Some of my favorite projects seem to come together quite by accident. Ideas like a pin celebrating an Irish holiday and made using a Japanese technique. I was thinking that I wanted to make a little shamrock, then out of nowhere I spotted some flowers that I knew needed to become my clover pin.
In Japan, they make hair accessories with folded fabric flowers and the technique is commonly called kanashi or tsumami kanzashi. There are tons of ways to make these flowers, and a quick search for "diy japanese fabric flowers" will turn up plenty. I especially like the tutorial from The Thread and Kanzashi in Bloom.
These really are quick to make, and I'm confident that even kids could learn how to do this!
Here's what you need:
Needle and thread
SHAMROCK PIN PDF TEMPLATE (This is optional, as you could create these pieces without printing an entire page...I'll explain along the way)
Here's what you do:
Cut out four 2-inch circles from green fabric. This is included in the template, if that's easier. Set aside one of the circles.
Thread your needle and knot the end. Fold one of the circles in half, then add a line of running stitch along the raw, curved edge. The stitches should be a little smaller than 1/4-inch long, and I found that it helps if they start and stop pretty close to the folded edge.
Pull the thread to gather the piece into one of the shamrock leaves.
Fold another circle and stitch along the edge. Gather it close to the first leaf, then add a third leaf in the same manner.
By the way, the little "puffs" that each leaf has can be pushed in either direction, so if one is going the wrong way, just poke it out so they are all matching.
With all three leaves together, bring the needle through at the edge of the first leaf. The secret here is to pull these all together into a sort of circle at the center, without pulling so tight that they want to stay in a straight line.
When you've gotten them all gathered and spaced nicely, take an extra stitch or two and tie a knot to hold it all in place.
To make your shamrock to be a happy Wild Olive shamrock (you know you want to!), stitch a face in the center of the circle. Again, this is included in the template, or you can make your own face.
If you don't want a face on your clover, leave the circle blank, or switch this part out for a green button.
Make this circle into a fabric yoyo. To do this, fold down the edge of the circle by a little less than 1/4-inch and and stitch with medium-length running stitch. Pull the thread to gather it tight and secure it with a knot.
Flatten and shape the yoyo so the gathered part isn't sticking out too much in the back, then use fabric glue to attach it to the center of your three leaves. Press and hold it in place for a minute or so until it's sticking. I love Fabri-Tac for things like this because it dries so very quickly which means a lot less frustration!
Cut out a backing stem piece from green felt. Mine is a 1-inch circle with a stem coming off of it, and it's included in the template.
Stitch the pin back onto the felt piece. Ideally, you'd probably want matching thread, but I grabbed the black because it was close at hand but still blends in.
Put some fabric glue on the back of the circle of felt, then press it onto the back of your shamrock.
Top o' the mornin' to ya, my shamrock friend!
Oh dear. Clearly I'm far too amused by my crafty creations.
I like shamrocks with three leaves because in keeping with the story of St. Patrick, they serve as a great reminder of the Holy Trinity: Father, Son, Holy Spirit.
But you can very easily add an extra circle leaf to make this into a lucky four-leaf clover. As you can see, you can also reverse the leaves and it's just as cute! In fact, I can't decide which way I like better...
Whichever way you make one of these, I hope you have a happy, lucky St. Patrick's Day next week!
The quilting bug has definitely taken hold in me. I have all these plans in my head for projects, and even fabric stacks ready and waiting. But cutting and sewing and getting things to match up as they should? That's still intimidating.
Love Patchwork & Quilting is a fairly new magazine that I'm in love with. I have only two regular issues and one digital issue, and I pore over them admiring every idea and detail. Then I go online and see blogs filled with beautiful quilts and I see even more on Instagram. And I become more smitten than I was, and I didn't think it possible.
Finally I decided that it was time that I try making some half-square triangles, or HSTs as they are often referred to. Issue four of Love Patchwork & Quilting has a sawtooth block pillow that is simple and charming, so I used that as a plan for my first project.
