Category: how to

4 free projects to try and a post crash update

4 free projects to try

minki kim linen bookmarks

I’ve been hitting the Pinterest pretty hard lately and collected a few projects I thought you might like to try.  First, linen book marks by Minki Kim. I love book marks as little gifts (it is time to make the things for the people…) and Minki shares some great techniques and ideas for imagery.

felt ornament gift tags

Next stitched felt gift tags from Purl Soho. Purl has a huge collection of free projects, it goes on and on, lots of knit and crochet stuff and a bunch of sewing and craft projects too – all with Purl’s sweet, clean, contemporary style.

bustle and sew alpaca

And a dear Appliqué Alpaca from Bustle and Sew. Everybody loves an alpaca. Find all the instructions and templates right here.

the cheerful space diy

Finally a step by step painting tutorial from The Cheerful Space. I especially love this for a beginner or somebody who is having a hard time starting – this will get you moving and trying stuff.

and the post crash update:

I’m back in Brooklyn but not back to business as usual. It has been a month since the ceiling came crashing down unexpectedly and I’m still dealing with it. I do have a ceiling again, a beautiful ceiling but I have not been able to put things back together here yet. I came home to one hundred years of dust. In everything, it went everywhere.  Looking on the bright side it has been a fabulous opportunity to vacuum, wash, or launder    every    single    thing    I    own.

temporary arrangements

temporary arrangements

And I was very surprised to find about 2 thirds of my place painted an aggressive shade of salmon pink. I have no idea why. No one does.  It should be repainted by Monday and I can’t wait. I am spiritually at odds with this color.

But still, I am home. Happy to be here and making things. Please meet Fernando (dashing in powder blue) and Alvaro.

fernando and alvaro : fortuny owls

fortuny owl : fernando

alvaro : fortuny owl

4 free projects to try

dear little paper mache boat ornament : a free tutorial

free tutorial : dear little boat

Everybody loves to go boating.

I’ve made you something!  A free tutorial for a dear little paper mache boat ornament. The boat is 5 and 1/2 inches long and 6 and1/2 inches high – a very nice size for very nice mice or tiny rag dolls.

tiny rag doll

ann wood : boat ornament

They are quick and simple to make (really quick! make a bunch) and only require little bits of fabric, cardboard and other things you probably already have.  And the pattern scales up easily – if you’d like to make a larger boat. I think it is helpful to read through all the steps before you begin.

To get started download the dear little boat and sail templates here.

little boat tutorial

* You can click each image for a larger view.

1. Place the boat template on your cardboard and trace the outline. Mark the fold lines (the dashed lines on the template) in colored pencil. Use the BACK of the exacto knife to lightly score the fold lines. Cut out the template.

2. Gently fold at the scored fold lines.

3. Bring the front sides and bottom together.

4. Tape over the tabs with masking tape – it’s helpful to tear off several little pieces of tape so they are ready when you need them.

5. Tape over the outside seams as well.

6. Fold up the back of the boat and tape over the tabs as well as the outside cardboard seams.

7. Fold the boat bottom flap tabs toward the print side.

8. Fold the bottom flap into the boat and tape over the tabs

9. Fold the sides over – into the boat.

10. Tape along all the edges. We are ready for paper mache.

paper mache tips: Because the boat is small and our armature is sturdy – one layer of paper mache is enough. If you are making a larger boat use at least two layers. Tear small pieces of newsprint – roughly an inch or smaller – small pieces of paper create a smooth sturdy result- use the smallest pieces for covering corners, tight curves and edges. I like commercially prepared wall paper paste – available at most hardware stores Collect text scraps for embellishing.

