Here are some of my own peace photos from the holidays...
...this one is from Christmas Eve. The calm before the huge winter storms that blasted us
... this one from New Year's Eve. We had a quiet night with friends and went on a peaceful mile walk at a nearby nature center. The paths were lit with luminaries and although the temperatures were below zero, the glow of the candles warmed us inside.
...another finished cross stitch project from here
...jack frost has been at our door ALOT the past two weeks...we're looking forward to a little above zero heat up
...embroidered felt PEACE banner...just fooling around with stitching letters
I love the whole fresh start/clean slate/new ideas that come with the New Year. Here are some things that other people are doing that have inspired me...
-in an effort to maintain an orderly home and with hopes of seeing people more often a friend of mine has decided to have an open door policy...she asks that when in the neighborhood, stop in and say hello...no appointment, no phone call, just stop in for a visit. We do too little of this in today's world -Julie is starting Artful Thursday's I love the idea of ending the year with 52 cool artful things that you've made -Karin has started a zig-zag quilt piece along (in my dreams) -and then there's the 25 book challenge for 2010 (I think I read just one book of fiction last year) -and from Lucia, I learned about the color+color challenge on flickr-which I decided to join. Don't know how I missed hearing about that group...it's in its fourth year already. But I love a photo challenge...and I've already discovered how lovely it is to click on the group page and see all the same color scheme at once...inspirational for sure!
I'd love to hear of more creative ways people are challenging themselves this year!!
Some of my personal goals for me and this blog this year are
-learn to use a sewing machine (!!!!!) -give my blog a much needed face-lift...as much as I LOVE,LOVE,LOVE my hand-carved wooden flower buttons, it's been my banner for far too long and I'm sure it's getting boring... -In my heart, I feel I'm a doll-maker...I've made some attempts in the past, but I'd really love to explore doll-making...even if I only make one this year
That seems like plenty for now...I hope everyone is enjoying a fresh start and enjoying much peace in their lives in the New Year.
Our last project of the year at the preschool was the children made gifts and cards for their parents. We made wool sweater wreaths based on Cassi's tutorial.
The one change I made was we used pipe cleaners instead of the heavy gauge wire. It worked very well. The wool squares stay in place a little easier for them too.
The littler ones were fine with just putting on a few squares, but they still looked pretty cute.
We also made little cards to accompany their gifts.
These were made by folding card stock in a tri-fold and then cutting a little "window" in the first two folds. We then glued white tissue paper to the inside of both windows, then glued stars cut out of more tissue paper to the inside. The first two folds were then glued together sandwiching the stars in between. These look so pretty with a candle behind them, or open in a window so the sun can shine through.
I'm getting ready to bundle up the boys and head out for a walk in the snow around the lake so we can enjoy the Christmas lights. It's almost five and it's dark already.
Last weekend Jen hosted another one of her fabulous pARTy's. It is so great for my soul to spend an evening with other women who have a passion to create. And I love that I can actually sit down, and start and finish a project in one evening. Doesn't happen too often with two young boys always within arms reach. This time we made these sweet and colorful pocket organizers.
If you're not familiar with Jen's work, she creates beautiful books and albums and journals and cards. Just peek around her etsy shop and you can see. She is a master with paper and I always love to learn her techniques. Like this binding of the organizers pages...just brillant!
We also made paper wreaths.
These were quick and fun. Kind of reminded me of the felt ornaments I made a couple of years ago...but no sewing! Read about her inspiration behind creating these wreaths and her very clear instructions on how to make these here. Also, Anna made some beautiful ones that you can see here.
Peanut was my test crafter to see if I could bring this project to the preschool for the kids to make. At five-and-a-half he did very well, but he's grown up imitating my stitching hands and probably does better at this kind of activity than most kids his age. While I think this is such a sweet reindeer, I'd like to say I've learned my lesson, and won't be asking my three and four-years-olds to try this. So I thought I'd share it here. It would be fairly easy for older kids.
I read about this project in an old craft magazine. There was no author and no pictures so I have no idea if this craft has a copy-right or not. I did a google search which led me to this glove reindeer, but I think it's safe to say mine is quite different.
Here's what we did:
Gather supplies: stretchy glove, fake fur, holiday craft berries, black beads, brown scrap felt for ears, white for eyes, matching thread, wool for stuffing and a bit of fabric for a scarf (or maybe knit one).
Start by stuffing the four fingers with wool. These will become the antlers. Once they are somewhat firm, tie the index and middle fingers together at the base with your matching thread. Repeat with the other two fingers.
Next stuff the hand portion of the glove which will become the head and tie that off at the wrist of the glove. The thumb should have no stuffing at all.
Trim all the loose threads. Next, wrap the thumb around to what will be the back of the head. Secure in place with needle and thread passing completely to the front-or face-of the reindeer.
When you pull the needle to the front, stitch through one of your small circles of white felt (the white of the eye) and stitch on one of the black beads for the eye. Repeat for other side.
