Saturday, July 16, 2016

Christmas 2016 Gift One: A Family Tree Pillow

 So, the first Christmas gift of the year is done.  Yay!  Always good to keep on top of these things.

For this gift, I decided to combine an odd...err...I mean cool...kind of combination of things together.  A family tree and a throw pillow.  Why?  Because it turns out stinking cute that's why *laugh* and is something that, really, who would have one before you made one for them?

In this case I made a family tree pillow for my sister-in-law.  I went online to look for a cute tree template to use as inspiration and found one on this page.  I then redid it a bit to fit with a fall theme instead of a Spring theme like they had in the original template.  The main reason being that I wanted it to go more with my sister-in-law's decor/tastes.  She collects sunflowers, so I went with a fall theme and added in shades of yellow commonly found in sunflower paintings.  For the pillow I used a light blue-grey in a duck like fabric for durability for one, ease of cleaning for two and because she has dishes in blue grey that she has collected, for three.  I then made the names of her, her husband her kids in two shades of alternating blue around the tree when it was done (not quite the same shade as I used for the font above, but you get the idea either way).  I thought, overall, it turned out really cute.

By the way, I didn't want to share the name of my sister-in-law and her family (I'm sure you understand) so for stand in names I used some alternates.  They are...

Emma Peel
Maxwell Smart
Mike Smart (inspired by Mike Hammer)
Joe Smart (inspired by Joe Hardy)
Frank Smart (inspired by Frank Hardy...the Hardy boys in case you're curious there :)
And Jim Smart (inspired by Jim Rockford)

I know that they aren't all detectives, nor are they all secret agents, but darn that'd be a cool family ;).

Around the tree I also wrote different phrases that, to me, all go with the theme.  "Family, Loyalty, Love, Faith".  Just in case you can't read my terrible handwriting translated into embroidery *laugh*.

Now, I know that not everyone has the want or the skill to embroider something like this, so I came up with some ideas to do this on your own, or something close in case you don't sew.

1.  Look up a free family tree template online and fill in the boxes in your favorite PDF program or word processing program (whatever is required).  Print off the family tree onto a t-shirt transfer (be sure to follow the directions on those as a lot of times they tell you to mirror flip the image before printing so the print is going the right way when you iron it on) and then fuse the t-shirt transfer onto a pillow case.  Tuck in the ends around a pillow form and use safety pins to secure it together around the pillow (try to hide the safety pins, of course).  It won't be "perfect" but the person you give it to can always sew some velcro or something onto the ends to make the cover work better for them if they wish.  Or you could just leave it on a pillow case for someone to place on their bed.

2.  Make a basic tree form out of felt (lollipop trees work here) and then place little apple shapes or leaf shapes around the tree and write the names you need on the shapes with a black sharpie/permanent marker (be careful and try to use good handwriting).  Glue onto your background fabric (if you don't have sewing ability go and buy yourself a throw pillow even) with some good crafting/fabric glue.  It might not have the staying power as a sewed item, but it'll still turn out cute I bet!

So total cost to make gift:  Nothing as I had all the materials around here.  Time it took...well I'd estimate about six hours as I did this when I had spare time during the week and was working on another Christmas gift at the same time, so I have to say I wasn't really keeping track, but it did take a while.  Especially the tree trunk.  This thing definitely qualifies as one of the biggest pieces of embroidery I've ever done to date.

So, one gift down.  A lot more to go!


  1. Beautiful, your sister-in-law will be lucky to receive this for Xmas.

  2. That is a wonderful gift you made ❤️

  3. Erika, I LOVE it! What a gorgeous gift for your sister-in-law. If she doesn't love this pillow, there is something seriously wrong with that girl! *laugh*

    Another suggestion, for those who cannot sew, is to print this off the computer onto some nice paper and frame it in a nice frame (possibly from a thrift store). You could even use some pretty scrap booking paper as a boarder to give it a more professional or polished look. Of course, since you are printing it, you could use photos of the people with their names as another option.

  4. This is beautiful! You are very talented.

  5. Oh my goodness do I love this!

    Thanks so much for sharing - it turned out beautiful!

  6. Awesome! What a beautiful original gift. You are so creative. Thanks for sharing with us.
    Take care.

  7. Absolutely beautiful. Dorothy

  8. A very sweet and thoughtful gift! Even if you had all the money in the world, this would still be the best gift ever. Chris

  9. A lovely gift. I admire your handcrafts - you really are talented!

  10. LOL!! I was all like wow....that's a lot of people named after secret agents...glad you explained!! :D

    That's the just awesome, just gorgeous!! Well done!!

  11. Your pillow is going to make a great gift Erika. Wondering if the whole family will want them next year for a gift. Cheryl

  12. I really enjoy reading your blog. I don't think I have ever commented before, but I couldn't resist with this post. This gift speaks volumes to me about the beauty of your soul. The thoughtfulness of keeping the likes of the recipient in mind, the time spent in creating, is just amazing to me. You inspire me to be more frugal, and I admire your strength during life's trials.

  13. This is the coolest gift I have ever seen!! I would love this! Beautiful work!

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  15. That's too funny! I was sure thinking it would be quite silly if Maxwell Smart had such a family:)

    The pillow itself sure looks great. I love the fall colors.

  16. Love it. Gorgeous. I want to make one for myself.

  17. What a terrific idea-I love it !