Too Many Christmas Projects? Try This.

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My mom started a tradition when my sister, brother, and I were young. Every year for Christmas she would buy us each a Hallmark ornament that was personal to us in some way.

We carefully packed the ornaments away at the end of the season only to unbox them the following year when we received another ornament to add to our collection.

When we became adults and moved into our first homes, Mom boxed up our ornaments and sent them to us. For each of us, our first Christmas tree was covered in 20+ ornaments that represented our childhood and were reminders of past Christmases.

Mom has continued the tradition, adding spouses and grandchildren as they joined our family over the years. Our Christmas trees are covered in Hallmark ornaments that bring back wonderful memories.

In July, my sister-in-law started a group text with my sister, mom, and me. She sent the following picture with one line of text:

What kind of insanity is this?

the ornament aisle in a Hallmark store
(The ornament aisle in a Hallmark store.)

My mom replied:

“Christmas in July. Michelle went to the opening celebration at the local store and bought 10-12 ornaments already.

My sister Michelle’s response was:

The best kind of insanity!!!!!!

This group text made me realize Christmas in July isn’t insanity but brilliant. Especially if someone is a sewist and has a growing list of Christmas projects she wants to complete!

Note: This post was originally written in July 2019. To provide encouragement and inspiration in the present time, after each project mentioned below, I made a note of what actually happened. While planning definitely has its benefits, flexibility and honest reflection are important, too.

Christmas in July

Over the years I have collected Christmas ideas, patterns, and fabric. All with the intention of making the items but never actually doing it.

I’ve been on a mission to spend less time thinking about sewing and more time actually doing it. A solution to this problem was to create a Sewing Notebook.

The Christmas page in my Sewing Notebook in July 2019 had 11 ideas on it.

a list of Christmas sewing ideas

The number of projects seemed overwhelming, especially when finding time to sew was a struggle. However, by planning in July and committing to completing one project a month, it would be possible to complete 6 projects.

Fabric Chain

When I attended the Houston Quilt Show in 2014, I picked up a “recipe” from the Moda Bakeshop booth. It featured a Fabric Chain by Debbie Duckworth.

a fabric chain

This “recipe” had been hanging on my sewing bulletin board for almost 5 years. This was one project I wanted to get done.

What actually happened: I got as far as getting all the supplies together. I’ve kept the basket of supplies visible and this project keeps calling me. Christmas 2021 will be the year. (Maybe. 😊)

Patchwork Ribbon

I’m not sure when I got Zakka Style, a book of sewing projects compiled by Rashida Coleman-Hale. But the copyright is 2011 and I’ve had it for years.

One project I’ve always liked in this book is the Patchwork Ribbon by Melody Miller. You use scraps to make yards of ribbon and can add embellishments like special stitches or buttons. The ribbon can be used as decoration for wrapped presents.

I’ve always wanted to add a touch of something special to gift wrapping.

Usually, my husband and I are wrapping gifts on Christmas Eve night with only enough time to get paper on everything.

Not this Christmas.

Christmas gifts this year will be wrapped earlier and have handmade patchwork ribbon made with love by me.

What actually happened: Gifts were wrapped earlier than Dec. 24 and with love, but they didn’t have the homemade ribbon. I’m still intrigued by making fabric ribbon but this project has moved down my list of things to sew for now because other projects are holding my interest.

Card Catcher

We don’t get nearly as many Christmas cards as we used to but I still like the card catcher in Art to Heart’s book The Night Before Christmas featuring designs by Nancy Halvorsen. The copyright is 2000.

I’m not sure when I got the book, but the receipt with the fabric to do the project has a date of August 2004 on it.

I’d actually forgotten about this project until I moved my sewing room upstairs into my son’s old bedroom. The book and fabric were all in one bag waiting patiently to be done. I’d even gone as far as to label all the fabric. Hopefully, I’ll be able to decipher my handwriting!

Fabrics for the card catcher
Sixteen different fabrics are in the card catcher project!

What actually happened: Even though I was able to read my notes, I didn’t make the card catcher. I wasn’t feeling the colors of the flannel and had to force myself to work on it. Not fun. This is a project I’m either going to abandon or replace the fabric. Life isn’t long enough to work on a project for myself that I don’t love.

Yo-Yo Ornaments

Yo-yos are fun little circles of gathered fabric. I don’t know what it is, but I just love them!

A few years ago, I saw a yo-yo Christmas tree that was made into an ornament. I fell in love!

a yo-yo Christmas tree

I purchased the ornament and wanted to enjoy it all year long. For the longest time, it hung on the knob of a floor lamp that sat by my chair so I could see it all the time.

When I moved my sewing room upstairs, I relocated the yo-yo Christmas tree to a peg on the bottom of the thread holder.

Yo-yos are fun to make. However, my mother gave me an entire bin of yo-yos and I have a pretty good stash, too, that I’ve collected from garage and estate sales.

This should be an easy project to work on and I can do it while I watch TV.

What actually happened: I made several yo-yo Christmas trees (and watched some good shows.) I loved making these so much, I wrote a post!

Vintage Felt Banner

Looking at this gives me all kinds of warm fuzzies! A friend gave it to me but wasn’t sure how old it was. It belonged to her aunt and was never finished.

vintage Christmas banner
The dimensions are 21″ x 10″.

It appears as if markings were preprinted on it in order to put it together. Based on the marks that are visible, it doesn’t look like there is too much left to do.

printed marks on vintage Christmas banner

I will need to do a little research to see some options on how to finish it.

What actually happened: When reorganizing some things in my sewing space, I came across a little baggie of cut shapes that must have been given to me at the same time as the banner. There was a diagram folded up in the bag. No directions on how to finish it though. The banner didn’t get finished but it made me feel so good when I looked at it, I hung it up as is as part of our Christmas decorations. It may never get done, but someone spent a lot of time on it and it’s cheerful in its unfinished state. (Plus, it makes a good story.)

Your Projects

What Christmas sewing projects have you been thinking about?

Is there something you started but haven’t finished? Maybe there’s a project that a family member was going to do but never got around to it.

What about ideas you have collected on Pinterest? Is there something you should start now so it is done by December?

July isn’t too early to start working on those holiday projects. If you have a bunch of Christmas ideas, try planning one a month so you can complete one or more for this holiday season.

Note: Even though I only completed one of the projects, a lot was learned and progress of one kind or another was made on all of them.

Planning Christmas in July is a strategy I’ll be using again.

Let’s Connect

My goal at The Ruffled Purse is to support, empower, and inspire you to sew and make wonderful things for yourself, your home, and others.

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  1. Dear nikki, thank you for the inspiration, I have my sewing machine out all the time now and have tackled a few projects that have been in storage, Christmas in July/ August is a great idea.
    I limo forward to your newsletters as they give me that push.

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