Category: Holiday

Comfy Christmas PJ Pants

My favorite ever pair of pajama pants are some jersey knit ones with Santas all over them, purchased at Old Navy years ago. So many years ago that I don’t even remember when I bought them. They are so soft and comfortable, I pretty much wear them around the house all year long in spite of the seasonal fabric.

We stocked some cute Christmas knit fabrics from Riley Blake at the shop and Sarah suggested making a pair of knit PJ pants with them. Both of them. It seemed a little wild but I figured, “why not?”

They turned out so cute! I used an Indygo Junction pattern but I think they’d work for any pattern with a single pants leg. Or even a two-piece pants leg.

IMG_8662

I made a couple of modifications. I cut a 4″ piece of each fabric the same width as the bottom of the pants leg, sewed the short ends together, then folded in half wrong sides together and sewed it to the bottom of each leg. This made the pants just  tad longer and added an extra bit of fun.

Also, I was out of 3/4″ elastic so I used some 1″ wide boxer elastic I had on hand instead. I don’t normally serge the elastic to the fabric but I did for these just because.

Miss L loves them and was bummed when I told her they were going to the shop to hang as a sample. Fortunately I made them a little big so that they’ll still fit next year — not that I care if she wears them the rest of the year.

Ho-ho-holiday Quilt

I’m not quite sure what happened to this year. Didn’t 2014 just get started? How is it possible that we’re already 10 days into November?

B1174T

At least I’ve already got a head start on my holiday sewing. Last year I picked up a copy of Simply Modern Christmas by Cindy Lammon. The projects were just lovely and I could see myself making so many of them — and not limiting myself to holiday fabrics. Of course, I couldn’t resist making a cute Christmas quilt.

IMG_5824

The retro Christmas fabrics from Michael Miller just spoke to me! And the Kona in Pool was a perfect match. It’s a lot of flying geese but chain piecing made the work go a little faster. It’s not a huge quilt — small enough to back with one width of fabric — but great for showing off a big chunk of theme fabric.

My buddy Elizabeth Beck did the quilting and I wish I had snapped a better picture of the quilt so you could see her beautiful work! The quilt is on display at Intown Quilters, if you’re local.

Pinterest Christmas

My dearest Honey is beginning to dread the words “so I saw this cool thing on Pinterest,” likely because he’s come to expect me to completely obsess be inspired to do yet another project. Miss L’s birthday party may have been one such project. And Christmas just may be another.

Before Thanksgiving, I was talking to Honey about our need to replace the 10-year-old Christmas tree. “You know,” I said, “I’m really tempted to just leave all the ornaments in the attic this year and just start fresh.” And he said, “Okay.” Which I interpreted as “go right ahead.”

Whether that was his intention or not is completely irrelevant. What is important is that I consulted him on color scheme (“If I were going to change things up, would you rather do this or this?”) and I did my best to do it on the cheap. That meant having my oldest pull anything out of the attic that worked with the new colors (silver, white and aqua, with a touch of red) and scouring Target, TJ Maxx, Marshalls and Home Goods for inexpensive decor items I could use. Oh and of course making a few things, too.

Want to see?

_MG_0642

Oh Christmas Tree. Tree and many ornaments from Target (mostly the shatterproof kind since the tree is situated in the middle of the greyhound’s indoor track aka the dining room) but also some from Home Goods etc. and our existing stash. Ribbon garland from Hobby Lobby (50% off). Star from that W place. Tree skirt made by me.

_MG_0637

Coffee table. Candleholder thingy from Home Goods; candles from my stash.

_MG_0643

Dining room light fixture. Most of the ornaments from the attic. Snowflake/crystal drops from TJ Maxx. Bow ornaments from Target.

_MG_0648

End table in the living room. Silvered glass tree from TJ Maxx. Glitter house from Hobby Lobby, painted and glittered by me. Tiny tree from attic.

_MG_0647

Foyer. Holiday sign a free printable I found on Pinterest. Brush tree from Marshalls. Ornaments and garland from Target.

_MG_0657

Foyer light fixture. This is seriously one of my favorite touches! Paper star from Home Goods ($4!!) with stash ribbon added.

_MG_0645

Stair railing leading up to the living room. Stockings made by me (aqua feather wale cord from my stash + Platinum Delovely Damask from Antiquity by Michael Miller). Garland from Michaels (60% off).

_MG_0644

We have a sort of half wall along one side of the dining room and where the stairs come up, open to the foyer. It needed something but it couldn’t be anything that could fall off the ledge since it likely would end up broken thanks to either us or the cats. I made a really simple banner garland with more of the damask fabric and a glittery aqua ric rac (Hobby Lobby, 50% off). It’s hung with some of those removable 3M hooks with more of the Target ornament bows to hide the hooks.

