12 Days of Christmas Ornaments

You may recall my post back in February when I had started my set of the 12 Days of Christmas felt ornaments stating that I had started early in the hope that I might get them all finished in time for Christmas?  Well, I’ve finished them already – shock, horror!!  I’m completely amazed myself to be honest.  I think the main reason for this success is because the pattern is so well written it makes it easy and the ornaments are sooooo cute that as soon as one was finished, I immediately wanted to move on to making the next!  Whilst it’s the 12 days, there are actually 15 ornaments as the partridge has a pear, the goose has an egg and Mr. Leaping has a heart, bless him!  Well, the song is about true love after all.  In case you’re thinking I’ve gone completely doolally and numbered the last 4 wrongly, there are several variations of the carol; these ornaments are based on the original carol from 1780.

Firstly, and unusually for me, I did what the pattern said and purchased wool blend felt.  I have a stash of acrylic felt but the pattern specifically said that you wouldn’t get good results without using wool or wool blend felt.  I can see now how that might happen as the edges are whip stitched with a tiny seam so the acrylic felt probably wouldn’t have held.  The absolute most important step was to preshrink the felt which was done by soaking each sheet in cold water for a few minutes then placing on a towel, lightly pressing to remove excess water then leaving to dry naturally.  Each 12” piece shrunk by at least an inch so the pieces would have been all sorts of shapes had I skipped this step.

My drying rainbow tree of felt

The designer recommends using the catchily titled Sulky™ Printable Sticky Fabri-Solvy, now renamed to Sulky™ Printable Stick ‘n’ Stitch.  I got mine from Amazon from a US craft shop but there are craft shops in the UK selling it now.  This stuff is absolute GENIUS! After printing out the pattern on normal paper and checking that the print was scaled properly by using the handy measure guide on the pattern, you just put in the sheet of Sulky™ and print.  All of the pieces required are printed and it’s simply a case of rough cutting around them and removing the backing to adhere them to the felt colour of your choice.

The embroidery is designed to be the star of the show so the pattern encourages you to choose contrasting floss that really stands out.  I found choosing the felt and floss colours to be one of the hardest jobs.  My threads were a bit of a mess, all bundled up together in an old wash bag so I treated myself to a floss organiser, complete with thread bobbins.  This made my floss selection process a lot easier I can tell you.

Next job was to sew the embroidery.  It’s mainly back stitch, a bit of running stitch and lots of French knots.  I used to hate French knots and did substitute some with seed beads for the first few but I guess I became better at them with all that practice and I don’t mind them at all now.  Once the embroidery was complete, the pieces were carefully cut out…

…then soaked for 15-20 minutes in cold water to dissolve the stabiliser and then left to dry face up on a dry towel.

One day, when I was feeling particularly brave and artistic(!) I decided to try my hand at making the heads for days 8-12.  The pattern offers great tips for eye and mouth placement.  After lightly drawing the features with a pencil, I then coloured them in with fabric marker pens.  These were great as they didn’t bleed into the wooden beads at all so the images are really crisp.

Shrunken heads!

The construction is largely the same in that all pieces are sewn with wrong sides together using a whip stitch and matching floss.  Depending on the ornament, interfacing, cardboard, pipe cleaners, wooden beads, fabric markers and cocktail sticks may be needed in addition to fibre stuffing and fabric glue.  The instructions for constructing the ornaments are really clear and easy to follow.

So, a mere 2½ months after I began, the whole gang is finished.  Woohoo! And here they are…

A closer look at Days 1-4…

Days 5-8…

Days 9-12…

Even the backs look  great too!

I’m now working on a storage box for the ornaments as they are too precious to be thrown in with the rest of the Christmas decs.  Watch this space for that post!

These ornaments are a bit fiddly to make at times but not so much so that it put me off finishing.  In fact, I’ve enjoyed making them so much, I’m going to make another set in a more limited colour palette.

If you like the look of these you can find out more on Larissa’s website, where there are links to her shop to buy the patterns together with lots of tips, techniques and colour scheme ideas.  There are also lots of inspiring colour palettes on Instagram at #twelvedaysornaments and #mmmcrafts.

www.mmmcrafts.blogspot.com

 

 

 

Butterfly Gala

As the weather has been superb this week, Mr L and I have been spending quite a lot of time out in the garden and in greenhouse, sowing vegetable and flower seeds.  I love the potential of this time of year; the bright green buds of new leaf growth, tiny new shoots emerging through the soil together with the amazing colour variety of spring flowers.  The insects are also emerging.  It’s lovely to see lots of bees and butterflies flying around, although our pussy cats’ favourite game at the moment is catching (and eating – gross!) butterflies, much to my chargrin.  To compensate for our cats’ antisocial behaviour, I have sown a multitude of flowers that are attractive to butterflies and bees, providing lots nectar and pollen for them.  It’s the least I can do!

Butterflies are the subject of my cards this week, using the Stampin’ Up! Butterfly Gala stamp and accompanying punch and the Crackle Paint background stamp.

I began by stamping and punching out the butterflies.  I like to add odd numbered accents to my card so I used 2 large and 1 small butterfly for each card.  My colour themes were to be monochrome and pink/white/black so I used Lovely Lipstick ink and a Wink of Stella brush to colour one set of butterflies and the Wink of Stella by itself for the other set.

Once coloured in, I mounted each butterfly onto a Basic Black or Lovely Lipstick foil background, adhering only the body section so that the wings could be gently folded up to provide some 3D interest.

