Merry Christmas Garland

Here is a no-sew craft that I made a couple years ago that gets pulled out year after year at our house:

Christmas 2010

It’s made of paper, but with careful storage it’s been up for Christmas four years in a row now. I made this garland with some origami paper (that’s where all the fun prints come from), an exacto knife and mat, and a couple yards of green grosgrain ribbon.  Here’s a step-by-step if you’d like to make one.


1. Download the letters from Martha (that MARTHA! so. amazing.) by clicking on the “ABC Letters Template” in this article.
2. Trace the letters you want onto colored paper, wrapping paper, origami paper, whatever. I like using origami paper because it’s thinner and therefore easier to see the template through the paper. I’m pretty sure I bought my paper at Kinokuniya in San Francisco but their website is in Japanese and scares me so you’re on your own there, friends.
3. Using an exacto knife or small sharp scissors, cut out each letter. This is the Soul-Sucking Step where you might want to give up and die. Watch some Arrested Development to cushion the blow.
4. Cut two slits in each letter the width of the ribbon or slightly wider and thread the ribbon through behind each letter.

Christmas 2010
Christmas 2010

5. If using two ribbons, tie ends together in knot and hang. Enjoy!

Here’s a few more shots so you can see it in the kitchen (with new pendant light from company which will remain nameless for their ability to completely bungle my custom order not once but twice before getting it right. THANKS BUNCHES for that $25 off coupon though! *rolls eyes*).

Christmas 2010

OOP! Forgot the Halloween candy basket is still out. What can I say, we’re working our way through the treats as s l o w l y as possible. And now they’re so old even I’m not stealing them anymore.  Try to focus on my amazingly tacky white Christmas tree instead.

Christmas 2010

Let’s zoom in a little and take a better look. Notice anything strange about the ornament distribution?

Christmas 2010

Yes, that’s right, there’s definitely an excess about 3 feet from the ground. My little E is now old enough to exuberantly participate in tree decoration. And I mean exuberant: “This looks SO GREAT!” he yells. “Let’s put THIS one on the tree!” “I can do it!” I think this is quite possibly the first year that every single Christmas ornament I own has made it onto the tree. Makes. me. so. happy. !!!

And yesterday he gave the “Baby Cheezus” ornament a kiss. This may elicit gagging noises from the peanut gallery but I tell you when it is your own child it’s completely adorbs to see your child being affectionate to any baby, especially the Baby Jesus, even if it is a two-dimensional baby made out of popsicle sticks (I told some of the Crafters at last Thursday’s meetup — totally awesome again, by the way, pics to come — about this hilarious pronunciation and Lisa told me I need to watch the Modern Family episode with the “Baby Cheeses” pun throughout. Can’t wait!).

Christmas 2010

Is your tree up yet? Is your child saying adorable things that others just laugh politely at when you tell them about it? I promise not to make gagging noises. Even though I actually do have the stomach flu.

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Last minute cow.

Yes, those are Elliot’s training pants. I’d like to say they’re clean but…yeah.

Dana’s going to spit out her coffee when she sees this because the other day when we were chatting I was all “blahdeeblahdeeblah, I NEVER make my kid’s Halloween costumes, blahdeeblahdeeblah!”  You know, acting like I was too busy to waste time making something that only gets worn once or twice. Well now I’m just a big fat liar. The cow flannel that a friend gave me last year when her mom was throwing away fabric was just too irresistible I guess. And wouldn’t you know, that Martha and her hat pattern … it has these side seams that are just perfect for sewing in ears.

If you are doing some last-minute Halloween sewing and want to make one of your own, you’ll have to enlarge it: the pattern prints for me at 6 inches wide without seam allowances (so 12″ total), so for an 18″ head I printed at 150%, you can figure out how much you need to enlarge by dividing 12/(head circumference) and multiplying by 100 to get the % you need. Then don’t forget to add seam allowances, the pattern is actually made for felt and therefore doesn’t include them.

The body was a trace of a snowsuit without the feet. I added a zipper in the back for easy in/out.

Posted in holidays

The Easiest Heart Garland. Evar.

When the going gets rough, you know it’s time for an easy craft.  Cue: felt.  And if there’s anything my elementary school education prepared me for, it’s cutting out hearts (and I know that may sound suspect coming from a high school teacher, but I don’t mean that as a diss).  It’s downright therapeutic.  Just fold the felt and go to town with the scissors, machine sew them together in one long string, and voila, heart garland!

Construction hint: I thought it would be easier to go pointed side first, but turns out I was wrong.  The presser foot does better with the top side of the heart than the point.

