It’s that time of year to deck the halls and make things merry and bright, and in that vein I decided it was time to do a little decorating for the new house. We moved in last spring, and since that time, it’s been an exercise of getting the things that we bought for the old house to fit into this new house. One of the things that we have with this house is a fireplace.
In case you weren’t aware, I live in Florida. Fireplaces aren’t a necessity for warmth as they may be in colder climates, but it makes for a great focal point in the room.
See that mantle? It needs a little… something. Now, I am not one to buy things for a quick decorative accent, even for seasons like Christmas. I buy things for the long term, and by long term, I mean for many MANY years. I still have decorations that I painted decades ago when money was quite slim.
I had looked at quite a few stockings here and there. I went to my local Home Goods store, looked around online, and eventually I saw some at Pier One that I thought were very nice. They were on sale, but truthfully I wasn’t really into spending $60 for a few stockings for Christmas.
So, I contemplated and watched and eventually went to the Pier One store in my area to check them out. They were very nice in person. Quite large and fluffy soft. I still wasn’t sold on them though, so I walked around the store to think about it. I even ate a chocolate chip cookie from the festive tray of sweets they had laid out. Then I wandered over to their clearance area.
And what to my wondering eyes should appear, but a set of 4 placemats and 2 matching napkins.
Huh. Maybe I can do something with these. I walked around with them for a bit, and the more I walked, the more I was convinced that I could do something with them. The extra special bonus was at the check-out. Instead of the $4.38 for each as I was expecting, they rang up at $2.88 for each. So for less than $18 I planned to make two stockings. Did I mention that these were pretty nice linens?
So, home I went and then had to find a pattern. I wanted the larger stockings like the original Pier One stockings, but most of the patterns I came across were quite small. I found one that had the outline I wanted. I just wanted to beef it up a bit. After doing the math, I ended up expanding all the lines by 3.5 cm. I tried to make it standard measurements, but it’s easier to round to 3.5 cm than to try to get it to 1 7/16 inches. Silly, I know, but adding the width and seam allowance, just kept getting complicated. So 3.5 cm it is.
This photo doesn’t show it, but I dropped the pattern a bit lower and extended the leg all the way to the top of the placemat.
Next I basted two place mats together, right sides facing. Now, a little side note here. If you’ve ever worked with commercially produced things, you’ll quickly realize that lining them up perfectly is an impossibility. These linens were made in India. I have the greatest respect for those who produce goods for others (I do it myself), and there are many elements that will give you the slightest misalignment of all things mass produced. It’s just a thing. I spent a LOT of time trying to line these things up to no avail. After more fiddling than I wanted to do, I simply gave up and accepted it.
Since these linens had a few layers to their construction, I decided to trace the pattern and sew with them completely intact instead of cutting them out and then sewing. After sewing, cutting, turning them out, pressing, (as you do) I used scraps to add the hanging loop which was not exciting enough to photograph. Finally I added some fun little festive details of baubles and tree clippings, and here we are.
I had intended to use the napkins for the cuff at the top of the stockings, but as it turned out, they weren’t needed, so I used one to cover a vase with some clippings from our tree.
I’m enjoyed this little afternoon project, and we are a little more festive around here.
Also, looking at this room you may be thinking that I eschew the typical red and green of holly and berries for all things silver and gold, but that isn’t true. Let me introduce you to Rufus.
I can’t remember where he came from, but he has been hanging with us for many Christmases. He is in the dining area this year with his goofy eyes and red nose. I hope you all have a great Christmas and holiday season.
Let me know what you’re doing this season. Are you doing any special decking of the halls?