All posts by annwood

how to make a tufted titmouse : a sew-along

The tufted titmouse sew-along begins today! What’s a sew-along? Everybody works on the same project at the same time and shares images if they feel like it. That’s pretty much it.  You can share your images on instagram using #annwoodpattern or in the facebook sew-along group or join stitch club- the ann wood handmade community.

We are using the songbird sewing pattern.

Today we’ll get into the steps for making the tuft – the defining feature- and a couple body details.  First let’s talk about some other tufted titmouse features to consider:

  • the beak is smallish, black, short and symmetrical
  • the eyes are black
  • the tail is pretty short
  • the dominant colors are snowy white, soft grays, a little black and there is an orange patch on its flanks.

Make the bird body from snowy white fabric. For the tuft, wings, feathers etc. you’ll need a little black, a couple shades of gray and maybe some orange (more on that below).  All the fabric should be light weight. It’s also handy to have a fine black sharpie.

download the tuft templates


1. Make your bird in white and add a little black beak. Pro tip – make a few beaks and pick the one that feels just right for your bird,

2.  Mark the center tail 3/4 inch from the edge.

3. Trim to a point and stitch closed.

4. Cut out the crest and head cover pieces from gray and the little beak tuft from black. If you’ve made the cardinal this process is mostly the same with a couple details adjusted

5. Use the head cover template for the tufted titmouse. Pin and then whip stitch it in place.

6. Fold the pointed end of the crest 1 piece.

7. Pin in to the top of the head and stitch around the edge.

8. At the back stitch the sides of the opening together – just at the base.

9. Pin the crest 2 piece the same way – on top of crest 1 and stitch around the edge. Again – at the back stitch the sides of the opening together – just at the base. Feel free to stop adding layers here if 2 feels like enough for you – or – carry on with layer 3.

10. Add the third crest piece.

Read More

new tutorial : make a mini foot stool

There’s a lot to talk about in  the tiny rag doll’s world including the roaring fires upstairs and down in the cardboard house. Pretty luxurious. Jump down to the end of the post for more on that. Let’s start with how to make the sweetest, tiniest, heirloomiest footstool ever.

A note on the house – there is no pattern but you’ll find the measurements and tips for building below.

a sneak peek at miss thistle’s house and tips for building with cardboard

The footstool is super quick and easy. You can make it plain or do some faux needlepoint. I can’t stop making them and have all sorts of plans for the imagery.

Let’s make it – it helps to read through the directions before your start.

download the template

  • the template – download above
  • felt – wool is best
  • embroidery thread
  • glue – i love -ALEENES CLEAR GEL TACKY
  • cardboard
  • stuffing
  • small wood beads
  • craft paint and brushes
  • a basic sewing kit

make a dollhouse foot stool

1.  Pin the template to felt and cut out.  Trace the rectangle onto cardboard and cut 2. Round the corners of your cardboard rectangles.

2.  Optional – embroider the center of the felt  – I made some super simple flowers and leaves.

3.  We are going to fold the felt at this notch.

4. Match up the edges and whip stitch them together (whip stitch means stitch over the edge). Use small tight stitches. Stitch the notch and then continue along the side – stop about 1/2 inch from the point – shown in yellow above. Repeat this at the the three notches.

tiny rag doll sewing pattern

Get the tiny rag doll sewing pattern

She’s just 5 inches tall and fits in the palm of your hand. Perfect for a doll house or somebody’s pocket. And she has a tiny wardrobe: dress, reversible pinafore apron, bloomers and camisole – all included in the pattern.



