Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Merry-Making...with felt

Well, despite my best intentions, my blog posts have been fewer and farther between than I had hoped. But life has been busy, my kids have needed me more than usual, and I have been feeling down and dreary and plain 'ol stuck-in-a-rut. Much of that has to do with the month-long deluge we've been experiencing in Hilo...more rain than we've had in a loooooong time, and although it is much needed {we are in a drought}, we have seen nothing but grey clouds and rain puddles for far too long.

So last night, after putting the kids to bed after a particularly draining day, I sat on the couch with a quilt and a mason jar full of sweet tea, pulled out some felt, and started crafting. Christmas ornaments, to be exact. My tree needs them. And it was such a lovely, relaxing ME time...and I actually slept better last night than I have in DAYS.

I didn't have a chance to do tutorials on these little lovelies, but thought I'd share a photo or two...

This handsome couple is heading off to Honolulu to a friend who just so happens to love penguins. She is recently married and living a happy, creative life of her own!

These primitive hearts are a snap to make...just two layers of felt blanket-stitched along the edges and topped with a button. The hearts are a bit wonky in shape...part of the primitive aesthetic. I happened to have some white glittery felt, which I must have bought in a moment of madness, because I am not a glittery kind of girl...but they turned out sweet anyway.

The closer we get to the holidays the more I want to simply burrow in my house with fuzzy socks, layers of quilts, and jars of cocoa and coffee...I picture my ideal life as being like the illustrations from Beatrix Potter's stories, mama and her little one living in a hollow tree, with soup on the fire and an apron around her waist, sending the little ones out to play while she works inside. It's hard to be productive in other ways, but hopefully it will give my little monsters happy memories of holiday-making that they can carry through to when they become parents someday {eep! scary thought!}.

38 days 'til Christmas!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

i love vintage books

i love books.

they have been my dearest friends since i began reading at age three. they are why i have to wear contacts now...apparently, reading under the covers with a flashlight is really bad for your eyes!

i should've studied in college to become a librarian. but at 18, i was still worried about being cool. i wish me NOW could go back in time to me THEN and shake some sense into myself.

i'd also tell myself to stay away from lychee martinis.
but that's another story.

when i think about being a librarian, i picture this:
but really, i'd probably be more like this:

which is perfectly okay.

but anyway...BOOKS.
i love 'em.
especially old ones.
old children's books, to be exact.
and i just found a TREASURE TROVE of them at our church rummage sale.
here's a peek at my find:
these beauties were published in the 40s, 50s and 60s.
i'm happy to say i wasn't born yet.
{that magnificent event happened in the 70s.}

these are my kokeshi dolls.
my daddy brings them back to me from his trips to japan.
two of those books were found in a local used book store.
the Little Runner book has been mine since i was very small.

can i just say, i'm terrified that the printed book is becoming obsolete? i absolutely REFUSE to purchase a kindle, or a nook, or any of those newfangled electronic devices.

i adore the printed book...the smell of the paper, the feel of the edges after they've been turned a million times, the way you can tell how much a book is beloved by the cracks in the binding. books are my best friends.

diy scrappy flower pomander ornaments

it's only november 6th, and i can't wait to put up my christmas tree.
i have a fake tree, you see.
fake as kim kardashian's fanny!

and every day i wake up and think, "today is the day i'll put up the tree."
and every day i fall asleep with my fake tree still tucked away in it's box.
because, seriously, it's only november 6th.

but in hawaii, the land of perpetual sunshine and winter temps of 70*+,
it can be kind of difficult to get into the holiday spirit.
our trees don't change color or lose their leaves.
we don't really get any cooler...just rainier.
our two big mountains get snow-capped during the storms.
but other than's more sunshine, warmth, and rubber slippers.

i almost died of happiness when starbucks brought back the pumpkin spice latte a month ago. and this week, the gingerbread latte made it's seasonal debut. another near-death-from-pure-holiday-joy experience for me. you can see, i'm anxious to spread some holiday cheer throughout my home.

today, when i told my mister, "hey! let's put up our tree!" he looked at me as though i'd lost my marbles {for good, this time} and said, "ummm...the steelers are playing and i have spinach dip in the fridge. so no, let's not."

boo. he's a total holiday party-pooper.

instead of tackling the huge job all by my lonesome self, i decided to make some ornaments. i see lots of cute ideas on pinterest. and i pin them all on my pinboards...but today, i have a pin-did!

