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Happy Holidays and some handmade gifts

I wanted to take a moment to say Happy Holidays and wish you a wonderful New Year! I’ve been absent from blogging the past few weeks while I finished last minute gifts and attempted to make this Christmas a merry one despite being apart from family and friends. I’m sure we can all agree that 2020 has been a year of strange and crazy things, and I look forward to 2021 with optimism and hope.

Happy Holidays from Julie at The Crafty Quilter!

Handmade gifts

I can finally share a few gifts I made in December. The first one was a secret Santa gift for one of my co-workers at The Granary Quilt Shop. I made her a fabric stationery pouch/organizer and some handmade cards. The pattern is called “Handy Organizer” and it came from the book, Sewing to Sell by Virginia Lindsay. There are so many great project ideas and tips for marketing in this book! She also has a second book out, More Sewing to Sell, that I just ordered and can’t wait to read.

Handy Organizer Pouch made by Julie @ The Crafty Quilter.  Pattern from Sewing to Sell by Virginia Lindsay.
Handy Organizer Pouch made by Julie @ The Crafty Quilter.  Pattern from Sewing to Sell by Virginia Lindsay.
Handy Organizer Pouch made by Julie @ The Crafty Quilter.  Pattern from Sewing to Sell by Virginia Lindsay.

My next project was a doll tent for my granddaughter, Amelia. The pattern for this came from WonderfulWellies Etsy shop and it fits a 14″ doll (Wellie Wisher doll size) perfectly. It also has instructions for an 18″ doll (American Girl doll size). The tent came together much easier than I expected which was a nice surprise.

Doll tent made by Julie @ The Crafty Quilter.  Pattern from WonderfulWellies Etsy Shop.
Doll tent made by Julie @ The Crafty Quilter.  Pattern from WonderfulWellies Etsy Shop.
Doll tent made by Julie @ The Crafty Quilter.  Pattern from WonderfulWellies Etsy Shop.

Both granddaughters loved it so much that I already have a request for another one for Clara (on the left). These girls are going to keep this grandma in business for a while!

Clara and Amelia happily playing with the doll tent.
Clara and Amelia, Christmas 2020

I had plans to make other gifts, but there never seems to be enough time. However, I did receive some very special, handmade gifts that I’d like to share. My secret Santa, Lynnellen, made me a beautiful mug rug that I just love (and use). It came with an assortment of herbal teas, so I’m all set for my afternoon tea time!

Mug rug made by Lynnellen M. for Julie @ The Crafty Quilter.

I was surprised by a sweet neighbor who is also a quilter and customer at my LQS with this gorgeous embroidered dish towel. Linda’s handwork is exquisite – even the back of this monogram is perfect!

Monogrammed dish towel made by Linda H. for Julie @ The Crafty Quilter

My dear husband, Mr. Crafty Quilter, knows me so well. He ordered this custom wooden plaque for me on Etsy: SewPerfectlyYours. I love it and it’s going on my sewing room door.

Julie's Happy Place @ The Crafty Quilter. Purchased from Etsy.

Speaking of my sewing room, I have to show you how upside down it gets when I’m working on a project. I have a small area designated for paper crafting and when I need to make a card, everything comes out of the closet and onto all available surfaces. This is what it looked like while making four cards for my secret Santa gift. An explosion of chaos and creativity occurs; fortunately, it cleans up nicely.

Sewing Room clean up @ The Crafty Quilter

The wall hanging that you see above my ironing station is one of my free tutorials from 2013. The wall hanging that peaks through the photo of Julie’s Happy Place (and shown below), was made from a tutorial by Lori Holt on Instagram in 2014. It was under the hashtag #haveyourselfaquiltylittlechristmas.

Wall hanging made by Julie Cefalu.  Pattern from Lori Holt (@beelori1) on Instagram.

Just a reminder that my Lincoln Stars quilt pattern is still on sale for $7 until the end of December in my Etsy Shop. I love having this on my couch all winter.

Sometimes life gives us reminders of how fortunate many of us are. All you have to do is turn on the news to see people who have lost their jobs, their businesses and worst of all a loved one due to Covid (or other conditions). Holidays spent away from extended family has made me thankful for today’s technology and our Zoom calls have helped pull me through.