The background pieces were stamped using the Crackle Paint stamp using black ink.  The sentiments are from Butterfly Gala and Forever Lovely and cut out using the stitched rectangle framelits and the Pretty Label punch.  To complete the butterflies, I added some gemstones for the heads.

Here’s the Lovely Lipstick version….

….and the monochrome version.

 

 

 

Images © 2019 Stampin’ up!

OMG! Commemorative Artwork

My dear friend, Lorie, established a charity called Project 71 which supports war veterans who, for the most part, live in our local area.  She works tirelessly to raise funds and raise awareness of the charity so that, at no cost to themselves, the veterans can enjoy lunches together, trips abroad, for example to Normandy and Arnhem, for the veterans to pay their respects to those who didn’t return home.  Project 71 also provides assistance to the veterans in the form of lifts to places, providing mobility scooters, doing the shopping or just visiting at home or in hospital to have a cup of tea and a chat.  Lorie has a group of volunteers from all walks of life that help her to provide these things for the veterans. The work they do is humbling and amazing in equal measures.  Please visit their site via the link below to see the wonderful things they do.

http://www.project71.co.uk/

Just over a year ago, Lorie sent a request out to crafty types via Facebook, to see who would be interested in producing some fabric artwork to commemorate the 75th Anniversary of Operation Market Garden.  The artwork is based on the plate produced by the Market Garden Veterans Association for the 50th anniversary.

The only rules were that the finished badge should be 6” tall and as wide as necessary to keep the proportions right.  Any crafting media or technique using fabric or wool could be used providing they could be joined together as the finished badges would be sewn together and mounted onto a background of parachutes and aircraft.  The finished article will be donated to the National Liberation Museum (Nationaal Bevrijdingsmuseum 1944-1945) in Groesbeek, Netherlands in September 2019 as part of the 75th anniversary weekend.

I chose to make the 50th Infantry Division

and 101st Airborne Division.

The 50th Infantry Division was a division of the British Army whose insignia features two Ts which apparently represent the three main rivers, the Tyne, Tees and Humber, from the recruitment area of the Territorial Army, of which the division was a part before the Second World War.  I immediately saw this design as a crocheted piece and set about creating a stitch grid onto which I could transfer the design.  Then it was simply a case of single crocheting the stitches in the appropriate colour.

The 101st Airborne Division (“Screaming Eagles”) is a light infantry division of the US Army who were engaged in numerous operations during World War II.  This insignia cried out for appliqué so I got out my felt and Bondaweb and got to work.  First I scaled the insignia on the computer so that the image was just under 6” tall.  I then traced this onto tracing paper as the reverse image is needed to trace onto the Bondaweb due to it being attached on the back of the fabric by ironing.

The next step was to carefully cut out the images and adhere them by removing the backing and ironing them in position.

I hit a slight snag when I started to appliqué the letters as the felt was not holding its shape and the resulting mess was not acceptable!  I experimented with various styles of attachment and found that stitching over the entire letter produced the best result, but not using felt as the fibres stuck up through the gaps between the thread.  I remade the letters using yellow fabric, coloured the centres of the letters with black sharpie (cheat!) and sewed over the whole letter using a closely spaced zig-zag stitch.

Top shows the experiments, bottom is the finished piece.

Now it was time to assemble the piece.  I used a piece of khaki linen fabric and quilted it in a diamond pattern and then simply attached the badge pieces on top.

The edges of the piece were finished using the overlocker to get the piece to the correct size.

These are some of the other pieces of work that other crafters have made.

I’m looking forward to seeing the finished piece once Lorie has finished the construction.

Project 71 is a small charity where 100% of the money donated goes to supporting the veterans.  If you would like to donate and help out this very worthy cause, please click on the link below.  Any donation will be much appreciated.

https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/panicbutton

 

 

 

Who can resist?

Mr L and I recently returned from a fabulous holiday to Bangkok where I purchased this beautiful scarf.  I had walked past it twice, admiring it from a distance, but on the third time I could resist no longer and bought it – because I loved it and you can never have too many scarves!

Something about the scarf made me wonder if I could recreate the colours and effects on the scarf for a card and the only way I could think to achieve this was to use the emboss-resist technique and some ink blending.

I began by doing some simple emboss-resist by repeat stamping images on white card using Versamark ink and then applying clear embossing powder.

Once heat set, I blended pastel inks over the card.  The embossing powder ‘resists’ the ink so the card gets coloured and the images stay white although sometimes a quick wipe with a tissue is needed to clean off any ink from the embossed images.

Round one was a success so I decided to try for the recreation of the scarf.  This required ink blending first and then stamping with Versamark and applying clear embossing powder once the ink was dry.

Once the embossing powder was heat set, I sponged black ink over the card, adding layers until I had the depth of colour I wanted.  Again, a tissue was needed at the end just to remove any black ink residue from the embossed images.  I tried both pastel and bright inks and I think the brights are more suited to this technique.

I’m quite happy with the brights background and I think it looks quite similar to the scarf so mission accomplished!

The pastel under black doesn’t have quite the same contrast but still looks pretty.

I thought the two white and pastel cards were suitable for Easter cards as, whilst they don’t have the standard bunnies/chicks/eggs design, they are quite spring like.

I think it’s important when you’ve spent time making the background for that to be the focal point of the card so I only added small greetings so that the background could still shine through.  A lovely little sprig of blackthorn flowers helps set the scene.

 

 

 

 

Images © 2019 Stampin’ Up!