Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Santa Claus: detailed Benzie color guides – kits available!


Santa Claus is the first pattern in my 'Twas the Night Ornament Series. Here are the detailed felt/floss/sequin/bead color guides for you, so that you can easily make Santa Clauses that look like my Benzie felt samples! Benzie Design has long been one of my favorite places to purchase wool-blend felts. They have stellar customer service, quick shipping, and their felt, floss, sequins and beads are an absolute joy to work with! They will be very happy to help you with what you need.

First, some handy links:
To buy the Santa Claus pattern: mmmcrafts.etsy.com
To buy the Classic or Retro felt palettes shown here:
Benzie 'Twas the Night felt palettes
To buy the helpful notions kit:
Benzie 'Twas the Night notions kit
To shop their beautiful sequins & beads:
Benzie Sparkle & Shine page

I personally chose two different palettes from Benzie's beautiful wool-blend felts to make the ornament samples you see here:

'Twas the Night CLASSIC palette: 


Above photo courtesy of Benzie Design

This 10 pc felt palette includes timeless color combos for Santa Claus in reds, blues and golds. 

'Twas the Night RETRO palette: 


Above photo courtesy of Benzie Design

For this palette, I chose colors that evoke the modern era of the 50s and 60s, with pinks, mints and olives.

For both Benzie Design felt palettes, you can purchase just the felt, or choose the drop down option to include the matching floss (which you will need to sew the ornament together.)

SANTA CLAUS COLOR GUIDES:



Classic Red Santa:

BENZIE FELT COLORS*:
White: Mustache
Ecru: Coat trim, hat trim, boot/sleeve/stocking cuffs
Graphite: Belt and boots
Carmine: Coat and hat
Coral: Body
Swan: Mittens
Mustard: Stocking
*Note: You will also need matching floss or thread colors

FLOSS/SEQUIN/BEAD COLORS:
Hat trim: 4mm Benzie Moonstone sequins, Benzie Rainbow Iridescent beads
Coat trim: 5 mm iridescent clear cupped sequins (or sub 4 mm Benzie Moonstone), Benzie Rainbow Iridescent beads
Coat: DMC B5200, DMC 3846 (also for number on coat back), 4mm Benzie Moonstone sequins, Benzie Rainbow Iridescent beads
Belt: DMC B5200, 8 mm brassy gold sequin, 5 mm aqua sequin, Benzie Rainbow Iridescent bead
Boots: 4mm Benzie Moonstone sequins, Benzie Rainbow Iridescent beads
Stocking: Silver sewing thread, DMC B5200, DMC 3799, Benzie Rainbow Iridescent, Teal, and Strawberry beads
Candy cane and jingle bell ornament: DMC 666
Hanging loop: DMC 5283

OTHER NOTIONS:
5 mm and 9 mm brass jingle bells for hat and ornament


Classic Blue Santa: 

BENZIE FELT COLORS*:
White: Mustache
Ecru: Coat trim, hat trim, boot/sleeve/stocking cuffs
Graphite: Belt and boots
Peacock: Coat and hat
Swan: Body
Mustard: Mittens
Carmine: Stocking
*Note: You will also need matching floss or thread colors

FLOSS/SEQUIN/BEAD COLORS:
Hat trim: 4mm Benzie Moonstone sequins, Benzie Teal beads
Coat trim: 5 mm iridescent clear cupped sequins (or sub 4 mm Benzie Moonstone), Benzie Teal beads
Coat: DMC B5200, DMC 783 (also for number on coat back), 4mm Benzie Moonstone sequins, Benzie Rainbow Iridescent beads
Belt: DMC B5200, 8 mm brassy gold sequin, 5 mm red sequin, Benzie Rainbow Iridescent bead
Boots: 4mm Benzie Moonstone sequins, Benzie Strawberry beads
Stocking: DMC B5200, DMC 3799, DMC 3844, Benzie 4 mm White sequin, one 6 mm white sequin, one 8 mm white sequin, Benzie Graphite and Rose Quartz beads
Candy cane and jingle bell ornament: DMC 666
Hanging loop: DMC 5283

