The Season Of Excess Expectation

I’m not talking about kids and toys or teens and electronics. I’m talking about how much I think I can get done in the time available. Specifically, how fast I think I can work to get the last gift finished and in the mail before Christmas. You probably have your own version of this holiday classic.

For the record, I love making gifts. But yes, I suffer from Excess Expectation. My expectations didn’t seem so excessive when I made the plan. After all, Bill and I sort of takes turns on making the majority of our holiday gifts, and this year is his year. I did help him cut copper pipe one day while he assembled and soldered.

He also made gifts for all the young fishermen, and I just made little bags from recycled T-shirts to hold them. Easy peasy — something I could do while watching a movie.

For my mom, I made a bag of stationery from fabric scraps in my Black Hole.

They’re still on dial-up, so no worries about letting the cat out of the bag. The bag for the stationery I made with fabric I designed and had printed on Spoonflower from a photo I took of my mom’s old Singer sewing machine. That’s the machine I started sewing on. One of the first things she had me do, lo these many years ago, was stitch on heavy paper. I had major flashbacks while stitching 24 pieces of stationery.

Dad is also getting a gift made with Spoonflower fabric. This one is made from a photo I took of a wooden serving tray he made years ago (there’s a photo of the tray at the link). I made a drawstring dresser caddy that folds flat when not in use.

There were a few more small gifts on my to-do list that I can’t show just yet. The chances of those beloved young people reading my blog are slim, but it is possible.

And really, with Bill doing so many of our gifts, I figured there would be plenty of time for me to make this gift for his sister (who does read this blog, but also knows what the gift is because we talked about it and she gave me the measurements).

When it’s done, this gift will measure 8 feet by 12 feet. It’s a piece of netting to spread over their koi pond to keep the neighborhood heron from eating the fish.

When it’s done, it will have taken less time than knitting a sweater or crocheting an afghan. But it’s taking longer than I estimated, mainly because of the materials I’m using. I usually net with linen or hemp and for this project I’m using bonded nylon. If When I’m not careful, the knots slip.

This net won’t be perfect, but it will do the job. It’s designed to do it unobtrusively so as not to distract from the flower garden around the pond.

With a bit of luck, it will be in the mail in time to arrive Christmas Eve. But before it goes, we’re getting a picture of it spread out. Will probably have to do that outside.

Good luck with your own holiday preparations!

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Leftovers Again? It’s A Gift

Sometimes, a little of this and a little of that turns out to be just the right amount when you combine them. That’s what I did with the dregs of several natural dyebaths. I can’t tell you what all was in the concoction I used it to top-dye some yarn I bought at a garage sale. I can tell you I like the color now much better than the original garish red. That red skein will get overdyed shortly. In fact, I have a whole box of yarns set aside to overdye.

With holiday gift-making about to come to the top of my to-do list, I stashed another box by my sewing table. It’s full of leftovers and unfinished demo pieces from this teaching season. That box is bigger than my “Black Hole,” but I’m going to treat it sort of the same way: Set a timer, reach in, grab materials, make something. I don’t expect to finish everything I start, or that they’ll all be gift-worthy. But I’m feeling a need to limit the time I spend sorting through materials. Sometimes, that’s just stalling.

More leftovers went into this quilted cuff I made for my sister. And a piece I made for my mom’s birthday but forgot to photograph.

Can you guess what we had for supper?

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Spoonflower Fat Quarter Sale Announced

I’m all packed up for my last teaching travel date for 2012. My studio is clean, swept, and the sewing table is cleared off. When I get home, I have two baby gifts to make and I want to plan my holiday sewing before (drum roll) the Spoonflower fat quarter sale starts next week. They just announced it: The annual two-for-one fat quarter sale starts Thursday, October 25th, 2013 (8am EST) and ends Wednesday, October 31st (10pm EST).

Donna Kallner’s Bananafana fabric collection on Spoonflower

The Bananafana collection above is one I designed this summer for a baby gift (fingers crossed that bun stays in the oven a few more weeks). Having no idea what colors or designs to use, I went to my niece-in-law’s Pinterest boards and found yellow and gray. Gotta love Pinterest for that. Before holiday making starts, I’d sure like to know if there’s a Pinterest equivalent for teenage boys.

Donna Kallner & Mary Sue Fenner

Back to Spoonflower. Mary Sue Fenner and I both taught for the Michigan League of Handweavers in August. I sold a bunch of my Spoonflower proofing swatches from the old color profile while I was there. Then in September at the Sievers Gathering, Mary Sue hands me a bag with this awesome collage vest made from my Spoonflower fabric!

Vest pattern is Vogue 8777

Mary Sue made the vest from t-shirt fabric with the cotton fabrics collaged on as raw edge applique. It’s very comfy and the shaping in the back was really flattering on everyone who tried it on. And it’s totally my style! I ordered the pattern as soon as I got home from Sievers.

But that will have to wait. Baby gifts first!

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