Sunday, March 9, 2014


     Australia Day (previously known as Anniversary Day, Foundations Day and ANA Day) is the official national day of Australia.  Celebrated annually on January 26th, the day commemorates the arrival of the First Fleet at Sydney Cove in 1788.  The hoisting of the British flag there, and the proclamations of British sovereignty over the eastern seaboard of New Holland.

   Australia Day is an official public holiday in every state and territory of Australia, and is marked by the Order of Australia and Australian of the Year awards, along with an address from the Prim Minister.
   Although it was not known as Australia Day until over a century later, records of celebrations on January 26th date back to 1808, with Governor Lachland Macquarie having held the first official celebration of the formation of New South Wales in 1818.  In 2004, an estimated 7.5 million people attended Australia Day celebrations and functions across the country.

     The date is seen as controversial for many Australians, particularly Indigenous Australians, who see commemorating the arrival of the First Fleet as celebrating the destruction of the native Aboriginal culture by British colonists.  Dating back to the 1938 Day of Mourning, there have been significant protests from and on behalf of the Aboriginal community, and the birth of the alternative nae Invasion Day.  Others have begun to use the name Survival Day to highlight that a people and culture that was expected to die out has survived.  In light of these concerns, proposals to change the date of Australia Day have been made, but have failed to gain widespread public support.

   Some of things that happen on Australia Day include family meetings, picnics and barbecuses, parades, citizenship ceremonies, Order of Australia honours, and the Australian of the Year presentation.


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One of my favorite books as a child was a Little Golden Book version of the classic story, The Elves and the Shoemaker. I forced my mother to read it over and over until the binding split. What I loved the most, and wanted for my very own, were the curly-toed boots the little elves wore. These stockings are modeled after those very same elf boots. And they are just as cute as I remember.
This project is a bit advanced, but you don't have to be a shoemaker to make it happen. Read through the instructions first and study our helpful step-by-step illustrations and photographs. The trick is to feel confident working in three-dimensions. If you find yourself working in a fourth dimension … you need to take a break!
Our Citrus Holiday designs were made using Heather Bailey's delightful Pop Garden & Bijoux Collection. To learn more about how we created this non-traditional holiday palette, read our article: Citrus Holiday: A Lighthearted Living Room.

Sewing Tools You Need

Fabric and Other Supplies

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  • Fabric for stocking body: ½ yard of 45" wide fabric PER STOCKING: we used Heather Bailey's Pop Garden & Bijoux in Pop Daisy Cream, Pineapple Brocade Canary, and Peonies Red (3 different stockings= 1 ½ yards total.)
  • Fabric for stocking crown shape at top edge (4 cut pieces total): ¼ yard of 45" wide fabric PER STOCKING: we used Heather Bailey's Pop Garden & Bijoux in Mod Bead Green (3 stockings all in the same fabric = ¾ yards total).
  • Fabric for monogram letter AND stocking hook: ¼ yard of 45" wide fabric PER STOCKING (this ¼ yard will provide enough fabric for all 3 stocking letters and hooks that we have made here). We used a red cotton sateen.
  • Lightweight fusible interfacing for monogram letters: ¼ yard of 45" width fusing
  • All purpose thread
  • Matching thread color to monogram letter fabric for zig-zag embroidery stitch around letters
  • Small contrasting color pom-poms to sew onto 6 total crown points: 6 pom-poms PER STOCKING
  • Small amount of Poly-Fil to stuff into toe of stocking
  • See-through ruler
  • Pencil
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Hand sewing needle
  • Scissors
  • Tape
  • Straight pins

