Thursday, November 26, 2020

happiest of Thanksgivings to you, and my annual sale is on!

Hello hello to you. Today I plan to mindfully and thankfully devour sausage balls, smoked turkey, ham, pecan pie, pumpkin cheesecake, the WORKS. And to be especially grateful for delicious, lovely fat and sugar as I have been on WW since May and I'm ready to eat allllll the things to celebrate the day. There may be a faceplant in a plate buttered yeast rolls. (Humor and holiday splurging aside, WW has actually been really great, and I highly recommend it. I love to eat, and there's always something tasty I can eat for zero points. I've lost a good bit of weight and I'm feeling pretty fantastic about that. I plan to stay on it for the long haul. Tomorrow.)

Besides butter, there is much to be thankful for in my life this year, yes, especially this strange, sad, and challenging year. I've heard from so many folks who found a special refuge in all forms of handcraft this year, and goodness knows I have. I can just see in my mind's eye lucky people around the world being delighted and amazed to open their special handmade gifts on Christmas morning as a result of worldwide lockdown crafting. What a lovely vision. I'm so grateful if my patterns have played any small part in that joy.

Do you have plans to sew for Christmas? Better get crackin'. (I'm mostly speaking to myself there.) Today through Monday there's 20% off of all patterns in my shop, so be sure to take advantage of that if you've had your eye on a project or two. Be aware the sale is automatically keyed to my US time zone, Eastern Standard, so factor that in if you are in a different zone on our wonderful planet!

I wish you the warmest, happiest, most delicious time spent with your loved ones today, whether an unlucky turkey figures in there or not. We can all take some time to count our many blessings and say a prayer of thanks. 

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Little Elves preview

Here's Little Elf Girl, the first design included in my upcoming new 'Twas the Night pattern. She's just coming back from fetching the letters in Santa's mailbox. It's cold out there!

...and Little Elf Boy, the second design included in the pattern. He's busy helping Santa to check off who's naughty and who's nice. You can customize the list to suit your own family. All nice I'm sure! ;-)

Toothpicks, permanent markers, gel pens, card stock, and a very fine tip writing pen will come in handy for the tiny accessories. You can use metallic felt, wool felt, or even card stock for the mail bag. Ooh or glitter felt maybe.



Both of these elf designs are almost final, with only super minor tweaks needed. I'll be writing the pattern and making the final samples next! All the samples will be in the two Benzie Design felt color palettes I've chosen for the series, Classic and Retro, but of course you can make your elves in whatever colors you like! 


Ah I see there's a helpful note on the back of the envelope. Santa's policy is 'trust but verify', little Tucker. :-)

Sunday, October 25, 2020

sneak peek of the next ornament in 'Twas the Night


After finally releasing Mr Marley (great SCOTT he took forever) I'm happily designing the next pattern in the 'Twas the Night series, Little Elves. This is a glimpse of the first draft, hence no embroidery. I'll add in the embroidery and *sparkle* on the next round of test ornaments. Fun! I'm excited to show you more when I get to that stage.

Note: These little guys are a bit smaller than Santa and Mrs Claus (#becauseelves), so I recommend finding something skinny to help you stuff them if you don't already have something. I am using my beloved Barbara Willis stuffing fork, which is the regular size, and it's working fine, however I just purchased the mini to see if it is easier to use on these skinny lil' legs. I'll report back. 

"But wait, there are no elves in the poem, Larissa!"

Yes! That's right. No elves besides the right jolly old Santa himself. Don't worry, we will get to the body of the well-loved poem itself, but I wanted to make a stop at the North Pole first to pick up Mrs Claus and the elves. Thanks for hanging in there with me! :-)

Saturday, October 24, 2020

May I suggest a handmade ornament?


(Shown: my Twelve Days ornaments sewn with the curated Felt On The Fly 100% merino wool Jewel colorway. Buy the lovely complete felt kit in her shop, pattern not included.)

I find hand sewing to be so therapeutic, and handmade ornaments make truly special gifts that will be treasured and brought out every Christmas. A confident beginner can tackle my #twelvedaysornaments if they start with pattern No. 1 and go in order. The patterns increase in difficulty as you work your way up to No. 12, so that you build your skills!

