Category Archives: Christmas

Memories of Yesteryear

Lizzie at Sprat & Winkle Quilters Group demonstrated, provided the pattern and instructions for these quilted, padded book covers. I found a single fat quarter of this charming print featuring Pheasants and farm buildings which reminded me so much of my early years spent in the Kent countryside and when my father was a part-time gamekeeper. I remember fondly when he reared 200 Pheasant chicks in the incubator set up in our brick outbuilding. The fabric called out to be made into a padded cover for my 2023 diary, I will be able to recall those long distant days everyday when I write in the diary – so here we are!

Front cover of 2023 Diary
Open Diary showing entire picture

At the Christmas Social meeting on Thursday 15th December there will be ‘button’ voting for the favourite one completed by the members. For once I decided to accept the challenge, hence this rather more elaborate book cover.

I had a scrap of the ‘Pheasants’ fat quarter cotton fabric left after making the cover for my 2023 diary. I wanted to ‘ring the changes’ with the cover and so by combining with log cabin patchwork I inset a sheet of plastic on the front cover, to make a slip pocket over the fussy cut motif of a Pheasant.

Basic Cover showing Pheasant

The remainder of the cover was quilted with strips of coordinating Brown-toned prints from my stash. I also took the opportunity to experiment with some of the decorative stitches on my machine for the quilting.

Decorative Stitching

I have long been an admirer of paintings by Lucy Grossmith and this year have invested in several Christmas card designed by Lucy. The basic book cover features the Pheasant print which is under the plastic slip pocket.

Then there are three alternative prints, one of the cards is backed onto a piece of card that is covered with Light Grey fabric.

Nightime Hare set onto Grey fabric covered card

This has been centred onto the card and once installed into the plastic pocket can be left as is, or alternatively one of the other two cards can be inserted and obscure the other designs.

Daytime Hare
Evening Foxes

I am delighted with the cover which has turned out even better than I imagined.

Projects #57and #58 completed 8h December 2022

Hand made Christmas Gifts

Gardening notebook

In anticipation of a visit to my sister in North Wales, I wanted to give her an additional handmade gift for Christmas that I could take with me on my visit. Catherine is a keen gardener and as I had some pretty gardening-themed printed cotton in my stash, decided to make her a padded, covered notebook in which she can record her gardening plans and achievements. The pattern instructions and an A5 notebook were supplied by Lizzie at a recent meeting of Sprat & Winkle Quilters. I used some 80/20 cotton/polyester wadding recently purchased from New Threads Quilt Shop and some plain White cotton fabric from my stash for the lining. I quilted using one of my favourite stitches – wavy lines which are great in that if you waver a little, it does not show up as a glaring fault! In no time I had the completed cover for the notebook – I hope she likes it.

Gardening notebook

Baking-themed gifts

It all started when a neighbour asked to borrow a Bundt baking tin. Unfortunately I was unable to help but this prompted me to think about what to give for a Christmas gift. Those people that know me will be aware that I like to use a theme when planning my hand made gifts. So ….. along with the silicon Bundt tin I decided to make an Oven mitt and also either a recipe book or fabric covered note book. This latter contains a copy of one of my favourite original recipes for 3C muffins. The 3C stands for Chocolate Cherries and Courgettes!

I ordered some 12oz fire-retardant wadding from Amazon and some cake motif printed cottons from Hot Pink Haberdashery. Online I found a free pattern for double ended oven mitts from The Sewing Directory, the fabric pattern for the covered notebook came from Lizzie at Sprat & Winkle Quilters as mentioned above.

A couple of sewing sessions yielded the completed gifts. To ensure that the recipients will be aware of the type of wadding I have used, I printed off the following note to include with the oven mitts.

Please note: For the main part of these oven mitts I have used Marent 12oz Fire Retardant Wadding. The thinner wadding used on the back of the mitts is a Cotton 80% Polyester 20%. The oven mitts are machine washable at 30 degrees C.

Rainbow Elephants Oven Mitts and Notebook
Cup cakes on Pink background, Oven Mitts & Recipe notebook
Set complete with Bundt recipe book
Bundt tine & 3C muffin recipe

Now I just have to wrap up the packages, label and decide how best to send – bearing in mind the current vagaries of the postal system!

Projects #53 completed 24th November 2022

Bargello Patchwork Bags

Now I am in full swing for Christmas gifts sewing. These are the first to be completed but the descriptions will not be posted until after Christmas Day as I know the recipient regularly visits this blog.

I made two Bargello patchwork blocks using a Fabric Freedom jelly roll that I knew matched one that Antje had shown in her correspondence with me. I bordered the blocks with strips from the jelly roll to give larger blocks as I wanted to make this a LARGE bag. I used a contrast lining of Blue background Lewis & Irene print that I had been keeping for a special project. I added a small zip pocket to the lining, plus a slip pocket as I always find such things very useful. The carrying handles/straps are made from strips from the jelly roll and are extra long so that the bag can be carried over the shoulder.

The second item made using the jelly roll was a patchwork project bag. I utilised some of the remnants of the Bargello patchwork for one side and made a ‘quilt as you go’ diagonal patchwork for the reverse. The zip closure came from my stash and I added a pretty tassel to the zip pull as that little something extra!

To complete the project I added a key fob using yet another strip from the jelly roll. The parcel was posted off to Germany on Monday 6th December. I hope that it arrives in time and that Antje is pleased with the gift.

Projects #84 & #85 completed 2nd December 2021

Oriental theme Christmas Gifts

For this person I chose some fabric printed with little Japanese girls in traditional dress. The recipient seems to have an affinity with the Orient as her website has a Japanese name and in the past she has introduced me to Manga art.

