Felt Heart Doorhanger

This is the felt doorhanger I made – I just made two similar-size (but not *exactly*) hearts cut from felt – pink and white. I made them just slightly different so when they were sewn together, one would ‘peek out’ from behind.

Some pretty pastel beads went on one side by poking jewelry string through the first layer – and on the other side I stitched in a smaller contrasting-color heart. Inside I put a little cottony stuffing, and finished sewing it together, adding a ribbon to hang the heart by. The whole thing took about thirty minutes!

Valentine's Day Decoration: Felt Heart Doorhanger

Felt Cupcakes with Sprinkles

There are lots of wonderful Japanese craft books (you can find many of them on eBay or Amazon’s Japan site) that show how to make all kinds of things out of craft felt…especially mascots (little animals, etc), flowers, and food items.

I’ve been wanting to try to make a felt cupcake, and as it turns out, I just did a little Google search and found instructions on Craftster. I’m making other things out of felt right now – including a cake I hope to have finished next week – but 100% of the credit for the pattern on this particular cupcake goes to the tutorial by AOI (here). It is just great!

Here’s my version, a little different because I used ‘sprinkles’ rather than the cream puff and strawberry AOI used (I really like hers too!):

Materials:
Scissors
Two colors of felt – one for the cupcake (cake part) and the other for the color icing you want.
Embroidery floss in each of the two colors (or you could even use complementary colors if you like)
Needles
Cottony stuffing
(if you make my version then you’ll also need clear jewelry string and some pretty little beads for the ‘sprinkles’)

Directions:
Cut out circles from both colors – you can use anything circular as your pattern that’s about the size you want the bottom of the cupcake to be.

Cut out a length of the cake portion equal to the circumference of the circle, and as wide as you want the cake part to be tall. (BTW, you can cut the lengths longer than the circumference, then cut them down once you get sewing in case you’re afraid of making them too short to go around, which would be a problem)

Cut out a length of the icing portion equal to the circumference of the circle, as wide as you want the icing to be, scalloping the edge so it looks pretty.

Felt Cupcake

Sew the bottom circle and the cake strip together at the bottom, then sew up the edge of the cake.

Felt Cupcake

Next, work on the icing part. Sew the icing circle and the icing scallop together, then sew the edges of the icing scallop together (just like you did with the cake).

Felt Cupcake

Here’s where I did the cupcake differently – I thought pretty little pastel beads would be pretty as ‘sprinkles’ on top. I took some clear jewelry string, made a knot in one end, then poked it through the felt (it’s strong enough to poke through the felt without a needle or anything). Just take the end through the felt, string on a bead, then poke the jewelry string back through to the back side. Just repeat that over and over until you like the amount of sprinkles and tie off with a knot on the back side again.

Felt Cupcake

Just stuff the cupcake bottom (on mine, the white part) with lots of cottony stuffing, and sew the top on, by threading the scallop edge to the cake part. Voila! I need to work on my needlework super-bad, but I am *so* happy with how they turned out.

Felt Cupcake

I Love You Banner for Valentine’s Day

Yay! It’s February! I get to decorate for not one, but two holidays this month – Valentine’s Day, and Mardi Gras, which goes up right when Valentine’s Day stuff comes down!

The first thing I’ve done for Valentine’s Day is a ‘I Love You’ banner. It’s very simple, and looks pretty nice!

Materials:
I used scrapbook paper to cut the hearts out – I used a red & white checked pattern. To stencil the letters, I used a paper from Thailand that had little strings running through it (I know there’s a name for that, but I don’t know enough about paper to know what to call it!) and isn’t quite 100% opaque. In total, use one sheet of scrapbook paper for each letter and space (so for ‘I Love You’, I needed ten pages, plus a couple extra in case I made a mistake) and half that for the letters and spaces of the contrasting color, because you can do multiple letters on one sheet of paper.

Also:
Letter Stencils (or if you’re really good, you can just do this freehand)
Stencil paint (I used white)
Stencil brush
Decorative Scissors (these have a little scallop edge. You could use a straight scissor, too, though)
Mod Podge (matte or glossy – I used matte for this)
A cheapy black foam brush to mod-podge with
Ribbon to hang the banner with
A hole punch, or improvise carefully with a pen

Directions:

First, I cut the hearts out of the checkered paper freehand.

I Love You Banner

(Quick note – I wanted to have a heart space between each of the words, so out of the solid red paper, I freehand cut a small heart shape. You can see those in the last banner pic below.)

