• The Colonial Dress Project

    The Colonial Dress Project

    My daughter Maria and I will be dressing in Colonial America garb for a local July 4th celebration. The making of our dresses will be a long project as the event is over nine months away and we are going to try and make them as accurately as possible. Since she is homeschooled I thought this would be a great way to include all kinds of history lessons of the time period. She will be helping to hand sew some of the items and my thought is that she will be learning through the process and be able to answer any questions she may be asked at the event. Plus I think it will be lots of fun.

    This is the pattern I will be using for her dress.

    I made it for her last year as a Marie Antoinette style dress but it’s the same era and will work well for Colonial America.

    She didn’t wear stays (a corset type garment NOT meant to be tight laced but to help with posture) but a girl her age WOULD have so she will be for the event –as will I.

    This is the pattern I will be using for our stays.

    My dress will come from one of these two sources.

    These are my shoes. 🙂


    I will post as we progress (I’ll be doing videos too) and I will be using the hashtag #colonialdressproject on Facebook and Instagram if you want to follow along.

  • Advent,  The Liturgical Year


    The Jesse Tree is an Advent tradition that we haven’t really done much in the past.  We’ve tried kits and gotten about a quarter of the way through (I found that one in a box recently when we moved!) and often had hopeful plans for something that never materialized.  But this year, in our new home, with no toddlers or babies (our youngest is turning four and most certainly not a baby or toddler anymore –just ask her), I thought we’d give it a try.

    Knowing our history for make as you go crafts I decided to come up with something simple  and pre-made that we would easily be able to stick with each day.  So I made ornaments with the day, the theme name and the Scripture verses citations.  They are dated starting with December 1st.  This year that means that we won’t start our Jesse Tree until a few days into Advent.  That’s fine with me as we will be starting the first Sunday of Advent with our wreath anyway.

    There are 24 ornaments including the 7 O Antiphons and I’m offering them here in one downloadable PDF file: JesseTree

    Here’s how I put mine together:

    I printed out two sets of each onto photo paper. Regular paper or card-stock works just fine but the photo paper adds some gloss.

    I trimmed them into the circle because I knew I needed to be able to get close to the center with my circle punch.

    Using my 2 in. circle punch I punched out both sets.  This squeeze punch (Fiskars) is super easy to use.  Even my 4 yr. old can work it.

    They weren’t all perfectly center but that’s fine.

    Next I glued the matching sides together.  I have found a glue stick to be the best choice here as other glues tend to have too much water and can make spots on the front of the ornaments –especially if you print them on an inkjet printer.

    In between each layer I placed a purple ribbon.

    Using a glue stick not only avoids spots but also allows for positioning.

    **Here’s a tip for working with the ribbons; glue them together first (I used tacky glue) and pin them to a piece of styrofoam to dry.


    I set some weight on the ornament while the glue dried.  I use 2 inch washers as sewing weights so they were perfect for this project but you can use anything.

    For the O Antiphons I used gold ribbon (since they are the “Golden Nights”).

    And gold tassels taken from a piece of drapery trim.

    I glued them together.

    I weighted and waited. 🙂

    You’ll notice that my circle is somewhat crooked.  I’m OK with that because I truly believe that having them completed is better than having them perfect!

    A blessed Advent to you and yours!

    *The Jesse Tree is an Advent teaching tool and liturgical year activity that is a private devotion.  It is not required for a successful or holy Advent.


    1. Donna Marie says

      Oh beautiful!! Even ‘I’ can do this this year! Thank you so much for sharing!

    2. Jennifer Gregory Miller says

      I love the stained glass images! One of my favorite ways to portray liturgical art!!! These are just gorgeous, Michele. I just bought some round ornament shapes that I might be able to incorporate your images with them. http://www.craftparts.com/238-wood-round-ornament-cutouts-p-2694.html

      • Linda says

        Did you make these ornaments work? Could you share a photo of your finished product?

    3. KC says

      I agree with Donna Marie. Thank you!

    4. bwya says

      These are lovely. Using photo paper is brilliant!

    5. Charlotte (Matilda) says

      They really are lovely!

    6. Alison says

      These are wonderful Michele,thanks for sharing…and I love your new blog.

    7. Janet says

      Well, I used them in my PRE class this morning (2nd grade) and had to have a protracted discussion over why Adam and Eve were naked, but otherwise I love them.