Once again I made a ‘window’ project bag and supplemented this with a simple slip case suitable for a ‘kindle’ or ipad.

The project bag was filled with a printed pattern for bagmaking and a selection of charm-sized (5 inch squares) pretty cotton fabrics.

Projects #90 and #91 completed 6th December 2021

An Elephant in the Room

Joan has long been a lover of these gentle giants and when I visited her in her new apartment recently, noticed a large and colourful picture of a Bull elephant in the hallway. So for this project bag I purchased a selection of fat quarters of cotton fabric featuring elephants.

I now feel pretty expert at making these bags. I was able to use three of the prints from the selection plus a length of zip and a couple of tassels for the ring pull from my stash.

The bag was filled with a variety of other small gifts including a Christmas gnome (without the battery), elephant print scarf, set of nail polishes and posted off to Chiswick.

Project #92 completed 6th December 2021

‘Musical’ Apron

So that my husband does not feel left out from all this handmade Christmas gift giving, I decided to make him an apron too! I used the ‘Sam’ free pattern from Helen’s Closet and some lovely cotton linen (1 metre £10.99) bought from Lush Fabrics through Amazon. I chose this particular print as my husband is a keen pianist and I especially liked the print being covered with music manuscript.

There is not a lot more to say about the project other than I really want to make one featuring ‘busy bees’ for myself. In the meantime the ‘musical’ apron has been wrapped and secreted away ready for 25th December!

Project #95 completed 11th December 2021

Nordic Gnomes

Well, I never knew such a thing existed until I found this ‘in the hoop’ embroidery design on the Embroidery Garden website. It immediately caught my attention and was quickly purchased, downloaded and the Brother 4000D setup into embroidery mode.

I had plenty of 10inch squares of Christmas themed fabrics, some of which were purchased on the recent trip to Village Fabrics in Wallingford. I have spent many very pleasurable hours making these charming tea light covers – many of them have been included in Christmas gifts to family and friends. Due to postage regulations I did not include the battery operated tea light covers when posting but for all those given by hand, the tealights have been included.

With the addition of a hanging loop the final ones were ‘converted’ into Christmas tree decorations and posted to my husband’s two great granddaughters.

Now we are left with just 7 displayed on a shelf. They looked beautiful when lit as they shone in the growing dusk before we turn on the lamps of the sitting room.

Project #86+many more! all completed by 11th December 2021

Christmas Robins

This morning I opened the curtains and was greeted with the sight of a light sprinkling of snow all around the garden. What better reminder that today was the day to start on my Christmas Gift sewing?

First on the list was an apron and project bag using a charming Robin printed linen-look cotton. I purchased just one metre of fabric from Amazon for £11.58 and used the ‘Sam’ pattern free from Helen’s Closet.

I made view B of the pattern and used cotton tape for the straps. It took about an hour and a half to make the apron and I am delighted with it. I definitely need one for me!

I based the project bag on the design that Lizzie at Sprat & Winkle Quilters showed us a few weeks ago. I am thrilled that I managed to pattern match the birds over the closure strip and also that the quilting is the same on the reverse of the bag. The zip on the project bag came from the stash, as did the tassels on the zip pull. The crystal clear PVC was bought from Amazon, 2.5 metres for £6.20so I have plenty left for more project bags.

So that’s the basics ready for one lady on my list, for the next I need to clean the machine and re-thread with Blue to make another project bag using Bargello strip patchwork. Watch this space.

Projects #82 & #83 completed 29th November 2021.

Christmas Gifts

I still make just a few handmade gifts for family and friends at Christmas. This year I admit that I left it quite late!

Firstly was a redwork embroidered cushion using linen from my stash, embroidery motifs purchased from and finished with some red satin piping. I hand embroidered the running stitch circle enclosing the various motifs. This cushion was wrapped and posted to my pen pal in Germany. Apparently it arrived before the gifts that I had posted to UK recipients on the same day! But at least they did all arrive before Christmas.

Next I made a scented hanger in Christmas printed cotton that I then filled with a sachet of Christmas scents. The aroma was so strong that even when wrapped there was a powerful clue as to what was contained.

The final gift for a neighbour was a padded coat hanger cover and co-ordinating fabric scented hangers. The fabric came from a stash of fat quarters that I bought several years ago. The scented hangers were ‘essence of Provence’ which I thought was a good choice to match the style of the printed cotton fabric. The cover is made so that one can put items inside. An ideal storage for co-ordinating jewellery, scarves or tights for whichever garment is on the hanger.

Projects #73-74-75 All these items were completed by 16th December 2020

Spotted! – KWIK SEW 3915

Although the number of hand-made gifts that I give at Christmas is these days much less I still like to make a few. My friend of 18 years is a regular recipient of handmade tops. This year I repeated a previous make for her – the Kwik Sew 3915.

This pattern is for Pullover tops that are close-fitting. View A has full length sleeves and V-neckline with lapped collar that is gathered at front neckline with optional four decorative buttons and rouleau loops.

I previously made this pattern using View A back in December 2018 using a quilted cloque fabric and apparently it is still used today.

This latest version is made using some super cotton spandex jersey bought from New Threads Quilt Shop based just a couple of miles from my home at the Weyhill Fairground Crafts Centre.

The pattern had already been prepared in the correct size and construction was pretty straightforward although, as usual, I found the V-section of the collar particularly difficult to get exactly right. I omitted the rouleau button loops and buttons as they are purely decorative and with the weight of the cotton jersey would make that part of the collar particularly thick and clumsy.

I finished the hem of the sleeves and the body of the top with twin-needle stitching. The entire top had taken just a couple of hours to complete. I hope my friend enjoys this version as much as the original.

Project #71 completed 15th December 2020