5. With all four sides stitched your piece should look like this.

6. Turn it right side out – use a chopstick or similar to gently push the corners all the way out.

7. Add a little stuffing.

8. Optional – add a penny- the little bit of weight gives it stability.

9. Insert one of your cardboard pieces.

10. Stitch the edges of  triangle flaps together to close the back.

the finished back and front


11. Paint your wood beads and the edges and one side of your cardboard.

12.  Apply glue to the entire surface of the unpainted cardboard.

13. Glue the cardboard to the back. Press it firmly and place something on top while it dries.

14. Add a drop of glue in each corner and place the beads. Let them dry completely.

Finished! It’s so dear.

make a miniature fire

flames cut from coffee filters and painted orange and yellow - cardboard wood stove in background

The fires are mini led string lights and painted coffee filters. The lights are fed up behind the fireplace and into the wood stove – it was awkward. Also – I cut 3 sides of the wood stove door to make it open and painted the inside black. I so wish I had a flameless flickering votive on hand. It’s on my list… The coffee filters are painted with watercolor in bright yellow and orange on both sides. After they dry, trim them to flamey points and bunch them up a little. Arrange them in front of the lights and you’ve got a miniature fire.

So cozy on a March morning to come home after your tiny chores to sit by the fire with your tiny feet up. Do you need a mini footstool and  roaring fire?! Let us know in the comments and happy spring!

the 18th blogiversary, a titmouse sew-along and outstanding customer projects

18 years of ann wood handmade

It started as a blog and the only goal was to try something new. It’s still a place to experiment and share what I learn. It’s a celebration of imagination. There is no match for it – human imagination. Big, weird, human imagination. I spend hours and hours in this sunny spot imagining, experimenting and trying stuff. Not a bad deal.

Since I started, the scale and pace of the internet has gotten pretty crazy but my little flag still flies here and I so appreciate everybody who continues to show up and make the experiment possible. Happy 18th Blogiversary!



tufted titmouse sew-along

Man that’s a cute bird!  The titmouse sew-along begins April 5th.

There will be a blog post here to help you transform the songbird sewing pattern into an adorable tufted titmouse. Grab the pattern and wool here.  Check out the bird and keep your eye open for titmouse appropriate fabrics – light weight cottons and linens – shades of gray, ivory and white and a little orange. We’ll also need gray and black paint for the legs.

You can post your bird on facebook or instagram with #annwoodtitmouse and in the free facebook sew-along group or join the (not free but awesome) stitch club community. April is also the perfect time to get outside and photograph your bird in the wild.

Find more tufted titmouse images here.

and checkout a few outstanding customer projects

nude elegant ragdoll - posed sitting with sewing supplies

A gorgeous and quite nude elegant rag doll by Adriana.

a bright parrot made from textiles

This magnificent parrot is by Pam – (find her in the facebook sew-along group).  She started with the crow sewing pattern – well done!

An enchanted fungi specimen by Michele made with the mushroom sewing pattern.

hand sewn bird in earthy brown colors

A dear little brwon bird by @thimblewinder. The buttons are her own addition to the songbird sewing pattern.

small textile owl in spring colors

And a stylish little fellow by Tracy made with the little owls sewing pattern.

little fly dolls in miniature wire beds with vintage cotton mattresses

Thanks for 18 big creative years! I chose one favorite image/project for 2023 to end the blogiversary post – little flies in cozy beds – find the bed tutorial here and the fly friends here.

what to make in march, feather scrap packs and wabi sabi vessels

hand holding small stitched vessel

In today’s post: ideas for march, feather scrap packs, a new stitch club sew-along and we’re nearing the halfway point of the 100 day stitch book. Before we get into all that:

I was thinking about the odd names there are for some animals in groups – parliament of owls, murder of crows, etc and it occurred to me I had no idea what a group of ravens is called. The answer is so strange and surprising and I can’t believe I didn’t know it.

It’s an unkindness! A group of ravens is called an unkindness.  And as if that’s not enough! It is also referred to as a rave, conspiracy, treachery, and super basic – flock. I really love conspiracy too…

And Speaking of ravens and crows I’ve just added some feather scrap packs to the shop.

scraps of dark antique clothing

They are wretched, faded, frayed and fragile scraps from antique clothing, perfect for creating crow and raven and owl feathers. They are for the most part not suitable for body construction. Each little pack (roughly 5 ounces)  includes a variety of sheens, shades and tones. Combining them into layers of feathers creates a remarkable effect. Each pack is different. These would also make great feathers for songbirds.

