Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Gifts for All Seasons

It may be snowing outside today, but I just put away the last of the Halloween decorations, and pulled the few Thanksgiving things I have out of storage.  My neice is getting married in a couple of weeks, and I really had to give some thought to what to give her for her bridal shower.  Her registry was wiped out, and I'd rather make something anyway, but what??

Then I remebered that I had a pattern for a quick table runner, and that got me going.  I decided to make her home decor for Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter, and I started with Autumn. 

This ZigZag table runner, designed by Genii Lehmann ( would be a good beginner project, except that the finishing instructions were very sketchy.  She makes no recommendations on quilting, and there are no step-by-step instructions on how to apply the binding.  Mitering the corners of this pointed table runner is a bit tricky.  She also didn't include instructions on how to handle fabrics with a one-way design.  I had to figure that out on my own.

The table runner is 40" long by 15" wide.  It requires just three fabrics:  1/4 yard each of fabrics A and B (the zigzag) and 1 1/4 yards for the background, backing and binding, plus a piece of batting 45" x 20". I had these fabrics in my stash.  This project goes together fast because you sew together 'units' and then stitch them to other pieces to create the zigzag.  Start to finish, this project took about three and a half hours -- one for cutting it out and stitching the top, another for machine quilting, and the balance of the time spent making binding, stitching it down and hand stitching it on the back. 

The table runner wasn't enough by itself, so I created a silk flower arrangement to go with it.  I found a cute little fall-themed bucket at the local crafts store, purchased floral foam and some silk mums, and went to town.  After arranging the flowers, I added cattails and silk leaves, and Spanish moss to cover the floral foam. 
I added a bow after I took the photo!

I made a second, reversible table runner for Spring, stitching one side up in pink and red hearts and the reverse in green shamrocks.  I added three pink votive candles for Valentine's Day, and another silk floral arrangement in green and white, with a sparkling shamrock, to celebrate St. Patrick's Day.

My neice can decorate for two holidays, just by flipping the table runner over and switching out the decor on top!

I was stumped about what to make for Summer, when I remebered a cute apron my sister had made for me.  I went out to the local thrift store and purchased two men's shirts, and whipped one up.

This apron was designed by Mary Mulari   ( and is featured on the cover of her book, Sew Green Makeovers.  By positioning the pattern pieces carefully, two men's shirts have enough fabric to make the apron reversible...on the back, the bottom half is yellow, and the top is blue stripe. 

To the Summer gift bag, I added an oven mitt stuffed with a couple of utensils. 

The last project I needed to make was for Winter.  I had saved the instructions for this adorable snowman since I first saw it in the November/December 2002 issue of Today's Creative Homearts Magazine.  It was designed by Cheryl Natt. 

The body was stitched up from white felt.  I hand embroidered the smile on the face and added button eyes.  The nose was made of orange felt, and stuffed firmly with polyester fiberfill.
 Stitching up the body on my new Bernina.

I ran to the children's thrift store to shop for clothes...I spent about $12 for the lumberjack 'sleeper' in size 12 months, the toddler hiking boots, and the stocking cap, but aren't they adorable??  The scarf was made from a scrap of polar fleece.  As I was stuffing the snowman's body, I added a music button that plays "White Christmas" when you press on his hand.  This snowperson was the hit of the wedding shower! 

I bagged each seaon's gift into its own labeled gift bag.  My neice loved it, and I hope she will use these things for years to come. 

Keep stitching!

Stuffing Mr. Snowman!


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