Monday, December 10, 2012

One last Christmas decor post.

The last thing I felt like I needed to make this year was a Christmas wreath.  Annee made THIS one last year which was my inspiration.  I also used THIS white wreath (and tutorial), so I didn't have to wrap another grass wreath with yarn.  This project from start to finish took 30 minutes because I could reuse the white wreath.  Love a good reuse project!

I even had a couple extra lights that I draped on the bicycle hanging in my hallway.  Then I started thinking that Christmas tree lights would be a cute party garland idea.  I'll get on that for next year.  I need to move on from Christmas decor and start thinking about Christmas presents I'm going to sew.

Other decor I hung this year from last year included...

Christmas Party Garland and Merry Christmas Banner

An Activity Advent Calendar

The activity advent calendar has been fun for my kids.  We do just one Christmas activity a day which I think helps me not feel so overwhelmed, and I hopefully am teaching them something about the fun things we do at Christmas as well as the real meaning of the season.

Next up on the sewing schedule are Christmas pajama pants.  The activity on day number 24 on the advent calendar is "open one present."  Those presents are suppose to be new pajamas.  Last year I bought matching pajamas for my boys and Grace got a cute new nightgown.  She was a tad disappointed to not be matching the boys.  I searched for matching pajamas for all three of them, but with them being different sizes and different sexes it was getting difficult.  My solution was to sew them all pajama pants and applique them t-shirts.  This should be a quick and easy project, but I just need to get motivated.  I bought the fabric, I have the patterns all pulled out, so now I just need to cut, sew, and applique.

Fingers crossed I start tomorrow!  It would be nice just to get it done.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

New Christmas Pillows

I've been dying to change the pillows on my couch.  I've pinned quite a few pillow I want to make, but then I told myself I'd just do it after Christmas.  While visiting my in-laws in LA over Thanksgiving, I made a quick trip to the fashion district.  I found a couple cute Christmas fabrics, and in my head new pillows were being created.  Sew, I got new pillow for my couch.  Hopefully I'll be as ambitious after the holidays to make more pillows.

First I found the Michael Miller Tree Farm print, and thought it would make a cute bow pillow coupled with a candy cane striped fabric for the front.  This was actually the last pillow I made, but it's one of my new favorites.  I made a bow pillow a couple years ago, but I'd put it into retirement, so having a new bow pillow has reaffirmed how much I love bow pillows.  Maybe I'll make another one?  I just made this up as I went along, but I followed this tutorial many, many moons ago.

The fabrics really got my wheels turning were Aneela Hoey's Cherry Christmas.  Aneela's fabrics all have a similar feel to them with small, detailed fabrics, and she uses a lot of the same color palettes in most of her lines.  This fabric might not be for everyone, but I found it so charming, and I knew I needed it.  I bought a quarter yard of all six of the prints that Michael Levine had, and I made two 20" patchwork pillows with fabric to spare.  I just did simple 5 1/2" blocks sewn together and then quilted the tops using the free-motion quilting.  Oh, Fransson!'s tutorial really helped me figure out how to FMQ.

I bound my Cherry Christmas pillows in the candy cane stripped fabric I used on the bow pillow, and for the back I actually found a cute print at JoAnn's.  Gasp!  Sometimes JoAnn's surprises me in a good way, and with 50% off, this was a very good surprise.  I used the christmas light print for the back of the Cherry Christmas pillows and the bow pillows.

Probably the pillow that made me feel all giddy once completed way my 25 Pillow. 

 I attended a Pinterest Party a month ago.  A fellow Pinner brought her burlap pillows, and I thought they were so simple and stylish.  Having never worked with burlap, I was curious, so I gave it a go with a new Christmas pillow.  Burlap is $3.99/yd at my JoAnn's and for my 16x26 pillow for I used almost an entire yard.  I found a font liked in Microsoft Word, blew up the numbers 2 and 5 to 500 pt, printed them out, cut them out, traced them on to freezer paper creating my template, and then cut out my template.  I then cut a pillow top 16 1/2 by 26 1/2, placed my template down, ironed it on the burlap top, and painted.  It's a tedious process, especially with all the cutting, but nothing too hard.
Once the paint was dried, I ironed over the paint so it doesn't wash off/bleed.  I did cut another 16 1/2 by 26 1/2 piece of burlap to go behind the top piece with the 25 on it.  I just thought it was too see thru without the extra layer.