11. Begin with the edges – paint paste onto the boat – apply a piece of paper and paint paste over.

12. After covering the edges fill in the rest of the areas. One layer of paper is enough for a small boat – two will make it even sturdier. If adding a second layer there is no need to wait for the first to dry. Read More

3 ideas to try : paper lanterns, end of day baskets and collage experiments

paper lanterns by oh happy day

Everything I’m doing this week would either not be remotely interesting to you or is top secret so it’s the perfect time to share a few good ideas I’ve come across lately. Stuff I’d like to try. I love paper lanterns, I like things that hang and play with light.  These have so many possibilities. You could use fancy paper, or found paper – mixing in some wax paper and or fabric could be interesting. I love the way they look hung together. Find a tutorial for four different styles on Oh Happy Day.  And lots more photos too – all beautifully styled and charming.

susies scraps basket

I’m a fan of finding ways to use the littlest scraps – especially little bits of fabric I love to much to part with. You’ll find a complete tutorial for this “end of day” basket here. It seems pretty straight forward – clothes line rope, fabric scraps and a machine with a zig zag stitch. I particularly love the black mixed in with bright color on this basket. It also occurred to me that a tiny – doll size – one might be interesting.

julie hamilton collage sketchbook

And the sketchbook collage work of illustrator Julie Hamilton. I discovered her work through the Brown Paper Bag Blog – there is a post with lots of Julie’s work and more about her process. It’s such a good way to experiment and an easy place to start if you’re feeling stuck. Make some marks. collect some paper, cut stuff up and mess around.

If you try any of these I’d love to hear about it – you can let me know in the comment section.

make a ship for mr. socks

mr. socks goes boating

paper mache boat

Mr. Socks is going to sea in his very own ship. I made it using my free paper mache boat pattern with a couple changes. If you’d like to make your own follow the original boat instructions but to make it just right for Socks use:

(a note on sail making – there are instructions here if you need them)

a ship for mr. socks

Socks is the kind of cat that does just what he wants so he is off to Paris for a holiday in his brand new ship.

mr. socks goes boating

mr. socks goes boating

mr. socks goes boatingau revoir mr. socks!

 

woebegone pines : a free sewing pattern

forlorn little tree

forlorn little tree

Woebegone pines, forlorn little trees who do not concern themselves with perfection.  These trees are all about heart and the particular magic that something made by hand possesses. I’ve made you a sewing pattern with three sizes: small – 3 inches,  medium – 4 inches,  and large – 6 inches (the little guy is my favorite). You can add a little trunk and base or just set them on their bottom. 

woebegone pines

mouse among the pines

And Woebegone Pines sounds like a lovely place – doesn’t it? A perfect spot for a mouse to take a stroll and think his wistful thoughts.

wobegone pines : materials

pattern notes:

The seam allowance is 1/4 inch. You could use a variety of fabrics – I’ve used cotton, linen. wool and felt – all worked well.

material list:

pdf pattern

  • fabric for the tree and scraps for patches
  • matching and contrasting  sewing thread ( I think cotton works best)
  • stuffing ( I like wool)
  • thin cotton batting (felt works as a substitute)
  • cardboard – corrugated and thin- a cereal box is good
  • pencil or disappearing fabric marker
  • sewing and embroidery needles
  • pins
  • chopstick for turning and stuffing
  • large bamboo skewer or similar pointy thing
  • paper and fabric scissors
  • wire cutters for snipping twigs
  • Elmer’s  glue
  • glue stick
  • twigs for trunks
  • bases – I used little wood discs and drilled holes – or  you can find spools, wood beads and other pre -drilled shaped at any large craft or art supply store.

wobegone pines : steps 1 and 2

1. Cut out the cardboard base and one or two squares of corrugated cardboard – smaller than the circle.

2. If you plan to add a trunk to your tree glue one of the corrugated pieces to the center of the circle. ( If you are making  the large tree glue two – one on top of the other).

wobegone pines : steps 3 and 4

3. Use a glue stick to attach  the circle to cotton batting and cut out.  Let the glued cardboard dry completely.

4.  Pin the tree and tree bottom patterns to a single layer of fabric – cut out one of each.

wobegone pines : steps 5 and 6

5. Fold the tree piece in half (right sides together) and mark the seam lines on the tree and circle. Stitch the seam –  marked in red. Leave the center of the seam open – about 1/3  of it – enough to fit the cardboard circle through later.

