Santa Doll on His Way

Not a sleight but should still get this Santa to his destination! (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

Not a sleight but should still get this Santa to his destination! (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

Santa Doll On his Way

One of my favorite handmade Santa dolls is on his way to Minnesota. Every handmade Santa doll is unique and the face of this one made me smile every time I saw it so I featured it on our home decor page banner.

Most of these Santa dolls are made out of cutter quilts for their suits, giving yet another way to repurpose these pre-loved handmade quilts. Cutter quilts are quilts that now only have pieces that are salvageable so are often cut up into pillows, stuffed animals and, in this case, Santa doll suits.

This Santa doll was a little different. He is wearing a burgundy red suit with a few patches, which is how I imagine the real Santa suit would be after all of those chimney visits!

To get this Santa doll ready for his box ride, I added a label inside his suit.

The last step, adding a label. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

The last step, adding a label. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

All of our unique Santa dolls are shipped with a brand new, collapsible doll stand so they can be placed standing near a Christmas tree. The dolls also easily sit for posing on fireplace mantels, gift packages, doll chairs - and they are most definitely huggable.

Every Santa doll is shipped with a collapsible display stand for easy storage. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

Every Santa doll is shipped with a collapsible display stand for easy storage. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

Just in case something happens to the shipping box, each Santa doll is tucked into a plastic bag only for the trip to their final destination. We recommend you store the Santa dolls as you would lap quilts and regular-sized quilts, in cotton pillow cases or cotton fabric. Plastic doesn’t allow the cotton to breath and can accelerate cotton fiber deterioration.

The Santa doll is in a temporary bag only for shipping. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

The Santa doll is in a temporary bag only for shipping. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

Oops, almost forgot to add the good wishes!

This Santa doll is also delivering good wishes. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

This Santa doll is also delivering good wishes. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

A little bubble wrap to keep Santa doll from moving around in the box and off he goes. Not exactly a sleigh with reindeer but it should get him to his final destination nevertheless so that he can continue to make wishes come true!

Charlotte

Paper Clip Ornament Hangers

The Nutcracker is one of our Christmas traditions as in hanging ornaments with paper clips. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

The Nutcracker is one of our Christmas traditions as in hanging ornaments with paper clips. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

Paper Clip Ornament Hangers

Are you getting excited about decorating for the season? We all have holiday traditions and this hack now is one of mine. This is such a handy little trick for hanging ornaments, it surprised me over the years how many people had not thought of doing this.

I was among that group when one holiday past I was in an office after hours decorating for Christmas. I was the visitor so I took up the mundane tasks - removing ornaments from the box, separating the broken ones for repair and/or disposal and lining up the rest for tree hanging.

These are traditional ornament hooks for holiday decorating. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

These are traditional ornament hooks for holiday decorating. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

In the middle of this little enterprise we ran out of ornament hangers, those little slight pieces of pre-formed wires that hold an ornament on one end and the tree on the other. One of my associates volunteered to head off to get some when the senior administrative assistant said no need and headed off to the supply closet.

A few minutes later she handed me a box of office paper clips and started to unbend one end. She attached the short end to an ornament, opened up the larger end and said “back to the eggnog.”

Unbent paper clips can easily be used to hang ornaments. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

Unbent paper clips can easily be used to hang ornaments. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

Over the years, I have worked in many offices over the holidays to give full-time workers time off with their families. That has given me the opportunity to share this little hack many times. It also works to attach decorations to wreaths and, if the Christmas stockings are not too heavy, once hung stockings from the top of an office cubicle.

Unbent paper clip used as an ornament hanger. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

Unbent paper clip used as an ornament hanger. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

And yes, she really did say “back to the eggnog.”

Do you have a favorite Christmas decorating hack to share?

Charlotte

Santa Dolls Getting Shipped

One of two Santa dolls from cutter quilts climbing into the shipping box. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

One of two Santa dolls from cutter quilts climbing into the shipping box. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

Santa Dolls Getting Shipped

Two more of our handmade Santa Claus dolls made out of old patchwork quilts are getting ready to travel East. These unique, one of a kind dolls add charm to any holiday home decor and are squeezable, too.

