24 December 2012

Last Minute Gift Bags

We had a few small presents to wrap up for Lola's teachers on Friday. I thought I'd make some fun gift bags in the shape of a stocking.

I drew a stocking shape on a sheet of paper and cut it out. After tearing off a piece of gift wrap, I folded it in half and traced my template onto it. I sewed the stocking about a quarter inch inside the lines I drew and cut it out.

I had never sewn paper before but it was easy. I did find it's best to use a little bit heavier paper. The really thin stuff doesn't sew very well. It's easier to sew the stocking outline first and cut later. That way the paper doesn't move when you cut out the stocking.

Once I had all my stockings sewn and cut out, I punched a little hole in the top and stamped initials on them. Insert gift, and tie with pretty string. And there you go. All wrapped up.

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Dutch Girl Originals DIY gift bags

Dutch Girl Originals DIY gift bags (1)

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Dutch Girl Originals DIY gift bags (2)

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20 December 2012

Sister Owls

Custom orders are such fun, I've decided. I received a request for two sets of colorful sister owl pillows from my friend S. She wants to give them to her four nieces for Christmas. I very much liked that idea but I didn't quite know what to do about the colorful bit at first.

I work mostly with felt and wool. While craft felt can be bought in every color imaginable, it does not hold up well on pillows, I find. It pills. Wool felt or a wool/rayon blend is better, but the by-the-yard stuff I can only find at Jo-Ann's in limited colors, mostly naturals. I didn't feel like special ordering wool felt online for an arm and a leg. I found a few wool sweaters at the Goodwill but the yarn was so thick, they wouldn't felt.

But then I thought of using fleece and a world of colorful possibilities opened up. Our local Wal-Mart has the best selection of funky fleece at the moment, better than Jo-Ann's even. Finished with an old wool blanket, vintage doilies, and felt eyes and a beak, these lovely bright colored ladies were on their way to New England in time for Christmas.

I am on a roll now, cutting and sewing owl pillows in an array of colors and patterns: navy blue with green circles, brown and green argyle, bright pink with multicolored flowers, and warm brown plaid. I have made them a little chubbier, too.  I found a few more old blankets at the thrift store and some doilies as well. Look for them in the shop soon.

Colorful Owl Pillows (4)

Colorful Owl Pillows (1)

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I am linking my owls up with Natural Suburbia's Creative Friday and
Friday's Nature Table at The Magic Onions.

30 November 2012

Classic Christmas Wreath

For the third consecutive year I am participating in Craftaholics Anonymous' handmade gift exchange. My partner this year is a girl from Oklahoma. She doesn't blog so I cannot take a sneak peak in her life and get a feel for her tastes. That's okay, I like giving creativity free rein and see where it takes me.

This year it took me to a wreath. Which is funny because while I love wreaths, I never have the patience to actually make one. Until now. It is a moss covered wreath with felt holly leaves and berries, and a few snowflakes here and there. With my current obsession for natural colors, I started out with all white but it didn't feel right. Classic Christmas colors it is, then.

I hope you love your present, M. Merry Christmas!

classic christmas wreath

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16 November 2012

Winter Garland

I have fallen in love with Scandinavian Christmas and winter decor. At present I read about five or six blogs from Denmark, Sweden, and Norway. The language barrier is not a problem, I let the pictures speak for themselves. If the need arises, there’s always Google Translate.

The elements of nature, the warm winter white, the use of galvanized materials; I plan to incorporate it all into my Christmas decorations this year. Perhaps I’ll add a touch of red here and there. Except for the tree, that is and always will be a very colorful collection of memories.

Winter Garland (1)

Winter Garland

Winter Garland (2)

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Winter Garland (4)

I am linking my winter garland up with:

Friday’s Nature Table at The Magic Onions
Creative Friday at Natural Suburbia

09 November 2012

Leaves For Thanksgiving

I finished my very first custom order last night. A set of oak leaf placecards and a leaf garland to match. It's a hostess gift for a Thanksgiving dinner party. My friend S. asked me to make them after she saw my booth at our Fall Festival a month ago. She came over to my house and we picked out the fabric together but the design was left up to me.

