Handmade Christmas Stockings

  • Christmas on the Farm

    farmlandThis past week I took a road trip to western Michigan. My husband was sent there on business, and since I had time off work I decided to join him for a few days. One thing I have always loved about road trips is riding through the country, seeing the roots of American life played out on farms everywhere. In our modern society where we think of beef wrapped in plastic from the meat counter, there is something charmingly primitive about seeing cows grazing on the hillside with the silo and barn as the backdrop.

    It is with this nostalgia that I present to you a brand new Bucilla stocking that we here at Merry Stockings designed ourselves! Bucilla is still doing the manufacturing of course, but we are so excited to offer to you this limited release, completely exclusive felt stocking kit with pure American love in our hearts.

    Christmas on the farmIn this unique and fun felt applique stocking, Santa is clearly working the family farm on his personalized tractor.  In true Christmas style, a green wreath with a cute red bow lights the way, and everyone'll know it's him by his license plate! And, we just couldn't leave out the silo, the barn and all the other adorable details! You can even modify some parts, like the license plate with the person's name. If you are a John Deere loyal fan, replace the tractor color with green, too!

    This stocking is perfect for those who love the farm life.....or anyone else (ahmmmm, me!) for that matter. You can order it, of course, from the Merry Stockings website, and this exclusive stocking kit will begin shipping September 10.

     

     

    Photo courtesy

  • Bucilla Goes Fishing

    Fishing-Santa-Bucilla-Vintage-Stocking-Kit

    Do you have a junior fisherman in your house? Or even a junior fisher-woman? I have great memories of my son walking around the lake near our home with his fishing pole--a long, curved stick--wearing a real fisherman's hat and of course his boots. :) He'd gone fishin', simple as that! I may be a bit partial, but I do believe he was the cutest little boy around on those particular days.

    Imagine your little fisherman getting this stocking for Christmas! Decked out with all the necessary fishing gear, made complete with that adorable fishing "fly" on his hat, this stocking will be a sure hit for the little guy. This is a classic Bucilla stocking kit and has been discontinued by Bucilla, but Merry Stockings carries it as a part of our older vintage stocking line. You can get this charming stocking for 25% off today!

    The kit comes complete with beads, felt, embroidery floss, sequins, needle and of course your easy to follow instructions. The finished product is 18" and you can order it from the Merry Stockings website. The kit will ship out to you pronto so you can get started right away.

     

     

  • How to Make a Christmas Wreath

    handmadeIf you've been around the Merry Stockings blog and website for any length of time, you know we're all about hand crafted projects! There are definitely times when its good to buy something ready-made, and we sell some very fun decorations like this on our website, but also some great do-it-yourself projects. We know, like you do, that when you make something with your own hands, well, it's just very special, isn't it?

    So, today I want to give you some simple and specific instructions on how to make your own live Christmas wreath. When you see the wreaths already made at the Christmas tree lot, they look like they'd require some serious know-how, but I'm here to tell you that just ain't true. :) If I can do it, so can you.

    Here we go. You're gonna love how easy it all is once you get some really basic things down. First, materials:KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

    1. A soft touch ring. These are great because if you don't like how it looks, it's very easy to adjust. You can find one here.
    2. Greens. Any kind. As many different kinds as you like. Or just one. It's your wreath!
    3. Special touches. Things like holly berries, pine cones, rubber duckies, anything that you want and think will fit your taste.
    4. Your imagination! There is no reason in the world to make a "normal" wreath. What is that anyway? You certainly can go traditional with this, but if you want to color outside the lines a bit, you have my permission. Which you don't need. Enough said.

    creative wreathNext, follow these simple instructions:

    • Make sure the branches you use are the right size. What's the right size? Well, that depends on how big you want the wreath to be. If you want some of them to border the rest, make those a little longer. If you want them all to have a meshed-together look, be consistent with the lengths.
    • When adding your branches, make sure you are forming a circle. Unless you want a football shaped wreath, which come to think of it might not be a bad idea for Super Bowl season. :)
    • As you add each branch, make sure the tip covers up where you attached the one just prior for a beauteous look. Or, attach a pine cone in that place or other embellishment.
    • Layer the greens and any additional special touches any which way you want. There is no wrong way to do this.
    • Last thing.....make sure that the bendable pins on the soft touch ring are securely fastened around your branches so they don't fall out.