Can you:
1) Cut small pieces with precision?
2) Sew basic hand stitches like whipstitch, backstitch, and French knot?
3) Print stuff?
4) Glue stuff?
5) Enjoy coffee?*
*Optional but recommended

If you answered yes to these questions, you can make these ornaments and make them well. It’s all about the Sulky stabilizer called Stick 'n Stitch. Print my pattern on the stabilizer, adhere it to the lovely wool felt, and stitch on the lines. NO tracing or transferring embroidery designs. Fantastic. My patterns are super detailed with step-by-step instructions and tons of illustrations. This page is chock full of information and tips for you if you are interested. Happy sewing to you!
 
PDF patterns are in my Etsy shop, mmmcrafts.etsy.com
Jewel colorway at Felt On The Fly, etsy.com/shop/FeltOnTheFly

Saturday, October 17, 2020

Mr. Marley: detailed Benzie color guides – kits available!


Mr. Marley
 is the second pattern in my Ebenezer Ornament Series. Here are the detailed felt/floss/sequin/bead color guides for you below, so that you can easily make Mr. Marleys 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 get you started:
To buy the Mr. Marley pattern: mmmcrafts.etsy.com
To buy the Victorian or Modern Pastel felt palettes shown here:
To shop their beautiful sequins and beads:

OK! Here are the color guides:

Victorian Copper Marley

BENZIE FELT COLORS*:
Copper: Coat and boot cuffs
Peacock: Waistcoat
Blush: Breeches (body) and kerchief
White: Cravat
Burgundy: Coat collar and sleeve cuffs
Graphite: Boots
*Note: You will need matching floss or thread colors

FLOSS/SEQUIN/BEAD COLORS*:
Coat: DMC 761, Benzie Blue Glass seed beads, Benzie Rainbow seed beads (buttons), Benzie Moonstone sequins (buttons)
Coat cuffs: DMC 3844
Waistcoat: DMC 761, Benzie Rose Gold Metallic seed beads (buttons), Benzie White seed beads
Breeches: DMC 3712, Benzie Rose Gold Metallic seed beads (buttons), Benzie Copper Metallic sequins (buttons) 
Boot tassels: DMC E301
Year on back: DMC 3845
*All sequins/beads sewn with silver sewing thread

OTHER NOTIONS:
Chain: Silver charm chain with links measuring 6 mm at the widest place, 6 mm jump rings
Jingle Bells: 17 mm silver jingle bells
Charms: Benzie Bellwether Metallic Silver Wool Felt, Benzie Silver Metallic Sequin, Benzie Silver Iridescent Seed Bead, silver card stock, DMC 5283 Metallic Pearl
Glasses: Silver 24 gauge wire
Hanging Loop: DMC 5283 Metallic Pearl


Victorian Turquoise Marley

BENZIE FELT COLORS*:
Turquoise: Coat
Midnight: Waistcoat and boot cuffs
Bronze: Breeches (body)
White: Cravat and kerchief
Swan: Coat collar and sleeve cuffs
Graphite: Boots
*Note: You will need matching floss or thread colors

FLOSS/SEQUIN/BEAD COLORS*:
Coat: DMC E301 or D301, Benzie Blue seed beads, Benzie Rainbow seed beads (buttons), Benzie Moonstone sequins (buttons)
Coat cuffs: DMC 3750
Waistcoat: DMC 958, Benzie Blue seed beads (buttons), Benzie Rainbow seed beads
Breeches: DMC E301 or D301, Benzie Silver Iridescent seed beads (buttons), Benzie Silver Metallic sequins (buttons)
Boot tassels: DMC E168
Year on back: DMC Blanc
*All sequins/beads sewn with silver sewing thread

OTHER NOTIONS:
Chain: Silver charm chain with links measuring 6 mm at the widest place, 6 mm jump rings
Jingle Bells: 17 mm silver jingle bells
Charms: Benzie Bellwether Metallic Silver Wool Felt, Benzie Silver Metallic Sequin, Benzie Silver Iridescent Seed Bead, silver card stock, DMC 5283 Metallic Pearl
Glasses: Silver 24 gauge wire
Hanging Loop: DMC 5283 Metallic Pearl


