Crafting

Day of the Dead/Halloween Decor Garland


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I have been restraining myself from decorating for Halloween until October and since we are just about there, I thought I would share my latest creation. The garland isn’t really new, more like ‘upcycled’ from when I was living in Amman  (when I was in the throes of skull making mid-March due to  Halloween withdrawals), but because I lacked access to a craft store, or basically any store that had DIY supplies, the finished product never really did much for me and so it made its way into a junk container. As I was rifling through my junk containers, I came across it and decided to give it another chance. To make this garland, here’s what you do.

Materials:

  • various shades of felt
  • embroidery floss
  • sequins
  • pillow stuffing
  • felt balls or glitter balls

Directions:

1. Create a pattern on card-stock.

pattern

 

 

 

 

2. Outline pattern onto felt and cut out.

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3. Embroider each skull’s face–I am a beginner embroiderer so I was limited to back stitching, French knots, and chain-stitching (I think that is what it’s called), adding sequins, beads, or any other design elements.

Close-up #2
Close-up glam shot #1
You have to add cha-cha to the skull's
You have to add cha-cha to the skull’s
Close-up glam shot #1
Close-up glam shot #2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4. Blanket stitch the two pieces of the pattern together, leaving a little bit open to stuff with pillow stuffing, and then sew it all up.

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If you are not sure how to blanket stitch, Google ‘blanket stitch’ and you will find countless videos and tutorials that will teach you–that’s how I learned. I love this stitch–it’s so versatile.

 

 

 

5. Using a needle, add felt balls or glitter balls (I found these at Michael’s in the Halloween section in all colors) in between the skulls and hang up. It’s that easy!

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Here are a few more close-ups of the garland. Enjoy.

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Crafting

Christmas in Amman in April


Summer weather has finally hit Amman, making my days much happier and enjoyable. I’m still constantly searching for things to keep me busy but given my sorry lack of crafting supplies, I’m limited to what I have on hand, which isn’t much other than felt left over from my calaveras phase. I searched online for felt ornament inspiration and found a treasure trove of ornaments to recreate.

In five days, I’ve managed to crank out an ornament each day. Here’s the menagerie so far:

  • This is my first one and still my favorite. You can pay to download the pattern from this blog: http://rosylittlethings.com, or you can make up your own template, like I did, adjusting the coat to your tastes. (I didn’t have any little buttons like the inspiration piece, but I did have small pearl beads. I’m loving the little wire hangar that I fashioned out of floral wire).

  • Here’s the second one. Again, the inspiration came from the same site as above (http://rosylittlethings.com). It’s a deer in case you couldn’t tell–the upper right black dot is an eye and the dot below the eye to the left is a nose. After I finished it, I asked Raj what he thought, “Oh, it’s an elephant!” was his reaction. (Not what I was looking for!) I admit, the perspective of the eye and nose are a tad confusing at first glance, but once you see the face, you get it.

  • Moving onto ornament number three, it’s a polar bear and the inspiration? You guessed it, the same rosylittlethings.com. He’s cute, but not my favorite. I think he turned out too small.

  • I was especially proud of this one…that is until Raj’s inquiry, “Is that a donkey?” In case you can’t tell, this is no donkey, but a schnauzer (like our dog, Shanti). I really liked the eyebrows, but Raj said the eyes were “too small.” (I should know by now not to solicit opinions). I found inspiration for just about every dog breed except schnauzers, so I was forced to create a template for this one on my own.

Since we didn’t really celebrate Christmas properly this year (we were in Egypt and our Christmas tree was left behind in storage), I’m anticipating a HUGE Christmas next year to make up for the lost celebration (along with ALL of the other holidays that we didn’t get to celebrate like Valentine’s Day, Easter, Halloween, Thanksgiving…).

Crafting

Blizzard Crafting–Spring Calaveras Garland


Two weekends ago, Raj and I were trapped in the house for an ENTIRE weekend. Suffering from a serious case of cabin fever with nothing to do, nowhere to go and an empty larder, I searched high and low for something/anything to make. Here’s what I came up with…a springtime garland of calaveras.

Here are some pictures of the BLIZZARD. Perhaps the word blizzard is a tad hyperbolic, but there was snow on the ground for two days–a blizzard by Jordan standards.

Back to crafting. Calaveras (skulls, more specifically, Day of the Dead sugar skulls) make great decorations year round, right? I think they do, but know many others think that skulls are creepy, best relegated to Halloween decor. Regardless of your take on skulls as decor, I have TOO many hanging around our house in Amman (does this reflect my state of mind?) so I made these lovelies with the intention of giving them away to my sister who complimented the Valentine’s Day one’s.

Pictured on my bookshelf
Glamour shot
Skulls gone wild

Let’s take a moment to acknowledge what a NICE and GENEROUS sister I am. Remember the handmade doll that I bought for Nicole in Petra? (See picture below.) In response to comments that the doll on the left (the less cute of the two) should go to my sister, Nicole (known as NTP on comments) posted, “Why don’t you ask (your commentors) who the nicer sister is?” Sounds kind of snippy, huh? Maybe she doesn’t deserve the doll OR the garland? It’s so difficult being the younger, prettier, nicer sister…(j/k…a little).

The doll from Petra en route to Nicole (aka the less cute doll).

Unlike the Valentine’s Day garland, this garland is made entirely of female skulls (not a moustached one in the bunch) in softer hues of felt (due in part to the fact that I was running low on black floss and ran out of black felt). I’d like to keep this strand as well as the doll; I mean they’re both part of a collection now, but in keeping with the generous sister that I am, I’ll part with both.

Crafting · Decorating

Crafting for Bored People: Valentine’s Day Calaveras (Sugar Skull) Decoration


Valentine's Day Garland Hanging on Bookshelf

It’s amazing what I find myself doing these days just to stay busy. Can I blame it on reading Amy Sedaris’ Simple Times, Crafts for Poor People? Probably not, although I do owe her a debt of gratitude for comedic relief.  I’m the kind of person who NEEDS to do something at almost ALL times, driving Raj crazy with my manic drive to complete each new project in as little time as possible. (This is what type-A’s do when they’re NOT working. They put ALL of their energy into something, anything trying to forget that they have nothing to do.) Whether I’m watching TV, relaxing, or just talking to Raj, I like having something to work on in my hands. I’m still baking and cooking, but as you can imagine, that gets dangerous–being faced with cookies, cakes, and stashes of sweets haunting you ALL day, each and every time you set foot into the kitchen. So…in the past few months, I’ve revisited crafts that I haven’t done since junior high school (i.e. cross stitching) and have taken up some new ones, a la felt garland making, or whatever you want to call this.  This is what my life has become–craft central.

My latest project involves my affection for all things Day of the Dead–which has nothing to do with Valentine’s day, but who cares? I made this Valentine’s Day Sugar Skull garland out of felt, which I imagine hanging on the mantle of our (as of yet, non-existent) house back in DC. (It somehow doesn’t look as good hanging from the bookcase here in Amman, in a place that isn’t all abuzz in Valentine’s Day decor, as I imagine it will look back in the US.) The garland is comprised of eight calaveras (skulls): four moustached males and four flower bedecked females with nine hearts in between the skulls. Prior to this project, I didn’t know how to embroider, but look at me now. I’ve mastered chain stitch, blanket stitch, back-stitch, and French knots.

A must have on any bookshelf if ever you find yourself living in the Middle East

In addition to this project and in keeping in line with the theme, I’ve also completed another skull garland, this one for Halloween.

Halloween Garland
Closeup 1
Closeup 2

And my next project? I think I need to move away from the skulls, possibly to something more lively. I’m open to suggestions.