They are in short supply but more will be available soon. I’m collecting more antique garments now. Find them in the shop here. This batch is gone – more soon!

Check out some crows made by customers using the crow sewing pattern.

stitched vessels

little containers made form scraps

hand holding small stitched vessel

Also new for March- a sew-along / tutorial in stitch club. The community creative spark for February was “vessel”  and it inspired these little baskets made from scraps. Word of caution, it’s the kind of process a person can get obsessive about – as in laundry piling up and eating only popcorn for days obsessed about… So much fun and full of possibilities.

The first lesson drops next Wednesday the 6th. This is exclusive to stitch club and included with your annual membership – you can join here.

what to make in march

– Eggs – These eggs are super cute and easy to make – find the DIY here.

– Spray Starch  – Take your recreational ironing next level.

-Whisk 1 and 1/2 tablespoons of cornstarch into 2 and ½ cups water. You’re already almost done.
-Bring the mixture to a boil, boil for about a minute while stirring.
-Remove from the heat and let is cool to room temperature, add a couple drops of scent if you like and pour it through a strainer into a spray bottle.

– french hens in nesting boxes – an annual favorite – get the details here.

– boxwood shamrock – Why not?  Such a charming idea. Find the tutorial here.

– fabric basket – I love the print interior with simple exterior. There is a full tutorial here.

simple basket with handle with a white exterior and pink rose print interior

– nice bunnies – add long ears to very nice mice to create your own tiny bunny parade. Find the nice mice pattern here. The bunnies below are by @paper__thread  (who is also my very talented sister)

handmade felt bunnies

100 day stitch book

Time is flying – we are already on page 9.

9 collage stitched pages

The stitch book page above is by @butternut_plaid – I love everything about it.

suggestion box

March fires me up like nothing else. I’ve got such spring fever. I’m so ready to start the garden (lots of flowers this year) and open the windows and organize absolutely everything. I’m in the same mode with the community and website – working on streamlining and efficientizing everything and planning fun stuff for the year. If you have a suggestion or question you’d like to share you can add it here.

Is March your favorite? Are you ready for spring? Are you making a 100 day stitch book? Did you know a group of ravens is called an “unkindness?!  Let us know in the comments.

the international scrap festival – 10 ideas for your scraps

small sewing projects made from scraps in a basket

small sewing projects made from scraps in a basket

Welcome to the 6th annual international scrap festival (this is a thing I 100% made up)! The time of year when we celebrate our scraps a little extra. I’ve gathered 10 awesome ideas for your treasured little bits of fabric.

Over in the stitch club community we’ll be sharing our favorite scrap projects, plus there’s an international scrap swap and a new free pattern coming later this month.

learn about the stitch club community here


In addition to the 10 ideas below the free pattern page here has tons of scrap friendly projects (everything in the basket above plus more) and past scrap festival posts are a wealth of ideas too:


10 ideas for your fabric scraps

vintage wool sweater mended with cotton print fabric scrap patches

1.  mend a sweater
If this is wrong, I don’t want to be right.  I came across this non-traditional and very visible mending idea on pinterest. I love the make-do, holly hobby feel of it. It’s perfect for this moth eaten wool hoodie.

2. stuffing
Did you know that historically scraps were used as stuffing and batting? I’ve definitely come across a quilt within a quilt (a worn quilt used as a batting for a new quilt) but the idea of scraps as stuffing is new to me. There ‘s a DIY video about how to turn those little bits of fabric into fluffy stuffing here. And the video where I first encountered the idea is here- the little packages are fascinating

quilt blocks made with vintage scraps

3.  foundation blocks
By the end of 2024 this quilt will cross the finish line. I’m using the foundation method and cotton scraps. I could probably knock this out in a couple weeks if I machine sewed everything but at the moment it’s an easy thing to take with me to hand sew at random in in between times.

fabric scrap tassels in bright colors

4.  fabric tassels
Festive and easy – and sweet to make with little folks. And a perfect companion and scrap festival favorite – make some twine too.

