The quilting is done, the presents are wrapped - now for gift tags! I've been looking for new gift tags for several weeks and haven't found anything I'm especially in love with. So for me, that means I start thinking of something I can make. I came up with two different types, both using felt - one uses photo fabric and the other felt and embellishments. They're both quick and easy!
Fabric Gift Tags
*printed fabric sheet of tags (see below for your two choices)
*ribbon or embroidery floss
I created a sheet of gift tags that can be run off on printer fabric (if you're new to this technique, see this post) or on cover sheet and cut up. I've put two files of the same tags up on my Google Docs. One is a PowerPoint page - I like designing on PowerPoint. If you download the original file, you can make any modifications to fit your printer or your taste in tags. The file will say it's "Read Only" but you can save it under "Save As." The PowerPoint file is here.
If you don't have PowerPoint available or if you just want to run off the page as it is, I scanned it as a PDF file that you will find here.
1. Cut the tags apart and sew with a zigzag stitch onto a piece of felt. I just sewed a bunch on one piece of felt.
2. Cut the tags apart, leaving a little bit of felt to "frame" them. Pinking shears look nice! Punch a hole in one corner and loop a piece of ribbon or embroidery floss through it.
Easy, huh?! I wrote on them with a fine tip Sharpie.
The other ones are a little more work, but are something you can sit kids who are out of school (and already bored) down with and let them go at it.
1. Cut two tags the size you want them to be (again, pinking shears look nice).
2. Sew on buttons, bead, sequins, pieces of felt .... anything you'd like to decorate the tag with. To attach sequins, bring your needle up through the felt, put a sequin on, then a bead, and go down through the sequin again.
3. Cut a piece of ribbon or embroidery floss. Pin the two tag pieces together with the floss in a loop in between. Sew around the edges with a zigzag stitch.
To write on these, first iron them to pack the felt down. Then, using a regular sized Sharpie, write slowly.
If you're like me, it's about time to get a cup of something hot and and take a break from finishing up those last holiday projects! The gallery of the Fiber Arts Network of Michigan's website is a good place to spend some relaxing time looking at the creative endeavors of some very creative people. Currently, artwork from fifteen artists is featured - click on the image and you'll go to an expanded page on that artist with a link to their home page. My coffee break lasted over an hour! Here's a sneak peek at some of what you'll see:
Jill Ault, Pods.
Jill Ault has a beautiful piece of shibori shown. Her website shows more shibori work, along with quilts from hand dyed fabrics and transparent quilts - very interesting. If you're curious about shibori, look at this past Friday Inspiration here.
Martha Fieber, Fall Woods.
Be sure to look at Martha Fieber's website if you're at all interested in hand embroidery. Her work is gorgeous! Her nature scenes are a good example of how using many layers (of whatever medium you're working in) adds texture, depth, and interest to your artwork. Seriously, these are amazing!
Loretta Oliver, Flower Bag.
I feel a connection to Loretta Oliver - both of us began our fiber arts journeys as children sewing doll clothes! Mine were from felt and I've loved that medium ever since. Loretta's website shows her versatility as a felt artist - vessels, clothing, sculptural work (the website is not linked to from FAN's page, so you'll need to link from here.
Well, coffee's finished - back to quilting for me!
If you wanted to make handmade Christmas gifts and are worrying there isn't enough time left, don't panic! Luckily there are several quick to make projects from past posts that make great presents and stocking stuffers - and are quick/easy. I'm making quite a few! Here's a run through for those new to the post.
This post was one of the first in the sewing lesson series. With the way this winter is starting off in the northern parts of the country and Europe, a couple sets of nice flannel pillowcases may be very well appreciated. There are some great flannel prints at Joann's right now. Add a crocheted edging from this post.
Add a gift card to the person's favorite high end or specialty grocery store. As someone who's gluten intolerant, I know a certificate to a gluten free on-line store is always nice! Pattern and instructions found here.
Crochet, not sewing, but if you crochet you might like the idea. I designed this to be poinsettias, but am also making it with different colors of flowers. Try purple petals and golden yellow centers for pansies or orange petals and black centers for poppies. Instructions here.
About 15 years ago, I found this fantastic Santa tapestry-type fabric and made a shoulder bag from it. Every December, that's my purse! This year, though, I about choked when I went to put my wallet inside - the one I made in this post. No, no, no - not even close to going together!!
Long story short, I had a girl's red velveteen jumper I'm planning on using for fabric for a Christmas quilt - more on that later. That left me with a beautiful invisible zipper, already sewn in, and a fair amount of fabric on the bodice back. Hmmm - looked like a wallet to me!
I'm including the instructions on how make a wallet or zippered bag from a similar jumper and pictures of the embroidery in case that's more what you're looking for.
*girl's jumper you're planning on repurposing - I love going to Goodwill on $1 Thursdays and seeing what I can find
1. Fold jumper so the zipper is at the top and arm holes are even, as below.
2. Use chalk to draw where your cutting lines will be - try to get as big a rectangle as you can.
3. Pin through both layers of fabric and cut along chalk lines.
4. Unpin and open up to the wrong side. Another great thing about using this dress was it already had lining. Take off any tags.
Put a safety pin through the zipper near the zipper pull so it won't come off.
