Thursday, January 3, 2013

DIY Forts and a Christmas Miracle

Auntie, you rock! If I was counting on one Christmas miracle, I'm pretty sure that hearing those three little words at some point during the holiday might just have been it. But to get there, I pretty much had to pull off a miracle of sorts myself. 

I've always been a bit over ambitious with the type of projects I tend to take on.  I plan and plot, source and shop.  I am an ardent collector of images meant to inspire and I am prone to amassing project materials to be used at some point, "someday". These little a-frame forts, well, they were one  such project that sat and weedled away in my little brain for the better part of the last year. In more recent months, I had sketched several renditions, changing mock ups as new trends in fabric and accessories emerged. They were always intended to be made as Christmas gifts for my beloved nephews and nieces and I was set on awing them with individualized style and trimmings that would speak directly their very different personalities.  

But timing really is everything. For all my planning, what might have otherwise been a fun and painless project snuck up on me in the end, snowballing along with the dozen or more other handmade goodies I decided to juggle in the last month before Christmas. I so badly want to look like a rockstar and tell you that pulling these three little forts together was a breeze. But I can't do so in good conscience. I ran short on fabric- twice... the hand-studded trim almost put me over the edge one particularly tiresome evening and I realized halfway into the last one that I had the wrong thread (note to self:  I don't care how pretty the color is, heavyweight canvas should not be sewn with delicate viscose thread). Cut to said thread breaking mid-stitch on the machine 19 times per panel. For four evenings and a day I whined my way through the details, frustrated and sure none of the three would turn out half as good as I imagined. 

Hand-studded trim lined the opening to my nephew's striped canopy, while oversized poms and gold sequined trim fancied up the entrance to my niece's bohemian retreat. 

And then suddenly, the clouds parted and they were called finished. 

In those final hours before the holiday, they stood around our tree and I felt accomplished. Hell, I was excited, even giddy. I couldn't wait to pack them up and deliver them to those smiling little faces on Christmas. There was no way they would not love them at first sight.

And so it all went to plan where my sister (unaware of these oversized gifts until they arrived Christmas day at her doorstep- surprise!) busied her children behind closed doors while their Uncle and I set these custom forts up in their respective bedrooms. I had butterflies in my stomach as we unveiled them one at a time and lo and behold if the first words out of their mouths were not "What is it?". I have to admit, I was a little deflated.

Then a funny thing happened. At the end of the night, after all of the gifts were torn open, they asked if we couldn't put them together in one bedroom so they all could sleep in a "super-fort". Suddenly, it was all they could focus on. I jumped inside and filled the colorful a-frames with pillows and blankets stolen from every room in the house (hell, I was so tired that I was ready to settle in myself) when all of a sudden, I got my miracle.

"Auntie, you rock!"

"Really? I rock?"

"Yeah. This is the greatest Christmas present ever."

I heard they slept there for two more nights.



Sadie + Stella said...

You are a badass aunt! Seriously. Cannot believe you made these!

Kristen said...

Wow Wow Wow. These turned out incredible! I'm sure all your hard work payed off in the end. I want one for myself!

celine [starbies and sangrias] said...

Those are unbelievable. I have 2 words for you: Etsy Store. Oh also, 4 more, "Make me one please?!?" xoxo

Erin | Holtwood Hipster said...

Dude, I might need to be committed if I made these on the regular. But... I am gonna tell you that a giant one will be make an appearance poolside this summer. Thanks for the vote of confidence though! xo!

Erin | Holtwood Hipster said...

Thank you Lindsay! I wanted so badly for them to think I was at least a pretty cool aunt :)

Erin | Holtwood Hipster said...

Thanks Kristen. Yes it did pay off in the end. And... I'm not gonna lie. I sort of hid out in one at the end there and wished I had my own. Some friends are encouraging me to make one for the dog...and I told them that I know of someone who actually did that (and quite beautifully)!

Ryann Swan {Shades of Chic} said...

You are adorable! Such a thoughtful and adorable gift. Will you be my Auntie too??

Albertina || Mimosa Lane said...

You are INCREDIBLE!!! Your work is amazing.....the COOLEST aunt in the world. WAO! I want one...can I adopt you? were they very difficult to make? take long? That would be an amazing project for my daughter for next Christmas.

Dominick said...

Erin...I alway knew you were a genius!!! If I want to sell my condo, will you make me one to move into? Love you Uncle Dom

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