6. Snip the seam allowance at the top and bottom of the opening, fold over and press.

Read More

stripes make a sailor and the easy way to make sails

gentleman sailor owl

stitching sails

When I first started making ships I was doing little handkerchief rolled hems on the sails. They were pretty but drove me crazy and took forever.  When I put together the paper mache ship pattern I wanted something easier and I found it.  It’s super simple and has other benefits too.

sail

I  cut two pieces of fabric for each sail (not usually the same fabric – I like the front and back  to be different  – even just subtly),  pin them right sides together and stitch around – leaving one little section open. Trim the excess off the corners,  turn it right side out,  press and stitch closed.  I add a whip or blanket stitch around the edge and  layers of patches and lace.  You can click here to download the sail pattern below if you’d like to give it a try.

sail_pattern_annwood_2

This method is much quicker than the tiny hems and makes a very tidy sail.  Also the double fabric helps the sails hold their shape when you fill them with wind.

paper mache ship

I’m making an owl to captain the ship I’m working on  and used my favorite piece of antique ticking for his front.  Putting a horizontal stripe on an owl transforms him instantly into a gentleman sailor.  The owl below is the medium size from the little owl pattern.

gentleman sailor owl

And ticking stripes are nice for sailing mice too.

sailor mouse

how to make my signature frothy lace cake topper bird gown

fancy bird gown tutorial

bird wedding gown

There are lots of cake topper birds on my worktable right now. It’s been 10 years since I made the first set  and I guess-timate that I’ve made more than two thousand pairs.  That’s a lot of dressed up birds. Today I’m going to show you how to make my frothy little gown for a cake topper bird or any other formal bird occasion.  The bird is made from my little bird sewing pattern but I think you could use the same technique on other birds – just adjust the size of the lace.  I think it’s helpful to read through all the steps before beginning and you can click the images for a larger view.  You will need a basic sewing kit and some lace scraps – something soft and not to stiff or heavy is best – I’m using cotton tulle.

bird gown 1         bird_gown_2

1. Cut a piece of lace or tulle – a rectangle that is 7 and 1/2 inches by 3 and 1/2 inches.

2. Place the lace on the bird so there is a long and a short side – you want one third on one side and two thirds on the other. Fold the raw edge under and pin the lace to the back seam of the bird neck.

bird gown 3        bird gown 4

3. Starting with the short side turn the raw edge under and pin into the seam at the side of the neck and then again – right on the seam – about half way down the from of the bird body.

4. Repeat on the longer side – pin once at the neck and then bring the lace across the body – folding the raw edge under  and meeting the pin on the other side – use that pin to hold both sides in place.

bird gown 5        bird gown 6

5. Begin stitching the gown to the body where the sides meet – make a couple tiny stitches here and knot once – keep the thread attached.

6. Using tiny whip stitches stitch all the way around the neck twice. It’s important to go around twice to make sure the neckline stays in place.

bird gown 7        bird gown 8

7. Pin the short side of the lace back out of your way and pull the long side around the body. To make the fancy ruched front gather the top 3/4 of an inch or so with your fingers into little folds – pin in place with one or two pins and sew the folds in place along the seam ( these stitches won’t show).

8.  Use your finger to pull the long side of the lace around the body ( you may need to take out the pin holding the short side) and stitch the rest of the  lace to the seam, stitching towards the tail – again these stitches will not show.

bird gown 9        bird gown 10

9. Stop stitching where the body meets the tail and trim the lace – just leaving a small edge. Stop trimming about one half inch below top (where the little folds are) and leave a long piece of lace. (save your little scraps – we’ll use them later).

10. Pin the long piece you left out of the way and pull the short side of lace across the body. While holding the lace across the body stitch in the same place as the previous side, right on top.  Read More

french hens

handmade hens

handmade blue hen

Suddenly a chicken appeared! Or more specifically  a hen, a french hen. It occurred to me that maybe the merry wobbler sewing pattern could be modified to make a hen – and it can!  Of course they need nesting boxes too and I created a little template and tutorial on how to make the box and modify the wobbler. Both are super simple – find the template and instructions below after lots of hen pictures –  I couldn’t help it  – I love them.

handmade hens

handmade french hens

hen house

blue and white hen

french hen posteriors

You can download the template for the nest box and hen parts here.  

