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Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Birthday Stanley Tree! Hip Hip Hooray!

DS ( the younger ) has a birthday smack in the middle of a much bigger birthday party.  We have plans as he gets older to convert his birthday into a Festivus theme, and to focus on his 1/2 birthday with a start of summer party,  but regardless of competitive events, anybody's birthday should be a big deal.  It's your benchmark day, and things should be done to make that day remarkable.
Stanley Tree From Sewaholic

When Sewaholic released their free Stanley Tree pattern last month, it spoke to me immediately : I was tempted  (yet resisted ) to make one up immediately.  I love Christmas crafts, but with Mrs Claus on my plate I was able to put it aside.  Not dis-similarly, I was intending to "skip" the birthday.  I had surgery scheduled the week approaching Christmas and figured I had enough on my plate. 
Family intervened and declared that the kiddo's birthday
Shall not Pass without acknowledgement
My guy's day is going to be special and toddler themed with plenty of Elmo, even though right now he doesn't seem to know that it's a deal at all.  He has just started recognizing Santa, and loves the "Ella Trees" we see.  ( "Ella" is Christmas Lights. ) Knowing daycare, though: he'll come home this week knowing what a birthday and cake is.

I believe strongly that benchmark days are to be done well, and we are faced with two benchmarks back to back.  So, I reason, the little guy's birthday needs to be differentiated from the big guy's birthday.   I decided, for his birthday, that DS ( the younger )  needs a corner of the house unChristmased and he should have a center piece tree of his own. 

Last week, I gathered together my stashed Hip Hip Hooray ribbon from SIL's gifts (Gymboree clothing store's feature theme for giftwrap )  and headed over to my local quilt supply shop (Stitch by Stitch),  where I will be teaching again this Spring) to select a birthday fabric to coordinate with the ribbon and stand out against the Christmas backdrop of our house.  I don't often succumb to the draw of the quilting cottons, so it was a huge treat to browse  the stacks.  It was an even greater treat to buy enough fabric for a whole project at once for under $15 and churn it back out again immediately.

Spectrix You Are My Sunshine by Debi Hron stood out nicely,  and was priced in my range.
I decided that I could skip the prewash and quickly taped together the brief pdf, and started cutting right away.

The instructions are easy enough, and the pattern is reflective of the amount of detail I saw in my other recent Sewaholic project.  I would recommend this pattern and pdf as a sample of their style before committing to a Sewaholic purchase.  I appreciate the Sewaholic pdf features light grey gridlines even on this 6 page pdf - Gridlines are always a nice reassurement that you haven't gone wonky with your paper trimming.

I stitched up the three sections,  leaving gaps at the notches as suggested, then pressed the heck out of them and notched the edges before I turned them right side out.  I pressed again, and then connected the sections at the central branch.  I stuff the sections as described,  but I used some long strips of poly batting left over from another project, and then backfilled each section with uncooked rice just before I hand-stitched each opening.  The weight added by the rice is a nice touch.

Where we would normally place a star, I put a quickly drafted  varsity-style initial.  I had a box of old school bells that have a great peal, so I decided to use them at the branches and tack them on with my Hip Hip Hooray ribbon.

Finally, I tacked a temporary feature, a 2015 portrait to claim the tree as territory of the kiddo. 
The effect is perfect.  It's clearly a celebration tree. It's a flag all on its own staking Birthday territory and creating a distinct space to celebrate a very special birth, and to capture the benchmarks for 2015.

As normal, there are no affiliate links in my posts - I'm just not that impactful  :)  Links are usually made for interest, expansion on the word, and to explain my obscure cultural references.

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