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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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Sweet Pine Christmas

Sweet Pine Quilt – A Mock-torial!

I think I’ve always loved pinecones.  In California we would drive up into the San Gabriel Mountains and breathe in the sweet smell of pine and the pinecones they sported.  Even here in Kansas there were pine trees in the park across from our historic 3-story house on Ft Leavenworth where we gathered pinecones for decorating. Isn’t it fun to see their different shapes and sizes. I haven’t had much time this fall for finishing quilts, but I’m loaded with ideas.  One is this great little Sweet Pine Quilt. 

It measures 74 x 78 using 2” squares (2 1/2 cut).  This is the measure by which I’ll give all my directions.   But you could resize it in any way you wanted from 37 x 39 with 1” sq. and 55.5 x 58.5 with 1 1/2” squares.

I first sketched out this quilt when I was drawing the Ponderosa Pine Spray and Pinecone patterns—yes that was long ago!  But now I have “Rustic Santas” just itchin’ to ride around my “Sweet Pine’s” borders.  For this quilt I’m showing the “Rustic Yosemite Santa” (9” wide) with his sleigh pulled by California Grizzlies.

“Yosemite Santa” this is the Santa I grew up with in California! The 9″ size fit better on my quilt.
“Northwoods Santa” is part of the same Rustic Santas pattern. 2 for 1 – great, huh? This one would need a wider border for its 11″ width. But everyone is enamored with big, hunkin’ Moose, right?

Chuckle!  I’ve been including recipes, but just can’t think of a pinecone one.  I found some on Pinterest and will include the links here. Gingersnap Pinecone cookies and Chai Spiced Pinecones.

Is Wild Moose good to EAT? I don’t know about that, but my Wild Moose Antler Dip is something you’ll want to try. Be sure to serve it with pretzel twists so they’ll look like antlers! I just can’t stay away from this. I keep sneaking into the kitchen to get another nibble!

BACK TO THE QUILT! Are you curious about the circle inset?  I really imagined an Ombré fabric with a bright area in the middle fading to dark as it progressed outward.  The circle was how I “suggested” it, but in the end I liked the circle.  I’d also like to try it with a plaid border.  In fact, I bought a lot of plaids this year for a new “Rustic” quilt and also 2 new plaid shirts!

Northwoods Santa sporting his plaids. You know, of course, it’s best etiquette to wear a plaid flannel shirt out in the woods.

The Inner border could be pieced with different browns in a special design if you’re into beauty and have plenty of time.  An easier option is actually a Seminole Patchwork braid in 2 colors or in 1 color. OR even easier, it could be a solid border stitched with my “Toga Trim” or “Greek Braid” designs that come with the “Mosaic” Panto #2493. So you’ve got some wiggle-room depending on your time and expertise. I’m include the “Greek Braid” in the PDF so you’ll have it. (As I was developing the design I lost the “mock-up” so was unable to make changes on the corners of the brown border. )

As I plotted out the design I added lines to show the piecing.  Each small square is 2” so you can figure out the sizes of all the sections.  For example, the finished strips in the pinecones are all 2” wide (remember cut 2 1/2”).  Therefore the small pinecones finish at 8” square.   If you actually cut the center into a circle you don’t need to “piece” the large brown square at all.  Just inset the circle, or applique it into the square.  (Even though the circle is quite big you can still use the insetting method described in the T-shirt quilt tutorial.)

But what about the Mock-torial! And what is that anyway?

Since I didn’t actually make the quilt it is just a “Mock-up.” So I’m calling it a “Mock-torial.” Download it here: Sweet Pine Quilt.


But more is going on at my house. Here are some pictures of what I’ve been working on.  This Pictogram pattern is called “Las Posadas.”  The name refers to a Nativity play, of sorts, that is acted out in the towns of Mexico and Guatemala. 

Light the World is our church’s theme for this Christmas Season. As part of the “kick off” we had a huge Nativity Festival. A Mexican Nativity Set seems appropriate for Las Posadas. Are you celebrating? Send me some pictures!

Don’t forget the new Christmas patterns! On SALE this month!

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IT’S NOT CHRISTMAS YET – IS IT??!! Don’t miss the SALE!

I haven’t had time to start any new Christmas projects but I did manage to get one beautiful UFO done last month.  I started it too long ago to make a “tutorial” but I can give you the count and directions.  (see below) I absolutely love the “Snowbirds” Pantograph and “Snowbird Borders” designs!  Don’t you?

Before I forget, here’s a special announcement. ALL our Christmas themed pantos are on sale for the coming 2 weeks. See them all on the HOME PAGE!

Including the NEW MISTLETOE PANTO. There’s a FREE Poinsettia quilt pdf too! Tout Suite! So don’t miss them!

Don’t miss this sale.! You’ll find all your favorite Christmas designs, including our new “Mistletoe” pantograph. Everything is pictured on the “Home Page.”

Every year I’m too busy to start Christmas projects ahead of time. And every year I’m scrambling to get presents ready for my family and friends. I have a LOOOng list of projects to work on. Just take a look at my UFOs. I know a lot of you plan well ahead, like even making Christmas Projects in the summer. But are there any of you who are either too busy or procrastinate like me?

