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Papa’s Bird Memory Ornament

Today’s ornament in my 12 Days of Handmade Ornaments series is very special to me.  It may not look like anything great, but to me it means a lot.  The title on the photo should give you an idea as to why. Also make sure to take a look at all of my other homemade Christmas ornament tutorials!


Ever since I can remember, my grandpa (who we called “Papa”) wore these long-sleeve, button up, plaid or striped shirts.  He paired those shirts with some jeans, a big belt buckle, and his grey, New Balance, shoes.  One year we bought him a “Worlds Greatest Grandpa” hat, and he wore it every day until we had to buy him replacement ones.  He was very proud of being a grandpa, and all of us grandchildren loved him very much. (Aw dang, now I’m starting to tear up.)

The only time I ever saw him waver from this uniform, was when he had to get dressed up for special occasions.  For those, he had a brown suit that he would wear.  This is him dancing with me at my wedding.  Those suit pockets are filled with the programs from pretty much every funeral he’d ever been to.  Haha!  Please excuse the weird look on my face.  I was touched that he got up to dance with me… apparently this is my “touched” face.

Papa was an avid bird watcher and almost never left the house without his trusty binoculars.  I remember countless times being in the car with him and having to pull over so he could stop and look at birds.  Thanks to him, I now know how to identify several local birds.  Every time I see a bird, I think of him.

He passed away about five years ago, and my mom still has a few of his old clothes.  I asked if I could have a shirt and a pair of pants to make something special for Christmas.  To me, Christmas is a time of reflecting on the past and making family traditions.  This Christmas, I’m making one of these little bird ornaments for everyone in my family.  I am making birds, for obvious reasons, but you can make whatever you like.  A heart, a cat, a car, or even just a circle.  If you want to make a bird, you can use my pattern here.

Trace the pattern onto the paper side of some fusible interfacing (I used Wonder Under, Pellon 805).  The interfacing keeps the fabric from fraying around the cut out wing.

Iron the Wonder Under (webbing side down) onto the back of the fabric.  This is fabric from my grandpa’s shirt.

Cut out the pattern.

Peel off the paper backing.

Iron the bird onto the front of another piece of fabric.  This is fabric from my grandpa’s jeans.

Cut off the excess of the second fabric so you have your bird again.

Using three strands of embroidery floss, make a running stitch around the wing.

Cut a second bird out of the first fabric.

Pin the two birds right sides together and add a little loop of ribbon for hanging.  You want the loop to go inside the bird like in the picture.


Sew a 1/4 inch seam around the bird, leaving a small opening on the bottom.

Turn the bird right-side-out and iron it flat.  Fill the bird with stuffing and hand stitch the opening closed.

A little piece of grandpa to remember him at Christmas.

Miss you Papa!

<<click here to go to day nine of this series>>

Now that I’ve thoroughly depressed everyone for the day, make sure to go back to the first post in this series to enter the giveaway!  I’ll be announcing winners in just a few more days.

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