Saturday, December 28, 2013

quilts for christmas

 this is as far as things went: 3 quilts needing handbinding, two quilts basted but not quilted, two blocks for the 6th quilt, a handful of applique flowers with decorative stitching for the pillow sham.

rather than wrap everything, i opted to lay the quilts (and pieces) out with the children's stockings. in our house, santa brings one large present, unwrapped, and a stocking full of small goodies (bubble bath, lip balm/gloss, a few sugar treats).

the stockings were made by marmee, my mother, and are the same style as the ones i grew up with. the boys have plaid prints, the girls have holly floral prints, and marmee cross stitched everyone's name on the cuff. (to preserve privacy, i turned the stocking around to protect names for the pictures.) when i chose the pattern of plaids and holly florals, starting with our two original stockings, i had no idea there would eventually be so many more holly florals than plaids, or that finding some i liked would be so difficult! (side note: there are two stockings missing in this photo. that red stocking doesn't belong here, it's d1's ornamental stocking for her bedroom, and s2's plaid stocking was elsewhere when i shot this.)

i waited until there was at least some daylight to shoot the quilts on Christmas morning, with the children impatiently waiting on the stairs. this is another tradition that comes from my family: they can't go down to the tree and presents until everyone is awake and must wait for us to take their photo lined up on the stairs together. then they are allowed in, youngest to oldest. but we drag out the suspense a bit longer by making everyone sit in a circle on the family room floor and share what they are thankful for. as parents, we love torturing them this way! as a child, it was a bit of agony to suffer all this before getting my gifts, but as we matured, my siblings and i grew to appreciate and treasure the delayed gratification enforced on us by our parents. now we do the same to our own children.

on to the quilts! i hastily snapped some photos, so excuse the quality, as the children were waiting and clamoring to be released on the stairs. because there are so many piles of stockings and santa gifts, santa takes them down and spreads them around the room.

s2's "bandwidth" quilt

s1's two completed blocks for his wonky stacked coins quilt
 s1 seemed pleased with the beginnings of his quilt, but was much more excited about his new compound bow and arrows. what 13 year old boy wouldn't be?

finally, almost 3 years later, d2's "taite" is ready for her (with a bit of binding to go, still).
 she made a great point of saying over and over, to anyone who commented on her quilt, "i've been waiting 3 years for this." i suppose i am rather begrudgingly forgiven now.

d4's applique flowers for her pillow sham to coordinate with her "at last" quilt
 i have to point out here that of all the children, the one who got the small pile of unfinished flowers gave me the biggest reaction. my sweet 5 year old excitedly exclaimed, "Mama, did you make these for ME?!" when i told her they were for a special pillow for her bed and that i wanted her to help me decide how it would look, she was quite pleased and thanked me profusely. sweet, sweet girl.

d1's "plus a diamond" quilt, all done except handbinding
 "mom! you need to finish this so i can snuggle it." that and a thank you hug were all the attention the quilt got.

d3's "twirly" quilt
 while d3 did not get very excited about her quilt, neither did she throw a tantrum that it was this one. i count that as a positive response. i did hear her refer to it later as "my new quilt that has the animals on it," so we may yet have to do some negotiating or explaining with it. i showed her where i had quilted her name into the stippling and she replied, "that doesn't look like my name at all!" i explained the cursive letters to her. "well, why didn't you stitch them the normal way?," was her confused response. it was beyond my capacity to explain to a 7 year old the intricacies of fmq, especially when she was too excited about her other presents to care.

d5's "paris daydreams" quilt
 there are so many quilts around this house that it went right over the two year old's head that this one was for her. she was much more happy with and interested in the new pair of shoes, the play cell phone, and mini purse santa brought her than a piece of fabric that's been lying around for months anyway. oh, and the candy. the candy was the best of all.

aside from their big presents, which each loved (good job, dad!), there was one gift that dominated the day. after everything had been opened, and breakfast eaten, i brought out my one last gift: lego mini people. we discovered these mini people collections this summer when travelling. three times a year, lego puts out a collection of 16 mini figures that come in sealed, opaque packages. without seeing who you are getting, you try to collect all 16. the kids have enjoyed the two series we have so far so much that i shopped amazon to get some of the previous series we missed. putting together their new people and playing with them occupied my children for the better part of the afternoon.
so my quilts may not have gone over hugely, but i did get the satisfaction of finding the perfect gift for them after all. i'm so glad i didn't kill myself trying to finish the quilts by Christmas. i would have been sadly disappointed if i had. instead, i enjoyed the season more. the quilts will be done soon enough and i am confident they will be well-loved and used.
i hope everyone had a very merry and blessed Christmas wherever in the world you are. despite being in the northern hemisphere, i've never lived in a climate where Christmas is white. around here it's more like sunshine and citrus colors:

our navels are ripe

crisp blue skies and changing leaves

a few Christmas reds in fallen leaves

it's neither snowy and cold, nor warm and summery here, as most of the world thinks of Christmas. what we have is bright sun, ripening fruit, and slightly cool weather. it's the best time of year, the time we love to call this our home. and it's Christmas, too. nothing better.
see y'all next year!


  1. I am so glad to see the update I. Your quilt presents. I was only thinking of them yesterday and wondering how you went.
    Glad you had a good Christmas.
    E xx

  2. I loved hearing your kids reactions to the quilts, the honesty eh?! And just know that when the paint has been scratched off the bikes and half the lego mini figures are missing, the wonderful quilts that you made for them will still be there keeping them warm!
    And as for your two year old only interested in the candy... if was exactly the same here with our two year old! The whole day - candy? candy! CANDY!!

  3. Looks like a wonderful Christmas!!! I'm glad you were able to enjoy it!

  4. such beautiful loving quilts to cherish forever

  5. Gorgeous pictures and it sounds like a perfect Christmas! They'll appreciate the quilts when they want to snuggle :-) My mum used to make us wait until after lunch to open presents, maybe that's why Im still impatient ;-) spending time as a family is always the most important thing!

  6. You and your hubby are well organized I think! I truly think that they all loved their quilts in each of their own little ways:):) I am slightly jealous of the compound bow though;) My hubby and 6 yr each have a bow. Mama has to wait awhile. At least until I am done being pregnant!

    Our weather here in NC is rainy and in the 50s for today. The winter seems to go that way for the last 3 years that we have lived here.

  7. Very well done!!! I'm super impressed you got as far as you did.

    There are so many things I'm counting on my kids appreciating more when they're older, including their quilts. :)

  8. Kids may not appreciate them now, but I don't doubt it for a second they will cherish those handmade items from you when they are older. Nice job momma!

  9. so nice to hear your kids reactions to their quilts. You did an amazing job. And lego minifigures - always a hit (although this year my boys both got a female character so they weren't so happy!!). Happy New Year to you.


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