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How to Sew Christmas Stockings with a Faux Fur Cuff

December is here which means it’s holiday season! I’m actually pretty excited that Christmas and Hanukkah overlap this year because we get to have latkes for Christmas Eve dinner :) We’re keeping things pretty simple around our house because we don’t have a lot of spare time or energy this year (and at 7 months old, Evie isn’t going to know the difference). But it is important to me that we have Christmas stockings. Since I was a little girl, stockings have been my favorite part of Christmas. I was allowed to wake up whenever I wanted but I had to stay quiet until 7 am (which usually meant I would sit and stare at the Christmas tree for a couple hours in the early morning). Then I could grab our Christmas stockings, climb into my parents’ bed, and we would open them together. I’m excited to continue the tradition with …

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Grandma’s Quilts

My Grandma Currie was a prolific maker of things. Sewing, knitting, quilting, jewelry, stained glass, pottery, watercolor, drawing…there wasn’t much she didn’t do. My dad and his sisters recently finished sorting out my grandparents’ estate and I was lucky enough to get three quilts. The first is my favorite. I absolutely adore this quilt. My Aunt Sue says “I remember the farm quilt vaguely. It was a model for creating a series of appliques when I was a young teen.” Therefore the quilt was my grandmother’s design (not a surprise) and probably from the early 70’s. My grandma used all sorts of different fabrics and embroidery stitches to give the blocks tons of personality. Some of the details were even terrycloth – probably cut from an old towel! The quilt has clearly been worn. My mom helped me to get out all of the discoloration and staining that was possible …

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Grandma’s Sweater Elephants

Although I am very lucky to have several handmade keepsakes from my recently departed grandmother, I felt inspired to make one more. A few years ago, when I was visiting Grandma, she was sorting through one of her closets. In it was a sweater that she had knit that was quite moth-eaten. She decided it wasn’t worth repairing and was going to trash it. I thought that I’d like to give a shot at repairing it so I took it with me. Well, it turns out that those moth holes were so extensive I gave up on repairs, too. I wanted to use the textile for something special, so it sat in my scrap bin. Fast forward a few years and I knew just what to make from it. I decided to sew a stuffed animal for Evelyn out of the sweater and to make two matching animals to send to …

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Baby Girl’s Hope Chest

I am so lucky to come from a line of strong, creative, skilled women who not took the time to hand make things for their families but also recognized the importance of saving them for future generations. My mom has kept a hope chest for me full of things from my childhood and she and I recently went through it to clean and sort things for my soon-to-be-here baby girl. I thought it would be fun to share a bit of what she saved here. I wanted to start by sharing the pieces that my Grandma Currie (my dad’s mom) knit for me because my G’ma passed away two weeks ago. She was a formidable knitter, crocheter and seamstress (which I talked about in my post about my grandmothers). Thinking of her legacy and being excited to share it with my baby has helped me to be at peace with her …

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I Am A Granddaughter

I would not be who I am today without the love and influence of many inspiring, strong, supportive grandmothers. They may not be in my life any more, but they are always in my heart and often in my thoughts. When, as a young teenager, I decided I wanted to learn to sew myself, I went to visit my dad’s mother. G’ma was a formidable seamstress, having sewn all of her own clothes most of her life. In fact, “formidable” was quite an apt description of my grandmother. She was a 6-foot tall woman with a personality to match. She excelled at all she did (including growing her fruit garden, knitting stunning sweaters, canning preserves, making stained glass windows) and she didn’t take gruff from anyone. Growing up in the 1940’s, purchasing clothing off the rack simply wasn’t an option given her height, so she learned to sew. Together, we …

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Pink Hand Knit Sweater in the Circle of Life

Sometimes the circle of life can be sad and scary. My dad’s parents have had declining faculties and abilities for a while now, and were recently moved into a care facility. My dad and his sisters have had to clean out my grandparents’ home. However, there are silver linings to all things. I have been to visit my grandparents in their facility and was happy to find them safe and cared for with a friendly, attentive staff. Another silver lining is that some junk from my grandparents’ home has turned into treasures by being passed to family members. I treasure this pink sweater. This sweater was hand knit and has a tag that reads “Fashioned by Belva Runyan.” Belva Runyan was my grandmother’s mother. I don’t know when she knit the sweater, but it was pre-1980 as she was no longer able to knit in the last years of her …

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Grandma’s Handmade Lace

I recently was given a bag of sewing notions that belonged to my Grandma (my dad’s mom) who has gotten too old to sew. Among a pile of bias tape, old thread, a pleating board, some awfully 80’s patterns, elastic, and other functional sewing items were several gems – pieces of lace that I believe my Grandmother handmade.