Friday, December 31, 2010

Handmade Christmas ~ In the Mail Part Two

I sent my cousin and his family a box in the mail for Christmas.  For Aunt Betty, I sent a pillow that I had made using an applique block from the flower series I was working on.
 I had said I wasn't sure about this blue one, and she mentioned it was her favorite one.  Perhaps she was just being polite; that'll learn her!  haha!
The pillow form comes out (the back of the pillow overlaps) and it was kind of a breeze to put it together.  The applique seems well done, which was a pleasant surprise, considering I made it!

I also sent two (semi-)matching candlesticks I had painted.  You know, what can I say?  They look like they should match, but one has more flowers than the other.  Whatever, I figured they can ignore the imbalance, or simply keep them in separate rooms, so as not to offend.  What a great gift!  oh dear.
 I found this dish towel too, when Cori and I went to Bizarre Bazaar a few weeks ago, so that went into the box, of course!

And we put in a letter from Tommy to his favorite "Uncle Moose", some pictures of the boys, and finally, there was this:

Also made from the applique blocks, using all three from the red series, I made them this 'table runner'.  I had decided a long time ago to make this for them, because Kelly had written in her blog about wanting to paint their dining room "eating room red", or something like that.  They have an amazing historical house mansion, and she was researching traditional paint colors, and so she mentioned it in passing and god I hope she meant it or this is going to be awkward.  haha

This table runner was very nearly the death of me, and there were three different times that it nearly didn't end up in the box.

The first time, was when I had sewed it together.  Using no pattern, and apparently no skill or sense, either, I managed to fashion a table-runner-esque object around the original three blocks.  Here's a picture of me, using my mad measuring skillz, to try and figure out what I needed to do:
Erik actually came up with the idea about how to do the red border and blank blocks.  I was pleasantly surprised that he was willing to play that game with me, and I think it was a mistake on his part, because it's a game I never grow tired of.
By the time I got it to here, I thought it was going to be great!  Then I layered it and pinned it, sewing the edges and turning it, and I was so bad at doing this that I actually considered cutting out the white blocks with the applique on them and starting over.

The second time it almost didn't make it into box, was when it was finally put together, and I realized there were some smudges on the fabric.  It was just dirty in spots, but who could complain?  That little square has been kicked around and lugged to football and baseball games for, like, two years or something.  What?  I'm slow.  I was REALLY afraid to put it in the washer, though, because for all I know, it wouldn't even survive one washing.  I mean, isn't it better for it to disintegrate on somebody else's watch?  Common sense prevailed (eventually) (barely) and it went into the washer and came out sparkling clean.  Yay!

The third time it almost didn't go into the box, was when I took it out of the dryer and saw the good news that my applique skills have come a long ways since I first started the flower block project!  Wow, am I getting good at it!  The bad news was that these red ones were among my first blocks... showed.  :-/  In my defense, circles are hard!  Well, then, that's that!  I thought to myself.  I definitely can't send this out now!

But then I remembered this blanket:
 My mom made and gave me this blanket, and I LOVE IT.  I really, really, do.  And you know, my mom is not the most patient, detail-oriented person I've ever met.  These octogons had to be pieced together, and where I have spent weeks meticulously weaving in tails my mother simply tied the knots so tightly it was like she was mad at them, then snipped the yarn tails to a low nub, and moved on to the next one.  The combined effect is to have little pieces of yarn sticking straight up from various points on the blanket (my OCD was happy to discover that one side was less like this than the other, so now it's a directional blanket, for my sanity) AND I've had to resew the octogons in several spots, just because the little knots don't always hold.  I was able to pick up a few pieces of the actual yarn she used when making the blanket, so it still looks great.

Did I mention how much I love it?  Because the truth is, my affection for this blanket (and the person who made it for me) is no less diminished by these (slight) logistical issues. 

I thought about all these things while I used the blunt edge of a flat, wooden toothpick to push the tiny edges back under, in the (many) various spots that they should have been tacked down with my needle and thread, and when I ironed the whole thing, I was this close to saying, yeah, this might just work.

When Erik held it up from across the room though, I thought all those mistakes just went away and it actually looked nice, from where I was standing.  That sealed it.  Into the box it went.  I should have thrown in some toothpicks, as I'm sure it will need a washing at some point, but I leave it up to Moose and Kelly, who are very competent and will, I'm sure, attack this situation with the vim and vigor it requires.  Including, but certainly not limited to, tucking it away, ready to pull out and decorate the table, should we ever come visiting.  There must be some statute of limitations on how long somebody needs to give up valuable cupboard space for such an occasion, but I want to publicly say, here and now, that I will never ask them how the table runner is working out for them.  It's considered part of the gift, at this point.  Just do what you need to do.  ;)

To summarize:  I will send you a box of half-ass gifts because even though I'm not very good at something, it looked great when I pictured it in my head.  Is it my fault that the execution doesn't come to the heights of my vision?  I say no.  Merry Christmas, Moose, Kelly, and Aunt Betty!!!!  :)


  1. sad that i know this ---- i think the paint is called; "reading room red", by farrow and ball. oh the things that stay in my head.

    mia - all your holiday work is wonderful


  2. @Michele ~ you are right! haha! I love you, that's hilarious! I bet you're really great at trivial pursuit. :) Thanks, and I'll get to the post office this week, I still have a little something for you that me and Cori found at the Bizarre Bazaar in San Francisco, which I think you'll love!!

  3. Mia, I truly feel special receiving that lovely pillow that goes nicely in my room. Thank you so much!! Every time I look at it I think of you and all the love that went into making it. Love, Aunt Betty

  4. Oh, Aunt Betty! That's so lovely! And yes, it is full of love. :)