I've mentioned before that one of my hobbies is scrapbooking. That's something I picked up in the last few years. Before scrapbooking, my craft of choice has been cross-stitching. It's something I picked up when I was about 11 and I admired some of the projects my mom had done over the years. When I started, I began with stamped cross-stitch. That's where you have a piece of cloth that has stamped X's all over to guide you where to place your stitches. I did that for a few years, then decided I liked the cleaner look of counted cross-stitch. That's where you have a piece of cloth that has holes in it and no pattern. You have a completely fresh canvas and the project comes to life as you put in more and more stitches. I can't even begin to count the number of projects I have done over the years, but when Christmas comes around, I get to enjoy some of my very favorite completed projects.
Growing up, my mom had cross-stitched stockings for my brothers and I. When I moved out and asked my mom if I could take mine with me, she said that it was for her house. Hence, I decided that I would make one for myself to keep at my house. When I met Andy, I made one for him, and when Brady was born, he also got one. Since I don't know how to sew (something that needs to change since I want to learn how to quilt), when I had completed the stitching, my mom would sew in the lining and the backing.
My very first completed cross-stitch stocking. It took 10 months to complete.
You would think that Andy's would have been my second, but I made one for my mom after I completed my own, and long before I even met Andy. Andy's took about 6 months to complete. He is constantly bragging that he thinks his is the nicest of them all.
I am very picky about how the stocking kits I buy look. So when I found out I was having a boy, I purchased one kit, but wasn't happy with it, so I bought another, which is the one you see above. Brady's took 8 months to complete. I personally think his is the nicest.
When I was little, I had my portraits taken with my stocking, so for Brady's first Christmas pictures, we carried on the tradition.
I am always working on one project or another even if it's not needed at the time. Since I never know whether I'll have enough notice to complete a stocking for a specific gender in time for their first Christmas, I try to make sure I have on of each on hand an don't put in the name until it's needed. I recently finished a girl stocking (fingers crossed) and I set a new personal record, completing it in only 3 1/2 months! I have recently started a boy stocking and hope to finish that over in Germany. Making and having these stockings mean a lot to me and knowing my kids can have them as family heirlooms. This is something I mean to do for all my nieces and nephews (not that I have any at the moment) and my grandchildren.
After I had completed both mine and my mom's stockings, I decided it was time to try a tree skirt. I chose one that was more for kids than a fancy tree. It was a lot of work and often times unwieldy because the piece of fabric was so large. It took about 10 months to complete. Since I plan on adding a larger tree to our house next year, in addition to the one we currently have, I have plans to make another. I've been browsing several patterns and have yet to choose one. It will be for the larger, fancy tree, so I will choose something more grown up than snowmen ;) I don't have plans to start on a new tree skirt until after Germany, so it probably won't be done in time for next Christmas when we get the big tree.