What do you want for Christmas?

Yeah, I know . . . I owe you some more blogs about Rome and my cruise back home.  I haven’t forgotten.  I have been busy since the day I rolled my luggage into the house back in November.  Instead, today I’m going to talk about what kept me so busy, and how I now celebrate Christmas when I don’t live anywhere near any of my children.

When I was back in my hometown of St. Louis in late September, I asked my sons what they wanted for Christmas.  There was crickets.  Really?  I could give you a list of things I would like in every price range one could imagine.  One son and his wife said they wanted a queen size quilt for their bed.  Knowing I was going on a month long trip, I said I didn’t think that was possible.  They said I didn’t have to have it finished by Christmas, and so then I jumped on the idea.  When someone thinks my handiwork is worthy of a 2nd gift, I am honored, and I am willing to make them something else.

Instead of just surprising them, I showed them a pattern that I thought would be fairly straightforward to make.  They both liked the pattern.  When I got back to Arizona, I started shopping a few of my favorite quilt store websites.  The pattern uses jelly rolls to make the quilt.  No, I’m not sewing pastries together.  A jelly roll is a package of a fabric group that is made up of 40 2-1/2” strips the width of fabric, which is around 44”.  I sent them an email with about six different choices, and they selected the fabric group they liked best. 

In a conversation with another son, I mentioned I could sew a quilt or make a Christmas tree skirt, or a number of ideas that were not sewing related.  He jumped on the idea of a Christmas tree skirt.  I was really excited about this because I had just bought a machine embroidery pattern for such a skirt, and I was really wanting the challenge of making it.

Mid October rolled around quickly, and I had yet to order the fabric.  The son who wanted a Christmas tree skirt left all fabric and color selection up to me.  I began my online shopping for both projects.  I ordered the fabric but delivery would happen while I was to be in Europe.  I asked a friend if I could have the packages delivered to her while I was gone.  I couldn’t wait to get home to start my projects.

I started with the Christmas tree skirt.  This project would take 45 hoopings.  That means I put 45 different pieces of fabric in a machine embroidery hoop to make the skirt.  Some hoopings would be just straight embroidery, and some would be appliqué with embroidery.  Each hooping took anywhere from one to two hours to make.  That does not count all the fabric being cut to size before hand, and then sewing these pieces together after all the embroidery work is done.

While my machine was busy making embroidery stitches, I pulled out my little tiny sewing machine to sew the jelly roll strips.  It was a pretty simple procedure, but this little machine did not seem adequate or was fast enough to piece these strips into blocks.  I needed to stop my embroidery and use that machine for sewing.  I had a deadline to complete the quilt top so I could get it to my long-arm quilter.  As I have said before, this is not a lady who has an extra long arm, but a person with a machine that can quilt the complete quilt, thus a long-arm machine.

Once the quilt was delivered to be quilted, I was back on task with the skirt.  Then my sewing machine starting acting up.  Really?  I was in the middle of a huge project, and I was not in the mood to fight with a sewing machine.  It got pretty bad, and I had to contemplate an answer to my dilemma.  I decided that since Christmas sales were going on, it was time to upgrade my machine.  I know, that’s a bit crazy, but that is what I did.

The quilt was complete right before Christmas, but I waited until after Christmas to send it.  My son and his wife were celebrating the holiday with her family in Germany.

To make this long story shorter, the skirt finished a few days after Christmas.  My son already knew it would not show up in time for him to use this year.  I packed it up and mailed it to Missouri. He received it on January 3rd. It will be ready for next Christmas.

The extra fabric I had from the skirt was perfect for snowman placemats that I sent to my son, daughter-in-law, and grandson (the only grandchild who is not a young adult—he’s only 7).  I also made him a reading pillow, which is a pillow with a handle, and a pocket to put in his favorite book when reading.

My goal was that I would be finished sewing by the end of the year, and I met that goal.  You would think I am glad I am finished, but instead, I am thinking about my next projects.  The whole time I made the Christmas tree skirt, my husband kept asking, “Where is ours?”  Yes, I am going to make one for us, and will probably start in February!

Our Christmas was quiet.  I have three sons in Missouri, and one son in California.  They all stayed home for the holiday.  We had a quiet holiday without a lot of fanfare.  We had dinner at my cousin’s home, and we just relaxed the rest of the holiday week.  It actually was kind of nice.  Finally time to get some rest from all the travel and sewing.

I have a couple short trips planned in January.  Then we stay pretty much at home until May.  That gives me three months to give you the rest of my stories about Rome and the two week trip across the Atlantic Ocean.

I hope you all had a good holiday.  We are in a new year, and time to make new memories of a new year.


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