December 27, 2009

Christmas craftiness complete!

Whew! We're finally through the marathon of crafting and Christmas-ing, and now we can relax! Now that all the goodies are in the hands of their new owners, I can share the projects and sources of inspiration here. Beyond the amazing bloggers and crafters on the web, I absolutely love all the awesome sewing and crafting books that I have in my library, and I'm so excited to have received a couple more for Christmas. It was fun to flip through the books and look for the perfect gift idea for this homemade holiday. So, without further ado, here's what I've spent the last few weeks doing:

First up, one of David's birthday gifts.

I saw these over a year ago somewhere on the web, and I stashed the idea away for future use. I finally pulled it out at the beginning of December and set about a plan to knit one olive a day until hubby's birthday on the 16th. That worked for a few days, but then I got off my game and ended up knitting half of them in one day when I realized that I was running out of time. A little Mod Podge and my trusty die-cutter helped me make the lid label to complete the package, which now lives on his desk at work.

Next, for my sister and (future) brother-in-law (who are lucky enough to be spending New Year's Eve in Mexico), I made these travel portfolios from a pattern in the Spring 2009 issue of Stitch magazine.

They're felt, with machine-stitched detailing on the cover and a little felt airplane applique. Inside are pockets for your plane ticket, ID, and passport. Cute, easy to assemble, and practical too. Now, if only we were the ones going to Mexico! Maybe next year.

I found inspiration for a couple of gifts in Alicia Paulson's book Stitched in Time. There are many ideas in here that I love, and this book is perfect for a uniquely personal gift idea.

I "borrowed" a bunch of photos from her parents' Facebook pages to make this memory game for our niece Kaia. I chose 18 photos to make 36 tiles, and made a little linen drawstring bag to keep it all in. Kaia's almost four, and I imagine she's probably played a memory game of some sort, but not one with pictures of her and her family. When she opened the bag, she declared that it was full of Valentines and was distracted for a few minutes from all the other exciting Christmas gifting that was going on around her.

Alicia's book was also the source of inspiration for these placemats for Kaia's parents. Alicia suggests them as a house-warming gift, and since the family recently moved into a new home, I thought it was appropriate.

The placemats are ivory linen, and I printed a photo of the new family residence on ink-jet fabric. Instead of the address, which Alicia printed on twill tape and added to the design, I chose a couple of house-centric quotes and printed them out to machine-applique. Two say "Love makes a house a Home", and the other two say "Home is where the Heart is". I used the grey metallic embroidery thread from the travel portfolios to satin stitch the quotes on, and I love the little bit of subtle shine that it adds. And since I didn't want them to be entirely impractical for a family with two small children, I treated the placemats with a professional-strength fabric protector before I wrapped them up.

For the other sister Jaeda, who is almost one-and-a-half, I made a little kitty stuffie from a pattern in Amy Butler's book Little Stitches for Little Ones.

I added a linen tote bag sized just right for the kitty to live in, because things are just more fun when they have their own special bag to match.

I also made another set of placemats for my sister and her family, this time with linen and Christmas print fabrics.

I was inspired by a set in the Winter 2008 issue of Stitch, but I didn't have time to hand-sew all the hexes in the English Paper Piecing design. I chose instead to just machine-applique a strip of printed fabric to the front, and bind the edges with the same material. I still want to give the English Paper Piecing a try though. Maybe for a set for our own house!

And then for one lucky Mother-in-law, two handcrafted projects of my own design! A toaster cover in lime green, (which I was unfortunatey forced to Indian-give so I could bring it back home and adjust the size), and an apron inspired by one from her Christmas wish-list.

As usual, I just couldn't bring myself to purchase something that I could easily make myself, so I interpreted the style of an apron that she liked into my own version. I really like the style, and may put another together for the shop when I get a chance.

I also put together some fun wood and paper ornaments with my dear friend Mod Podge, another moebius cowl for my other sister-in-law, and made a couple of pairs of earrings for my mom. Those didn't get photographed though, so you can just use your imagination!

I'm exhausted, and I have a kink in my neck from bending over all the sewing, but I must press on! Two more mixer covers are in progress that were ordered before Christmas. Holiday shipping gummed up the works, so I've got to get them completed and in the mail ASAP!

Hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas! I know we did!