Well, I don't know about you, but I sure am glad 2018 is over! I haven't blogged since 2017, and I thought that was a hard year! 2018 almost killed me! It started with my daughter recovering from a second knee surgery, my husband selling one of his companies, and an IRS audit on one of our businesses. It ended with me falling off a ladder, completely tearing my ACL in my left knee, spraining my MCL, hurting my elbow, shoulder, hand and back. In between, my husband started a new company while simultaneously a company he started a couple of years ago started to take off as government licenses and labels were completed and approved. Seriously, it was work, risk, and pain!
So, here I sit without any New Year's Resolutions but plenty of things that need to improve, after two bad years, and one improvement needs to be finding time to create stuff! I have missed being creative, making things, and writing about it! In that spirit, I reversed my decision not to do a Christmas Journal this year and gave myself one day to do it. I have been doing my Christmas Journals since 2012. Typically, I work on that year's journal daily. It really makes me focus on the holiday season and special Christmasy things each day. This year, I didn't have it in me. I had to move all the big family celebrations to my cousin's house due to my injuries, I didn't put up a tree until a week before Christmas (and even then it was just lights, garland, and a star!), I missed Black Friday, I did all my shopping on-line or at the gift card display, I made very few gifts, and did almost no baking. We decided not to see the Nutcracker Ballet (my daughter danced in the Nutcracker at her ballet school in June and was Nutcrackered-out). Despite all that, I am a serial picture taker with my phone and a list maker. My Christmas Journal is heavy on both of those, plus journaling, so deciding to make one made sense because I was half-way done!
I decided to use only papers in my stash and to do a simple design that I would bind with my Zutter and wire o-rings I already had. Some of my pages opened up and some had internal pockets to hold journaling tags. I ordered my photos via app and picked them up. Despite having my new Cricut Maker that I won from the company (my Christmas gift from the Crafting Fairy), my Christmas Journals have always been done on my old Expression using carts. I used it for my tags this year. The one thing my Christmas Journals always have is a Letter to My Future Self, a prompt from Shimelle's Journal Your Christmas that she sends each year. Something about that is cathartic so it is a must but I do hide it in my journal in plain sight.
The cover was simply acid free mounting board adhered with regular acid free scrapbooking paper. I didn't have time for a complex cover so I picked busy paper for the cover and created a belly band (since I knew this thing would be fat and pop up). I like the idea of a fabric-and-elastic belly band (instead of a card stock one) so that it will hold up with repeated movement as the album is viewed over time. I used my simple Brother PE770 and Embrilliance software to do mine.
To do this, I merged the 'Lorie' frame from Lynnie Pinnie with BX format font 'Good Morning' from Applique Corner. I deleted the text from a freebie by Sonia Showalter, leaving the Santa hat. I moved the hat to the "0" of 2018. I made sure the "Remove Hidden Stitches" was selected in My Preferences in the software. I resized everything to fit the width of my hoop. I stitched it on Vilene, using the same technique I explained in my patch-making post, which can be found by clicking here. That technique includes adding a piece on the bottom of the hoop to cover all back stitches except the final satin stitches and wetting the finished edge to remove all trace of the Vilene. I joined a piece of fold-over elastic and sewed it to the patch.
Finished and final, my Christmas Journal was complete just as decorations were put away-- and I appreciated how little decorating I did once it was time to put it all away! My husband said he was thinking the same thing!
I will say that I did create time to do a few projects for gifts before Christmas. Nothing like the amounts of things I normally make, but I was trying to ease back into it and thought it would be easier but I didn't anticipate pain issues from my back. That made these even more special to me to give.
The first thing I did was an applique project.
My daughter is a ballet dancer and she gave this to her little cousin, along with a set of ballet student dolls. I was trying to find something that seemed like something she would give. This took me forever because the file had missing elements that I didn't notice initially. Luckily, I always open my file in my Embrilliance software and print out a list of color steps so I can take notes while I watch the virtual stitch out. I eventually found a format that had all the elements. I am not sure if this was a problem with the file or just my download. I saw this artwork as a png on Etsy last year so I fell in love with it as a blanket stitch applique! It turned out so cute with its million color steps! This was from Alphalicious. It was personalized with Jolsens 231 in .5" size. Embrilliance allowed me to size it perfectly and curve the text.
The next thing I made was a bed-sized reading pillow for a preschooler. I just cut the fabric to the size of the pillow for the body of the pillow and for the pocket. The peeker design was from French Frills/Sweet and Sassy. The alpha was Itch2Stitch Closer to Free and is available in BX. I used a 5x12 hoop for the name and Embrilliance split it for me so that I could stitch it nice and big.
Next I tried something new to me: I opened up the leg on toddler pants to stitch near the hem. It was quick and painless to serge closed.
I stitched a design to go with a larger design on the top. These were from Lynnie Pinnie: mini colorwork ballerinas and matching larger ballerinas.
Hyperlinks of Things Discussed in This Post:
- Journal Your Christmas
- Zutter binding system
- Embrilliance Embroidery Software
- Lorie Frame by Lynnie Pinnie
- Good Morning font by Applique Corner (I do not currently see this on their site)
- Freebie by Sonia Showalter with that hat
- Video for learning how to Remove Hidden Stitches in Embrilliance Essentials
- My tutorial on making patches -- the same method I used here before adding the elastic
- Alphalicious Nutcracker applique
- Jolsen Hand Lettered Floss Stitch #231 font
- Mickey Peeker
- Itch2Stitch Closer to Free alpha
- Lynnie Pinnie Mini Colorwork Ballerinas
- Lynnie Pinnie Colorwork Ballerinas - large
I have a few other projects from 2017 that never made it to my blog that I will try to post soon! Until then, you are welcome to view my Embroidery Gallery with most of my projects and links to their posts. My papercraft posts are on my Paper Gallery. I never posted my 2017 Christmas Journal but these are links to other previous Christmas Journal posts on this blog: 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012.
Happy New Year and thanks for visiting!