Felt Ornaments

Hey! I looked at our calendar and realized that we have entered a week of Christmas crafting making on the blog! This isn’t necessarily gift crafting, just more little projects to decorate the tree, your walls, to send off in the mail (technically, I guess that’s giving), and maybe we’ll even have something to eat or drink by the time the week’s complete.

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Today I’m talking about the felt ornaments and wreath that were pictured in this post. Both of these ideas came from my Christmas board on Pinterest, but unfortunately the links associated with the pins won’t take you to the original source for attribution. You’ll see that I’ve pinned many different felt ornaments, and I’m thinking that over the next few years I may make quite a few as we become a house with two little boys! Felt ornaments are just so kid-friendly, with a big loop, they are easy for little hands to hang and pull off the tree, and there’s so little investment in terms of both time (the the case of the ones I’ve made) and money, that I don’t mind if little A throws them around a bit while playing. Plus, they look really cute.

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For today’s ornaments, I was first inspired by this photo. In addition to the stars, I added a few hearts with white stitching to our collection, inspired by these red felt ornaments. I personalized the stars by using a red blanket stitch around the edges, and I drastically simplified my hearts from the inspiration photo, eliminating the stuffing and choosing simple stitches that would follow the hearts’ edges.

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Supplies & Tools

  • Felt
  • embroidery floss
  • thin jute
  • sewing needle
  • scissors
  • shape template

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Instructions

  • Find or draw your template. For my templates, I did a Google image search for  “heart clipart” and “star clipart”. I was able to find images that included hearts and stars of different sizes, so I printed them out and cut out the size that I liked for each.
  • Trace your template on the felt and cut out two of the same shape. As you can see from my template, I traced around it with a marker. Having those marker images on your felt isn’t a problem, because you can have the marked sides face inwards.
  • Sew your pieces together. Use three stands of embroidery floss for the embroidery. Holding the two felt pieces together (marked sides in), use your favorite stitch to hand sew the pieces together. I used blanket stitch for all of the stars, but was more creative with the hears, using blanket stitch,  back stitch, and a simple combination of long and short running stitches to create the third.
  • Add your loop for hanging. I used skinny jute for the hanging loops. You can find this in craft stores, and it’s usually sold in a smaller quantity than the bigger balls of fat jute (you can see the packaging in my supplies photo). The jute will not pull through your felt as easily as the embroidery floss. I found that it was easiest to thread the jute through the eye of my needle, pierce the felt with my needle, and then move the needle in circles to create a larger hole (but one that is still snug) for the jute to fit through.

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While we were so excited to put the tree up, after the lights were hung it looked so pretty that we’ve been really lazy about adding more decorations. But a few nights ago we were looking for one more activity for little A before bath time, so I pulled out these ornaments and a few others for him to add to the tree. The pictures aren’t great, but I think you can tell that he was excited to get in on the tree action (clapping after each ornament was hung), and now it’s become a daily activity to remove and rehang a few.

In addition to making their way onto the tree, I used one of the stars in our new wreath. Again, I’m borrowing and modifying this idea from something brilliant I saw online. 
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Supplies

  • grapevine wreath
  • white bottle brush trees
  • moss roll (you can see the packaging below)
  • hot glue gun & glue

How cute is that wreath? It came together easily with a few supplies from the craft store. The project is relatively self-explanatory : wrap the moss around your wreath, slipping it under a few of the larger vines if possible (this just takes a bit of wiggling). Glue the trees where you would like them. Tie a star ornament from the top of your wreath. Bam!

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Once I hung this and the green garland above the door, I realized that we have a lot of brown and green going on out on the front porch. Maybe this year it would have been nice to go with something brighter? But I’m loving the peaceful look every time we walk in the door.

liveseasoned_w2015_wreath1_wm So, that’s my little felt project for the season. It’s been a long time since I’ve done anything with felt (or even had a little supply of it in my craft room), and I’m excited work with it more in the future. I really enjoyed making these ornaments because they were so easy and mindless to put together, creating a polished result. What does that mean for you? If you want to slow this weekend, but still feel a little bit productive, this is a great meditative project

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In Season : Valentine Edition

congress_kiss   Valentine’s Day is today! Don’t worry, there’s still time to do something special.

  • Create a banana valentine (this is so easy, and before you know it, you’ll be leaving banana to-do lists, banana jokes, banana instructions. Need we go on?)
  • Do you have a jigsaw puzzle? Create this super simple valentine. It’s ok if you don’t have red paint, just glue the pieces so that their back side is facing; brown’s pretty too.
  • Have stray birthday candles? Make this card.

Give your sweetie a hug. and a smooch.

Image stored in the Library of Congress’ digital archive.
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Woven Valentine Tutorial

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Today we’re sharing the simple instructions and templates to make a woven Valentine’s Day card. This is an especially convenient craft because the materials are probably stashed away somewhere in your home. While weaving paper sounds simple (and it is!), you’ll see that with a bit of creativity it produces a card with big impact. After you’ve finished this project,  you can flex your creative muscles and use this technique for a variety of holidays and occasions! Additionally, If you have little kiddos at home weaving paper is a really simple, yet fun, way for them to work on their developing coordination and dexterity.

We’ve provided printable templates at the bottom of this post, making the project even easier by eliminating the need to do any measuring or sketching.  Of course, if you’re comfortable with a ruler or you don’t have access to a printer then follow our written instructions.    

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Materials & Tools:

  • Card stock or any colored paper
  • Printer (optional)
  • Ruler
  • Exacto Knife
  • Scissors
  • Pen
  • Tape
  • Cutting Mat or old magazine

Cost $1

These instructions will create a 5.6 by 5.2 inch heart centered on a 7.6 by 7.2 inch piece of card stock.

