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I was reading Jenny’s blog again recently and was reminded that I wanted to give you all some more ideas for homemade gifts.
As you know I am a bit of a fan of Christmas fabrics and Christmas ornaments :-) and I think there is nothing nicer than a handmade ornament as a gift.
Years ago I used to cross stitch Christmas cards, pre blog so no pictures sadly, and loved doing it. However cards only tend to be used once then put away.
I got the idea for ornaments when my Mum started putting all the old cards out year after year so I thought why don’t I make hanging ornaments instead then they can be re-used.
So here are a selection of patterns and tutorials for your Christmas gifts, some by me others that I have found and love.
I now make at least 15 keepsake ornaments every year and they have become something that people always look forward to getting, it is lovely to go to friends’ houses and see things on their trees that I made years ago that even I have forgotten about.
Quilted Ball Ornaments
These are my 2015 special gifts for my friends from toddler group – 23 years of friendship and still going strong with sons and daughters now all in their 20s!
There is a great step-by-step tutorial here and despite the fact that they look difficult they really aren’t. Great for relaxing in front of the TV as it is very therapeutic and you don’t need any sewing skills. Fabric is pinned onto a polystyrene bauble.
These are ultimate cuteness and come from the lovely Julie of Little Cotton Rabbits. I would say medium level knitting skills and the instructions are brilliant. They are knitted flat and are very quick to do.
Suffolk Puff Bauble
Again a great way to relax and you can embellish this with buttons, charms, pins etc as you wish. The base is a polystyrene bauble as with the quilted bauble.Detailed tutorial is here.
This is one of my designs combining my love of English Paper Piecing and Christmas fabric, I love adding charms and buttons to these.Tutorial on how to make them is here.
Cute embroidered hoops for children
I just had to share this one with you, no detailed instructions for this version but they look easy enough to follow from these pictures. There are some wonderful things in this 25 ideas booklet from 36th Avenue blog including these amazing cupcakes!
Crazy Patchwork Trees and Hearts
I love using up all my scraps so have made some crazy patchwork ornaments over the years, here are some examples of little trees and padded hearts and a step by step tutorial for making the patchwork tree here.
If you want to make the hearts just make a bigger patchwork sheet as below and cut hearts out from it.
Star Pentagon Ornaments
I have not made these yet but they look beautiful and very simple to do. This Create 4 Fun site contains downloadable PDFs for this and other ornaments.
Small Cross Stitch motifs
This free pattern is for a game but I think they would make lovely ornaments stitched and surrounded by pretty Christmas fabrics.
There are lots more links to free cross stitch patterns at this site with a good selection for children’s ornaments.
What could be more festive than redwork? This free sampler pattern from Bronwyn Hayes at Red Brolley is so lovely and could easily be used for smaller ornaments. There are more redwork Christmas freebies at that site as well.
Happy Christmas ornament making, take care and see you soon. Thanks for visiting.
I really enjoy making stitching gifts and have just finished a set for a special little girl, the eldest daughter of my very talented friend Kat, the women who makes the gorgeous medieval and Tudor clothes and is a fabulous embroider as well.
If you have not seen her creations please look at her website Kats Hats and her Facebook page which also has loads of research such as manuscripts, effigies etc. She has also started running courses as well, details on the page.
It is Kat’s daughter’s birthday in a couple of weeks and she is following in her mother’s footsteps and started sewing a while ago so I have made her this pincushion and needle case set out of some fabric from my Simply Solids scrap stash.
I made a similar set for Rachel, my most prolific blog commenter and these were again from the Simply Solids scrap stash.
English Paper Piecing is great for this kind of small scale fabric stash and I am currently working on a similar item from my New Hexagon book that I posted about previously using my lovely Christmas present Liberty Lawn from Very Berry Fabrics.
I do particularly love making (and owning) pincushions and stitching pillows with space for needles in the back as well and these are the, mainly, stitched ones that I have made on the past, lots of these were for exchanges.
Amanda Jean at Crazy Mom has a lovely idea of making pincushions regularly out of her scrap pile and keeping them in a basket for when stitching friends come round to give as gifts, isn’t that a great thing to do.
There are just a few more (595 pins!) ideas on this lovely Pinterest Board – do you think we might actually make more stuff if someone hadn’t invented Pinterest, not that I am complaining, I love it!
Right back to my hexis and a Game of Thrones marathon, am trying to catch up with the rest of Season 4 before Season 5 starts mid April or I will spend the entire re-enactment season having to try to avoid spoilers from all my friends who are avid fans!
Have a lovely rest of the weekend and thanks for visiting.