Next, I cut rectangles of the red paper to stencil my letters on. I just laid the stencil on top of the paper:

I Love You Banner

And dabbed the stencil paint on with the brush in an up & down motion. This keeps the paint from trying to get underneath the stencil, and it has a nice look to it once you lift the stencil. It looks a little more natural than ‘painted on’:

I Love You Banner

I used my scallop scissors to cut down the original letter paper once the stenciling was done. Next, I just glued the letter paper onto the heart with some Mod-Podge, then I Mod-Podged the entire front of the heart. This makes certain that the letter stays in place:

I Love You Banner

I Love You Banner

I gave everything a few hours to dry (although it’s mostly dry in about 15 minutes), then punched a hole through the middle of the top of each heart to make a place for the ribbon. The very easiest way to do this is to fold the heart in half length-wise so you know the hole will line up. Then I just strung my ribbon through each of the holes:

I Love You Banner

And attached it to the mantle (all cleaned off, ready for more decorations!):

I Love You Banner

Martha’s DVDs and Button Necklace Project

I’ve seen the promotions for the new Martha Stewart dvds, so I added them to my Netflix queue. The first one I got was ‘Martha Stewart Homemade Holidays’ which is geared for Christmas and Chanukah (I know, I’m a little late!).

The dvd has seven main categories – Christmas supper, baking recipes, decorating ideas, ornaments, a Chanukah section, and sections for homemade gifts and gift wrapping.

The Chanukah section has three things: a gelt bag, a recipe for her latkes, and Claudia Roden making zalabia. The handmade gifts section has five different projects: a velvet frame, polar fleece hats (which are *so* cute), a button necklace (which I made – pics from that project below), a magnetic chalkboard, and a candy wreath teacher’s gift.

The ‘special features’ on the dvd are just links to direct your internet browser to the page on the MS website where they have instructions for the different projects – and I *think* that these projects are maybe all from the older Martha Stewart Living shows…so it’s not entirely new content (so I’m glad I put these on my Netflix queue rather than buying them).

The button necklace that’s demonstrated on the dvd is so pretty…I went to Hancock Fabrics (for the buttons, but I found these pretty shell-like pieces and used those instead) and Hobby Lobby for the supplies.

The supplies for the necklace are: nylon beading string, pretty buttons or shells with holes (around 60-80), crimp beads, clasp closure, jump rings, and needle-nose pliers.
Shell / Button Necklace 1

Note: this is my first time making a necklace like this…the directions for the button necklace can be found at the Martha Stewart site here, so if you like the way this turned out and want to try it yourself, definitely print out and go by their directions as well – mine *so* isn’t perfect – but I don’t think anybody would ever know! hahaha!

First, cut the beading string into five strings that are at least 40″ in length (I liked 44″ better).
Fold each of the strings in half, and at about 2″ from each string’s end, tie a knot:
Shell / Button Necklace 2

Slip a button or shell down one of the strings, and tie a knot…you want these knots to be about 1″ apart.
Shell / Button Necklace 3
Shell / Button Necklace 4

Keep slipping buttons/shells and tying knots until you get until about 2″ from the other end of the strings, and make one final knot. Now, do this same thing to the other four strands (you don’t have to do five strands – just however many you think you’ll like best).
Shell / Button Necklace 5

Grasp the ends of the five finished lines and crimp them with your crimp bead using the pliers. Do the same thing to the other side. I added a jumpring to both ends, then added the closure to one of them. All done!
Shell / Button Necklace 6

Sculpey Bagel Roll Sushi Magnets

Tonight I was just *so* in the mood to make something with Sculpey. My Tivo had recorded the DIY Network show “Jewelry Making with Jackie Guerra” – and oday’s episode had three people on who made jewelry with Sculpey clay. One lady made these really pretty flowers with Sculpey, and as she was describing some of her techniques, I was thinking about how I could use some of her ideas to make my favorite sushi roll – the bagel roll – out of Sculpey and turn it into a magnet (there are some pictures of professionally-made sushi replicas on Flickr)!

Here’s how I made the Sculpey sushi magnets:

Bagel Roll Sushi Magnets Made From Sculpey 1
(above:) To get the color of the salmon, I just took mostly red, some yellow, and some orange Sculpey, and mixed the colors together in my hands, then ran them through the manual pasta machine several times. Once the color was right, I shaped it into a somewhat square shape.

Bagel Roll Sushi Magnets Made From Sculpey 2
(above:) I made several incisions all the way through the square with my craft clay razor and inserted pieces of white sculpey that had been conditioned in the pasta machine between each section (I made six or seven cuts total, so finished it would mimic the look of salmon). Once that was done, I cut all sides of the salmon piece so that each side was neat. I then rolled that between my hands to make it a longer piece.

