The cutest ornaments: Almond shell birds

My handmade holiday ornaments for last year were these little almond shell birds, and they were a big hit. I followed the instructions pretty much line by line, but instead of shellac to seal my almond shells, I used a matte Delta Ceramcoat sealant that I had left over from a wood painting project. I made at least 10 of these little guys and am happy to have a few left over to hang on my tree this year.

We even held a little photoshoot for a few of them:

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During the outside portion of the photo shoot, we were photo bombed by my favorite photo bomber. Do you see her?

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Acorn jingle bell ornaments

Simple hand-embroidered ornaments

Hand-painted wooden ornaments

Beer cap ornaments

2014 Gifting: Leaf imprinted bowls

Every Christmas, I try to make one or two handmade gifts for my favorite people. One of those gifts is typically an ornament, which I will share with you in time to make your own during the next holiday season 🙂

However, I did make a gift that isn’t an ornament, and it is this polymer clay dish by Crafts Unleashed. It’s a small, decorative dish that could be used to hold some earrings or something similarly small. I basically followed the method in the post, but used a few different supplies. I bought white Sculpey clay III, which from the review seems to be a bit easier to work with than Premo by Sculpey. I also picked up a really cheap Sculpey clay tool set at Joann Fabrics for the cutting tools, but found that the little white roller worked better than a cheap rolling pin I bought at HomeGoods. The main thing I used the actual rolling pin for was to press the fresh leaf into the clay after it was flattened. The leaves came from a tree in our yard, and I used the ring from a glass jar as a circular cutout. I had a gloss clear coat from previous projects, and a bowl in our cupboard that I could use for this project and then dedicate for future craft projects. I’ve read that kitchen dishes should not be used for polymer clay projects. I made 10 dishes in total.

My supplies:

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Close-ups:

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A simple baby bib

A friend recently had a baby boy, and to commemorate the occasion I wanted to make her a simple gift so I settled on a baby bib. This free pattern from Delia Creates was the perfect solution. I love the simple way it fastens – with a little knot that is pulled through a button hole. My friend’s baby shower was Nascar themed, and the baby’s namesake has to do with her alma mater, so I decided on a football theme for the bib in her university’s colors. I was lucky to find the helmet pattern and then used a solid red for the back of the bib. The pattern was easy to follow and went together quickly.

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Hand stamped infinity scarf

Acorn jingle bell christmas ornaments

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I whipped up these simple Christmas ornaments as gifts for my friends and family. I had the grand idea that we would harvest local acorn caps to use, but they ended up being too small for the bells I found at Joann.

 

They were pretty simple to make. It went something like this:

  1. Find acorn caps to order on ebay since our local caps were too small.
  2. Paint the acorn caps with gold, green, and red glitter paint.
  3. After they dry, glue the bells into the acorn caps. I found hot glue to be the easiest to work with, but reinforced it with some Elmer’s in the gap around the bell, if it existed.
  4. After that round of glue dries, attach matching embroidery thread to the stem by tying it and then add a bit of glue for security.
  5. Once that dries, tie the thread onto a loop of ribbon. I varied the length of thread so that the bells would hang at different lengths.
  6. Optional – add a small coordinating bow to the ribbon loop.

And done!

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Recent projects: Boot cuffs and a neck cowl

I recently finished off two quick projects, one as a Christmas gift and one for myself. For my sister, I crocheted a set of boot cuffs after I attempted to buy her some last year on Etsy, a transaction that fell through. I found the boot cuff pattern on Ravelry. It was easy, just single and double crochet. I found a teal wool yarn to use, since that was close to the color I originally tried to order for her.

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The second project was a neck cowl for myself. I get really excited about wearing scarves in the winter so I decided to make yet another one for myself. I found the pattern on Ravelry again. I ordered Forest Heather Biggo yarn from Knit Picks. The yarn is very thick, and the pattern calls for large needles, so it was a project that went fast also. The yarn is pleasingly soft.

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My cat Annie decided to get in on the photo action.

 

 

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I learned how to take my own photo in the mirror.

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Simple felt hand-embroidered ornaments

I’ve gotten into the habit of making ornaments each year to give to my family as gifts. Last year I made simple hand-embroidered felt ornaments after seeing this post from nini on Pinterest. Once I got started, I ended up making two kinds, one with 3 hearts like nini made and another with just 2 hearts.

Embroidered ornaments, one uses 3 hearts and the other uses 2 hearts.

Embroidered ornaments, one uses 3 hearts and the other uses 2 hearts.

To make these ornaments, I used the following supplies:

  • Off white felt fabric
  • Red embroidery floss and appropriate sewing needle
  • Red ribbon
  • Vanishing fabric marker
  • Paper to make a pattern, pins, scissors

The first step was to create my heart patterns. I made two different sizes for the two ornaments. I used the elementary school trick of folding my piece of paper in half and then drawing half of a heart and cutting it out to make sure that my patterns were symmetrical.

The two different heart patterns for the ornaments

The two different heart patterns for the ornaments

Next, I pinned down the hearts and cut the fabric.

Pinning down the heart pattern to cut the fabric.

Pinning down the heart pattern to cut the fabric.

I used the large pattern for the ornament with two hearts and the small pattern for the ornament with three hearts.

I used the large pattern for the ornament with two hearts and the small pattern for the ornament with three hearts.

Once the hearts were cut out, I used a vanishing fabric marker to draw the word I wanted to embroider on each heart. The ink vanishes quite quickly, so I drew each word right before embroidering.

Drawing the word before embroidering.

Drawing the word before embroidering.

Next, I used a simple backstitch to embroider the word.

Embroidered words for the ornaments.

Embroidered words for the ornaments.

For the ornament with two hearts, I matched them up and then did a simple stitch around the edges. I found it easiest to add the ribbon for hanging the ornament if I positioned the ribbon before I finished sewing the hearts together. I also used some scrap felt in the middle of the ornament to add a bit of “puff”.

Sewing the edges together.

Sewing the edges together.

One side of the larger ornament.

One side of the larger ornament.

Side two of the larger ornament.

Side two of the larger ornament.

For the ornament with three hearts, I sewed together the straight edges of the smaller hearts so that they formed a sort of triangle shape. I also used the red thread to to attach the three hearts at their apex and then looped the hanging ribbon around that thread. This also made it so that you don’t see the back side of each heart when you look at the ornament from the top.

Ornament using three hearts.

Ornament using three hearts.

The ornaments were well received by their recipients last year 🙂

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A brain slug for a baby

I recently finished a knitted gift for our friend’s baby. It arrived in their hands only a day or two before his birth. Whew! I made a brain slug hat. What, you don’t know what a brain slug is??

Anyhow, I felt a geeky hat would be perfect for the baby of our friends. We also sent him things like periodic table blocks and a book called Calculus for Infants. Obviously, a brain slug would fit right in. I found the pattern on Ravelry.

I’m happy with the results, but I could never get the white knitted eye part to have the right shape. The instructions weren’t very clear so I ended up just using white felt and cutting out a shape that worked instead.

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Update! A picture of our friend’s baby wearing the brain slug. Apparently the hat should have been a bit wider. But what a cutie!

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