You know these UFOs are old because Pizza Hut doesn’t even use that kind of box any more!! I used to go down to the corner and buy them for 25 cents each! On this subject I thought I’d check my UFO list: I have 1 Tif (top finished) , 8 SNWTY (Snooty-SQUARES NOT SEWN TOGETHER YET) , 19 WIPs (work in progress), 1 WOMBAT (waste of money, batting+ time), 5 HSYs (haven’t started yet), & 15 Brazen HSYs (bought the fabric). Honestly all the fabric I buy “IS” intended for a particular quilt. I’ve just forgotten which.

So you see why I’m so happy to finally have the Snowbirds quilt done!

Now back to the Snowbirds quilt. I like to give you tutorials, but I started this too long ago to have pictures. I do have a few left over pieces so you can see what I’ll be talking about.

Here are the requirements if you want to make one like it. Be sure to get the Snowbirds pantograph on the Christmas Sale!

Do you collect Antique Sewing Machines? Do you have a back-up sewing machine? What if your tension spring breaks? or you lose your bobbin case? Or there’s no ELECTRICITY!

Someone was asking whether I had a “back up” sewing machine. Very definitely! My first machine was a Kenmore that I received for a High School Graduation present! It was one of the best I’ve ever had!  I’ve had a couple more over the years and don’t even remember their names.  Of course, when I went to Thailand on a mission I couldn’t live without a machine so I bought one from a friend.  It was a Juki converted from treadle with a little electric motor. See it in the far left corner.

I’ve always thought it would be a good idea to have a treadle machine—just in case the electricity goes out!  So I currently have 2!  My brother has my Grandmother’s old one (boohoo)  but when we were first married I bought a REALLY old one from a little friend in Lawton OK.  It’s not much to look at, but it has the long “spindle” type bobbins!  It’s that old!

Next, my friend in Kansas gave me her mother’s machine.  It’s much more beautiful.  I use it as a base for my “holiday Tree” in the family room.

I do have my mother’s machine—a Wilcox and Gibbs factory power machine. (When she had little kids at home the factory she had sewn for in LA sent the machine home with her!)  That’s the machine I learned to sew on!  FAST & POWERFUL!!! That “attachment” on the left is a Tucking Arm.

Another friend gave me an old power (?) Machine (sitting on a shelf in my storage room.)  It’s really beautiful, isn’t it?

And, Oh yes—there’s the “once top of the line” Elna that I bought at the thrift shop for $7.00. (Did you notice that gray case at the bottom of the shelf in the last picture?)

Now I have my Pfaff that I use almost exclusively.  I think that makes 6 sewing machines that I still own!? Isn’t collecting fun!

Do you have a “back-up” machine? I’d love to hear about it!

If you haven’t already – Don’t forget to sign up for my newsletter! HERE

By for now! Hurry and get busy on your Christmas projects. Next time -some quick Halloween ideas.

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Santa Blowout Sale 25% OFF – 3 Weeks Only

Let’s get a head start on our Christmas projects.  At 25% OFF, it’s a great time to stock up on Christmas patterns.

Choose from:

Jingle Bell Dance 11″   E2E reg. $14.00 now $10.50

Jingle Bell Dance 8″  E2E reg. $14.00 now $10.50

Sugarplums 10″ E2E $14.00 now $10.50 
Sugarplums PDF now$6.75
Trendy Trees 11″ Interlocking $16.00 now $12.00
Jingle Bell Swag  5.5”  Border  now $9.00
Santa’s Flight 11″  Pictogram  reg $18.00  now $13.50
Toyland Blocks    now $9.00
Holly Horse  8″   Border now $10.50
Holly Express 9″    Border/E2E  now $10.50
Holly Express 4.5″   Border reg $12.00  now $9.00
Holly Berries 11″  (2 rows of 6) reg $16.00 now $12.00
Snowscape 11″ E2E  now $10.50
Snowscape PDF E2E  now $7.50
Silly Snowmen 11″ Pictogram reg $18.00  now $13.50
Snowbirds 11″   E2E  now $10.50
Snowbird borders 6″   now $10.50 
Holly Medallion Quilt   now $9.00
Poinsettia  2 rows of 6″   Interlocking reg $16.00  now $12.00
Poinsettia Fantasia PDF Interlocking  now $7.50
Holly and Ivy E2E  9″    now $10.50
The Holly & The Ivy PDF E2E  now $7.50
Nutcracker Woods reg. $14.00 now $10.50
Joyful Birth  11″  Pictogram  reg $18.00  now $13.50
Joyful Birth 15″ Pictogram reg $25.00  now $18.75
Camel Train 8”   Border now $10.50
Palm Trees  10″  Border  now $10.50
Joyful Birth Blocks  reg $12.00  now $9.00
Joyful Birth PDF Blocks now FREE Our Christmas Present to you
Santa’s Flight 11″ Pictogram  now $13.50
Rustic Santa Borders: Yosemite Santa w/Bears 8″ & Northwoods Santa w/Moose 11″  now $13.50
Potpourri 10″ E2E  now $10.50
Potpourri PDF E2E  now $7.50
santa books quarter pg ad
12 Days of Christmas 11″ Pictogram now $15.00 see info for new panels 4+5
Santa Around The World Blocks: Bk 2 The Distant Lands 12″  reg $25.00 now $18.75