The Best Midwestern Christmas Inspirations

Glass Christmas ornament hung on a tree branch

For the very first time, ever, I did not sew, quilt, paint, crosstitch or bake even one Christmas Inspired item this year.

In the past, my Janome would be humming – stitching, quilting, binding one Christmas inspired project after another.  I would be running to catch the elusive spool of thread as it rolled off the table and across the floor in an attempt to reach to the door before I do.

A couple of days after Thanksgiving I thought I would continue with a project I started last year – sewing together ornaments using felt or wool fabric.

This is as far as I got:

Handmade mitton on top of black and white buffalo check fabric

However, Santa is still on schedule to do a fly over in less than 1 week which leaves plenty of time to be blinded by a bright flash of inspiration. Stay tuned!

Although it has been quiet in The Sewing Room however, I am fortunate to live in an area where the spirit of Christmas can be seen in most every direction you look.

Inspiration 1: Powell Gardens Festival of Lights

The Fountain Garden

Fountain Garden at Powelll Gardens Quixotic Light Display at Powell Gardens

This botanical garden is full of surprises at any given day of the year. Halloween was spectacular and their winter / Christmas display of lights did not disappoint.

To better explain this I’ve included a couple of before images.

Top Left image: The Fountain Garden as it appears Spring, Summer and Fall.

Top Right image: In winter, water is replaced with mirrors and light to create this unusual light display.

The Quilt Garden

Qilt Garden at Powell Gardens Light Filled Quilt Garden at Powell Gardens

Top Left image: The Quilt Garden in Spring / Summer. The individual beds in each square is designed to resemble a quilt block.

The image on the right shows how they transformed each of the beds into a stunning light display. And like walking through the quilt block beds in the spring and summer, you can also walk into and throughout this entire light filled garden!

Isn’t it amazing to see how a few lights can transform winter’s drab into an uplifting and energizing spectacle!

Metal apple sculpture covered in lights at Powell Gardens Festival of Lights

Butterfly sculpture covered in lights at Powell Gardens Festival of Lights

Inspiration 2: Union Station, KCMO

Christmas light display Union Station KCMO

Christmas Tree in Union Station KCMO

Inspiration 3: My Pinterest Boards

I love a road trip and purchasing tickets and driving across town is always fun and inspiring. However, it’s easy to forget inspiration is right at my fingertips!

These are from my Christmas board:

Christmas themed fabric Christmas bags Applique Christmas themed pillow Redwork Christmas pillow

I have a bunch of redwork patterns that sadly, I keep forgetting I have. You know the song, “Out of sight out of mind”

Pillows, bags, mug rugs – these are relatively quick and easy to sew and will help fulfill one of my upcoming New Year’s Resolutions: to have gifts made ahead of time and ready for gift giving.

My time management skills this year were terrible! I let deadlines creep up on me and boy, did they move fast!

If time does allow, I’d like to do this wall hanging:

Vintage Christmas ornament wall hanging

I’m not able to locate the pattern author or fabric line so if anyone does know this information please pass it along in the comments below or send me an email. I not only love the vintage look, I think it would be a nice change from the one (shown below) that happily hangs from the upper railing overlooking the family room:

Christmas Tree quilt

Inspiration 4: Dept 56 North Pole Villages.

I truly thought I had out-grown this hobby… a hobby that could have easily spiraled into a full-blown multi-million dollar obsession. I’m not saying I’m headed down that rabbit hole but I think the past two years has awakened a sense of nostalgia. A need to return to safety, comfort, familiarity and tradition. If life isn’t returning to “normal” at least I need to feel like it is.

That, and, adding two new bookcases in the living room has given me an another “illuminating” area to display my village pieces.

This is a sample of my living room North Pole display:

Dept 56 North Pole Village

Dept 56 North Pole

Dept 56 North Pole Dept 56 North Pole

The attention to detail is what draws me to these pieces – especially the buildings but those little “elves”. They are beyond cute and just plain irresistible!

The village pieces shown below are from the Dept 56 North Pole Woods. This is my first time displaying them over the fireplace mantel – it may be the last…unless I’m able to find holiday garland that is more cooperative than what I used here. In fairness, I’ve had this garland almost as long as I’ve had these village pieces – somewhere between 16 – 18 years!

Dept 56 North Pole Woods

Inspiration #5 – Christmas Cards

Sending and receiving cards (for any occasion) is almost a lost art however, this tradition seems to be alive and well in Japan. As soon as we received this cute pop-up card from our friends from Osaka, Japan we lost no time finding a proper place to display on our tree.

Christmas Card from Japan

Below are examples, again taken from my Pinterest Christmas board, of handmade Christmas cards I’ll be putting on my “To-Do” list for Christmas next year.

The first is made from layers of fabric – I can see so many possibilities with this one!

Christmas cards made from fabric and buttons

This one from Folksy is made using embroidery thread:

Embroidered Christams card

When I see designs like the ones shown above I am immediately inspired to create my own versions. They feed my soul for things authentic, handmade and unique.

Rounding out my list of Christmas Inspirations:

A Return to Tradition.

The first is an old Christmas Tradition but one I’ve never had the time or patience to do myself –

Make a Gingerbread House

Thankfully, the fine and creative souls at Williams-Sonoma know about intrepid people and have my intrepid backside covered!

Williams-Sonoma Gingerbread House kit

The Holiday Gingerbread House for Dummies…surely I can do this!

The second is a tradition I do every year. Most years I will plant and grow an Amaryllis or two.

This year, a beautiful, red Poinsettia from Powell Gardens found it’s way to a perfect corner just off the dining room:

Red Poinsettia in white pot

And a second landed safely on a side table in the living room!

Red pointessia on table

Another Christmas tradition that, as impractical as these may be, I can’t live without

A new calendar to celebrate a new year!

Linda Nelson Stocks Folk Art 2022 calendar

I hope you found Christmas Inspiration on this page and if not, click on the links sprinkled throughout. Inspiration can be found in the most unlikely places and usually when you’re not even looking!

Christmas tree with lights reflected in window

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

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