  • Choose your base paper. If you aren’t using a template, you’ll begin by preparing the white base paper that the colored strips will be woven into. Our heart is going to be centered on the paper, so it will have a 1 inch border on all four sides. Having the nice wide border makes it easier to weave, and your finished work will look cleaner.  If you’re using a different sized paper, subtract 5.6 inches from your paper’s width and 5.2 inches from your paper’s length, divide by two and that will determine your respective borders.  

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  • Draw and cut vertical lines on your base paper. Begin by marking dots where the vertical lines will fall. Starting an inch (or your given border length) from the left and top edges of the base paper, measure and mark every 3/8th of an inch working across your paper until you reach the right border area.  So your first dot should be 1 and 3/8th inches in.  Simply mark a little dot every 3/8th of an inch until you have a total of 16 dots.  Repeat this process again an inch up from the bottom of the paper.  Remember your first dot will be at 1 and 3/8th. Stop once you have 16 dots.  Now place your ruler from top to bottom on the paper and draw a straight line to connect the first dot on the top to the first dot on the bottom.  The line should measure 5.2 inches.  Continue drawing straight lines from the dots on the top to the dots on the bottom of the paper.  You should have a total of 16 lines.  Now place your paper on a cutting mat or if you’re like me and don’t own one, on an old magazine.  Take your time and carefully use an exacto knife to cut each line, making 16 slits in the paper.

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  • Cut the colored strips for weaving. Cut 14 strips of paper that are each 3/8th inches wide and at least 7 inches long. You can do this with your exacto knife or scissors, but it’s even easier if you have a straight edge paper cutter. 

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  • It’s time to weave!  On the backside of your base paper (the side with the pen markings) follow our template to mark the heart area. We marked the backside of our paper with the x’s you see above. If you’re using the template, the printed side is the back of your paper.  When you’re weaving, you will covered the x’s with your colored paper (producing a white heart). When you turn your paper over, BAM! your colored heart will be nice and crisp without any of the markings used for measuring and planning. You can add a highlight on the heart if you desire.  I found that nifty highlight idea here.
  • Finish your card. Secure each strip with a tiny piece of clear tape and then trim the ends. Glue your woven heart to a piece of colored paper to make a postcard or to the front of a folded piece of card stock.  I made both versions, but I can’t decide which I prefer.  Put a stack of books on your finished cards to ensure that they dry nice and flat before sending them off in the mail.

Now that you get the general idea, feel free to run wild with this technique.  The only rule is to keep the width of the strips and the width of the slits consistent. It’s always helpful to sketch up a new idea before you cut and measure.  Measure twice, cut once, right? For me it’s more like do the math three times, measure twice, and sketch once more.

Here are templates for the Small Woven Heart Tutorial, the Large Woven Heart Valentine Tutorial and the camouflaged Love Card Template.  Print page one on a piece of colorful card stock (this will be your background) and page two will be your strips, so find a color that will look nice with whatever you chose for the background.   If you want to spell something else, you can find a pixel alphabet here, which should help with planning.  Let us know how it goes!

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Seasonal Tunes: Valentine’s Day Special

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I really enjoy groovin’ to music while I cook, work out, tidy up or hang around my apartment.  I do this weird half humming, half high-pitched off-key singing thing too.  I totally sound like Regina Spektor (to me at least).   In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, I compiled a list of both classic and modern tunes for you to jam out to.  Hopefully you’ll discover something new and appreciate the old!

I created this list on Spotify.  Simply click the link and you can listen to it online for free.  If you don’t have an account, it’s super easy to sign up.  I’m new to Spotify and so far I like it, but their library lacks the Beatles! What a crime.  Enjoy ninety minutes of lovey dovey tunes!

Love Tunes

  1. Florence + The Machine – You’ve Got The Love
  2. Ingrid Michaelson – You and I
  3. Etta James – At Last
  4. Van Morrison – Crazy Love
  5. Keren Ann – It Ain’t No Crime
  6. Fleetwood Mac – You Make Loving Fun
  7. The Ronettes – Be My Baby
  8. Cat Power – Sea of Love
  9. Bruce Springsteen – She’s the One
  10. Frankie Valli – Can’t Take My Eyes Off You
  11. First Aid Kit – Emmylou
  12. The Knife – Heartbeats
  13. Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros – Home
  14. Regina Spektor – Us
  15. Brandi Carlile – If There Was No You
  16. Frank Sinatra – I’ve Got You Under My Skin
  17. Bright Eyes – First Day Of My Life
  18. The Civil Wars – Dance Me to the End of Love
  19. John Prine – In Spite of Ourselves
  20. Fleet Foxes – Montezuma
  21. Talking Heads – This Must Be The Place
  22. Nat King Cole – L-O-V-E
  23. Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros – Simplest Love
  24. Fleetwood Mac – Songbird
  25. Hellogoodbye – Oh, It Is Love
  26. Bruce Springsteen – Two For The Road

 

Skeleton Artwork by Stay Gold Media
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Homemade Marshmallows

A treat for your Valentine’s Day sweetie!

Seeing homemade marshmallows make the internet rounds and knowing how much my husband loves them (caffeinated marshmallows were a stocking stuffer hit!), I was excited to test my kitchen skills and make whip up a batch. liveseasoned_spring2014_marshmallows_stack2_wm-1024x768 copy

The recipes all seem simple enough, but there was still something daunting about turning sugar into perfectly puffed squares and not ending up with my hand stuck to the magazine inserts like Chevy Chase in Christmas Vacation (need a reminder?).  With a free day, and all of the ingredients on hand, I am now a homemade marshmallow convert ~ they are so easy to make! And addictive! Although, while in the middle of this  sweet adventure, there were a few moments of panic.

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