Getting Started

  1. Download and print the two patterns that make up the top and bottom of the stocking. Line them up along the horizontal dotted lines, tape the two pieces of paper together at this line, and cut out around darker, solid outside line. A ¼" seam allowance around the stocking edges and a ½" seam allowance at the top of the stocking have already been added to this pattern.
  2. Download and print the pattern for the stocking crown, and cut out around darker, solid outside line. A ¼" seam allowance around the sides and points, and a ½" seam allowance at the top crown edge have already been added to this pattern.
  3. Using your see-through ruler and pencil, draw two rectangles 18" high x 12" wide on the ½ yard of fabric you are using for the body of your stocking. Cut out around drawn lines.
  4. Place the two cut rectangles right sides together, lining up the raw edges. Pin the stocking pattern through these two layers of fabric, and cut around all edges. This is the front and back of your stocking, so if your fabric has a dominant design(s) as ours did, center your pattern piece to take best advantage of those design(s). Set the cut pieces aside.
  5. Using your see-through ruler and pencil, draw four rectangles 8" high x 10 ½" wide on the ¼ yard of fabric you are using for the stocking crown. Cut around drawn lines.
  6. Place two of the cut rectangles right sides together, lining up the raw edges. Pin the stocking crown pattern through these two layers of fabric, and cut around all edges.
  7. Repeat this step for the remaining two fabric rectangles, so you have cut four total stocking crown fabric pieces.
  8. Using the provided pattern downloads of alphabet monogram letters, print out the file(s), cut out the letter(s) you would like around the outside line, and set aside.
  9. For each monogram letter you desire, cut out a square of the fusible interfacing 2½" wide x by 2½" high, and fuse this square to the WRONG side of the fabric you are using for the monogram letters. Cut out this newly fused 2 ½" fabric square. The fusing makes the letter stiffer, and therefore, it's much easier to work with than plain, limp fabric.
  10. Place the cut-out monogram letter pattern onto the RIGHT side of a fused fabric square, trace around the letter with a fabric pencil, then cut out the fabric letter.
  11. Using your see-through ruler and pencil, draw a rectangle 7" high x 2¼" wide onto the fabric you are using for the stocking hooks. Repeat this step for each stocking you are making. Set aside.

At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board

  1. Pin the cut-out fabric letter at the center of one of your four stocking crown pieces. Using a matching thread color to the cut-out fabric letter color, applique around the outer edges of the cut-out letter using a short-stitch-length zig-zag stitch. Be sure the width of the zig-zag is wide enough to secure the raw edges of the cut-out letter to the stocking crown piece. Go slowly! Appliquéing a more intricate shape, such as these letters, is a more advanced technique than appliquéing a simple circle or square. Stop as often as you need to, with your needle in the DOWN position, and adjust your fabric so you are stitching in as straight a line as possible. You might want to practice on a scrap piece of fabric if you are new to appliqué.
  2. Pin the right side of this stocking crown piece with the letter to the right side of a second stocking crown piece, and sew a ¼" seam allowance along the left and right sides of the crown. Repeat this step with the remaining two stocking crown pieces. On the ironing board, press these ¼" side seams flat and open. You will now have two sewn stocking crown "circles"- one circle with a letter (this will be the crown showing on the outside of the stocking), and one circle without a letter (this will be the inside lining of the crown).
  3. Turn the stocking crown circle WITHOUT the letter inside out, so the right side of the fabric is now facing to the outside and the side seam allowances are facing to the inside. Now slide this circle inside the other circle with the letter. You now have the two circles facing right sides together.
  4. Pin these two circles together so their side seam allowances line up, as well as all the crown points. Sew a ¼" seam allowance around all the edges of the crown points, leaving the top of the crown open.
  5. Clip the seam allowance away from the crown points, and turn this now single crown piece inside out- see photo
  6. Using a dull point, like a knitting needle or the closed end of a pen, gently push out all the crown points and press them flat. Set crown aside.
  7. Find the 7" high x 2¼" wide rectangle(s) you made for your stocking hook. Follow the step-by-step instructions below to create the finished stocking hook(s). Set hook(s) aside.
  8. Find the front and back stocking pieces you cut out. Place them right sides together, matching up all raw edges. Stitch a ¼" seam allowance around the side and bottom edges of the stocking. LEAVE THE TOP OF THE STOCKING OPEN.
  9. Clip the seam allowance away from the stocking toe point. Then, being careful not to cut through your seam, clip into the seam allowance about every 1" - 2" all around the outer seam of the stocking. This allows the fabric to "give" a little and will help make the curves smoother when the stocking is turned inside out.
  10. Turn the stocking inside out through the open top. Take a small amount of the polyester fiberfill and stuff the toe point to desired fullness.
  11. Find your completed stocking hook(s). Fold hook in half to make a loop, lining up the raw edges so the loop is facing down inside the stocking, and edgestitch the hook to the inside left edge of the stocking. Stitch very close to the edge - approximately 1/8".
  12. Slide finished crown, with the letter facing out, inside the stocking, lining up the top raw edges and the side seams. The toe of the stocking should be facing to the right.
  13. Pin the crown to the stocking top and sew a ½" seam allowance around the entire top edge.
  14. After sewing the ½" seam, flip the crown to the outside of the stocking - almost as if you were turning up the cuff of a sleeve. Press the edge of the seam flat.
  15. Using your hand sewing needle and thread, sew a pom-pom onto each of the six crown points.

