Posts Tagged ‘holidays’

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.

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.

 

Easter Sunday

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Easter was a little bit hectic for us, but I still managed to do a couple of special things for the kids and get our family photo.

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I had planned on making easter coordinating outfits for everyone, but I only got around to items for Penelope and Me. I still want to do for Chris and Felix what I had originally planned, it just may take a few more weeks. I’ll be sure to share those with you when I’m done. We still managed to match perfectly for our photo!

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We call this the Gene Simmons tongue. Felix does this regularly. Also, do you see the buttons on the back of Penelope’s dress? Those are my first button holes. First ones with my current machine (it’s been about 5 years since I’ve tried). I’m pretty proud of how they turned out. Having a nice new machine with automatic button holes makes a huge difference.

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Getting these pictures for the family was a bit stressful – when are family photos not stressful? – but we got them. The photos aren’t magazine perfect, but the most important thing was that we got together and took a picture. Last time we had our family photo taken was nearly a year and a half ago! I keep thinking to myself that we should do this more often, I do have this photo corner permanently set up.

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I love this shot of Penelope. She was so excited to find her Easter basket and this was about the expression on her face when I showed her her dress and my matching skirt. She always knows when to make me feel appreciated.

At the same time, she’s in this phase where she likes to manipulate Chris and me with her love (or in my case, the lack of). I’ll take any of these sweet moments I can.

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Felix is still not walking or talking, but we may have figured out the cause of his developmental delays. I don’t want to get my hopes up, but it feels right. We will be visiting a specialist in a week and a half to find out for sure what’s going on.

He’s still so affectionate and cuddly at 25 months, I’m not sure what I’ll do with myself if he ever grows out of it.

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Penelope and Felix are getting along much better now. Now that the weather is nice they ride outside together; Penelope on her bike and Felix on his fire truck. It’s so rewarding to see them interact nicely together.

I hope you had a wonderful Easter weekend! And happy April Fool’s (sorry no pranks here today).

I’ve got some great posts coming to you this week – an easy DIY with one of my favorite Target dollar finds, the only way I want to eat my Asparagus and how to make a Kate Spade inspired skirt. What are your  plans this week?

Fabric provided by Kollabora.com.

Printable: Painted Gift Tag

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I designed these printable gift tags for Emma Mag last month (see page 59!). I’ve been meaning to share these with you, but I haven’t wrapped a single Christmas gift until today!!

The design is really basic, I hand lettered to and from on the front with a bunch of holly leaves on the back. Print it on any color paper and paint or keep it plain if you want! They’re a really easy craft (and fantastic for wee ones looking to get crafty, too).

The lovely ladies from The Girls With Glasses featured my tag on their most recent video. You can see how they styled their tags here.

Download the printable below.

This tutorial or freebie is free for personal use and should not be distributed/republished without the express consent of Melissa Esplin. I love getting shout outs from around the web, but please, link with love. You may publish 1 photo along with credit back to the original post. Never link directly to the download. If you would like to use this tutorial or freebie for commercial purposes, please email me. Thanks!

2012 Christmas Candy Box

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It’s that time of year. I can’t believe this is the 6th one I’ve done!

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I was hoping to start on the design much earlier than yesterday, but alas life happens and things inevitably get pushed into the month of December.  I’m pretty excited about this box. This year’s design can be cut out quickly and printed black and white – perfect for saving time and a little bit of cash (buy yourself some mean chocolates with those savings, perhaps?).

I sort of stumbled upon the idea for the constellation motif and I feel like it perfectly conveys a tone of the real meaning of Christmas, without claiming that specifically. The printable includes a Happy Holidays tag that could be used to decorate the box, as a tag or not used at all for year-round gift-giving.

You can also print this on any kind of paper. I cut down some ikea wrapping paper and used that! I love the natural feel it gives. I would’ve used paper grocery bags, but I didn’t have any on hand. I would recommend you print on a medium weight text stock so you can bend and pinch the paper with ease (28-80lb text stock – your local print shop will know what I mean).

Decorate your boxes with glitter ribbon, fancy brads, markers, paints, crayons or anything. This would be great for a family activity for neighbor gifts.

I do hope you get around to making a few of these this Christmas season! Read more for the download and step by step instructions for assembly.

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