Crafting

Day of the Dead/Halloween Decor Garland


photo-53

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.

get-attachment.aspx

 

 

 

 

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.

8

7

6

5

 

 

 

 

 

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!

1

 

 

 

 

 

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

photo-57

photo-56

Crafting · Decorating

Felted Valentine’s Day Garlands


DSC04977

My newest fascination is with wool felt balls. Why? Because they are adorable, inexpensive, and make my home festive. I bought 200 in multiple colors just before Christmas to string for garland for the tree. I loved the garland SO much that I decided to purchase more in Valentine’s day hues.

I ordered the felt balls online from TaDaaStudios and I have to say, the packaging is adorable.

DSC04974

I strung up a few shades of pink with white and hung them in the kitchen…

DSC04995

DSC04998
Detail of the embroidered heart
DSC05003
Side view of the garland draping on the bakers rack

…and on the menu board…

DSC04988

DSC04990

…and I can’t help myself, so I’ll share with you AGAIN, my fabulous felt Valentine’s Day calaveras (skulls) from last year–though I couldn’t do them justice being housed in Amman.

DSC04983

DSC04986

…and since I’m on a roll, I’ll just add one last Valentine’s day touch in the kitchen…another embroidered tea towel.

DSC04993

Happy pre-Valentine’s day and stay tuned for my next Easter garland.

Crafting · Decorating

How to Avoid Doing Chores–Take Up Embroidery


The trio of fabulousness…
(which will be even better once I sew the pompoms along the borders)

I am busier than ever, yet find myself carving out minutes here and there to work on my newest favorite hobby–embroidery. Before you feel sorry for me and ask me how many pounds I’ve put on or how many cats I’ve adopted since returning stateside, you need to check out the website Sublime Stitching. As the website states, “This ain’t your gramma’s embroidery.” Do yourself a favor. Check it out. Now!

{I’d like to add that I was in Anthropologie today (I’m VERY busy) perusing the tea towel section and I have to say, I was not even TEMPTED to buy one of their $34.99 towels because I think mine are equally as adorable–although for $12.99 in the sale section, my heart did skip a couple of beats, but I passed them up. Imagine ALL of the money I’m saving by making my own!}

I happened upon Sublime Stitching’s website months ago while I was trolling the Internet aimlessly (as I did all day long in Amman). I fell in love with her whimsical and charming patterns and ordered a few last month as a prize for myself. I started with a kit, which included a hoop, floss, scissors, a tea towel, and needles, and also ordered a couple of additional patterns: Dia de Los Muertos and Bon Voyage, plus a couple more towels.

Here are my first attempts–and keep in mind, I’m newly minted in this art, so my stitches are BASIC–nothing fancy (yet). I’ve included the pompoms below that I’ll be sewing along the borders once I get my sewing machine back (it’s still in Jordan) just to show you how much cuter they’ll be after the addition. (Can they get any cuter?)

Here’s the progression:

The patterns for Day of the Dead
My very first stitches…so nervous
Voila…
Onto project numero dos
Closeup of Our Lady of Something
The cutest sugar skulls I’ve ever seen
Project number three from a world traveler
I want those gold shoes

I ran out of out of towels last night and I’m almost out of floss…BUT I CAN. NOT. STOP. So I bought some more SUPER cheap towels at Ross ($3.99 for FOUR! What a bargain) in cute colors AND I checked out (as in borrowed from the library–saving even MORE $$$) Jenny Hart’s two embroidery books from the library today. Flipping through the pages, I’m spying some cupcake and pie patterns that I’ll be incorporating into my next masterpieces.

The books that I’ll be buying. I wanted to be sure that I wanted them.
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 · 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.