And you will also need the merry wobbler sewing pattern or, if you like, come up with your own bird to chickenize.

Other supplies are:  felt for hen parts and the nest, a glue stick, cardboard  and embroidery thread- I’m using dmc 8.

nest box 1

Beginning with the nest box – cut out 2 of the felt shapes for the nest and one cardboard bottom – cereal box weight cardboard.  Read More

houses for mouses

mouse house party

So many nice mice! Thanks so much to everybody who made mice from my pattern  and shared their photos – on instagram and Facebook etc. as well as emailing me – I can’t tell you how helpful it is and how much I enjoy it – a nice way to end the year.  I love seeing what you make.  Check out the fantastic mouses and houses!! by readers below – I love them – every little detail.   This multi level affair is by Maura for her son – I can’t stop looking at it.

mousehouse_maura

mouse house

mousehouse_maura_2

mouse house

mousehouse_maura_3

And A little house in a box by Mama with a Needle and Thread for her little girl – so freakin sweet. Good night little mouse!

mouse house

mama_baby_mouse

Susan added little wooden bases to her dinner place card mice – it’s such a happy crew.

place card mice

happy mice crew

They survived a perilous journey across the couch – stay in a group little mice, stay in a group!

perilous mouse journey

And finally from Larissa – mmmcrafts –  slippers, mittens and snowballs  – I love it.

larissa holland mice

very nice mice : pattern and instructions (and it’s free!)

very nice mice pattern

little green mouse

I’ve made you something! A free sewing pattern for some very nice mice. You can download the pattern here and all the instructions are below. So little – just 3 inches tall.  They are quick and very easy. And they love to go boating – they are the perfect size to captain my little felt boats.

very nice mice : sewing pattern

boating

nice mice supplies

pattern notes:

I designed this pattern specifically for hand sewing and felt.  The seam allowance of 1/8 inch is included.  I recommend  small, tight, straight stitches with cotton thread.

material list:

pdf pattern

felt ( wool or wool blend)

matching sewing thread ( I think cotton works best)

embroidery thread

stuffing ( I like wool)

pencil or disappearing fabric marker and – optionally – pink colored pencil

sewing and embroidery needles ( a sturdy sewing needle is helpful for sewing through multiple layers of felt)

pins

chopstick for turning and stuffing

mice_1_2

1. Cut one back and two side pieces from felt.

2. Mark both side pattern pieces with the guide dots on the pattern.

mice_3_4

3. Cut out the small pieces – I used a lighter scrap of felt for the tummy oval (textured wool or cotton is nice too).

4.  Stitch the side pieces together from the tip of the nose to the bottom guide mark –  your stitches should be an 1/8th of an inch from the edge of the felt.

mice_5_6

5. Optional – use a colored pencil to add a little pink to the ears.

6. Open the side pieces you sewed together.

mice_7_8

7. Place the top of the back piece (the narrow end) in the center, matching the top edges. Insert the needle 1/8th of an inch from the top coming out  on one side of the center seam (the side you intend to sew first). Make one tiny stitch and knot tightly.

8.  Turn the back piece to one side and begin to match the edges and sew the seam-following the curve and  maintaining an even 1/8 inch seam allowance.

mice_9_10

9.  Stop sewing and knot your thread just before the pattern guide dot on the side piece – leave there needle and thread attached.

10. Fold the bottom of an ear together – with the pink inside.

Read More

starting where you are

I think if you want to make progress, find your best work and ideas, you must be willing to start where you are – as awkward or small as that might be.  I’m usually very willing to do that – it’s one of my main life skills (the other is that I am insanely persistent, relentless even, the cool hand luke of art and craft).  As soon as I started to compile the patterns I’m working on I realized that video instruction would be helpful – there’s nothing like a demonstration and it helps with language barriers on tricky steps. I have no video making knowledge or equipment beyond my semi  broken iphone and a part of a tripod I found in the trash  but I put something together with stuff I had around that’s working well enough and I wanted to show you in case you’re in need of a similar solution.

video settup

I used a table lamp clamp I got at a yardsale,  a wood clothespin and 2 file clips.  The clips slide in and out of the clothespin easily and I can position it in a bunch of useful ways – it’s getting the job done.  I’m looking forward to getting better but having fun being a mess and experimenting. The whole pattern making experience has put me into that curious and driven kind of place that I was in when I began  7 years ago.

