To Alex -

To Alex...who is far away in person, but never far from my heart. I miss you. Enjoy these snippets of everyday family life here in the states.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Handmade Holidays

I'm pretty happy with what I've made this year for the holidays. When I look at the stack of handmade gifts it's pretty impressive, at least, it is to me. Here are the last of the projects I completed. The journal covers were hinted at in the post of my grandson where he is sitting in the window sewing. The littles each embroidered their handprints and I quilted them into the covers. My intent is that the journals will be used by the kids and their dad together, and then sent back and forth in the mail. I'm thinking that Dad will complete a page, send it to the child who then completes a page and sends it back to Daddy, etc., but it doesn't have to be writing. (Thanks Shannon) It can be pictures, collages, painting, found objects, really, anything they want. I made individual journals so Daddy can write personalized information to each child and they can feel more connected to each other.

It would be awesome if the journaling were about the everyday happenings in their lives while apart. See, I have a journal from 1865 that was written by one of my relatives and I love reading about what he was doing on a particular day and then trying to figure out where he went in town. He wrote about the everyday, whether he was working in the sugar shack, or went to a party, or how much he paid for a pair of pants, or the weather. He wrote about making fur mittens and selling them to make a little extra money. Simple, daily life that I find so fascinating and I'm hoping these journals turn into the same thing, that someday, someone will read these and get an idea of what life was like for these people who will be half a world apart for a time. Wouldn't that be awesome?
Hey, I made my first bound booklets for the inside. Have you ever looked at the bindings in books and tried to figure out how the heck they did that? No? Well, I did and I just knew it was some complicated process that would either frustrate me or make me buy fancy, expensive binding equipment. Nope, crazy easy and I found many, many posts online about how to do this. You need a needle, and some thread, and although the online posts tell you to punch holes using an awl, I didn't have one so I used a hammer and nail. Doesn't sound very difficult or expensive does it? I'm just tickled by the results.
Pockets were necessary on the inside to hold the signatures in place. (I learned that's what the bound pages are called) I only put a few pages (5 folded) inside because I didn't want it to seem overwhelming that a whole journal needed to be filled. This way, when one of the signatures gets full, I can take it out and replace it with another of the same size. When the journal is really complete (when Daddy is home for good), I'll bind all the signatures together to make a book for each child.  I think it's a brilliant idea and I can hardly wait to give these to my son.

The last project I finished was these cute little hats that were made up in less than an hour...aand I learned to make a blind hem using my presser foot. The process seemed complicated while reading about it, but when I actually sat down and did it step by step, well, it was sort of like magic because even though I couldn't puzzle out how it was working, it was working. Cool! So many new techniques this year, I wonder what next year will hold for me?
Happy holidays to you and I hope you're ready because it's here, ready or not.

P.S. I'm thrilled that the days will now start getting longer. So thrilled...


  1. I LOVE your gifts, especially the journals...they brought tears to my eyes...Happy Holidays and thank your for your little space...right here in GR;)


  2. You are so awesome! LOVE the journal covers!! And BIG thank you for all of your wonderful comments on my blog. I SO appreciate you and your lovely energy. Happy, wonderful holidays to you. XO

  3. Awesome gifts. I love the notebooks!