To get the Santa dolls ready to be shipped, their brand new metal doll stands go into the bottom of the box. The doll stands give posing options, including having Santa stand on a mantle or on a side table. These Santa dolls can also be posed sitting.

Each doll is shipped with a doll stand so they can be posed among presents. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

Each doll is shipped with a doll stand so they can be posed among presents. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

Before going into the box, I add labels to the back of the old quilt doll garment. As I sew on the labels, I imagine Santa in his new home, bringing the holiday spirit.

The last step before shipping, adding our label. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

The last step before shipping, adding our label. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

Each Santa Doll gets packed in a clear plastic bag to ensure it gets to its new home safely.

Ho Ho Ho, happy holidays! (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

Ho Ho Ho, happy holidays! (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

In past years I have given these Santa dolls as gifts and since have seen them return year after year as part of the holiday home decor.

Yes, Virginia, these dolls do bring the holiday spirit!

Charlotte

First Quilt Santa Doll Ready to Travel

The first handmade quilt Santa doll getting ready to travel to his new home.

The first handmade quilt Santa doll getting ready to travel to his new home.

First Quilt Santa Doll Ready to Travel

It may seem a little early to be talking about Christmas but our first quilt Santa doll is getting ready to travel.

These charming handmade Santa Claus dolls are made out of repurposed vintage handmade quilts with muslin details. The soft bodies are squeezable and easily posable since the arms and legs are made out of fabric and easily move.

I confess I enjoy posing the doll it its box as I sew on the label. I like to imagine where Santa doll will spend his holidays amidst other holiday decor, maybe sitting on presents under a Christmas tree or lounging on a fireplace mantel.

To maximize posing options, each Santa doll is shipped with a collapsible doll stand so that once the holidays are over, the stand is easy to store.

No two Santa dolls are the same, each is unique and gives old handmade quilts a new life, such as this Colorful Santa doll.

Our handmade Santa dolls repurpose old handmade quilts as Santa's holiday clothing.

Our handmade Santa dolls repurpose old handmade quilts as Santa's holiday clothing.

In honor of one of our first customers, some of our Santa dolls have a blue theme for the snowy winter wonderland home decor theme some people keep up through the end of January.

One of the prettier themes is the blue holiday theme with silver accents, perfect to set off this  Blue Flower Garden Santa Claus doll. The pieces of this traditional patchwork flower garden quilt are about an inch wide.

Each handmade Santa doll is shipped with a collapsible stand for easy posing.

Each handmade Santa doll is shipped with a collapsible stand for easy posing.

The final step in Santa's departure from our house at least is to temporarily protect the handmade quilt Santa doll during shipping. This pose looks odd but then Santa does go up and down chimneys so he must be quite flexible, don't you think?

Santa doll folded and heading to his new home with a collapsible doll stand.

Santa doll folded and heading to his new home with a collapsible doll stand.

Even though leaves have just starting turning colors in mid-Missouri to mark the beginning of fall, I know the holiday season can't be far behind.

Charlotte

"..not even a mouse."

My fireplace mantle village has a portion full of little mice gift figurines, only one a purchase.

My fireplace mantle village has a portion full of little mice gift figurines, only one a purchase.

"...not even a mouse."

"Twas the Night Before Christmas" is the inspiration for this little scene on my fireplace mantle, although I didn't set out to create it. See the little mouse stocking on top of the Christmas tree?

The mouse stocking has been part of my family stocking line-up for decades, a whimsical tribute to the mice I have escorted out of the house because my cats over the years couldn't be bothered. Not that I wanted the mice to be injured; I would much rather have had them stay outside than running across my kitchen floor the day after the first hard frost and my having to catch them.

In honor of some of those mouse-catching adventures, friends have given me mouse gifts over the years. I grouped them together one year and they have been sitting together ever since, appropriate to be hanging out on the side of the fireplace mantle away from the cat stocking hangar. 

