Years ago, I saw a picture in one of those holiday magazines where a family stamped each member's hands onto a large sheet of paper in the shape of a Christmas tree. The picture was then matted and framed, and oh-so-lovely hanging on the wall.
Not being the type that changes out the pictures I hang on the wall to fit the season/holiday (I have 7 kiddos... enough said), I came up with a practical, yet deeply sentimental way to commemorate each passing year with my family. I seriously doubt I am the first to do this, so this is just my take on it.
(I apologize for the wrinkles, but they don't really bother me.
You can use any plain tree skirt, purchased or handmade. I made mine from white muslin (hence the wrinkles) for the top, leftover batting for the padding, and leftover scrap fabric for the bottom. Heavy felt with some trim would even work great for this!
For the hands, we trace each member's hand onto a sheet of paper, and then cut them out. Using the paper hand, I then cut each hand from holiday-themed or colored fabric and
each hand from some fusible web. Then I just iron each hand onto the tree skirt.
I outlined each hand with gel paint stuff to prevent the edges of the hands from raveling. I hate that paint... as you can see.... it's so blobby. I think machine satin stitch embroidery would be amazing on these, but I lack those skills.
Also, a turned-under applique would be very nice if you have the time. For the year shown above, I embroidered each person's name and the year on each hand.
For the above year, I simply wrote the names, year and outline with the paint. Much faster and easier, especially with a new baby in the house! **Tip for tracing a baby's hand (or foot): wait until they're sleeping!!!
I try to make each year's outline/paint colors different. This past year, all the hands on the skirt are touching. It was a difficult year for all of us, and we really held each other up and worked together to get through the tough times.
The options are limitless -- use felt, fleece, vintage fabrics, fabric cut from the past year's outgrown clothing. I let the kids choose their own fabric for their hands each year. Trace hands OR feet.... the kids want to do feet this year. I was thinking that once we fill this side up, we may fill the other side with feet tracings. All I can say is that it is so amazing for me to see how much the kids have grown each year, and they love seeing their growth, too. I hope you try this for your families... and if you do, please post pics!