Archive for the ‘holidays’ Category

Sewing Stockings With Leather & Chambray

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This Christmas threw me for a loop. It fell so close to Thanksgiving (apparently it’s the last time in a million something years it will happen that way). I felt rushed.

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I also got sick. The state of Utah has all been passing around some miserable intestinal bug. And I caught it. I was in bed for two days. Leaving Christmas to the last minute. Literally.

I had the fabric laid out and the patterns all cut, but it wasn’t until 1am Christmas morning that I was able to sew these babies up.

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Instead of embroidering the names on the stockings, I just made quick calligraphed tags and tied them on with baker’s twine. It was simple, but created a really fun, simple Christmas feel.

I was channeling a more traditional style after watching The Polar Express. Has anyone else noticed the calligraphy in the note from Santa at the end? Maybe that’s just a me thing to do? I decided that Santa likes traditional Copperplate stylings.

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I drafted the stocking pattern by hand. I wanted to get as many stockings out of the 3/4 yard of chambray I got from Michael Levine as possible. I used this mocha chambray, courtesy of Michael Levine.

So this was the size I settled on. It’s something like 7 inches by 20 inches. Plenty big for candy bars and art supplies (my ideal stocking stuffers).

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The top of the stocking is made out of an interlock knit, kind of a-typical, but softer and fluffier than cotton but not felt. I didn’t want to do fleece or felt. I feel like sometimes felt doesn’t age well (unless you get the nice stuff, and I didn’t have any around at 1am). If I were to do it again, I might go for a minky or faux fur. But the interlock is soft and simple.

The interior is a simple white cotton poplin.

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I also used a bright red leather for the tabs at the top. It’s a fun little detail that screams “Melissa made this”. Maybe next year I’ll have a mantle to hang these stockings from! We already have the fireplace, I just want some kind of shelf or mantle above!

I hope your Christmas was fun and family-filled! Also, anyone else leave Holiday decor or gifts to the last minute like me? I’d love some solidarity here.

Tutorial: Leather Handbound Book

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I’ve been kinda stumped with Christmas ideas. But another one came to me! Penelope and I made a few of these for gifts for her to give away. They make the perfect gift for guys or girls, too! Once I got all the supplies together, each book takes about 10 minutes to make. Perfect for mass production, or that little extra handmade touch to your perfect holiday gift.

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I’ve styled this purple and liquid gold-leafed leather book in a gift “basket”. Perfect for the young lady needing a respectable purse and purse contents. Details:

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They’re ever so simple to make. I’ve made these with the leather scraps I have on hand (I have a giant overflowing bin full!), but these could easily be made with felt, fabric fused to paper with Heat ‘n Bond. Let’s make one together!

EASY Leather-Bound Pocket Notebook Tutorial

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Supplies

Read more to learn how to assembly this easy easy book!

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Sponsored: Have I Done Any Good?

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Inspired by this month’s give-back theme for the Fiesta Movement, what do you plan on giving this year? I love this idea of paying it backward! I’ve been a lucky recipient of in years past (way before blogs were ever a thing). It’s great how such a small gesture can brighten someone’s day.

 

 

Growing up we did sub-for-santa almost every year. There were some years when we gave to strangers and others to families in our immediate neighborhood. I have such fond memories of door bell ditching presents. I remember the panic I felt when my brother’s pants got caught on a chain link fence. Not panic for my brother’s behalf (or behind), but panic that the unsuspecting family may find out our plans. Good times.

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The most memorable was my first Christmas at college for one of the girls in our complex:

For nearly two years, Hanni’s only contact with her Germany-based family had been email and Instant Messenger. Two guys in our building knew how much she missed her family and saw the most beautiful opportunity. For about a week they canvased the complex for any donations, each of us giving as much as we could.

I remember sitting in my apartment, hearing audible shrieks and sobs coming from the hallway the night those guys ditched the plane ticket on her front door step. I can’t express the joy that filled my heart, knowing that she would be able to have her family near during Christmas break.

After the break she told us about her surprise trip. She didn’t inform her parents about her upcoming arrival. It was Hanni’s sister who picked her up from the airport, wrapped her in a large box and delivered her to her parents on Christmas Eve. For a while, Hanni’s parents insisted they wait until Christmas Day to open the large gift. It didn’t wait.