Such a simple little scene but it makes me smile every time I see it, especially the little girl mouse tucked in bed. I was trying to put my finger on why this charms me and I know why, and so do you. It represents the magic of Christmas.

"'Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the house, not a creature was stirring...."

Charlotte

 

 

Green Fabric Christmas Trees

Fabric Christmas trees now on my dining room table, adopted from a local thrift store.

Fabric Christmas trees now on my dining room table, adopted from a local thrift store.

Fabric Christmas Trees

So I just posted about seeing these fabric Christmas trees at a local thrift shop and how I passed them by.

Not so much.

The next day, I headed back to the thrift shop and picked them up, not even asking the price. I had the perfect spot for them and wondered why on earth I passed them up in the first place.

It's not that forests and trees are a decorating theme at my house, although they do hold a special place in my heart. As a custom gift business based on quilts, anything fabric-based gets my attention. If it's repurposed, even better.

Just as the custom projects are all about pulling colors together, my little dining room table was waiting for a little tender loving care. The table runner gift is a forest green and has been solitary for a few years, keeping a glass bowl company. The silver trees were also a gift a couple of years ago, which I decorated this year with the two little red wreaths. 

So happy when it all comes together. Merry Christmas!

Charlotte

Putting Up a Christmas Tree

One of my cats checking out her first Christmas tree at Bluebird Gardens.

One of my cats checking out her first Christmas tree at Bluebird Gardens.

Putting Up a Christmas Tree

If you have pets, you know a Christmas tree is just a big toy to some. Since I grew up with a variety of pets, we had some special things we did to make the holiday safe for everyone.

Christmas trees, for example, were tied up to room posts so that when - it was not an if - cats decided to climb it, the tree would at least be anchored. 

I thought about this as I put up my little artificial tree this year. I used to have several small decorated artificial trees I would scatter around the house but they were stolen earlier this summer so I thought it was time I get a bigger tree.

A quick visit to a local thrift shop and I had a nice 4-foot artificial tree to set up in my living room window. I centered the tree in the window so I could see if from the outside and started to add the garnish.

Didn't take long to realize my placement was less than optimal. I had placed the Christmas tree in the prime bird-watching spot, something my cat Shirley Honey let me know was not acceptable. She tried to settle into her favorite bird-watching spot on a nearby chair. When that didn't make it clear my decor was not working, she moved beside the tree turning back to look at me as if to say this is just not going to work, see why?

After a few minutes, I agreed with her and moved the tree off to the side, next to the fireplace. Now the tree can still be seen from the outside and she can still watch her birds from the comfort of the inside easy chair.

There's absolutely a compromise for any issue, including putting up a Christmas tree with a cat!

Charlotte

Fabric Christmas Tree

I found this fabric Christmas tree a couple of years ago at a summer yard sale.

I found this fabric Christmas tree a couple of years ago at a summer yard sale.

Fabric Christmas Tree

I have to confess, I found this fabric Christmas tree one summer a couple of years ago and I picked it up for the ornaments.

Yes, my original thought was I could take the ornaments off this fabric tree and place them on one of my tiny artificial trees I used to have. I loved those little trees. Once decorated, I could store them in a tote and pull them out to quickly add a holiday flavor to any room.

They were stolen this summer so I had to re-think my traditional holiday decorations. This fabric tree was in the project section of my business office, waiting to be taken apart and recycled.

On closer inspection, I was reminded of why I picked up the fabric tree in the first place.

Isn't this little dog in a cube ornament adorable? it's one of the reasons why I bought the tree.

Isn't this little dog in a cube ornament adorable? it's one of the reasons why I bought the tree.

The little dog in a cube ornament was the first thing that caught my attention. The dog reminded me of some of the dogs that have kept me company over the years, especially the long ears.

Several drums were also attached as ornaments to the fabric Christmas tree.

Several drums were also attached as ornaments to the fabric Christmas tree.

Anyone grow up with the song "Little Drummer Boy?" I remember siblings practicing that song for their Christmas shows. I was never invited to sing. Although I love to, I am basically tone deaf but I smile when I see drums. I would be perfectly happy not hearing the song every again.

