Sunday, December 16, 2012

On Being Santa’s Elf

Let me just say that being an Elf (specifically, one of Santa’s) is not all it’s cracked up to be.  I  have always wanted to have a handmade Christmas, and this year was the one I signed up for.  Grandmas have special powers, you know. (wink)  Here were my main reasons for taking the plunge in 2012.

1.  I am retired from the workforce. So, in theory this year I would have the TIME. However, I still run my own Etsy Shop and sometimes my boss can be a real bitch stickler about getting things packaged or listed or whatever.  “Work” trumps creating.  And I am not even talking about housework (which is about 43rd in my priority rankings).

2.  It would be more economical.  HA!  Have you seen the cost of fabric lately?  Good quilting quality cotton (not the cheap stuff at JoAnn’s that shrinks and shreds down by 25% when washed) runs between $8-11 per yard.  And Minkee, that soft fluffy backing that everyone wants because everyone else has it, is $12-16 per yard.  That means an average quilt, with batting and thread (really helps to hold it all together) runs $80-100. That is more than our budget per person, but since it also satisfies my urge for Retail Therapy, we are letting it slide this year.

3.  It would be so Norman Rockwell for the grandkids to help me bake cookies and to cuddle their quilts in sweetness and bliss.   SCREEEEETCH!  My grandkids would rather be dancing, playing hide and seek, vrooming cars, chasing the cat, getting into the refrigerator for celery so they can be Wonder Pets, or any one of about a dozen other noise-making activities.

So, I am tired, broke and harried. So much to do, so little time.  The kids are all in agony, waiting for the days to drag by.  And I am making lists, checking them twice, and trying valiantly to get it all done and be the perfect Grammy.   *Sigh*  

I guess they are just going to have to settle for me, LOL

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

So, let me show you some of the things that I have finished recently!  At least I can account for my time.

These two Christmas stockings are for Mike and Rob, the other two members of Bruce’s folk band, The Muddy Gutter Boys.   I made lovely stockings for their wives about 9 years ago.  These are NOT lovely. They are what I call “quick and dirty” stockings.  Guys are hard to do stockings for since they don’t want things all foofed up.  So, trims take the part of a lot of hand stitching to avoid a look that’s too delicate and lacy.

Both stockings have a Christmas tree with lights, a snowman, some charms relating to their hobbies and interests, their initial, and some scattered snowflakes.  And a couple very basically-stitched seams.  That’s about it.  Here is Mike’s stocking.

The detail shot proves that I did do SOME stitching. And I beaded that star on the treetop, too.  

And below is Rob’s stocking.  He is more of the religious type, so I thought that adding the Three Wise Men pointing to a star would be appropriate.  There is also a bit of a humorous back story to this.  The Muddy Gutter Boys call themselves the Three Wise Guys, (they incorporate jokes and humor into their performances).

Detail shot of the Three Wise Guys Men pointing to the star.  Rob also likes trains!

And here is a shot of one of the snowmen.  Very simple, but I did use real MOP (mother of pearl) buttons from my collection.

I had a lot of green moire, so the stockings were backed with that rather than trying to fight with velvet.   Oops, looks like I forgot to foof up the picture. Yes, it was taken on my cutting mat.

And to make this post not only long, but INTERMINABLE (I know, I know! If I blogged more often this could have been three separate posts), here is another quilt I have finished.

This quilt is for Remi, the youngest grandchild (at least until March).  She is Hunter’s little sister and is about 15 months old.

The fabric is Hoo’s in the Forest from Riley Blake Fabrics.  But I pulled the reds out of the set (to use in another quilt, which is done but I still have to get pictures).  I wanted to keep this a soft colored quilt.  Oh, and of course, the backing is (you guessed it) Minkee.  *sigh*

The pattern is a disappearing 9-patch, which was perfect to use with my layer cake-sized fabric (10” square).  I just cut them into fourths and was on my way sewing 9-patch blocks. When all 12 of the 9-patch blocks were sewn, they were cut into quarters and re-sewn together, resulting in this randomness. 

The red and red/yellows from this fabric line were used in a quilt for Lauren, our oldest granddaughter (by marriage).  Whereas Remi’s quilt above has 12 large blocks, Lauren’s has 20 (4x5 setting).  It is too large for me to photograph on the living room floor, so it will have to wait until Bruce is home during daylight hours and the weatherman cooperates by holding the snow for a bit.

Today, I am making little clutch purses (4 of them).  I took a class for these at Sewing Summit in October and purchased some extra snap frames.  The fabrics are all selected, and I am going to assembly-line them.  If I finish those, I still have two zip pouches to finish.  I will show everything when done.

In the meantime, I hope you are having a festive Holiday Season.  And my biggest wish for you all is that you have the energy to get through it and the time to relax and enjoy it!

Cathy maroon


  1. It's a tough life as an elf, and you only get paid in cookies...

    I started making handmade for my family when I was at uni, thinking it would be cheaper, and in a way it was, because I had an excuse to buy the things I wanted to play with, but damnit all, they've got attached to the handmade thing, and 16 years later it's becoming harder to find things to make *sigh*

  2. Love the stockings! And the quilts. I think handmade means heart-felt, but little ones are too small to understand. But the handmades become cherished heirlooms.
    Wishing you and yours a wonderful Christmas!


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