_MG_0649

Fireplace hearth and mantel. Seasons Greetings garland, mini trees and pots we had (I freshened up the pots with some white paint). Ornament garland from Home Goods. Silvered tree and glass owl from Marshalls.

_MG_0652

Schrank in the kitchen. A work in progress. Wreath, stands and ornaments we already had. The “gifts” are wrapped boxes I had on hand. Glass owl from Marshalls. Banner garland made by me.

_MG_0654

Kitchen sink window. Mason jar we had; I just added candy canes from Target. Silver glitter snowflakes also from Target and hung with monofilament thread, suspended from monofilament thread strung on two 3M hooks. Lighted garland from the attic.

_MG_0655

Kitchen cabinets dressed up with ribbon (50% off at Hobby Lobby). I used tiny clothespins (Joann) to clip the Christmas cards we received to the ribbon. It took two rolls of ribbon to add it to all the tall upper cabinet doors (8 total) and we’ve just about filled them with cards.

_MG_0659

Tree in my studio. I’ve had it three years and this year decorated it with the items I made for L’s birthday party. The tree skirt is my design (created for the FreeSpirit booth at Quilt Market with different fabric).

We had a few friends over for a casual open house, which of course meant I did a little cooking:

_MG_0635

_MG_0634

Tablecloth from Home Goods. Table runner made by me with a different colorway of the damask fabric. Centerpiece put together with silver tray and candles we had (I Mod Podged glitter on the pillar) and votive holders from Target. You can see more of the food on Flickr, if you’re interested.

Pink Christmas

I am not a test-the-waters kind of gal. I’m more of a jump-in-with-both-feet person, which probably explains all the half-finished projects in my life. And craft supplies. And this year’s completely overboard Christmas redecorating.

But I digress.

I had heard of Don’t Look Now! patterns but it wasn’t until I saw them at Market in person that I really “got” it. They were so cool and so different from what I’d seen before. Over time, I started thinking, “Hey, I could totally do this!”

Now, most people might think this and decide to try a pillow before diving into a quilt. I am not most people. My life would surely be easier if I were most people but probably a whole lot less interesting. Behold my take on the Don’t Look Now! White Christmas pattern:

White Christmas in PINK!

The tree is Kona Bright Pink; the background is a white-on-white snowflake fabric from Timeless Treasures. The binding and backing are from Kaufman (Tinsel Tree, maybe?).

I traced, cut, fused and stitched around every. single. one of those snowflakes. Some of ’em are a little wonky looking and I really need an extension table and a class on machine quilting. But I did it! I did the whole thing! (With some fantastic advice from my friends Taffy and Patty, I should mention.)

quilting detail

Because of my complete lack of quilting experience, I enlarged some of the snowflakes (another suggestion from the dynamic duo) and quilted around them on the white. I probably should have done more quilting in between but it ain’t happening.

I definitely learned a lot from making this (those grippy gloves are a must! you can’t have enough thread!) and actually am looking forward to making another Don’t Look Now quilt at some point. Just not anytime soon.

A #ssswap Christmas

Earlier this fall, I jumped at the chance to join the Twitter #ssswap (Secret Santa Swap) organized by the lovely @sukie80 (be sure to check out her fab blog, too). I was excited but a little nervous because I knew several of the folks involved and, well, it’s a little intimidating to think about sewing stuff for some of these folks since they might rethink our friendship upon closer inspection of my handiwork.

And then I got the email with my swap partner. And my heart was filled with joy.

IMG_1497 Me with Jana at Quilt Market in Houston

I love this girl. And her family. Immediately the wheels were churning. Stalking her Pinterest only further honed my instincts. So early in December, I sent her a box containing this:

#ssswap gifts wrapped

Three little packages all wrapped up in kraft (craft?) paper and lace ribbon. Inside the packages …

#ssswap gift

A scarf made with ruffle fabric in a pretty pink to add a little pop of color to her day (based on a tutorial from V&Co. because she’d already made what I had in my head). A footstool pincushion (modified version of a pattern by the oh-so-awesome Penny) because Jana needs a safe place to keep her pins. And a Fluevog all her own to love and fondle.

fluevog mini quilt

I’m not a quilter but I have been known to try my hand at the odd quilt pattern every now and then. There is no pattern for this, however, so I pretty much made it up as I went along. I was in the middle of working on my first Don’t Look Now! pattern (more on this tomorrow) so I decided to use that appliqué technique for this one.