There’s definitely been a shift in perspective. Small things are just that – small. Last week I had a tiny scratch on my hand that somehow turned into a swollen and extremely painful lump that kept me from using my right hand. I couldn’t even squeeze a tube of toothpaste. Today, it’s finally pain-free (but still swollen), and I can use it again. It made me appreciate my body and how fortunate I am to NOT have chronic pain or illness.

I am also very grateful for all of you. This online community of generous and amazing quilters and creators has been a blessing. Thank you for your kindness and support in 2020. I look forward to brighter things to come next year and to spending some of it with you at The Crafty Quilter. Happy Holidays!

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  1. That doll tent is the cutest!!!! What fun. Love your Happy Place sign–good choice by your husband. Happy New Year!

  2. Thank you for sharing…. I always love everything you make and seeing your photos. Glad your hand is healing. So true that we take our healthy bodies for granted. Wishing you and your family a happy and healthy 2021

  3. Dear Julie, I wish you, your entire family and everyone who follows your blog a Happy New Year! May God bless us all with only the ‘little aches’ to help us keep perspective. At age 70, I’m very grateful for good health and only small problems – anything and everything could be so much worse. Let us all look forward to leaving Covid behind in 2021.
    To those of you suffering with your own illness or a family member who has Covid, I offer my prayers and good will. God is good and I pray especially that He will bless all of you with a successful recovery. As one who in 2020 has lost two friends to Covid and a best friend of 35 years to cancer, it’s not hard to comprehend what you are experiencing. It will never be possible for anyone to understand how you feel, we just know that you do. My heart is with you.

    That adorable little tent, if made a bit larger, would be a wonderful hideaway for a cat or small dog. And those two little granddaughters, OMG! The are so precious! I have one three year old great-granddaughter so far, a grand-niece or nephew on the way, my oldest grandson and his wife are expecting and my second oldest grandson and his wife are trying to conceive. Unfortunately, all but one couple live way too far away and I can’t travel. Thank heaven for Zoom!

    My best to you all.

  4. Julie- Thank you for all the tips, patterns and peeks into your and others websites and projects!
    Have a wonderful 2021! Yes

  5. Happy Holidays Julie! You really made some beautiful gifts, love those little tents for your granddaughters. It has been a crazy year and like you, I am so thankful that I am a quilter and have had plenty to do this year. I’m glad the scratch on your hand healed. Like you said, it makes you thankful for your health.

  6. Merry Christmas to you, too! I loved all the photos, especially of the grandchildren AND your sewing room when in use. Feeling SO much better about myself after seeing that photo. My sewing area looks like that and worse when I sew! I’m going to stop berating myself and just enjoy the chaos!

  7. So thankful for you Julie for brightening all our lives with your tutorials, your projects and pictures of your lovely family. Blessings to you all in the New Year!

  8. Happy New Year to you and your family as well! The tent you made Amelia was so cute! What little girl wouldn’t love to have one? Obviously Clara thought so! You’re such an inspiration to the quilting community, we hope you keep those ideas coming for a long time to come!

  9. Merry Christmas Julie. I want to thank you for your wonderful blog. Yours is my favorite. You put together such useful information and tutorials. I also love how you share what is happening in the quilt community and useful info from other quilters. I look forward to what you have to share in 2021!

  10. Happy New Year 2021!! Indeed, this past year has put everything in perspective! I’m glad to hear you and your family have remained healthy during this pandemic. My family was going along rather well but then business closings almost cost my son his embroidery/printing business but he survived and to date is doing better than this time last year! Praises to God! Both daughters contracted the virus and unfortunately are still having lasting effects . The 36 yr. old had three mini strokes but moderate flu symptoms. She is now on seizure meds, can’t work, and can’t drive until 6 months free of seizure activity. MRI indicated some brain damage but neurologist believes it is in the part of the brain that is restorative. The 42 yr old daughter, was hospitalized for 11 days and critical 7 out of those 11 days. We came close to losing her on the 5th day if not for God’s mercy and the determination of a nurse who begged for “just one more try” to aspirate the lung blockage before placing her on a ventilator. Thankfully, the nurse was successful!! H
    My husband and I had to sit and wait for updates and knew none of this until afterwards. She also had two stroke alerts in the first 3 days. She has always struggled with asthma so that was the underlying factor making Covid do so much damage. She’s home but still testing positive, weak on her left side, and will be in recovery for a very long time!! This virus has really affected our family!!
    Please continue to wear your mask, wash your hands and distance yourself if you must go out. My 13 yr. old grandson was tested and results showed he had antibodies!! We had no idea he had the virus!! The older brother got covid when he went to college but was sick for only a few days. This past week, their mother, my daughter in law came down with a bad cold which tested positive for covid!! You don’t know how this virus will effect you!! Neither I nor my husband has had it even though we have been exposed numerous times!! We were long time school teachers so we laugh and tell people we acquired steel immune systems from all the germs we were exposed to over 30+ years in public schools!
    I love love all your quilty gifts and the Lincoln stars are simply gorgeous!!

