Nick is Home for Christmas!

Nick has spent the last year at Island Quilters located on Hilton Head Island. He evidently traveled with Owner Beth to several quilt shows and talks, though he hasn’t said much about that. I must thank Beth for giving me the pattern and many of the supplies. Fusing is not my favorite thing to do, but he was fun to make.

After lots of measuring and engineering, Peter got Nick hung in the great room! It is so fun to come into the room and see his funny self. I’m not sure the reason, but this is the first time we have ever hung a quilt over the fireplace. Next year I have several quilts that can rotate in this area.

Let the celebrations begin!

Mission Accomplished!

The Santa bits and I arrived in the Philadelphia area on Thursday and my niece and her son and I worked on making them several times during the weekend. Griffin is diligently painting his guy. Don’t be alarmed – his face is covered because we did them first and I was afraid that he might get red paint on it!Griffin paints

Here are the Santas, close to completion. I worried about them making the faces (I worried when I made the faces!) but I think they did a good job. It’s fun to see the cloth dollies become Santa.

Santa faces!

Santa-making went fairly well. Everyone is so busy and we always have to fit work times in between all the weekend activities. The best part was when my niece and I sat down together (just like old times) while her husband was putting up outdoor lights, the boy was napping and the dog had finally stopped barking and was asleep in his bed. She was applying the wonderful curly Lincoln sheep’s wool for Santa’s facial hair.

Kim working on beard

Several other Santas had to be removed to make space on the mantle, but here is her creation.

Kim's Santa Claus

It’s Santa Central!

You may remember that last December I went to visit friends and relatives in Pennsylvania and while there, I made a Santa with my niece and her son. I wasn’t in love with him but I didn’t have much time to find a pattern and try it and wasn’t sure what they might be up for. At the time, I looked at a lot of online patterns and ordered a number of them…just in case.

I got a text from my niece a few months ago asking about a return visit. I said no a few times, but then she bent my arm – I really have trouble saying no to her. I got out the patterns last month and sorted through them. I am not a dollmaker nor do I really like sewing 3D items like teddy bears. However two patterns from Sweet Meadows Farm on Etsy seemed do-able.
So here is what my great-nephew is going to make! This Santa is one of A Few Good Men and here’s the link to the pattern. He looks funny at first with his necked body.
Necked Santa
Then most of his body is painted. It is a Primitive type pattern, meaning that lots of coffee staining is involved and there were directions for sanding and rubbing cinnamon on the body. I opted for a less distressed Santa and used the brush strokes to make him looked used.
Santa body paint
 He looks difficult, but as I am no doll maker (yet!) I can tell you that he’s not. The part I worried about most were his eyes. I did not do as the pattern suggested, which was embroidering them, but drew the eyes on with colored pencil as the pattern maker suggested for another Santa pattern. His fleece beard is needle felted on and that was really easy too. I fiddled around with his hat a good bit, as I did last year. I realized they bother me because the Santas do not have round heads so the hats sit on them oddly. A bit of stuffing fixed it to my satisfaction. I did rather enjoy drizzling coffee on his trim to make it look old.
Santa face
I have been sewing Santa bits the last few days and Jasmine has been helping to make sure that all the supplies I need to take get into my suitcase! It will be a relief to get this all packed up and my Santas hung up. I must admit that for one week, I drove each day to Hobby Lobby, Joann’s or Michael’s to find what I needed! I also did some shopping on Etsy for fleece for the second Santa’s beard. Wait until you see him!
Jasmine helps with Santa
I am just in love with him and had the best fun creating him. Here is his “beauty shot”!

