Friday, January 11, 2013

Christmas Past - Stockings and Gift Labels

When we went back to school as kids, our teachers often asked us what we did on our vacations. Since I have no teacher to press me for my tales, I'll just tell you all. 

I fell off the edge of the blogosphere during December, so I didn't ever get any of these projects revealed. Even if it is January, I hate to let all that effort go to waste and not share it just because Christmas has passed. If you need a few ideas to hang onto for next year, here you go. If not, humor me, okay?

Burlap Stockings

Since two of my 20-something kids weren't going to be home for Christmas and their gifts and stocking presents had to be mailed, making inexpensive and quick stockings was in order. The stockings were inexpensive, but the quick part didn't pan out for me. As always there were some setbacks. I wished I had a Sewing 911 line to call to talk me through the trauma, instead I bucked up and kept at it until something resembling what I wanted came together. I think I learned something from the ordeal. Only time will tell.

Epic Fail Becomes Inspiration

Awhile back, I ran a pretty big piece of burlap through the washer to see how it would fare. The hope was that the fuzz would disappear and it would soften. I stitched the edges before I washed it to prevent fraying, but the fuzz remained. It wasn't all that soft afterwards either. It came out of the washer looking like a rat's nest. Epic fail? Well, not so much because when I went to make the stockings, that frayed part ended up being my design inspiration for the cuff of the stockings. My epic fail turned into project joy.

Using one of the stockings we already have, I traced a half an inch around it on paper, plus added some at the top for the cuff. Unfortunately I can't give you a tutorial because I made it up as I went and changed tactics as I discovered my errors in sewing judgement. Making the cuff fold over so the seam didn't show tripped me up.

I sewed it wrong at least four times and finally worked it out, but I have math issues and sewing issues when things have to be done backwards, inside out, upside down and wrong sides facing right or visa versa. You'd think I'd have just used a pattern. Ha! That would be too easy.

Waa laa! Despite my rank amateur sewing status, I thought they turned out cute.

I wasn't trying to make something flawless, just something simple in case the kids didn't treasure them for eternity as I always hope they will. Had I thought my process through before I started sewing, or if I had the comprehension skills others find elementary, it would have been the no big deal project I had planned on. Most of you probably shake your head at what a sewing simpleton I am. Hey, at least I try. 

Once the stitching was complete, I embellished the stockings with white pom pom trim I had on hand. I figured these could work for both my son and my daughter. Perhaps the pom poms seem a trifle girly, but my son didn't seem to mind, maybe because he was far from home and family again this year at Christmas. Besides, the burlap gave it a sort of rustic feel.

Chalkboard Labels

The chalkboard gift labels were next. Normally I wrap stocking gifts with absolute speed and as messy as I want. For these, I went a more time-consuming, creative route, wrapping with brown paper and painting on a label with chalkboard paint. Various Christmas sayings were added with chalk.

Writing with real chalk didn't work well. When I put them into or pulled them out of the stocking, the chalk either smudged or came off easily. That led me to purchase a white permanent marker and redo all the writing before packing them up to ship off.

These were kinda fun, but then, I find joy in tedious, time consuming projects. Go figure. This idea can be used any time of year for all sorts of packages. If I had done these on regular presents, the addition of ribbon and/or bows would have been helpful for a nicer final presentation, but since these were for stockings, that wasn't necessary.

There you go. Just the first installment of How I Spent My Christmas Vacation.

I'll be at:

Transformation Thursday @ Shabby Creek Cottage Wow Us Wednesday @ Savvy Southern Style

An Oldie but a Goodie @ Do Small Things With Love
Nifty Thrifty Tuesday @ Coastal Charm

Mop It Up Monday @ I Should Be Mopping The Floor

Funky Junk's Saturday Nite Special


  1. Well I don't care if it is January I'm pinning both those ideas, but I haven't had sewing 101 either, well maybe I did but I sure didn't retain any of it!


  2. I love to blog hop and I find myself checking out a lot of DIY sites and I get so jealous of the talents you ladies have. I need to start getting creative.

  3. Wow, I'm impressed - I NEVER wrap stocking gifts - just dump them all in. I didn't get stockings made this year, and last year I'd given the old crazy-quilt felted ones with blanket stitching away to my oldest son. I knew I needed neutral ones this year, and if I had none, that would MAKE me do it, right? NOT! So, I used some soccer socks for stockings! They made do. :)
    Yours look really nice.

  4. Love the stockings! They look gret, expecially like the cuffs! I know your children enjoyed getting them. Great ideas! Happy weekend!

  5. Aw, the stockings are so cute. We wouldn't ever had to know you had any trouble. I like the chalkboard gift tags. Even with the permanent marker, very clever.

  6. The stockings are darling - and I would have to stop and think and do some figuring on that fold over cuff too :)
    Love the labels - chalkboard stuff is always a good idea - love how you used the white marker to keep it from rubbing off.

  7. The stockings were packed in boxes with care in hope that some memories would be there to share! I will now have to officially dig out my sewing machine. These burlap stockings gave me an idea for spring. Thanks, Liz.

  8. These are precious, Liz.
    That backwards calculating always trips me up, too!
    I know your kids loved them and felt closer to home after opening your gifts of love. They'd better! ;)

  9. The stocking are beautiful and the frayed edging is the best part! Thanks for sharing your lovely projects!

  10. Those stocking are amazing!
    And if you saw how I wrapped stocking gifts you would be horrified!
    Enjoyed visiting and I am a new follower.

    White Spray Paint

  11. Hi Liz, I LOVE those stockings! I never would have thought to keep the fringed edge, but that's my favorite part. You're right, you turned a potential fail into project joy. The pom pom trim adds just the right amount of whimsy, and the result is an adorable stocking. And your sewing skills aren't as bad as you think they are, because if you hadn't said anything, I never would have known! Love your presents too. I'm impressed that you wrapped your stocking gifts, I'm pretty lazy with ours and just toss them in there unwrapped! So glad you shared these with us. Have a great day!


  12. I put some in my washer and just about wrecked the burlap AND the washer! I will not be trying that again... your stockings came out darling! Love the pom pom trim, too!

  13. Those stockings are so darling!!! Love the color and fabric too! Thanks so much for sharing them! I'd love for you to visit my blog.
    Have a fabulous day!

    Hugs from Portugal,

    Ana Love Craft

  14. I love your burlap stockings! They truly look amazing. I cannot sew so this is very impressive to me. The chalkboard paint tags is such a great idea! Great job!! Visiting from the Oldies but Goodies link party at Small Things. Have a great day! ~ Jamie

  15. Beautiful stockings! I love burlap. I'm so happy that you visited and linked up at One Creative Weekend at The next party starts tonight at 8:00 PM MST. I hope you'll be back.

  16. Wonderfully simple and beautiful.
    Thanks for linking up to the oldies party this week--the new party will be live on Monday night.


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