Christmas Traditions

I’ve been spending time on Spoonflower lately, looking at all the amazing fabrics, and also uploading a few designs of my own to use. You can print your own fabrics here, which is exciting and if you aren’t careful you can spend a truckload of money very quickly. They also have a lot of tutorials, which I was browsing one day and saw one about making your own tea towels with your own family recipes printed on them. What a great idea! I wanted to make one with one of my Grandma’s recipes on it. She was a great writer-downer of recipes.

When I was growing up, my most exciting Christmas tradition was helping my grandma make Christmas candy. She had a set of recipes that she used every year, rarely, if ever, deviating from her tried and true candies. The hardest one to make, the one that sometimes had to be thrown out because it failed, was divinity. It wasn’t one of my favorites since it didn’t have any chocolate in it. And it wasn’t one that my sister and I were allowed to help with. Too tricky. But if you look at the recipe it seems so easy, so innocuous.

When I was visiting my mom in September I looked through a big box of Grandma’s recipes, trying to find the candy recipes. Not in the box. My sister had the divinity recipe card, which she had laminated (seemed like a good idea at the time) and I asked her to scan it and send to me. I got this…

And cleaned it up in Photoshop to this….

I then uploaded it to Spoonflower and ordered 1 meter (1 yard) of Linen Cotton Canvas fabric, which had 4 recipes printed on it. Here is a link to my recipe fabric on Spoonflower.

You can see where the printing ends and the background fabric is, and I cut along those lines. And also in between each recipe print. I ended up with 4 pieces ready to have the edges finished.

When I was in Amsterdam a few weeks ago I looked in a fabric shop for some nice Christmasy fabric to make a border but I didn’t find anything at all. So back to Spoonflower I went. And besides I could order border fabric in the same Linen Cotton fabric. I found this holly berry fabric and candy cane fabric. The candy cane fabric brought back another Christmas tradition memory. My grandparents always had a silver artificial Christmas tree and an electric color wheel that turned and sent colored light onto the tree. They had blue balls of different sizes hung on the tree. And lastly, big red and white candy canes, one for each of the grandkids, hung on the tree. On Christmas Eve we could take down our candy canes and eat them – or start to eat them because they were big and would last a long time. So candy canes for the border of this tea towel would be perfect.

hanging loops, ready to use

I had ordered just a fat quarter of the holly berry fabric, so I cut that into strips and made hanging loops with it. I then cut out strips of candy cane fabric, 6 canes wide, and did my best to sew on a border strip. I sewed each edge separately. Hmmm. Not very beautiful. I went to the internet and looked up how to sew on a border and saw how quilters do it. Much better. So I gave that a try. Better, but still not great.

top one is the first try, bottom one, second try

I did make my border strips like quilters do, by making a diagonal seam to make long strips.

You can see in the above photos that I had moved on to EIGHT candy canes wide. I thought this would be prettier and also easier to manipulate. Sometimes more is more.

On the third try I did pretty well.

However, you can see that I sewed on the hanging loop onto the back which looks bad. I removed this loop and sewed it onto the border. Also ugly. Why not sew that into the border seam? Which is what I did on try number FOUR.

Here is a photo of turning the corner, something I got pretty good at after so many corners.

Here they are, stacked up, from 1st try to last final version that I’m happy with.

The final version, front and back. I didn’t bother to leave any of the border on the back side. All of that candy cane goodness should be on the front where you can see it. And, besides, this is just how I sewed it and I wasn’t going to try yet another method!

I want to give one of these to my mom, my sister, my aunts and cousins. Maybe they will use them as tea towels, maybe they will hang them up as decoration. They can decide. All of them will immediately recognize the handwriting and the recipe. And the candy cane reference. Good thing I bought enough fabric. Only 12 more to make!

ready to iron the rest….

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