    And that's it. Easy. Fun.

    To keep your wreath looking nice all season long, spritz it lightly with some water several times a week.  Also, they like to breathe so hanging them in between the door and the screen is probably not the best idea.

    Have fun!

    Cheryl

     

    Photo credit:  Handmade, Traditional Wreath, Creative Wreath

  • A Mother's Favorite Ornament

    Have you ever seen photos from the past posted on Facebook on Thursdays with the hashtag #TBT? TBT stands for throw back Thursday, and it's quickly becoming a big trend! It is so much fun to see old pictures of friends and family, and I decided to get in on the fun recently. I pulled out some old photos when the boys were little and even some when I was little. Time slipped away quickly as I couldn't take my eyes off my incredible sons . . . and how I want to do something special with these photos. I'll put some of them up for #TBT, but was looking for a more permanent way to enjoy them.

    photo ornamentIsn't this lovely?! I think this is one Christmas ornament that any mom would have hanging up year round. I was thinking how fun it would be to have some that feature all of my sons, some that feature each son individually, and then some that feature our family together!

    I think what I'd do is make nice black and white or sepia colored copies of the photos, arranged in a collage. If you are looking for the perfect Mother's Day gift OR a Christmas gift for the mom who seems to have everything or never has any suggestions for you, I think you've just found it.

    I know of no mom who wouldn't just adore an ornament/gift like this. Just follow this tutorial, and give your mom something she will defintely, always and forever cherish.

  • An Old Fashioned Christmas | Handcrafted Gifts

    coffee cozieWe are continuing our month-long "Old Fashioned" series, and this week our focus is on how to spend less money. In a culture that wants for more and more of everything, it has become old fashioned to spend less, to simplify. It sounds strange that something as simple as spending less money is considered out of style, but there is change in the wind. A growing movement of people of all ages are talking (and doing) all about how to simplify life and ultimately, to do just that....spend less.

    Last time I talked about budgeting and how sticking to one doesn't mean you have to live a sparse life. If you missed that post, you can find it here. Today I want to tell you {again!} about one of my favorite topics, and that is handcrafted gifts!

    It has been said that a homemade gift is a gift from the heart. It is often a sacrifice of time, and one of the things I love most about making gifts is that while I'm doing it I spend lots of time reminiscing about the person and our history together.

    I absolutely adore the whole idea of  simple, hand made Christmas gifts, decorations and of course food. Such gifts of time are considered to be uncommonly good in today's consumer culture, and maybe that's part of what is bringing this old fashioned practice back to life.

    In fact, the best sellers on our website come from the lovely Bucilla line of kits that provide all the materials to make stockings, decorations, tree skirts and more! Best of all, many of them have that traditional, old fashioned feel to them. And from what our customers tell us, these items are often treasured for years and years, creating those wonderful fuzzy feelings and some really great memories.

    This blog has been filled with tons of ideas and instructions for some of the most unique and simple gifts around. I encourage you to take a peek back and see! Shopping at the store will always have its place, and I don't think we should ever feel guilty about opting for a store-bought gift. But, including a few handcrafted gifts each season is such a touching thing to do. I know that some of the most meaning gifts I have ever received have been hand-made!

     

    Photo courtesy

  • Get Your Christmas Stockings Now!

    Anyone who has ever made a stocking from a Bucilla kit knows that it is never too early to start! Merry Stockings knows this, of course, and has decided to put a few of the top 2013 stockings on sale. And, this is a SALE. Nearly 50% off kind of sale. You don't wanna miss this.

