Guest writer Emma Jeffery of Hello Beautiful visits the Spoonflower blog again this week for another sweet and simple holiday gift idea for family and close friends, a festive photo throw pillow featuring a Christmas letter for a fresh update to a well-loved holiday tradition. 

1 finished cushion 1

The lovely tradition of sending Christmas cards and annual Christmas letters has been around for centuries, but this year I changed things up and will be sending a personalized Christmas pillow — complete with a holiday photo on the front and a handwritten letter on the back! I’m a huge fan of using handwriting rather than typed text at any opportunity. It’s so much more personal and meaningful, and childrens handwriting in particular captures a special moment in the life of a rapidly growing child.

2 finished cushion 2

This Christmas letter pillow is bound to become a cherished gift for absent relatives, and since it can be brought back out year after year, it has more longevity than a card. (Though cards are nice too!)

Here’s how to make your own :

1. Upload your favorite holiday photo to Picmonkey.

Original photo

Crop it to a square and edit if you like with some of Picmonkey’s seasonal labels and stickers. I added a frame and text: ‘Merry Christmas’ as well as some fun snowflakes.

3 editing photo

Repeat with your Christmas letter. I kept my son’s letter just as he wrote it, but cropped it to a square to match the photo. At this point, save your edited images in the highest resolution possible.

Edited letter

2. Next, open the ‘Create a collage’ tab in Picmonkey and upload your two edited images; the holiday photo and the letter. Select the two image layout and place the images side by side.

4 collage

3. Again, save your collage in the highest resolution possible. Once you have your cushion design saved to your computer, you need to resize it ready for uploading to the Spoonflower website. To do this, I open the image file in Preview. I set the width to 32” and the height 16”. Set the resolution to 150 dpi. Save the file with these settings.

5 resize image

4. Upload your design to Spoonflower. I only made one cushion 16” x 16”, printed on linen-cotton canvas with my design centered on one yard.

6 upload to Spoonlfower

If you want to make more than one cushion, simply select a repeating design. To get the most number of cushions out of one yard, make the dimensions of your collage image 26” x 13” and you’ll fit four 13” x 13” cushions on one yard of linen-cotton canvas.

7 Four to a Yard

5. I sewed my cushion with a zipper through the center back, but you could also put the zipper in to a side seam. I can’t resist adding piping to the edges of any pillow I make – I think the little splash of red add a classic, festive touch.

8 Finished cushion close

About Our Guest Blogger

Emma Jeffery, Spoonflower guest bloggerHi! I’m Emma, and as well as working on the Fiskars Design Team, I blog over at

I’m an obsessive sewer, often leaping into projects with more enthusiasm than talent, more bravado than skill and more good luck than anything else. This technique has worked well for me so far and more often than not, I make things I love, even if they’re not absolutely perfect. And though I’m no expert, I have a passion for fabric, color and design. I know what I like and what I like makes me smile.