Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Making gifts, and why I need to sew...

The last week has been a very productive time with gift making for Christmas, birthdays, weddings, babies, many wonderful occasions to make things for!
The best news is that I haven't bought any fabric at all - everything is coming from my stash. Yay!

I've used a few tutorials along the way, like this tissue cover pattern from Polka Dot Pineapple. It's incredibly easy!
Lisa's retractable tape measure cover was a wee bit fiddly, but the end result is lovely!
 I also intend making felt covered ones from a different tutorial. I'll show you when I'm done.
Do you have Anni Down's book, "In The Life of a Bag"? It has some fabulous small projects inside! So far I have made these notebook covers...
...and a different style of tissue cover.
I downloaded a cute free stitchery from Bird Brain Designs and so far have used it for applique, and for a redwork stitchery... I'm busy finishing a Janelle Wind design...
...and a gorgeous bird applique hanging by Natalie Ross, 'Flowers In Flight', that I found in an old copy of Country Threads (vol 7 no 8).
My husband is most supportive of me needing time to make all our gifts, as our family goal is to spend less but give more 'beauty' this Christmas/birthday season.
I'm working smart, though! There is a bit of a production line happening, with 4 or 6 of the same item being made all at once. This way I'll have extras left over in the New Year for unexpected gift giving. 
In my own design work I'm just grabbing an hour here or there, as I know once all the gifts are made I will have the time I need to work on my own projects. :-)
But here are some sneak peeks...
Some of you have mentioned that I seem to be sewing non-stop. Actually, I do set aside 4 hours each afternoon to work on projects - and if I have time at night I do some hand stitching while my husband does his paperwork from school. My mornings, though, are always spent on housework and running errands. 
Since Mr E was assaulted by two school students in September he has been suffering badly with whiplash and the discovery that he has scoliosis of the neck - this means he cannot ride his motorbike. He has twice weekly visits to the physiotherapist and has acupuncture to help with pain relief. 
The run on effect is that I spend a lot of time each day driving him and Slicer to work (at different times), picking up Slicer at lunch then dropping him back to work, then picking up Mr E after school, and back to Slicer for the end of his work day. In between I have Blossom working most days and I try to make time to have at least a cuppa with her every couple of days during her lunch break. Next week she begins her distance education and I will be supervising that each afternoon (while I sew).
My family are my life, and I consider it a very real gift from God that I am able to be home-based, thereby being available to taxi them around, feed them, lend an ear in the middle of a long day, help with teaching, and to generally 'care' for them all in the best way I know how. 
One of those ways is with the income I make from selling my designs.
I share this because I'd like you to understand that whilst designing is fun, it is also a small, much-needed income for our family, so I must make that time to stitch each day - it's like giving myself work hours.

My fingers have good days and bad - but most days I can stitch easily. The thing that hurts my two triggered fingers and causes them to swell is typing. This is why I'm not blogging as much, and why many of you have noticed I'm not replying as often to emails or comments anymore. 
I also cannot take very much weight on my hands and rely on the family to carry things for me.
But isn't God WONDERFUL!!??
Through all this upheaval with my fingers, I can STILL sew!! \o/
And sewing blesses my family. :-)
Have a wonderful evening. Mr E and I are about to have a lovely iced tea and chat a bit before bedtime. 
How are you going with making gifts?


A Bit of the Blarney said...

Really wonderful works of art! Cathy

Jan said...

You've been such a busy girl; lovely work as always, Jenny. Thank you for sharing what you've been up to, and why. I was so sorry to read of Mr Elefantz's troubles; that must have been such a scary experience. And thank you for the lovely Ebay fabrics (and the great prices).

Janice said...

The recipients of your gifts will be thrilled. They are lovely. I'm so pleased that your hands are allowing you to continue to stitch. That's no good about Mr E, at least you are all there for each other.

Melody said...

Thanks for sharing all your beautiful projects, I think home made gifts are so much nicer than bought ones. Well done.

BubzRugz said...

Beautiful work as always - best wishes to Mr E for a full recovery - what a nasty thing to happen, must have given you all a shock. Lovely to hear you tell a bit about yourself - makes the blogging quite personal - I feel like I've been over and shared a cuppa with you!

Abby and Stephanie said...

Very lucky recepients to have gifts made from your loving hands. Mr. E was attacked by school kids? Little Gremlins! Wishing him a full and speedy recovery.

kathyinozarks said...

I always enjoy reading your posts, this on especially. postitive vibes for speedier recovery for Mr. E
I love your gift making ideas that you are sharing, thank you.
I haven't started mine yet, the weather is still so gorgeous here, we have been working outside

Bluebell said...

Hi Jenny, you have some lovely gifts already made, you are a busy lady but it is worth it for your family I too always felt happiest when running my kids about and I did it until they were able to drive themselves and I still do it occasionally if they want to go to a party and don't want to drive. Hope your fingers are not too painful.
Love Jillx

Vanilla said...