OTHER NOTIONS:
White 5mm mini pom for hat, 9 mm silver jingle bell


Retro Mint Santa:

BENZIE FELT COLORS*:
White: Mustache
Ecru: Coat trim, hat trim, boot/sleeve/stocking cuffs
Graphite: Belt and boots
Julep: Coat and hat
Chartreuse: Body
Moss: Mittens
Flamingo: Stocking
*Note: You will also need matching floss or thread colors

FLOSS/SEQUIN/BEAD COLORS:
Hat trim: 4mm Benzie Moonstone sequins, Benzie Kelly beads
Coat trim: 5 mm iridescent clear cupped sequins (or sub 4 mm Benzie Moonstone), Benzie Kelly beads
Coat: DMC B5200, DMC 937 (also for number on coat back), 4mm Benzie Moonstone sequins, Benzie Rainbow Iridescent beads
Belt: DMC B5200, 8 mm brassy gold sequin, 5 mm green (or sub pink) sequin, Benzie Rainbow Iridescent bead
Boots: 4mm Benzie Jade sequins, Benzie Rainbow Iridescent beads
Stocking: DMC B5200, silver thread, Benzie 4 mm Moonstone sequin, Benzie Rainbow Iridescent beads
Candy cane: DMC 666, DMC 603
Jingle bell ornament: 9 mm pink jingle bell, DMC 5282
Hanging loop: DMC 5283

OTHER NOTIONS:
White 5mm mini pom for hat


Retro Pink Santa:

BENZIE FELT COLORS*:
White: Mustache
Ecru: Coat trim, hat trim, boot/sleeve/stocking cuffs
Graphite: Belt and boots
Flamingo: Coat and hat
Marigold: Body and mittens
Julep: Stocking
*Note: You will also need matching floss or thread colors

FLOSS/SEQUIN/BEAD COLORS:
Hat trim: 4mm Benzie Moonstone sequins, Benzie Rose Quartz beads
Coat trim: 5 mm iridescent clear cupped sequins (or sub 4 mm Benzie Moonstone), Benzie Rose Quartz beads
Coat: DMC B5200, DMC 606 (also for number on coat back), 4mm Benzie White sequins, Benzie Rainbow Iridescent beads
Belt: DMC B5200, 8 mm silver sequin, 5 mm teal sequin, Benzie Rainbow Iridescent bead
Boots: 4 mm Benzie Moonstone sequins, Benzie Teal beads
Stocking: DMC B5200, DMC 3799, DMC 606, Benzie 4 mm White sequin, one 6 mm white sequin, one 8 mm white sequin, Benzie Graphite and Rose Quartz beads
Candy cane: DMC 606, DMC 603
Jingle bell ornament: 9 mm teal jingle bell, DMC 5283
Hanging loop: DMC 5283

OTHER NOTIONS:
5mm silver jingle bell for hat

Sunday, September 1, 2019

Santa Claus pattern is now available!


Santa Claus, the first pattern in my new 'Twas the Night Ornament Series, is now available! These ornaments are inspired by Clement C. Moore's 1823 poem, A Visit from St. Nicholas, better known as The Night Before Christmas. I love the vintage look evoked by the sparkly sequins and beads.


The 20 page detailed PDF pattern comes with a 2nd pattern sheet that has 20 years worth of dates for the back of the ornament, if you are like me and appreciate the years written on your ornaments.


These four sparkly samples were made using Benzie Design's wonderful wool-blend felts, glass seed beads, and sequins. Such great quality! I really enjoyed working with them, and highly recommend them for yours. I'll be posting detailed color guides for these samples, and yes, Benzie Design will be offering kits for you made up with these colors! Yay! Thank you, wonderful Benzie folks! Stay tuned for more information on that.


Red and white is such a classic and lovely combo for your Santas, but don't feel like you have to stick with that! He looks smashing in all kinds of color combos.