Modern Pastel Moss Marley

BENZIE FELT COLORS*:
Moss: Coat
Julep: Waistcoat
Ecru: Breeches (body), kerchief, and cravat
Fern: Coat collar, sleeve cuffs, and boot cuffs
Turquoise: Boots
*Note: You will need matching floss or thread colors

FLOSS/SEQUIN/BEAD COLORS*:
Coat: DMC E3852 or D3852, Benzie White seed beads, Benzie Gold seed beads (buttons), Benzie Teal Metallic sequins (buttons)
Coat cuffs: DMC 991
Waistcoat: DMC 935, Benzie Red seed beads (buttons), Benzie White seed beads
Breeches: DMC 501, Benzie Gold seed beads (buttons), Benzie Gold Metallic sequins (buttons)
Boot tassels: DMC E3852
Year on back: DMC Blanc
*All sequins/beads sewn with gold sewing thread

OTHER NOTIONS:
Chain: Gold charm chain with links measuring 6 mm at the widest place, 6 mm jump rings
Jingle Bells: 15 mm gold jingle bells
Charms: Benzie Bellwether Metallic Gold Wool Felt, Benzie Gold Metallic Sequin, Benzie Gold Seed Bead, gold card stock, DMC 5282 Metallic Pearl
Glasses: Gold 24 gauge wire
Hanging Loop: DMC 5282 Metallic Pearl


Modern Pastel Ecru Marley

BENZIE FELT COLORS*:
Ecru: Coat and cravat
Coral: Waistcoat
Ochre: Breeches (body)
Pink: Coat collar, sleeve cuffs
Turquoise: Boots
Julep: Boot cuffs and kerchief
*Note: You will need matching floss or thread colors

FLOSS/SEQUIN/BEAD COLORS*:
Coat: DMC E3852 or D3852, Benzie Red seed beads, Benzie Gold seed beads (buttons), Benzie Rose Quartz sequins (buttons) (or Benzie Teal Metallic sequins would be nice buttons too)
Coat cuffs: DMC 3705
Waistcoat: DMC 501, Benzie Gold seed beads (buttons), Benzie White seed beads
Breeches: DMC 830, Benzie Gold seed beads (buttons), Benzie Moonstone sequins (buttons)
Boot tassels: DMC E3852
Year on back: DMC 501
*All sequins/beads sewn with gold sewing thread

OTHER NOTIONS:
Chain: Gold charm chain with links measuring 6 mm at the widest place, 6 mm jump rings
Jingle Bells: 15 mm gold jingle bells
Charms: Benzie Bellwether Metallic Gold Wool Felt, Benzie Gold Metallic Sequin, Benzie Gold Seed Bead, gold card stock, DMC 5282 Metallic Pearl
Glasses: Gold 24 gauge wire
Hanging Loop: DMC 5282 Metallic Pearl

These color guides can be followed exactly, but feel free to vary the choices to match your tastes and make your own unique combos. The way I've combined the Benzie Victorian and Modern Pastel felt colors are just a few of the possibilities! I'd love to see what you make. :-) #ebenezerornamentseries

Thursday, October 15, 2020

the skinny on metallic thread and flosses

I specify several different kinds of metallic thread/flosses in my Christmas ornament patterns. Because of their shiny wrapping, metallic threads can be more of a challenge to work with, but they are so worth it. This post will show you why I use so many different kinds and what they do best! 

1) DMC DIAMANT and DIAMANT GRANDE


This lovely metallic embroidery thread was a recent discovery for me. I had been using the six-strand DMC Light Effects for embroidery and stripping it like I do the DMC six-strand cotton flosses, which was a bit difficult/frustrating. I much prefer the Diamant because:

  • It's a single twisted strand (no stripping required)
  • Easier to thread in your needle
  • Doesn't bunch or tangle as much  

I use it in place of six-strand floss for any metallic decorative embroidery. To sub Diamant for the six-strand cotton flosses in my instructions, ignore the number of strands I have specified. Substitute a double strand of Diamant or a single strand of Diamant Grande. That formula should work well most of the time. If you want an especially thick looking metallic embroidery, try a double strand of the Diamant Grande.

