Having riffed off The Steadfast Tin Soldier to create a Ballerina I wanted to continue the theme of classic children's toys and stories—but here, my memory becomes a little confused, so what follows is only an approximation (though true enough in spirit) of my thought processes.
Children sometimes outgrow their names; or stockings are passed on (my mom gave hers to a brother when one year she didn't have time to make him his own—he very much appreciated his was so much larger than everyone else's, though my parents hastened to assure the rest of us the contents were exactly the same...which really was pretty obvious: they tried very hard, and successfully I think, not to show any favortism). So I combined the iconography of the child's parents’ stockings in the flap, and did another classic child's toy, a rocking horse. —I had one of my own, of the sort with a frame and springs, but in black with gold accents, that I rode to pieces 
Early 2000s? Felt, cotton, metallic, rayon and other assorted threads; sequins; jingle bells. Kumi, tassel making, machine applique and hand embroidery techniques.
I have a lot of the light blue felt, which is not only a fairly neutral (and reasonably seasonably appropriate) color, it was also a gift my sister. The rocking horse's colors, I finally remembered (as I stared at the photo while typing) are derived more or less from the soldier's color scheme (with purple subbing in for the blue, possibly to help pull in the ballerina, and so also give the horse continuity, as well as a similarly old-fashioned sense.
I filled in with a ball, and obviously had some fun with the yarns for the tassels (which had more pinks and purples), though the braid, which I think I'd originally made to replace pulls for a jacket, is rather plain. But the cording and tassels helped to pull the dancer's color scheme into the piece.
Literally: the saddle cracked, but I loved that thing so much my parents stuffed it with rags. It was rather uncomfortable, but I rode it anyway. And it was a magnificent version, because in addition to the grand color scheme (as opposed to the anemic brown most modern ones are painted) it was also much larger.
With, it must be admitted, no sentiment on her part—it was left over from a work photo shoot, and unwanted. In a similar sense, honesty compels me to admit that I used it so often because there was so much of it; but it's still nice that her thoughtfulness is embedded in these gifts: she thought of me primarily because of this series, after all.
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