You guys know tiny things are my jam, so I especially love the miniscule stocking with candy cane and jingle bell ornament. The jingle bell makes a little cheerful sound whenever it's moved. Choose to make either a Christmas tree stocking or a snowman stocking. Both designs are included in the pattern.


Just like my Twelve Days Ornament Series, these ornaments also utilize Sulky Stick 'n Stitch to make the embroidery, beading, and pattern assembly a snap. More ornaments are to follow in this series, so stay tuned. I do not have a release date for the next pattern, but you can be sure you will see updates and posts right here and on my other channels.


WHERE TO BUY: These PDF patterns are only available in my Etsy shop for instant download. There's a detailed list of materials needed in the listing in the photos but I'm always happy to answer questions! Just shoot me a convo via Etsy.com.


Lots more information about this series can be found on this dedicated resource page. I'll be updating that page constantly as this series develops. Now on to pattern no. 2...

Monday, August 26, 2019

more things I've learned in DramaLand

 
One Percent of Something

The Smile Has Left Your Eyes

Do you watch Korean dramas? Ahnyeo? Well, I do. I find I'm a little wonjahn addicted to the slow romance, beautiful actors, implausible storylines, fabulous fashions, and yes, compleeetely predictable plot devices. Don't let the sometimes cringey English titles throw you off.

 King of High School

W

Pinocchio

Maybe you caught my original post, Things I've Learned in DramaLand? You may find it amusing in the way only Kdrama devotees can. As an American and a veteran Kdrama watcher, I still find there are a lot of things that are puzzling about Korean culture, just like I'm 100% sure our international friends must be perplexed by the totally authentic and real American culture portrayed on American TV. (Honestly, American TV is why I watch Kdramas.)

