Merry Christmas & Happy New Year

I've been "enjoying" a bit of a blog holiday this month -- I haven't posted anything in a while because I spent the better part of December in my sewing room working on Christmas gifts. I'm not quite ready to share them all on the blog just yet, but I didn't want the month and year to end without at least a peek at what I was working on. I'll share more items and details in the next few weeks, after I've had a chance to process all my photos.

Penguin Gift Card HoldersEarly in the month I fell in love with these machine embroidered penguin keychain gift card holders from Embroidery Garden. A split ring inserted in the ribbon loop at the top allows these to be used as key chain fobs. A pocket on the back is sized just right to hold a gift card. They're done completely in-the-hoop and are just too cute! I made a whole flock for the young people on my Christmas list. The extras ended up as ornaments for my Christmas tree.

Most of these penguins were made of black cotton fabrics, but on some of them I substituted some black satin from my stash.  For all of the penguins, I used white satin for the face and bellies which gives them a little shine. The scarves are all a bit different -- I used flannel, fleece, faux suede, velveteen, minkee and faux fur in various colors. It was so much fun experimenting with all the various colors and textures. There's even a Mets' themed penguin with a blue and orange scarf.
Penguin Gift Card Holders

Penguin Zipper CasesThey turned out so well, I decided to buy the embroidery designs for the coordinating penguin zipper case, as well as the snow couple and Santa cases.

These are embroidered completely in the hoop, even the zippers. Detailed instructions are included with the purchased design files, explaining how to sew each step. I substituted polymesh stabilizer for water-soluble stabilizer (because I was low on the WSS) and it worked very well.
Snow Couple Zipper Cases
Santa Zipper Cases

Even though the project instructions are very good, I recommend stitching a sample the first time through. I made some mistakes on the first samples of each of the penguins and realized my regular embroidery foot didn't handle the designs as nicely as I would have wanted. I chose to use the Sensor Q-foot for embroidering the card holders and zipper cases because of the quilting on the bodies. Also, it was necessary to loosen my thread tension quite a bit so that the bobbin thread did not show on the top. These two adjustments made a big difference in the quality of the finished project.

Also from Embroidery Garden, these are candy bar/candy cane holders, stitched on wool felt. I loaded the design  multiple times so that I could stitch them out 3 at a time. After the embroidery is complete, each one is cut around the final stitching line and a ribbon is inserted through an eyelet hole at the top. The backs then get cut open for holding a small bar of candy.
Candy Bar/Candy Cane Holders Candy Bar/Candy Cane Holders

More in-the-hoop gift card holders-these envelope style designs were all purchased from Embroidery Library. These three were stitched on wool felt and backed with cotton fabric for the backs. Ribbon hangers were attached and tiny bits of velcro were glued in place to help keep them closed.
Collection of Gift Card Holders

For a little bit of elegance, these holders were stitched on cream and blue moire fabric remnants from my stash (these photos show them without the ribbon hangers or velcro closures). You can see there was a recurring reindeer theme (slightly intentional).  The first few were sewn with just the recommended tearaway stabilizer in the hoop and a couple ended up in the reject pile because the embroidery just didn't look right. For later versions, I added either a fusible polymesh or knit interfacing to back of the moire fabrics, with much better results.
Gift Card Holders Gift Card Holders

Once the gift card holders were complete, I was ready to get started on the REAL Christmas gifts.  I'll share those next time.

See more photos in my Christmas 2010 Flickr set.


  1. Those are all such adorable gift ideas and the reindeer are beautiful. Great work as usual, you are such an inspiration! Happy New Year to you and yours.

  2. Friday, December 31, 2010
    I just saw the santa and snowmen candy bar holders. I looked on Embroidery Garden website and could not find them. I would love to make them for my granddaughters kindergarten class. Do you know if they are still available.

    1. Hi TJ! The Santa and Snowman candy bar holders were originally offered as freebies, but are now available as part of a set from Embroidery Garden called Snack Size Candy Bar Holders:
      Happy stitching!

    2. Thank you so much. I had bought this design already but did not realize they where the same thing.
      Thanks again and Happy Holidays.


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