In the early 1980s, we had just moved to a home in the country, on the Ohio/Indiana border. It was a complete lifestyle change for me and as I was preparing for Christmas, I decided I’d like to have china that had a holiday theme. I told my husband that’s what I wanted for an early Christmas gift and asked him to pick it out for me since I wasn’t familiar with the stores in the area yet.
He stopped at one of his favorite stores, a small version of a discount store called Van Leunen’s. He came home with a box containing four place settings of International China (Japan) in the Country Christmas pattern. It was love at first sight for me. The next day, I stopped by the store and picked up 8 more place settings to be sure I had enough for my growing family and to insure against breakage. I never saw the pattern again anywhere until I chanced to look it up on eBay where I found it was selling for more per plate than we had paid for four place settings. It was just perfect for our home in the country and has been used for every meal from St. Nicholas through New Year’s Day for over 25 years.
Last year, I had the idea to make a kitchen wall hanging incorporating some of the design elements in the china and made this piece with a cow leading Santa’s sleigh.
My oldest daughter liked it and asked me to make one for her. Since she likes sheep so much, in this version a wooly sheep is pulling the sleigh.
To get the pattern, I took digital photos of the china, re-sized them and printed them out in black and white. Then, I traced over the various pieces onto fusible material, ironed that onto the back of the individual fabrics and cut out the pieces. An applique mat is really helpful in putting together the small pieces before fusing them to the background. In each case, I used a vintage buckle as a hanger. I enjoyed using a lot of scraps from fabric that had been purchased on our trip to Holmes County Amish country earlier this year.