Also loved this little snowman ornament as if jumping across the fabric Christmas tree.

Also loved this little snowman ornament as if jumping across the fabric Christmas tree.

This little snowman also was a favorite, how many times does one see a snowman trying to jump? It's how I feel when I see the first snow of the season.

Little Santa Claus with bag of gifts ornaments on fabric Christmas tree.

Little Santa Claus with bag of gifts ornaments on fabric Christmas tree.

Have you tried to find tiny Christmas ornaments? Some years I find some, other times it seems years apart, part of the reason why I was going to take these ornaments off this fabric Christmas tree.

I didn't notice it at first, the little fabric tree has a green star on top among the ribbons.

I didn't notice it at first, the little fabric tree has a green star on top among the ribbons.

I am guessing these were popular in the 1980s just from the fabric selection and all of the red ribbons. 

I saw another one at a local thrift store last week, only this one was not embellished. There was something quite elegant about the simple lines, even without any ornaments. 

Plain fabric Christmas tree available at a local thrift store.

Plain fabric Christmas tree available at a local thrift store.

On second thought, I am going to keep the first little fabric Christmas tree intact with all of the ornaments and make it my new tradition to add it to my holiday decor. Seems appropriate for a quilting-based gift business, don't you think?

Charlotte

 

'Tis the Season Framed Button Tree

This is so simple, it would be very easy to make as long as one could find one's button stash.

This is so simple, it would be very easy to make as long as one could find one's button stash.

'Tis the Season Framed Button Tree

Once again, I picked up this little "Tis the Season" Framed Button Tree thinking it would inspire me to make something similar. I ended up framing it and setting it out on one of my side tables. With all of the richness one associates with holiday decorating, this very simple little button tree is a nice contrast.

When I was growing up, we would call these sparse Christmas trees "Charlie Brown trees" after the little Christmas tree with one ornament made famous in the Charles Schultz cartoons.

We also would say Merry Christmas instead of the more prevalent and supposedly politically-correct  Happy Holidays. One year, before 140-character Twitter, I even abbreviated Christmas to Xmas to get it to fit in a headline and someone took issue with the abbreviation....sometimes I think we get too wound around the wrong thing.

A visiting friend noted she would be tempted to make a similar framed tree with t-shirt paints and specialty buttons, certainly an option. How much simpler, though, to raid one's fabric stash and embroidery basket, pull out a remnant, embroider a little tree frame and add buttons from the button jar.

Even the misspelling adds charm, 'tis is short for "It is."

Well, regardless of what you call it or how you frame it, 'tis the season. Merry Christmas!

Charlotte

 

Old Quilt Bird Ornaments

This was the second old cutter quilt ornament I found at an antique mall, it started the collection.

This was the second old cutter quilt ornament I found at an antique mall, it started the collection.

Old Quilt Bird Ornaments

I didn't mean to start a collection of old cutter quilt bird ornaments. I picked one up several years ago at an antique mall, thinking I could use it as inspiration to make some to sell once I found old cutter quilts to use. I was still working then, so these projects would pop into my head and take a back seat to life and all of its associated interruptions.

When I spotted a second one that was blue, I picked that one up to represent my custom quilt and gift company, Bluebird Gardens. I thought it could sit as a tree topper in one of my outlet mall booths but it never quite made it there. In the back of my mind, I really didn't want to sell it.

I was excited to find this bluebird old cutter quilt bird ornament to represent Bluebird Gardens.

I was excited to find this bluebird old cutter quilt bird ornament to represent Bluebird Gardens.

By the time I added a third old cutter quilt bird ornament to my inspiration box, I had to admit I now had a "collection." Not exactly something to brag about but then it only took three french hens to make it into a traditional Christmas song....

It was now time to give these three old cutter quilt birds their own little tradition, real time in a Christmas tree.

This was the first old cutter quilt bird ornament I found; I picked it up as inspiration to make more.

This was the first old cutter quilt bird ornament I found; I picked it up as inspiration to make more.

