Christmas ’11~First Celebration

I hope you all had a happy, merry Christmas day, filled with family, friends and love.  We’ve just had another joyous celebration with our daughter, Rebecca, Harvey and 2-1/2 year old Alastair.    Regrettably,  I took very few pictures the entire two days.

Christmas Eve was spent with Harvey’s family, who seem like our very own.  At Carol and Alan’s absolutely gorgeous, huge, decorated-to-the-nines country home, we enjoyed a delicious supper of gumbo, homemade slaw, special bakery bread, fresh strawberry pie and bread pudding.  Our son-in-law Harvey grew up just outside New Orleans so it’s no surprise that his mother has significant expertise in Cajun cuisine, not to mention everything else edible.  The company was as good as the food.




Alastair wore his Christmas suit and was, of course, the star of the evening, shining for his adoring grandparents,  89 year-old great-grandmother Ruby, aunts and uncles.   Why didn’t I snap a shot of him charming Ruby or showing everyone how high he can jump?  Why didn’t I take a picture of him alone in the music room playing (well, hitting the keys) on his grandmother’s baby grand piano? Or pulling back the curtains to examine the electric candles and the outdoor lights?  I missed so many photo ops.

Patterns for the shirt and shorts were both from Martha Pullen’s excellent book, Heirloom Sewing for Jack and Jill.  The burgundy velveteen shorts were cut from the “straight front knee pants” pattern which I especially like. They button at the waist on each side and have elastic only in the back.




The shirt is a linen blend embroidered with the Santa from OESD’s  I  Believe in Santa collection by Nancy Halvorsen.  I’d like to stitch out every design in this beautiful collection.  I had to remove the I believe text because the design was too large for the collar.  Even then, it was too large to suit me, so I reduced it by 20%.

Resizing stitch intensive designs can be tricky.  But by substituting standard 40 wt. machine embroidery thread with a lighter weight it stitched out beautifully.

Because the design is so dense, I used 80/2 wt. Madeira Cotona whenever I had the necessary color available.  White, ecru, tan, gray, and pink  80/2 wt. thread was used for the pink face, for Santa’s facial hair, and the fur on his hat.  This collection is very well digitized with shading that gives depth and texture to the designs.   DMC 50/2 or Mettler 60/2 cotton embroidery thread was used for all the other colors.

The burgundy trim on the collar and sleeves is middy braid, first straight stitched in place on either side.  Then a decorative stitch was worked along each edge.


Christmas Day, there was plenty of time for snuggling with Granddan, Alastair's name for his grandfather Ferguson.

Christmas Day, there was plenty of time for snuggling with Granddan, Alastair’s name for his grandfather Ferguson.


Christmas day was magical at Rebecca and Harvey’s home.  They hosted a brunch for the family, featuring a buffet of Harvey’s culinary delights,  The menu included amazing, better-than-the-original CinnaBuns, three kinds of quiche, coffee cake, fresh citrus fruit salad, eggnog, coffee, juice and cookies made by Rebecca.


cupcake tree

cupcake tree loaded with cookies and fresh strawberries


Harvey cooks with a passion comparable to my passion for sewing.  Early in November, he watched a cooking show that featured a roast holiday goose.  He had to make that.  So the organic goose was ordered from North Dakota and was as delicious as advertised.  He had also made goose gravy with a little raspberry jelly for flavor, baked artisan bread and an apple pie.  What a dinner!




As always, Rebecca set a lovely table with her grandmother’s china and the linen napkins I had embroidered for her, folded into silver napkin rings.  It was beautiful.

Watching Alastair open his gifts was so much fun.  Just the day before, he had watched Polar Express and embraced the line, “I’ve wanted this my whole life!”  But he remembered it as “In my whole life!” and squealed this phrase with emphatic arm gestures before opening each of his presents. How happy was he to find a new pair of yellow bumblebee boots under the tree!


A boots


He was sooo cool in his Santa shirt and boots.  In his eyes, it was the perfect outfit for an 80 degree Florida Christmas day. I used red corduroy for Santa’s hat, minkee for his beard and fleece for the fur on his hat.  It is surrounded by a built in design frame on my Brother Duetta 4500D.

Can you tell it was a wonderful Christmas? For Bob and me, the good news is that both of our children and their families will be coming to our house over New Year’s weekend for Christmas celebration #2.  What a way to start the new year!

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