05 December 2016

Christmas Stitching Box: Getting Started

Welcome to my 2016 Christmas Open House! My sewing room and my kitchen are OPEN! Y'all come on in!

As I hinted last week, this year's project is a fusion of two things, one very functional and one very whimsical. When I came up with my idea for The Keeping Christmas Project back in the summer, I started kicking around the idea for a very special, Christmas-only stitching box to hold my tools. At first, I was just going to use a regular project bag or box and supply it with Christmas-themed tools. But one day when I was in Michael's, I spotted one of these:

I'm not into scrapbooking or mixed-media crafting, so I wasn't familiar with these configuration books. But as soon as I saw it, an idea popped into my head. I bought it and went home and did a Google image search of "Tim Holtz configuration books" and I was off and running. I decided to create a box that was both a functional stitching box to hold supplies, and a whimsical Christmas shadow box! As I said in my Keeping Christmas Project post linked above, I wanted a box that reflected my hope to "honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year" (Dickens). This project is the result of that effort. I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed creating it.

Now, before we get started, I should just say that if Christmas isn't your thing, this idea can be adapted to any holiday or season or interest. Over the next few days, as you see what I'm doing with this box, I bet you'll have a hundred ideas for your own special stitching shadow box. 

The other important thing is this: While this project is not difficult, it is pretty involved. It's not something you can whip out on a Saturday afternoon if you need a quick gift. It is a multi-day undertaking that requires some patience, as I'll explain in a minute. I won't really be providing super in-depth tutorials, because anybody can glue paper and stuff to a box, but I will be giving you a few tips here and there to help you get nice results. And oh! The results! Wait 'til you see...

Ready? Got your cocoa? Here we go!

The configuration book shown above is the mini version. The book itself is made of thick chipboard and measures 9" x 6" and about 1 1/2" high. It contains six removable boxes that can be arranged in many different ways. In addition to the book, you'll need some of this Ranger Multi Medium Matte.

This stuff is awesome for all kinds of things. It's an adhesive, a sealer, a paint extender, a glaze component; it dries clear and is waterproof when dry; it can be used on paper, fabric, wood, metal, glass, and plastic. I use it with a cheap 1 1/2" wide paintbrush and it is fantastic for this sort of crafting. I couldn't find it in my local craft stores so I ordered it from Amazon.

The other things you need are scrapbook papers, ribbon, and all kinds of miniatures to suit whatever your theme is. Most of the miniatures you'll see this week came from Michael's. Go a little crazy on this stuff... it's supposed to be over-the-top! As you can see, my theme is kind of a retro, 1950's Christmas. So fun!

Covering the box with paper is the most time consuming part of this project because it is very important to let each layer of paper dry completely before adding another layer of paper. I brushed a very thin coat of Multi Medium onto the box and applied the first layer of paper, and then let it sit overnight so I could be sure it was completely dry before applying another layer of paper. If you don't allow each layer to completely dry, you will end up with too much moisture under the paper and you will get bubbles and wrinkles and you will not be happy. Don't rush this part. 

Here is my box, all covered in cool paper. The lid:

The corners, finished with a little ribbon:

The bottom:

The spine:

The inside of the lid:

After getting it all covered, I gave it a very thin coating of Multi Medium to seal it. I took this picture with the light reflecting off the box so you could see (hopefully!) the finish the Multi Medium produces when used as a sealer. It dries clear and matte, with a subtle texture from the brush strokes of the paintbrush, which I really like. 

If you've patiently glued down each layer of paper, waiting for each to dry completely in between, and then sealed it, you'll have a really nicely finished box. None of those edges will come up, and while I wouldn't advise dunking it in water, it will withstand the occasional dribble or kitty sneeze. It needs a little finishing now, but we'll get to that later in the week.

Tomorrow, we start on the inside boxes and that gets really fun!


Recipe time! Over the last year, this recipe for a crustless quiche has become our favorite. It's easy to keep the ingredients on hand and it goes together quickly. There's no meat in it, but it's so flavorful, it doesn't need it. It is really good with a side of bacon, though (but what isn't?). 

Crustless Veggie Quiche

6 eggs
1/2 c. heavy cream
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
8 oz. shredded cheese
4 oz. can chopped green chilies
3 Campari tomatoes or a couple of Roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
3 green onions, chopped

Whisk together eggs, cream, salt, and pepper. Stir in cheese and veggies. Pour into a greased 10" pie plate and bake at 350 for 35 minutes or until a knife tests clean. Let stand a few minutes before devouring.


  1. Great idea! Looking forward to seeing where you go with this.

  2. Very cool idea! Can't wait to see the progression. Themed work boxes may be in my future! <3

  3. WOW! Nice open house. I certainly will be following. :D Cathryn

  4. This looks like an awesome project.
    Thanks for the recipe, it sounds good.

  5. Nice! I've always wanted something like this but never knew how to start.

  6. Amazing!! (And I love the Tim Holtz line...so many things that can be used for creative stitchy displays.)

  7. Honeybee, you find the neatest items. I am going to add this box to my Michael's list. I want to be your shopping buddy. Now my question is did you use whole pieces of paper to cover your box front and back or did you trim to size?

    1. On the front, back, and inside the lid I used the whole sheet from the little paper block shown at the top of the third picture ("Lewis Family Vacation"). The only sheet I trimmed was the car. I trimmed around the car and the tree and layered that piece onto the Tree Farm sheet. There was a little gap on the left side, between the bottom of the Tree Farm sheet and the front of the car, so I cut out a tree and filled it with that. You certainly could trim each piece to size if you didn't want to layer them.

  8. I am very envious of your creative brain...