5. 9 patch quilt
An ideal project for really little scraps. Find a tutorial here and for inspiration checkout KZ Stevens glorious naturally dyed 9 patch here.  If I wasn’t already working on a scrap quilt I’d be starting one of these… I’m probably going to start one anyways.

mini fabric flags in ivory linen with slowstitches and patches pinned to antique ribbon

6. mini bunting
Love these slow stitched little flags.

tiny scraps of fabric and paper with charms and buttons stitched to string

7. even minier bunting!
It’s so dear and so much fun to make. You could go on forever with these little strings of tiny scraps. Wind them around packages or hang with mini twinkle lights. Magic.

8. slow stitch collage
Not ready to commit to the 100 day stitch challenge? Test drive the idea with one page. Gather your scraps and spend 5 days stitching for 15 minutes today – see where it takes you. You will be surprised.

long pin cushion in warm vintage prints with other patchwork sewing kit pieces

9. long pin cushion
You need one! And it’s a perfect way to celebrate scraps. Make it with the free tutorial here. The super sweet example is by @bricolosdulundi

hand stitched pouches with more in progress- made from small prints and linen

10. patchwork pouch
Make it from scraps and take it with you everywhere. It’s just the right size for a mini needle book and a few spools of thread. Find the sewing pattern here.

Do you have a favorite scrap project? Does tiny bunting make your heartbeat a little faster? Were you today years old when you found out about scraps as stuffing? Let us know in the comments.

stitch book challenge – day 15 update

3 stitch collages and scraps on my work table

3 stitch collages and scraps on my work table

We are on day 15!  That finishes 3 pages and a new page starts tomorrow. You can see lot’s of pages on instagram and the group in stitch club is really remarkable.

These are my first three pages. I’ve still got today’s 15 minutes to do on the third – bottom right above. This is my third year challenging myself in this way and I’m finding the same pattern appears. In the first three days I create a problem for myself (compositional problem) and on the 4th and 5th days I work on solving it. I love this kind of thinking.

My pages are not always abstract but that doesn’t seem to make a difference in this rhythm. And I don’t always succeed. Last year I found thinking of the pages in pairs helped immensely. I loved having a second chance at compositions by treating 2 pages as one image/idea. And I mostly did not work on them consecutively – having some percolation time in between was key.

Stitch Club member Heather Smith said this about the challenge:


I wrote this while getting ready for this year’s challenge and reflecting on my creative accomplishments from last year.

1- With community support I CAN do something every day for 100 days. (or 98 days or whatever was close enough to count).

2- Working 15 minutes a day on a part of a project is quite a different challenge than making a little finished piece of art every day. So much more do-able than those kinds of challenges.

3- Letting go of overthink. It’s ok to start without knowing exactly where the art is going to take you. This was a HUGE change for me, unlocking years of being Afraid To Start.

4- Ideas like company. If you put a few of them together they make more ideas. It’s like propagating plants. And if you put those ideas in one place they become your own thesaurus of ideas, little seed starts for later.

5- A middle aged craft lady in motion (really) does tend to stay in motion – Ann Wood. This momentum has kept building and helped create a nearly daily practice.

I love everything Heather has to say – and seeing this process work for people is satisfying and motivating.  15 minutes a day matters. Find Heather’s instagram page here – there’s lots to see.


hands holding stitched mushrooms and text overlay - welcome to stitch club and join button


“The best way to have a good idea is to have a lot of ideas.”
Linus Pauling


There are so many ways to approach making this book and growing creatively through that effort. Working in an improvisational way is challenging and so worth the effort.

When you start without knowing where you’re headed you create space for ideas, for possibilities and happy accidents. You observe and listen and connect. There is no failure, only information.

daily practice matters

It keeps the wheels turning and the machinery well oiled. The minute you do something, take some action, a feedback loop begins. You get information. Begin, listen and respond. It makes you ask the second question and the third and the fourth etc. etc. that will lead you to new places, lead you deeper into your imagination and your magic.