In general burlap was easy enough to sew, but it's very messy, and the fabric is rather shifty when you cutting and sewing.  Just be sure to use lots of pins and plan to use the vacuum when you are all done should you feel like you need a little burlap love in your home. 

I also brought back the Crate and Barrel knock-off Christmas tree pillow from last year.  It's super cute, but I kind of want to make a new one.  I don't really want to because it will take forever, but I know I can do some things differently if I had another go at it.  I have a feeling it won't ever happen, and probably that's A-okay!

 That's the new line-up for Christmas pillow this year.  My brown leather chairs are feeling empty.  I had a thought for one or two more pillows, but maybe I save them for next year??

I read a quote on Facebook the other day that said something like "we compare our behind the scenes with others highlight reels."  Sew, I thought I'd let you see that my highlight reel is just one big facade.  I moved tons of stuff to the other half of my living room/dining room combined space to take my pretty pictures today, and I even forbade my children from sitting on the couch before school.  We only have one couch, so that was probably a little mean.  But my pictures look pretty, right?!  My little ones will live.  Now hopefully my pillows will survive the torture they are about to be put through by 3 little ones using them as toys, rocks, hot lava, climbing blocks, etc.  

Sew on, sewing friends!

Monday, December 3, 2012

One month later...

I did sew during the month of November, but I guess I just never got around to taking pictures or recording it here.  Sorry!  But, I'm back in my sewing saddle, and I have several things to share this week. Hopefully I'll get lots of pictures of all the goodies I've been sewing.

First to share are new Christmas ornaments.  I took out all my Christmas decorations the weekend before Thanksgiving.  Within an hour of opening up the ornament box, Henry had shattered a glass ornament into a million little pieces.  I had plans of sewing some ornaments for our Christmas tree, but after the tragic ornament accident, I knew if we were going to have anything on the Christmas tree it would be sewn.  I guess I could have bought fabric or plastic ornaments but where's the fun in that?!

Over Thanksgiving while we traveled, I did lots of cutting, and then I spent all last week sewing and sewing and sewing.  I feel like I should have more to show for what I made, but each of the ornaments I made involved both machine sewing as well as hand stitching.  These labors of love are time consuming!

First up I made 6 of Anna Maria Horner's Holiday Hoots.  I've loved these for 2 years now, but never made any for myself.  I made some for my mom one year, and I admired them when Annee first made them a couple Christmases ago, but with so much other holiday sewing to be done, they never quite made the list.  This year they were prioritized.

I omitted the sequins and didn't do any accent stitching on the wings, but all the same these owl ornaments are something to hoot about!  Ha!

Next I used Dana from Made's tutorial to make initial ornaments.  These were super simple and rather quick. 

George really does like his ornament even though you'd never know it by his somber expression!

 The slowest part is cutting out the letters and machine sewing them.  Once you get that out of the way, the simple stitching around the circle is a breeze.  The hand sewing on these were done in under an hour.  Not too shabby.

While the initial ornaments went quickly, the 5 mini houses took me 5 hours minus the design and cutting time.  Talk about a labor of love.  

However, I had a good book to listen to which made the time pass quickly.  I also sewed them assembly line style which helped.

The mini houses are so cute, and part of me wished I made more, but then I think of how long it took to make 5, and I'm okay with not having more.  Maybe I'll make 5 more next year.  (Or maybe I'll just be totally happy with what I have!)

That's a grand total of 16 new ornaments on the Christmas tree.  I'll post a picture of all my new ornaments on the Christmas tree once I decide if I'm done making ornaments.  I have one more ornament that I've been designing in my head as I'm sewing other Christmas decor.  Should my ornament ever be more than a fleeting thought, I'll be sure to share.  Maybe I'll even get a little tutorial written for it.  It could be a little Christmas present for all of you who didn't give up on us over the last month.  I'll be sure to keep you posted!

Back to the sewing room/dining room table.  The Italian will be happy when my need to decorate every inch of the house with Christmas decor dies down so we can use the dining room table again.  It's looked like this for over a week.  (The sewing machine is on the table as well, but sadly didn't make it into this shot.)  

I had set a deadline in my head to have Christmas decor sewing done by December 1st, but with no one really enforcing the deadline, I was able to get an extension.  My new deadline is the end of the week.  I'll let you know if I get another extension.

Happy sewing!

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