White Pumpkin Floral with Succulent

 

The little succulent we made several days ago has been so lonely. It’s time to make it a home, where it can live with other pretty things and be enjoyed by others. Thus, I introduce you to our newest project: the white pumpkin floral arrangement.

Orange pumpkins are bright and cheery and oh-so-autumny, but white pumpkins are classy, elegant, and much more versatile. You can use any colors you want! Let’s move past the rusts, yellows, browns, and oranges and embrace purple, burgundy, green, and gold!

This project takes more time to shop for than it does to put together. In my mind, that a win-win! (wink, wink)

Let’s start with our list of supplies:

  1. a small (or large if you prefer) white foam pumpkin
  2. a large wedge of floral foam
  3. an Exacto knife or similar one that can be extended (see photo)
  4. hot glue gun and glue sticks
  5. 12–15 individual stems of silk flowers, leaves, accents, etc.
  6. wire cutter
  7. your succulent from the last project

Step-by-step instructions

Step #1: Draw or score a line around the top of the pumpkin where you will be cutting the top off. I like to use the razor to score the line. Then I just have to push the blade through on my second trip around.

      

Step #2: Use the cutter to cut through until your have a lid you can pull off the top of the pumpkin. Be careful! This doesn’t have to be perfect. The opening will not show under the flowers and you can later trim the edges of the lid to look neater.

Step #3: Plug in your hot glue gun. (Put the lid aside for now.) Unwrap the floral foam and set aside. Drizzle a puddle of hot glue into the bottom of the open pumpkin. Insert the floral foam while the glue is hot and press down. (You might need to trim the edges to get it to fit inside.) Once it’s set, shave off the top so it’s more or less even with the top of the opening.

   

       

Step #4: Gather your silk flowers and use a wire cutter to cut the stems so you have a dozen or more individual pieces.

        

Step #5: Arrange your flowers! I like to start in the center with one and then move outward until I’ve filled the opening. Add various tall, short, full, textured pieces to make it interesting and beautiful.

Leave a space somewhere toward the edge of the pumpkin for your succulent. Here’s a look at my progress.

        

Step #6: Use the pin on the bottom of your succulent to stick it in place.

    

Step #7: This step is optional. Some people like to have the lid show, making it clear that this arrangement is actually a pumpkin. Others don’t care for the look. 

To add the lid, you will need to put hot glue on BOTH the inside of the lid and on the outer area of the pumpkin where you are going to place it. Press the glue areas together and hold for about a minute, or until you cannot move the lid. I carefully laid the pumpkin on its side while I was holding it down. 

         

Step #8: Admire your handiwork and find a perfect place to display it. Be sure to tell everyone, “I made this! Why, yes, I’ll take orders if you want one.” 

Thank you for spending time with me as I make and play and create projects. I hope you will share them with others and find yourself feeling happier, more creative, and surprised at your power to make stuff.

As always, comments are welcome.


 

Succulent Felt Fun

One of the hottest trends these days comes in small sizes: the wide world of the cactus family known as SUCCULENTS. Who knew there were so many varieties, colors, and shapes? No wonder artists and crafters are finding ways to include these perfect, low-maintenance plants into their projects. And that includes me.

I recently took a class at a local craft store, Pat Catan’s, where we made a lovely fall floral arrangement using a foam pumpkin, some silk flowers, and felt succulents. The teacher showed how to make the succulents, so this wasn’t just a “stick it and take it” kind of floral class. I’m going to share with you the basic succulent she taught us that day. Here’s the finished product:

There are two succulents in the arrangement: purple and olive green. Succulents come in so many lovely colors that you can make them fit into any motif and color scheme in your home. Now let’s start making YOUR own succulents!

Materials

Pattern for succulent layers (PDF link here)

Felt sheet (one for each succulent)

  • You can use the recycled material felt (the cheapest and thinnest—fine for this project—or the heavier wool felt sheets)
  • Recommended colors include olive green, light green, dark green, any shades of purple or maroon, soft pinks or peach, light yellow or yellow-green, orange-red, the list goes on!

Scissors (sharp with points—I like using embroidery scissors so I can make tiny cuts)

Hot glue gun and glue sticks

Dark ink pen or marker OR sewing pins

Floral pins

Colored chalk or pastels and small paintbrush (optional)

Steps

ONE: Print out the PDF.

TWO: Cut apart each of the five (5) pieces.

THREE: Choose your felt sheet and lay out all five pieces. Either pin in place, or use a marker to draw each piece.

    

FOUR: Plug in your glue gun. Cut out all five pieces. It helps to label the felt pieces so you don’t lose track of which is which. (If you used a marker to draw around the pieces, be sure to cut INSIDE the lines so none of the marker shows.)

FIVE: Place each felt piece in order, from 1 to 5, left to right. We will start with #1. Make sure the numbers are on the DOWN side so they don’t show.

