Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Last Minute Gift


 "I thought I had Christmas all wrapped up.  I was wrong!"

Five days before Christmas my daughter sends me this link. 


It connects to a blog that shares instructions for making this cute felt snowman. (was this a hint?)  She did say how much she would love to make this for her son.  Hmmm?
Besides being really cute, the snowman is meant to be an interactive activity for kids.  With Velcro to help them stick, the parts can be removed and replaced.  Up the cute factor.

I already know my two year old grandson is into snowmen.  He reinforced that the next day when he asked me to read Snowmen at Night.  This is a book with an appealing story and delightful illustrations.  Are you getting the picture?  Yes, I'm rapidly getting sucked into this snowman thing.

(illustrator: Mark Buehner)
So now we are down to 4 days 'til Christmas and I am strongly considering getting this done as a surprise. (This is on me.  My daughter would have been just as happy to have it in February)  But the bug had bitten and I knew I wasn't going to shake it.

Be advised there won't be step-by-step instructions.  There won't be time for that.  Besides, the link above gives perfectly adequate directions.  Dress that snowman in the traditional top hat, give him a cowboy hat or a bike helmet.  The kids will love it any way you make it.

Creating with felt goes quickly. There is no fraying, so, no hemming needed. Although, I did follow the suggestion to create the pieces in double thickness for easier handling. This requires sewing the duplicate pieces together. If it wasn't for changing thread color numerous times, this would go quickly. (filling bobbins and threading needles again and again is a bit of a nuisance, but once you get caught up in the cuteness, it becomes well worth it.)

I started out with the top hat and scarf.  Of course buttons are a necessity.  I thought about adding grommets for the holes in the button but I couldn't find the thing that smashes them and holds them in.  Then I realized the Velcro has to go on the back anyway, so I plan to use thread to make them look like they are sewed on.  I'm going to use embroidery floss to add a blanket stitch to the scarf.

Yes, these are orange on the backside. I didn't have enough pink felt to double the thickness in pink. FYI:  In my haste I didn't think this project through to the end.  In retrospect I should have attached the Velcro to a single thickness of felt and then sewed the two pieces together.  That would have allowed me to do it on the machine vs finishing up the hand sewing on Christmas Day. 

I wanted another hat for more casual events so I made this one.

I tried to zig-zag the trim on the vest and screwed it up a bit because my stitch was a little too wide. But, of course, I ripped it out and redid it when I saw how tacky it looked in this picture.  The buttons are not attached in this shot either.  I may change those to something else.

And if this dapper snowman is planning to clear the walks, he will need earmuffs and a shovel.

Tying to the Snowmen at Night story, I decided to add the moon and a few stars.  (Moon not shown...still on sewing table)  A few pieces of coal for the eyes and mouth, a carrot for the nose, and sticks for arms....I think I'm almost there.
This is one of those projects that allows for personalization. Other than the three circles for the body and head, it is open to interpretation.  (Be careful.  It is tempting to just keep going.)

It's a good thing I had a deadline because creating a wardrobe for Mr. White was getting addictive.  I really wanted a vest from this piece of felt but, as you can see, that wasn't happenin'.

Since I will ruin the surprise if I post this before Christmas, I decided to make this my after Christmas post. (And, yes, I did change the buttons on the vest.)

The orange is so cute with the nose.  Maybe I'll make him a little Halloween outfit in case we get an early snow next year.  I have a few months to think about that.

I think this snowman is waiting for a hug.  I believe he will get one soon when my grandson opens his last gift of the day.  Speaking of opening....hmmm??  Not sure how to wrap this without taking it all apart and somehow that ruins the effect.   I think this one will arrive unwrapped.

FYI:  There are four books in the snowman series by Caralyn Buehner.

I'm looking forward to reading the rest of the series. I'm sure you know someone who might enjoy these stories too.  If you decide to make your own snowman, be sure to send me pictures.

I am linking to:  Wow Us Wednesdays
                            No Minimalist Here
                           Feathered Nest Fridayhttp://frenchcountrycottage.blogspot.com/2013/01/feathered-nest-friday.html

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Christmas 2012

Happy Holidays

A friend of mine bakes batches and batches of cookies every Christmas and.....has the stamina and talent to create these.  I am thoroughly impressed!

I would love to hear what impressed you this Christmas.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The 2012 Christmas Tree

Because I'm still wading through the aftermath of renovation and not anywhere near the end of the redecorating, I took the sensible route and nixed decorating for Christmas this year.

I hung a very simple garland on either side of the newly painted porch doors and...

a couple more on the sides of the studio door.  Just enough to keep passers by from thinking Scrooge lives here.  A little snow would enhance the seasonal mood of this display and that could happen by Christmas, but I couldn't orchestrate it for this post.

