In a comment down below somewhere I promised (sort of) a craft-related post. Well... the picture I need for said post is still inaccessible at the moment so this is the interim craft related post which is really a total cheat because any actual crafting took place long, long ago.
My mother made stockings for my sister and me when we were kids. They were knitted, mine of pink wool with yellow designs, my sister's of yellow with pink. They brilliant thing about knitted stockings is that they stretch beautifully. We helped this process by taking them down from the mantle and wearing them around the house a lot.
When I married Kirk she knitted another stocking for him out of odds and ends of yarn so its all done in stripes. When my sister married she went all out and designed a themed stocking for the new Superior Uncle. Uncle is a research chemist so the stocking had a test tube... knitted in an interestingly peachy-brown colored wool so that Uncle took one look at it and spluttered "What is THAT??" I believe a certain amount of discussion might happen each year now over who gets to have the penis stocking. (Isn't that fun? I got to use "penis stocking" in a Christmas post and now my Google search results are going to be veeeeery interesting!)
For the first couple of years with children we didn't fuss much about stockings. Kirk and I didn't bother putting them up for ourselves, and Child 1 could make do with my old one for a little bit at least. For some reason though when the Children were around 5, 3 and 2 I decided we needed real stockings, and since three small children, two parents in full-time work and school AND the upcoming holiday weren't enough I naturally had to make them myself.
I made three quite different designs which naturally meant that the two girls endlessly squabbled over who got the "best" stocking and who was stuck with the inferior one that year. Unfortunately the "best" stocking was in a box that was sent through the mail recently and, along with an interesting assortment of other items* it was lost. However, here are the remaining two:
Terrible picture - and this is post-Photoshop but...
I didn't use a pattern because they are so simple. The cuff on the pink stocking is linen trimmed with beads, the dark red one (honestly, it's a lovely dark red in real life) is velvet with silver snowflakes free-hand embroidered on it.
The missing stocking was cream satin with an embroidered garland across it (sage green with ribbon-roses - I had recently read a ribbon-embroidery book as I remember)
Fascinating, wasn't it? But wait! As soon as I rescue the missing picture... yup, just keeps getting better.
*Interesting other items include: 1 scale-mail doublet, 1 home-made trebuchet (disassembled) and 1 pair fuzzy blue slippers. I would love to know what the lost-and-found post office people are making of that. It's possible that they confiscated the package under homeland security believing we were planning a medieval invasion of some sort (some sort meaning "with very warm if slightly Muppettish toes").