SIX: Stick both tines of a floral pin straight into the center of #1 so it lies flat as shown:

SEVEN: Apply some hot glue to the center, over the top of the pin. Pinch up a bit to make the piece not quite so flat. While the glue is hot, take the #2 piece and carefully center it in place on top of #1. Make sure the leaves don’t cover the ones on #1, but instead fill in the gaps between some of the bottom leaves.

EIGHT: Pieces #3 and #4 both have notches on them. You will need to glue the notches shut, forming a little indent inside the center and the leaves will point more UP instead of flat. Glue as shown below:

NINE: Take #3 and place hot glue on it’s underside center as shown. Then stick in into the center of #2, continuing to bunch up the pieces as you add new layers.

 

TEN: Do the same with #4.

ELEVEN: Notice that #5 is different from the others. This one will be rolled up into a small bunch. I like to place a thin line of hot glue along its bottom edge. Do this on the marked side. When you roll it up, the number marking will be inside, not showing. Roll it so the leaves are not all lined up, but rather intermittent, like rose petals.

TWELVE: Place hot glue on the bottom of the roll and place it in the center of #4. Scrunch up the leaves around the rolled piece and hold until the glue is set.

OPTIONAL STEP: Use some crushed chalk or pastel chalk (powdery fine) to brush a bit of color on the leaves. I didn’t have anything but sidewalk chalk (I’ll get more, Matthew!) and it worked great. Brush as little or much as you want.

Display your creation!

This is so simple. Just get a small pot (like this 5-cent terra cotta one I had) and put a bit of floral styrofoam inside. Push the floral pin in the center of your succulent into the foam. If you want it to be more permanent, you can use hot glue under the succulent before you pin it in place.

Add some decorative flair to the pot or add a few small felt plants or leaves if you want.

What’s next?

See that pumpkin floral arrangement up top where we began? Yes! That’s our next project. Come back, bring others, and share the heartfelt love.


 

 

 

 

 

Super Simple Fall Ideas #2

I love felt. In fact, that’s why I use the word “heartfelt” for my creative pursuits, both here and on Etsy. In hot weather, I don’t play with felt much, but once the temperatures cool down and the colors start changing, I reach for felt projects to keep my hands busy. In this post, I’m going to show you how to make some felted friends. This project is easy enough to get your kids involved, too!

I’m showing you step-by-step how to make Buffy Bat. At the end of the post, you’ll be able to download the full PDF with the cutout forms and photos that show you how to make all three critters: Buffy Bat, Ollie Owl, and Cassie Cat.

Here’s all you need to get started:

Materials:

  • Colored felt
  • An embroidery needle
  • Embroidery floss (it’s thicker than regular thread, so it shows up better
  • Sharp scissors
  • Tiny brads (4mm) or buttons

Step One: Cut out the felt pieces.

Step Two: On the front body piece, use marking pen to mark eye, nose, and mouth placements.

Step Three: Place brads for eyes. (You may use a pin to stretch a little hole to make it easier to insert

the back of the brad.) Or sew on small black buttons.

Step Four: Make either French knots or straight stitches to make the nose. Use backstitches to form

the mouth.

Step Five: Make running stitches around the top of the head on the front only.

Step Six: Place the wing between the front and back of the body pieces as shown. Pin in place.

Step Seven: Use running stitches to sew the front, back, and wings together as shown. Only stitch

the sides and bottom if you are leaving the top open for a treat. That’s it! You’re finished. 

Now go eat that chocolate bar. You’ve earned it.

Now for that download.

Just click HERE. I’m making it available to my Heartfelt blog followers for FREE.

You can send others to my Etsy shop where they can purchase the download for $2.95.

Crochet Lessons from Pam Muñoz Ryan’s Esperanza Rising

[Esperanza] watched the silver crochet needle dance back and forth in her grandmother’s hand. When a strand of hair fell into her lap, Abuelita picked it up and held it against the yarn and stitched it into the blanket.

“Esperanza, in this way my love and good wishes will be in the blanket forever. Now watch. Ten stitches up to the top of the mountain. Add one stitch. Nine stitches down to the bottom of the valley. Skip one.”

Esperanza picked up her own crochet needle and copied Abuelita’s movements and then looked at her own crocheting. The tops of her mountains were lopsided and the bottoms of the valleys were all bunched up.

Abuelita smiled, reached over, and pulled the yarn, unravelling all of Esperanza’s rows. “Do not be afraid to start over,” she said.

Esperanza Rising by Pam Muñoz Ryan, Scholastic paperback edition, ISBN 978-0-439-12042-5, 2007, pp. 14–15.

A Few Opening Thoughts

If you haven’t read this book yet, let me tell you that it belongs on your TBR list. Go ahead. Write it down. I’ll wait.