A couple notes :

Is it too late to join/start?

Nope – you can choose to start whenever you like. Catch up with the schedule or work with your own start and end date. There is nothing you need to join – stitch club membership is optional. To participate please read this page carefully and follow the link at the end to the tutorial for making the pages and book.

Is it free to participate?

It is.  You can choose to support the project with a donation here.

Are there daily prompts

Nope- the daily stitching is self directed.

Will you do it again?

Hopefully – this time next year.

Good luck with your stitch book challenge!

stitch book : day 1 is here! and 5 more things bringing me joy

sketch book with colorful quote - "done is better than perfect"

sketch book with colorful quote - "done is better than perfect"
I have one important thought for you and for me today and everyday of the challenge:

Done is better than perfect!

This exercise is so not about perfection. It is for listening to yourself. It’s for your imagination, it’s a place to try things – explore. Show up, try stuff, make mistakes, try again, get somewhere new. 100 days of that is magic.

Life rewards action, give it a chance and it will show up with happy accidents. The minute you do something a feedback loop begins. You get information. Begin, listen and respond.

Be brave and be curious.

onward in stitch!


*learn about the stitch book challenge here



stitch book 2024 – day 1

5  things bringing me joy this January

*This post contains affiliate links – meaning I get a small commission if you purchase through the links – they are marked with an asterisk

small black day planner in my hand

1. day planner

I’m so into it. In olden times I always had a day planner book. It’s for capturing ideas, project planning and a daily record – at the end of each day I make a little list: 5 things about today.
The book is beside my bed and it’s the last thing I do each day. It is very short and simple but recording this little list makes me notice things.

I’ve also marked each of the 100 days for the stitch book challenge and get to experience the deep satisfaction of checking them off.

I love that it’s small enough to always have with me so ideas can be written down as they happen and the calendar aspect brings so much more organization and context to those notes.

The book is beautiful and super simple. After I looked at every day planner on the planet I went with the *hobonichi techo (a6 size in black gingham).

autumn and ann walking on a path at the squam art retreat

2. Imagination day camp

Next September my friend Autumn Song and I are co teaching (again) at the Squam Art Retreat. We are currently creating a big playful day of imagination igniting fun. That is she and I walking along the path at Squam, ideas and plans tumbling all over the place. We have endless things to say to each other and all sorts of surprising new intersections appear. It’s a you got peanut butter on my chocolate situation for sure.

Autumn and I first met at my experimenting with dolls workshop in 2016. The class was improv based – a yes and approach to making a figure. I loved Autumn’s ability to completely immerse herself in the creation of her doll and watch her gentleman moth emerging a little bit at a time.

a moth doll madefrom antique clothing in progress

“My name is Cedric Randolf. I am a moth, I fought in the Boer War. I am quite wise and quite old. In one eye I have a cataract, with my other eye I see only goodness”

I love working with Autumn. Ideas flow easily between us, they bounce back and forth and get deeper and more detailed and weirder and sillier etc. etc. We both like to think about thinking, where ideas come from and the absolute joy of making things and that is what imagination day camp is all about. Check out Autumn’s instagram here. And her website here.

You can find out more about the class and fall retreat here.


slip covered day bed

3. A cozy spot

A perfect spot to hibernate and stitch and watch the snow. I’ve been looking for THIS daybed forever. It turned up (the exact one I wanted!) at a garage sale for just a little money and in perfect shape. The mattress is a chunk of memory foam and the cover is made from big scraps and some toile curtains from a thrift store. This was my first experience with welting and I give myself a B+.  Am I a little awash in toile? Yes. But I like it.