My one-acre Missouri hillside garden is a certified wildlife habitat, which means I feed wildlife all year as well as provide water and shelter. So apparently does Santa!

Birdhouses and bird feeders are everywhere, well-occupied and attended so having birds on my Christmas tree seemed like an extension of what I watch happening outside my windows every day.

I put up my first Christmas tree in years this year, a little 4-foot artificial tree that I placed in a front window so I could see it from the outside. Had to move it over to get it out of the path of my cats also watching the birds - my cats take their supervisory duties very seriously!

After moving the tree and as I found ornaments to decorate the tree, I remembered having the three old cutter quilt birds. Yes, I actually had four but I only remembered the first three.

This is my other old cutter quilt bird ornament, love the cross stitch, my first embroidery stitch.

This is my other old cutter quilt bird ornament, love the cross stitch, my first embroidery stitch.

My last old cutter quilt bird ornament was made out of an old cross stitch embroidered quilt. I learned to embroider when I was 7 years old doing a cross stitch table cloth so I have a warm spot in my heart for that simple embroidery design. This bird ornament is a little different shape than the others, which only gives it more charm.

These birds are 4 inches high, between 5 and 6 inches long. The pattern looks simple enough to copy so if you want to make some, cut one out and don't be too perfect, part of their charm is that they are all a little different.

If you don't have old cutter quilts, how about checking into your leftover fabric stash? Bet you have enough remnants in there to make some of these bird ornaments.

So pretty in a lit up Christmas tree!

So pretty in a lit up Christmas tree!

The old cutter quilt bird ornaments added a nice old-fashioned touch to my Christmas tree, don't you think?

Charlotte

Vintage Postcard Holiday Scene

A vintage Christmas postcard joins a small decorated tree and presents in my kitchen.

A vintage Christmas postcard joins a small decorated tree and presents in my kitchen.

Vintage Postcard Holiday Scene

This little holiday scene is the first time that greets me when I go into my kitchen. Sitting on the edge of a reclaimed silver tray on my kitchen island, the little holiday scene makes me smile. It's a simple way to add a little holiday cheer to perhaps the most used room in our homes.

The little artificial tree is stored in a tote all decorated so all I have to do is pull it out and place it with the vintage postcard. For fun, this year I looked for little salt and pepper shakers to place under the tiny artificial tree.

Bear salt shaker.

I found this little bear porcelain pepper shaker at a local thrift store for 25 cents. Without its mate, I guess they thought the chances of its finding a new home were slim to none. 

The little rabbit on wheels to the right was a Russ toy I picked up at a yard sale a couple of years ago. I think that find was $1.

Porcelain doll pepper shaker.

My other find this year was this charming porcelain doll salt shaker. In my mind, she was a perfect mate for the little bear shaker.

Great way to repurpose those salt and pepper shakers that once were highly collectible. I am finding a set to keep each of my favorite vintage postcards company marking the different seasons. I am still missing a few vintage postcards but those are also on my wish list.

Half the fun is the treasure hunt!

Charlotte

Cutter Quilt Santa Star

This colorful quilt remnant was quickly made into this rustic Santa Claus star.

This colorful quilt remnant was quickly made into this rustic Santa Claus star.

Cutter Quilt Santa Star

Most US Christmas trees have a star on top. Among the holiday traditions, this tradition of a star on top may be the most common of them all, although over the years my sewing room could have doubled as Santa's workshop. I was thinking about that tradition when I found this Cutter Quilt Santa Star at a local antique mall.

Made out of a much loved quilt, also called a "cutter quilt" because it was made out of the remaining good pieces of the quilt, this rustic Santa in the shape of a star is a nice alternative to the traditional metal, or lighted star.

The back of this Cutter Quilt Santa Star shows the simple design and stitching.

The back of this Cutter Quilt Santa Star shows the simple design and stitching.

I know it would be tempting to place this on a vintage tree but I also think it would be a nice contrast on a more modern Christmas tree, the contrast would make both pop.

