Saturday, December 26, 2015

Santa Sack Swap ~ 2015

As you may have read before in this post, I participated in a Santa Sack Swap hosted by Cheryll. These are the items I sent out to my partner Debbie

I started with the tote since that would be one of the major pieces to sew up. I created the tote without a pattern. I wanted it to be large enough to be used as a project carrier, with pockets to hold pattern books or magazines, knitting needles or crochet hooks and other needlework bits and pieces. I chose red with a white pattern so that it looks festive, but can also be used year round.

Half the work of this swap was trying to decide what to make! I perused Pinterest quite a bit looking for some fun ideas to create myself. I wanted to make a sewing kit to use with the tote, and after a bit of fussing and reworking, came up with this:

I made it from a Japanese fabric fat quarter, and I included pockets for scissors, crochet hooks and a little notebook. There is a needle book with a few pages of pure wool felt; a loop that holds a ring for embroidery floss; and even a pop-up thread catcher (also removable with a little snap on the bottom), the pattern for which I found here. The nice thing about the thread catcher is that it will still fold up with thread inside it.

I knit a Christmas garland using snowmen, Santa Claus and a Christmas tree, all attached to an I-cord. This was fun to make, but the details were surprisingly time consuming to add toques, top hats, scarves and all the little glass beads for eyes and embroider those happy little smiles!

A couple of knitted cotton dishcloths in peppermint colours were added to the lot along with a cute rabbit linen teatowel (which I forgot to get a photo of). I also did a paper-pieced patchwork decoration that is about 4 inches square.

The item that took the longest time, but which I enjoyed making the most, was this patchwork table runner. I used the pattern of "sawtooth star", which has become a favourite of mine. I like the placement which is sometimes referred to as "robbing Peter to pay Paul" since the stars are opposites side by side (ie: red star with a white background beside a white star with a red background). I quilted this by stitching in the ditch, which I think turned out rather nice. 

It was fun to work on these for several months and search out the patterns etc. on Pinterest and in my own craft library. I love sewing and knitting, and joining in these on-line swaps etc. really gets me motivated to continue with the making after the parcel is shipped off.

Thanks for stopping by!


Gift Through the Mail

I received a prettily wrapped package in the mail just before Christmas. 
Topped with a beautiful handmade card!

Inside were some lovely and soft fingerless mitts and a matching crocheted pin!
A delicious row of chocolate Santas were consumed quite quickly (share with the family of course!) ... only two remained for the photo shoot.

The nicest thing about these crocheted items ...

... they match a scarf received for my birthday!
Now I can be all coordinated when I step out the door ;)

And that, my friends, is the beautiful gift I received from Amy.

Thank you Amy, you are a special friend.


Sunday, December 20, 2015

Santa Sack Swap 2015

This year I joined up with the Santa Sack Swap organized by Cheryll. A big thank you to Cheryll for arranging this swap and keeping us all on track with reminders on the deadline! This is my first time participating in this swap, and it was a lot of fun. We had to make either a stocking or tote and fill this with gifts, the bulk of which were to be handmade. (you can see the gifts I made here)

I was partnered with my new friend out in British Columbia, Debbie at Debbie's Corner. We have been emailing each other back and forth through the course of this exchange and have got to know each other a little bit. I think that is the best part of these swaps in gaining another special friend.

Debbie and I both agreed to make a tote for the other, so that was where I started sewing. I worked on the items to be sent throughout the summer and then put a little bit more steam on as our deadline in November drew near. Both our parcels were sent out ahead of deadline, and Canada Post delivered each of our boxes in record time. Friday was our official opening day, and I was so very happy with the amazing bundle of presents I received.

Since I've been following Debbie's blog, I've admired her beautiful cross-stitched items. I was so happy that a cross-stitched Christmas decoration was included! Such fine detail on this little treasure.

A pair of royal blue fingerless mitts! Aren't they pretty? The pattern is lovely, and these will be perfect for our rather mild winter ... ahem, having said that, we are currently getting snow!

A lovely set of dish scrubbies. These are so cute, and something I haven't seen before. Debbie tells me they are crocheted and then stitched into the circle. I always use hand knit cotton dishcloths as I really like the feel of the cotton and they hold up so well. I believe these are crocheted using the same cotton, as they feel so lovely and soft. They'll be put to good use this holiday ;)

This is the clever tote which Debbie tells me is a Japanese knot bag. You slip the longer handle through the short handle and it closes up the tote. Such a smart design, and a perfect size! It's also reversible with some lovely cotton on the inside.

And look at this beautiful shawl! I just love the shade of blue used here, and there's a nice lacy edging across the bottom. It's a really nice size for wearing ... not too big and not too small. It's quite cozy and I've had it around my shoulders this afternoon while the snow whips around outside. Beautiful work!

Now this next gift really caught me by surprise! I thought at first it was a pretty watercolour print until I read the title printed in the lower right corner "After the Rainstorm" ... hmmm ... then it struck me! This is my own photograph that Debbie copied and changed into a watercolour print!! It gave me such a thrill that she was so thoughtful to recreate this photo for me and frame it up too. This was one of my favourite photos of our summer camping (post here). Thank you for this Debbie ;)

And of course, there were lots of tasty treats tucked into the box! Who doesn't love chocolate ;) And nothing tastes better with chocolate in my humble opinion than a good cup of tea! And I do like Earl Grey! There is also a scented votive candle and two solar power candles which sit in your window, recharge during the day and light up at night! Just a nice little detail on a dark winter's evening.

And that's been my great Christmas Swap! Thank you again Debbie for making such beautiful gifts and becoming a good friend in this blogging community. It's been such fun working on these things at the same time and exchanging emails. And a big thank you again to Cheryll for making it all happen!