4. What it is

By Lynda Barry. It’s a big book about process, ideas and creativity. I took it out of the library so often I finally bought a copy- *it’s currently on sale. It is visually very dense and when I first looked at it I thought it would be too difficult to navigate – text is hand written and intermingled with tons of collage and drawing. You have to spend a little time with it. She asks questions like what is an image? What is an idea? What is a memory? What is a story? That will make you think. It’s written for an adolescent/teenage audience so it’s perfect for me…

5. Great Horned Owl 

I saw a great horned owl!. First time ever. I had been hearing them in evening, calling in the little forest just behind me since I moved to my current place in Guilford. That small, dense patch of trees got cleared for development and there were no more owl calls.  This winter I started hearing him again on my run and then one evening there he was, huge, in a tree right above me at dusk, calling and being answered by another. That night I got to write “saw a great horned owl” in my list of 5 things about today.

Are you feeling new yearsy?   Are your ready for stitch book 2024? Have you ever seen a great horned owl!? What’s bringing you joy in 2024? Let us know in the comments.

the stitch book challenge starts soon and community membership is open!

light and bright fabric scraps gathered on a table - the prints are sweet and vintage

stitch club membership is open again

Let’s start with the membership and then get into some ideas for setting yourself up for the stitch book challenge. You don’t need to join to participate but it is a great place to find support and share your progress.

What happens in stitch club? It’s the private ann wood handmade community, a great place to get inspired, share what you’re working on and make sewy friends.

New for 2024

The international scrap festival in february with ideas, challenges and a scrap swap

creative sparks- monthly prompts to get your wheels turning

enrollment in the 2024 stitch book group (you don’t have to participate – but if you do the group is super helpful)

sew-alongs and more!

light and bright fabric scraps gathered on a table - the prints are sweet and vintage

The 2024 100 day stitch book challenge begins on 1/19 and ends on 4/27


Please use the link above if your are brand new to the challenge – you’ll find all the info you need.

There are lot’s of ways to approach this hundred day challenge. My plan is to go boldly forth into the unknown. Start without knowing and create time and space for ideas that don’t easily present themselves in the general course of things. That’s what showing up does. You show up and work. You move your mind and your hands and see what happens.

It’s a terrifying proposition. It’s uncomfortable. And it’s how you get somewhere new. This is the third annual stitch book challenge and just like the two previous years I’m excited and also very nervous to start. Daily commitments are hard. Showing daily progress is hard, especially after you’ve gone on and on about how creative and productive the process is.

But here we are again. I can’t resist. Can you? I’ve got some ideas and lessons learned from the previous years to help you get ready.

My plan is to not have a plan except for:

Thinking of the pages in pairs. I loved having a second chance at compositions by treating 2 pages as one image/idea in last years book. I mostly did not work on the two pages consecutively. Especially when I wasn’t happy with what I’d done, putting the idea aside and letting it percolate for a bit helped a lot.

I’m also leaning towards leaving my edges raw again.

fabric book with abstract stitch composition opened to a 2 page spread

support the ann wood handmade free pattern library with a happy donation 

Support the 100 day stitch book project and the always growing free pattern library.

Click here to add your support.


remove obstacles

Make it as easy as possible to show up. For me that means having my materials accessible and transportable. A to-go kit is essential. I’ve got scraps, some cut pages (I don’t cut them all in the beginning), a little needle book and a thread pouch. And because the world really is magic  this sweet tote bag, made by a friend, arrived unexpectedly on the very day I was looking for something to contain my stitch book supplies.

15 minutes is even more doable if everything is already set up.

plan for the bad days

In 100 days there will most likely be some bad days. Some way too busy or sick or too something days. The secret to those days is a predetermined, minimally acceptable effort. This is also known as “phoning it in”. Protect the habit, protect the momentum and do something. I’ve had days where I was sick or traveling and teaching and way too stretched but I stitched some basic straight stitches or added a super basic  applique for 15 minutes. It was not my most present or mindful or thoughtful work but it got done and that mattered.

And if you do miss a day?

