The 5th of December is a big holiday back home in the Netherlands. It’s the day we celebrate Sinterklaas, more or less the Dutch version of Santa Claus bringing presents and/or Secret Santa between adults. In addition gifts are to be creatively disguised and usually accompanied by a poem teasing the recipient for well-known bad habits or past year experiences. It’s a lot of fun for old and young, and I’m glad we’re still celebrating it (even though due to time constraints and everyone leading a busy life, this year we will celebrate it during Christmas).

Traditionally each year my grandma bakes us dikke speculaas (a thicker sort of gingerbread) and cream puffs. Yummy for sure! Last year I asked Secret Santa to gift me my grandma’s ‘secret’ recipes and he did! So this year I didn’t have to wait for Christmas to arrive and baked my own speculaas.

 

Pattern: McCall 6453 (same as tree skirt)
Cost:
Scraps, impossible to calculate
Appliqued letters font: Footlight MT Light

Finally put some time into my unfinished Christmas stocking(s) and got them done! I decided to applique an initial on it as well, made of white fleece. The stockings are completely lined (see picture below). Now bring on the presents!

Pattern: McCall 6453 (I got it for 99cents during sales)
Cost:
Less than $10

Tree skirts in stores are so expensive, and I didn’t see any I liked enough to be worth its price ($30-$60). When I walked into JoAnn’s last week I was surprised to see that so much Christmas fabric was already gone (I thought people would wait till Black Friday sales), luckily I still found 2 pieces of fabric I really liked, which I matched with a 3rd.

I have yet to sew on the 4 buttons, but that will probably be some time next year, as it’s already wrapped around the tree :).

I thought this skirt would come together pretty quickly, but matching the front and the back of the skirt and pressing it once completed, took much much longer than expected. So I’m quite fed up with it now and the buttons will have to wait ;P.

It doesn’t take much to make the little men happy!

I guess I can describe my fiber fill as preloved from now on :)

(sorry for the bad sound quality)

Monogramming, as good as it looks, is just not my kind of thing; not enough quality control for my uptight mind! The sewing machine is always faster than I can make turns etc. An undo-button/ctrl Z-button would be really helpful!

So it took me a very long time to finish this hooded towel, which I basically started after finishing my first hooded towel mid September. I’m ashamed! :$ Obviously I didn’t spend more than a couple of hours on it, I kept going back to it, only to find out I didn’t remember (again) which stitch length I had used on already finished letters. Then this past Thursday I was finally on a roll :).

I’m not going to do any monogrammed towels for a while*, till Xmas brings me my aunt’s embroidery module and I can be a lazy bum watching the machine do all the work! Hehe! ^v^ I’m still debatting with myself whether the towels will still have the handmade charm, if it’s more machine-made, than handmade. Hmmm…

* I’ll make an exception for babies with 3-lettered names ;).

It’s always good to give someone something you’ll enjoy most yourself ;). No, I’m kidding!

So what gift are we talking about? I gave my hubby a Cake Decorating Basic Course of 4x 2hrs at our local craft store :). We just had our second class today and so far it’s really fun! I actually think I’m not the one enjoying it the most ;). We’re truly learning a lot of things :). Funny thing is, as uptight as I’m with sewing, I’m totally not when it comes to cake decorating. My mouth really won’t see the difference :P.

My cake (on the right) is a bit too messy for my taste, though, but who cares?

I did learn another important lesson today; NEVER use cake mix from a box!! You know the ones were you only have to add water and some eggs? I swear I never used cake mix before, I always bake cakes from scratch and I never got why you’d use cake mix anyway, but then I saw it was much cheaper and quicker and as I didn’t plan on eating the cakes anyway….so I did end up using cake mix, baked them and tried a tiny piece and had a migraine for the rest of the day… Reminds me of the Dutch saying “cheap things end up being ‘expensive’ purchases”. Erm…yes. And the cake didn’t even taste good at all! T_T So yeah, I don’t understand why anyone would bake a cake using cake mix.


The inevitable mess…Icing everywhere! Please, don’t take a look at our kitchen right now…

I wanted to make a quilt as a birth gift, but didn’t have much inspiration, till I found this lovely panel on Fabric.com.

I can’t take much credit for the overall design, because I’ve only added strips of yellow fleece around the panel, batting in the middle and baby blue minky fleece (so incredibly soft!) to the back.

Out of all things I’ve made, I’m least pleased with this quilt. The front looks good, and I like the quilted lining, but I messed the back up. The back has quite some excessive fabric, and frankly needs liposuction! The pictures don’t show the problem as much. I guess I didn’t do the basting correctly.

The minky fleece is hard to cut through and so stretchy, that it keeps going everywhere, so I guess that explains the excessiveness a little bit. I’m glad I bought a walking foot, otherwise making this quilt would have been impossible (stitching through 3 thick, stretchy, fleecy layers), but it was still a tough job!

Originally I planned to use the diagonal lines throughout the whole quilt, but because of the tough fabric, I had to redo some of them, and I didn’t realise that ripping stitches out, would show so much on fleece.

At the end I just gave up, I should have done liposuction way earlier in the quilt making process, but didn’t realise till it was too late. Lesson learnt; I’m staying away from minky fleece for a bit, till I’m more experienced in making quilts :).

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