I've seen "easy" ways to sew HSTs, so I did a search for "easy half square triangles" and plenty of results came up. I followed a tutorial from About.com, which I found to be easy to do, though cumbersome, as that site often is (to me at least!). Here's the process I followed, in photos:
And voila! Half-square triangles! Which are actually squares made up of triangles! Is that confusing to anyone else?
The square up rulers I bought feel like life savers to me. The markings make it easy to create perfectly squared pieces with corners that I think are actually going to match up. This is a case where having good tools really does make a difference. (I found mine in the quilting section at JoAnn.)
What is fun about HSTs is that they are kind of like puzzle pieces. You can arrange them in so many ways to make so many different quilt designs! I found them quite relaxing to play with!
Plus, a little stack of quilty pieces is a very fine thing. I can't wait to put these together!
I am a fan of seasonal things. Meaning, I love the four seasons and making projects and decorating according to spring, summer, autumn, and winter. So, imagine my delight when the publishers of Wise Craft sent me a copy of this book and I opened it up to find 60 projects divided up over four seasons. I mean, before I looked through it I had high hopes, but this element...this entire concept...well, it just took Blair Stocker's book far beyond my expectations.
The real idea that Blair presents is making things without breaking the budget through recycling, repurposing, and general thriftiness. I like all of these things and try to follow this ideal in the things I craft, so obviously I connected with this concept. But as I said, the seasons spoke to me.
Each season starts with a little table of contents where you can get a visual glimpse at what is to come. And one of the things you notice as you skim these intro pages is that each season has it's own color scheme. More lovely!
What you'll also find is that there are common elements scattered throughout the book. For example, each section has a small quilt to make, and there are several projects involving glass or ceramic painting. There is great variety in the designs, but there are unifying elements too, which I love.
These fantastic flowers from the spring section show up in different ways through the book. I find them and the projects they are used in to be so charming.
The summer chapter is full of bright pinks and ice cream colors, and might just be my favorite overall section.
Fall has a nice combination of autumnal ideas, as well as a few spooky projects. Zombie Barbies? You'll want to check out this book if only for the fun that is this! I have a feeling my mom would be more likely to appreciate painted dishes instead.
There are a few Christmas projects in the winter section, but there's also a nice amount of flannel and wool and warm snuggly things that are less holiday specific for a whole season of style.
One of the things that makes this book special is that the author shares about her life throughout the pages. You really get the sense that you've been invited into her home and family. These things that she shows you how to make are special to her, and that makes them special to the reader.
There is so much to love about this book, and I highly recommend that you check it out!
Find Wise Craft at Barnes & Noble, Amazon, or at your local book shop.
In just over a week, my sister will be starting a new job as a teacher. I'm soooo happy for and proud of her! She learned that she may soon be doing a dinosaur unit very soon as part of their curriculum, and I got all excited since I had just drawn up the dino wallpaper and started thinking of dino ideas for March.
I thought it might be fun to make her a few dino bone thumbtacks for on her bulletin board...and maybe you'd like some too! You could easily change these over to magnets too, if you're so inclined...
Here's what you need:
Black and white embroidery floss
BONE THUMBTACK PDF TEMPLATE
Here's what you do:
For each thumbtack, cut out two bone shapes. Embroider a face onto one of them. I used two strands of black floss, and formed the eyes with french knots and the mouth with a scallop stitch (a modified fly stitch).
Push the thumbtack through the plain piece of felt. The bone shape isn't symmetrical, so be sure you are sticking it through front to back so that the two felt pieces will still match up.
Layer the felt pieces together and stitch around the shape. I used two strands of white floss with running stitch. If you're making your dino bone into a magnet, you could glue and insert a strong magnet inside the shape, otherwise, glue it on after you've secured the two pieces together.
Hide your knot on the back or between the pieces, and your thumbtack is all ready to go!
Yes it's cheesy, but I think this tack is dino-mite!
And it's happy too! I have to admit, I had so much fun making this, I'm not going to be able to stop with dino bones. More thumbtacks/magnets will be in my future. Here's hoping for more fun ideas from my sister's new classroom!