Sunday, December 11, 2011

Holidays - Ornaments With Meaning

Hello! My mom died last year on Christmas Eve, leaving my dad, my siblings and myself to cope with our loss. It's been hard to get into the Christmas spirit this year, but I've been trying through this blog and by other means.

One such effort was the making of Christmas ornaments for my siblings and their kids out of the fabric stash my mom had left behind. My mom was an avid sewer, so what more appropriate memory of her than using some of her fabrics for gifts? I pretended that I wanted to take some of the fabric for my own sewing needs, but all along I knew I'd use it to make gifts for my siblings.

I used some of the fabric to make small Easter bunnies (as seen HERE)  and now it was time to do something similar for Christmas. Normally I would have just distributed the ornaments on Christmas Day, but I decided to mail them out last week so that everyone could put them on their trees earlier in the month. That way it could be as if a bit of our mom was with us throughout the holiday season. 

My mom had had a small angel collection, so I decided to make angel ornaments for my six siblings. I found a suitable pattern at a thrift store, although I had to alter it quite a bit - as designed, the angel was supposed to have a patriotic look. Here's an example of how they turned out:

This one went to one of my sisters. I had a harder time picking fabrics for my three brothers, as my mom had mostly well, feminine-looking prints. Thus, I had to make do with navy blue checks and a plaid. 

There was a time when my mom complained about not being a grandmother yet when most of her sisters were. There was a big reason for that - most of her sisters - and her sisters' kids - got married younger and had kids younger than my mom and the kids in my family did. But eventually my mom ended up with 15 grandchildren before she died. It became her tradition to sew flannel sleep pants for the grandchildren (adding a coordinating purchased sleep shirt) as part of her Christmas gifts to them. So needless to say there was a small mountain of flannel left from her mini sleep pants factory!

Flannel isn't typically used for Christmas ornaments but I thought it was appropriate in this case. I found an easy stocking ornament pattern at a thrift store, again altering the intended look (it was supposed to be country Victorian style). 

Here's how one of the stockings turned out:

I added the felt cuff and the vintage anagram letter, which of course matched the initial of a nephew's first name. As he's played soccer for years, I was fairly certain that this fabric had been left over from a pair of sleep pants that had been made for him. My sister, his mom, confirmed this. 

The use of the "banner" on both ornament styles was my own touch. I just stamped a word on a piece of twill tape. I felt it added a nice little extra touch to the ornaments. 

Each ornament got popped into a gift bag and tied up with a bit of vintage ribbon:

You can see a couple of rolls of the vintage ribbon (probably from the 50's; a thrift store find for 75c last year)above a pile of gift bags. 

Of course, each family also got a brief note explaining why these fabrics were meaningful. 

By now I've heard back from most of the families involved and all seemed pleased and touched by my efforts. I felt really happy about this! 

I show off this project not to act like a do-gooder, but to inspire others who come across this post to perhaps think of their own ways in which they can remember their own loved ones who have passed on. 


  1. Mine's purple which is my favorite color, although I don't remember the sleep pants made from that fabric. My mom makes ornaments for me and my cousins every year. My favorite one is a mitten from when I was 3!

  2. Ya mean ya don't like the funky ones I've been doing more recently with the funky vintage stuff on them?! lol