The clamor over immigration these days is not as new as we want to believe. It’s been a hotbed issue for decades. This tale of a young Mexican girl who has to flee her home with her mother and a group of family friends for the safety of America is based on the author’s grandmother’s immigration experience. Migrant farm workers form the backbone of Ryan’s family tree. They worked hard to make a home for their children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. Even though the story takes place during the Great Depression decade of the 1930s, the obstacles for immigrants are still looming and scary. 

If you have a young person in your life, probably aged 10 or older, do them a favor and buy them this book. Then have a conversation about immigration. Perhaps dig up your own family history and share it. Many of us can trace our roots to an immigrant who dared to risk everything to start over in America. Now, more than ever, this conversation needs to happen. 

Crochet Lesson #1 (Lección de Ganchillo Número Uno)

Imperfections create personalization.

Those of us who work with yarn—usually as knitters or crocheters—find ourselves pick, pick, picking things out of the yarn as we stitch. It might be a piece of lint, a cat hair, or one of our own single tresses that clings to the fiber. We see that as an imperfection, an intrusion into the project that we’re working so hard to make. Pick, pick, pick.

From now on, I want to think like Abuelita. I want my strands to embrace the yarn if they fall into my work. I want to make every stitch a prayer for the person who will receive the gift I’m creating. I’ll be less worried about perfection so I can enjoy the stitches, the rows, the mountains and the valleys. Will you?

Crochet Lesson #2 (Lección de Ganchillo Número Dos)

Ah, those mountains and valleys. I’ve spent time in both places—and so many years in between. I’ll bet you have, too. Those valleys are tough. They feel dark, lonely, and long. If you can envision the crochet pattern Abuelita uses (it looks exactly like the photo above), you will see that the deepest part of the valley is only one stitch away from heading up toward the mountain top. Just one stitch. Maybe that’s all you can manage some days. That one thing that moves you slightly up, changes the angle oh-so-little, but oh-so-not-in-the-deepest-part-of-the-valley. Maybe it’s taking a walk. Calling a friend. Starting a new book (read or write). Steeping a cup of tea and watching a favorite old movie. Just one little stitch. Crochet hook in, yarn over, pull through. Pull through.

Crochet Lesson #3 (Lección de Ganchillo Número Tres)

Abuelita smiled, reached over, and pulled the yarn, unravelling all of Esperanza’s rows. “Do not be afraid to start over,” she said.

I wish we could undo our mistakes as simply as pulling on a string. We can’t. However, we can try again, over and over if necessary. Here are some ways to do that:

  • Apologize sincerely when wrong.
  • Admit when we’ve made a mistake.
  • Make atonement when possible. (AA’s Twelve-Steps followers depend on this to maintain sanity and sobriety. We all would do well to practice this step, too.)
  • Not take failure to heart. 
  • Remember that everyone fails, and probably a lot more often than we realize.
  • Forgive yourself.
  • Give yourself permission to mess up, especially if it means you can take risks doing something you’ve always wanted to do.
  • Swear. Punch a pillow. Take a break. Doodle. Journal. Mow the lawn. Clean the kitchen. Do something to get the negative feelings out (don’t stuff and deny them—that will only make you depressed and even sick) and then start again when you’re ready.

Do you know someone who might be encouraged by this post? Send it to them. They don’t have to join the blog, make a comment, or do anything at all. Just receive some encouragement—especially if they’re deep in a valley right now.

Those who want to follow my blog can do so by adding your information here:


 

 

 

 

Super simple fall ideas #1

It might not feel like fall yet, but inside most stores you’ll see more orange, yellow, and brown than any other colors. While you’re trapped indoors enjoying the AC, why not put together some quick, easy, fall-appropriate items? Let’s get started.

Personalized Pumpkin Placeholders

SKILL LEVEL ♥ easy

I found these wooden pumpkins at Hobby Lobby for $3.99 each (plus a 40% discount when I used my coupon). Other stores have similar if not identical seasonal pumpkin flatties. They’re about 6½” x 3½”. Perfect for small places! But they need a crafty touch, don’t you think? Simple! Grab your black Sharpie, my friends!

I decided to make a pair of personalized pumpkins for one of my favorite couples: Tom and Jen F. 

I added the names in the center. (I did mine horizontally since the names were short, but you could write longer names vertically down the middle. You can also use a super-fine point Sharpie for longer names and more detailed drawing.) I drew some wheat and some other nondescript plant to the sides and some grass on the bottom. Here’s the final version:

Think of what you could do when you have a fall dinner or Thanksgiving feast for your loved ones! Place one at each table setting. They’ll know where to sit—AND they have a handmade gift to take home. Winner, winner, turkey dinner!

As always, feel free to send me your photos of finished projects—or ask me any questions about crafts! tanya (a) heartfeltcrafts (dot) com

Project #2 coming next week! Tell others. Join the blog. Share on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram. Let’s build a big ole team of Heartfelt Crafters! Who knows? Someday I may give out badges!