note: do not attempt this project if you have a migraine, three monsters running through your house, or are extra irritable {like i am today}. you might want to chuck your flower punch through the window about halfway through. {what? me? i would never!}

here's what you NEED:
*pretty scrapbook paper {yes, i know this is not the paper i used...but i forgot to take a photo}
*floral paper punch {this one is a hydrangea by my idol, martha stewart}
*foam ball
*straight pins

here's what you DO:
1. use the floral punch and punch out a gazillion flowers {i'm not kidding, you'll need them}.
2. use your straight pin to poke a hole through the center of the flower and attach to the foam ball3. keep adding pins with flowers, taking care to overlap in order to hide the white ball
3. repeat, repeat, repeat...
4. take a deep breath, repeat the mantra, "i'm broke, therefore i craft," and keep pinning those flowers until the entire ball is covered.
you did it!
your fingers are still intact!
your sanity...maybe not so much.
but, you have a beautiful bauble to display in a glass hurricane.
or you can add a ribbon and hang it on your tree.
or you might be so tired of pink paper that you'll want to give it away.
and that's perfectly okay.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

diy felt love letters

i saw this cute idea somewhere, and knew i had to make some.
if you haven't discovered the joy of FELT yet, let me give you a few reasons to love it:
  • it's 25 cents for a 9x12 inch square
  • it's edges are don't have to hem stitch the raw edges
  • it's machine washable...handy for households with little monsters
  • it's can stiffen it, stuff it, glue it, staple it, etc...
  • it gives you instant gratification
these little felt love letters are a cinch to make, and are wonderful gifts for preschool-aged kids.

here's what you NEED:

  • 9x12 inch piece of felt {any sort will do, i like eco-fi felt}
  • embroidery floss
  • needle
  • tiny black rick-rack {optional}
  • scrap pieces of contrasting felt
  • hot glue gun

here's how to make them:

cut a 9x5 inch rectangle from a piece of felt

fold up a 3" section from the bottom and press with a hot iron.
{please excuse the raggedy cuticles...}

fold down 2" or so and press.
you should now have a tri-fold piece of felt.
{now i really wish i'd painted my nails}

fold up the corners beginning where the outer flap meets the top of the inner flap.
my wonky alien thumb is at that point. iron will be snipping these corners off.
it should now look like this:

cut a small opening at the top of the bottom fold-up, to mimic a real envelope.

using a blanket stitch with 3 strands of embroidery floss
stitch all the way around the top and sides of the envelope.
start in the lower right hand corner.
if you need help with a blanket stitch, click here.

you're going to blanket stitch from the lower right hand corner
all the way around the top and down the left side of the envelope.

when you get to the part where the inner flap meets the outer flap there will be a small space.
open up the envelope and keep stitching till you reach the fold.
my needle is marking the fold in the photo above.

when you get to the fold, close the envelope.
bring your needle up through the fold next to the corner and begin blanket stitch there.
you'll be blanket stitching all the way across the top of the envelope.

when you reach the upper left hand corner, open the envelope.
bring your needle down inside the flap and continue blanket stitching the edge.
you're almost there!
keep going!

here's the finished front...

and here's the finished back!

you can embellish this lovely envelope however you want to.
i chose to use black rick-rack and scrap felt.
but really, it's all up to you!

  • i chose not to close the opening in any way, simply because it's easier for little hands to manipulate without buttons, velcro, etc. but you certainly could add a closure of some sort!
  • feel free to make these in any size, using any materials, and any sort of stitch you want

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

i-heart-you felt love letter

just a lil' peek at tomorrow's post.
i'll be showing you how to make this lovely little letter...

step by step.

i'm a pin-ter-holic

so, i can't take credit for all of the wonderful little things i make.
yes, some are from yours truly.
but some are versions of crafty-genius i find on the web.

if you haven't heard about Pinterest yet...
where the heck have you been?
it is the most fabulous, wonderful, amazing thing ever.
if you like to peruse the internet for ideas, be it recipes, crafts, ANYTHING!
Pinterest is a site where you can organize all of your bookmarks in one place.
it's where i get most of my really great ideas.
there...i admitted it.
are you happy? hmmm?

if you have some free time on your hands go HERE now.
and find ME there.
you'll thank me.
i promise.

try, try again

hello there.
this is blog attempt 1,023.
i don't really know what my problem is.
but it could be one {or more} of the following:
  • three little monsters at home 24/7
  • homeschooling the three little monsters
  • busy hubby who moonlights as a football coach, JA advisor, and Lion
  • death of my trusty mac notebook...which has been temporarily replaced by a Dell
  • flighty internet service
  • plain ol' exhaustion
but, since it is now my favorite time of year,
i am trying again.

this holiday season will be of the DIY sort.
homemade goodies.
handmade gifts.
repurposed materials and thrift store finds.
stretching every penny as far as it can possibly go.
{we're still in a recession, you know.}
and i will be posting my little ideas throughout the holiday season.

i won't make any promises other than this...
i will try!