‘Tis the Season…ings

Sugar and spice and everything nice, that’s what the grown-up girls on your list are made of. Let’s make something special just for them. A bag of seasoning with some mini accessories!

This easy felt project can be completed in about one hour.

But first you need to gather all the ingredients.

Ingredients:

  • 8 1/2 x 11″ felt piece in main color
  • felt scrap in green
  • scissors
  • pins
  • sewing needle
  • embroidery floss in matching or contrasting color
  • plastic yarn needle
  • two (2) 18″ pieces of ribbon 3/8″ wide
  • pompoms (optional)
  • sequins (optional)
  • glass beads for sewing on sequins (optional)
  • gift tag

Lay everything aside and start with the green scrap piece of felt. This piece is for the Christmas tree. Use the pattern (download here) and trace the outline of the tree onto the green felt. Then cut it out. The second photo shows you the finished size of the tree.

Next, take the full-size piece of felt (pink is shown here). Fold it in half and cut along the fold.

Now you will fold one of these pieces in half and cut along the fold, as shown below.

Now you’re going to add the tree, like an appliqué, and stitch around the edges. I like to use a running stitch (basic, basic), but you could use any embroidery stitch you want: blanket stitch, back stitch, French knots, daisy chains, etc. Begin by pinning the tree in the center but slightly lower, as shown below.

Using the contrasting colored embroidery floss (I use three strands), stitch the tree to one piece of the background felt. Do NOT tie off the thread yet.

Now it’s time to decorate the tree! The demonstration below uses mini pompoms, but as you’ll see at the end of this post, I also use sequins and beads to decorate. Add each decoration by stitching it securely through both layers, the tree and the background piece. When finished, tie off the thread on the back and cut.

A jolly little tree!

Now you’re going to assemble the bag. Get the second piece of background felt. On both pieces, fold over the top to make a casing for the ribbon. Pin in place to keep the felt from moving around on you.

You can use the same color embroidery floss as before or you can change it up if you like. You are going to using a running stitch to complete the casing on both pieces, slightly wider than the 3/8-inch ribbon, like this:

Now it’s time to put the bag together. Place the insides of the bag so they touch, leaving the folded over casing to show on the front and the back, as seen below.

You can either use a blanket stitch (as I did) or a running stitch to sew the sides and bottom of the bag. (There are lots of great YouTube videos on how to do the blanket stitch. It’s easy! You can do it!!! )

Do NOT stitch over the casing openings. Start below the casing and end when you reach the other casing.

The final step is adding the ribbon. I like to use a plastic yarn needle because it won’t get caught in the felt (usually). Take one of your 18″ ribbons and thread it through the needle’s eye. Then draw it through the FRONT of the bag. Repeat with the second piece of ribbon for the back of the bag.

Pull most of the ribbons to one side of the bag. Tie a knot in the shorter side to secure it. Then you’re ready to fill the bag, tie the ribbon in a big bow, and add the gift tag.

I decided to make my bag a kitchen gift. So I added a small jar of seasoning (Penzey’s is one of my favorite brands!), a mini spatula, and a mini grater (perfect for cinnamon sticks). Then I made two more!

Of course, you can fill your bag with anything you want. Candies. Money $$$$. A gift card. But whoever receives it will be happy to have something handmade by you just for them.

I wish you all a blessed, happy, healthy holiday season! I’ll be back in 2019 with more Heartfelt Crafts for us to share.

Sending Greetings to Kids: Cards or Books?

It’s been a couple of weeks since I’ve posted, but that’s because there’s been so much good stuff going on. I did some editing assignments, writing assignments, and crocheting for the season. (I usually donate hats and scarves to the Salvation Army for their winter clothing drive.) And the BIG event was my grandson’s fifth birthday! 

As I was wrapping his gifts, I realized that I had forgotten to buy him a card. Oh no! And that made me think: Why do we all need to give him cards when he’s probably never going to look at them again? What can I do that is different and useful? I spotted, among my gifts, a leveled reader. You know, one of those 6 x 9 paperbacks with a big 1 or 2 or 3 (and even higher) in a circle on the front. 

I opened the book, and right there on the inside cover was a place to write a greeting, along with Matthew’s name. It’s almost like a birthday card, right? I signed it “Happy 5th birthday to Matthew. Love, Grammy and Grandpa.” Now, where’s an envelope that will work?