Bagel Roll Sushi Magnets Made From Sculpey 3
(above:) I’ve taken the salmon piece, and next to it I’ve put just a solid white ‘snake’ of pure white (to mimic the cream cheese) about the same length as the salmon piece. Around all this, I’ve wrapped a sheet of black Sculpey.

Bagel Roll Sushi Magnets Made From Sculpey 4
(above:) I rolled this all together to get it to be longer.

Bagel Roll Sushi Magnets Made From Sculpey 5
(above:) I wrapped a piece of transparent Sculpey around that, rolled it a little more, then cut off just the very tip of each end to make a neat surface.

Bagel Roll Sushi Magnets Made From Sculpey 6
(above:) The transparent Sculpey is a very good color for the rice, but I wanted the sushi pieces to have the texture of rice, too. I just took a thin sheet of transparent that I had conditioned in the pasta machine, and pinched off tiny little pieces, rolled them between my fingers, and made tiny rice shapes. I rolled the sushi through my little scattering of rice a few times and filled in any empty spots too.

Bagel Roll Sushi Magnets Made From Sculpey 7
(above:) Once all that was done, I just took my craft clay razor and cut six even slices.

Bagel Roll Sushi Magnets Made From Sculpey 8
(above:) Here they are, ready to be set in the oven.

Bagel Roll Sushi Magnets Made From Sculpey 9
(above:) These went in the oven at 275*, and were done in about 18 minutes.

Bagel Roll Sushi Magnets Made From Sculpey 10
(above:) They only take a little while to cool off. Once they were cool, I glued a magnet onto one side of each of the sushi pieces with my hot glue gun.

Bagel Roll Sushi Magnets Made From Sculpey 11
(above:) All done! They’re so neat – Av was super-impressed and thought that they really did resemble bagel rolls without me even telling him what I was trying to do! I’ve got them on my refrigerator now, and I’ll probably give a couple of them away to friends as tiny little no-special-occasion surprises.

Making Our Bottle Tree

Av and I decided that this was the perfect time to make our bottle tree. We figured that right after Christmas, when our neighbors were putting their trees on the curb, we would take one and use it (after all, Christmas trees are manageable-size trees, with many limbs – perfect for bottle-hanging!) for our project.

We laughed when we wondered what on earth our friends would think if they saw Av picking up a Christmas tree in early January and bringing it back to our house! Now, that would be hard to explain! ūüôā
Bottle Tree 1
(above:) Av brought the tree over to the yard….

Bottle Tree 2
(above:) we went to K-Mart and bought this tree stand at 50% off (hoping we wouldn’t run into anybody! No, really – this is for a bottle tree! Sure… hahahaha!!)

Bottle Tree 3
(above:) We took pruners and chopped the branches down to a few inches each. This took no time at all…

Bottle Tree 4
(above:) here’s the tree about 75% done…

Bottle Tree 5
(above:) We just placed the tree in the holder (later we’ll make the base more secure with a concrete, but for now, this was perfect)…

Bottle Tree 6
(above:) Av topped the tree with a bottle of Abita Restoration Ale…

Bottle Tree 7
(above:) Here’s the bottle tree, almost finished! The blue and red bottles look the prettiest.

We’re really wild about the bottle tree – it’s in the side yard, where we plant the garden each year, and we can see it from the dining room window, which is a plus too. I know they’re not for everyone, but they’re a big part of traditional Southern folklore, and I love it when we’re driving around and see them in other people’s yards. BTW, Eudora Welty took pictures of them when she was doing WPA work, and mentioned them in her short story, Livvie.

Leslie is a Genius, And Paint-Your-Own Pottery


My friend Leslie and I had the best time doing these paint-it-yourself pottery pieces yesterday! I chose this cupcake plate, and Leslie did the huge soup cup with these neat dots all over. It was so much fun! We get to pick them up late next week – I can’t wait to see how they’ll turn out!


I’ve always thought about how much fun it would be to own a paint-your-own pottery shop…Leslie and I were talking about it, and she said what would make it really neat would be to make it a place where you could do all kinds of crafts – not just pottery or mosaics, but other things like soap-making, candle-making, beading, scrapbooking, knitting, crocheting, etc. That is a *great* idea…I can just see it – a huge open space with lots of worktables, then some smaller spaces, where people could come in and lounge around on a couch and work on their knitting projects.

…maybe a daycare area so people could bring their kids…

*So* neat! I think she came up with an awesome idea! Now all we have to do is actually do it! hehehehehe! Seriously, though…hmmm…..

