Flannel Pajama Bottoms for Yuki and Our “First” Christmas

This post is a bit delayed but I’ve gotten behind with Yuki being so sick for over a week and Project Run & Play starting up (I got a little caught up in getting something in for their Sew Along).

This year we celebrated what felt like Yuki’s first real Christmas.  Last year, Yuki was 4 months old and just a clueless little newborn.  I don’t even remember how we celebrated Christmas morning, but we certainly didn’t have a tree or stocking or lights, though there were some gifts for Yuki from family members.  This year, at 16 months, we made a little more of an effort for her.  We got a real tree (my first ever!), made a stocking, wrapped some presents.  It was totally low key and really fun!

I wasn’t really going to get Yuki any presents since she’s still too young to understand the concept, but our poor tree looked so lonely so I gave in and got her some fun things to unwrap.  I’m quite proud of my cheap finds, so even though most of them have nothing to do with crafting or sewing, I’m going to share them with you anyways.

The first gift she actually found on Christmas Eve.

Yup, that’s right.  I got her a balloon.  Actually, a whole bag of balloons, but I’ve only had to blow up 2 and I’m saving the rest for rainy days.  And she LOVED it.  Super cheap and so much fun, no?

On Christmas morning, Yuki found a couple of surprises around her tree.  The first was a huge white balloon with a rubber band attached to it.  The kind that you hit back and forth like a super fast yo-yo.  This was only entertaining to her for a few minutes since she isn’t coordinated enough to use it yet.

There was also a stocking filled with little gifts.  The first was a pair of 99 cent sunglasses from the thrift store.

A set of plastic keys on a keychain (with car alarm noises and all).

Looks like she means business.

A new box of crayons!

The Japanese books that Hideko picked out are a huge hit.  They are from the series Nontan and I remember having some of these books when I was a kid too!

Yuki’s favorite toy that morning was this ridiculous toy I got at the thrift store (also for 99 cents!).  It’s a phone that talks, plays music and makes animal sounds.  It’s pretty obnoxious, but I knew she’d love it.  Aren’t her movements/expressions here hilarious?  It looks like she’s been doing some good observing . . .

I wanted to do something handmade, so I decided to make Yuki some plaid flannel pajama pants to go with the ones that Hideko and I wear all the time.  It was perfect for me since it was such a simple project.

I wanted to make something that would fit her for a loooong time, but they ended up being HUGE!  I might have to do a few more minor alterations so she doesn’t trip all over them, but it’s nice that there’s so much room to grow into.

One of my other holiday projects was a stocking for Yuki.  I had this idea to make it out of a an old sweater that I found at the thrift store.  In my mind, it seemed like a great idea, but it didn’t work out as well as I’d hoped.

The main thing I don’t like about it is how lumpy the bottom is.  😦  Oh well, I’ll try again next year!

After our quiet Christmas morning, we went on to spend time with family (where Yuki was spoiled by more gifts!!).  It was a really lovely Christmas and now I can’t wait till next year!  Somehow I have a feeling I’m not going to be able to get away with thrift store 99 cent gifts though :/

I have one more holiday project to share with you this week then I swear, I’ll put Christmas away!

My very first (real) Christmas tree and it’s skirt

All my life I grew up with a fake tree.  An OLD fake tree that lived in several huge boxes in the basement that was lugged upstairs once a year, assembled and decorated.  It was a family tradition and all we ever knew of Christmas trees.  I loved it and never thought much about a real tree.  A fake tree just seems so practical and economical and easy, and traditional (for us).

This year, Yuki will be 16 months old at Christmas.  She doesn’t understand what’s going on or what presents are and she certainly doesn’t know anything about Christmas trees.  I thought it would be unnecessary to get a tree in our tiny home and our small child would for sure would terrorize, climb, pull, and break any tree or decorations she could reach.  But Hideko thought it would be nice, so when I was at the store and saw these tiny 3-4′ trees I couldn’t resist but get one as a surprise.

