handmade Christmas

This years presents from me were almost entirely handmade by me. I confess that I bought one present for someone, but I did buy it on Etsy.


I made 3 sets of napkins, 2 pairs of pot-holders, 8 cloth shopping bags, 3 flannel pillow cases.

Also, 3 hats from recycled sweaters.


Napkins in progress-


And dish towels. I had a project near-fail here… I mean it wasn’t a complete failure, but I was disappointed in the outcome. These are the towels in progress- the bleach pen doing it’s thing.


I got inspired to try a bleach pen project from this post on Angry Chicken. My first experience was not a complete success. I used a nice soft linen fabric that had dye flaws in it already. That cut down on the stress factor, but I have to admit I was nervous. The fabric reacted very quickly to the bleach- the color was all gone in about 15 minutes- very different from what Amy described.  I need to note that I did a test on another piece of linen that did not react so quickly at all- much more like what was shown in the film clip. Anyway, I rinsed the dishtowels and napkins as I made them. When I was finished, I threw everything into the washing machine. They all came out with blue shadows where the fabric folded onto itself. Clearly the dye on this fabric was way too sensitive to the bleach. Oh well- they are usable. I just don’t like the blue with the green. I might try doing an over-dye experiment sometime, since I gave the napkins to Ben… so sort of to me!



Everyone else who gets presents will get cookies. I’ll be going down to Connecticut to do the cookie delivery on Tuesday. While I am there, I have plans to see this show about Mrs. Delany at the Yale Center for British Art.

9 thoughts on “handmade Christmas

  1. Thanks so much for the inspiration and update on your projects. I have also discovered that fabrics react very differently to bleach pens. Good to remind everyone to do a sample with the EXACT same fabric … and I also like your idea about using fabric with dye variations (and maybe even slubs) to reduce the stress factor.
    I need to start my list for next year’s projects TODAY!
    Hugs and Happy New Year …
    Betty :)

  2. Hi there! Love your blog and I have a bit of (unsolicited) advice for using bleach pens. I use them a lot for fabric designs, and you are right that you seldom need to leave the bleach as long as Amy suggests. Also, if you use a chemical called Anti-Clor, available from several mail order sources, it immediately stops the bleaching action so you don’t get haloing or contact bleaching when you wash the piece. An easy to find alternative is the stuff you put in fish tanks to neutralize chlorine in the water. You can often find it in the grocery store pet area. Just a few drops in water and rinse the piece. This is always advised also to prevent bleached areas from weakening in time because the chlorine doesn’t rinse completely from fabric and can continue to work on the fabric indefinitely.

  3. Hi Mimi,

    a friend sent me a link to your etsy video, an introduction to you and
    your work. I love what you are making ! I especially was interested in
    the dolls I saw that seemed to be animal people, mythical beings,
    maybe green people ? Would you let me know if your ever making those
    again ?

    Thanks, your work makes me smile !

    Missy Stevens

  4. Always a pleasure to read about your projects and so lovely to give handmade gifts. Beautiful and useful things, very William Morris, and lovely indeed!

  5. I saw the bleach pen idea at Angry Chicken too and have wanted to give
    it a try. Thank you for sharing your experience. I made all of my out of town
    gifts. They were quilted fabric postcards. A piece of art in the mail, no boxes, etc. : )

  6. The bleach stop stuff is really helpful. I get mine from Dharma Trading. I mix a solution of it and put it in a bucket in my work area and drop the yardage in as I finish it. Made a huge difference in my satisfaction with the process, because once I put it in, it stopped cold, and so it looked like I wanted it too.

    I like the analogy of a blog being a Christmas letter….not really a lie, but certainly rose colored…

Comments are closed.