29 Dec 2013 • • by Heather Lou

Crafty Christmas


I can't fit into any pants that aren't elasticized at the waist so I suppose we can call the holiday a success. Why so many cookies, Mom? WHY?!

Along with gorging on baked goods, cheese, crackers, turkey, candy, and ALL manner of alcoholic libations, I may have had a brief shopping relapse.  I felt a little like a 2 year sober alcoholic might feel after falling off the wagon: a small zing of transient bliss followed by shame, self-reproach and guilt.

I have largely avoided buying new clothes since I started sewing seriously. I may have picked up a few items (*cough* J. Crew sale *cough*) over the last year or two, but generally whenever I enter a store I have the sewist mantra running in my head: "I could make this in an afternoon and do a much better job of it".

The problem with that mantra is that I simply don't have time to make all the clothes I want or need. The wish list is staggering, the stash is groaning, and unfortunately, the basic standbys tend to get pushed aside so I can make pretty dresses. As a result, I don't really make things like pajama pants, t-shirts and leggings, the things I actually wear most of the time around the house. I'm in a new relationship and my sweetie simply can't see me lazing around the house in the stretched out and holey rags that would have passed for pajamas in my single days. As a result, I may have dropped a few hundo on lounge pants, tees and cozy sweaters during the Boxing Day Sales.

The amount of guilt I've felt as a result is a little irrational, but it felt weird to be lugging a bag of made-in-China stuff home after putting so much time and energy into everything I've worn for the past few years. Has anyone else dealt with this after the occasional clothing purchase?

In other news, I managed to make a few presents this month despite the staggeringly insane social calendar of December. For a Secret Santa exchange among my circle of friends, I immediately landed on the idea of a luxury sleep set for my friend Eve. She travels frequently for her job and is also going through a bit of a 90's phase, so naturally I made her a burgundy crushed velvet travel pillow and fox eye mask.

This is a solid gold gift idea for your frequent flier friends. She loved it. I traced the shape of my own travel pillow, and bought a few cheap ones from the dollarstore to stuff it with (naturally too small and understuffed to actually be of any use), along with some dried lavender. I added a few small tabs with snaps so she could attach it to her bag or secure it around her neck. It was a bit of a slapstick adventure getting all those tiny styrofoam balls in the pillowcase, however. If there was a secret camera around I'm sure I would be a viral Youtube video right now ("Shit. It's like slippery sticky snow. Why is it in my hair? It's coating my hands. WHY WONT IT WIPE OFF? Aahhhh! It keeps puffing out of this hole like an angry white volcano! NO CATS! GET DOWN!! IT LOOKS LIKE SCARFACE'S COKE STASH EXPLODED IN HERE!!! WAIT! CATS! STOP! It is not catnip! WHY ARE YOU ROLLING IN IT? Jules, you look like Scarface sneezed on you!" *Frantic running, washing, vacuuming etc*)

As for the mask, I followed this tutorial. I lined the inside with a heavier weight cotton sateen so it wouldn't stretch out too much and hand sewed on felt ears and eyelids. This is a super cute idea for a last minute gift! By Hand London also has this kitty cat tutorial.

For my step and sister-in-law, I made these foldover clutches.

The herringbone was a heavyweight upholstery. I mixed it with a heavy black cotton, lined it with a luxurious aqua coat lining and used some vintage metal zippers from my stash. I also used magnetic snap closures for the first time, which are AWESOME. I checked out a few tutorials but this one was the most helpful. Again, super easy and fast to whip out and a great use of scraps. Next time I make these I'd like to add some zipper tassels made from leather.

Additionally, I made a dozen all natural deodorants using this recipe as stocking stuffers. I picked up the containers at a DIY beauty product place (I love Montreal) and did it in less than an hour. My step-mom is recovering from breast cancer so I thought it might be good to load her and all the other women in my family up with some aluminum free deodorant. This stuff works better than ANYTHING else, and is basically just cornstarch, baking soda, coconut oil and essential oils. Pretty amazing stuff.

Blame the early sunsets and insanely busy month for a lack of great photos. Sorry guys.

Finally, I'm almost done knitting the softest scarf ever for my fella out of baby alpaca. I unripped the damn thing about 5 times before I stumbled on a rib pattern I think he'll like. I love knitting for people you care about. It's gotta be good protective juju to wear something made with love around your neck....

Headed back home to Montreal after a week in the old hometown. Super excited about all my plans for 2014. I hope you all had a wonderful holiday filled with love and calories and are just as excited about stretch pants as I am right now. So many xo's for the new year my friends!

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