Handmade Christmas Gift: Embroidered States

Monday, January 2, 2012

I'm baaaaack.  I unintentionally took a wee break from blogging for the holidays, but now that 2012 has arrived, I'm ready to get back into the swing of things.  I hope your holiday was as enjoyable and relaxing as mine.  Did anyone else feel the need to rid your house of the Christmas "stuff" as soon as the packages were unwrapped on Christmas morning?  All of our things are put away now, except for our two Christmas trees and boy oh boy am I a lot happier!  I think I'm going to go simple with my decorating next year because all of the stuff just about drove me crazy this holiday season.

I don't know about you, but I like to give handmade gifts.  Taking the time to think through and execute a gift means a lot more than just picking up any random thing at a big-box store.  Handmade gifts let your recipient know that you care about them enough to take the time to create something for them.  I saw this idea from Kirstin of kojo designs back in October and knew that I had to create something similar for Christmas this year.

I made three NCs like the photo above, one Louisiana, and one frame with five openings (ND, The Netherlands, NM, AR, and NC, which sadly, I didn't get a photo of - nothing like finishing a gift on Christmas Eve!)  Here's a short and sweet tutorial for you, but feel free to click on over to Little Miss Momma for the original by Kirstin.

Two embroidery needles (one small, one a little larger)
Embroidery floss
Print out of your state outline (download Ding Maps here)
(I already had all of the above supplies so all this project cost me was the price of the frames - wahoo!)

I've mentioned time and time again my tried-and-true method of transferring images.  Take your pencil and rub it over the outline...

...flip your paper over, trace the outline onto your card stock...

...and voila!  Your state outline is now copied onto your card stock.  If you had a lower weight card stock, you could probably run it through your printer instead of tracing it.  Just make sure you reverse the image so your ink ends up on the wrong side of your finished product.  You wouldn't want any ink to show through your embroidery!  If you choose to trace, same principle applies... rub pencil graphite on the right side of your print out, then trace through the back so you end up with a reversed image.  Does that make sense?  I hope so.

Now the not-so-fun part.  Take your smaller embroidery needle and start punching holes in your paper every so often.  On straight edges, the holes can be further apart, whereas on curves or intricate parts, they would obviously need to be closer together.  NC is a little tricky because we have the Outer Banks, but I just did the best I could and it turned out fine.  Do yourself a favor - use a thimble!!  

After it's all punched, it's starting to look like something!

In case you're wondering, I waited until I had stitched around the entire perimeter before punching holes for the Outer Banks.  I didn't want my stitching to overlap anywhere.

On the first one I did, I thought I would be clever and backstitch the whole thing (instead of following Kirstin's advice and doing a normal stitch).  Boy did that use a ton of floss, not to mention it took forever!  Do yourself another favor, use your larger embroidery needle and stitch like this.  Yes, you have to stitch around it twice, but trust me, it's faster.

Yay, it's all filled in!  I did each state, start to finish, in about an hour.  Easy peasy!

I cut little hearts out of red felt and used a glue dot to stick them to the family's hometown.

I think they turned out adorable and were very well-received.  Now I just need to make one for myself.  Hmm... that never seems to happen.


  1. Thanks for the tutorial. I have everything to make this (I think I have the skills...we'll see haha). I love love love that I get to see NC too. Looks terrific!

  2. very nice, I think its neat to make a gift ,it shows it comes from the heart, and you know they dont have one already since it is one of a kind !
    Happy 2012 !!!

  3. Love,Love my gift! Your unique gifts always make me happy. I will post a picture of mine on facebook when I get time. Aren't you happy I didn't live in too many more places? Love ya. Missa