Welcome to the Christmas in July blog hop that is hosted by Carol at Just Let Me Quilt! I was excited to sign up for this hop because I had the perfect project to share!
In January my friend Jamie sent me a vintage felt Christmas tree skirt that was 50+ years old and was in some desperate need of some love and attention.
It was stained and discolored, it had a few holes in it and it had some items hanging loose and nearly falling off.
She wanted it to be brought back to life somehow.
My first idea was to soak it in "Retro Clean", designed to bring age-stained fabric back to life.
It was not successful. 😕
My next step was to purchase some felt. I planned to move all of the appliques to the new felt.
I wasn't happy with the look after I sewed the beaded and sequined edging to the new felt. It made me even cringe a little!
I took the edging off and put all of it back in the closet until I figured out what to do next... When I asked Jamie if she wanted the skirt to be made of red felt her response was "Not necessarily, but it was my childhood Christmas tree skirt. So if you change it to a different material, make it grand. "
Um... no pressure!
I located a pre-quilted red fabric in my local wally world fabric department and knew this was it...
I carefully removed all of the bows and ornaments and then machine appliqued them on the new skirt. It was slow going because of all the bling. But the more I got done, the more I liked it.
Jamie had let me know that there was no need for a center hole or opening as she planned on placing a special ceramic tree atop the skirt.
Jamie shared this story...
We lived in San Antonio on Valleyfield Dr. So did Mrs. Dorothy Fishback. Mrs. Fishback lived several houses down the street. She and mom enjoyed visiting and would talk about their latest crafts. Mrs. Fishback had been an artist for Hallmark cards as a young lady. I remember she would painted lovely floral pictures on miniature canvases as bookmarks and as little mementos to send us in the mail after we moved away.
Mom and Mrs. Fishback stayed pen pals your decades. Dorothy was born Dec 12, 1901 and passed away June 26, 1997. That generation knew how to pen lovely letters.
Mrs. Fishback was always sending us little packages of goodies she had painted or sewn, especially at Christmas time. One year she made us all an ornament that was cut from Styrofoam and then covered in tiny sequins. They hang on my Christmas tree now and they are just as lovely as they ever were. Now we call them "vintage".
One year, my father commissioned Mrs. Fishback to make a tree skirt for my mother as a Christmas gift. Of course, it was to be a surprise. My dad enjoyed Christmas so much and put a lot of forethought into his gifts. Mom can't recall the year but she feels that Mrs. Fishback must have been in her 80's by then.
I recall the tree skirt fondly. Some years it was under our pine Christmas tree that we'd cut down from our wooded back yard. Some years it resided under the three tier ceramic Christmas tree that Brenda Collier made when "everyone" was doing ceramics.
As my parents minimized Christmas with age, the tree skirt would cover the marble top table we had inherited from my Grandma Becker. On top of the tree skirt would be a Norfolk Island Pine tree that they had grown from a sapling. The tree pot eventually leaked on the red felt which bled and stained the white ornaments.
I found the tree skirt folded neatly among the other ornaments made by Mrs. Fishback in the attic on my most recent visit home to see my mother. I absconded with all I could pack in my car, including the three tier ceramic tree and macramé wall hangers made by Mrs. Mattern.
This Christmas I was surrounded by my childhood memories and of our dear friends and family members, some still alive and others who have passed on.
I wanted the tree skirt to be vibrant and rejuvenated. I knew Melva would be the perfect person to fix the skirt.
Before sending the skirt back to Jamie I had a little photo shoot...(it was a quick one, so please just ignore the mess in the background.) Here is the completed, restored skirt with a fabric tree that was made by my Grandma...
Merry Christmas... in July! Be sure to visit all of the other blogger that are participating and see how they are celebrating Christmas in July - they are listed below.
And be sure to come back again later this week to see another Christmas project that was on my UFO list. Oh, can I mention with the completion of this particular project, there is only one project that remains! Woohoo!