The Santa Project Report

My trip to Bucks County was really fun and I caught up with a good many friends and relatives. I stayed with my {favorite} cousin and I had lunch with a couple that I babysat for almost 50 years ago {!} but the big event was spending Sunday with my niece and her family and making the Santas. My niece Kim’s house was a Christmas wonderland and this Santa on her windowsill was probably what we should have been making! Cute and a lot simpler…

Simple Santa

Said 13-year-old boy, my great-nephew Griffin, surprised and delighted me when he answered “yes” when I asked him if he knew how to hand sew! He made a hand puppet in what used to be called “Home Ec” which is now called some PC, convoluted sounding name I can’t remember. I would thread a needle and get him started and try to correct the way he was holding the piece he was sewing until – I realized that he is left-handed! Duh! Poor guy – how confusing that was.

Beginning Santa

It’s fun when a project gets going and everyone is happily working! I was threading needles and helping to cut and giving instructions and it was so much fun.

Griffin gluing

And then we had to stop so that Griffin could play in hockey game #2 of the day. I took along all four mittens and sewed a blanket stitch along the edge while we watched the game.

Griffin skating

When we got back from the game, we finished up what we could do. In my enthusiasm to get the project going, I neglected to sketch out a cutting diagram for the felt pieces and suddenly realized that there was not a big enough piece left for the arms. Those pesky arms! I was very sorry that they had to make another trip to a craft store to buy felt. You can’t hand sew faster than you can hand sew, and all told, we probably spent about 3 hours on this project, (which we did not finish!) so it is definitely not the one hour that A. C. Moore said it would be.

Getting close...

Here is what was accomplished when I had to leave and we’d run out of felt. The three armless Santas look pretty cute.

Armless Santas

I got texts from Kim over the weekend and here are the Santas, which Kim and Griffin completed on Sunday!

Completed Santas!

Notice the little packages and trees that they added. Very nice job. Kim tells me that Griffin is already talking about next year’s Santa, so I guess “the craftsy Auntie” did good. ;-D

Packages and trees


More on the Santa

Wow – yesterday’s Santa is really pathetic looking, isn’t he? It certainly looks like I do not know what I am doing, but there is some progress to share with you today! I worked on him during Monday Night football and then this morning I went to the store to get the supplies that I do not have. What fun! I generally steer clear of the aisles with felt and pompoms and glitter and sequins and stuff.  I made myself look only at the items on my list and not come up with excuses to buy other things. In that aisle, I found the white and flesh-colored felt that I needed and some fuzzy stuff to jazz up the trim on his outfit. I was afraid that the furry trim would look odd with a felt beard, but it looks cute.

Santa beard and trim

I also bought pipe cleaners to stiffen the arms. Even with his bigger arms, they are pretty droopy. I want to thank my friend Laura, who has lots more experience than I do making this sort of thing. When I e-mailed her for help after seeing her Santa post, she replied with lots of good suggestions. One was that she doesn’t do a lot of blanket stitching and I was coming to that conclusion. {whew!} I am a good stitcher, but it takes some time to make a nice even blanket stitch. I think it will be good for his mittens, but otherwise a small running stitch will do. She also uses Pearle Cotton. Duh….what a good idea. The 6 strand embroidery floss is a bit fussy and stiff and shows more than I like.

I have little experience with fabric glue but it seems to be holding… I reduced the size of his hat and his nose is glued! I did fret over the size a bit, but it’s permanent now. I have misplaced the googly eyes so I will worry over their placement later.

Close to a finish


I need to finish Santa today, so that I can pack him in my suitcase for the trip to Pennsylvania. As I search for those eyes, I am collecting all the little bits and pieces and patterns we will need. More later on how the project went over with my relatives…

I Got Distracted – Santa Project Underway!

I spent Saturday with my friend Molly, who asked if the turkey quilt top was done. Well no; I’ve been sidetracked with yet another project! I am heading East to Pennsylvania later this week to visit with friends and family. It’s such a beautiful place, especially this time of year. I will be spending some time with my niece and one of her sons. In an e-mail about a week ago, she asked if I could do “a Christmas craft” with them! When she was little, she always came to our house once or twice in December and we baked and created together. And I did make gingerbread houses with both her boys some years ago. That was a production.

