Tag Archives: Christmas

Twas the week before Christmas

Twas the week before Christmas;

The tree was put up

And decorated with ornaments made by my hands.

Knitted socks, felt socks, and little knitted bears,

Rustic cloth stars, and cinnamon stars with a sharp scent.

A few cross stitched scenes thrown in as well,

With a burlap and poinsettia wreath on the inside front door.

What’s left to do?

Well,  I took out 7 tree blocks left from the quilt of last winter,

7 tree blocks

Arranged them with patchwork and red piping so bright,

backing and cord for piping

And made something new with an idea long in mind.

I pieced and hand quilted while music was playing,

batting back hand quilting tree blocks

Enjoying the process, the making, the peace,

tree patchwork

Away from the hustle and bustle that comes with the season.

clove entrusted oranges

I finished in time, the details will come later,

I haven’t the time to hone a new post.

The rain stopped and the dog put his head up

To howl and to tell me “Let’s go for a walk”.

dog-at-work-hardhat

dog-at-work1

Before I go, let me stop and say:

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and a

Happy New Year to all!

(My apologies to Clement Moore)

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Tree Quilt Blocks

I have enjoyed making ornaments for Christmas for the last several years, but this year the tree was up and I hadn’t even started any Christmas related crafts.

I reviewed my Christmas Pinterest page, and was suddenly inspired to start making tree blocks from this Patchwork Tree Quilt Block Tutorial by blogger Amy Smart of “Diary of a Quilter” that I had loved and pinned last year.  The blocks only have six pieces, and start with a 4 and 1/2 inch square.  (Amy also wrote another tutorial this year for bigger versions of the tree blocks which start with a 8 and 1/2 inch square, the Modern Christmas Tree Quilt Block tutorial).

Selecting fabric for tree blocks

I gathered my fabrics : the pattern uses green fabrics for trees and background, and white and red fabric for alternating trees and backgrounds.  I experimented with the fabric I have in my little stash to find combinations that looked good and had enough contrast.

I like that the trees aren’t cut by measuring inches or angles but by taking two squares and cutting them freehand so the blocks will have some variation.  I cut most of the squares at the beginning, but I didn’t cut the trees from my squares all at once. I cut them in pairs of two, and then sewed the two blocks, so I could see how they looked before cutting the next pair of trees. I kept in mind that I needed some space on the sides and top so that when they’re sewn together I won’t lose my tree tops.

Cutting tree blocks

The bottom part of the block is the background with the tree trunk in the middle.  I cut 4 inch long by 1 and 1/2 inch rectangles for this part, and cut them in half later.

I decided to omit some blocks that didn’t have enough contrast or weren’t pleasing to me.

Patchwork Forest Quilt Blocks

These are fun and fast blocks to make! And it’s nice to have the iron set up this time of year for all the pressing the blocks need as you sew.

I had the idea to make a house in the forest. I’m not sure if I will include it.

House in the Forest Blocks

What do you think?  Do you think it takes away from the pleasing uniformity of the repeated design or adds some interest?  Part of me likes it, and part of me thinks it might look like an outhouse in the middle of the forest. Ha – not the image I’m aiming for in a Christmas wall hanging!

 

Records from Christmas’s Past

As a child, I watched the then new Christmas television specials that are now classics: “A Charlie Brown Christmas”, “How the Grinch Stole Christmas”, and “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer”.

I still have some Christmas golden 78 records (yellow vinyl) put out by cultural icons The 3 Stooges, Dennis the Menace and the Original Disney Chipmunks.  The Disney chipmunks later had to compete with Alvin and the gang in the battle of chipmunk singing.

I especially remember listening to the 3 Stooges’ hilarious  “Wreck the Halls”  when everything came crashing down at the end.

Another favorite TV Christmas special was “Mr. Magoo’s Christmas Carol”. That one is no longer shown, although I think it was shown again this year in a version edited to add more commercials (boo).

A favorite Christmas movie is “Scrooge”, the 1970 musical version of Dickens “A Christmas Carol” starring Albert Finney.

I saw it in the theater when it first came out, and was captivated by the songs.  I especially love the exuberance of the three songs at the end “I Like Life”, “Father Christmas”, and “Thank You Very Much” with all the townspeople singing and dancing in the street. Now I can enjoy it every year.

Merry Christmas!

Hand Stitching for Christmas

I love Christmas crafts.  I especially like to make tree ornaments. This time of year is so busy, so why don’t I start a few months early?  I wait for the Christmas spirit, the special inspiration to hit that makes me want to create in every spare moment.  I may think I will make more of what captures my imagination later, but it rarely works out that way.

One year I was into making clothespin dolls.

One year I knit many little bears.

I crocheted snowflakes, I knitted little stockings.

This year I was caught up in making small felt stockings.  I drew shapes from paper as templates for the felt cutouts, and then gathered  ribbons, sequins, and embroidery floss to hand sew each one.

I sewed on the shapes with a running stitch- some with thread the same color as the shape, others with a contrasting color.  I whip stitched the two sides together.   The fun part was making each one different, and thinking of ideas of what I wanted to make next.

Here are the nine I came up with.

I love them all!  Well, ok, I think the poinsettia is the prettiest and the gingerbread boy’s eyes look a little creepy.  Do you have a favorite?

I wonder what I’ll be making next Christmas.