Your work is so beautiful! So delicate... I love the fabrics you pick and your swirly embroidery.

Pam said...

I love catching up on all your news Jenny, both stitching and family. Sorry to hear about Mr E and hope he recovers soon. I always used to sit and have a cuppa with my daughter after school to chat about the day. She is now grown up and living in a different town. We catch up now and then but once they have flown the nest it is never the same.

SewLindaAnn said...

Lovely work Jenny. Thank you for taking your time to write such an extended post. I'm looking for that bag book in the states, Hatched and Patched had stockists listed to check. I too am making gifts, I try to increase the number I make every year. I've done a lovely purse for one SIL and plan on making tissue holders for my tennis team and much more. Can't wait to see those designs, I do love your work. Nice to hear about your family as well. I hope you all have a wonderful weekend.

Robin in New Jersey said...

I wondered where you were Jenny. :)

Oh Sew Addicted said...

As always, your projects are absolutely stunning. I have to get busy sewing mine! I have made a few but really need to get it in gear! Take care Jenny. Thank you for sharing. I hope Mr E feels better soon.
Carla Louise

edyB said...

These projects are wonderful ... you're such a busy woman! Just take care of those hands. Thanks for sharing.

Anna Rosa Designs said...

Hi Jenny,
You have sooo much talent dear lady!
Sorry to hear about Mr E and those dreaded kids {how painful he must be feeling to not be out riding his bike}
Hm, some don't realize a "passion" can also be an income!

Keep up the great work and I'd be thrilled to receive one of your hand made gifts for Christmas.
Happy creating,

Peg - Happy In Quilting said...

I enjoyed reading your post Jen, I was sorry to read about Mr. E. I do hope he is on the mend...I shake my head, what is our world coming to...your gifts are looking great, I think you will be very organized for Christmas, and after...always so much motivation here and I always love to come for a visit....thanks Jen.....Peg xx

Scottish Nanna said...

Hi Jenni I love all your goodies that you have made some very happy people over your way at Xmas Take care of those hands.
Hugs Mary.

Anonymous said...

Your family are so blessed to have you. As you well know, your kids will soon be off on their own but they will never forget the time and effort you put into raising and loving them.

Now, I need to get cracking on some gifts. ;o)

Susan said...

I hope this is only a temporary problem for Mr E - and that he will be on his bike again soon! I think most of the mums out there in blog land have spent a good proportion of their time doing taxi service and you have our sympathy - but at least they are fixed times so you can workaround it all.
All your gifts an projects are so pretty - I am sure the recipients will be delighted.
You do such a lovely job looking after your family and friends.
Take Care

Allie said...

Jenny your gifts are all gorgeous. And of course your sneak peeks are too delightful! I too thank God that you're able to sew. Maybe you could put a small blurb on your comment about how you love to recieve them, but due to your hands you're not always able to respond...or something like that. You'd better never hurt yourself to reply to me, girl, that would make me very sad!
Keeping you and the family in prayer, sweet girl.

Jo in TAS said...

What's happening to our world, such a bad experience for Mr E to go thru. I hope he overcomes the problems it has created for him and can get back on his bike soon.
Great sewing Jenny, you're a prolific stitcher and your work will be loved my all the lucky recipients!!

David Garcia, Hong Kong said...

Hi Jenny!

Your notebook covers are so wonderful. I hope Mr. E recovers soon. Thanks for sharing your creations.

Carrie P. said...

You have been very productive and each person that receives a gift from you is going to love it.
I am so sorry to hear that about your husband. Yes, God is good and He makes a way for us all. I understand completely about you not being able to respond back. Not a problem. I will be praying for you and your family.

Mariasun said...

Labores preciosas!!!!

Phyllis said...

Your work is always gorgeous and the love for your family comes through loud and clear, even if you don't specifically mention them.

I missed the post about the houligans hurting your husband. How horrible! And all he and you try to do is GOOD in this world!!

RobynLouise said...

Hope Mr E is recovered enough soon to ride his motorbike. Small pleasures make life worthwhile. It is good that your 'work' is something you love doing.I have been production lining with my gifts of late also as it uses less time and you can still have individual touches on each item. I'm still waiting for a decent day to take photos to put on my blog though :(.

Michelle May-The Raspberry Rabbits said...

Beautiful work Jenny. I'm so sorry to hear about Mr. E. and the students. Dreadful! Indeed you should be making an income from your designs. Your work is incredible and I'm so glad your hands and fingers are allowing you to continue. Wishing you a cup overflowing with blessings sweet lady and better days ahead. :)
xx, shell

A Spoonful Of Sugar said...

Your projects are gorgoeus Jenny - what lucky family and friends you have - they will adore all your special gifts. Handmade giving puts the true meaning back in Christmas.
Sorry to hear about Mr E - hope he makes a speedy recovery and is back on his bike before long.