Friday, January 1, 2010

Resolved: make gifts sooner next time!

Happy New Year!

We spent our day cleaning up from the holiday decadence, sweeping up pine needles, and weeding out old things to make way for the new.

I'm hoping we've weeded out a few old habits, as well, and made a little room in our hearts for new ones. (I'm reading Simplicity Parenting, and I love what he has to say about how a less-cluttered space allows children to play more deeply and fully; I think the same is true for us.)

One of the things I'd like to do better this year is to avoid the last-second stressful crafting of Christmas presents, and instead, space them out throughout the year. A friend and I are going to keep each other motivated to get right to work on those great ideas we come across, rather than bookmarking them for later.

Are you doing the same? Here are a few more of the gifts I loved making this year; maybe they'll inspire your plan-ahead crafting (these are the ones I'd hinted about earlier).

I was so impressed when I saw this lovely initial wall-hanging idea on Cluck. Cluck. Sew. And if there's one thing I have plenty of, it's vintage white buttons! I planned to make 5 of them: 2 for my nieces, 2 for my best friend's children, and one for Lucy. But the store had limited supplies of stretcher bars, so Lucy's will have to wait. Here are my versions:

K button wall hanging
G button wall hanging
S button wall hanging
J button wall hanging

This summer, I'd loved the headbands I made myself using Blue Bird Studio's 10-minute headband tutorial. I thought they'd make perfect stocking stuffers, so I made a bunch (I forgot to photograph a few of them, I think.)

Here are some extra-wide adult versions:

2 adult headbands

And some narrower ones for girls:

2 girls' headbands

And lastly, inspired by my neighbor, I decided to try my hand at making scarves from old t-shirts. I learned a few things from this:

I love the feel of old t-shirts and would wear one of these scarves every day if I'd made one for myself.

Appliqueing t-shirt designs onto t-shirt fabric is fun and satisfying.

Sewing t-shirt fabric on my sewing machine is a horrible, miserable experience I don't ever want to do again! So out went the lame attempt at a two-sided scarf. Only the one-sided scarves were given as gifts, and I'm not nearly as happy with them as I'd have liked. This is one of those gifts that needed more time and thought.

This is the first one I made, and I like it quite a bit. The fabric was oh-so-soft organic cotton.

Orange bird scarf

This one is not as nice, and I wish I'd had more time to give to it:

tree applique close-up

I like the applique on this one, and the super-soft blue fabric:

Bird applique close-up

This is a project I'm definitely going to try again, but by hand and with lots more time to do it well.

And the last gift I'd hinted at was these coasters, using the pattern from Denyse Schmidt's Quilts:


These were harder to do than I'd expected. I'd printed the pattern from online (Sew, Mama, Sew!), but used the directions from the book, and I don't know if there was a disparity or if it was me, but the fronts ended up 1/2 inch smaller than the backs in one direction, so I had to trim them down and they ended up a bit wonky. I'd want to figure that out before doing it again, but I did like the mix-it-up nature of the piecing, and felt like I was learning quite a bit about quilting as I sewed.

What are you making for next year's gifts--any ideas yet?


Allison said...

Cute! Wow you've been busy, I can't believe you made all of those, the one I made took awhile! Cute headbands, my head is weird shaped and they never stay on, but I might have to try it. Thanks for saying hi! -Allison

Luisa said...

Love love the Christmas gifts can't get enough of them. I printing some from your blog for my craft journal. And hopefully with the help of our mutual friend we can get on track of creating gifts earlier next year :)

Heather said...

What lovely gifts. I've never heard of scarves made of t-shirt fabric before but I love making new things out of old things so would enjoy trying this. Many of the gifts I made this year were made of old clothes. Fantastic headbands, I made some too and they were a well-liked gift.