Tag Archives: home made gifts

Fantastic Felted Friends

Thanks to our Secret Snowflake event at work that took place all this month, I found myself revisiting an old hobby I had enjoyed a couple years ago.  As anyone semi-close to me knows I blow through hobbies like a crazy person-once I can afford the class my next thing is to try glass blowing, I’ve wanted to do this forever.  Whether it’s something crafty related, or writing books, or genealogy, or photography, or running, or yoga, or playing various instruments, or (ahem) blogging-yes I’ve done this once before!  I get super-enthused about something and it’s all consuming, until I inevitably burn out.  This is always kind of saddening, even though I know it will happen, but it comes with the realization that I can find something new and exciting.  But I have a closet full of cool crafty stuff that comes in handy beads and chains from past jewelry making endevors that Fiona can now use in school projects or for her own beautiful jewelry making, tons of yarn, a box as large as Alexis filled with felt in every color and pattern and texture, papers, fabric, stickers, so much fun and potential.  And in cases like my secret snowflake, sometimes I find my self revisiting these old hobbies.  I wanted to make my secret snowflake one of my light up trees and decided that it needed something cute to go with it, to make a nice display.  We were to give our snowflake small gifts throughout the month of December, I missed the first week with pneumonia-fortunately a friend from work covered for me that week.  I decided some cute little penguins would be perfect for winter and re-ordered one of my favorite felting books from the library, see below.  It was time to jump back into animal felting.

A couple years ago, when Fiona was asked what she wanted for her birthday she asked me to make her a barn with animals.  I was so honored that she asked for me to make her something, that the things I had in the past made for her were special enough to her that they warranted more mommy made items.  I was now on a mission to make something really extra special for her.  I wanted to try something new.  And since I was about 8 months pregnant at the time of her birthday party, I really wanted to make something special for her as I was worried I wouldn’t ever have time to do cool crafty things again with two little ones.  Fortunately I was wrong!

In the past, I’d tried knitting things and made tons of stuff out of felt, but wanted something more toy-ish looking as felt tends to be so flat, even when stuffed.  After some basic research via google on making animals I discovered felted animals.  So I decided to try it out.  I ordered a whole slew of felting books from the library and headed to Jo-Ann Fabrics to buy a few colors of wool roving, felting needles, and a small cut of thick foam.  Following the directions in my favorite of the books I ordered entitled Wool Pets by Laurie Sharp, I soon had a small menagerie of assorted animals and one little girl who was supposed to look like Fiona but looked more like a muppet.

From felted animals
From felted animals

A little dog to look like our dog Puck

From felted animals
From felted animals

Muppet girl Fiona
From felted animals

These are our cats Little Mo and Papagen
From felted animals
From felted animals

Then I made a fun little barn with a removable roof so she could easily play in the barn.  My husband helped me cut out the windows, while I’m ok with the table saw and miter saw, the jig-saw seemed a little more unpredictable.

From felted animals
From felted animals

Making felted animals isn’t super hard.  You start with a bit of wool.

From felted animals

A special barbed needle tangles the wool as you repeatedly jab the wool (and your fingers-ouch!) with the needle, eventually forming a shape.  To make the penguins body I rolled up the wool and then stabbed it, to make flat shapes like the wings I just needled the flattened wool shaping the outline as I go.  Appendages to the animals are attached by needling the wing, foot, whatever to the body by again repeatedly stabbing with the needle.

I like Lexi’s little hand in the
background working with
From felted animals

Adding a wing to the baby penguin.
From felted animals

Some cute little animals in front of the trees.

Little penguins with a rabbit and husky friend
From felted animals

Busy Busy Little Elves

CAUTION:  Not to be read by relatives who do not want their Christmas surprise spoiled!!!  Also skip this Sunday’s scrapbooking blog.  But if you want a preview of what you are getting, or are my mom who already knows, feel free to read on 🙂

We’ve been super busy here getting ready for Christmas and making tons of cool gifts for family and secret snowflakes at work 🙂  So I want to share some of the fun things we are doing now, as well as a fun project from a couple years ago…

Today I want to show you these great pine trees…

While searching Pinterest for cool ideas for the library’s winter reading theme decorations, I found this cool tree idea and decided I had to try it.

The original design called for a Styrofoam cone to be used as the frame underneath the felt leaves.  I decided to make my cone out of heavy card stock paper, mostly because it was cheaper and because that’s what I had on hand and was to excited to begin the project to wait until I had time to get to a craft store.  So paper it was.

The other change I made was to make U shaped leaves instead of circles. and to hot glue them on instead of pinning.  I also added a little glitter to the edges of about half the leaves, because honestly, can you ever have enough glitter in life?

With the help of a fabulous co-worker we got two mini trees and one large tree put together in no time, and the trees turned out spectacular, I was so excited.

I loooooved the trees so much I decided to make them as gifts for our assorted family members as well as my secret snowflake person at work (she figured out it was me as soon as she saw the tree so it’s safe to post about it).  Fiona had the great idea to put a star on top of a small stick and insert it through the top of the tree.  And the best part is when my husband suggested mini lights to put on the tree.  He knows that I like lights as much as glitter, so I was intrigued at once.  We stopped by Target and found the perfect little battery powered mini Christmas lights.  We got some in white and multi-colored.  When I got home I punched small holes in my trees and put the lights through from the inside.  It was magical!

So I’d like to share the steps I took to make these cute and festive little trees.  Fiona is my model for arranging the leaves.  It was a great project to work on together. 🙂

Step one:  Make a cone out of paper.  The easiest way to do this is to make a large circle, cut out 1/4 of it and roll it up with the center as the top of the tree.

Step two: Cut U shaped pieces of felt in several sizes.  Larger ones for the bottom and smaller towards the top.

Step Three: Put a little glitter on the bottom edge of about half of the leaves.

Step four: Put a line of glue on the back of the top of the U and begin attaching them to your tree starting at the bottom.  Be sure to overlap a little to cover up your paper.

Step five:  When you reach the top leave the last half inch or so empty.  Make a three petaled shape leaf (see photo) to put at the top and fold it down to cover the last empty space.  Cut a small hole in the top if you want a star.

Step six:  We found some perfect scrapbooking stars on sale at Michaels to use for our tree topper.  I hot glued them to a thin dowel rod and put a matching star shaped piece of yellow felt on the back so it looks more finished than a sticker glued to a dowel rod.  Set aside until after lights are added.

Time for some lights!

Step seven:  I used a large darning needle and a knitting needle-the same diameter as the lights-to poke holes in the paper.  I arranged the holes over the entire tree, being careful not to go to close to the top where my hand wouldn’t fit from the inside.  Put the holes between the leaves so the lights aren’t covered up by felt.  Insert the lights from the inside of the tree.  The base of the tree will cover the battery case.

I got the little mini lights from Target

All done!  I’ll tell you about the cute little penguin in a future post 🙂

Watch for a few more crafts to get you ready for Christmas gift giving.