These would also be fun and easy to make as ornaments. The back of the star shows the simple sewing pattern to make it.

Once stitched together, Cutter Quilt Santa Star has some filling to give him dimension. My guess is some leftover quilt filling.

A little burlap face with yarn and black eyes complete Cutter Quilt Santa Star's face.

A little burlap face with yarn and black eyes complete Cutter Quilt Santa Star's face.

For the face, someone glued a piece of burlap at one of the star points and added black eyes and some yarn that was cut after stitching for the hair and beard. A bell on top of the head completes Santa's outfit.

I don't have this Cutter Quilt Santa Star on top of my Christmas tree this year. A little gardening angel chasing a bee has that honor but Cutter Quilt Santa Star is not unappreciated. He is sitting on my living room mantle with some of my other Santa figures, a reminder that the loving sentiment of this holiday is as simple as this cutter quilt star.

Charlotte

Christmas Decorating Holds Memories

The little girl mouse in bed (left) was a $1.99 purchase in Christmas 2015 with a dear friend.

The little girl mouse in bed (left) was a $1.99 purchase in Christmas 2015 with a dear friend.

Christmas Decorating Holds Memories

Thanksgiving weekend is Christmas decorating time at my house. With the long weekend, I can pull out the boxes of decorations and enjoy spreading them throughout my house to bring a holiday theme into each room.

Much like gardening, I like my holiday decorating quick, easy and memorable. I had several small, pre-decorated Christmas trees in plastic totes that could easily spring up on my office desk or a coffee table; favorite handmade Santa dolls from cutter quilts, and some German figurines my mother brought back from Germany in 1948, years before I was born. 

As I was looking for the totes, I realized they were gone, part of a stash someone who worked for me stole mid-summer. She pled guilty to the burglary mid-November but I had not missed the totes because they were in a storage area where she had stolen other, more obvious items.

They were only "things" but I felt such a feeling of loss and violation - again. I used to enjoy pulling them out, remembering when I got them and what memories they represented; giving them a little tender loving care if they needed it, and setting them out in my rooms. I don't have a lot of decorations but the ones I did have were attached to wonderful memories. It took me a couple of days to mourn the loss and inventory what I still had.

In the process, I remembered I had one little decoration sitting on a project shelf in a closet. I bought it last year for $1.99 with my cat's name sake, my friend Margaret, in St. Louis at the Shop Around the Corner. It's a little girl mouse tucked into a bed to add to my cat-themed stockings hanging from the mantle. One of the feet on the bed was missing so I had glued a little piece of wood in the missing spot and needed to paint it before it was ready to join my fireplace mantle holiday scene. It was still there so I finished the paint job before going through what was left of my holiday decorations.

 Some of my favorite mantle decorations were stolen but as I re-arranged my little holiday scene with what was left, I realized I still have a wonderful collection of good memories, and there is always room to add a few more.

Charlotte

 

 

 

Yellow and Mint Green Santa Claus Handmade Doll

Yellow and Mint Green Quilt Santa Claus handmade doll has an elegant retro look.

Yellow and Mint Green Quilt Santa Claus handmade doll has an elegant retro look.

Yellow and Mint Green Santa Claus Handmade Doll

There was something special about this one of a kind yellow and mint green Santa Claus handmade doll. I loved the scallop edging of his coat but it was more than that, the colors reminded me of very modern, or very old-fashioned holiday colors.

This almost 2-feet long fabric doll is made out of muslin - for his hair, beard and jacket ruffle.

Black buttons down the front compliment his black feet and legs. Want to see?

Yellow and Mint Green Handmade Santa Claus doll has black legs and feet attached to his body.

Yellow and Mint Green Handmade Santa Claus doll has black legs and feet attached to his body.

The heavy body make is easy to pose Santa on a mantle, on packages, on a shelf. He also can easily sit on a sofa or chair without worrying about little hands grabbing him.

Yellow and Mint Green Santa Claus face has an attached button nose. 

Yellow and Mint Green Santa Claus face has an attached button nose. 

