I recently got a review copy of Jessica Strand’s new book, Holiday Crafting & Baking with Kids, and I love it. It arrived last Tuesday, and we immediately planned a couple of very fun crafty playdates for Wednesday and Friday with two of Pearl’s best friends!
The first project I saw that was right up her alley was the O Christmas Tree soft felt ornaments. Our Christmas tree desperately needs more cute, unbreakable ornaments – Everett has just started walking and he’s very good at it! This project is not only very 3.5-year-old friendly, it didn’t require a single extra thing from the store (I have a crazy stash of felt colors). Perfect.
We started with the kids (Pearl and her buddy Kirin) choosing the felt color they wanted for backgrounds. I traced a large jar lid and cut the rounds out with pinking shears, then asked what kind of decorations and shapes they wanted to add to their first ornament. The rule that worked well was that they could pick all their preferred colors, shapes, and sizes of felt pieces, but that I did the cutting and pinking. Then, once they’d placed everything just so, I glued the bits down and we cut out new rounds to decorate. It worked super well, and in just an hour or so, they had made six ornaments together! Here are Pearl’s. Two are similar to the ones in the book, but I really love that free-form circle one – she had a great time digging deep into my button jar for favorites to arrange…
Kirin made these three. That giraffe is spectacular (a collaboration between him and his mom!).
Then, a couple days later, Pearl’s friend Rowan came over for ornament-making part two. In the meantime, I’d made it to the craft store for googly eyes – Pearl announced that she wanted to make a Christmas present ornament that was looking at you. So she did.
Rowan made some great ones too – I liked the pipe cleaner hangers!
Holiday Crafting and Baking with Kids is an adorable book. Jessica mentioned in her introduction that she worked on it with her ten-year-old son Lucian, which I thought was so cool. They came up with 26 projects total, covering Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, and New Year’s – everything from table decorations, gift wrap and cards to garlands, cookies, and gifts. It’s so nice to see a book that’s meant for younger kids and bigger ones – so many of the kids’ craft books I have are still a ways out from my 3.5-year-old. This one is recommended for 4 and up, but many of the projects are very do-able for the preschooler. We want to try this one next:
Who knows how much Pearl’s snowflakes will look like the ones on the page, but I think they will be awesome – she was really excited to find special sparkly pipe cleaners at the store to bend and twist! The other projects she wants to make are the paper snowflakes, the brownie gift jar, and the happy New Year paper poppers.
I used Everett’s naptime today to sew something new for a gift swap in a few days, and it was so fun to make, I thought I’d share it over here – a set of tiny stocking ornaments! These are super easy, each one only takes a few minutes to cut out and stitch up.
-a scrap of paper + paper scissors
-a 4″ x 6″ remnant of fabric (I used by-the-pound plaid scraps from the Pendleton Woolen Mill Store for mine, but I think solid-colored felt or home dec fabric would be perfect too, maybe with some embellishments like these?)
-a 6″ piece of ribbon
-and a sewing machine (or needle and thread).
To get started, sketch or trace a simple paper stocking pattern like the one in the photos (I cut mine freehand from an old envelope, and it measures 3.5″ inches tall and 2.5″ inches across at the widest part, the toe). Cut that out with paper scissors.
Then fold your remnant and pin the pattern to it. Cut out two identical stocking pieces with pinking shears. Cut a 6″ length of ribbon to loop for the hanger and fold it in half. Tuck the ribbon’s raw edges inside the stocking pieces, at the top left corner, at an angle as shown. Pin the stocking pieces together at the ribbon fold and at the toe on the opposite side.
Stitch around the perimeter of the stocking, from upper left where the ribbon loop is all the way around, back-stitching at the beginning and end of your seam. Trim threads and you’re done!
I cut seven out in different plaids and flannels and just sewed them in quick little batches, using three different ribbons of varying widths. (I couldn’t get a good photo on the tree this afternoon, but Pearl let me borrow her Advent calendar.)
These are so fast to make and would be a nice extra to decorate a bottle of wine or cider for a party…
Anyway, I hope you like them!
I’m working on a new round-up of all the holiday projects I’ve ever shared a tutorial for (or done a variation on and linked over to elsewhere), and I’m hoping to have that posted tomorrow afternoon, too. Update: Nope, naptimes go fast and this mega-post is still in progress a few days later. Looks like I will be posting it in December 2012, and I have a nice head start… in the meantime, I wrote up a review of this lovely book with lots of holiday projects for kids to make!
Thank you to everyone who liked the two draft snakes I made this fall and asked for a tutorial – here you go! You can totally personalize yours as you like, I wrote up a couple of variations to try. I made one single-layer patchwork draft snake pieced from varying lengths of orange and blue wool fabric for our back door (which is pretty flat/flush with the doorway),
and another double-layer one in all the same fabric to fit our vintage (1950) set-in front doorway. A single fitted draft snake just kept rolling away from the bottom of the door, so adding a longer base kept it sitting neatly in place.
