Welcome to the first addition of Make It Monday here on my blog. I am pairing up with my long time scrapbooking friend, April, over at TheBlessedBeanstalk, and we have set up a game plan to blog more this year. Technically, it was her idea LAST year, but in true form of life, I let other things take up my space/time, and just never did it. So we are challenging each other to blog this year by setting up a plan for each week.
Today: Make it Monday.
I generally get crafty with felt around the holidays. It started several years ago in my teaching days. I looked for a project for my HS students that we could start working on after the Thanksgiving Holidays, and work on them until Christmas Holidays. A sewing project that would teach practical life skills like "how to thread a needle," "how to sew on a button," "how to sew something together," and also teach craftsmanship, learning how to sew with different and decorative stitches. I wanted them to make something that they could take pride in learning how to make it, but also make it well enough that they would want to give it away as gift. Enter, the felt ornament!
Over the years, I would make one or several right along side my students. And once Ellis came along, I decided to make some for the special kids in her life at daycare, or now, in her class at school.
This year was no different. I was very excited to start working on them and even started a little earlier than Thanksgiving.
I already knew what I wanted to make - Cute Cactus.
In artist fashion, I started with a certain cactus in mind. This one was from the Land of Nod Bingo game set.
I scanned in the card. And printed it on card stock. Then cut it out.
That's always been the easiest form of having a pattern to start from. My HS students used to just search the internet for a cute picture they liked and do the same thing. My only rule being that it had to be simple. Simple is always better when creating with felt - if it is too detailed, then you end up having to cut out so much felt before you can start sewing.
From there, I used my printed pattern and a piece of chalk to "trace" it onto the felt. I needed two cactus' and one small piece in a different color for the red top. For the top, I would just trace the top circle and free hand cut the little triangle pattern around the bottom.
Again the easiest way I have found to make these, though I am sure there are other ways. For the supplies I use, I will link along the way, but I will also put a quick reference list at the bottom of this post for the supplies.
Cut and Ready to Sew this is my process:
- Sew on Red (or other color) round top directly onto the front cactus. I used 2 strands of DMC thread for this in a color that was either monochromatic or would be a good contrast.
- Sew the year onto the other designated back piece cactus using 2 strands of embroidery floss. I like to put the year for my purposes and I think it's a special idea for the people receiving them to know what year it is from.
- I used an Eyelet hole punch to punch small holes in the face of the front cactus so I could insert my eyes, but I am sure you could probably just cut a super super small hole with scissors. SIDE NOTE: the black eyes are from Amazon.com. They are called "Safety Eyes." Last year when I was making my ornaments I came across an amazing artist on Instagram, @bargraf, who used these and I messaged her asking what they were, and she so sweetly and kindly shared her info and link to them on amazon.com. They were a game changer and made putting a face on ornaments so much easier! I used the 4.5 mm size last year, but when I realized I was running low this year, they were out of stock, so I went with the next size up, the 6mm. They were a tad bit larger so I had to make my pattern a little larger.
- Secure the eyes in place.
- Sew the triangle nose with two strands of red DMC embroidery floss.
- I used only one strand of black thread to sew on the mouth. Both the nose and the mouth were just free hand sewn on. I did not draw them on first.
- I used two strands of a light green DMC floss to sew on the thorns to the cactus.
- For the hanger, I used ribbon from my stash and folded and pinned it into place, sandwiching it between the front and back of the cactus'.
- I always tried to start sewing the ornament together at the bottom right side. I used a blanket stitch for this, but you could always just use a loop stitch.
- Sew all the way around to the bottom left side of the cactus and stop.
- Stuff the little cactus ornament with poly fill. I was not able to stuff the arms of the cactus, as they were too small, but I was able to get the body nice and full.
- Continue the blanket stitch along the bottom to completely sew the ornament together. Knot the thread, and then push the needle back and through the back so the excess thread would be hidden inside.
I realize so much of these step by step directions might only make sense to someone who sews already. For that reason, I am also playing around with the idea of making some video tutorials for this kind of craft. It was always one of my most favorite things to teach my students at school, so I think it would be easier to understand for a beginner, if I had videos to go along with the directions.
Would this be something you were interested in? If so, leave me comment and let me know :) And if you just have simple question, please feel free to ask! Hand sewing cute little items makes my heart happy and gives me something to do when I am laying in bed at the end of the day watching t.v.
And it always makes me smile when I visit the homes of my friends and family and see the ornaments I made them on their Christmas tree.
Some of my felt is from Dick Blick, and some I bought several years ago on Etsy.
There is a difference in quality, and the Etsy seems to be higher quality, but for crafting purposes, the Dick Blick always seems to work well, too.
DMC embroidery Floss
Hand Sewing Needles
Eyelet Punch (optional)