Hints and Tips

If you intend to use the stocking for more than decoration, and intend for Santa to fill it with heavy objects (like gold and silver coins, because you've been very, very good), you should consider reinforcing the stocking seam. After sewing the ¼" seam around the outside stocking edges (step #8 above), sew another ¼" seam directly on top of the first ¼" seam, to give extra strength.


    For the people of Punjab, the festival of Lohri holds a great significance, as it marks the harvesting season and the end of the winter season. The main event is the making of a huge bonfire which is symbolic of the homage to the Sun God for bringing in warmth. Celebrated on January 13th every year. Lohri festivities are associated with the harvesting of the Rabi crops. There is a special significance attached to the celebration of Lohri as this day the sun enters the rashi (zodiac) of Makara (Capricorn), this is considered auspicious as it signifies a fresh start.
    Lohri has special significance for the agriculturists because, it marks the beginning of a new financial year, on this day they settle the division of the products of the land between themselves and the tillers. Lohri assumes greater significance, if there has been a happy evet in the family, such as the birth of a child or a marriage in the past year. The family then plays host to relatives and friends and "making merry" is the order of the day. Most people participate in dancing the bhangra ( a folk dance) to the accompaniment of the dholak.

    The festival of Lohri is linked to the atmospheric physical changes. Lohri celebrations generate a lot of bonhomie as people sit around the bonfire, talking, laughing, exchanging pleasantries, praying for prosperity, even as they make offerings of til (gingelly), moongphali (peanuts) and chirwa (beaten rice) to the burning embers. All these accounts and references point to the significance of saluting the Sun. The Sun is a symbol of plenty it gives us all we need. Fire sanctifies their endeavors for a good life on the one hand and destroys evil spirits on the other.

The First Lohri

    On the first Lohri of the recently wedded bride or a new born child, people give offerings of dry fruits, revri (a kind of candy made of sugar and sesame seeds), roasted peanuts, Sesame Ladoo and other foods to the fire, as well as sharing them with their family and friends gathered around the fire. They perform the "Bhangra" dance, in groups around the fire. The dancing and singing continues well into the night. The Bhangra dance has rhythmic movements of the feet, shoulder and body, with outstretched hands and a lot of clapping by women partners. Food eaten, is generally of vegetarian and traditionally, no alcohol is supposed to be consumed.

The First Lohri of a Bride

    The first Lohri of a bride is considered very important. It is celebrated with increased fervor and on a larger scale. The family of the newly wedded wife and husband gather around the fire wearing their best, often new clothes, decorated with beautiful Punjabi embroidery in gold and silk threads with mirror work. The newly married woman wears new bangles, applies henna or "mehndi" on their hands and puts a colorful bindi, a decorative spot on their foreheads. The husband also wears new clothes and colorful turbans. The new clothes and jewelery is given to her by her new in-laws. She wears bangles almost up to her elbows. The mother-in-law presents heavy garments and jewelry to he new bride. The bride remains in her in-law's house where a grand feast is arranged and all the sons and daughters, with their spouses and children and all of their close friends and neighbors are invited. In the early evening, when all have arrived, the new bride is dressed in her best salwar suit or phaphra and is made to sit, along with her husband, in a central place where the father and mother in law perform the presentation of clothes and jewelry. The close relatives and friends also join in and present clothes or cash to the new bride.

The First Lohri for a Newborn

    The first Lohri of a new born is also a special occasion, in which all friends and family join to celebrate. it is preformed in the later part of the evening. Invitations can be sent for this function, depending on how the family wants to celebrate this occasion. The event is observed at the home of the child's parents, in the presence of close relatives, friends and well wishers. All the guests usually bring gifts for the baby and the new mother. The child's grandparent's give gifts to the child's paternal relatives also.
    On the first Lohri of a new born baby, the mother is attired in heavy clothes and is wearing a lot of jewelery with mehndi on her hands and feet and sits with the baby in her lap. The family does the presentations. The mother and father-in-law usually gives a large quantity of presents in the form of clothes and cash and others in the immediate family do so also. The maternal grandparents also send gifts of clothes, sweets, rayveri, peanuts, popcorn's and fruits.