I actually got all of my handmade Christmas gifts completed before Christmas! This is quite a feat for me. I tried to scale back my expectations as the day approached, which helped a great deal. I also postponed completion of all of Matt's handmade gifts as he has a birthday in February (very convenient).
The first project I completed was a pillow for my Dad.
All through my childhood, my Dad took us kids on a three- or even four-week long camping trip every summer. On these trips, we traveled all across North America, as far north as Newfoundland and as far west as the Pacific. We saw most of the biggies among the national parks--we camped in Yosemite and Yellowstone, we hiked around the Grand Canyon, we touched Mt. Rushmore. We spent countless hours driving across the country, watching the landscape change before our very eyes, puttering up mountains and across wide plains. As a kid, I took these trips rather for granted. But now, looking back, the sum of all those trips--the impact they had on my childhood--is amazing to me. I have seen so much of this beautiful country and spent so many wonderful times with my Dad. There are a lot of reasons I think my Dad is the best father in the world, but the fact that he took three kids (often unwilling, ungrateful children who whined about "why we had to camp so dang much") on these amazing trips tops the list.
This pillow commemorates the last big trip we took. The summer Twin and I graduated from college, she, Dad, and I went all the way to California in my Dad's VW Vanagon. All along the trip, I collected iron-on patches from gift shops. These patches have been sitting in one of my memorabilia boxes ever since, so I pulled them all out before Christmas and made a pillow for Dad. I used Heather Ross's awesome VW bus print and embroidered some Arlo Guthrie lyrics on the front. (Arlo Guthrie, Pete Seeger, Simon & Garfunkel and the Beatles made up the bulk of our soundtrack for these trips.)
In terms of specs, the pillow also sports snazzy striped piping and a lapped zipper (thank you Erin for the tutorial!).
My Dad is a tough one to shop for, but I think this was a hit. It certainly brought back a lot of wonderful memories for me as I made it.