  11. I do love your blog and your optimism. C’mon 2021!
    Your mask instructions were such a blessing. I don’t know how many I made using them but it was a pile.
    I love seeing the mess. Your work is so pristine that it’s nice to SEE that it doesn’t just happen.

  12. Julie, the cork mats, stationery folder, darling tents and Lincoln Star quilt are all fantastic. I love your Thankful Sunday Posts sharing so many artists!! I poured a mug of tea when I saw your post knowing it would be a nice break from the routine. You never fail to make me thankful I’m a quilter and look forward to new projects. Tomorrow I’m online in search of cork and ordering Lincoln Stars! I printed all the Moda patterns and your quilt is the inspiration to start cutting fabric!! Thank you!!
    Happy New Year and keep up the great work!

  13. Joyous New Year wishes to you and your family from Tennessee! Your “girls” are growing fast! Looking forward to seeing you in 2021!

  14. Thank you for sharing! I remember making “Barbie” tents for my girls and my niece – that was a very long time ago. Can’t even remember where the pattern came from??
    Happy New Year and keep your newsletters coming love all you patterns & tutorials.

  15. Hi Julie … such a lovely email … with so many truisms … after experiencing possible evacuation from the Santa Cruz Mountain fires … now experiencing potential evacuations from flooding … lockdowns where-ever I am … remembering loss of loved ones at this time … I agree any aches and pains are put into perspective! … but glad you are healing.
    So here’s to a better 2021 for us all … I shall definitely stay up on 31st December, not necessarily to see the New Year in … but to make sure the old one goes out 😉
    Hugs (virtual of course) xo

  16. Julie, your messy room can’t compete with mine! Mine looks like a bomb hit it right now lol. I had so much fun and creativity this season but it needs a cleanup asap. That tent is too cute!! Happy New Year to one of my favorite internet peeps!

  17. Do you have the handy organizer pattern? I would love to have it (purchase it). It is so cute!
    Your grandchildren are darling.
    Happy New Year Julie!

  18. Thanks for all you do, Julie. I have made some of your projects, as your directions are impeccable. You helped to make 2020 a little easier to bare. I appreciate your generosity with all your ideas. I look forward to a much better 2021!!

  19. It’s was good reading again. I have been SEW out of touch with sewing and reading blogs. As I have some blessed moments this year and not so happy ones. I am hoping -planning on -jumping into the new year….happy holidays to you Julie!

  20. I seem to have lost my email or hit send before I was finished!! I love you Secret Santa gift and the fabric you choose! The doll tent for your granddaughter is so darn cute, she will have so much fun playing with it. Your neighbor who does embroidery truly is an expert, the “C” is perfect and so smooth. You are so creative with wonderful ideas. Thank you for sharing them with us. It truly has been a crazy year and I so look forward to 2021 with the vaccine and an end to the pandemic so we can get on with the new normal. My crazy Christmas: Merry Friggin Christmas!

  21. Julie – you bring a ray of sunshine and much happiness to the crafting/quilting world. Your projects are wonderful and inspiring. I don’t know how you find time to do all that you do. Maybe you don’t sleep. Blessings for you and your family in 2021.

  22. Happy Holidays to you also. Love reading your blog – it brightens my day. hope 2021 will bring more opportunities to see you.

  23. Hi Julie, do you think Mr. Crafty Quilter would share the Etsy shop he ordered your sewing machine wooden plaque from? Think others would be interested also. Thank you. Glad you had a good Christmas. It was a quiet, reflective one at our house.

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