Friday, January 18, 2013

A Handmade Christmas, pt 1

Here it is, January 18th, and the top thing on all our minds: Christmas!!!  Yeah, I know, everyone has moved on from Christmas.  But since I wasn't, ahem, blogging back in December, and since my family reads this blog and would have privy to their gifts beforehand, I'm gonna tell you about the gifts we made now.  In January.

There had been some chatter amongst a number of family members about MAKING gifts this year instead of BUYING them.  We're all semi-crafty, and thought it would be fun.  That was until we started doing it.  Then it got tough, and time-consuming, and at times expensive.  But all in all, it was still lots of FUN!  I don't recall anticipating Christmas so much as I have this year, just because I was dying to see what everyone had made!!  A few of us had remained pretty tight-lipped about what we were doing, so it was awesome to see the gifts unwrapped and the givers & receivers reactions!  Of course, I would have been wise to document all this, but alas, I suck.  Remember?  So, I'm going to sprinkle in the pics I have, and you'll just have to use your imagination on the processes!!

First up, the gifts we made.  I say "we" because the hubs did help, a little, and as a married couple, we represented as a "we".  And also because he's not so crafty.  Not because he couldn't be, but because he doesn't try.  But that's another story.  Our gifts:

1)  Everyone got one of those initial ornaments as gift tags on their presents.  They were easy to make out of the sheets of craft felt you see at Michael's for super cheap.  I just traced two circles in two different colors, cut them out, printed out a page with the first letter of everyone's name (I used Cooper Std Black in 100+ pt font) and then cut out each letter.  I then pinned the letters to felt, cut them out and hand-stitched them on with white embroidery floss.  I then pieced the 2 circles together and zipped around them with my sewing machine.  I left a tiny hole so I could stuff them with poly-fil.  Lastly, I cut a length of ribbon and stuck it in the hole I'd left open, and stitched that closed.  That might all sound awfully complicated, but those little guys took me no time at all, and were super cute!!  I kind of wish I'd made one for myself...

2)  My sister got this little wristlet/phone carrier/whatevs made from a men's necktie.  This one will probably be easiest to understand if you check out an actual tutorial with actual pictures.  Like this one.  It's quite simple once you get the gist, and I didn't do mine exactly like she did hers, but you'll get the idea.  Take a tie, cut off the skinny end, fold it up and stitch.  And if you like, make a little wristlet however you'd like.  I used a bit of the skinny end and stitched it right into the side.  You could add a clip, keyring, whatever!  I sewed on a snap to close it, and then a fancy button on top of the snap just to be decorative.  This was a fun little project, and didn't take much time at all.  The trickiest part was finding a cool WIDE tie so the iPhone would fit down into it.

3)  Next up, my brother and his family got matching PJ pants, and yes that is Christmas-striped John Deere fabric!  My brother's wife loves John Deere (such a funny thing if you know her b/c it's not something you'd expect!) and I found the fabric way back in August on clearance at Hancock Fabric.  It was my first foray into sewing with a REAL pattern, and I'm pretty proud of how well it went!  (I used Simplicity pattern #3577 which was a unisex adult & child PJ pattern- super easy to follow for a beginner!)  I also used the pattern to make our other nephew a pair:

4)  I was feeling so confident in my sewing-by-pattern abilities, that I made letter initial pillows out of fleece for all the kiddos in the family, and two of Riley's BFF's.  Here are a couple of the pillows:
I used an ANCIENT Simplicity pattern I found at the local thrift.  The letters were very "bubbley" and thus the M and the H I made looked a lot alike, lol.  But the kids loved them and they were super easy to make!

5)  Next up were wood bead necklaces for the gals in the family.  I was so impressed with the tutorial over at Decor And The Dog, and already had oodles of ribbon, so I thought I'd give it a go.  I followed her tutorial to the letter, and it couldn't have been more simple.  I spent the majority of my time trying to perfect the bows.  Four words: I.Suck.At.Bows.

6)  My sister had pinned a website ages ago where you could turn a photo into a coloring page.  I used one of her favorite pics and then had it blown way up.  I colored it and spray-mounted it to a canvas.
Actual Pic:

Coloring book page:

Sister's Gift:

7)  Next up, my mom has been needing storage for her jewelry for ages.  Scratch that, she HAS jewelry storage but it's in lots of drawers where you can't see anything!  I've been on a mission to make her something to display all her pretty necklaces and bracelets.  Voila...

I came across those interesting frames/boxes/whatevs at the local thrift.  They had weird prints on the front, but they actually peeled off really easily.  The hubs sanded them down and I painted them a pretty light green on the fronts and white around the edges.  The hubs then drilled holes and inserted some cute knobs we found at Ikea, and there ya go!  The only regret is we didn't have a chance to hang them during our visit.

8)  My parents lost their beloved dog this year, a Mastiff named Toby.  He was my dad's pride and (slobbery) joy, so when I saw a tutorial on Camilla's blog for a silhouette pillow, I knew it would be the perfect gift!  I adapted it from a photo my mom sent.

I used black felt- the craft felt sheet was too small, so I purchased 1/3 yd from Hancock Fabrics.  I cropped and enlarged the pic my mom sent, printed it and then cut out the silhouette.  I pinned it to the felt and cut that out.  I used spray mount to attach it to (both sides) of that great pillow from Ikea, but I wasn't 100% confident the spray mount would hold, so I (TEDIOUSLY) hand-stitched around the edges to secure it.

There you have it, part one of our handmade Christmas.  I'm going to try and round up pics of the things everyone else made, I was so impressed with the creativity of everyone and I know you will be too!!