Personalizing store-bought items is the easiest way to add a little "with love from me" to an otherwise ordinary gift. Last year, a friend asked if she could buy a set of personalized stockings from me after seeing the felt applique stocking that I had made for my son.
|Last year's monkey stocking plus this year's new baby monkey: Kids' names top secret :)|
Of course, selling personalized stockings was out of the question... I most happily made them as gifts. I spotted velveteen stockings at the local grocery superstore selling for a song* during the January clearances shortly after her request. I knew they would make the perfect backdrops for a brother and sister set of stockings.
The siblings are partly of Japanese descent, a hockey-loving older brother and as a sweet-as-a-doll baby sister. I wanted to use all of these facts to make the stockings one of a kind, and totally recognizable as being made especially for the kids with love. The first thing that came to mind was this gorgeous kokeki doll that I got from a trip to Japan. It seemed the perfect silhouette to mimic in felt, simple and bold.
After that initial inspiration, all I had to do was sit down with a pen and paper and start sketching ideas. Once I had the rough design down, I started cutting the shapes out of regular old craft store felt and sticking them down with white glue. Everything except for the letters and gingko branch, I cut freehand. I like the patchwork effect that you get by layering the different rough pieces of hair, face, clothing, etc one over another. The block letters on the hockey stocking were printed off the computer using a large sized serif-font and traced onto the felt. The script on the kimono girl stocking is my own handwriting "chunkified" (definitely not a word, but you understand perfectly, n'est-ce pas?). The gingko branch I just drew onto the wrong side of the felt and cut out with a small sharp pair of scissors. I used two different colours of felt for the letters to create a matte effect which totally reminds me of old school varsity letters.
|Mystery names :)|
The nice thing about a project like this is that it is meant to look handmade. There are lots of places to get get store-bought stockings professionally embroidered with your dear one's name, and there are a lot of tutorials on knitting or sewing your own stockings. Not everyone is so inclined to go wholly down the commercial route or wholly down the made-from-scratch road, so this is a nice compromise. The two stockings probably took just under 2 hours from the first sketch to completion (and could have been done even faster had I not chosen to design such an intricate gingko branch). It may seem tedious to cut small shapes out of felt, but it actually transported me back to early childhood and the joy I had in simply cutting felt/paper. The whole project could easily be done while watching your favourite show. This is definitely an economical, quick and fun way to give something that you put a lot of love into to someone you care a lot about.