Recycle a doll and some soft-quilted sweaters
Here's how I made my Santa doll:
I started with a cotton rag doll in a thrift shop that was about 18" tall. I removed the embroidered face by pulling out the stitches and detached the yarn hair with a couple of snips of my scissors. Recycling a doll rather than making one from scratch saves a lot of time. I don't have photos of the original doll, but who knew my Santa would end up here on the Internet?
I painted a primitive version of eyes and cheeks with acrylic paint. I like the smudged effect of the brown eyes and very pale cheeks. It's all about looking rustic. Practice with paint on scrap fabric before trying the doll's face. For a beard, I stitched on strands of jute string. Shredding the jute a bit will bring out the curl.
The boots are simple circles of black velveteen held on with more jute string. No need to make the circles the same size.
To dress my Santa, I made a long T-shaped garment of recycled sweaters. Patchwork recycled knits first, and then cut out the garment shape using the doll for a pattern. By using a tight zig-zag stitch on a sewing machine instead of a straight stitch, you can cut recycled sweaters without fear of unraveling.
Get the white fluff from a fabric store to add to the cuffs and hem. Also, give your Santa a fuller shape by stuffing the front and back with poly-stuffing. You don't want a Santa to be too thin!
I used the same sweater patchwork to make Santa's hat, adding more white trim at the base and a brass button on the end. Take a look in your button box and find something cool for embellishing your Santa doll! That's so much fun!
I stitched the hands together so my Santa can hold something as he sits.
Here's my finished mixed-media soft Santa holding a bear ornament. The bear's hands are also connected (he was designed that way) so he could hold something too. I gave the bear a tiny lacquered apple to hold and the two have a front row seat by the Christmas tree.
A fun way to use up squirreled-away treasures.
Functional and decorative, these look great stacked near the tree to add atmosphere to a room.
Lots of good ideas for cool Christmas letters.