Archive for the ‘cute things with felt’ Category

There is so much making associated with this season.  Much of it falls into the work category, it’s true.  There are many orders for holiday cards and gift tags to be fulfilled.  And I love all of it.  I really do.   But there is also the making which falls into the personal category.  My own gift-making and decorating.  And wouldn’t I be a big liar if I didn’t say that these things are the most fun of all?

I’ve had a bucket of felt balls and a bucket of acorn caps sitting in my studio for weeks now.  Today with the “help” of some tiny hands and my trusty glue gun, they were transformed into a whole bunch of little Christmas tree cuties.  I’ve made these little felt acorn ornaments before and I’ve been eager to make more.  As I was making this time around, a handful of clothespins (doesn’t everyone keep clothespins in their office?) got a little too close to my glue gun and a whole bunch of acorns jumped on.  Or something like that.  These are my new favorites now.  They clip right onto those fragrant boughs and add a whole lot of handmade charm.  They’d look real cute clipped onto a pretty package too.  I’ll be honest though, I’m not sure I can part with them.   When I was little, our family ornaments were largely homemade.  My artist uncle had painted up a whole lot of clothespins as toy soldiers in various colors and they made up a good portion of our tree’s adornments.   As a result, I have a particular fondness for the rustic charm homemade ornaments.  And isn’t it nice when something as simple as a Christmas tree covered in clothespins can make you feel all warm and cozy inside?

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 There are only so many years that you can get away with dressing your babe up like a tree elf.  Like maybe two.  So I thought it prudent to seize the opportunity now.I wasn’t exactly sure how the tree elf was going to materialize, I just knew that felt would be a sure ticket to get there.  Felt is my friend.  It transforms beautifully with a pair of scissors and stays that way.  I sketched out some ideas first.  I wanted ease in assembly.  And I wanted cute.  Cute was essential.

I decided on a few different pieces instead of one big suit.  The ease part, you know.  A vest, a pair of wrist cuffs, a pair of ankle cuffs and a hat.

I quickly discovered that everything looks magnificent when adorned with felt oak leaves.  I “veined” many of the leaves with stitching for some nice detail.And the cute factor?  Well Soren pretty much took care of that one…

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So I agreed to showcase my work at a local fundraising event.  This meant, in theory, that I had the opportunity to reach out to some new customers and make a healthy amount of sales.  It meant, in practice, that I needed to generate some serious volume in a short window of time (a short window for a busy mama, anyway).  What’s nice about generating a lot of a particular something, I have rediscovered, is getting into a groove where it all flows nicely.  It’s a kind of bliss to busy myself with cutting and scoring while the printer drones on with the next round of cards.  A nice, well-timed chain of operations for this one-woman show.  Like it.

Anyway, here’s the result of my busy weeks.  I did a mock-up table display at home and then my folks took the show on the road.   I spent the night at home doing the mama-thing (the whole baby-who-drinks-from-his-mama-but-won’t-touch-a-bottle thing) while my good parents manned my booth for me at the event.  Love them.

It is so hugely satisfying to put a month’s worth of effort out onto display.  It makes me feel, I dare say, pretty darn productive.  And oh how I love that the result of my production is beautiful little bits of paper for people to write on.  For people to reach out to one another through the timeless and hearty thing called correspondence.  Love it.  Love it.  Love it.

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I’ll confess that I’ve exhausted myself (at least temporarily) of the whole reversible baby pants marathon.  So with a friend’s new baby requiring a little handmade love from me, I felt it what high time to change things up.  With my own littlest one now 6 months old (!) and busybusybusy with anything that he can get his sweet little paws on, soft baby toys have been a much-loved blessing.  Before Soren was even outside the womb, I was whipping up a whole stack of soft blocks.  Mostly, I was just crazy-nesting and needing to sew, sew, sew.  But also, I was having fun using up all those fabric scraps left over from all those, ahem, baby pants.