    There are a total of three stockings for you to snap up:

    sale stockingsPrincess Bucilla Christmas Stocking ~ What young girl doesn't like to think of herself as a princess?!  Nevermind that she has daddy wrapped around her little finger, she will love this hand crafted beauty handing off the mantle at the castle.


    Santa-and-His-List-Bucilla-Felt-Stocking-KitSanta and His List Christmas Stocking ~ Once the list is made and it's been checked twice, all the kids know what happens next....Santa Claus is coming to town! Boy or girl loves to imagine Santa looking at their list, so imagine their delight to see their name atop this cute reminder!


    Snowman-and-Polar-Bears-Bucilla-Felt-StockingSnowman and Polar Bears Christmas Stocking ~ Playful polar bears in the snow make this stocking a favorite for any boy or girl who just can't get enough of the snow! The imagination of a child is vivid and they will be naming those bears before you know it!

    All three of these stocking kits will help you create an 18" felt applique, custom stocking for your special loved one! The kits come complete with beads, felt, embroidery floss, sequins, needle, and of course the easy to follow instructions.  They make great gifts and will become beloved heirlooms!

    All stockings ship within 24 hours of your order, and as always, your satisfaction is guaranteed at Merry Stockings. You haveabsolutely nothing to lose. So, hop over to the website and see which one fits your little one the best.

    Merry stocking making!

     

     

  • Deal of the Day!

    DealOfTheDayNobody loves a deal better than this Minnesota girl, and today we've got not one, but THREE deals to share. Today we are featuring three Bucilla kits that we've got in stock in a limited supply with prices slashed by up to 40% off!

    happy santaFirst up is the Bucilla Happy Santa Stocking Kit that displays a super happy Santa on an adorable red plaid background. And these socks are no gold toed socks from Sears, but boast holly instead. At just $14.99, and coming to your door complete, this is a real steal.

    santas wreathNext up is the Bucilla Santa's Wreath Stocking Kit, a jolly green stocking that pairs perfectly with Happy Santa. There are a few more of these available, but they won't last; so snap your complete kit up for $14.99 before they are gone.

    NAnd last, but definitely not least, we are offering the Bucilla In The Workshop Ornament Set Kit. In this kit you'll receive everything you need to make 6 different ornaments, and I think these little guys would make really cute little package toppers, no?! And at just $19.99 for the whole set, you can afford to get a couple of them. Hurry tho, these are going to fly off the shelves.

    If you've never worked a Bucilla Kit, you will be pleasantly surprised by how fun it is to create these heirloom pieces for your loved ones.

     

  • Caring for Your Christmas Stockings

    Christmas stockings are usually hung near the fireplace. This is one tradition that most of us hold dear. So what do you do if smoke odors stick to your stockings? MerryStockings.com suggests these easy ways:

    1. Make sure that you remove everything that may be removed from the stocking. Empty it of its contents to prepare it for washing.

    2. Using a solution composed of 1 part baking soda, 1 part ammonia and 2 parts vinegar dissolved in a tub full of water, wash your stocking. If you have a plain Christmas stocking, you can submerge the whole stocking in the mixture. Be sure to wear rubber gloves to protect your hands from the chemicals. Rub the stockings to release the smoke odor.

    If your stockings have designs like a name or glitters, then submerge only up to the design. Do not place the designed area under the water or in the solution. Rub this area with the solution using your finger, but DO NOT submerge it.

    Repeat this process to get rid of the smoke smell.

    3. Rinse the stocking with warm water. Open your faucet to warm water and run the water over the stocking around three times. Be careful not to run the designs under the water. Squeeze out after rinsing.

    4. Using any clean surface, lay your stocking to dry. Make sure that your stocking is flat all over and check for areas that stick out. Push this back into place. It is safe to dry your stockings overnight.

    5. After drying, wrap your stockings using a lavender scented linen sheet and store it in your closet or a suitcase. This would protect it from moths, moisture and molds.

    Some tips:

    Avoid heating your stockings. Heat would cause your stockings to shrink.
    Do not wash your stockings in a washing machine. This is the best way to ruin your Christmas stockings.