Come and Hug Me 

Goblin

So here's Part II of my list of things that I've learned that are 100% true from South Korean dramatic TV and movies. *Humor Alert* (Looking for Part I? Yogeo.)
  1. If there is a company dinner planned, unless you are spurting blood out your eyeballs, you will be expected to attend. 
  2. And also to cut the meat for the table with scissors and cook it.
  3. A 60 hour work week is considered, well, kinda lazy.
  4. A chaebol is a good looking, emotionally distant corporate heir with a tragic lack of love.
  5. Chaebols never watch TV. They are too busy looking immaculately groomed and upholding the Korean economy.
  6. High school grade ranking is serious, cutthroat business.
  7. The Korean word for 'rain' and 'blood' sound like the exact same thing.
  8. No one in Korea drives anything that was not made in Korea.
  9. If your great great great grandfather once committed a crime, and your neighbors find out, you may as well move overseas. You will likely be run out of your neighborhood, called the devil's spawn, and pelted by eggs. 
  10. If your companion falls asleep and slowly topples their head onto your shoulder, it's True Love.
  11. Korean beef is the world's most desirable thing to eat, followed closely by pork belly lettuce wraps, spicy chicken feet, black bean noodles, fish cakes on a stick, ramen, your mom's radish kimchi, red bean shaved ice, or spicy rice cakes swimming in malevolent red fire sauce.
  12. The entire city of Seoul is built on back breaking 45 degree inclines.
  13. If your otherwise modern male companion has a conniption fit about the modesty of what you are wearing, it's True Love.
  14. All young Korean actors are also gifted vocalists. Seriously. And they probably headline a Kpop group as a parallel career.
  15. All young Korean actors are able to cry very prettily on demand with no snot and no red nose.
  16. All young Korean actors have their pores surgically removed.
  17. The use of proper honorifics is serious, cutthroat business.
  18. Unmarked white cargo trucks in Seoul never stop for red lights at crosswalks, picking off hapless pedestrians by the hundreds. Pretty sure they are manufactured without brakes.
  19. If you are good looking, in love, rich, and on your way to do something really important, the chances you will be mowed down by a white cargo truck increase by 500%.
  20. After being mowed down by a cargo truck, you will likely wake with a rare but completely real condition in which 1) you can no longer recognize faces except for your gorgeous secretary 2) your memory is mysteriously wiped clean every night 3) you will be psychosomatically allergic to human touch or 4) you will be permanently, hopelessly blind. But no broken bones.
  21. Each of those rare but completely real conditions will be confirmed to be progressively fatal by an American doctor from Harvard Medical School, but will miraculously be cured in Episode 16 by True Love.
  22. Oppa can mean either your male love interest or your older brother, which never leads to any misunderstandings.
  23. No one in South Korea has an iPhone. Samsung, baby.
  24. If someone accidentally sits on you in a crowded bus, it's True Love.
  25. Never apply lipstick on your whole mouth. Apply it to the innermost part only with your pinky, and then smack your lips together. You will look like you just finished a cherry Charm Pop.
  26. KPop fangirling is serious, cutthroat business. And not limited to teens.
  27. When you are being chastised, under no circumstances should you voice any common sense defense of yourself or your actions in order to clear things up. Instead, stoically endure while angry people accuse you of all manner of moral turpitude in front of smirking onlookers. Who are filming you on their phones.
  28. If you don't return someone's feelings, it's clearly not their fault – it's because you are just not trying hard enough. Everyone agrees on this.
  29. Knife blades in Korea come with a built in cloaking device which makes them appear out of focus, but they will still cut you.
  30. If you are famous, no one will love, support, and adore you more obsessively than South Korean fans.
  31. If they find out you have a tiny flaw, no one will drop you faster, and they will likely pelt you with eggs as they set your house on fire. 
  32. If your oppa says for you to look in the trunk of his luxury Hyundai, it's True Love.
  33. There are only five seasoned, highly talented character actors in South Korea, and they are shared across all dramas.
  34. Never have an inner dialog. Say everything you are thinking out loud.
  35. If you are a chaebol, there's an 89% chance you are not actually the child of at least one of your parents.
  36. It turns out after watching hundreds of hours of Korean dramas, you will mysteriously still not be fluent in Korean. Daebak. Wei? WEI? Aigoo.
  37. If someone is skulking around wearing a black hoodie, black baseball cap, and black surgical mask, no one suspects them of anything.
  38. There are two non-Asian actors in South Korea, and they earn lucrative salaries making cameo appearances as high powered deal brokers or Harvard Medical School doctors.
  39. If someone spends a small fortune getting you a kawaii softie from a claw hand vending machine, it's True Love.
  40. No one is able to stay awake on buses in Seoul.
  41. Properly sorting your recyclables is serious cutthroat business.
  42. It is generally known that South Korean technology produces robots that are completely indistinguishable from a real human, and which end up kissing surprised young ladies.
  43. Some means you've got a little flirty somethin goin' on, but no one is calling it a relationship just yet.
  44. Always plaintively say 'Oppa' with a pouty mouth while tucking your arm in his. He will immediately buy you an expensive bag.
  45. Whatever problem you have, it can be cured by a heaping plate of grilled meats. And 5 bottles of soju.
  46. If you are a woman forced to disguise yourself as a man to step around rigid societal expectations, no worries, you will completely fool everyone. Despite your diminutive size, hourglass waist, lack of Adam's apple, tiny slender hands, narrow shoulders, and female angel's features. Don't even bother to lower your voice. 
  47. If you are under the age of 6 in Korea, you will be indulged as the most helpless, precious treasure imaginable and given anything you want. People will fall over themselves to stop you from crying. Mothers will handfeed you choice bits of food. Strangers will pet your head and buy you cream filled buns.
  48. Once you start school, buckle up, Buttercup, you are on your own. Better start carrying a knife.
  49. No one in South Korea stores their phone contacts with people's actual names.
  50. If your secret True Love fell asleep five seconds ago, you can touch their face, rearrange their limbs, steal a kiss, and confess undying love in a perfectly normal tone of voice right next to them, and they won't even twitch. 
  51. Rich, good looking oppas can somehow get away with wearing eye-popping, flamboyant, girly fashions and no one ever questions their manhood.
  52. If someone gives you a surprise back-hug, it's True Love.
  53. Never apply expensive face cream without making sure the brand name is visible to the camera.
  54. The delicate art of Push-Pull is when you can have True Love for someone but continually say they are not only ugly but also kinda stupid. This only fans the flames of their ardor.
  55. No one in corporate Seoul can function on fewer than three cafe Americanos and a red ginseng packet per day.
  56. If you are virtuous and determined, you will earn loose change by peeling onions/garlic or sewing on the faces of kawaii softies.
  57. Marriage between chaebols is serious, cutthroat business. Correction, marriage between anyone is serious, cutthroat business.
  58. If you trip over your own 4 inch heels and are caught in the arms of a stern looking oppa in slow motion replay as you fall beautifully backwards, it's True Love.
  59. If you are a plucky, beautiful, but poor tomboy just trying to better yourself, you will fall in love with 1) a chaebol whose mom breathes fire 2) your emotionally distant boss 3) the lead singer of a Kpop group 4) an expensive android or 5) your secret illegitimate brother.
  60. If things are going really well, your future is bright, and you are having a super happy time, PLEASE, I beg of you -- pay really close attention at crosswalks. Jae-bal!