Nothing fit! Like Goldilocks, I found some that were too small or too large or too thick—but none that were just right. Well, challenge accepted!

Follow along with me and you’ll see how to make a lined envelope perfect for holding—and MAILING—a leveled reader instead of a card. (Or include a card. There’s room. Also: most greeting cards these days are going for $3.95 to $5.95 apiece! Sheesh! These leveled readers are only $3.99 or $4.99, and they won’t get tossed in the trash. Genius, right?)

Step One

Get a 9½” x 13″ envelope that opens at the top (not the side, like some do). I’m using white, but if you prefer the standard yellow, that’s fine.

Step Two

Measure from the bottom 9½” and mark with a pencil. This will be your cutting line. Yes, you’ll be cutting off the sealer at the top. Now you’ll have a 9½” x 9½” square.

  

Step Three

Measure from the bottom up 6½” and draw a line for cutting. But DO NOT CUT it yet.

Step Four

You will only cut the BACK SIDE ONLY of the envelope this time. This is how you get the envelope flap on the front.

       

 

Step Five

Next you will cut curves on the outer edges of the envelope flap. Try to make these as even as you can. I drew one side and cut it, then used the cut off piece to show me where to draw the other curve. It’s kind of like geometry, but fun!

    

Step Six

Just a quick check and you’ll see that one book fits perfectly inside! You can stop here if you want, but for some added pizzazz, let’s keep going. We’re going to make a bright, happy liner for the envelope next.

Step Seven

To make a liner, you can use any light- to normal-weight decorative paper. In this case, I’m using gift wrapping paper. (It can be tricky if it’s from a roll, but not difficult.) Start by cutting a piece by using your envelope as a pattern. Cut INSIDE your lines so it will fit in the envelope.

  

Step Eight

Slide the liner into the envelope so it is face-out as shown below. Then use a glue stick or other non-liquidy glue to adhere the liner to the top of the flap.

  

  

Step Nine

Fold over the flap. Before mailing, you can seal the envelope using a glue stick, Scotch tape, or washi tape. Just make sure it’s sealed well. Insert the book and add postage if you’re mailing it. Two first-class stamps will get it where it’s going in the U.S. 

Add some envelope art or stickers to the front if you like. I made one recently that looks like notebook paper. I’ll add the name and address in big, round print, just like in kindergarten!

  

  

Other Fun Ideas

Don’t stop here. Think of ways you can share books and the love of reading. Adapt the envelope for 8″ x 8″ readers or Little Golden Books or other formats. Cards are nice, but books are better. Or throw a card in with the book. Add bookmarks, sticker sheets, trading cards, etc. Your little ones will be thrilled to get mail—and even more excited to have a gift they can keep for their very own.

Happy reading and crafting, my friends.


 

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.

Let’s Fill Those Pockets, Part 2

In everyone’s life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit. —Albert Schweitzer

This is one reason I love doing pocket letters. It allows me to send a little spark of hope, friendship, laughter, or love to my friends. Jennifer and I have known each other for more than 20 years, and most of those years we’ve been separated by hundreds of miles. Mailing each other cards, notes, stickers (I got those yesterday!), packages, and now pocket letters has kept our friendship alive and well. I believe in connections. But connections break if we don’t tend to them. This project we’re working on together in this set of blogs can strengthen the bonds of friendship no matter the distance between the sender and receiver.

Today we’re going to finish that pocket letter! Get out your supplies, including the cards you’ve cut to size. Let the fun begin!

FIRST: I like to insert all of my cards and arrange them in a way that’s random, attractive, and colorful.

   Front (see the binder holes on the left?)

Back

My mixed-bag of papers has a loose theme that could be kitchen-y or calico-y or retro. I just liked how all of the patterns and colors worked together.

NEXT: Now I get to go digging through my containers of embellishments. (I won’t admit how many of those I have.) I’m looking for stickers, decorative elements, etc. to add to each card. Here’s one of my hoards:

ALSO NEXT: The next photos will show you how I took different paper cards and applied stuff to them. 

     

    

ALMOST DONE: After every card has its special message, design, or gift included (tea bags fit perfectly in a pocket!), just put them into the spaces until the page is filled (on both sides if you want).

