Sunday, December 30, 2018

Handmade Holidays 2018

Handmade holidays (and birthdays) have become a large part of my making for the year. As long as I can swing the time, I'd much rather make something for someone (if I know they'll appreciate it) than wander aimlessly around a store or click "buy" online. This is just my preference, and one way of gifting isn't better than the other, of course! This post contains the bulk of all the things I've made the last 3 months.

Winter tablerunner - long put away out of disinterest and finally finished this year (for me! Yay!)

It's a wonderful feeling to be told by people (namely my mom, sister, and two oldest nieces) that they'd prefer I make them something. Handmade holidays has its downsides, too. It means time management and proper fabric buying/preparation. It's probably more pricey when you factor in the time it takes to make something. For the winter holidays, it means starting in September or October. Over the last few years, I've relied on my quilt guild's early November retreat to get as much done as possible in a weekend, and it's great!

Pillow for my mom - the sashiko ginkgo leaves (pattern from Easy Piecing) on the right were done early in the year. Always knew I'd make it into a pillow for her; I've made several sashiko pillows at this point and one other just for her! :)

Next up: pouches! First, a Hamilton the musical-inspired pouch for my sister's boyfriend, who now LOVES Broadway (and Hamilton). I quilted the lyrics to his favorite song "Yorktown (The World Turned Upside Down)" on the back the pouch, and included NYC fabric on the inside (he loves NYC, too!).

I also made 5 emoji-inspired pouches for my older nieces, depending on personality (for example, one of the oldest got the stars because she loves performing). In the holiday crazy I forgot to snap a picture of these finished, but I was super pleased with them! Each niece also got cute holiday socks inside their pouches. These were made up as I went using HeatnBond Lite for the faces and fusible fleece to give them structure.

What do you make for really little kids? I've tried several tactics and now I know you can't go wrong with hats. I used a pattern from Fleece Fun and just altered it to use knit scraps and felt. I was a bit nervous as I'd never made a hat before, but my tiny niece and nephew put them right on and didn't take them off for hours! Example A:

I made these little embroidery wall hangings for my husband and his best friend, who love Pokemon and especially the infamous Surprised Pikachu meme.

And finally, onto the felt flowers - my newest craft obsession. I've been posting a lot about felt and felt flowers on Instagram, and this will definitely continue! I love it - I think I was a florist in a past life. Working with felt is so different from fabric but I'm enjoying the challenge of trying new flowers and making surprise wreaths for friends. Here's an example of the several winter-themed wreaths I made recently. The best part is being able to use one embroidery hoop for two wreaths!

I also made my mother-in-law her own terrarium. She'll never have to worry about watering these succulents (tutorial from Benzie Design, where I get my felt!).

Usually I have no idea what I'll make year to year, but next year's niece and nephew presents are already cemented in my mind. That's a big relief though, because I don't have to worry about it. I can just start making - once I've taken a proper break from this year's holiday, that is. :)


  1. Goodness, what beautiful gifts. I also love sewing/quilting for people who truly appreciate the effort and work. This little hats are too cute. My granddaughter loves those as well.

  2. Wonderful gifts - my favorites are the hats and flowers. Now I will have to look up those felt flowers.

  3. The hats are seriously cute, Jess, and I love the thought and care you put into each gift. The ginkgo leaf pillow is exquisite.

  4. The embroidery hoop wreath looks pretty nice, especially those hats, they are so stinking cute!

  5. All very lovely holiday gifts but that terrarium turned out amazing! Well done!

  6. Handmade gifts are my favourites, too! I love your felt flower wreaths, especially in the colours you've chosen.


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