 The Secret Life of my Secretary

 One Spring Night

I Am Not a Robot

We can all have a chuckle, but we know these tropes are what make Kdrama so unique and addictive -- so don't mess with the formula, people! Some side effects of my Kaddiction are the urge to answer my kids in Korean, try all kinds of ramen recipes, and I have to restrain myself from bowing when I say thank you. Another thing I've noticed is that the fashions travel westward. I find that I see a fashion trend on my dramas (and sometimes think what in the world, I'll never wear that) and then about six mos later it shows up in the stores here. And I end up wearing it.

Now that I've watched heaps of them, I've become picky about which dramas I watch. The reality is that I quickly pass on many of them after an episode or two (or 5 minutes in some cases), because I just can't quite suspend my disbelief, or I can't take the deliberate over-acting, or the extra silly humor, or the super slow pacing, etc... So now it takes a special one to really hook me. But there are plenty of those! Also, keepin' it real, I have to say, a lot (not all) of the Kpop ballads that play ad nauseum during many of the scenes...arrrrgh. Sorry. My American new wave musical tastes often seriously clash with what I'm watching. So there's that. 

South Korea has many genuinely talented actors and writers. And they just keep making more dramas to watch! One thing I really hope is that they do not try to westernize the plots and themes to draw in international viewers. I've already noticed signs of this. Boo! I vote no to that. Check out my Kdrama Pinterest board if you like. I only pin dramas I've watched and would recommend.

Saturday, August 3, 2019

final prototype for 'Twas The Night Santa Claus ornament


This tiny, pink, wool felt Santa Claus ornament is the first in a new series of ornaments I'm designing based on Clement C. Moore's 1823 poem, A Visit from St. Nicholas. Most folks know that poem by its famous first line, "'Twas the night before Christmas".

Mr Pinkensparkl you see here is in the final proportions for the pattern, except maybe I'll vary what he's holding in his right mitten. Or maybe I'll give a couple options for that. Still mulling that one over.


If you like making super tiny accessories, you are going to love this ornament. I'll include all my tips for doing this. Get your reading glasses and Ott Lites ready for action. haha! Cup of coffee is also very helpful.

This new series will feature some familiar North Pole citizens, along with some other things to evoke the magic of the classic poem. I'm having so much fun making these Santas! They are very similar to making the people ornaments from my Twelve Days series, only with less embroidery and more Christmas sparkle added in the form of sequins and glass seed beads. I love the vintage look that the combination of wool felt and sequins give them.


