Tag Archives: adornments

I Heart Cinco de Mayo

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First heart I made!

Happy Cinco de Mayo, everyone! I’ve had this project in my back pocket for months, but I decided to wait until today before sharing it, because, you know, it’s Cinco de Mayo.

Way back in mid February, we took a trip to Tulum, Mexico with friends. We had an amazing time. We relaxed on the beach, snorkeled in beautiful cenotes (freshwater limestone pools and caves), visited Maya ruins at Chichen Itza, and ate lots of good food. We spent a couple of evenings in the town of Tulum, where I couldn’t resist doing a little shopping in the market stalls. Not only were there pom pom garlands in all sorts of fun colors (and I’m a sucker for pom poms), there were these adorable hearts, made of felt and hand embroidered. Needless to say I became a little obsessed with them. I ended up buying two hearts and a pom pom garland the night before we flew home to stuff in my suitcase as keepsakes. I love ’em!

A pom pom cart in Tulum, Mexico.

Well, those hearts soon became the inspiration for this cute project. I love making these hearts for so many reasons. One, they allow me to use up some of the scraps from thrift store sweaters I bought a few years ago and felted for various projects. Two, embroidery is so easy to pick up and tinker away at whenever you have a spare moment. Three, this project is also small, so it’s perfect for stuffing in a tote or purse and taking along to soccer games or public transit commutes. And four (this is my favorite reason), they provide the perfect use for all that polyfil my dog pulls out of her chew toys…reusing and recycling at its best!

Heart Instructions

To make your own hearts, you’ll need the following.

  • Wool sweaters or felt, in any color
  • Large heart cookie cutter (the one I use measures 5 inches across)
  • permanent marker
  • small embroidery hoop
  • crewel embroidery yarn in a variety of bright colors
  • embroidery needle
  • scissors
  • polyfil stuffing
  • pom pom
  • tassel

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Using the cookie cutter and permanent marker, trace two heart shapes on the wool or felt.

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Center one of the hearts in the embroidery hoop, pulling it as taut as possible.

Use different colors of crewel embroidery yarn to embroider a design of your choosing. (Before you begin stitching, practice drawing possible designs on paper if that helps you solidify a design.)

As you stitch, try not to get too hung up on your embroidery skills or worry about how your design is coming along; Keep adding to it until you like what you see. (Need to brush up on embroidery stitches? Check out this site. )

Once you’re happy with your design, remove the embroidery hoop and cut out the two hearts (the one you embroidered and the one you did not).

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Stack the embroidered heart on top of the unstitched heart. Sew a quarter inch seam along outside edge of the hearts, but leave a 2 inch section along one of the sides unsewn. This is where you’ll add the stuffing.

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Push the polyfil stuffing through the hole. Use enough to give a puffy dimension to the entire heart.

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Stitch the opening closed.

Chose a complementary color of yarn to create a blanket stitch all the way around the outside edge of the heart. Here’s a quick how-to.

 

Use yarn to sew a pom pom and tassel to the bottom of the heart. Here are instructions for making a tassel

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Sew a loop to the top of your heart for hanging.

 

Last but not least, find the perfect place to hang your heart. I love how they look on door nobs, window closures, or as Christmas ornaments. Or better yet, give them to a friend!

Happy heart making! If you like this project, then definitely check out the other cool crafts made from recycled sweaters in the Craft-A-Day Book!

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Spring Flowers (made of wool)

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True confessions time…I’m one who’s prone to creative dry spells. Droughts lasting weeks, sometimes months, where I stick my head in the sand (or my nose in a book) and forget about creating anything new. This is one reason I’ve not posted since early January (another very well could be the silent auction I coordinated in February, but that’s a whole different story). Life gets in the way, and I quickly fall out of the habit of making time to make. Then it becomes hard for me to reenter the creative atmosphere. I convince myself that I have to think of something really stellar that’s worth making and writing about. I get so caught up in coming up with something good that I forget to see what’s right in front of my face. Like those damn cute marshmallow bunny ears I stuck on my Easter cupcakes (Thank you Pinterest!). Or the bunny and colored eggs I placed in a pot on the front patio to add some color on a dreary Easter day. Could have been a post.

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But I think I’m getting close to finding my groove again. This morning I came across an issue of Vintage Style from January 2014 and opened to a feature on Felting Fashions. Aha! Those pages featured making flowers and other sweet things from felt, and I just so happen to have been attempting to do the very same thing with a pile of old sweaters. For a couple of weeks I’ve been sporadically cutting out flower petals and setting them aside with a plan to bead the edges. I beaded one and decided I wasn’t crazy enough about the results to invest the time in doing them all. So Friday afternoon, when I had planned to work on the outline for a new book I’m working on (inevitably the time when a creative urge strikes!) it all came together. I found myself obsessively cutting flower petals from felted sweaters and socks (Yes, socks!), and mixing and matching shapes, colors, and textures to build a few spring flowers of my own.

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It turns out that the raspberry sherbet colored socks I unearthed last weekend during a spring clothing purge were the missing link. The color paired perfectly with the pastel orange and medium purple I’d been fooling with. And now here they are, ready to adorn a hat, pillow, or iPad case. I think my favorite might be the abstract version above made from the sock scraps. Here’s hoping that by creating these wool versions I’ll help spur on the sprouting and blooming of the real thing. Happy Spring!

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