I had the idea for this after seeing these at Shim + Sons, but I feel this must have been done somewhere else before…maybe Martha (which, now that I have AdBlocker, is much much more enjoyable)?  I don’t know.  The felt came from Heather Bailey.  And I have to also mention: those lovely pieces of lenticular art above the mantel were Mr Rae and my Christmas gifts to eachother last year.  They are both from the Science Shows You How series by our friend, Detroit artist Chris Dean
If you’ve made a Valentine’s Day garland, please share!

Happy New Year!!!

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas. These are a few shots of the kids in their Christmas outfits for you to enjoy.

Also, new header for 2010:

Here’s to crafting in the new year!

Stripey Felt Christmas Stocking

Not much Christmas crafting going on around here this year yet (honestly, I am just happy I got the tree up), but I hadn’t found a felt stocking for Clementine as of last week, so I pulled this number together over the weekend:

I’m feeling pretty clever here. The beauty of this one is that it was made completely of small (9×12″) sheets of wool felt, eight to be exact (plus a few scraps of acrylic I used for the holly adornment). I always have a tough time finding felt by-the-yard that is also cute, but this felt from Heather Bailey was really adorable and just had to be bought. I’m also hoping to add a letter “C” yet or embroider her name on it yet, but we’ll see what we have time for…

Posted in holidays

Christmas Prezzie: Tree Skirt for Elli

Watching the last of January creep up on us I knew I had to sneak in just one more Christmas gift before I lost my chance. At least my Christmas tree is down. Of course, my outside lights are still going on automatically every night because it’s SO COLD I can’t even bring myself to go out and unplug them.

This is the tree skirt I made for seester Elli. It’s a shameless spinoff of one she had her eye on at Mahar Drygoods. She was covering up the bottom of her tree with towels or somesuch and I knew that had to stop.

Materials: red felt, colored ric-rac, gingham bias tape (I know you can purchase this ready-made some places, but I made it with my bias tape maker), cotton scraps.

: : Under the tree at mom and dad’s for Christmas : :

So that’ll be it for the Christmas posts this year. Coming up soon here on MBR, something I’ve alluded to in the past but never officially produced: KNITTING!!! Also, for those of you who have been begging for the return of the Itty Bitty Baby Dress, I can tell you with confidence that it will be back up very, very soon.

Posted in holidays

Christmas Prezzie for Kricket

Warning: There’s alot of randomness in this post but I’m just going to go with it because it’s late…

That person in the picture above is my baby seester Kricket. Isn’t she beautiful? She is wearing the shirt I made for her for Christmas. When Krick was little her favorite color used to be orange. Don’t you hate it when people remember one thing about you from a really long time ago and keep giving you things like that even though you’ve stopped liking it? She liked it anyway, even if her favorite color is currently green. I think?

After making this top I wanted to keep it for myself but I didn’t. Just thought I’d throw that in too.

In this horrid bathroom-mirror shot you can see the puffiness in the sleeves and a wee bit of our toilet and that I’m wearing red pants. Which actually looked pretty awesome. But maybe not for going out in public.

Pattern: A combination of McCalls 5388 (View D) and the basic t-shirt from Built-By-Wendy’s SEW U Home Stretch. The bottom half and sleeves were the from the McCalls, the top half was the BBW. I just laid the two pattern pieces on the table with the underarm corners overlapping and traced them onto the fabric.

Modifications: I added pleats in the front and in the back, added a piece of bias tape to the inside for the elastic casing all the way around, added a folded piece of rectangular fabric to the neckline to create that cowl-y look. I think that may have been 8″ wide (to make a 4″ neck folded).

And since it was all knit I didn’t have to do any hems — I just let the fabric roll up on it’s own. I found this fabric in the sale section at JoAnn. It’s a nice heathered orange that reminds me of Tang.

Birding Bag for Dad

Happy New Year everyone!

As promised, here’s another one of my handmade Christmas gifts, this one for dad who needed something to carry his binoculars and birding book in whilst birding.

I used the back sides of an old pair of cargo shorts that Mr Rae had spilled bleach on. I was especially pleased with this recycle because it meant I didn’t have to make the outside pockets.

I thought Alexander Henry goldfinch fabric (which is, oddly, available at JoAnn as well as many other nicer places) would be appropriate for the inside.

The front and back are stenciled with fabric paint. I used the freezer-paper technique oft referenced on this blog. MSH are dad’s initials, by the way.

The orange trim around the outside is prepackaged extra-wide double fold bias tape. I basted all of the outside pieces to the lining pieces before beginning, and then just sewed everything together using the bias tape to cover the raw edges. I don’t really recommend this to beginners, since even the wide bias tape has a tendency to fall off the edge really fast. I have to admit there was a fair amount of seam-ripping and re-sewing on my part, but that sort of rip-it-out and redo-it kind of sewing is par for the course around here.

I kindof wish I could do things more carefully; certainly if I thought about things more before I started and proceeded in a very organized fashion I might spend less time undoing projects. What kind of sewist are YOU?

Posted in holidays