Gingerbread houses

But I must admit to being surprised and unprepared! There was nothing for it but to spend a lot of time on Pinterest looking for ideas. I also emailed my friend Beth who has a long-standing tradition of making a Santa with a friend. And finally, that seemed like the best idea. A yearly tradition is a very fun thing and perhaps one my niece will want to continue after #2 has gone to college.

I do not make dolls, though I greatly admire them, and my nephew is a 13-year-old with unknown sewing skills. I found a lot of fun but difficult patterns that I will save for another year, should this year’s project be successful. I happened upon the AC Moore site which has projects!!! And this is the one I chose.

ACMoore Santa

Because I am not a dollmaker and I have difficulty in following directions, I decided I’d better make one at home. Trouble shooting and all that. The project says beginner and one hour. The beginner part is true, but the one hour is not. There is a lot of sewing! Obviously Santa is made of felt, but I dug around in the wool room and picked out some colors that I liked so that I could start him without going to a craft store on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. I sewed his body, per instructions, and his arms…which seem freakishly thin. {Have you seen the Rob Lowe ad with his freakishly thin arms???} And the mitten makes him look like he has a lobster claw!

Large mitten!

So I sewed wider arms and reduced the mitten size. They still seem big, but he is supposed to be folk arty, I think! {The batting beard and the thumb tack eyes are for simulation only…} I think the hat may be big as well, but I am going to wait until I glue his face and beard on.

Better sizing

And I have made a tiny bit of progress on the turkey. I sewed a few tail feathers before being interrupted and I think the colors work…

Turkey tail

New Christmas Decorations!

It’s hard to return from a cruise in the Caribbean and immediately feel Christmas-y.  However, I have been digging out decorations and here’s what’s new this year. I was happy to hang this new cross stitch piece! I used to do a lot of cross stitch, but that was before I started quilting and rug hooking. I still enjoy doing it, but I am slow to complete projects. This is an old pattern from Birds of a Feather who do not make cross stitch patterns anymore. I did not pay attention to the color of fabric the directions suggested and now I am sorry that I chose a lighter one. Santa’s beard is hard to see and there is supposed to be a snowman between the trees. I started to stitch him and he was invisible. Next time perhaps I should lay the threads on the fabric before I start. Because I was sorry about the snowman, I stitched some beads to look like snow.

Birds of a Feather Cross Stitch

Many of you may think it’s stupid to buy Christmas sheets, but then again you may have never gone to all the trouble of piecing a Christmas quilt. ;-D I am quite fond of dots and these flannel sheets from Garnet Hill look wonderful with the quilt.

Garnet Hill sheets

I have NO business buying any more Santa’s, but I cannot resist. I have only bought one this year…. I like this rocking, plane flying guy. Peter loves to fly radio controlled airplanes, so this is for him. {ha!}

Rocking Santa

For those of you who may be keeping track of my unfinished projects, I did finish one that I thought I would save. In the Summer, I put a warp on my loom for Christmas rag runners and here are three of them! I was experimenting with the width and I think they may be too wide for a regular runner as we have a narrow table.

Christmas runners

However, for the snowman, who like to spend December in the dining room, the width is quite good. There is lots of room for them to cavort and entertain us while we eat.

Snowmen & runner

Here is an unexpected decoration this year – the Christmas Cactus is blooming! I can’t even remember when I bought this plant; it may be 5 years old. Of course it was blooming when I brought it home – it has been growing and I have transplanted it several times. Who knows why it decided to perform this year and at the proper time. One of my favorite Santa sits in front of it.

Christmas cactus

Outdoor Winter containers are very popular in Chicagoland and I took a class several years ago to learn how to put one together. Here is this year’s effort. I change out the decorations and usually, the greens look good well into March.

Winter container

Hmmmmmmm…it’s beginning to feel festive around our house. Now if it would snow…..