Some basics: You can use any sturdy fabric you like for these. I got all my wool fabric at the Pendleton Woolen Mill Store here in Portland, but you could also use home dec fabrics of any type or reclaimed denim.
I’d stay away from whites and light colors that might show dirt quickly. My bright colored one hasn’t had any problems, especially since wool is easy to brush clean, but the darker one seems totally stain-proof.
For this project, your basic formula is to start with a single or patchworked/pieced length of fabric that’s 7 inches x (the width of your door + 1 inch – so, you’d cut fabric 37″ wide to fit a 36″-wide door). And you’ll use a 1/2″ seam allowance throughout.
Here’s a super simple tutorial. I’m a low-fi type at heart, and ended up writing/drawing these steps on paper with a Sharpie instead of trying to do any kind of cool digital illustration. Hope you don’t mind…
Step 1: Cutting.
Patchwork variation… easy!
Step 2: Pin, sew, and stuff.
Step 3: Pin and hand-stitch up the open end.
Double draft snake variation!
Please let me know if you have any questions about the tutorial, and I would love to see your draft snake if you sew one. It’s gotten so cold around here, and I’m so glad to have these little guys guarding the front and back doors… seriously, in an hour or so, you’ll have a couple made and can finish the rest of your holiday crafting in cozy, non-drafty comfort! Or hey, you can stop by a friend’s house, casually measure the door, and make this as a surprise holiday gift.
One last thing: I’m teaching my Woolen Cross Pillow class at the Pendleton Woolen Mill Store on Saturday, December 17 from 10am-12:30pm ($40 includes all materials, plus extra fabric to bring home for a 2nd pillow). Portland Modern Quilt Guild members now get $5 off any Woolen Mill Store class, plus 10% off any purchases at the shop, so be sure to show your PMQG card to get both discounts!
Michelle is also teaching some great classes at the WMS this Sunday, December 11 – Stuffed Penguin (11am-1pm, $25) and Wool Nesting Baskets (2-4pm, $40). Check out her post for photos and more details!
After three weeks on the east coast visiting family, I got to sew today for the first time since mid-November! Oh, I missed sewing so much, it’s good to be back. Since time is always of the essence around here, I wanted to make a nice instant-gratification project, and also cross something off my holiday gift list. After a quick and lovely trip to Cool Cottons for two yards of bright-colored webbing, I was revisiting the Purl Bee’s 20-minute tote tutorial and cutting some fabric to make little presents for Pearl and Everett!
I made a few tweaks to the Purl Bee’s version (exact details in a minute). Since these are for little kids, ages 1 and 3.5, I sized the bag down a bit. I also lined mine and added box corners, just because I like those things in bags. The first one I made is for Everett – owls, lined with cheerful yellow gingham, and with one of my way-back tags sewn in.
Here are my changes, in case anyone else wants to try a kid version too: I sized all the dimensions of the bag down, using two 11″ x 12″ pieces of fabric (one set in outer fabric and one in lining – you can basically make two bags out of 2 contrasting third-yard cuts of fabric), and two 18″ lengths of webbing for handles (one yard total per bag). I followed their directions for the most part, but streamlined a bit since no raw edges would show, and added box corners 1″ in from the bottom corners of both lining and outer bag layers before sewing them together. I sewed the tag into the lining, then sewed the bag and lining together around the perimeter with a small zig-zag stitch. Done!
The finished bag is the perfect size for bringing a few kids’ books and toys along for a playdate or car ride. It’s not super strong, just two layers of quilting cottons (I wouldn’t lug groceries or free weights in it or anything) but it’s perfect for a child to carry around. Using interfacing or home dec fabric would make this a much sturdier grown-up-style bag. You could also add a patch pocket, a little zip bag on a ribbon, or a button closure…
Here’s what I’m going to use for Pearl’s version – buttons on the outside, dots on the inside. Love that bright blue webbing! For my sources – I got the webbing at Cool Cottons today, the button print is from Bobbin’s Nest this spring, the dots are Katie Jump Rope from Purl Soho (2007 or so), the owls are a Japanese import (also 2007-ish), and the gingham was a yard sale find.
Speaking of fabric, this is what else I got at Cool Cottons! So, so happy they still had a nice selection of Lotta Jansdotter left. I got enough gray to make a skirt, one yard of the yellow, and half-yards of the two smaller prints on white and the orange.
This weekend is shaping up to be awesome and busy. I’m really excited for the Crafty Wonderland Super Colossal Sale – hope to see you over there one of the two days, I will be doing the rest of my holiday shopping! Portland Modern Quilt Guild will be hosting an all-day sew on Saturday (free to members, $10 non-members), yay! And my friend + fellow PMQG member Heather will be teaching a super cool glass etching class (1pm, $10) at the Portland Bazaar on Sunday!
One more bit of news on the PMQG front: I’m so honored to follow the amazing Christina as our guild president for 2012! Heather, Petra, Nancy, Ale and I will be the new officers and I am so excited to be on the board with them. Hope to see you at our December 15 meeting at PNCA – it’s a holiday potluck with lots of treats!