I realised (as I was mulling over the design for my thank you gift for all those lovely comments) that I had not posted any pictures of the last giveaway I did for my 400th post or the last piece of stitching that I did for the sadly now defunct Seasonal Exchange.
So here they are. This is the needlecase that I made, Cat had requested deep colours and I had these fabrics in my scraps from making my medieval pattern fabric throw for the sofa (which I still have not finished the hand quilting on – ahem!) so I though I would combine my hexagon addiction with a little goldwork.
The inside of the case has felt in a deep red for the needles and I put a little hexagon pocket in as well for scissors, threaders etc. Apologies for the yellowness of the picture, this was November light in Yorkshire!
This was the last pincushion I made – the original gift got lost in the post and never arrived :-( so I made this little bird one instead.
It is an adaptation of a pattern from one of my cross stitch magazines, the original has NOEL on it and is a Christmas ornament but I liked the idea of an autumn bird looking for berries. It is backed with some of the same fabric left over from the throw.
I don’t know where I got the little acorn charm from but thought it was very cute and just right for this piece.
We have had more snow this week, I actually ended up with a snow day yesterday where despite mine and the bus driver’s valiant attempts to get us to town I arrived too late for where I was going so turned round and came home! Was very tempted to just sit under a fleecy blanket and stitch but I was good and got on with some marking.
Plans for this weekend are to try out some more quilting blocks and our February block of the month will be released soon as well!
Hope you have a nice weekend and thanks for visiting.
A few years ago at Harrogate I saw some really stunning, original embroidery in the graduate showcase and was really pleased to see the work of Caren Garfen back again, this time with her own exhibition.
Caren’s work is called ‘She was cooking something up’ and is based around a kitchen installation. It takes the theme of women’s lives and their relationship with food, dieting and body image. Not only is it technically amazing, all of this is hand stitching on screen printed backgrounds, but so creative and powerful.
Apologies as my images are all a bit yellow due to the show lighting.
I was lucky enough to be able to talk to Caren and tell her how much I loved her work.
There are some more detailed pictures (in better light) at this show link.
Her website also gives more details of her work and there is a really interesting interview with Caren at this link on the Textile Artist web site. I particularly like the way her work links modern stitching with the history of women’s work and needlework.
As someone who is really interested in the history of needlework it is fascinating the way that women’s lives were often influenced heavily by their skills with a needle in terms of employment, readiness for marriage, social activities etc and this work makes us think through stitching about our lives and current pressures on them.
No longer do we have to be proficient needlewomen to clothe our families, or ‘make do and mend’ to help the war effort, or have 12 quilt tops ready before we get married but for many of us needlecrafts and knitting are still very central to our lives.
It always fascinates me as someone who has crafted all her life that knitting, quilting, embroidery and sewing are now popular like never before (and often on prime time TV), not because we have to do it but because we want to do it and the ‘handmade home’ is now once again valued over mass production.
The fact that the internet (the original idea of linking computers was to protect data in the event of war) is such as resource for us all (not just women but mainly women) to share ideas, encourage each other and to often enable us to sell our work is fantastic.
My life would definitely by so much poorer without my bloggy ‘imaginary friends’ as my kids call them. So on that note thanks for visiting and have a nice week ahead!
There has been great excitement here in the village this week as we are being used as a film set again, this time for a movie, ‘A Monster Calls’ , with Liam Neeson (who will be playing a tree apparently so won’t be doing any live filming) and Sigourney Weaver who will!
The village and the surrounding countryside has already featured in lots of things, most notably, ‘Last of the Summer Wine’, and ,’Where the Heart is’, and we had Micheal Palin spotted here not long ago while he was filming a ghost story at the vicarage.
However the most exciting thing apart from star spotting is that one of the village shops has been given a make over, this is usually one of our local charity shops and has a very plain window similar to its neighbour that you can just see a bit of on the left of this picture.
But look at that gorgeousness! All that lovely stock. Sadly it is going to have to be turned back after the filming but everyone in the village loves it and wishes it could stay.
We will have some themed shops this weekend though as it is the Jazz Festival and I helped my friend Sharon make bunting with some of the music themed fabric that she bought from the Quilt Cabin in Hebden Bridge a few weeks ago.
It is in the window of her art gallery ‘Enjoy Art’ which will hopefully be busy with lots of visitors to the festival.
I was perusing the charity shops this weekend and not only did I get some more great bargains (a new top for Xmas and some knee-length leather winter boots for the princely sum of £5.45 in total) but also this gorgeous piece of vintage embroidery.
I have taken a couple of close-ups of things we see a lot of round here – is raining again today :-(
And something that has not been seen in Marsden yet however given our role as a film venue who knows what might happen in the future!
