Back in the 80's while I was still working full time before our oldest was born, my sister and her family lived right in the same town with us. I would spend many late afternoons and evenings at their little place, playing with the kids, swimming, enjoying their company while my husband was taking college classes at night. I had sewing and craft projects that I worked on at home and a few volunteer activities that I was involved in through the library or church. I stayed busy enough. Then my sister broke the news that she and her family would be moving half way across the country for her husband's job. I didn't realize how much I would miss them at the time, but after they were gone, I surely did miss them terribly. So I pulled out a project I had only just purchased, set it up on the card table in the living room and worked on it for hours at a time every day and on weekends sometimes all day long. I poured myself into this project to keep my mind off of my sad loss.
When it was finally finished, which took months, we so proudly placed it under the Christmas tree and admired it. Then we heard a sound, like something being chewed, coming from somewhere under the tree. My husband noticed one of our cats lurking back there and realized what was happening. He lunged at the cat, she took off running, and we examined the damage. She liked the beads and sequins, that bad old cat! We caught her before she could do too much damage, but we couldn't risk leaving the tree skirt out with her unattended all day long, so it got packaged up and put away. I am happy to report, for so many reasons, that the cats are no longer with us and the tree skirt has taken its rightful place under our family room Christmas tree for the past several years.
Here it is...
This was a kit by Bucilla as I recall which I had purchased at some long gone craft store on clearance after Christmas one year. I think I paid a whopping $8 for it! That was quite a chunk of change for me to spend on a craft kit back then! I'm so glad I splurged though. It came with all the felt, sequins, beads, embroidery floss, wool yarn, ric-rac and detailed instructions for placing each piece in the proper order. The design repeats three times around the skirt going from the doll on the left over to the rocking horse on the right.
Here you can see better that Santa is reaching up to place the star on top of the Christmas tree and his little elf is helping. If you look closely at the pom pom on Santa's hat, you can see a loose thread hanging there. That is the damage that darned old cat did that day! If we had not caught her so quickly and put the tree skirt away, I am certain that not one bead or sequin would have been left on the tree skirt. She was THAT bad! But she was my favorite cat and I loved her. Her name was Sandy.
Anyway, here's the little elf carrying the drum and the cute little rocking horse with the yarn tail and mane. You can see here that the arm of the elf is stuffed and sewn on just like Santa's arm with the star and the other elf helping him. Each face is embroidered and every sequin is sewn on with a bead to secure it. The elves also have yarn hair peeking out from under their hats.
Here's the little doll with yarn pig tails and red bows. The teddy bear's little embroidered face is so happy and his fat little stuffed arm sticks out of Santa's bag.
The ric-rac was sewn on by hand using white thread and then I backed the entire piece with a piece of red felt that I purchased separately and embroidered my name and the year onto. This was whip stitched to the top using red thread all around the outside edge and up the slit opening and around the little circle in the middle where the tree goes. I also added three little flaps with snaps on them to close the skirt and secure it around the tree.
In the first picture, you can see the candy canes around the little circle in the middle with little green holly leaves. These were felt pieces appliqued like the rest of the designs and the red stripes were embroidered using satin stitch.
I love putting this tree skirt underneath our tree every year. It gets buried once the wrapped gifts start appearing, but once the Christmas morning mayhem is over, it becomes visible again and adds a nice sparkle and cheerfulness until it gets put away on January 6th for another long year.
Just so you know...
This is Sandy, the bead and sequin chewer. She was my very favorite cat and she loved me more than anyone in the world. We got her as a kitten a year after we were married and she lived to the ripe old age of 17. She really was a wonderful cat.
And this is Sandy's partner in crime, Sunny. We got her as a kitten about a year after we got Sandy and they were best buddies all their lives. Sunny lived to the ripe old age of 18. They were both sealpoint Siamese cats and sounded like crying babies when they meowed. They both loved curling up on top of the computer monitor to keep warm. That was back in the day, eh?
I just wanted you to know I'm not as heartless as I seemed when I mentioned that the cats are no longer with us!
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Labels: applique, bead work, cats, Christmas, craft kits, embroidery, felt