Monday, November 21, 2011

My Family Tradition : Handmade Heirlooms

My Parents and I circa 1988.
This morning I am making my "to do" list of handmade gifts I still hope to finish before the holidays.  I'm happy to report that many are completed but there are quite a few that get my attention every night before bed.

Handmade gifts are a tradition for me thanks in large part to my Mother. We would spend hours making quilts, crocheting blankets, making pillows and cross stitching. . . and I can't have a Christmas go by without wanting to dip pine cones in glitter. 

On that "to do" list are a couple of gifts for me that were started by my Mother nearly 16 years ago, shortly after my Father passed away.

Both gifts are quilts made from my Father's shirts. Sadly Mom passed away before finishing these - and gave them to me with the request that I finish and keep them for my family.

I have to admit I have put off finishing these quilts for years. . . I didn't want our last two projects together to end.

This quilt has a mix of my Father's Sunday Shirts and scrap squares of fabric my Mother and I used to make quilts for family members over the years. They still bring back a flood of memories.
I will admit that every year around the holidays I bring these two quilts out of storage. I hug and smell  them and remember all of the time Mom and I would spend together making new family heirlooms.

There was never a birthday or holiday that did not see a hand made gift given. While everyone else was out frantically shopping for replaceable things . . . throughout the year - my mother taught me the true meaning of giving.  

Photo on 2011-11-19 at 07:58.jpg
This quilt is made from all of my Father's flannel shirts. The stitch is a herringbone stitch that is made with alternating colors of thicker cross stitch thread.
I've decided to finish My Father's flannel shirt quilt this year as a gift to our family. I chose this one because it will take the most time and it will also help me include both of my parents in this holiday season.  I love how it reminds me of all of the wonderful memories from holidays past and that I can share those memories as I make new ones with my dear husband.

Remember - there is no greater gift than your time.


What holiday gifts will you hand make this year?

What is you favorite hand made family heirloom?

How do you include family members who have passed in your holiday traditions?