Making Chanukah Beeswax Candles

This Chanukah, I really wanted to try making my own beeswax candles for the menorahs. We have some really pretty dipped wax candles, but beeswax is a little different because it burns longer than other similarly-sized candles, it doesn’t put off any smoke, and it doesn’t drip wax – which is a big advantage, I think.

Hobby Lobby had sheets of beeswax – they were selling two sheets of 8″x16-1/2″ sheets per pack. Some wick was included in the pack, but I went ahead and bought more to make certain I had enough for the project (the wick labels will indicate what size is best).
Making Beeswax Candles 2

(Below:) Here’s what I used: a menorah to make sure I was making the candles the correct thickness (but beeswax is so forgiving…you can just pinch it to make it fit if it isn’t exact the first time), the beeswax, a hairdryer (to make the wax pliable – but it really wasn’t necessary), scissors to cut the wax, wick, and an old Martha Stewart magazine that gave dimensions to cut the wax sheets. I cut the wax into 4″x2″ sheets and was able to make about 32 candles.
Making Beeswax Candles 1

Next, just cut the wick a bit longer than the wax sheet…about 5″, and make a little knot at one of the ends of the wick:
Making Beeswax Candles 3

Lay the wick at one edge of the beeswax, and just roll it (pretty tightly, but not tight enough to break the wax) all the way to the other side. I just used my fingers to rub the seam of the finished candle so that it wasn’t noticeable.
Making Beeswax Candles 4

Here they are, all piled up. The two sheets of beeswax made about 32 candles:
Making Beeswax Candles 5

…and here they are! The candles burned for about 45 minutes (they have to last at least 30 minutes according to minhag), and they were so pretty! Now I’m thinking about making Shabbos candles with beeswax, and some other ideas.
Making Beeswax Candles 6

Make-Your-Own Soap

I just discovered Hobby Lobby last week…I’m familiar with Michael’s, and I’ve been to A.C. Moore a couple of times, but Hobby Lobby seems to have soooo much more selection…

Anyway, I’ve been wanting to try make-your-own glycerin soap – it’s also called melt and pour soap. I’m not really interested in making the soap that requires lye (what some people refer to as *real* soap) because you have to be super-exact in making it, and it is dangerous if you’re not careful. I like the idea of using glycerin soap because it seems very easy to work with and because you can still do really fun things with it like add colors, fragrances, exfoliants, and other things that you might want to suspend in the soap.

Hobby Lobby had this bag (below) of pure glycerin soap in a 32oz. size for a little under $6. I got one bag and a tiny bottle of fragrance (I used honey almond).

All you do is put a few of the glycerin blocks into a microwave-safe bowl, and microwave for 30 seconds, then 15 or 20 second intervals until it’s all melted:
Make Your Own Glycerin Soap 1

I try to keep some chopsticks around so that I can use them for things like this (stirring) and just throw them away later…this is the part of the process that I put in the fragrance (just a few drops per ounce of soap that was melted):
Make Your Own Glycerin Soap 2

Once the soap was all melted, I opened up an empty, thoroughly cleaned container of eggnog (yum!), because I figured this was the perfect size to cut bars of soap from.
Make Your Own Glycerin Soap 3

I just poured the melted soap into the carton, then waited about two hours:
Make Your Own Glycerin Soap 4

…I stripped the carton away from the now-solid soap:
Make Your Own Glycerin Soap 5

…and cut the molded soap into bars. I just used a regular chef’s knife and cut the block into about four bars (very easy to slice through). They smell and look great, and I think they’ll make nice presents for friends (I’m making several small things to combine). I’ll just need to wrap each bar in some cellophane, and I think they’ll be a big hit!

Now that I’ve got the hang of this, I think next time I might try adding some ground outmeal, or some lavender, or some….hmmmm……
Make Your Own Glycerin Soap 6
There are several, several really neat websites about making soap — here are a couple:

Teach Soap
Bramble Berry

Round Feather Wreath

I made this for a baby announcement…

While I was at Jo-Ann Fabrics/Crafts in Mobile, I bought a 12″ white styrofoam wreath form and two pink feather boas. The only other thing I needed for the project was my clear jewelry string, scissors, and hot glue gun.
Making a Feather Wreath 1

I just tied the clear jewelry string to one end of the boa, and tied that to the wreath (I hot-glued these knots to make extra-sure they stayed).
Making a Feather Wreath 2

…then I just wrapped the boa around and around and around the wreath form until I got to the end of it, and just tied the end to the beginning of another boa with more clear jewelry string (again, hot-gluing the knot):
Making a Feather Wreath 3

All done! I might just need to trim it up in the center with my scissors, but I think it looks really great (like my other feather wreath, though, for some reason it looks so much better and fun in person than in my pictures):
Making a Feather Wreath 4