5. Embroider. I used lazy daisy stitch leaves, a meandering outline stitch to connect groups, and french knots as berries. There are several good sites on embroidery stitches - I have instructions for these three in this past post.
6. Open zipper about half way and pin with right sides together.
7. Sew, going over the beginning and end (at each end of the zipper) several times to strengthen the seams. I sewed mine with rounded bottom corners. Trim, turn right side out, and make a thick bar tack at each end of the zipper.
I am greatly inspired by books! Whether or not I ever follow up on the inspirations I get from all my books is another story! If you're looking for a new book to be inspired by, to put on your wish list, or to buy for a crafty person on your gift list, there are several recent ones I can recommend.
The Party Dress Book: How to Sew the Best Dress in the Room
Amazon has "Look Inside"
I don't go to parties that require gorgeous dresses (and it's hard to see any in the foreseeable future that will), but I love this book! When I look at it, I feel like I'm eight again and drooling over party dresses in the catalogs. I am actually going to make myself one - just as soon as I figure out which one. Even if I only wear it to my mother's house for dinner!
The Art of Manipulating Fabric
Amazon has "Look Inside"
This is a good book to go with the last one - it's those cool fabric manipulations that turn sewing to couture! Ruffles, pleating (over ten different types!), smocking, tucks ... everything's here with lots of illustrations. The photograph on the cover gives you a good idea of what one can do.
Embroidered Textiles: A World Guide to Traditional Patterns
And after you do fantastic fabric manipulations on that party dress, here's all the inspiration you'll need to add embroidery! This is one of those books you can look at over and over and over again and still see something new. There are 240 pages and 362 color photographs of eye candy!
Love Kills Slowly: 30 Cross Stitch Patterns from Ed Hardy
Ed Hardy Licensing
Amazon has "Look Inside"
I just got this book and can't wait to get going on something from it. I like to use cross stitch patterns to needlepoint from - they make good pillows and purse fronts. This is the iconic tattoo art Hardy is famous for - skulls, daggers, tigers, ... also birds, butterflies, and flowers if you're not so sure about the edgy ones! I can see some denim in little c's future with one of these designs on it.
Sewing School: Hand-Sewing Projects Kids Will Love to Make
Amie Plumley and Andria Lisle
Amazon has "Look Inside"
This is a great book if you have a child who is ready to start sewing. What age? I think that really depends - I was hand sewing at 6 or 7 and I know a 3-year-old who sews. She's a champion at buttons! The lessons are well planned out and have instructions for the adult and the child. And the #1 rule of sewing is repeated several times - "Always know where your needle is!" If you have a group of youngsters you're thinking of introducing hand sewing to, the authors have included a section on sewing with groups.
The Artful Bird: Feathered Friends to Make and Sew
Abigail Patner Glassenberg
Amazon has "Look Inside"
This book actually doesn't come out until January 11, but it's already on my pre-order list. There are general instructions for making art birds, 16 projects from gulls to flamingos, and a section on four bird artists. If my birds turn out like these, I'll be ecstatic!
Quilts Around the World: The Story of Quilting from Alabama to Zimbabwe
Amazon has "Look Inside"
If you are at all interested in quilting, you'll love this book! The whole world is actually covered (352 pages), with lots and lots of pictures. I tend to skim many sewing and crafty books - this one I read. Highly recommended.
The other night my sister called and wondered what I was going to do about the bottom section of our Christmas tree - ????? As I drew a blank, she continued, "You know, with little c coming?" Holy cow! I hadn't even thought of that! Little c is an on the go, crawling, 11 month old - the bottom ornaments are doomed! We don't normally put anything breakable down there because of the cats (who all view ornaments as toys waiting to be freed from the tree). But I don't think any of our ornaments are baby safe. Sooooo .... I pondered what easy to sew design I could come up with. Remember the Halloween bag I made for little c with an apple and pumpkin? I cut down the pattern I used for those and tried a simple fabric ornament ball. It's not too bad - a bit squished looking, but maybe we can call that a bit of charm since there's no time to tinker around with the pattern!
*scraps of fabric
*1/8" grosgrain ribbon (you could also use satin, but it unravels more easily) Pattern here
1. Cut out six pattern pieces. The fabric I used is thin enough, I just kept doubling it over until I could pin the pattern on and just cut once. We're talking time here!
2. Put two right sides together and sew along one curved side in a small seam. Start and end slightly in from the points.
3. Sew two more pieces together and then the final two pieces. I found it easier to sew three groups of two and then put them together. Only sew the final seam about 2/3 of the way to leave room for stuffing.
4. Turn right side out ...
... and stuff - they look a little more round with less stuffing and a little more like squished lanterns with a lot of stuffing.
5. Turn the rest of the last seam under slightly and hand sew until you're about 1/4" from the top.
6. Cut a 6 inch piece of ribbon and double it over. Use a tool (like a little screwdriver) to push the ends into the ornament.
7. Finish sewing the seam, catching the ribbon in several times so it will be secure.
8. These would probably look prettier with ribbons, sequins, and/or beads - but then they wouldn't be baby safe. Since I was on a roll, I decided the cats needed a new toy to liven them up, so I made one without the ribbon from some scraps of giraffe print flannel. Marley was not impressed!