Handmade Holidays: Cross-stitched and Stuffed Ornaments

Even though Christmas has come and gone, I’m enjoying all my handmade decorations so much I thought I’d share a few more of them before putting the holiday behind me.

The first two are fabric dolls ornaments. Both were given to me as gifts, so I am unsure of the designer’s name, but I know they are made from patterns. (Does anyone recognize the style? After spending way too much time digging around, I came up with the name Gabrielle Cyr and I think these might be hers, but I can’t find her work anywhere online to verify this vague belief.)



The three cross-stitch ornaments are also from patterns. I made them from little kits I bought so long ago I no longer remember making them, but they are some of my favorite ornaments. (I’m a sucker for animals.)




Feel free to share your favorite handmade ornament in the comments.

Christmas Angels

One of the surprises of organizing my studio was finding a bunch of finished cross-stitch projects from years long past. I didn’t pay much attention at the time; I was too busy sorting and storing to even look in the bags I found. But they all wound up in a bin together, so when I started decorating for Christmas and remembered seeing a kit for Christmas ornaments, I knew right where to find it.

It occurred to me that I might have finished the cross-stitching but not assembled the ornaments, and when I opened the bag, that was what I found – six lovely little angels all stitched up, waiting for their ribbon and lace. I made these so long ago that I don’t even remember making them anymore, and I had to wonder why I had put in all that time and then not completed the project when there was so little left to do.

I found out quickly that in fact there was a lot left to do. Not only did the angels need to be glued to cardboard, but they had two separate trims (piping and lace) and felt backings, all of which got glued on in separate stages. It took me a full day, including drying time, to put these together, but they are on my tree at last.

All six of the angels from the kit

The Cross-Stitch Project from You-Know-Where

I’m just back from a wonderful visit with my lifelong best friend Kelleen.  We have a tradition of starting an arts and crafts project whenever we’re together, and this time we went for needlework. We started out in Big Box Land looking for something small and easy just for entertainment value.  Disappointed by the poor selection, we left empty handed.  We decided to visit The Needlework Cottage and spent a happy time exploring the store.  In the end, we found a little project we were both interested in: pin cushions.  There were several beautiful patterns and we had a hard time choosing.  In the end, I wound up with the one below, while Kelleen bought the “Cherry Blossoms” version.


Cute, isn’t it? Kelleen’s is just as lovely.  What neither of us realized until we got home was 1) this sucker is SMALL! and 2) the intriguing Diamond Eye Stitch (the thing making the beige holey border in the middle) is a nightmare when worked on linen using thread that practically matches it in color.

In our innocence, we both rushed to get to the Diamond Eye Stitch, intrigued because neither of us had ever done anything like it before.  We soon found out how important it is to get the stitches in the right spot. I worked the entire border at least three times over due to the many misakes I found myself picking back out. To add to the fun, this pincushion has the same pattern on the bottom, meaning twice the agony… I mean, fun.

Kelleen sorting the microscopic beads that are part of the kit
Kelleen sorting the microscopic beads that are part of the kit

Once we realized what a challenge the Diamond Eye Stitch was, we both took the bit in our mouths and barreled on until we finally finished both sides.

I relaxed once the border was over with, convinced the vines would be much much easier. It wasn’t long before I realized that the counting for this part is just as difficult if not more so than for the DES. Even working in high contrast colors didn’t help. The uneven strand widths in the linen make it difficult to get the counts right. I ripped out as much as I could stand to, but I ran out of patience. I decided to put this messed up version the bottom, and hope that after three more tries on this part of the pattern, I’ll be able to do it correctly on the top.

Tiny, isn't it?
Tiny, isn't it?

My determination to finish this sucker is still high, so I will be working on this daily with the hope that my determination will outlast the project.  Wish me luck!