Hello, everyone, Sandra here, to post during the merry month of December!
You’ll hopefully forgive me for digressing today into holiday happiness….it’ll be back to the business of art quilts, etc. in the New Year. One of my favorite things about the holidays is the opportunity to create….food, gifts, decorations…so many possibilities!! Although I consider myself an art quilter, when it comes to Christmas and the holidays I definitely let some traditions find their way into my quilting, and life in general. I have been turned on to hand-applique lately so I decided to design and create a Christmas-themed quilt. Sort of traditional, but whimsical and a little funky. I recently finished it, just in time to hang. It’s covered in quilting, beads, bells, bows and buttons. Embellishment heaven! I’ll be teaching it in 2014 as a monthly class ( locals, contact me for info) and hope to have the pattern available for sale by Fall of 2014. Here’s a photo, it’s about 70″ by 80″:
I don’t think I’ve ever had a Christmas without a live tree in my house. I have zillions of ornaments and always look forward to decorating my tree, eggnog in hand and holiday music playing. I remember my dad used to decorate our tree when I was a kid, and when taking it down he always took off the tinsel strand by strand (to be thrifty), stringing it neatly over his hand and returning it to the cardboard holder from the package for the next year. My, things have changed! I still have a few ornaments from those days, and cherish them. Many of my ornaments were gifts or souvenirs from trips that bring a smile to my face. And of course there are the ones my son made in elementary school, awkward but heartfelt, and keepers, for sure!
Stockings have always had a special place in my heart as well. As a child my sister and I always hung them for Santa and were thrilled at whatever came in them. There was always the requisite chocolate “apple”, (which I still buy to put in my son’s stocking), Brazil nuts, mandarin oranges and girly trinkets. Many years ago I started making stockings for friends and family, and still to this day make them. I’ve made so many over the years, I have even made stockings for children of people whom I made stockings for when they were little! (that’ll make you feel a little aged, uh-huh). At my house I hang all the stockings from our family, even ones of those who are dearly departed, as a nice way to remember them and feel them near. No fireplace here, but I don’t let that stop me. We have to leave the front door unlocked for Santa to get in!
There are so many fun ideas and ways to create at Christmas…gifts especially. Nothing says “I care about you” like a homemade gift. It’s a great excuse to be creative and make something that will be very appreciated! Who doesn’t love home-baked cookies, or a little something sewn with TLC? This year I’ve been busy making boxer shorts. I know quite a few teenagers and this is what they like. In the past, making homemade vinegars, jams, eggnog, and a Buche de Noel have been popular and well-received.
Eyeglass holders. Pillowcases. Pot holders. Photo calendars. Music CDs! Compile a list of your favorite Christmas music, compose a cover with a song list and you have a wonderful gift. You don’t have to visit a mall or even the Internet to come up with great gifts. I know from the customers who have been coming into my quilting studio that there are quite a few quilts being made into gifts as well. Talk about the gift that keeps on giving!
I love decorations that contain something recycled, or started out as one thing and became something else, or at least was handmade and used from year to year. Make gift tags from last year’s Christmas cards. Recycle ribbon. I have a branch from one of my favorite trees, called the Harry Lauder Walking Stick (how’s that for an impressive name?). I spray-painted a branch, which is fabulously curly-qued, and use it in a vase with little glass balls hanging on it. I also enjoy putting our red and green rubber boots on the front step with greenery sticking out, usually holly or madrone branches from our property. Collections are everywhere in my house…Santas, snowglobes, and quilts, of course!
So, for one month out of the year, we can be Santa’s elves, creating whatever makes us happy, to share with those we love and appreciate. Decorate our homes to be warm and inviting places to be.
Visit those folks who perhaps don’t have someone close to be with at the holidays. Be thankful for what we have. Collect food/gifts for the needy. Donate. Whatever works for you to feel like you are giving to others in a way that makes you happy.
From my house to yours I wish you all a wonderful holiday season, and a prosperous, creative and peaceful 2014!