Monday, November 30, 2009

Make the Season Bright

I love Christmas time. I love everything about it: the music, the decorations, the spirit of goodwill that seems to permeate the air. It's no great surprise that I love the Christmas Season....I was born on Christmas Day.

I wasn't actually due until the middle of January, but my mom woke up at 5am Christmas morning when her water broke. She told my dad that the baby was coming and his reply was, "That baby can't come today. It's the opening day of duck season and I'm going hunting." (I was born in Louisiana, Sportsman's Paradise).

Off to the the hospital they went and at 8pm Christmas Day I made my entrance. The doc held me up and said "This baby is no bigger than a 6 pound bass!" And I was exactly 6 pounds.

There were only two babies born that day, and instead of sending us home in the typical receiving blankets, the nurses wrapped us up and sent us home in red flannel stockings that they decorated with our names. My mom saved it and I have it in a box somewhere.

My favorite holiday activity by far is decorating the tree. My Christmas ornaments are some of my most prized possessions. If my house was on fire, I'd want to grab my photos and my ornaments (my family is a given).

Most of my ornaments are handmade or were given to us. All of them have special meaning or a story behind them.

I have several that were made by my mother, like this poinsettia made from wired ribbon....

.....or this angel made from a silk rose.

I have quite a few ornaments from my childhood that my mother passed down to me. Like this angel that my mom and I hand painted when I was a little girl:

Or this wreath I made when I was a Brownie in the Girl Scouts:

Some of my most prized ornaments are the ones that were made by my grandmother, who passed away when I was a teenager. I love this mouse tucked in his little walnut shell bed:

Most of the ornaments come from my family, but I do have a few from my husband's family, like these red bells that were knitted by his mother:

And of course, we have several ornaments made by our kids at school, like this bell made with baked spices and applesauce that smells wonderful:

Many of my favorite ornaments were given to me by my aunt and celebrate my Louisiana heritage. Like this shrimp:

And this flying alligator, which is a character from "The Cajun Night Before Christmas" by Trosclair:

My absolute favorite is this poinsettia made from crawfish claws and pieces of oyster shell:

My kids have their favorites too. One of the ones they can't wait to hang on the tree each year are their Santa's sleigh bells from the year we rode the Polar Express in Durango, CO.

Sometimes I do buy new ornaments. If I do, I like them to have that homemade look like this Christmas tree made from wooden spools....

.....or this knitted poinsettia.

Sometimes they catch my eye because they have some kind of meaning. This year I picked up this one:

My husband is British and it reminds me of our trips to England.

To finish off the tree, I have a garland of wooden beads and buttons....

....and a tree skirt quilted by my mother.

At the top of the tree is an angel that I made when my husband and I were first married. Yes, she has a chin like Jay Leno, but she's quirky and I like that.

She's not a big tree, she's not a fancy tree. There is no theme, no expensive decorations. But she's a good tree, full of love and special meaning.

What are some of your favorite ornaments?

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Let's Hear It For the Boys!

Everyone that knows me well knows that I prefer to sew clothing for girls. Who doesn't?! I mean, there's so many more choices of patterns, fabrics, etc for girls. And girls can wear ruffles....I ♥ ♥ ♥ ruffles!

So over the past year, I've focused on sewing for little girls. Time for a change! Little boys need cute, handmade outfits too, right? Right!

With the holiday season right around the corner, I decided to make something festive that a toddler boy could wear. I pulled out my favorite elastic-waist pants pattern and put on my thinking cap.

When I think of making little boys pants, I immediately think "corduroy." And luckily, I have some great, buttery soft corduroy in my "stash."

But the pants needed something more. I decided to add a wide cuff in a cute holiday fabric.

Then I took white, long-sleeved, cotton shirts (purchased on clearance from Target!) and made a coordinating applique.

And what do you know...a cute holiday outfit for a little boy!

And do you know what? I had fun making this outfit. Sure, there's no ruffles....but it's still cute!

I have two of these outfits available in my shop right now, Size 18 months and Size 24 months.

And while you're looking, check out my other holiday outfits here and here!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Hanging Around

Okay, okay. I know....I've been a blogging slacker lately. But I've been busy! Really, really busy!

In my last post, I mentioned that I am participating in a craft fair at my kids' school. Well, I've been sewing my fingers to the bone trying to get ready for it. I've never done anything like this before, so I really have no clue what I'm doing. I'm totally flying without a net here. But the booth rental fee was only $30 and goes to the PTA, so I figure if nothing else, I'm being a good parent and making a donation.

But what to make? Like I mentioned before, I'm making some gift-type items (tis the holiday shopping season!) and some of my favorite styles of outfits. I'll also take a certain number of customs orders. I've tried to sew out of my stash as much as possible, so it has mostly been an investment of my time (a lot of time based on the "disaster area" status of my house right now) and not so much money.

Here's one the things I've been working on:

No, it's not fabric spaghetti. It's lanyards:

Lanyards? But I make children's items! Yes, I know. But since this is a school event, I thought cute lanyards would be a great, unique gift idea for people to pick up for their children's teacher.

A much more fashionable way to wear an ID badge or keep your keys close, don't you think? I have given one to my son's teachers, and it always makes me smile to see that they still wear them.

I dug in my "stash" and tried to pick a variety of fabrics. There's some fun bold and graphic prints....

And some great fall-inspired colors and prints.

How about Asian-inspired? (I think these are my faves)

Or maybe something a little more "teacher traditional." Apples and children....

I also made some using basic stripes....

...and some with pretty pink fabrics.

I've cranked out 2 dozen of these puppies. I sure hope they sell. If not, I'm set for teacher gifts for the rest of my kids' academic careers!