So what will it be this year, does Yellow and Mint Green Santa Claus think you been naughty or nice?

Charlotte

Red and White Old Quilt Santa Claus Doll

One of a kind Red and White Old Quilt Santa Claus doll ready to sit on your mantle.

One of a kind Red and White Old Quilt Santa Claus doll ready to sit on your mantle.

Red and White Old Quilt Santa Doll

Maybe it's because much of our Christmas decorations growing up were delicate and couldn't be played with. Or maybe it's because I have always loved cloth dolls but this one of a kind, made in USA cloth Santa Claus doll is not only charming but practical. They can easily be played with and posed without being worried something will break.

Made out of muslin and polyfill stuffing, the almost 2-feet long handmade Santa Claus doll repurposes an old red and white quilt into Santa's coat. Black buttons down the front embellish the cotton muslin ruffle.

Muslin ruffles also form Santa's beard and frame his muslin face.

Black stockings are his feet with black legs attached to a heavy body for easy posing and hugging.

No two Santa Claus dolls are alike. One of our customers said these were "so much cuter in person."

I suspect she will go on Santa's good girl list, don't you think?

Red and White Old Quilt Santa Claus dolls is made all out of fabric.

Red and White Old Quilt Santa Claus dolls is made all out of fabric.

To make sure the old quilt doesn't unravel, the sleeves and coat hem have been basted.

Ho Ho Ho!

Charlotte

Mum House Witch

This charming house is surrounded by fields of mums and a humorous decoration. See it?

This charming house is surrounded by fields of mums and a humorous decoration. See it?

Mum House Witch

I love to see how people decorate for Halloween and to pick up ideas in case I have a wave of energy to do something for next year. By far, my favorite Halloween home decor inspiration is this house where I live in mid-Missouri.

First, the mums are beautiful, what a wonder garden sampler of colors and varieties, and they make quite a first impression as one drives by.  So much fall color on the ground as surrounding trees start to change color, too.

I don't have flower beds where I can do this but I am inspired by the visitor to the mums - see the witch legs sticking up out of the orange mum to the right of the wall with the address number on it?

Look at the orange mum in a metal container to the right of the front door. See the legs?

Look at the orange mum in a metal container to the right of the front door. See the legs?

So clever to add the two legs with telltale witch shoes in an orange mum in a metal container in the back. Those legs look easy to make, too. I'm thinking this same idea could be applied for Christmas decorating, too, only with elf legs.

Maybe on a snowy day this winter I will be inspired. Wouldn't this also make a cute housewarming gift?

Charlotte

Reindeer On Wheels

Several years ago, one of my brothers was quite popular as he arrived at his destination with his car decked out as a one of Santa's helpers. I found the set at one of our local retail stores for $8.

I spotted another reindeer on wheels recently, replete with red nose.

Now this is a quick way to personalize your car for the holidays. Who knows, Santa may need a hand - or extra reindeer - to help him make all of his deliveries.

Safe travels!

 Charlotte

Personalized Santa Gourds

If you have left over Halloween and Thanksgiving gourds, fun way to personalize them by painting them into Santas and writing someone's name and date on the bottom.

Remember to set them on their sides so the bottom can dry.

Here is another gourd painted into a Santa, this one was among a collection of Santas at a landmark restaurant "the Landing" in Van Buren, Missouri.

What is Christmas without at least one Santa Claus?

Charlotte

Happy New Year!

Do you make, then keep, new year's resolutions?

I like to spend the week before the New Year cleaning out closets and making my to do list for the next year. I include at least 1-2 lifelong wanna dos; one trip to a place I have always wanted to visit, and at least one new thing I want to learn. Sometimes I transfer items I didn't do from previous years, like beekeeping. I had been musing about adding honeybees to my garden for a number of years and finally did so in 2010. I had no intention of harvesting honey, nor did I know buzzing bees would learn to recognize me and keep me company in the garden.

I sometimes also pursue a theme. One year I had fun with raspberries; another year I set aside my fear of heights and learned to ski.

What will you have on your to do list for the new year?

Charlotte