spent it with. I really missed seeing my family this year but travel was out of the question so we made do, and friends came to the rescue, and thank heavens for Australia Post getting the presents to everyone on time!