Monday, December 26, 2011

Giacomo's Baby Hat

The only knitting that was done this Christmas was a hat for my grandson.  I found this sweet pattern from the Purl      Bee website. If you've ever wanted to try Fair Isle knitting this is a great beginner pattern.  It is just four colors and the pattern is only 19 rows.  I actually  knit the hat twice, because the first hat ended up being too small.  I used larger needles for the second hat and it fit perfectly.

Yarn: Plymouth Yarn Suri Merino (55% Suri Alpaca, 45% Extra Fine Merino)
Colors: Blue, gray, light blue, and dark green
Needles: US 6 and US 7

I used a small Clover Pom-Pom maker in size 1 5/8" for the bigger hat and 1 3/8" for the smaller hat.  The directions were confusing, but I found a YouTube video that helped a lot. 

I thought I'd share my husband's handiwork for a change.  His craft is working with wood especially exotic woods.  He has made some beautiful furniture pieces.  He designed and made this rocking horse for our grandson.   

Monday, December 19, 2011

Sugar Cookies

"While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads..."

This sugar cookie recipe was given to me by a woman in a church organization I used to attend many years ago. Her name was Doris Melvin and she was a wonderful baker and shared many of her recipes with me. This sugar cookie recipe is simple and makes about 5 dozen, so it is perfect for a cookie swap or bake sale.

1/2 Cup Butter, softened
1/2 Cup Shortening
1 Cup Sugar
1 Egg
1 tsp. Vanilla
2 1/4 Cups Flour
1/2 tsp. Baking Powder
1/2 tsp. Baking Soda
Additional Sugar for Rolling
Icing Recipe and Sprinkles (optional)

In a medium size bowl mix together flour, baking powder and baking soda. Set aside. Cream together butter, shortening and sugar. Add egg and vanilla, mix well. Gradually mix in flour mixture. Shape into 1 inch balls and roll in sugar. Place on greased cookie sheet. Flatten with the bottom of a glass to 1/2 inch thick. Bake in a 350*F oven for 10-12 minutes until slightly browned. Remove from cookie sheet and cool on wire rack.

You can roll the cookies in plain or colored sugar before baking, or ice them after thay are baked and cooled.

Icing Recipe:
1 Cup of Confectioner's Sugar mixed with 1 Tablespoon of milk and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla.

Sharing with Censational Girl's cookie party and It's Overflowing.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Paper Trees

I was inspired to try my hand at making paper trees after seeing these trees in the December issue of Cottages and Bungalows Magazine.


They look like they are made out of pieces of birch. Aren't they beautiful?

There are several versions of paper trees out in blogland (I noticed after making mine) and each one is slightly different. I'm not trying to reinvent the wheel (or tree). This is just my version.

Here is how I did it:

Supplies to make one small (9") and one large (12") paper tree:

One 3 7/8” x 8 7/8 “ Styrofoam cone, one 4 7/8” x 11 7/8” Styrofoam cone, eight 12” x 12” sheets of scrapbooking paper, tree topper template, low temp glue sticks, glue gun, pencil, ruler, scissors, pinking shears or paper edgers.

1. Mark wrong side of 7 pieces of scrapbooking paper in a 1” inch by 3” grid. The small tree takes about 2 ½ sheets and the larger tree takes about 4 ½ sheets. The two tree toppers can be cut from one piece of scrapbooking paper.

2. Cut center line with straight scissors and then cut each half down the middle with pinking shears. Each piece of paper will have one decorative edge and one straight edge.

3. Cut each strip at the one inch marked lines.

4. Using a pencil curl each strip by pulling it across the pencil right side up.

5. Starting one inch up from the bottom, begin gluing paper strips to cone overlapping each strip a ¼ inch so that none of the cone shows. Continue in this manner all the way around the cone moving up a half in each time and ending with the last row even with top of cone.

6. Trace the tree topper template onto the scrapbooking paper and cut bottom edges with pinking shears and use straight scissors to cut side strips. Curl strips using pencil. Roll into cone shape overlapping a strip or two and adjusting to how you want it to look on the top of the tree. Glue edge of tree topper and once it is set glue it to the top of the tree.

That is all there is to it!

The instructions and template can be downloaded from here or the sidebar under Free Patterns.

