Monday, September 15, 2014

Quilting Arts Holiday and Giveaway

Christmas, my child, is love in action. 
Every time we love, every time we give, it's Christmas. ~Dale Evans
I am very excited to be part of Quilting Arts Holiday. My article shows you how to make the ornaments on the cover of the issue.
Most of my life, I have had a love affair with homemade ornaments.  I am the youngest of five children and when my older sisters and brothers began to have children, I began making ornaments annually for my nieces and nephew.  I always gave the ornaments at Thanksgiving dinner, so I have vivid memories of racing around Thanksgiving morning, sewing, gluing, painting the last bits of the ornaments.

I have such wonderful memories  scouring the newsstands every year looking for holiday issues of magazines to come out to find the perfect annual ornament.  I still have these old magazines and look through them each year.

When I was in college, my creative skills and my pocketbook were very limited and the ornaments showed these lackings; often, I did not even have enough money to make an extra ornament for me to keep.  Here are some of my early ornaments:

1984: These were obviously from a kit.

Mid-80's: Santa made from sawdust. 

1990: A gold lame angel  (what was I thinking!?).

1991: Cinnamon stick painted Santa.

Then came the years that I could afford to make the ornaments, but I was working so many hours at my job, I looked for cute and simple.

2000: Snowman, Angel, Santa, Teddy Bear felt stuffies.
2001: Snowman, , Santa,  Deer are made from muslin, stuffed, painted and then added rusted wings.  

2002: A conical Santa (it was tough getting the beard/face detail on camera)

2005: A snowman made from vintage quilts.

 2006: This ornament pattern was from an issue of Piecework magazine.

I also began to make to make bags to store the ornaments.

The other part of my homemade ornament love affair are the ones that were made for me.  
These are some of the many homemade gifts that my college roommate (and still very dear friend), Maria, has made for me over the years.

 One of my art doll friends made these Julie McCullough ornaments for a group of us.

This is an oldie, but goodie; I received this clothespin soldier when I was in college during a secret Santa exchange. I treasure it every year when I put it on the tree.

As I look back on all of the ornaments that I made, I am most proud that I created a tradition that went on for over 30 years.  Each of my nieces and nephew received a box of 'Aunt Kathy' ornaments when they moved out of their parents' home; they talk about how much joy it brings when they decorate their trees annually.

Thanks for reading my blog today...I hope you enjoy Quilting Arts Holiday issue!  Leave me a comment and I will pick a person to win these three fat quarters that I hand-dyed (2- cotton, 1-velvet). Check my blog Tuesday at 5 pm (EST) for the winner!


  1. I like handmade ornaments, very nice and so much fun to make. Love the fabric, dreamy, would like to win that.

  2. I love your creativity. I enjoyed seeing the various Christmas ornaments.

  3. Your ornaments are adorable. I received an ornament each year when I was a child, but not many were handmade. What a treasure you have given your nieces and nephews!! What a wonderful tradition!

  4. Your ornament tradition makes me smile. I am sure that there are many of us who have tried this tradition and failed to keep it up as life changed through the years. I made similar ornaments throughout the years for my kids, and a few select others. I enjoyed the making as much, if not more than, the recipients enjoyed the gift. My kids, now grown, have their boxes of handmade ornaments from me, and some made by their own hands to use on their own trees. Now, with a grandchild, I need to dust off the old ideas, add some new one..........thanks for sharing your tradition.

  5. I also treasure both making and receiving handmade ornaments. So much love and joy goes into each one. Thanks for sharing yours!

  6. Over the years I have both made and received ornaments. Since I don't have room for a tree now days I have taken each of the ornaments that my sons made through the years and have them boxed along with other such items for them to have once they get settled in a place of their own.

  7. How fun to see your ornaments "through the years". I have some very similar ones :) No matter they no longer look quite as 'fresh' as when I received them, each one brings to mind the giver and our special relationship...just as your nieces and nephews remember you each year when they put their handmade treasures on their trees.
    We, too, always enjoy decorating our tree with homemade ornaments. One year I decided I wanted a "theme" tree with specific colors. Oh the horror! My children rose up in arms and insisted we continue to use our beloved homemades. They were absolutely right!
    We moved to south Florida in the mid 80s, and lived there for five years. The church we attended hosted a homemade ornament exchange each year, and that really helped build up my stash. I still have some of those, and it's been 30 years!
    I'd gotten out of the habit of making ornaments (life happens!) but last year I resurrected the tradition, and made simple fabric pinwheels to decorate the bags of goodies we gave our friends here in Argentina (pancake kits that included bottles of syrup I made using maple flavoring, since maple syrup is not something we can find here). And I decided there's no reason not to do something each year. Continuing a tradition like this actually helps assuage the homesickness we feel during the holidays, so far from family now.

  8. Your ornaments reminded me of me. Thanks for sharing.

  9. Loved seeing your ornaments. I noticed that you dated many of them. I too have made many ornaments. I wish I had dated them. Time goes by so fast and it would be nice to know when they were made.

  10. Thank you for sharing your lovely and touching ornaments. You are lucky to have family that appreciates them so much. I will have to check out the 2006 issue of Piecework, my mom made an ornanent in red felt that is like the bird you shared. It is one of the treasures I have to remember her by. Thanks for sharing, and congratulations on being published!

  11. Looking at your ornaments was like taking a walk down memory lane. My children and I have received and given many ornaments over the past 35+ years. They still adorn our trees at Christmas.

  12. Our tradition was to go to Saturday Market and have each of the kids pick out a Christmas dough art ornament. These have tended to degrade over the years... Now that we have grandkids, I like the idea of making Christmas ornaments for each of them.

  13. Absolutely love handmade ornies - both receiving and giving them. Enjoyed seeing all of yours and your long tradition is admirable. Now what could I make out of those lovely fat quarters?

  14. Fourteen years ago I started to make a small, cross-stitched Christmas sock ornament for my grandchildren. I have expanded and make one each year for my grandchildren and great nieces and nephews ... this yr.16 socks. Each year I select a different design to stitch and personalize them with their name. Because of time limitations I stop giving the sock ornament when they reach 18 yrs. and/or graduate from high school. I have found that the recipients look forward to this gift and have their own unique ways to display them. Some hang them on the tree. Others put them elsewhere to decorate . And some keep them out all year long! When they move from their homes they have some personal ornaments that are small, easily stored and unbreakable to take with them as they begin their adult lives.

  15. I tried this yesterday, Sunday, but it didn't work. I've been making ornaments for family & friends off and on for about 20-30 years. It's so much fun. My brothers and sisters have joined in for this over the years too. An ornament is such a perfect gift now that all of us have been on our own for many years.

  16. Kathy
    I loved seeing all the Christmas ornaments you made for your family! And the ones Maria made for you. Thanks so much for sharing! You are blessed, my friend!