I hope everyone had a very magical, wonderful Christmas! Ours was just fantastic, with lots of family time, laughs, delicious food, and gift-giving. After a little backstory, I’m going to share one of my favorite gifts I gave this year, a special handmade gift.
We have sort of a schedule at Christmas time. Christmas Eve is with Coach’s family, Christmas Day is with Madre and Jimmie, and then we have our Christmas with Daddy-O and JiJi as soon after the 25th as possible. This year, we did change it up a little by making the drive to Sunny Florida to visit the Daddy-O clan instead of Daddy-O and JiJi driving up to visit us. Everything else pretty much stayed the same, which is how we like it! (Although, I’m blogging from their home in Sunny Florida, and it has to be the loudest place I’ve ever been, all the time. Right now the TV is blaring, the coffee grinder is whirring, and Coach is on the phone with Jimmie, who is heading home today, advising her about the weather…and it’s only 7:30 am. With the horns of the weather alerts and all of the other racket, there’s no telling what this blog post will be like. I’m sending up prayers for anyone in the path of severe weather, and prayers for myself for endurance to survive the noise.)
Christmas Eve with Coach’s family is always a fun time. His parents, Grandaddy and Grandma (this is hardly blog-code as most everyone around calls them by these names), always host us for a delicious meal and a round of gift-opening. This year we had Grandaddy’s famous fried catfish, served with Grandma’s famous coleslaw, white beans and hushpuppies! It was the finest meal I’ve had in ages! The kids loved it, too, but were more than ready to get on with the presents after we had all had our fill.
Coach’s Mom, Grandma, and her sweet sister “Filly” have had a rough few years. Their father passed away 5 years ago, and then they lost their Mother in 2013. There have been a lot of changes in their lives, and sometimes that can shake a person to the core. These two ladies are sweet, loving, and sentimental people who loved their parents and try to honor them at every turn. This was the motivation for my favorite hand made gift of the season, and I’d like to share it with you today.
Coach’s grandfather (Grandma and Filly’s father), Daddy-T, wore cotton pajamas, but couldn’t stand for his pj’s to have sleeves. Mama Lois always cut them off for him, and being the thrifty lady she was, did not throw those sleeves away. Aunt Filly held on to those sleeves, and she sent them home with me one day, along with some fabulous vintage fabrics saved when her grandmother passed on, and suggested I do something with them. I decided that the only thing I could possibly do with the sleeves was to make a keepsake for her and Grandma; something with a little piece of Daddy-T that they could treasure.
After much debate, I decided that throw pillows would be the best idea. I trucked over to the dreaded Walmart and picked up some of this:
This stuff is great! They also make a no-sew variety, but for my idea, I wanted to be able to sew it. My next step was to cut out hearts from the Heat n Bond, and iron them onto the sleeve fabrics. I wanted a little bit of every sleeve on each pillow. I cut the hearts out of the sleeves, trimming as close to the Heat n Bond as possible, and then arranged them onto the fabric I had already cut out for the throw pillows. A quick press with the hot iron adhered the pieces perfectly to my pillow fabric, and then I had to work up my nerve to do the decorative part.
I had these pillows pictured in my mind, and I envisioned a cute, zig-zag stitch around the hearts. I placed the first one on the machine and got to work, finding the task to be less difficult that I thought it would be!
I won’t say my stitching was perfect, but they turned out adorable, just the same.
Yes, I made Grandma and Filly cry with these pillows. They were overcome with emotion upon opening them, and the rest of the family gave me woeful looks, as if to say “thanks, Martie, thanks a lot!” Surely they all knew that someone was going to cry sometime, right? Whether I gave them the pillows or not? It’s always inevitable…
Filly gave me a special hug and a “thank-you” for her pillow, and I thanked her again for the beautiful vintage fabrics. I enjoyed this project so much, and I was glad to hear she loved it. I know she and Grandma will treasure them, and think of their sweet Daddy when they look at them.
What did you make for Christmas gifts this year? I love giving handmade gifts most of all, because they are always as special to me as they are to the recipient. It warms my heart to be able to turn a scrap into a treasured timepiece, or even just to know that I put my own creativity and hours into a gift for someone I love.
(P.S. It’s now 10:00 am, and I’m just now finishing up this post. The noise grew, plus I had to pause for Daddy-O’s homemade cinnamon rolls….no complaints here!)