A Handmade Christmas!

First of all, Welcome to A Handmade Christmas!! I am so glad you are joining me. I am looking forward to sharing some ideas that I have, but am also very excited to see all of your ideas, so please jump in and share them with everybody!

This first gift idea that I am sharing I admit isn't a Christmas present here at our house -I recently made it and gave it to my son Aaron for his birthday. But since it would be a lovely Christmas gift as well and because we had such fun making it and he has really loved it I thought I would share it. I will try to explain how I made it so that if you want, you can make one too. I am not going to go into every detail (as that would make a very long post!) but if you are trying to make it and have any questions please ask- I will be glad to help if I can.

What we made was a busy book which we called "All year with Aaron". We had fun coming up with 2 different page sets for each season. Here is a tour of the book:

The first things you open up to is "Dress a Snowman" page. In my stash of fabric I had some with a winter skiing scene so I decided it would be perfect to use for this page. I sewed a white snowman on the page, drawing the face on with permanent marker and gluing on a orange felt nose. I used a portion of a wooden skewer to put through his middle to make arms. Other than that he is plain. All his accessories go in the pocket on the other side. The mittens (we made 3 different sets) have a slit in them so they can by stuck on the stick.

We also can up with a little rhyme:
"In winter Aaron likes to play
Out in the snow all day." (I don't plan on becoming a poet anytime soon but Aaron liked the rhymes anyway!)
The next page is a Tic-Tac-Toe game board. I made the board by sewing nine 3" squares together. Mara cut out X's and O's. I sewed a pocket on the other side to hold them.

Our rhyme says: "When it gets to cold to be out in the snow,
Aaron comes inside to play Tic-Tac-Toe."
This first Spring one we had a lot of fun with. We made a felt/wool tree and dog house and then we made felt finger puppets to fit in them. (At the bottom of this post are patterns you can use.) To make the finger puppets you cut out 2 pieces of the base color and sew them together, leaving the bottom open to put your finger in. Then I used hot glue to put the other pieces on and markers to add extra detail. We sewed a nest in the tree trunk "Y" that the bird can sit in. (We cut holes in the leaves so she could peak through (her name is Betty Bluebird), Sammy the squirrel can go in his hole in the tree and Spot the dog can slide in his doghouse.

Our rhyme is: "It's Spring!
Do you see the tree
where are the busy animals are peaking out at me?"

Next is the garden page. I cut out two strips of brown wool and sewed them on. on one side I hot glued Strawberry leaves, a corn stalk and a flower stem and then I had a strawberry and flower that can be buttoned on and a corn cob that Velcros on. On the other side I cut flaps and on top I glued onion stalks, carrot leaves and a potato plant (I didn't make patterns for these because I think you can do a far better job on them than I did!), Then we also made potatoes, a carrot and an onion that can be put in the correct spot. At other times they can go in the pocket on the other side.
The rhyme says:
"We plant, and weed, and water and hoe.
And God will make our garden grow!"

Now for summer! We made a fishing page. Jonathan made a fishing pole using a chopstick, yarn and a washer. I made a pocket for it to fit in. On the other side I made wave pockets and in them we have felt fish with magnets on one side. (I wanted to sew a magnet in between two layers of felt but our magnets weren't strong enough for that. ) Mara also decided to make a boot with a magnet on it too, just for fun!

The rhyme says:
"In Summer I go to the lake and wish.
Oh I hope I get a fish!"

Our next page is a soccer maze. I drew it on with permanent marker and then sewed nets on both ends (from a veggie bag). Mara made little felt soccer players that were glued on in dead end locations. The soccer ball we cut out of a piece of fleece but you could easily make it from felt. Since the background was dark I sewed a sun and cloud on to write the rhyme on.

The rhyme says:
We kick, we run, we score as we play.
We love playing soccer on this warm sunny day."
For Autumn I made a page with a pocket (the house and garage) for a toy car to go in and a pocket (the cloud) for a little place to go in. I also sewed on a felt road for the car and added a tree for detail.

The rhyme says:
"In Autumn Aaron loves to go!
Sometimes fast and sometimes slow."
The last page is full of activity stuff. I have a pocket that pens can fit in and another one that we put a scissors in (at this point I wish I would have put flaps on the top pockets and I might still do that. The bottom pocket can hold stickers and stuff on the left hand side and on the right I sewed dividers just the size (3/4 inch) to fit crayons. That is very nice for holding the crayons secure.
The rhyme says:
"Writing and cutting and coloring are fun.
We can do it a lot before Fall is done."
To make it the book I made the pages 11" x 17" (so each page was 8 1/2" by 11"). It worked good to have the two sides all one piece but if you want to have different colors on each side then cut it out 9" x 11" and then sew them together. You can refer to the above pictures to put everything on and then...

You want to sew the pages together. To do that I started with the right hand side of the snowman pages and pinned that half together with the left hand side (right sides together) of the Tic-Tac-Toe pages. Then turn it right side out and continue doing the same thing throughout the book until all pages are together but with no cover.

At that point it will look somewhat like this. Try to make sure all your pages are even and straight and then hand stitch them together.
Cut out a cover make it 11" x 18 1/2 ". Put a title patch on it if you like. You could decorate it a bunch more than I did. Then turn and iron the edges under 1/2 inch. Sew it down in the middle where the spine will be. Then turn and iron the edges on both the front and back pages too. Pin them together and while you are doing it stick a ribbon handle in on the middle of both sides. Sew them together.
Here are some patterns that you can click on and then print out:

Let me know if you try this. I would loved to see you finished product! (Also feel free to ask questions.) Some of my inspiration for this book came from here.

Now it is your turn!
Here is how:
  • Write a post at your blog telling about a handmade gift, decoration, recipe or anything you are doing for the holidays that is handmade. (please make sure it is family friendly)
  • In your post please put a link to A Handmade Christmas (or just my blog is fine).
  • Then bring the link to your post over here (your actual post - not just a link to your blog) and add it to the MckLinky!
  • Tell all your friends and encourage them to join us.

And as a special treat for those who add their links I will draw one of the names and send them a set of 8 gift tags to go on the gifts that they have made. This drawing will close on Saturday at noon.