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An Obsession with Christmas! with Pillow Tutorial

Lately I’ve been obsessed about getting my machine embroidery files on the market. You know how it is, when you’ve worked hard on something and spent money on it, you want it to succeed?

I’ve always loved my Around the World Santas. I drew them about 10 years ago. Even now I look at them and say to myself. “I drew that?” I’m proud of them and happy with the way each one is creative and unique. But sad to say they all sat in their books and I never had time to do more with them. Sob! Find out what changed below.

CREATION – I started off trying to make each one reflect the way the people of that country thought of their very own Saint Nicholas. Germany and France and Scandinavia were very much that way. I made a framework around each that was unique and reflected some of the image itself or the beliefs surrounding that character.

FRUITION – I needed samples to put on my website and for who will be selling them to the broader Machine Embroidery market.

Germany –Weihnachtsmann (“Christmas Man”) Germany has many names for Santa Claus.  Most reflect variations of St. Nicholas such as Klaasbuur (Nicholas our neighbor) but I’ve chosen the father-like figure of Weihnachtsmann who trudges through the night with his burden of toys.

France – Pere Noel is a woodsy character.  Children leave their shoes by the fire filled with treats such as carrots for his donkey Gui (mistletoe). If the children have been good they find presents in their shoes.

Scandinavia – Julemanden  is helped by the Tomte or Nisse – magical farm folk.  In Scandinavia everyone agrees Santa Claus is one of their own.  Many say he lives in Greenland and flys over all their lands, while each country has claimed a local home for him.  Regardless, he does ride in a sleigh pulled by reindeer.  At Christmas time the dining room ceilings are festooned with stars forming a “Heaven.”

Next came some of the standards; the American Santa Claus and the British Father Christmas created by Charles Dickens and Albania’s Grandfather Winter.

United States – Santa Claus is the jolly old elf we all know and love. How he magically comes down the chimney may be attributed to St. Nicholas who dropped gold down a chimney, magically landing in a stocking hung to dry.                  

United Kingdom – Father Christmas    This jolly man was originally part of an old mid winter festival and was dressed green robes.  He might look similar to the “Ghost of Christmas present” from Dickens.  He goes about the town ringing his bell for the children to come out. Here the children enjoy decorating their homes with greenery reminiscent of “The Holly and the Ivy.”

Albania – Babadim ri  (Grandfather Winter) In Albania, because it is a nation of both Moslim and Christian peoples the fun aspect of Christmas has been embraced and become a common ground for families and neighbors to share in the happiness and fun. 

Then as I gained more confidence (or maybe came up with some stumbling blocks regarding the beliefs about Saint Nicholas in any given country) I started devising imaginative images depicting what “I thought” they might look like. Latvia and Finland and Ukraine were like that.

LatviaZiemassvētku Vecītis (“Christmas pop”) bundles up against the harsh winter chill. Latvia claims to be the home of the first Christmas tree. 

Finland – Joulupukki rides in a sleigh pulled by reindeer. Finland claims its town of Korvantunturi to be the home of Santa Claus. It also claims to be the home of the candy cane. 

Ukraine – Did Moroz , In rich tradition the grandfather magically leaves candy and gifts under pillows or the shoes of the children.

Finally – here’s where my Poetic license started to emerge. Russia (spreading frost!) and Switzerland (where I did not clothe him in a long robe but made a cheerful mountain-man) and Italy where he took on the look of the Renaissance.

Russia –Ded Moroz (Grandfather Frost) comes from the pagan tradition. He wears a long embroidered coat trimmed with fur. You may know him by the name “Jack Frost.”

Switzerland – Samichlaus  knocks on each door consulting his big book of sins.  Children gain forgiveness by reciting a poem and promising to be good.  Then they can reach into his bag of treats.

Italy – Babbo Natale fills Christmas stockings with treats and traditional toys like the shepherds flute. Even more popular is La Befana (see Book 2.)


What did I do with all of these sample I was making? I photographed them and gave them as Christmas presents. They were so FAST and EASY!

Eventually I hope to get all of them converted to embroidery files. But that will be when I learn to do them myself.

In the meantime they are still available in book form for longarm quilting, hand embroidery or as digital files for computerized machines.

As you can see, mixed in with the very traditional figures like “La Befana” and “Saint Nicholas” and “Sinterklaas,” I might have started taking even more leeway as far as Santas Around the World, but I’m satisfied they represent their origins and the people who watch and wait for them each Christmas eve! Isn’t it fun to create!

I look forward to make more pillows and wall-hangings from them too! Someday, maybe a whole quilt! These Redwork files would make great “Quilting!”

Here’s the beginning!

KoreaSanta Kullosu (Santa Grandfather) If you were a Korean child you would pronounce his Kurrosu. 

Here he’s loaded his CheeGai with miniature Turtle boats and fish kites as he wanders over the mountains.

How do I know about this I lived in Korea!

What changed? I had been begging friends to try out the embroidery files I commissioned, but that took time. So how did I finally get moving?? My unbelievably good friend gave my an Embroidery machine! I still can’t believe it!


Oh, BY THE WAY 100+ international patterns are also on sale this month!

Tag-on pillow tutorial!

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