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I would’ve loved to have been a fly on the wall at the moment Hanni’s parents realized their whole family would be together at Christmas. For a moment, our complex wasn’t about selfish desires and school finals. Through serving, we were in sync with the real Christmas spirit.

Perhaps one of the most important ways I can “give back” this year is to teach my children that Christmas is not about gifts. It’s about something more. For our family it’s about remembering Christ and about being just a little more patient, kind, loving and giving. All things I’ve been terrible at lately. Holidays stress me out. It’s my goal this week to get out of our house and do something kind for someone else.

What are your favorite ways to give back during the Christmas season? 

This is a sponsored post and I was compensated for my participation. The opinions expressed are my own.

 

Sponsored: 2013 Christmas Candy Box Freebie

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Inspired by this month’s give-back theme for the Fiesta Movement, what do you plan on giving this year? I love this idea of paying it backward! I’ve been a lucky recipient of in years past (way before blogs were ever a thing). It’s great how such a small gesture can brighten someone’s day.
 
Ford Fiesta is teaming up with What’s Trending for a Tube-A-Thon benefit for Covenant house. Click here to participate and find out more.

 

It’s that time of year when my family comes in town and we make caramels! My mom will be in town in about a week so I thought I would get the ball rolling a little earlier on this year’s candy/gift box. Introducing the 7th Annual Christmas Candy Box!

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Last year we were in such a rush I ended up doorbell ditching most of my candy boxes on our way out of town. This year I look forward to getting these babies done in plenty of time to spare. And this year’s design is so easy, I’ll have a load of these boxes made up in no time.

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Each year, I’m limited to the constrains of the print margins of an 8×10 piece of paper. It’s really not much room when it comes to making boxes. I’ve found that pillow boxes are great, but they can be a pain in the rear to score and fold.

Regular boxes can be easier, but there are too many sides to cut and glue. However, a three-sided box is just the trick! I can make it nice and roomy, it’s easy to cut and fold, and the triangles are fun. I was able to cut the whole template with regular scissors and fold with just a bone folder (a credit card would do just fine).

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The box is 5.75 x 2.5 x 2.5. It’s the right size for a small assortment of candies, jewelry, baby clothes (a onesie would fit perfectly in here) and gift cards. I designed the box very much like this year’s thank you printable. They match! Looking for more shapes and designs? Check out previous years:

2007 • 2008 • 2009 • 2010 • 2011 • 2012

I’ve got two versions of the little gift box, one with a label and one without. Download the free* printable below.

 

 This is a sponsored post and I was compensated for my participation. The opinions expressed are my own.

 

*This tutorial/freebie is free for personal use and should not be distributed/republished without my consent. Altering any files is NOT ALLOWED. If you would like to use this freebie for commercial purposes, please email me. Thanks!

Sponsored: Easy Thanksgiving Decor

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This post is sponsored by Way Basics - your source for eco-friendly, light-weight and strong organizational systems. Each of their products is designed for the world’s easiest assembly. 

We don’t have any holiday decor. Holiday decor isn’t something that can be purchased all at once like a couch, or bed linens. I feel like these things are collected over time. So this year I’m working on making and buying festive decor that will easily store and last for years to come. I’m hoping that my efforts this year will make a dent and make next year’s decorating for the holidays just a little bit easier.

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Just before Halloween, I found a few of these paper mache pumpkins while at Michael’s. They’re not there any more, but I’ve since found them online here and here.

I love that they offer a blank slate. I had them out as-is, but recently decided to give them more of a Thanksgiving/Fall theme the other night.

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Is it strange that I’m still making fall/Thanksgiving decor even though most people have already decorated their homes to the gills for Christmas? Sometimes I feel behind the times, but I remind myself, “NOOOOO!! I’m going to enjoy Thanksgiving FIRST.”

I simply grabbed a #2 liner brush, white ink and went to town on my little pumpkins. While “thanks giving” may lend itself most towards the holiday, it’s a great mantra to have in the house all autumn long. I think these little babies will be a permanent part of my fall decor.

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On another note, this is the first wall shelf that I’ve mounted in our new house (besides the utilitarian ones in my studios). I love having parts in my home strictly for decor that can be “untouchable”!

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I loved how easy Way Basics’s wall shelves were to mount. I actually mounted this during a late night, it was 3 in the morning and it was still easy to install in my sleep deprived state. Total win.

I was compensated for this post, but all thoughts and opinions are my own.

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