  • The Many Faces of Santa Claus: Santa Claus in America

    The Many Faces of Santa Claus: Santa Claus in America

    Perhaps one of the most enduring icon of Christmas is Santa Claus. With his red suit, white beard and boisterous laughter, he represents the generosity, cheer and gift giving that has come to mark the Christmas season and celebrations all over the world.

    American children know the popular figure of Santa Claus. Santa comes from the North Pole where he, with the help of his elves, make toys for good children. He then goes around the world on Christmas eve aboard a magic sleigh pulled by reindeer that could fly. He goes down chimneys to leave gifts for children, leaving them under the tree or inside Christmas stockings.

    Modern depictions of Santa Claus puts him in a toy factory, overseeing the production line for toys.

    Children are urged to sit on Santa's lap in order to tell him what they want for Christmas. This is one sure way of getting the gifts they want for that year. Another ritual that American children do is to prepare snacks such as cookies and milk on Christmas Eve to curry his favor.

    American children know that they have to be good in order to receive gifts from Santa Claus on Christmas eve. In fact, Christmas songs caution children that Santa knows just who has been naughty or nice. For many children, it was become a challenge to catch Santa Claus as he is leaving them their gifts.

    Quick tip: As a parent, it is wondrous for us to have our children believe in Santa Claus. It makes them more excited for Christmas and it's a good reward system for being good. Did you know that you can now "track" Santa's progress around the world? You can let your kids know just where on earth Santa is during the Christmas season with the help of your friends from the North American Aerospace Defence Command or NORAD. With their NORAD Tracks Santa Web site at http://www.noradsanta.org, you can easily pinpoint Santa's progress as he makes his way all around the world!

    MerryStockings.com has a line of cool Santa Claus related products! Check these out!

    Bucilla Felt Applique Christmas Stocking Kit: Bear Santa New 2010
    Bucilla Felt Applique Christmas Stocking Kit: Fireman Santa
    Embroidered Christmas Tree Skirt Santa Character
    Jolly Santa Brass Christmas Stocking Holder
    Other Santa Claus inspired decorations

  • Christmas Around the World: United Kingdom

    The British puts a premium on the birthday of Jesus Christ, with a special mass for the Christ Child. Like the rest of the world, the Brits put a premium on family and friends during the season. Even workaholics stay home to be with family on Christmas day. They usually have Christmas dinner at midday and that includes the whole family. Traditional Christmas dinner fare includes roast goose or turkey, brussel sprouts, cranberry sauce, nutty stuffing, sausages wrapped in bacon, hot gravy and roast potatoes.

    Most English traditions, however, began before Jesus Christ was born, and had nothing to do with religion. These traditions came from early mid-winter festivals such as the festival of Saturnalia wherein the Romans decorated their homes with evergreens to commemorate Saturn, the harvest god.

    While the British Christmas is very similar to the American version, there are some notable differences:

    1. The Christmas Cracker. The Christmas cracker is a bright tube that is held at both ends by two people. They pull on the cracker and it goes "pop" spilling the contents out, including a paper crown, a gift and a joke on a slip of paper. These Christmas crackers were invented by Thomas Smith in 1846.

    2. White Christmas. White Christmases typically remind you of blankets of snow. But in the United Kingdom, they have a more easy to fulfill definition. A white Christmas happens when one snowflake falls on the London Weather Centre's roof on December 25. So far, there has only been seven white Christmases in England.

    3. Wishing on a Turkey. People who find the turkey’s wishbone can invite another person to pull on it. The one who gets the larger part can make a wish on it.

    4. Christmas Pudding. The British believe that eating a rich and fruity pudding that is lit may ward off evil spirits.

    In the U.K., Christmas stockings are hung on Christmas eve. This is for the children to get gifts on Christmas day. But the origin is slightly different as they believe that Father Christmas once dropped coins while coming down the chimney and these coins were caught by the stockings that were left there to dry. Treasure your British friends with a personalized Christmas stocking!

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