Thursday, November 4, 2010

Gearing up Mrs. Santa's Workshop

Every year Mrs. Hunting Creek magically transforms her workshop into Mrs. Santa's Workshop. What? You thought Santa made everything? Ha. We all know Mrs. Santa does all the real work, there with her clipboard and MBA organizational skills. Santa just drives his red Ferrari sleigh, while he scarfs down Christmas cookies. Typical. If most men were in charge of gift giving, we'd all get beer and chili for the Super Bowl. No birthday gifts, no baby showers...just football related gifts...but I digress. We are thinking about the winter Holidays. In the Northern European culture that I sprang from, holidays are mainly the responsibility of women. We bake the cookies, make the gift lists, wrap the presents, plan the parties. Whew! I'm tired already.
But these fun activities make the holidays memorable, and build happy memories. The trick to avoiding a Holiday-induced nervous breakdown is to pick what activities are important to you, and delegate the rest. Every year I make little gifts for my family and coworkers. During the year I test out little projects to find something fun I'd like to make.

These little birdies are from
My sister sent me the link because she liked the birdies, so I made a couple for her. They only took a few minutes to make, and will be cute decorations for her tree.
They also offer free patterns for a grocery tote, and a chef's apron.
Grocery totes and chef's aprons make nice personalized gifts, and they are fun to make assembly line style. Just decree that everyone gets an apron!
I made my whole office custom totes last year (I filled them with homemade treats) so I have been thinking...what about insulated totes and casserole cozies? This is potluck season, so they would come in handy.
To try out my new Insul-fleece, I designed an oven mitt. You don't need a pattern to make one; I traced around my hand. I cut four sets - two for the outside, and two for the lining. You can use matching or contrasting fabric - you are the designer. I used a cute 60's Volkswagen van print. I used 100 percent cotton fabric. Canvas or denim would also work. No synthetics, please. I then cut out a layer of Insul-fleece and a layer of thin cotton batting. Just for fun, I quilted the layers with my Pfaff's decorative stitches. (No quilting is actually required. I was just goofing around.)

Then I trimmed the seams, added a hanging loop and inserted the lining, remembering to leave an unsewn portion at the side so I could turn the whole thing right side out. (Yes, I really forgot to do this and then had go go back and use my seam ripper.) Then I turned it right side out and VOILA! Custom made oven mitt, with heat resistant batting.

If I were to make a bunch of these for gifts, I would not do the fancy quilting, because it takes too long. But I'm working on an insulated tote for my next project.
Here's a free pattern for a casserole cozy that I might try as well.
What kind of fun gifts are you making in your holiday workshop?
All good ideas will be warmly welcomed.


Mary said...

The birds are really cute and can be used for many different holidays. Thanks for the link. I also like the VW oven mitt you made. You are full of gift ideas!!

gwensews said...

Oh no, please don't say it is that itme of year already! It cannot be! I hope to make Debbie Cook's "Bread Buddy" for gifts. She is:

beangirl said...

OMG. I swear, my mom and I made those exact same birds for Christmas presents when I was about 11.

No. Dinosaurs, as my daughter asked last week, did not roam the earth at that time.

And this year, as far as anyone at our house is concerned, Mrs. Santa has decided that everyone gets a cheap box of candy and Mrs Santa gets lots of eggnog with rum. Actually, Mrs Santa mostly plans on the rum.

Everyone at our house will go along with this plan. If they know what's good for them.

Anita (Summer Gypsy) said...

I love the oven mitt.... very creative and the print is super. What a great gift idea.