Copper Diamant thread in action on a Mr. Marley ornament

Where to get it: DMC.com of course, and Benzie Design is planning to include it as an option in their kits. I haven't had any luck finding it locally in the store, but you might!


2) DMC LIGHT EFFECTS

Light Effects is the metallic/shiny polyester equivalent to DMC's six-strand cotton flosses. I have found them a bit challenging to embroider with, but they are certainly lovely looking. If you do use them for embroidery, try using shorter lengths, like twelve inches or less. Once cut, the strands spring apart, which makes it challenging to thread several strands at once. I ended up just threading them in stages.

I use it to make tiny metallic tassels, like the ones on Mr. Scrooge's night cap or Mr. Marley's boots. When doubled, it's the perfect tassel thickness and so pretty and shiny. I do not use it for embroidery now that I have Diamant, but you certainly can! Just strip the same number of strands specified in my instructions, use short lengths, and take your time.

The tassels and metallic embroidery shown above are Light Effects

Where to get it: I have no problem finding a range of these flosses at my local sewing/craft stores. DMC.com also, of course, and Benzie Design includes Light Effects in their kits.



I'm not married to this particular brand of metallic thread, it's just the one that is readily available at my local sewing/craft store and is the only one I've used so far. Any brand of metallic sewing thread should be fine, and this Sulky one looks nice too. Maybe I should try it.

I use it to sew on beads and sequins. It has the advantage of adding a tiny bit more sparkle (more sparkle = better) and there's no need to worry about matching the color of the thread to your beads and sequins, which is especially nice when you are using a lot of different colors. It can be more temperamental to work with than non-metallic sewing threads. A good bit more snarly and twisty, so use short lengths.

The sequins and beads on this Mrs. Claus are sewn on with silver sewing thread.

Where to get it: I have no problem finding a range of these at my local sewing/craft stores or online at major sewing stores


3) DMC METALLIC PEARL COTTON

Pardon this untidy shot of my metallic pearl spaghetti instead of the neat twisted skeins they were when purchased. #studiolife. You might be saying, what can she possibly need yet another metallic floss for? Well, I'll tell ya:

I use it to make the hanging loops for all my ornaments. This nicely twisted pearl floss just makes a better looking loop. It's also much easier to knot around itself because it doesn't disintegrate into unmanageable separate strands like Light Effects does. Which also makes it easier to thread through jump rings.

The hanging loops on most all of my ornaments are made with Metallic Pearl Cotton

Where to get it: I have no problem finding both silver and gold pearl floss at my local sewing/craft stores or online at major sewing stores. Benzie also includes this in their kits! 

And that's the lowdown on the metallic threads I use. I hope this was helpful! 

Monday, October 12, 2020

Mr. Marley pattern is now available!

At last! Mr. Marley, the second pattern in my Ebenezer Ornament Series, is now in the shop. This series is inspired by my love for Charles Dickens' spooky Victorian novella, A Christmas Carol. This pattern series is intermediate – not for beginners. If you've completed my Twelve Days Ornament Series, you are ready to step into Ebenezer! (Twelve Days is a great primer as it builds your skills when you do the patterns in order.)

Skills needed are backstitch, whipstitch, drawing on the face, precision cutting of small pieces (and some are like super small), beading, and working with jump rings and basic jewelry tools. No worries, as with all my ornament patterns, Mr. Marley is organized into detailed step by step instructions with lots of diagrams and tips.


The ghostly Mr. Marley ornament is sporting his 'usual' pigtail, waistcoat, tights, and tasseled boots. His spectacles in death are just as they were in life, pushed up on his forehead, and he wears a folded kerchief bound around his head and chin. He holds the long chain which he forged in life, complete with money jingle boxes, padlock, key, and money purse.


I love the look of metallic stitching with this series, and I've discovered a DMC thread that is a lot easier to work with than the DMC Light Effects: DMC Diamant is a twisted single strand metallic embroidery thread. I love it! A good bit easier to work with than the six strand Light Effects for the decorative embroidery! (You will still need Light Effects to make the little tassels if you want those in metallic finish.) 

Note: if you use Diamant for the embroidery, ignore the number of strands I have specified for that step and just use a double strand of Diamant, or a single strand of Diamant Grande.

