Aunts, uncles, grandparents, teachers, they all would receive an ornament that I made. Deciding what to make for the year would always be a big deal. Paper-mache, beaded snowflakes, painted wood ornaments, felt mittens and stockings, Christmas bulb deer...dozens of ornaments. I wish I had made one for myself each year, so that I could look back...and chuckle.
I remember a few years in college not wanting to bother with it. It was so time consuming and most years I had well over thirty on my list. I remember wondering if people even cared about them, considering the effort that went into them. Those were the years that I would decide not to do it and to break the tradition, figuring no one would notice anyway...and then on the 21st of December I would freak out and run to Michael's in a panic, after 40 something-or-others to make (like the Christmas bulb deer mentioned above).
Eventually I did give in and fold on the tradition. I'm not exactly sure what year was my last, but I know that I have not made ornaments since I have had kids (other than helping them along with ornaments of their own). Like many things, it just slipped away and I haven't thought much about it since. Each year I am reminded, when I visit my family members and I see an ornament or two from years past.
Ornaments hold such a special place in our Christmas tradition in this house. I love that as we unwrap each and every ornament, I can remember where we got it (or who we got it from) and what event in our lives were captured and represented with the ornament. Our kids join in the fun and ask about different ornaments, some signifying our engagement, marriage, honeymoon, trips, births, friends, all of the good stuff in life. Last year I received a special ornament from my sister, telling me that I was going to be an aunt. It was an adorable ornament that she had made and I know it is sitting in a special box of ornaments just waiting for me to unwrap it and hang it on the tree late this month.
This year, that niece will be celebrating her first Christmas. That was reason enough for me to get out my crafting supplies and make an ornament for her first Christmas. (Sarah, if you are reading this, close your eyes. I don't have any secrets anymore, do I?) So, yesterday I started cutting and sewing felt and came up with a little owl for Josephine's first Christmas. I hope someday her Mommy will tell her when she is Jillian's age as they are hanging ornaments on their own tree, that her Auntie made it for her for her first Christmas.
Of course, Jillian loved it, so I made one for her too. Myles wasn't too fond of an owl as his ornament, so he opted for light sabers. Today is November 4th...who knows...maybe I'll bring back the tradition.
Cut all of your pieces. Lay it out and see how you like it. You can always draw it on paper and trace on to your felt. When I need circles or other shapes, I often look through my pantry for items that I can trace to give me the look I want (like the outer eyes are from overlapping medicine cups and the whites of the eyes are the bottom of a medicine syringe).
Start sewing! Layering felt with different colors makes it look cuter if you ask me. Also, I tried two different feather patterns. You can fool around with different stitches. I don't know stitch names because I just mess around, but I am sure there are different formal stitches. For the feathers on this one I did a stitch and then came back up through the center of the stitch going forward. If I had to name it...I would call it a split stitch. If you know the real name for the stitch, you are a rockstar and would never need directions on how to make an owl anyway. :)
Keep going...yes...it takes a while.
I sewed the kiddos name and year on the back. If I did it again, I might just write it with a marker.
Gotta sew it together and stuff it before you completely close it.
AND - viola! You have a Christmas ornament!