After I bought it I kind of freaked out.  I don’t know anything about real trees!  Do I need to put it in water?  Does it need a stand?  Well, thank goodness for the internet!  I got all my questions answered and I think we did alright.

After I brought it home and unwrapped it (it was all tied up in a bundle when I bought it), I realized that it was a bit of a Charlie Brown tree.  The top half was a bit sparse 😦  It sat in our living room for over a week with no ornaments or lights or anything.  Yuki was intrigued by it, but she was gentle.  She didn’t try and rip off all the needles or knock it over like I thought she would.  We kept meaning to go out and buy ornaments, but we never had the time, so one day Yuki found my bag of holiday cookie cutters and started placing them all over the tree!  So creative!  She’s a little Martha Stewart in the making 🙂

And so our tree stayed like this for a week or so.  Yuki would occasionally take the cookie cutters off and put them back on.  It was a fun game for her.

Finally, 2 days ago, I went out and bought some lights.  There was something so magical about turning the lights on!  More like nostalgic.  I was suddenly very glad that I gave in to having a tree in the end.  This tree is the only sign of Christmas in our entire apartment!

I made a super fast fleece star and used fabric paint to add some glitter.  This was just a place holder until we found one that we really like.  Since then, one of my students gave me a Christmas ornament that was a beautiful glittery star (snowflake?) and it’s much too big and heavy for our little baby tree, so I used some wire to attach it to the top.  I took the cookie cutters off (sorry Yuki) and had her help me decorate with some handmade and vintage ornaments from our friend, Sanjai.  Our tree was almost done!

The only thing that was left to be done was the tree skirt.  This project took longer than I thought it would (as almost all of my projects do!), but I’m really pleased with the way it came out!

I had this huge piece of dark gray craft felt that I bought for another project, but never used.  I knew I wanted to use it up and it was the perfect size.  It was a bit dark though, so I planned on accenting it with white snowflakes or stars or something.  I’m a bit obsessed with snowflakes (considering I live in a place where it NEVER snows), so those won out.  I found this tutorial online for a cute snowflake stocking and used it to make my tree skirt snowflakes.  Here’s how I did it:

First I cut my main fabric (the gray felt) into a large square, about the size I wanted the finished skirt to be.  I folded it in half and then in half again, so it was a square.  Then I cut the fabric in an arc, from one edge to the other.  If you want to be precise, you can measure from the corner to the edge (which is your radius) and measure and mark (with chalk or pins) the same distance around until you get to the other edge.  Sorry, I didn’t photograph this part, I hope it makes sense.  I also cut a quarter circle from the corner for the center of the skirt.

This is when the fabric was still folded in fourths, after cutting:When you unfold it, it should look like this.  I cut a straight line from the outer edge to the inner circle for an opening.I wanted to make a scalloped border, so I took some white fleece and cut it into 2″ strips.  I had to cut about 5 strips and sew them together to make it long enough to go around the outer edge of the circle.

I used a round cap to make the scalloped design and then cut it out.

I lined the straight edge of the scalloped border with the outside edge of the skirt and zig zag stitched them together all the way around.  Then I considered top stitching the scallops down for some nice detail, but after realizing it would take too long and be really hard to make it look nice, I opted for some fabric glue 🙂

Now for the snowflakes!  The post I mentioned earlier has some templates for snowflakes that I printed out.  I traced them onto white felt.

I used my machine to sew along the lines.

The most time consuming part of this project was cutting out the snowflakes, but I just turned on a movie and cut away!

Finally I glued them on with some fabric glue and I was done!

The best part about this project was that I already had all the felt, fleece and glue, so I didn’t have to buy anything extra.

Now all we need are some presents!!  Yikes, I better get started on that :[  And I want to make a stocking for Yuki too!

If only this little elf would stop sneaking cookie cutters onto our tree!! 😛