Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Stuff This

Years and years and years ago my mother made us felt Christmas stockings from kits.

They've definitely seen better days, but they are such wonderful little heirloom pieces.  You can find the old kits on eBay, but the prices seem really excessive....$20.00 to $60.00 or so for one of these kits.  I haven't seen mine for sale, but my sister's stocking was made by Sultana and was called "Mini-Toys".  There was one for sale on Etsy, but it's since been sold. 

Given the major price gouging on these little felt applique kits, you can imagine my surprise when I came across a kit at a yard sale a while back for $4.00.  It was a vintage kit by Bucilla (#82065) called "On Santa's Knee" and I decided to make it for my newborn nephew.  I started it earlier this year, but found it to be too time consuming and tedious.  I didn't have the patience for it, so I set it aside for a number of months.

Then in October my mother showed up for the wedding with her usual haul of yard sale finds.  Among her goods, she had found two additional felt applique kits.  One was a vintage kit from Sultana (#1249) called "Jack-in-the-Box" and the other was a kit from 2001 by Dimensions (#8092).   So after the wedding, I dragged out the Bucilla kit and started to stitch away.  I had just over two months to get these three stockings prepared for the kids in my sister's family.

The kits are pretty neat.  They come with everything pre-printed on sheets of colored felt that you cut out.  You start with piece 1, attach piece 2, then piece 3 etc.  The kits come with detailed instructions, coordinating embroidery thread, crewel thread, sequins, and needles, but they don't come with stuffing.  The hardest part was attaching each little sequin and bead.  It took forever!
You can see the pre-printed outlines in this mid-assembly photo.  And P.S. that is Santa's bag, not a golden toilet, which is what my husband kept calling it.

I dragged the Jack-in-the-Box kit down to Southern California for the Thanksgiving weekend and spent about six hours straight working on it on the drive back home.  I started the third stocking during the first week of December and finally finished it late last week.  I have seriously been working on these stockings for about eight weeks non-stop in the evenings while watching television and movies.  And so, here they are:
Only the Sultana stocking came with a bell, so I added bells to all the others.  I mean, seriously, you really need a bell on Christmas stockings.  How else will you know if pudgy little kid arms are illegally rooting around in them?
I modified just a few things on this Santa stocking from Bucilla.  The little stuffed bear is supposed to be attached with velcro, but curious kids will definitely find cause to remove him and then lose him, so I stitched the little bugger on.  I was supposed to use a gold cording for the name, but Mr. Parker is a String Burglar and kept making off with it and I couldn't figure out how to balance out the letters in cursive.
This Sultana kit was slightly easier than the Bucilla, either because there were fewer pieces or I had become a pro.  I modified just a few things on this one too.  I stuffed the head and body of Jack, because my stitching was a bit wonky and the stuffing helped hide that.  In true 1970's fashion, they wanted me to attach red sequins to the pink ornaments, but the colors did not look that good in the photo, so I opted for white on the one and light blue sequins on the other.  I love how the ornaments swing!

You can tell that this one is the modern one, just from the color scheme.  All that vibrant blue!  None of the vintage kits really have that color.  This one also has a few modifications.  I inadvertently attached white sequins along the top when it had called for blue.  I used black sequins for the mouth and eyes...the recommended black stitching did not look much like coal.  The cursive stitched name that the directions recommended looked stupid, so I gave it my own letters instead.  This kit wanted me to stuff almost every single applique piece...ridiculous!  I just did the ones that I thought needed some dimension.  It came with purple sequins, but never said to use them, so I outlined one arm.  I also scratched the pom-poms that were supposed to appear on the hats.  

My sister's husband is the only one who doesn't have a stocking, so I guess I know what I'm doing next year.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Book Haul

The Barbarian Librarian clued me in to a holiday promotion by Chronicle Books.  All I had to do was come up with a wish list of books from Chronicle totaling up to $500.00, blog about it, and then I'd be entered to win the list and a lucky blog commenter could win it too.  I made it to $497.84...whew!

Sewing Books
  1. Applique Your Way by Katye Taylor - I love applique!
  2. The Sock Monkey & Friends Kit by Samantha Fisher and Cary Lane - With a niece and nephews on the way and years of present-making ahead of me, I'd say this one is a winner!
  3. 1, 2, 3 Sew by Ellen Luckett Baker - Projects in groups of three.
  4. Girl's World by Jennifer Paganelli - I mentioned that niece, right?
  5. Whip Up Mini Quilts by Kathleen Ricketson - Someday I will make a quilt, so should start with a mini one.
  6. Simple Sewing by Lotta Jansdotter - Fun!
  7. Simple Sewing for Baby by Lotta Jansdotter - One niece comes out tomorrow, one nephew comes out on the 7th...better get sewing!
  8. French General: Home Sewn by Kaari Meng - The author "scours the French countryside and Parisian fleamarkets for vintage treasures."  Um, SOLD!
  9. The Pillow Book by Shannon Okey - This was going to be the name of my erotic bookstore, but maybe I'll just make pillows instead of pursuing that dream.
  10. In Stitches by Amy Butler - Amy Butler; still not convinced that I like her stuff.
  11. Kyuuto! Japanese Crafts: Fuzzy Felted Friends - I love Japanese crafts!

  1. Embroidered Effects by Jenny Hart - I love Sublime Stitching.
  2. Kyuuto! Japanese Crafts:  Wooly Embroidery -  My embroidery class used this book as an example of good techniques and projects.
Knitting & Crochet
  1. Field Guide to Knitting by Jackie Pawlowski - Someday I will learn to knit.
  2. The Sock Knitting Kit by Alyce Benevides and Jacqueline Milles - And then I will knit socks.
  3. Creepy Cute Crochet by Christen Haden - And when I learn to crochet, I'm making monsters.
  4. Kyuuto! Japanese Crafts:  Lacy Crochet! - I love this Kyuuto! series.
In the Kitchen
I like to make aprons, so here are some food-related books
  1. Cake Pops by Bakerella - I don't know if I'd do anything more than gaze longingly at each picture.
  2. Yum-Yum Bento Box by Crystal Watanabe and Maki Ogawa - No patience for the execution of ornate bento boxes, but I love staring at the photos.
  3. Farmers' Market Desserts by Jennie Schacht - Yummy!
  4. Fresh from the Farmers' Market by Janet Fletcher - I suppose I just can't eat dessert all the time.
  5. Let's Cook Japanese Food by Amy Kaneko - I love Japanese home cooking.
  6. Crepes by Lou Seibert Pappas - With nutella, I hope.

And just because I love vintage, crafts, and vintage crafts, I am including Vintage Craft Workshop by Cathy Callahan, which will be available in February 2011.