Today I was taking stills ( I don’t use the phone for that) and making videos for the next pattern – paper mache ships and boats (start saving your cereal boxes). I’m hoping to finish the photography tomorrow morning, test the rough draft this week, put it all together over the holiday weekend and have it available just after that.

ship mast

ship romance

paintbox 7/29

paint box 7/29

The ships and boats are a very satisfying project to make and I’m excited about sharing it.

Thanks so much to everybody who has purchased the bird pattern. I’m putting a post together of birds made by y’all and if you’d like to be included you can send a photo to me at: ann at ann wood handmade dot com  (please put bird photo in the subject).

how to make a perfect bird leg

I keep adding things to the bird pattern. Last week I decided it needs videos so last weekend I shot how to sew the body, ( it’s the trickiest part) you’ll get a link to that with the pattern download. And today I shot “how to make a perfect bird leg”.

mason

It’s one of the things I’m most often asked about, the little bird legs, so I thought I would share that now as a gift. It’s my first ever video! It should be below  – if not click here.

How to Make a Perfect Bird Leg

*measurements are approximate for a bigger foot use more wire and create a bigger loop

* and one correction – if you find the 18 gauge wire to difficult use a HIGHER gauge wire – I incorrectly said lower gauge

tools and materials list:

18 or 19 gauge steel wire (hillman is my favorite brand)
floral tape (flora is my favorite brand)
needle nose pliers
wire cutter
hammer
hard surface

I hope you make bird legs! And stay tuned for the little bird pattern – it’s almost there. If you’d like email updates about new patterns and workshops etc. you can subscribe here.  Be sure to check the “make something” box on the signup form.

 

paper mache teacup pattern

A paper mache teacup pattern to  mark the 5 year anniversary of my blog, my experiment.   A  perfect time to say thank you and give you a present.

There is a template you can download here.  And lots and lots of photos and instructions.  If you do make teacups I’d love to see and you can upload a photo here if you like or leave a link to your photo in the comment section below.

ann wood teacups

What you need:

  • Click here to download the template
  • paste –  I use golden harvest wheat paste ( wall paper paste)
  • light cardboard – cereal or frozen pizza box is great and a bit of thicker cardboard for a base
  • newspaper – it’s nice to have different colors
  • scotch tape ( not the invisible gift wrap  stuff- the shiny sticky stuff)
  • glue – elmers, glue stick, hot glue  – whatever you like
  • pencil, scissors, exacto knife, and paint and brushes, glitter, fabric – whatever you’d like for decoration.

Click the photos for larger images.

Cut out the templates for the teacup, handle and bottom  and trace them onto your cardboard. I had the best results with a Kashi frozen pizza box.  Cut out your pieces and  very lightly and  gently score the the teacup where the dotted lines are on the template with the BACK of your exacto knife.

Make a very  tiny snip  – really tiny -just a 16th of an inch or so where the sections meet. Next bring the bottom sections together one at a time and tape together on the outside (the printed side). Then turn it over and taper the bottom inside.  Do this for each section – always taping both sides…….

Read More

things to do on a rainy day

rainydayship

I made the ship above  as a prop for a TV commercial a couple years ago.  I assembled some boxes and parts of boxes into a shipish shape and then added all sorts of stuff – pipe cleaners, dixie cups, part of a birthday crown, wooden ice cream spoons, buttons, felt, etc. etc. The castle collage below was for an ad as well. I think they would be fun for little people to make ( with some grown up help).

castleflat

Both  involve using the die cut sections of boxes for details .  I can’t resist a good piece of cardboard – I live near a fancy grocery and their recycling is full cartons and boxes with  interesting cutouts and shapes.

cardboard