I will have to just do a blog post on all the different types of DMC metallic floss. I seem to use them all in this one series! LOL Of course. All the things. 


Just like my other heirloom ornament patterns, it takes about two crafternoons to make a Mr. Marley. He doesn't have as much embroidery as some others, but he's a bit more complicated because of the handmade charms and spectacles. (You can always opt to purchase similar sized charms if you like!)

He's constructed using Sulky Stick 'n Stitch, which makes the process so fast and accurate. If you already have the materials on hand to make Scrooge, you just need a few more things like chain, jump rings, jingle bells, metallic card stock, metallic wool felt, and wire. I posted about that recently.


A shot of the fellas together. My Mr. Marley samples are made with the same two Benzie color palettes I used for my Mr. Scrooge samples. Here are the detailed color guides for Marley, and you can find the kits that go with them at amaaaaaazing Benzie Design

Sunday, August 30, 2020

some things you'll need for Mr Marley


Hello, lovely mmmakers! Are you planning to craft a Mr Marley Christmas ornament when the pattern  becomes available? (Mr Marley is the upcoming second pattern in my current Ebenezer Ornament Series.) I'm busy writing the pattern, drawing the diagrams, and sewing the final samples for you. It occurred to me you might like to know the extra bits and bobs you'll need to make him ahead of time, so you'll be ready to roll when the pattern releases.

Beyond the usual wool felt, floss, pipe cleaners/chenille stems, wood colored card stock (nose), stiffened white felt (pigtail), glass beads, sequins, wood beads, etc etc etc, there are a few new items needed for Mr Marley that were not needed for Mr Scrooge:

  • 24 gauge wire in gold or silver for his spectacles and misc.
  • Some wire snips and tweezers will come in handy, if you don't already have some.
  • About 10-11 inches of gold or silver charm bracelet type of chain, with nice open links. My chain samples measure 6 mm at the longest part of the link. This is the gold and silver chain I purchased, but anything similar will be fine. You'd get three ornaments out of either of those.
  • 6 mm gold or silver jump rings for attaching bits to his chain.
  • Some needle nose pliers to open and close said jump rings. (I like having two pairs, one to hold the ring and one to bend the jump ring apart.) 
  • 15, 16 or 17 mm gold or silver jingle bells to attach to his chain in lieu of actual ghostly money boxes. Don't go larger or smaller than that or they might not look proportional.
  • If you already have them, eye pins come in handy to insert inside his hands but are not essential. As an alternative, you can just squash a jump ring or fashion a quick loop out of the 24 gauge wire, no biggie.
  • Optional: A gold or silver key charm or two (around an inch) OR you can make them. See below.
  • Optional: A small gold or silver charm that looks like a padlock or a money purse OR you can make a padlock or money purse. See below. (You can also see a necklace finding up there ^ called a cap, which reminded me of a little purse.)

  • If you enjoy working small (like me!) and you opt to make the keys, padlock, and/or purse charms, you'll need to get some small scraps of metallic card stock and also metallic wool felt. (Benzie Design has lots of lovely metallic wool felt, including the gold and silver you see up there ^ in the photo. It's metallic on one side and wool felt on the other.) I found the metallic card stock in the scrapbooking section of my local craft store.
  • The padlock has gold or silver perle floss for the arm of the lock, which you probably already have on hand for the ornament loops.
  • The money purse has a gold or silver sequin/seed bead fastener and an attached jump ring.
  • For the key as well as the padlock you'll need to have a small hole punch. Mine is a 1/8 inch punch.
  • A craft knife like Xacto comes in handy and also a wicked sharp pair of small scissors.
My final Mr Marley samples will be made using my two Ebenezer color palettes at Benzie Design: Victorian and Modern Pastel. Benzie Design will once again be offering kits for this new pattern because they are amazing. If you'd like to wait and see their kits, they might include some of what's listed above so that you can purchase it all in one stop if you don't like hunting for bits. If you already purchased a Benzie kit or two to make Mr Scrooge, you might have most of the rest of what you need to make Mr Marley, with the exception of what's listed above. 

Back to drawing diagrams for me! Y'all have a wonderful evening.