I added some tea bags to three pockets in the back before sending this PL to one of my new friends, Linda. (Hi, Linda!)

Sending? That’s right! These are meant to be mailed. Just accordion-fold the three horizontal sections and the whole thing fits a standard business-size envelope. If it weighs less than 13 ounces, you only need one first-class stamp. Most of mine take two stamps—sometimes I add a third one if the envelope is extra-thick.

So try one! There’s nothing about this that has to be perfect. It’s easy, creative, and filled with love. That’s almost as good as a doughnut!

Send me your photos of finished or in-progress pocket letters. I’d love to share them with my blog followers and on my Heartfelt Crafts Facebook page. Send them to me at tanya (at) heartfeltcrafts (dot) com.


 

Let’s Fill Those Pockets, Part 1—Plus a Giveaway Prize!

Okay, fellow crafters, gather all your goodies from the previous post and let’s get started!

First, place your pockets nearby. Note that there are nine pockets and each of them opens at the top. (If you have it upside-down, your papers will just fall out. You’ll feel sad, bad, and slightly mad. No one has ever done this. Ahem…) Let’s do some math!

9 pockets = 9 papers, right?

Well, only if you want to make a one-sided PL, which is okay with me. My first one was one-sided. Then I thought, “Hey, what a missed opportunity to double my fun!” So I made sure there were enough papers for 9 + 9 = 18 sides. Does that mean you need to cut 18 pieces? Not necessarily.

If your papers are printed only on the front and the back is white, then you will need 18 pieces (2 per pocket) to cover both sides. However, the wonderful world of paper crafting has provided us with 2-sided printed papers, too. Here’s an example. One side is covered with sweet cherries and the other has a complimentary color/design of gingham. When you slide one of these cards in a pocket, you get a different design on the front and back. This can save you time, but you will want to have 2-sided papers that you really like. 

If you want more control over your colors and patterns, then you will want to cut 18 individual papers. Quick Quiz: Do you remember the dimensions?

2.5 inches wide

3.5 inches tall

How should you cut them? Very carefully! But seriously, folks, you can either cut them with scissors (trace your cards with pencil or make a template and use it) or use a paper trimmer like the one shown below. As you can see, I’ve marked the 2.5 and 3.5 inch lines so I don’t mess up. (Remember the old adage “measure twice, cut once”? Yeah, that actually works.) Having markers helps me get it right the first time. Do what you feel most comfortable doing. Using the trimmer looks like this:

      

 

As you can see, the 3.5 x 2.5 paper fits perfectly in a pocket.

  

It’s fun to move the pieces around until you get them in an array that makes you happy. Here’s mine, from various papers with a kitchen/Americana/fruit theme (front and back). Yes, I’ve made two of several papers, one for each side. It keeps my theme from running amok.

  

This post is running a bit long, so we will finish our PLs in the next post. Here’s a tip: scrounge around your craft room, home office, kitchen, garage, local craft store, etc. for little items that will fit your theme and the pockets. Ideas: stickers, buttons, tiny envelopes (!), misc. embellishments, quotes, photos, cards, decorative tapes, recycle-able stuff, and whatever your heart loves. We’ll be using them to decorate the pockets.

Okay, so here’s the GIVEAWAY!!! You will get points for each of the following. Each point gives you an entry into the drawing. The prize is described below the list.

  1. Subscribe to this blog. (If you already have, you’re my best friend. Truly.)
  2. Post a link to my blog on your Facebook page, Instagram, Pinterest, or Twitter in the next 72 hours (ends at 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, August 5, 2018). If you do all four, that’s more chances to win! Use the hashtag #heartfeltcraftblog so I can keep track.
  3. Leave a comment at the bottom of this post.
  4. Post a photo of your PL with its papers in place on the Heartfelt Crafts Facebook page. I’ll give you a “like” to show I’ve seen it.

Each entry will earn you a name on a slip of paper. I’ll put all of the papers out on my floor and let my adorable dog, Kirby, select the winner. Photos will follow!!!

Drumroll please! THE PRIZE!

The winner will be mailed a themed set of papers, stickers, and other goodies, perfect for making your own PLs or other paper craft. (Retail value around $15.)

Ready, set, CUT THOSE PAPERS AND GET POSTING!!!