I started out by photographing one of my shoes, then importing it into Photoshop and printing it out at the desired size to trace off for the appliqué pieces. It is a raw-edge technique with lots of free-motion stitching around each part of the appliqué (which I’m not very good at doing) but I think that just adds to the funky quality. I used embroidery floss for the running stitches detailing the shoe and some vintage buttons to replicate the leather-covered buttons on the strap.

fluevog mini quilt detail

I finished it off by quilting in a geometric sort of ray pattern radiating out from the shoe. There’s a small line of echo quilting around the shoe and I used that and the inner border as my guide for moving between each line of quilting. I finished it off with an embroidered label on the back (backing is from Sandi Henderson’s Farmer’s Market line):

fluevog mini quilt label

It’s not a very big quilt (the background started life as a fat quarter) but it was stitched with a lot of love.

The Countdown Begins

Growing up, we always had these cool German advent calendars to help us mark off the days until Christmas. My mom was German and it was such a key part of my childhood memories that I continued the tradition with my own kids.

The boys are all grown up now (and might be known for plowing through an entire calendar in one sitting rather than opening one door each night) but we continue to get advent calendars for them and their little sister. In recent years I’ve considered making one — because nothing makes you feel quite like an underperforming crafty mom like the Internet — but never quite found a style that really meshed with my taste.

Enter this handy little book:

Countdown Calendars popped up on my radar earlier this year and I couldn’t have been more excited*. There are several countdown events with calendars and a nice selection that are just perfect for the Christmas season. Some of the designs aren’t really my style but one really stood out to me and I quickly picked out some fabrics for it to create a shop sample.

Candy Cane Lane

Candy Cane Lane (p. 16) is pretty fun and leaves a lot of room for personalizing. The book calls for button numbers but I opted to use my expensive paperweight embroidery machine instead. If I had to do it again, I’d leave off the flat piping. I struggled to get it to lay flat; there’s just too much bulk in the seams with all the on-point stuff (which is definitely not my strong suit).

It also merits pointing out that I’m not a quilter and also should not work on projects after 9 p.m. I was so eager to finish the calendar that I kept working until 11 p.m. After I finished the entire thing (including the binding), I realized that “squaring up” is not quite what happened. In fact, the top edge of the project has a very noticeable slant. Feel free to copy me — it’s a trend I’m sure will be all the rage in the coming year. *wink*

Miss L is excited about using it and I’ve already loaded up each pocket with a piece of Dove chocolate.

*Disclosure: The book is published by Stash Books, an imprint of C&T Publishing, which is also my publisher. I paid retail for this book at my local LQS. I received no compensation for writing about this book and all opinions are mine.

The Big Giveaway Winner

Well, of course I think *all* of you are winners. All 504 of you. Holy cow! I am so overwhelmed by the number of comments on this giveaway. Seriously. And so many of you had such kind things to say about the book and the giveaway…it really warmed my heart. You have no idea. Thank you. <3

But enough of that mush — y’all want to know who is getting all these goodies!

Congratulations, Madeline!

Little Girls, Big Style: The Giveaway

I have been working on this giveaway forever. Like, since I started working on Little Girls, Big Style. I have always loved hosting giveaways and this one is even more special to me for rather obvious reasons. And I’m especially excited to be taking part in Sew, Mama, Sew’s annual Giveaway Day (be sure to check out the link and see all the amazing blogs/shops taking part).

Here’s what you’ll be winning from me:

• An autographed copy of Little Girls, Big Style.

• Two yards of Pellon Easy Pattern for tracing the patterns in the book.

• Some fun trims from my stash for using with some of the projects.

• A Clover Chaco Liner chalk marking pen.

• Three one-yard cuts of fabric (fun multicolored owls on white 21-wale cord by Robert Kaufman, Euro-style mermaids from JoAnn and the prize from my stash: Little Elfi from Germany).

• ModKid Little Chef pattern, which I tested for the lovely Patty Young.

• Indygo Junction Petal Blossom Bag designed by Violet Craft, which is the most recent thing I’ve sewn.

• A Starbucks Frappuccino cup and gift card. Starbucks was my office-away-from-home while I was working on the book and I spent many an hour there, writing without the distractions of home (or the Internet).

• An autographed copy of Jenn Cristy‘s Hotel Confessions. Not only was this the soundtrack of my book-writing days but I actually did the photography, CD packaging design and merch design while I was writing the book. You say “crazy;” I say “multitasking.”

This giveaway is open until U.S. residents until Dec. 17 at which time I’ll select a winner using Random.org. (Sorry, international friends! I will do a book-only giveaway just for you after the first of the year.) To enter, all you have to do is comment on this post. Yep, it’s just that easy.

And don’t forget you can still enter the giveaways on the Little Girls, Big Style blog tour (continuing through Dec. 15) to win a copy of the book. Check out these blogs for your chance to win there:

What are you waiting for? Get commenting!