Christmas is coming!

Well, gang, as you know, Christmas is around the corner.  What a creative smorgasbord of ideas!  I'm looking forward to making Christmas themed pillows, cloth napkins, red and green paper chains, paper snow flakes hanging from fish line from my dining room ceiling, and perfectly crafted card board Christmas trees with pristine finger-print "ornaments", from my darling children Alex (3 Years) and Ian (11 months).  Well, so far I created the chain (tried to get Alex in on the action, taping the loops closed was a bit of a challenge, but she did do one!)  Suddenly, the reality of the cold set in.  Blanket shortage!  Day care is too cold!  Must make blankets, vests and other snugglies.  On top of that, the "Alex" bag that my daughter dutifully carries with her that she puts all her Princess figures, books, toys and anything else she can cram into it, has been scraped along the driveway one too many times, and needs to be replaced (after 10 repair jobs, thee isn't enough fabric to stitch up anymore!)  So, Christmas is getting shoved aside, for the time being, to make way for "practical" projects.  Hopefully after Thanksgiving, red and green glitter will once again dance in my dreams.

So, to prioritize, here's my "current" list of projects, subject to change at my or my kid's whims:

1.      "Alex" Bag.  I went to JoAnn's and got 1/4 yard of pink Marine grade vinyl for the bottom (hopefully will stand up to multiple driveway draggings!) and 1/2 yard of flowery outdoor fabric for the body and handles of the bag.  Upper lip and pocket will be the vinyl as well, and I'll attempt to write ALEX on the pocket with different colors of satin stitched thread.  Just got a roller foot from Amazon, hopefully will make going over the vinyl easier (hate trying to use tissue!)
2.      Fleece Vest for Alex.  Daycare is cold, and it's hard getting a kid to wear a shirt AND a sweater.  Had a hard time finding a 7" separating zipper, JoAnn's had mostly larger sizes.  Finally got a cream colored one, labeled "lightweight", hopefully it'll be substantial enough for a lined fleece vest.  Might have to look on line for an alternative, will post if I find a good source.
3.      CHRISTMAS!!  First up - Round pillow covers for my living room.  I found stripped red/green fabric that I've started to cut into triangles.  Will pieces 4  of them to make a square pattern out of the strips, and them cut out the circle shape for the pillow.  Simple pocket opening in the back (don't feel like dealing with zippers this time!)  Found a complementary fabric for the sides.
4.      Cloth napkins - with the leftovers from the pillow project, will make double sided napkins, probably around 14" square.  Just put two squares together. wrong sides together, stitch around leaving an opening.  Turn inside out, press, and decorative stitch about 1/4" from the perimeter.  Easy!
After all the bustle is complete, I've already got my January projects picked out.  Don't want to be left high and dry after the Holidays!  I want to get back into knits, and I got a simple t-shirt pattern from Burda (3197) that I want to use as a template for some fun color blocking.  I got fed up with some Rayon knits I got form JoAnn's (stretched way out, little recovery) so I want to go with a cotton/Poly blend, see if I have more luck.  Already have about 6 picked out at!

Hi Everyone!  This is my first of what will hopefully be many post describing my sewing experience, frustrations and triumphs  I hope you'll enjoy!