A little late..but still thought it would be fun to share my 2018 handmade Christmas gifts
I intended to write this post much earlier…like right after Christmas. When everyone else was sharing the tail end of their handmade Christmas gifts in the new year, I thought to myself, “now’s the time Morgan to get that website completed and add this post! Wouldn’t that be a fun and easy first post to share?!” But it didn’t happen. And sharing anything BEFORE Christmas was definitely out of the question. Because as things go around here, I’m always doing things down to the wire. Especially when it comes to making gifted items.
I noticed this past summer that there was a lot of “Christmas in July” instagram posts from fellow quilters. Probably because that is when the ‘normal’ person starts planning and constructing holiday projects so they are completed in time. And so they have ample time to share them with their followers who may want to give them a try too. But not me. I wait until November, and then give myself an unreasonable amount of projects to complete by Christmas.
Don’t have time to hand make gifts? Visit my Shoppe for ones already made!
I always have good intentions to start projects nice and early…but whatever the reason, I’m inevitably scrambling to get them done in time. Like down to wire. As in, sewing all my WIPS (works-in-process) ON Christmas Eve that are to be delivered ON Christmas Eve using my mother’s sewing machine at her house in California after we flew out there to spend the holidays with my family. Oh well. That’s life. I wear a lot of hats. Just like all moms do.
I will say sewing brings me purpose and joy and peace (most of the time). So it’s all worth it in the end. Especially when I gift one of my makes to someone who is especially joyful upon receiving it!
I’ve been trying to gift at least a few handmade Christmas items every holiday season. This year I really upped my game. I tried a handful of new items: pillow cases, pot holders, advent calendars and some pillows using new-to-me techniques. I blame it on instagram. All the lovely quilters out there sharing all their “upcoming Christmas projects;” I just couldn’t stop myself!
Of course, I had to make some quilts as well. Between gifted quilts and commissioned quilts, I think I made 7 between November-December. So needless to say, I was a little overwhelmed to try to get things completed and sewing around the clock through the holidays. But that is my favorite kind of “being busy”- so I’ll take it!
After I saw @evquilts share her pillowcases-in-process I knew I had to try them. I believe it was she who shared that she makes new ones every year as a Christmas tradition. Well, these were so simple and fun to make, that I’m definitely doing this for my kids every Christmas! They’d make fun Christmas gifts too, or any-time-of-the-year gifts really! Here’s a link to her tutorial so you can try them too – Ev Quilts & Co tutorial.
I made both my boys 1 Christmas-themed case and I made 2 sets as gifts for 2 of their preschool teachers. The winter foxes print was made of flannel, which was so soft! I’ll have to remember to use ALL flannel for next year’s.
In addition, I had been eyeing the fabric collection “White Christmas” by Brigitte Heitland of Zen Chic and was determined to use it in something for the holidays. After she shared a tutorial for making advent calendars using the gorgeous numerical panel from this fabric line, I immediately knew that’s what I had to make. I cut up the panel, purchased yardage of my favorite prints from the line to put behind the pockets, and then tied a small dowel across the top with ribbons (hidden on the back) to keep it flat. This gave me something to tie a ribbon to at the top to hang them from. Hopefully soon, I’ll share a more detailed tutorial of how I made these…perhaps before next Christmas (ha!).
I have a large family and have been exchange gifts with a few of my cousins for years. These advent calendars made the perfect ‘family gift’ for the cousins that have kids. I stuck some candies in a few pockets (you could include small toys too) and excitingly gave these away at Christmas (oh and I made one for us too, of course!) Also, @quilt101 shared a slightly modified layout that inspired my version. They had kits for sale to make these around the holidays, so I’d reach out to them if that interests you.
Amy Sinibaldi from Nana Company shared a gorgeous potholder tutorial right around the holidays. I had been itching to give these a go, and of course, thought this was the time! These make perfect gifts! I gave 2 sets to my boys’ other 2 preschool teachers. Then my sister asked for some to give to her daughter’s teacher too, so I made her a set.
I envision these ladies having one displayed on the counter at their next gathering to serve as a fun conversation piece. They then quickly pick it up to pull out their pie from the oven with ease when the timer goes off.
I liked the idea of giving 1 Christmas version and 1 non-Christmas version. But giving a matching set probably would make more sense so they could be used together.
The non-Christmas versions
The Christmas versions
Every year my sister and I exchange gifts with our godparents (we share the same ones). They always get us something and so we like to return the favor. This year, I decided to make a little something extra for my godmother, who was a teacher for many years and collected apple everything (or maybe it was all gifted to her??)
Anyhow, I came across these adorable apple pillows on pinterest made by @crafterbynight using Rick Rack. I thought this was a fun play on the traditional Christmas colors and was perfect for this special teacher in my life. I used this original appliqued apple pillow tutorial she had linked and I machine appliqued my apples. This was a new technique for me. Using Rick Rack for trim around the pillow was also new to me and I thought it turned out too sweet! I couldn’t resist making a matching pot holder too!
Lastly, I wanted to make something special for a business partner who we worked closely with in 2018 with our other business (my husband runs a family business distributing kids’ shoes in the US). This partner celebrates hanukkah and I knew he didn’t have any young children, so my typical children’s gifts wouldn’t work. I also knew I wanted to make pillows, and found some lovely hanukkah fabrics on etsy. I then went to pinterest for ideas.
With three of the pillows I just winged it. I sewed one with a 12 square patch and one I just hand drew a dreidel onto one of the prints and machine appliqued it on solid white. For the third, I had been wanting to try free form wording and so I sketched out the words in cursive and then sewed over it with my machine using various thread colors and multiple layers of stitches.
I have just one foot for my machine, which is a Singer from the 1950s. It’s not a free motion foot. I think its a 1/4″ foot, which isn’t the appropriate foot for trying this technique, but I went ahead with it anyway. I think for my first attempt of working with what I have, it didn’t turn out too bad.
For the last pillow I wanted to incorporate a Star of David. I found this 6-point triangle star pillow tutorial on pinterest by Amy Smart from Diary of a Quilter, and I think it was the perfect touch to round out this collection.
As you can see…I stayed very busy at the end of 2018. I really enjoyed trying all these new makes and techniques, however, and enjoyed even more handing out all of these gifts! That always makes my heart happy. Now, lets see if I can get ahead of the game in 2019 and start making and sharing my handmade Christmas gifts this year in July with everyone else!