This year I’ve tried to step out of my comfort zone a little more by participating in swaps. It started with the Aussie Modern Instabee and it’s kind of snowballed from there. I’ve hosted a couple of swaps and I’ve even volunteered to be a ‘Moderator of Awesome’ for the Schnitzel & Boo Mini Quilt Swap. So when I saw that Ros (of Sewdelicious) was hosting a Sweet Pouch Swap – Christmas Edition I just couldn’t say no.
The parcel needed to include:
- A Christmas themed handmade pouch
- Some Christmas sweets / chocolate / candy for your partner to enjoy. Please ensure that these are packaged goods to comply with customs & quarantine laws.
- A lovely Christmas card or postcard from your home town.
- Your contact details (email, return address) so your partner can thank you when their parcel arrives.
- Extras? Sure, if you like 🙂 I often send a couple of crafty things or a fat quarter or two. Optional!
I headed to the only place to get a good tutorial on making a zipper pouch: Noodlehead. This is a great tutorial for people, like me, who aren’t that confident at just winging it when the item in question is for someone else. If you follow the tutorial you’ll get a great pouch every time.
I had just purchased some vintage looking santa fabric from a local store and I thought this would be a great place to start, then my eyes landed on my Aunty Cookie fabric and a fabulous plan hatched. I started with these two characters and then improvised a vaguely looking log cabin type block using fabrics that I thought invoked a Christmas feel without screaming “hey, it’s Christmas look at me!”.
I decided to keep the colours to just blues, reds and whites/creams. Christmas in Australia is in the midst of Summer and so I’m always looking for things that are “cool” and I’m liking the way this colour palette reminds me of ice. Plus those little penguins just scream “keep cool baby”.
I managed to sneak in some gnomes on the front (although they’re hiding in most photos). I used flannel as the batting to make it softer and hopefully over time it will get a really lovely feel to the whole thing because of the flannel. It does mean however that the pouch has a little problem standing on it’s own, but really, who ever stands up an empty pouch?
I dipped into some of my treasured gnome fabric stash to put these guys (and gals) on the back. That little squirrel is just too cute. I wanted to do the back in a solid piece to give it a nice contrast to the chaos that is the front. I did a really simple straight line quilting in a 3.5″ stitch length using Aurifil #2805 50wt. (I’m slightly pleased the the quilting lined up on one end of the pouch – I didn’t even try for that – complete fluke!)
I lined the pouch with some fabric that just screams Christmas because I figured you wouldn’t see the lining that often and it’s kind of nice to open it up and see Santa waving at you. I used this fabric the first Christmas we had with the Little Man so it’s nice to see it being used for something else – keeping the joy of loud Christmas fabric going.
I wasn’t sure what to put in my pouch, so when in doubt I went with chocolates that I love. I had so much fun shopping for someone else and trying to work out what little things they’d like to get. I couldn’t resist the reindeer pillowcase from Kmart – it’s just so much fun and I figured it could either be used as a pillowcase or cut up and used in another project. (I’m totally going back in the post Christmas sales and seeing if I can grab a couple for me to use for next years sewing projects!)
I popped in some sweet inspired stationery (can never have too much cute stationery) and some sweet inspired Christmas decorations. What’s missing from this photo is the pack of Cadbury Christmas Magic Elves that I also included – I may have eaten the first bag… whoops! The hazards of having swap inclusions waiting in the house to be posted out.
I’m really happy with this little parcel of goodies – normally I see swaps and see all the fabulous things people post out and feel so inadequate because I feel like I suck at sending cool parcels, but not this one. This one I had a heap of fun with and I’m really happy with it, I just hope my swap partner likes it.
My biggest take away from this swap; don’t let fear hold you back. Seriously, if you’re thinking about being in a swap – do it, especially if it’s something small. It’s a lot of fun and you can pick up some really cool little things to include these days that make it a little more fun-er to make and send. I know I’m going to be hosting and participating in more swaps come 2015 (the trick will be pacing myself!).