I do love to decorate for the holidays but this year it is just out of the question.  I am getting myself in the mood for Christmas by doing one small tree and absolutely NOTHING else inside.

I found this handmade metal tree at a yard sale this past summer.

The little washers are welded onto the rods as are the little holders.  The tree itself  pulls out of the stand and folds flat for storage.  Quite cute in a folk arty sort of way.  It leans a little too...just like a real tree.  And, yes, it bugs me so I'm trying to figure out a way to remedy that.

I searched long and hard for candles to fit these holders, but to no avail.  I'll show you later how I worked around that problem.

I didn't really like the gold color so I primed it with a rust colored primer. 

I also bent several of the candle holders into an upright position and worked to get the whole tree reasonably symmetrical.

Then I forged ahead without thinking about a color scheme.  I started experimenting with decorations and never looked back.  So the tree got decorated with only a primer coat.  Oh well.

I found this garland at a shop called The Wooden Ladder in Fairview Heights, IL.  I expecially liked the stars, and thought this might set the tone for this humble little tree.

I looked many places for the right size candles.  Finally in frustration I bought these cheapies at Deals.

I cut them into thirds and exposed the wick.  I also melted the wax on the bottom of each candle section and rubbed it with a paper towel to get it to a size that would squeeze into the holder on the tree.

Holding them in the flame over the stove burner was the easiest way to accomplish this.  Cleanup was quite simple.  I just turned the flame up until the wax melted and then wiped it away with a paper towel.

Once they were all in position, I wrapped each holder with a little strip of burlap and hot glued the ends together.

Next I glued a black button to each one.  There are 16 candles on the entire tree and I was able to find 4 sets of matching buttons in my stash for each tier, so that worked out nicely.  (not that anyone would really notice, but, well... you know)
You can see I put the garland in place first.  Sorry, no pics there.  I cut the garland in half and ran it up two sides of the center pole.  Then I just fluffed it out and hoped once the rest of the decorations were in place it would be enough.

So now for the ornaments.

Here are a few I found at a resale shop.  I have been hitting places like Goodwill Outlet and Antique Row as well as several antique malls with very little luck finding more.  I am tying one ornament to each of the little washers so I need 16.  As of this moment I have 13. 

This one had a little boy's name painted on the cab and 1991 on the roof of the cab.  I got pretty close by mixing a couple paints I had on hand and was able to paint over the not-so-great looking letters/numbers.

I added a green wash to this one because it looked a little dry and lifeless in the natural wood tone.

I tied a little bow over each ornament.

Then I outlined the star topper with a row of twine on both the front and the back.

I was lucky enough to find this strand of wooden beads at an antique mall.

It picks up the colors of the ornaments and connects them to each other. 

It also connects the four sets of branches which is exactly what needed to happen.  I'd say it was a well spent four and a half dollars.

I needed fabric for a skirt and I was not coming up with anything I liked until I found this piece in my scrap pile.

I added a couple wrapped packages and a few more ornaments under the tree.

Just when I thought I was finished, I noticed this twine on the counter.

Turns out it added a some movement and a lightness to the overall scheme of the tree.

I never really intended to burn the candles on this tree.  A darkened wick was enough to give the illusion that they could be lit.  However, I attemped to get them all lit at once without turning it into a charred disaster just for one picture.

It is a perfect table top tree with lots of little things to see.

In a couple years it might be just the thing for my grandsons to have in their playroom.

That does it!  It's my tree for 2012.  You can check out my tree for 2011 here.

I am linking to:  Tuesday's Treasures
                            Holiday Home
                            Wicked Awesome Wednesday
                            No Minimalist Here
                            Frugalicious Friday

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Impulse Buy

Blog posting has slipped in position with the beginning of the holiday season.  I have some posts in the works but until they are ready, I thought I would do a few short posts on the side activites that are consuming some of my time.

One of them is not snoozing in this lounger.  However, the lounger is the subject of this post.

While my sister was in town for Thanksgiving we did some shopping.  We popped into a mid-century resale shop called TFA. (The Future Antiques)  That is where we spotted this lounge chair.

We could not resist taking it for a test ride.

A push of the button puts it in the fully reclined position.  Super comfortable!

I debated whether I really "needed" another chair while I rested comfortably in the busy store.  I might mention the owner plugged it in so the chair was giving me a gentle vibrating massage while I considered the color, where I would put it, and if this was just too impulsive.

Just as I was about to pass, the price dropped by $50.  The next thing I knew we were loading it into my van.  We were just able to slide the van doors closed and I had a deal.

Actually, an even better deal than I thought.  Not only is it a great for relaxing with feet elevated while getting a massage.  It is perfect for internet browsing on the laptop, reading, and watching television.  It is also really easy to fall asleep and miss the end of your favorite show.  But, that is the only downside I have found.  No buyer's remorse here.