The best kind of mess is on my desk lately. All the wool felt colors I'm using for my samples so far are from Benzie Design, not to mention their fantastic array of colored seed beads and sequins. Their sequins are a bit smaller than the ones I've found at the craft store -- 4 mm as opposed to 5 mm, and Benzie sequins are not cupped, they're flat. They work really well for the small scale of this ornament, and I find the seed beads are such nice quality -- uniform size and shape with holes that you can fit a regular sewing sharp through. #winning

No worries, you can still use the fantastic and wonderful and magical Sulky Stick N' Stitch to sew these ornaments more quickly and accurately. I have found that the seed beads and sequins I have do just fine for the few minutes you have to soak them to wash away the stabilizer. Yay!

Stay tuned for updates on this Santa Claus ornament pattern soon. I'll be releasing him sometime in August, but can't give a date. Too many variables! 

Friday, July 26, 2019

Snow Bird pattern revisited



I recently took another look at a pattern I wrote in 2013, Snow Bird. It's a fun, uncomplicated hand sewn ornament. You can comfortably sew it up in one or two afternoons and have a really special handmade gift to give to someone. I like that it has a little Christmas sparkle added by sequins and silver lined seed beads. As I reviewed the pattern, I was inspired to make one, seen in the first photo above. *sigh* My weird wrinkly wrist. I had my arm at a strange angle trying to take the shot and simultaneously be my own hand model. Anyway. The felt colors I used are a mashup of FOTF and Benzie:
Head/wing details: FOTF Orange Red
Wings: FOTF Shrimp
Body: FOTF Lavender Pink
Beak: Benzie Peacock

I used sequins and beads I have in my collection (which are now catastrophically and maybe permanently mixed after I accidentally dropped the container they were sorted in) but also some lovely new sequins that were so kindly sent to me by Benzie Design. They are 4 mm and flat as opposed to the 5 mm cupped ones I usually find at my local craft store, so the smaller size is really nice for small details. They come in some reeeeeally gorgeous colors with coordinating seed beads. In spillproof containers. I'll have to experiment more with those!


As it happens, I've learned a couple things since 2013, so I did a few revisions to the instructions while I was updating the contact information (there's no such thing as my flickr page anymore haha). There was nothing wrong with the original instructions, but I changed them to utilize freezer paper for all the pattern pieces instead of just for the beak. I think that method is quicker and more foolproof when it comes to transferring accurately to felt. I also included a handy template to take the guesswork out of the beak placement.


Do you have your Christmas projects lined up already? Perhaps you need a Snow Bird in that list? You can find the PDF pattern here in my Etsy shop.

Monday, July 15, 2019

baby name banner for Teddy Graham


A blessing in the form of a tiny baby boy will soon be joining my extended family. Theodore Graham will no doubt be super cute just because of his parents, but I'm also crossing my fingers for some curly red hair. Please oh please! See what you can do, Lindsey. :-)

This wool felt teddy bear banner was designed to coordinate with human Teddy's nursery in muted and manly shades of gray, maroon, navy blue, and brown. Since Theodore is quite a long name, I did this banner at half the size I did for the previous two banners. The finished length is just right, I
think.



The banner was constructed basically in the same way as the others, with nice wool felts for the flags, stiffened white acrylic felt for the backings, and grosgrain ribbon. The letters are also backed with the stiffened felt. (It's really inexpensive and can be found in most big craft/hobby stores located near the acrylic craft felts.)



The fun part was making the bears. I designed the two affable fellows at the ends to be spiffed up in fabric bow ties and collars. Their look was a bit trial and error and involved a lot of squinting. (I squint when I test out colors and arrangements. I don't know why.) I could have done them completely as applique, but I wanted them to have some dimension. Their ears and noses are craft store pom poms. The bow ties are two layers of quilting fabric adhered together with Heat n Bond® (a really great iron-on adhesive), which gives the fabric the right amount of stiffness and will prevent the edges from raveling. The eyes and collar are stiffened craft felt.


