Friday, January 11, 2019

Christmas Present, Past, and Future

CHRISTMAS PRESENT: This Christmas I'd made a set of five ornaments for my Southern California grandkids but had not tackled the second set for my Oklahoma grandkids. I just completed and mailed off that second set but it was easier this time around since I used what I had learned the first time I made them a few weeks ago. The following photo is of the Southern California set, the first one I made. Note how skinny the neck is on each elf and notice the details in Santa's mittened hand at the end of his very thin arm. Those narrow places made for very difficult turning and even harder stuffing. See post for 12/16/19.

This second time I sewed farther out into the blue background to make those pinch points wider and easier to deal with. I was also not quite as religious in following the profiles of the hair and ears and toes.

I left my opening for stuffing up near the pom-poms; that way I could stuff some fluff into them, too.

This set for my Oklahoma grandkids, turned out looking puffier. Santa may have put on a few pounds over the holidays after eating all those cookies. The hand, neck, feet, and pom-pom details on Santa and the elves – details I did not struggle to sew around this time – still stood out against the aqua border. It may not have been as realistic as the first set I made for my Southern California grandkids but I think I may be permitted to stretch realism a bit when it comes to Santa and his elves. My revisionistic solution was a win-win.

I kept all the unused parts from the two fabric panel for future use. I have 282 inches of that red and green diagonal stripe in a band that is 1¾ inches wide. The nearly 8 yards (short by ⅙ yard) might make a thin banding or sashing or narrow binding. Some day I may use those little figures in another quilt.

I have saved similar instructional or illustrative pictures from other cloth books, ornaments, and doll panels. Some examples of the ones I could lay my hands on quickly are in the next photo.

And I know these Stacy Hsu panel images live on from the Goldilocks (8/2/18 post) and Red Riding Hood (3/8/16 post) doll sets.

Other Stacy Hsu doll sets, images from Coral the mermaid (5/14/17 post), Madeline the cowgirl and Wes the cowboy (12/21/17 post) live on also, but they are safely put away, i.e. "temporarily misplaced", within my scraps somewhere. Writing this inspires me to gather them all in one place.

CHRISTMAS PAST: The grandkids had fun decorating my tree with stuffed ornaments when they visited at Thanksgiving in 2018. When my daughter returned home to Oklahoma, she lamented that she'd wished she'd thought to bring brought some of them back with her. I packed a few up and sent them off since they were favorites of hers from her Strawberry Shortcake days as a little girl. Can you name the characters? There is Strawberry Shortcake in the left column and pet cat Custard on the upper right. Huckleberry Pie is in the center column and pet dog Pupcake is on the lower right. It is only six ornaments for now (plus the five above) but it is a start at spreading and keeping the stuffed ornament tradition alive. Ornaments like these hold such memories because I would sew them and turn them right-side out and my kids Robin and Daniel – parents now themselves – would stuff them with me. One year I even took my sewing machine and supplies with me on a lakeside vacation where we rented a house for a week. We would watch Anne of Green Gables video marathons (VHS – we pre-dated DVDs) and stuff ornaments in the evening or for a break in the heat of the day.

CHRISTMAS FUTURE: Believe it or not, I searched my stash and I had no more of those panels left. I used to buy a couple panels every year, each with six to eight ornaments. One year there was even a panel with twelve ornaments for the twelve days of Christmas. But I guess those types of panels went out of style or popularity. Never fear, eBay to the rescue. I bought a panel, called Embroidery Christmas Ornaments, that contained the front and back of six ornaments.

I sewed them up and sent them off for my daughter to stuff with her 6 and 3½ year old kids. Although she is a busy working mom, she still managed to make a Grinch dress for her daughter, and I thought if I gave her a head start, all she would need to do was squeeze in time to whip stitch closed the openings. She has not yet put away her Christmas decorations, so I am still in time. Better yet, she and I can consider ourselves early for Christmas 2019! I will link this post up to Let's Bee Social #257. Maybe others will be inspired to get a head start on their Christmas 2019, also.


  1. We have a few stuffed ornaments on our tree too. These latest embroidered ones are really pretty. Funny you should be working with a panel, I just finished my hanging that is a panel. Happy Stitching to you Diane.

  2. I can't wait to stuff these ornaments with the kids!!! Thank you so much for putting the work in, I promise to send pictures when we get around to it... maybe it's fortunate that I still have that big box of stuffing sitting around. And also, thanks for the Strawberry shortcake ornaments! We have some Strawberry Shortcakes that A loves, and so this will be a fun (and intersectional!) part of my childhood to share on the tree!