      AMDG, Janet

    8. Michele Quigley says

      LOL Janet! Well what can I say, they were naked. 🙂

    9. Maria says

      Just wanted to say…I love your ornaments! Found your site via O Night Divine and The Anchoress. I think I’m going to make this tomorrow even though it’s a little late! Thank you so much for sharing you talent!

    10. Kalee says

      These are beautiful! I think they would make an excellent banner across our fireplace!

    11. Lori says

      Your Jesse Tree Ornaments are beautiful! I agree with you wholeheartedly on having it ready BEFORE Advent begins. I never did get around to starting mine this year. BUt, I’m saving your link in my Advent folder for next year. Also, where did you find your tree to hang them on? Thanks and many blessings, Lori

    12. lori says

      Thank you! I did not plan ahead, so will be cutting and gluing tomorrow morning! Still, better late than never. I appreciate you sharing! –

    13. Molly says

      these are wonderful, many thanks !

    14. Brian says

      I was wondering where you got your “tree” for your ornaments?

      • Michele Quigley says


        I got my tree at Costco. It was marketed as a “Jewelry Tree”.

    15. Cindy says

      Hi Michelle,
      I am the DRE at my small parish and one of my official “duties” is to have a group K-12 Rel. Ed. party in December to do a project with either an Advent or Christmas Theme. It’s a tall order! I have been wanting to make Jesse Tree ornaments with my Rel Ed program at church for years, but didn’t want to spend as much time as I did on my family’s personal set of Jesse Tree ornaments. These are absolutely perfect! (And they are prettier than mine, too!) Is the PDF still available?
      (Sorry, I keep asking for things…)

    16. MicheleQ says

      This one is easy Cindy as the pdf file is already there. Scroll to right before the pictures start and click on where it says ” free PDF file” and it will open. 🙂

    17. Michelle says

      Those are absolutely gorgeous! I wish I’d found this post earlier. I really love the stained glass ornaments. I’ll have to bookmark this for next year!

    18. Martianne says

      These are beautiful! You are so talented! Thanks for sharing them.

      If you’d ever like to share these or any of your other wonderful ideas at our weekly Sunday link up, you are most welcome to. It’s at http://traininghappyhearts.blogspot.com/search/label/Training%20Happy%20Hearts%20in%20Young%20Children every Sunday.


    19. Melanie says

      Wow! Super crafty!

    20. Noreen says

      Hi Michele, I found your blog linked over at Raising Little Saints and came over to check out your Jesse tree post. I love your tree and thank you for the step by step directions on how to make one of our own! May you have a Blessed Advent Season!

    21. Casey says

      Thank you for this lovely ornament collection! I wish I had found them for this year but I know that next year they will help grace our families home as we prepare for Christmas. Thank you!

    22. Kim@StarrySkyRanch says

      Oh Michele these are stunning. Just love them!

    23. Carol Paine says

      Thank-you so much for your ornaments. I printed them on window cling vinyl and we’ll be putting them up in the front window as the month progresses. They’re so pretty with the light shining through.


      • Michele Quigley says

        Carol that sounds lovely! Send along a picture if you can, I’d love to see them.

    24. Julie says

      Hi Michelle,
      These are beautiful. I am the same way about making kits 🙂 I tried to download these but am seeing the same ornaments on page one and 2. It could be my error but I wanted to check.

    25. Lena ~ JOYfilledfamily says

      thank you!!!! i love your all your beautiful printables. i finally got around to posting my variation of your ornaments. http://joyfilledfamily.blogspot.com/2012/12/jesse-tree-printed-ornaments.html

    26. Tracey says

      Thank you so much for sharing! I am a day behind but your beautiful documents will make it possible to do it this year!

    27. Carla Archuleta says

      Great idea…I am cutting ornaments out tonight. Each day I am making a banner in my front room and am changing my FBF pic daily with a new ornament in hopes that many of us can get a daily scripture in this advent season. Thank you for sharing the word of God (daily scripture). Truly, Carla

    28. Laura says

      Thank you! Printing the passage and date on the ornament itself was a brilliant move!

    29. M.T. says

      Thank you Michelle! Have I said this before? Every year I’m grateful for these — especially when my baby chews on them and I can just reprint!