I have a confession to make… I have an insane doll collection. I haven’t added to it in years but I can’t seem to part with any of the dolls. I’ve thought about selling them but in the end I just couldn’t do it. It all began at my birth and my first baby doll, Victoria. My Grandma S. was a lover of all things Madame Alexander and so not just any baby doll would do for me. Victoria was the first in a long line of Madame Alexander dolls and other dolls that I would collect through the years. Christmas time marks the return of one of my favorite Madame dolls, my tree angel. Not your typical white angel, my angel is dressed in shades of burgundy, rose and gold and I spent years collecting ornaments and ribbons that would perfectly compliment her on our Christmas tree. But then the unthinkable happened, I had a daughter who wanted to help decorate the tree and not with my beautiful gold, burgundy and rose ornaments.
Since the first time I began showing an interest in art and design, Mom and I had created theme trees. By the time Daphne came around, Mom had settled on her favorite, a beautiful collection of icicles, snowflakes and white snowmen. This meant that she pawned all of her other ornaments off on me. This included everything from the orange 70’s bulbs to the hundreds of Hallmark ornaments my Grandpa would buy at his work. Daphne, of course, thought this was wonderful and began turning our Christmas tree into her own wonderful holiday creation. The first year she helped with the tree there was no ornament above 3 feet off the ground.
Unlike Mom, I resisted the urge to move ornaments around when she was done. Instead, I stepped back and let her have fun. My angel has been replaced by a beaded gold star that Daphne insisted was a perfect topper when she gave it to me as a birthday gift (I’m a December baby). I’ve embraced the fun of our eclectic tree and found ways to bring that into our overall holiday décor by creating custom holiday pillow covers with Daphne’s help.
Hand painted pillow covers
Supplies you’ll need:
Cotton duck or lightweight canvas fabric
Fabric paint & brushes (I love Martha Stewart craft paint from Michael’s for this)
Backing fabric (l used Richloom velveteen from JoAnn Fabric in red and green)
Zippers (your choice of regular or invisible depending on your installation preference)
Printed design to trace or sketch to copy
Measure and cut front and back fabric to desired size. I prefer my pillow covers to be about 1”-2” smaller than the insert size so they look nice and stuffed. I had Daphne plan out her design ahead of time and then set her up with a small brush, paint and her piece of canvas. For the Naughty, Nice & HO HO HO pillows, I printed them out on paper and then traced them onto the canvas. Hang them up to dry. Martha’s paint is great because you don’t have to do anything to set it like some paints that require you to iron them. Once they’re dry, sew your pillows. There are so many great pillow tutorials out there that I’ll just link to for those of you who don’t already know how to insert invisible zippers and make pillow covers. Why reinvent the wheel?
This year marked the first year that Sully could join Daphne in decorating the tree and it was hilarious to watch my mini Mom (we call her mini-Mary, she’s so much like her grandma) trying to direct her brother where each ornament should go. I even got to help this year. It was great to put our crazy mix of ornaments up and remember where each came from. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to go back to a matched tree unless I have more than one.