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Thanks for stopping by ;)


Friday, December 18, 2015

Five on Friday

Joining up again today with Amy of Love Made My Home and her world-famous Five on Friday!!

Today I'm going to share five things that have really brightened my days recently in the lead up to Christmas. There has a been a flurry of giving and receiving through the mail the past few weeks! All of which has been between fellow bloggers. I've also received some surprises from my son, who is a real sweetheart at times even though he can drive me to distraction at others ;)

One ~ Gifts received:

Through my card & tea exchange group, we've had lots of fun with the little gifts to accompany our cards. How cute are these little gifts that came through the mail! Colouring page (I enjoyed working on that during a Christmas special!), embroidered goodness, and sparkling snowflake delights!

Tea wallets, gift tags and lots of new teas to try!

Daily planners, knitted tea pouch and crocheted snowflake!

The best part about this card exchange is that we all live in Canada, but are spread far and wide across the entire width! From Prince Edward Island, Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia. A few of us are very close to each other. Now that we have got to know each other a little better, I do hope that we can meet up together sometime next year.

Two ~ Beautiful cards:

I've received lots of cards from blogging friends this year too. Quite a few of them were handmade. I know we all have our preference for displaying cards. My parents used to have all their cards on top of their baby grand piano. I have a few on my buffet until I get the Christmas decorations out. Then I find it better to tape them all to my kitchen window.

Three ~ A few gifts sent out:

These are the gifts I put in the card exchange. My second try at paper piecing which worked up much quicker than my first try. I did these assembly-line fashion which really helped.

Four ~ A gift from my son:

My teen son surprised us with this metal reindeer he made in welding class. I quite like the simple design and the rugged look of it. I just think it needs a little wreath of green around its neck and will try to make something up for that on the weekend.

I also received a "re-gifted" gift from my son. He gave me a metal heron that he made in welding class a couple of years ago, but the head broke off last year. I've been asking and asking him to take it into school and reattach the head. Today, that finally got fixed and he gave it back to me all together again. I love this piece and put it in his pond garden in the summertime. It's his own design.

Five ~ A little gift to me from me!

While browsing through some stores last week, I came across this cute glass cookie jar. It has a ceramic top and I just couldn't put it back on the shelf. So home it came even though I really shouldn't have. I like glass cookie jars because you can see what's inside them ... in this case, nothing :(

Thanks for stopping by today!

Merry Christmas Everyone!


Friday, December 11, 2015

Five on Friday - Christmas Past

I'm joining up with Amy of Love Made my Home again this week for Five on Friday!

I thought I'd share a few photos of my family's past Christmases from some old slides of my parents.

1. This is my mother's mother two days after Christmas 1957 ... my parents wedding day! I thought it fit in this 'five' since there is the Christmas tree to the right.

This is my mother that same day ... yes her wedding dress was a beautiful deep teal colour. And here she is beside the same Christmas tree, although the tree (and the whole room!) appears to have flipped over. These were taken in my grandmother's house on Princess St. in Dundas.

 2. These were taken in our old house in Dundas on Central Park Ave. My mother with my two older sisters and Grandma. I like that we can see the brand new decorations on the tree ... all gone now of course. My sister still has the couch and chair. Two things I loved about this house were the hardwood floors, and all the interior doors were solid wood with glass door knobs.

The first house I lived in ... Dundas

 3. Again at the house in Dundas, and now I too am in the pictures. Notice my mother's hair has turned grey already (was it me?!). I remember that doll of my sisters, but not it's name.

That's me dead centre

4. Another Christmas, and now we are all here ... three girls and my younger brother who looks about two here, so this is probably 1966. Even Skipper our little daschund has joined the family. 

I'm on Mom's lap

We were quite proud of that "Yule Log" man. A friend of the family made him. In this next photo is a piece of driftwood that looks like a deer's head. He sat for years over the fireplace in Dundas, and then in the front hall at our country home in Burlington. Now he is above my own front door. I also have the painting that is behind us. Why we are all standing on the mantle shelf I don't know. My dad told us to do something and we just did it. We're all wrapped up with cloths around our necks and cotton in our ears because we had the mumps that Christmas ... ugh. My dad built this extra living room on the back of our house himself. A few years ago I noticed a real estate ad for this house, and this back room was exactly the same! I'm glad it wasn't altered because it was quite a warm and cozy room.

5. Here we are again, although I think we may be back in 1965 now. I remember getting that little doll's crib and still have it! (That's me with the very happy grin.) A very useful piece which I kept my few stuffed animals in for many years (I wasn't much on dolls, although I did have one Barbie). My brother's bear was a gift from my British paternal grandparents. My sisters both got tiger pajama bags from my grandparents, and I got a poodle pajama bags. These stuffed toys had a zippered pocket in their tummies that you would tuck your pajamas into during the day. I loved my poodle, and still have him too.

I can just see a bit of white that was my poodle in this photo.
We also got these horrible feeling pajamas in "brushed nylon"
that snagged on rough hands and broken fingernails!

6. Bonus! This is me on Christmas Day about 1975. We had moved to north Burlington (Lowville) three years previous. That year I received a new pair of skates, the woolen hat, a vibrant blue and red scarf and my favourite coat was purchased that winter (although not for Christmas). I really loved skating, although I wasn't very good at it. My brother and I would spend many hours down in our field where there were little flooded areas that we would skate on. We also skated up and down our little creek beside the field. The only thing I didn't like about skating along there was that we would often get tripped up on little sticks frozen in the ice. Happy memories :)

Thanks for stopping by today!


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