epic sewing, the stocking saga.

if there's one thing that really intimidates me, it's heirloom sewing, or real sewing as i like to call it. i mean that in the sense of those kind of projects that you want to make once and use the rest of your life. you want them to be perfect, with the details especially chosen just so, and of course you want them to turn out beautifully so that you can beam with pride when you tell someone, i made it.

pretty much since we got married, i have wanted to make my husband and i our own christmas stockings. our first married christmas, i had not yet inherited my mom's sewing machine or her ginormous fabric stash, so we picked up two perfectly lovely target numbers that we've been using each year since then. nice, heavy, soft velvety stuff, a girly little snowflake for me, and nice manly moose for M [though, really, he prefers bears]. coordinated, but not exactly matching, and i've always loved the colors.
[this picture is from our first house we owned, and the first place we lived together... i get little warm snugglies seeing it in one of it's first-few-christmases-together glory, circa 2007].

but now that little K is here [i don't think we even used stockings in the chaos that was her first 4 week old christmas last year] she obviously needs one, and i love the idea of her having the same one every year as she grows up, one that i've made especially for her.

this is a big, intimidating project for a novice sewer like myself who never learned the official ins and outs of "the rules" of sewing/quilting/finished seams, etc. and as much as i would love to be my mom, who could sit down at the sewing machine and whip out something that would make you think martha stewart started designing for pottery barn [she was that good] for all three of us in under an hour, sadly, i definitely am not. so, even though i have a general idea of what each family member's should look like- i am still intimidated and very creatively procrastinating myself away from this project. [speaking of, i'm pretty sure i needed to go organize my sock drawer...]

the problem is, i knew all this even as i started this needs-to-be-finished-by-christmas-eve project on the 23rd. not a good plan. i spent lots of time gathering ideas and tutorials, getting a good strong idea of what they would look like, and even made a little inspiration board action of sorts.

for M:
[left: 9 patch cabin pillow by stbrendans, right: normandy stocking by garnet hill]

for K:
[left: heirloom quilted stocking by jordanandco, right: christmas stocking by noodlehead].

for mine, i saw one in target that i absolutely loved but knew i could make more personalized if i did it myself. luckily i used to work there, so they are totally accustomed to me taking cell phone pictures of inspiring things and have yet to throw me out.
i was totally determined to finish these this year because otherwise, i knew i'd end up running out to target to buy one for K at 9:50pm on christmas eve where the only ones left are tweety bird monstrosities or covered in major league baseball player's faces. so i had to force myself to quit procrastinating and do. so i chose my fabrics and cut out the shapes of the stockings. check. i decided what kinds of little appliques to do and how to perfectly place them. check. i even started blanket stitching things all together [had to google 'how to blanket stitch' at midnight while watching julie and julia to remember how to get it started]... more hand stitching than i've done in a long while. it was super sweet and peaceful to be handstitching by the light of the twinkly christmas tree.
but at 2 am on christmas eve-eve i was not finished yet. so i set them aside knowing i'd have a little window of time between get-togethers with our respective families the next day [ahem... christmas eve day]. except that when we got home from the first one, and my first instinct was to go running down to our freezing cold basement where my sewing machine and craft supplies live, i realized i was missing it. it was christmas eve, and the last place i wanted to be was down in a cold basement, working frantically to make something special for my family that i wanted to have had done weeks ago.

so i came back upstairs and snuggled on the couch with my husband and puppy keeping my feet warm, the baby upstairs for a nap, and just enjoyed being with him. we smootched, we opened each other's presents, we talked about how happy we were to just be together, saying all the things you want to tell the one you love on christmas, but somehow haven't found the time yet in all the hustle bustle.

i think we all in our hearts want a more simple, more meaningful, more heartfelt christmas. but we get so busy [ususally with good things!] that we end up with more frustration, more stress, and just more busy. and though i want to be the perfect mom for my family, the perfect wife to my husband, and the kind of woman who can have dinners on the table on time in a perfectly cleaned house with time to finish perfectly handmade heirloom memories for my children, which would then be perfectly photographed and perfectly written about on my blog, i'm just not perfect. and christmas is a great time, probably the best time, to remember that i'm not perfect, and how deeply i needed that savior to be born all those thousands of christmases ago, so that i can live in his merciful grace, even a sinner like me.

and so, on christmas morning, there were lovely little red and kraft paper gift bags holding our stocking contents. we opened, we enjoyed, and we didn't notice the difference. and i know sometime later in january, when i can stop stressing and just enjoy making them, the lovely heirloom handstitched personalized stockings will get finished.
and next christmas our stockings will be awesome. merry christmas!
:::edited to add::: oh so comforting to know that other much more experienced crafters/mommas are experiencing this same little battle between in the moment and creating!

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