I designed the whole banner on my Mac first, then output it directly to my old 'bad' batch of Sulky Sticky Fabri-Solvy (see this old post for more on that). As I've mentioned, I'd use even the good stuff for this because it really streamlines the whole process. You just print each flag once on the Sulky and use it four times over to cut the backing, flag, letter backing and letter. It's so easy. Then I used my usual method of glue basting everything together and then sewing it down.


I did attach the ribbon differently this time. I usually thread an entire long piece through the sewn channels on the backs of the flags, space the flags as I like, then secure them in place. It occurred to me that is a waste of good ribbon. So this time I glued on short, measured pieces of ribbon between the flags on the backs, then hot glued the back flaps in place. Tada. It looks the same but uses less ribbon, and it's less frustrating to do. (Unless like a complete numpty you find you've glued the flags in the wrong order and have to puzzle out how to fix this after the flaps were already hot glued down over the ribbon. *loud clearing of throat*)

I did manage to fix that without having to start over, so it's all good. There were some pretty negative comments made about myself to myself, I'm afraid. But all's well that ends well. I'm so pleased with this banner, and I can't wait to welcome little Theo to our family, no matter what color his hair turns out to be. :-)

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Twelve Days update: you can sub Pellon 70 Peltex for the wings, and two other notes


Hey, guys! I always like to share updates with you that might make the construction of your ornaments easier/faster/better/cheaper. (As I typed that, the opening sequence to The Six-Million Dollar man began playing inside my head.)

FIRST ITEM: Way back when I wrote the bird patterns in the series, I specified double layers of heavyweight iron-on interfacing to give the wings stiffness, and used Pellon® 70 Peltex® to reinforce the beaks.

I discovered recently that the 70 Peltex actually works well for the wings. Quite well. Okaaaay...better. I did this in the set I just made for FOTF and really liked the results, and it was less trouble than cutting multiple pieces of interfacing. So why didn't 2014 Larissa think of this? Mmmmnot sure? Maybe I did and decided against it? You know me. Detail obsessed oriented. I'm sure it crossed my mind. Maybe I thought it would look too thick? But 2019 Larissa knows better.


So as I'm going through and revising the patterns (just minor changes and tweaks) to make them more streamlined and consistent in the way they are made, I'm subbing in one layer of the 70 Peltex in all the bird wings (and also the tail in the case of French Hen) instead of the double layers of iron-on interfacing. It's a win-win because
1) it works better to help the wings keep their shape over time, and
2) also makes for one less item to buy, because you already use the 70 Peltex in the beaks. Yay! (You can skip buying the craft weight iron-on interfacing.)

So make a little note to yourself on your existing patterns to use the Peltex instead. That includes Turtle Dove, French Hen, Colly Bird, Goose a-Laying, and Swan a-Swimming. (Partridge does not have a free standing wing, so that is not affected.)

SECOND ITEM: Specific to the Swan a-Swimming pattern, also make a note to yourself about using a cotton pipe cleaner inside the water of the swan instead of using the interfacing or even the Pellon. It won't hurt to use either of those, but I think a pipe cleaner works better:


That's another minor revision I'm making in the pattern because a cotton pipe cleaner keeps the water nice and straight and not bendy. Bendy water looks weird. When storing the ornaments, the water tends to bend upward around the swan if you use the interfacing or Pellon. Even if your pipe cleaner gets curvy in storage, you can easily straighten it. I used a pipe cleaner in this one.

OK, THIRD ITEM: Circling back to the wing and beak Pellon, I thought I'd mention that when I made the baby banner recently, I noticed stiffened craft felt has about the same thickness and stiffness of the 70 Peltex.


Soooooo if you find that you have trouble locating the 70 Peltex to use for the wings and beaks, you might try the stiffened felt? *Emphasis on the ?* I hesitate to even mention it because I haven't used it in the ornaments myself, but I know you guys are perfectly capable of trying it out for yourselves if needed. You guys are smart. Be careful if for some reason you have to press over it with an iron -- I'm pretty sure it will melt or shrink if there is direct contact with the iron.

