the first batch of christmas crafts

My ability to blog about this first batch of Christmas crafts sadly means my short trip to Michigan to visit my best friend, Lindsey, has already come and gone. (All you girls lucky enough to live in the same town as your best friend - stop reading this, go over to her house and give her a big fat hug, because you are very very fortunate!) I have a small tendency to spoil Lindsey, especially since the birth of her son Will, so I tried to scale back this year and focus more on craft than cost. Will's presents were easy - Amy Butler's Little Stitches provided plenty of inspiration and baby clothes are so small they require very little fabric. I decided on the Kimono PJ pants and used Moda's Funky Monkey fabric in Sock Blue, Cream Counting Monkeys and Brown Sock Texture (for the cuffs.)

I used leftover fabric from the pants to applique coordinating onesies:

Here are the finished sets:

A couple tips for these pants... 1) Use 3/4 inch wide elastic or make the casing for the elastic a little bigger because the 1 inch elastic was a really tight fit. 2) Make the pants about 1-2 sizes larger than you think you'll need. Will is 5 months, a bit small for his age, and just started wearing 6-9 mos. clothes. I thought I'd be safe making the pants size 6-9 mos. but they were pretty snug around his diaper. They'll be fine for him for only another month or so, which is why I'll be making him 2 more pairs in a bigger size.

For Lindsey I aimed for a combination of pampered and practical. I'd been dying for an excuse to pick up Amy Butler's new Love collection, and thought it would be perfect to use for a little library tote since Lindsey's a regular at the Berkley Public Library. I used Lotta Jansdotter's Simple Tote pattern as a starting point, and added lining using some leftover fabric from Lindsey's Weekender Bag.

This bag was super easy to make and the lining added a nice finished look to the original pattern. I used the bag as gift wrapping and threw in some Philosophy Amazing Grace bath products (the pamper part), and the Exhale: Core Fusion - Pilates Plus DVD (the practical part.) Lindsey loves working out but as a new mom doesn't have a ton of time, so the 10 minute workouts on this DVD are a great solution.

More Christmas crafts to come... :-)

stocking stitchery

Among the many things Jared and I purchased last year for our first official Christmas at home together were these cute little felt stockings from Joann's.  Having always had personalized stockings growing up, the white stitching on the front of the stocking begged for matching embroidered names on the cuffs.  I've been fascinated by Jenny Hart's amazing embroidery ever since Sublime Stitching, and couldn't wait to get started on my first project. I experimented with a few different ways to get the outline of our names onto the stockings and found the easiest was to do the following:

  1. Use WordArt in Microsoft Word or Illustrator to type out the names in an outlined font.  Be sure to type the names from last letter to first so they read left to right when you transfer them to your project. Lastly, view the names at 100% to make sure they'll be the right size.
  2. Print out the names on regular computer paper.  Place a sheet of tracing paper over your print out and trace the outlines using a transfer pencil.  Make sure you use a pencil color that will be easily hidden underneath your stitches.  I used a white transfer pencil and it worked great.
  3. Transfer the names to your project using a dry iron.  If your project is oddly shaped and won't lay flat, it's helpful to pin the tracing paper down before ironing.

I used white embroidery floss and split-stitch around each of the letters.  Here's how they turned out:

For Jared

For me

For the pups

Happy little family stockings :-)