The leaf placecards were cut by hand and sewn together two by two with a simple straight stitch. The little paper name tags will be taped to the leaf after the names have been written on them. Since S. is a big lover of acorns, I decided to add acorns to the tags. After three failed attempts to carve an acorn stamp myself, I broke down and ordered one on Etsy. It's perfect for this project.

She also asked me to make a garland to go with the placecards. Those leaves were cut with a die cutting machine. I hope S. likes the end result. I certainly do. So if she doesn't, no problem. I'll keep them for myself.

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I am linking my leaves up with:
Friday's Nature Table at The Magic Onions
Creative Friday at Natural Suburbia

02 November 2012

Gourds On A Hook

I love gourds. They make such colorful fall decorations. But rather than displaying them in a bowl, I wanted to do something different. What do you get when you cross Martha Stewart’s gourd garland with Better Homes and Gardens' jingle bells on a shepherd’s hook?

Gourds on a hook!

Simply drill a hole in the top of various small gourds and string some heavy gauge wire through it. Twist the ends and hang the gourds from black Dollar Tree shepherd's hooks.

They cheerfully line the path from the garage to the house.

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I am linking my gourds up at Friday's Nature Table at The Magic Onions and Natural Suburbia's Creative Friday.

31 October 2012

My Little Mermaid


It's cold in Wisconsin so the under layer is thick. She's still a cute mermaid, I think.

Happy Halloween!

26 October 2012

Fall Festival Craft Fair

My first ever craft fair was a cold one but a good one nonetheless. I loved my booth location, just down the road from my house, and I saw people trekking by all day long. Because I was so close to home, I was able to run back every once in a while to eat something and warm up.

The owl pillows were my best seller, followed by the felted acorns and dryer balls. People were not yet ready for Christmas. My ornaments didn’t get a second glance and the booth across the road with the hand painted Christmas plates hardly sold anything at all.

I loved the garland display Ryan and I built. It is made from two thin poplar trees that were recently cut down in my parents-in-law’s yard, mounted in Christmas tree stands. It needed a better back drop though. Lovely as the park and the ponies were, they made my stand somewhat invisible.

I had a wonderful time, despite the cold and the snow (!) that smudged all my tags. Running a booth reminded me of my Bello Modo days, where we would frequently do bead shows. I miss those days. Working fulltime and getting ready for a show is a little stressful but well worth the effort.

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18 October 2012

Work In Progress: A Mermaid Tail

Lola wants to be a mermaid this Halloween. She decided that early on in the year and has not changed her mind. (She also has her costumes for the next two years picked out.) On my search for this year’s inspiration, I stumbled onto Miss Pretty Pretty’s mermaid tail. As tails go, it is a lovely one but we decided to alter a few things anyway.

First off, chances are that it will be wet and/or cold on All Hallows Eve in Wisconsin. Therefore, we do not want the tail to drag over the ground. So we shortened it. Furthermore, we wanted scales. So we added those. And last but not least, Lola wanted a front as well. I concurred.

I cut four tail shapes out of craft felt, free handing it based on Miss Pretty Pretty’s design, and ironed them together two by two with Wonder Under for a little sturdiness. Next I cut out lots and lots of scales in shades of green and blue interspaced with a little pink. This project is a wonderful stash buster, by the way. Since I discovered what working with wool felt is so much nicer than using craft felt, I have been looking for a way to use up the latter. This project is an excellent start.

I laid it all out the way I thought it should be and left it out for Lola to approve the next morning. As soon as she woke up, she ran into the craft room and fortunately for me, she loved it. “Perfect. Just perfect,” she sighed. Lola happy, mama happy.


Now I repeat the process, and attach the front and the back together with blue elastic. Then we design a felt top with felt shells to cover not yet existing girly parts, and a felt crown with fake blue and pink jewels. She’ll be the belle of the sea, my little mermaid.

I am linking Lola's mermaid tail up with:
Creative Friday at Natural Suburbia
Friday's Nature Table at The Magic Onions

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