Friday, May 24, 2019

baby name banner for wee Noah


I designed this wool felt name banner for my sweet friend Holley who is welcoming her 5th child very soon. Little Noah doesn't realize this yet, but he is such a lucky kid to have Colby and Holley for parents! You'll never meet nicer, more loving folks. I'm a big fan of their four other kids too. In short, I love them.


While photographing this, it came to my attention that I'm running out of blank walls at my house. Blank walls are kinda boring from a decor standpoint but they are shazam for photographing baby banners you want to blog. Luckily I have this one bare wall left in our room, but it doesn't give much contrast between the wall and the white felt backing. Use your imaginaaaaation to add color to the wall. *Makes rainbow shape with fingers*


I've made one other felt name banner. It was for a sweet little girl baby, so it was flowery and pretty and right in my wheelhouse. I took what I learned from that first one and used it to improve the construction of this one. First of all, instead of regular felt, I used cheap, craft store stiffened white felt as the base for the banner. It's right there next to the stacks of craft felt. It rocks for this. So easy to cut, keeps it's shape, takes glue and hot glue well, and you can sew through it. Did I mention it's cheap? OK. Also no stretching out of shape like the felt I used to back the first banner. It adds just the right amount of stiffness and body to the pennants. I used it to back the lettering too. (And I had an epiphany while using it -- it would make a great substitute for the stiff Pellon stabilizer in my Twelve Days patterns. I'm not sure it's actually cheaper than the Pellon per sq inch, but it might be easier to find.)


The construction was similar to my first one. I designed the banner in Illustrator, and then I output the flags with letters in place on my faulty batch of Sulky Sticky Fabri-Solvy. Since I can't use it with my felt ornaments, this is a bang-up way to make it so useful -- and to be honest, even if it wasn't the 'bad' stuff I'd still use it like this because it's just makes construction so easy.

There's a way to do it so you only have to use up one sheet of the Sulky per flag. Cut from the outside in and re-use it until you've cut everything out. So:
1) I cut the backing outline out of the stiffened felt, peeled off the stabilizer, then applied it to
2) cut the flag color felt, peeled off the stabilizer, then applied it to
3) cut the stiffened backing for the letter, peeled off the stabilizer, then applied it to
4) cut out the letter itself.


I used a selection of felt colors from my vast, embarrassing stash of wool felts to match the colors that Holley would like for Noah's room. They are a mix of wool-blend and 100% wool felts. (Benzie Design and Felt On The Fly colors.) I don't sweat mixing these two types of wool felts. I always have mixed them because getting the colors I want trumps being fussy about matching fiber content. And I already have the stiffened felt thrown in there that's made from plastic or something, so it's all a smorgasbord.


I wanted to add interest by giving the animals some 3D elements. This meant using small amounts of stuffing and some of my prodigious pom pom stash. I have a thing for poms. Like three gallon-sized jars, a half gallon jar, and two small jars for the mini poms kind of thing.






As you can see, the animals (I still say aminals in my head because two kids) are a mix of machine sewing and hand sewing. One thing that did not improve from last time: I had like a month and a half to make this thing and I was still up to 2 AM on the night before the shower sewing it together. I've come to accept this about myself, but still hoping to magically wake up one day as a motivated non-procrastinator.

I used Tacky Glue to baste the parts together before sewing and I used hot glue to add the poms and some of the felt elements to the banner, as well as to secure the folded flaps on the back for the ribbon (last time I sewed that but didn't like the seam showing) and also to secure the loops in the ends of the ribbon for hanging. I only burned myself a couple of times. *thumbs up*

If I had to do it over again I might add more animals? Maybe use the same gray for the end flag as the beginning flag? I'm not sure I'm completely happy with the overall design in terms of balancing the animals and colors. (Don't worry, I feel this way after making everything.) But that doesn't keep me from being happy with this baby boy banner. I got to use some of my favorite materials and favorite animals. It was a fun project!