Cut the brown felt into two, one-and-a-half inch long tear drops with a flat end. Fold the narrow end in half and stitch together.
Then attach to glove directly below the antlers on either side.
Cut a one-inch square piece of the fake fur and stitch into place between the antlers.
Guess I forgot to photograph the last two steps...next add the nose. Pull one of the holiday berries from the batch leaving the wire stem in place. Poke the stem of the berry through the front of the face and once it reaches the back, crimp it and secure the wire by bending it back into the reindeer.
Add scarf and you're done!
(With the mosaic maker I can make it look like we made more than one)
No Black Friday shopping for us. We are all still in our pajamas enjoying eachothers company and working on projects. 'Tis the season for ornament making and I've been busy cutting and stitching and stuffing. I think I will dedicate next weeks posts to all the ornaments I've put together. First in line though are these sweet little angels I made for Sarah's First Annual Ornament Swap.
Seems like I have a tradition of making dolls for at least one swap of ornaments. First there were Pixies then my red-haired angels and now these. I didn't come up with this design, Julie Collings did.
I remember when she first blogged about her book, Pretty Little Felts, but it wasn't until I picked it up at Joanns and flipped through it that I knew I had to have it. I wanted to buy directly from her, and that's exactly what I did. Here.
It came signed and so prettily packaged and she included such fun kits of felt and trims to play with. Such an inspiring treat to get in the mail.
It was the angels in Julie's book that first drew me in (although ALL of her projects are WONDERFUL!). It was something about the glittery heads...I just loved them!! And they made me think of vintage swim caps.
I needed to make ten of these girls and decided production line style was the way to go.
They were fun to make, and I'm sure my house will have glitter floating about for some time.
We've been stuck in the house for the past several days. Just not willing to drag the two wee ones out in frigid temps. I kept Peanut busy on a project. We had fun making this ridiculously long garland.
We grabbed a template, rescued cereal and pasta boxes from the recycle bin, traced, cut and painted the stars, then added a layer of glitter glue and strung them together. It turned out to be quite festive. Peanut does love to paint, so this kept him busy for a while.
Last week I took the boys to see Santa. Not one of Julen's happier moments.
Santa asked Peanut what he wanted for Christmas, with Halloween still fresh in his memory, he replied "I want to be a Christmas tree". Later I told him Santa was asking if there was any special gift he would like to receive for Christmas, and now I was curious to know too. He thought about it a moment and said...I think it would be nice if you knit me a scarf. A red one.
...these perfect mini photo albums that Jen makes. Just the right size for photobooth photos, which we seem to have a lot of.
She sells them right here. At three bucks each they make the best stocking stuffers. I couldn't resist all the beautiful colors and got one of each.
I fell in love with this beautiful yarn last month and knew I had to give the scarfette a try with it. It's a gift for a very special someone, but I think I should have enough yarn left over to make one for myself.
I'm still loving making my ornaments. Good thing as I have quite a handful to make yet. These are needlefelted hearts, once again using my favorite angelina fiber to give them some sparkle.
And our new favorite thing in the house...the lamp I made at Jen's pARTy over the weekend. Such fun! I love how the lamp looks one way when the light is on and another when it's off.
With so much to love I can almost ignore the below zero temps we're getting slammed with. Hope you're staying warm!
(Edited to add that the yarn I used for the scarfette is yearling mohair locks plyed with a silver thread. It is by Garden Party Fibers and can be found here.)
Cami and Cassi had a great ornament swap idea...one for the kids. Perfect. Peanut is always on board to start a new project. And he loves to get mail (who doesn't?).
Peanut has an incredible amount of patience for a four-year-old, and it's a good thing as it took us about ten days to make our ornaments. We did one little step at a time. He was always ready to get going on it as soon as we got home from preschool.
The swap has a theme...Winter Wonderland. I wasn't sure where we were going to go with this, I originally thought trees. Peanut wanted to do snowballs.
First step was wet felting balls of wool.
We then needle-felted colorful wool around our balls. And yes, with my heart in my throat I did let Peanut give it a try. If you've never needle-felted before, I can attest to the fact that one slip of the needle can be quite painful, so I do not recommend letting small children give it a try. Peanut has watched me for many hours, and was determined to try it. I thought if he did at least a little on each ball he contributed in the creating of his ornaments.
(Yipes! This picture gives me the shivers...) Just as a note, you would never felt in the air as it appears he is doing in this photo, you would always felt on a sponge block that would prevent the needle from passing through the wool and into your fingers. He was doing little jabs here so I could get him in action.
At this point we decided we were creating stars.
All the sparkle mixed in the wool gives these balls such a nice shimmer. The fibers came from my new favorite Etsy shop, Loop. Just a little angelina goes a long way.
Next we added beads to give more sparkle.
My sorry attempt to capture a decent photo in the fading light.
And finally, these are on their way to our swap partners. Thanks to Cami and Cassi for putting this swap together.