The dining room is covered with scraps of muslin, stray threads and lint. These little fuzzies are the enemy of the sewing machine, I’m just now learning.
This all started with one little boy’s wish for me to make him a frog. My mom’s sewing machine, now mine, has been sitting unused here for almost a decade. I couldn’t thread the bobbin — so I didn’t even dare touch it. But when Fun Size decided he wanted me to dust off that sewing machine and sew a frog for his school project, I tried to sway him to use clay. He insisted on fabric. I knew this was more about pushing myself past the belief that I couldn’t master the bobbin.
Two sweet ladies at the fabric store graciously and patiently walked me through the bobbin nightmare, and the proper care and maintenance of the sewing machine. I made two trips there before it all finally clicked, and I stopped feeling like that 10 year old little girl, all thumbs, who notoriously threaded the bobbin incorrectly. As each side of the frog’s seam ran through the machine, I sweated… and I didn’t dare breathe. But it all worked out, and we met the school deadline.
I was free to start making the Jesse tree ornaments. So, when I found Ann Voskamp’s beautiful and printable Jesse Tree ornaments for Advent, I had a vision. Rather than print these ornaments on paper, I printed them on my Grandma’s flour sacks. Yes, your printer can print on fabric too. All you need to do is cut the fabric to 8.5 x 11, and iron it to a same-size piece of freezer paper and run it through the printer, and then peel off the freezer paper.
The trick is to place the iron directly on the freezer paper… no steam. The fabric and freezer paper will become one– and your printer will treat the fabric combo as a single piece of paper. Just make sure to put the fabric face down in your printer, so it prints on the fabric. (I learned from Miss Hazelruthe).
I never had the heart to throw out those old flour sacks. My mom collected them from her mom when she died… and then, just I few short years later, there they were for me. They’ve been sitting in a linen drawer here ever since.
I stacked each fabric ornament with some low-loft stuffing, (also my Mom’s), and more muslin on the bottom to make a little pillow.
I went for the shabby look, letting the edges fray. Honestly, I was afraid the seams wouldn’t be straight, and this might hide my imperfections.
Then, I went through Grandma’s button jar and began to pick out the best ones for each to use an ornament hanger.
Finally, some new uses for all of my mom’s sewing stuff. And, I truly can’t thank Ann enough for these gorgeous drawings that made these pillows so beautiful.
I am so happy to use so much of my inherited stuff to make what are essentially, family tree ornaments. There is still time for you to start using the Jesse Tree Advent tradition in your home. There are lots of resources in this book, The Advent Jesse Tree: Devotions for Children and Adults to Prepare for the Coming of the Christ Child at Christmas
and a free online version here.