No date but I would estimate 1930s – 50s by the style of it. Stitched on linen in cross stitch it says at the top, ‘Teach me please my ABCs’, so I imagine it was for a child’s room and will be going up in my craft room this afternoon.
It is too nice to cut up and was only an amazing £2.80. I do love charity shops :-)
Have made great progress with the hexis for the aprons, they are appliqued to the backing fabric just waiting for a machining session to be sewn together and am working on some more hexi love with the mini charm packs from Simply Solids today.
Will update at the weekend if time allows, I am running the box office for the Jazz Festival again all weekend and am hoping to see a couple of events including one of my favourite vocalists Ruby Wood with her new band The Sugar Sisters who are headlining on Saturday night.
See you soon and thanks for visiting!
There will always be textiles wherever I go as not only are they important and many of the places I visit have them on display as part of the social history of the location but also I do sometimes seek them out ;-)
However this holiday I had some very pleasant surprises on the textile front as I found some when I wasn’t even looking for them :-)
The first nice surprise was this beautiful sampler which had been done by Margarete the lady who ran the hotel we stayed in Germany. She was in her 70s and the hotel has been in her family for over 100 years.
I couldn’t help thinking that she must have had a pretty hard life, she was on duty about 15 hours a day when we were there and I hope that at some points they got to close the hotel and have a holiday themselves.
I like to imagine that she stitched this in her free time and it gave her pleasure and helped her relax, it is a beautifully stitched piece and she was obviously proud of it as it was hung in the bar area.
Then we had our unexpected trip to the Steiff Teddy Bear Museum which was an optional trip on the holiday which the kids really wanted to go to. It was really good with a little interactive piece at the start that told you the history of the company followed by a room with lots of toys that you could touch (and sit on) then displays of the toys throughout the ages.
The company was started by Margarete Steiff who was a keen seamstress, she had polio as a child and never married but sewed children’s clothes then made her first toy, an elephant (by accident it was meant to be a pincushion but it got played with!).
She then went on to make teddies and all manner of other creatures. The above photo shows a reproduction of the sewing room that starts the interactive part.
One of the most interesting parts for me as I have been making toys recently (both knitted and have started a couple of fabric ones) was the workroom at the end where as well as staff working demonstrating the toys being made they had lots of patterns hung up and old photos showing the factory workers. There is a concise history of the Steiff business at this link if you are interested.
Then when we went to Rothenburg we came across this shop selling hand embroidered textiles.
They employ over 500 home workers to do the embroidery so I had to go and support the local economy and all those lovely ladies didn’t I? The kids were very patient while I chose from hundreds of gorgeous things.
I bought these beautiful lavender filled whitework pillows for display in my kitchen and an embroidered runner for the Xmas table. As I reminded Jake I do only have 4 (he seemed to think that was too many last year – no idea why?). This one will go very nicely with my holly decorated dinner set).
Rothenburg is also famous for its Christmas shops (which I honestly didn’t know when I booked the trip kids) and so spent ages in the Christmas Village in the Kathe Wolfahrt shop which was amazing! No photos allowed inside but this is from their website and it actually looks like this.
I bought 2 beautiful lace ornaments for the tree and a little heart that hangs in my kitchen.
A wonderful array of textile goodness to add to a lovely holiday – very happy.
More pictures to come of the town of Rothenburg, it is still raining here in Yorkshire so no alternative but to spend the day in crafting – how sad ;-)
Thanks for visiting.
Hello and happy Mother’s Day for all of you in the UK. I have (virtually) met lots of brilliant, creative and dedicated Mums through blogging and I hope that you have all been thoroughly spoilt today.
Here we have a double celebration as my little baby Ellie is 23 today! Seems impossible but time is flying by.
I made her a special cake – which we had at breakfast as she had to leave this afternoon!
She is very happy at the moment as she has not only passed her driving test (second time around with only 1 fault) but has also this week bought a car :-)
She is practising at the moment but she is planning to drive to some of the events this year with me so that will be very exciting! She has also had a year’s extension on her contract so all is good :-)
Here is the car – it is called Kim after its number plate! Can’t wait to have some fun trips to re-enactment in it.
I had some great presents and flowers from the kids including these very pretty button jars that Ellie made for me – perfect in my newly sorted craft room and loads of gorgeous buttons for embellishments!
While we were having our sewing weekend a few weeks ago she was sorting some of the stuff that she left here and came across this pump bag that I made her while she was at school. This was the name band that I stitched for her.
She must have been about 8 when I made it. A that time I was doing a lot of cross stitch and made lots of cards using little motifs like these.
There has also been another bunny from the production line, this one is Isabella and she will be going to live with a friend from re-enactments new-born baby daughter.