I’ve been loving those squishy blocks these days almost as much as little Soren.  For one, they don’t hurt when they come flying at your head.  For two, it seems really satisfying to my babe to be able to squish them so completely between his hands.  And for three, they make a mighty nice teething toy.  They’re quiet.  They’re pretty.  They’re fun to toss.

So.  I thought it would be fun to share our findings with the newest baby on the block.  I’ve spent the past couple of days cutting and sewing little scraps of fabric into soft fish toys.  They go nicely into a bucket.   (They’re as fun to chuck around the room as they are to pile back into the bucket!  We like that in a toy!)  And Ta-Da!  A bucket of fish.  And also some personalized fishy note cards for all that baby correspondence of his.   Babies have a lot of friends, you know.

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I saw these super-cute little acorn ornaments in a magazine and wanted them right away.  So it was particularly auspicious that I had both a tin of little felted balls and a berry basket full of acorn caps sitting on my desk.  These little cuties are going to really dress up our Christmas tree this year!

If you want to make your own acorn ornaments, all I did was hammer a nail through the acorn cap to make a hole for some 1/4″ satin ribbon.  Then I used my trusty glue gun to glue in the ends of the ribbon.  Another little squeeze of glue and I fit the felt ball right into the cap.  That’s it.  And if you’re not up for any acorn fun right now but would still love some of these, never fear.  I’ve seen them all over Etsy.  Check out these shops for similar cuties:  Fairy Folk, Green Baboon, and kbuchheit to name just a few.

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Maine April 2009 (34)Over the last year or two, skully hat has served multiple purposes.  He keeps my boy’s head warm.  Quite obviously the main role of a hat.  He keeps Eli’s hair out of his face.  Helpful for a boy who refuses to have his hair cut short and yet won’t be caught dead in a ponytail.  And he looks cute.  Critical, but maybe only from a mama’s perspective.   It’s quite possible that I just knitted skully up real quick without a pattern since I have no recollection of one and I believe it took a year for Eli to grow into.  Yeah, I’m not so good at the measuring thing.    skully mittens 001

Well, skully hat got some friends today.  A pair of toasty skully mittens that don’t require a year for Eli to grow into.  I confess, I measured.  I used a vintage pattern that my Nana had passed on to me many years ago.  With Nana gone now, it was especially sweet to be working on a pattern that had her little notes and stitch counters scratched in the margins.

Skully hat’s skull and crossbones was embroidered on with yarn, but I decided on felt for the mittens.  I’m not particularly brilliant at embroidery and I’m madly in love with felt so it was an easy decision.

skully mittens 002 With frosty mornings for the past few days, my timing (for once) is spot on.  I think skully and friends are going to have some fun this season.

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felt flowers 4felt flowers 3felt flowers 1I love working with felt.  It’s so warm and so easy.  None of those  fraying edges to worry about.  Usually I simply cut it into various shapes and sew them onto garments that I’ve knit. However, I just happened to glance at this book in the craft store and it inspired me to embroider the felt a bit for some added texture and interest.  For someone who’s not exceptionally brilliant with a sewing machine, I found this a remarkably lovely activity.  Although it should be said that the way to enjoy this activity is to sew your shapes before cutting them out.  It is considerably less fun to be worried about your fingers as you feed an itty bitty scrap of felt into the machine and try to actually see what you’re doing at the same time.

After  cutting out the petals, I layered them onto one another and sewed them together.  Then it was easy as pie to sew the whole thing right onto the sweater itself.  It came out pretty cute, I think.

baby sweater 4baby sweater 2baby sweater 3baby sweater 6baby sweater 7This ballerina-wrap sweater is a gift for a new little niece of mine.  The pattern is from Zoe Mellor’s Adorable Knits for Tots.  It was a fun little sweater to knit up, a nice deviation from the usual roll-neck crew sweaters that are  my old standby for the new little ones.  The amount of time I spent making this; however,  is completely disproportionate to the amount of time she will actually be able to wear this sweater.  But it’s always a bit more for the love of the project than it is for their practical purposes, isn’t it?

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