Sharing with Censational Girl , It's Overflowing and Beneath My Heart.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Decorating with Candy Canes

Not having my Christmas Decorations this year is really making me think outside the box. I'm really trying to think of ways to make it look like Christmas around here, but also trying to incorporate what I already have on hand.

This Christmas tablescape was made by using candy canes and bakers twine.

I used the dried hydrangeas I had on the table, but made them more holiday friendly by adding candy canes around the vase. I've seen this done with lemon leaves and asparagus, so why not candy canes. I put a thick elastic band around the vase to hold the candy canes in place while I slide them under the band and then tied them with a bakers twine bow.

For candles I used egg cups filled with crushed candy canes. I then nestled a tea light into the crushed candies.

At each place setting on top of the napkin there is a monogrammed gift tag tied around a candy cane with bakers twine.

The napkins are on sale at Anthropologie for $3.95 and could be used all year. The green placemats are from Ikea for only $1.99. It took 4 boxes of candy canes at .99 each. A simple and casual tabletop for entertaining over the Holidays.

I'm sharing this idea with The Lettered Cottage and It's Overflowing.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Poinsettia Pillow Tutorial

I love this Poinsettia Pillow from Pottery Barn, but it is no longer available.

Poinsetta Decorative Pillow

My DIY attitude forced me to come up with my own take on this pillow and I thought I'd share the process here.

Supplies needed to make one 16" envelope pillow:
1 Yard of Wool or Linen
¼ Yard of Wool Felt (or 4 - 9” x 12” squares of felt)
16” Pillow Form
7 - ½” bells
1 Skein of DMC Floss in a Coordinating Color
Embroidery Needle
Pencil or Marker for Tracing Leaf Pattern onto Felt
Sewing Machine
Leaf Template

Cut a 17” square out of the wool or linen for the front of the pillow. Print leaf template and cut out large and small leaf. Trace 5 large and 5 small leaves onto the wool felt and cut these out. Pin the 5 large leaves in place onto 17” square. Cut 30 inch lengths of the embroidery floss keeping all six strands together. Using a running stitch, stitch down the center of each leaf with the embroidery floss.

It doesn't have to be perfect. I like the effect a little gathering has on the finished leaves. Next, pin the 5 small leaves slightly askew into place and sew these down the center line in the same manner as the large leaves. Finally, sew the bells to the center of the pillow. The top is now finished.

To finish the pillow, cut 2 – 17” x 20” pieces of wool or linen. Fold them in half, so that you have two 17” x 10” pieces and press. Next place the front of the pillow facing up. Line the raw edges of the back pieces up with the raw edges of the front over lapping the folded edges in the middle. Using a ½ seam allowance sew all the way around the out edge of pillow.

Clip corners and turn the pillow to the right side by pulling it through the back opening. Stuff pillow form inside and you are done.

The tutorial and template are on the sidebar if you want to try making one.

Sharing with Craft-O-Maniac , Some Day Crafts , Skip to My Lou, Censational Girl and Design Dazzle

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Wool Filled and Monogrammed Glass Ornaments

I don't know how it happened, but after several moves these past few years my heirloom ornaments ended up 300 miles away in the basement of our summer home. I needed a quick and inexpensive way to decorate my tree this year. They do say that necessity is the mother of invention. Can you see the light bulb above my head? Enter Jo-Ann Fabrics . I bought some of their clear glass ornaments. They were on sale $2.99 for EIGHT! No coupon necessary. I bought four packages.

I found some leftover yarn scraps and a knitting needle. I'm going for a gold, silver and bronze theme this year, but any colors would look great.

It couldn't be easier. Remove the metal hook anchor. Stuff the yarn into the glass ornaments. The knitting needle is helpful for stuffing and moving around the yarn inside the glass bulb. (They are delicate and I did break a few by dropping them.) Replace the metal hook anchor and add ribbon for hanging.

I really like the thick wool one the best.

I also bought some glitter style clear stickers for $1.79 (also at Jo-Anns) and made Pottery Barn inspired monogrammed ornaments by just sticking a letter to the outside of the bulb. Super easy. Now I'll have some time to make a few special ornaments and these will fill the tree.

Sharing this project with Wild Olive and Design Dazzle