Naptime Gnome Idea #7
AAAHHH, CHRISTMAS IS COMING!!!
I love Christmas, and it’s not because of the getting, it is entirely due to the giving! I once made these E-reader covers for my mom(-in-law) and my sister(-in-law); it still tickles me thoroughly every time I see them unleash their Kindles. Maybe they just dress their Kindles when they know I’ll be around, like the hideous sweater you still wear once a year because you may be in the presence of the giver, but even so, it makes me happy to think they may possibly enjoy something I took the time to think up and make for them. If you’re an attentive little reader, you’re still wondering why on Earth I’m talking about Christmas when we haven’t even started chasing off 18 year-old trick-or-treaters… surely this is just an error in premature posting. Nope.
The truth is, gnomes love the holidays, Christmas especially. You may have noticed the striking physical resemblance between gnomes and elves, this isn’t mere convergent evolution, we are actually closely related, forming a monophyletic clade, along with pixies, of course. True story. <;’)
So it shouldn’t be at all shocking that around Christmas time, gnomes become particularly active. For years now, my mom (hither forth known as the Seamstress Gnome), grandma (who actually named herself the “Happy Hooker” Gnome… she’s rather brilliant with a crochet hook… <;’) what were you thinking?), and I (you know who I am by now), have made a point to put special effort and thought into one particular present for each other.
Over the years this tradition has developed into a slight one-upping of sorts. The funny part is we aren’t trying to outdo each-other, but ourselves. The Seamstress Gnome is quite crafty with a sewing machine so, not surprisingly, her most personal gifts have always been custom clothes, unique bags, housewares and the like. I have a cheap streak that virtually permeates my core, so I’m always looking to make something unique and purposeful from items we already have, or can be found for very little and amped up with embellishment. The Happy Hooker (tee hee) has always made the most amazing crocheted items, the most beautiful being intricate lace that I swear she completes mostly in her sleep… seriously she’s amazing!
Each year we strive to produce a singular more fantastic gift than the year prior. As you can imagine, we sort of topped out a few years back and now we just make sure we make each other something special. We’ve come to call this gift our “Heart Gift” and it is our most treasured exchange throughout the year.
Since I’ve started my own little gnomey brood, the number of Heart Gifts I must produce has greatly increased, I have Mr. Gnome of course, the many gnome-in-laws, and who could forget the little munchkin gnomes. In the last few years I have shifted to giving almost exclusively Heart Gifts.
When this tradition started I began working a few days or weeks before Christmas (usually keeping busy for most of winter break), but as the list of things to fabricate has lengthened, so has the holiday season. Now I figure I need to start about 12 weeks out… hence, the “12 Weeks of Christmas!” This suits Mr. Gnome just fine, as he likes to sneak the tree up sometime around Halloween!
A friend of mine suggested I blog about the goings on in the gnome workshop leading up to Christmas. I loved the idea, but as many of my gnomeys read these posts, I can’t divulge the details of the coming holidays’ Heart Gifts. Instead I’ve decided to post about Heart Gifts of Christmas Past. I’ll be sure to keep good notes this year so maybe next year you can read about this year’s antics. <:’)
Some will be brief descriptions with photos, while others will have tips and things I’ve learned through my many OOPSes, I even hope to include some templates along the way so you can cut down on some of your Heart Gift lead time, should you choose to follow suit! <:’)
So without further adieu, the first Heart Gift of Christmas:
I can’t claim the idea for this, my mother- and sister-in-law had new Kindles that desperately needed new clothes, they actually requested some kind of cover. So here is what I came up with. They are just simple envelopes with fold-over flaps. I had some leather scraps my mom had let me abscond with a few years back that I thought would be nice and durable, and wouldn’t look terribly homemade. So here is what I came up with:
|My sister(-in-law) likes clean modern lines and one of her favorite colors is green, so I went with a smooth hide in light green.|
|The closure is just a strip of leather sewn into the seam of the envelope to tuck the flap under.|
|My mom(-in-law) likes rustic Southwest inspired art and fashion, so I thought she’d enjoy the raw-edge flap and sinew closure.|
These were incredibly simple, and could be made out of any fabric.
If you’ve never worked on leather, you can bypass some of my mistakes with these tips:
- Make sure you use a long stitch (otherwise you’ll just perforate the leather).
- Use a nice hardy needle and start with a fresh one.
- If you are using an ordinary sewing machine, be careful not to use thick leather or too many layers… if your sewing machine is groaning, reassess. <:’)
- Be very careful with pins, either pin close to the edge of the project so it is on the inside of the pouch when sewn, or don’t pin at all. Bobby pins and smooth hair clips work well for holding your leather together if you are worried about leaving permanent holes.
- OOH, and the best advise I can offer… Place a piece of thin paper between your presser foot and the leather, this will make it feed super smooth. I figured this out on accident because I couldn’t get it to feed (the leather provides too much traction), so I placed a piece of notebook paper over the work, and it glided right on through! Now I use tissue paper or tracing paper. This way it tears away, with no remnants, when you’re done! I would think parchment or pattern paper would work too.
Other than that, leather is REALLY fun to work with! So have fun and get creative with it!
If you don’t have scraps to work with look for items at thrift shops to dissect. Just imagine what you could do with a big outdated bag, or a huge leather trench coat! Not crazy about the secondhand scene? Visit a leather outlet like Tandy.
-The Naptime Gnome <;’)