Am very happy at the moment as it is nearly the start of the re-enactment season, I am going on holiday very soon with Mum and the kids to Bavaria and the clocks have gone forward so there will be lighter evenings! Hurrah for Spring and Summer to follow… lovely!
Hope you have had a happy day, take care and thanks for visiting.
Hello and happy weekend!
I know we have one every week but still get stupidly excited about the prospect of the weekend, a whole two days just to do nice stuff.
I love getting up early on the weekends and just pottering around with the prospect of some knitting, stitching, a walk or some baking ahead of me!
I am planning some experimental baking this weekend as I am trying to be gluten free due to a few health problems so I have downloaded some nice looking recipes and will see what the results taste like.
I have some sad stitching news to report as for the first time ever one of my exchange pieces has gone astray :-( I have been doing exchanges for about 6 years and this is the first time a parcel has not got there.
I kept waiting and hoping but it was sent in Oct and has not arrived in the US. Possibly it got mixed up with some seasonal post and may turn up but in the meantime I am going to stitch another piece for the recipient.
This is what it looked like, I can’t find the actual pattern at the moment to tell you the name of it but it was part of a freebie from this gorgeous Italian cross stitcher’s site – she is called La Comtesse & le point decroix and she has really pretty designs on the site.
Hope you are all having a lovely winter weekend and thanks for visiting.
You would think that someone who makes Christmas ornaments nearly all year round and started knitting gifts months ago would be finished well in time for the last posting dates wouldn’t you?
You would not imagine a weekend of frantic finishing and a sudden realisation that one of the bunny gifts does not have any legs at the moment :-(
Only realised yesterday as well that the bag that was going to be given with one of the bunny gifts was still unfinished – oops.
However I am doing well despite the lateness and have the gifts that need to be posted ready to go and will be doing more finishing this week including the legs – was sure I had a whole bag of completed bits but one bunny has had too much Xmas cheer and is legless ha ha :-)
The finished bunny I have named Lucy though she is going to my cousin’s daughter who will name her, hope she likes her as much as the other cousin’s daughter did with the first bunny I made.
I made the bag in the summer – it is made from recycled jeans and a pillow case and it was the colour scheme of the pillow case that inspired Lucy’s 3 dresses.
I love the way she has wonky ears, all the bunnies turn out with such different faces. Lucy looks quite serious don’t you think?
Have also made up all the stitched ornaments into little hanging pillows.These are all JBW Designs from Sew and Sew.
I have little to excuse myself for this tardiness except the fact that I have been very busy at work and possibly have tried once again to make too much in too short a space of time ;-)
I think when I sort out the craft room in Jan I shall have a noticeboard and will write a list of projects and timescales so I can keep track, especially as I have so much medieval kit to stitch for next season.
Planning not helped by the fact that I have just subscribed to a new magazine called Love Patchwork and Quilting which has given me so many new ideas for things that I want to make.
What about this little bird ornament – can you imagine some of those in Christmas fabric?
They have a first 3 issues for £5 deal on their website at the moment and it is a very lovely magazine with links to lots of other lovely blogs.
I have been looking at the work of Amy Smart whose Diary of a Quilter blog is full of lovely, lovely things. So many ideas and so little time!
Anyway back to my finishing now – only 9 days to go till Christmas eek! Thankfully the food shopping is nearly all done so I can concentrate on crafting!
Hope you all have a good lead up to the festive season and thanks for visiting.
Have spent a lovely weekend catching up, on sleep, on time with old friends and today I will be catching up with the crafting I need to have finished for my Autumn Exchange.
It has been lovely to see my friend Anita, she showed me some of her amazing machine quilting pictures while she was here and I was very excited to learn that she has met Ricky Tims (from the Quilt Show) and knows Melly (from the Melly and me blog) and has quilted an item for her latest book!
We all met up on Friday and spent lots of time looking at old pictures of the kids when they were babies, we have 21 kids between us so lots and lots of memories of good times :-)
I have also been busy with the latest bunny, in between stitching and here are a couple of cute little dresses that I have made.
I also thought I would show you the latest in my Xmas stitching, these are still to be buttoned and backed but here are some of my fave designs from JBW that I am stitching for relatives this year.
And I have been experimenting with my bread book, had Anita and friends round for dinner so this was an adaptation of the Stilton and Bacon Rolls recipe with seeds, apologies for the quality of the photo, light not good in the kitchen!
I will be off to Spain next Saturday (where my mother tells me the temperature has dropped to only 28 degrees) so am planning lots more catching up on sleeping, crafting and reading – the terrace is calling!
Have a nice time whatever you are doing and thanks for visiting.