New Year, Long Recap

Compared to previous years, this was a slow holiday season.  It still flew by in an instant, but unlike the past 7 or 8 years, I deliberately scaled back on my "to-do/to-make" list and focused on enjoying each day with my family.

I don't know about you, but I typically only finish 3/4 of the projects that I set out to make anyway.  I tend to procrastinate and I'm overly ambitious around the holidays. This = a stressful combo in December.

That wasn't really a problem this year (though I'm still finishing projects I didn't complete in time!).

I did make a batch of bunnies (the pattern is in my book).  The three below were for my daughters.  It's hard to tell from the photos, but the one on the right is pink, with a cream belly.  My youngest named her "Peppermint".  The other two are "Snowflake" and "Sugar".  The girls have been clutching these bunnies since Christmas.  They are stuffed with wool and so, so soft.

The red scarves are from the same old maternity coat I have used now for many projects, including the Valentine's Bear from a few years back and Little Red's hooded cape pictured below.  It was a huge coat :).  And I still have lots of it left to recycle.

Source: C&T Publishing

I sent this pair of bunnies below to a niece and nephew in Seattle, along with a copy of The Velveteen Rabbit, and their matching cousin Christmas pajamas.  Maybe I can get the girls to knit two scarves to send for the bunnies next Christmas.  I think the bunnies look cute in scarves...at least during this time of year.

Quick photo before RUSHING to the post office...with mere minutes to spare.

While I scaled back on my "to-do/to-make" list, my oldest and middle daughters had lists of their own.  I ended up spending almost as much time in our sewing space as previous years.  I was just helping my daughters on their projects instead of my own.

I love sewing with my kids, but as many of you know, it can be a bit trying some days.  I needed to take a quiet long breath once in awhile, after re-threading a needle (for the umpteenth time) or untangling knot after knot after knot.  It takes patience.  My kids get frustrated enough on their own sometimes with sewing - no need for them to see any frustration on my part.  And while I was tempted at times to just say "here, let me do it" (which would be easier), I wanted them to finish all their sewing on their own.  Even If I had to undo knots and wonky stitches (I'll undo stitches they don't like) over and over again.

I tried to focus on the fun and that wasn't very hard.  We did have fun. We had our Santa mugs of tea.  We had our Christmas music.  And we worked together.  It was good.  And it definitely helped that I didn't have a ton of projects hanging over my head.  I could focus on helping them without feeling like their projects were getting in the way of my own.

This is the first year that my middle daughter has worked on her own handmade gifts.  She picked out this project from Fa la la la Felt.

I traced/cut out the pattern pieces.  She did all the sewing and stuffing on her own (except for the features and buttons).  She works very, very slow - but she is so deliberate in her stitching. 

She used pins to mark where she wanted the french knots, buttons, and beads placed.

The two above were sent to her cousins up north.

For her older cousins, we reduced the pattern and she made ornaments, instead (one Gingerman and one Sugar Friend).

My oldest is still working on presents for her younger cousins up north.  For her older cousins down in Ojai, she made these s'mores ornaments, with a little embroidered inside family humor :).  Making s'mores is a cousin thing they do...anytime of year.  Freezing nights?  S'mores outisde by the fire?  Sure!

I don't think I've ever shown our Christmas pajamas before  Mostly because they have been so simple most years (knit nightgowns, knit tops/bottoms, or flannel PJs).  Well, this was my ninth year making them for this group and they were as basic as ever (I make a lot of basic things), but I'll go ahead and post the photo this time.  The two little faces on the computer screen are the cousins up in Seattle.  

My husband made the shirt decals...and even made matching "Dog 1, Dog 2, and Dog 1/2" bandanas for the family dogs.  Teamwork :).

I have a few more photos/projects to share, but this post is already so long.  I'll try and get another post up soon.

Happy 2013!


  1. Gorgeous book and bunnies. My kids have not let your book out of their hands since it arrived. It's beautiful. What fabric did you use for your bunnies?

    1. Thanks, Victoria. For the bunnies above, I used a minky knit fabric. For the one in the book, I used cotton velour and organic cotton sherpa. (I prefer more natural fibers - my kids prefer the soft minky bolts of fabric at the quilt store. I went with their preference this time :) ).

  2. Jill, sounds like a near perfect Christmas, with the emphasis on handmade and working together. May all good things come to you and your family in 2013 :-)


    1. Good to hear from you, Beth. Happy New Year to you and your loved ones!

  3. Love seeing the photo of everyone ! Thanks for posting!

    1. Thanks, Anne. Good to hear from you, too. :)

  4. My book has arrived and i can't wait to give the dolls and bunnies a try. My neices and Nephews will be getting handmade birthday presents this year.
    Thank you Jill as always you are a star.
    From an avid follower across the pond.

  5. Lovely pictures! Wishing you a very creative year (without stress of course)I'm looking forward to your new creations.

  6. A very nice post! I used to work myself sick every Christmas trying to make tons of gifts. I don't do that any more. I spend time with my family relaxing and having fun.
    Your daughter's sewing projects are sooo cute! Good work girls!

  7. A great post and comforting to know that I'm not the only mom who feels the frustration and joy in one to sew with my daughter's.BTW we got your book in the mail today and my girls have already flagged their projects we are so excited to get started although I pray for patience.

  8. You bunnies seems so soft, where did you get the fabric from? :)