Keep going. Maybe do an extra 15 minutes when you can.

warm up

Engage in some productive procrastination. I’ve been doing some new yearsey sorting and organizing of fabric. It was a perfect time to start to pull out scraps for the 2024 book. As I sorted and ironed, scraps spoke to me and I’ve made a little collection. I’m surprised by how much white and light colored stuff I pulled – it’s not my usual jam. The sorting and collecting lit the spark and got me more excited and curious than nervous to start. There are colors and ideas I’m looking forward to experimenting with.

January 19th will be here before you know it! Will you join me in 100 days of stitching? Let us know in the comments.



handmade christmas 2023 : maximum festiveness

simple, colorful, twinkly and cozy

In the kitchen there is a huntington carpet rosemary and a parlor palm (both super easy plants), pomegranates, dried orange slices, herbs and peppers from the garden and extra candles.

festive kitchen with candles, dried oranges and peppers ceramics and a turnip

And 3 Christmas trees (branches). One tree couldn’t contain all the festiveness this year.

A lesson learned about stick (branch) trees: don’t wander around in a cold rain storm for hours searching desperately for the one magic stick that’s gonna get the job done – just get lots of good-ish branches and bundle them together.

For this tree I used three branches. The largest branch actually goes into the container ( a heavy vase) and the two others are attached to the large branch with masking tape. Lot’s of masking tape. The tape is covered with a torn strip of fabric wrapped around and tied. The little skirt is a block from an old cutter crazy quilt (thanks french general). It’s just right.

I would have paid cash money for a snowy day outside that window.

The ornaments are super simple. I started with orange slices and learned a couple new things about making those. I laid the slices on dish towels and let them air dry for a couple hours before putting them in the warm oven for four-ish hours. They stayed in the oven overnight after turning it off and were perfect in the morning.

The knitted tree garland is one of my most favorite holiday things and was a gift from my sister. The crow is made from this sewing pattern:

sewing pattern for a realistic crowget the pattern

the other ornaments on stick tree number 1 are:

jingle stars
little owl
scrappy trees
sleepy moon

single pine branch (stick tree number 2)

Rocking the asymmetry…  And I like the simplicity and the moodiness.  The little traditional glass ball ornaments were just right for it. This was my first branch effort and was going to be the only one. The minimalist aspirations dissolved almost right away.   Pro tip: Know what takes out pine sap? Rubbing alcohol…  PS – we’ll talk about the antique daybed of my dreams soon – there’s welting and everything…

white pine branch in an antique jug with mini christmas ball ornaments - the room is otherwise dim and moody

and stick tree number 3

This year I finally got my old Christmas stuff out of storage, the things from my mother and grandmother. I haven’t seen them in so long I forgot how magnificent they are. I’m knee deep in nostalgia and crumpled tissue.

The secret to holding these branches in place is pennies. Once they were arranged in a
pyramid, tree-ish shape in the vase I dumped a bag of pennies into it. It holds the branches perfectly in place. I bet gravel would work too.

Besides the old glass ornaments there are some wax paper snowflakes. The star on top is also made from the snowflake tutorial but with tin foil and paper layers too.

I sure do love a holiday project, and always have. There is extra permission, an absolute invitation, to be whimsical, to create a warm and sparkly atmosphere. I’m looking forward to the next week or so of basking in the twinkle and being in a general state of wassailing. I’m also percolating all sorts of ideas for the new year – stay tuned!

I hope your holidays are merry and bright!


jolly flies : tiny santa hat tutorial

These guys definitely have a “too much to drink at the office party vibe” or SantaCon but with flies…  And the little scrunchy bend in the hat really delivers the holiday magic.  The hat works on mice too or anybody really little.  They only take a few minutes to make.

how to make a tiny santa hat

download the hat template

You will also need:

The house flies are made from this free tutorial.

  • felt (wool or wool blend is best)
  • extra fluffy chenille stems – I got these at Joanns
  • white and red thread
  • basic sewing kit

1. Cut out the hat shape from felt. PS – we don’t use the glue for the hat but I did use it to make the flies legs a little stiff. Put a little on your fingers and rub it onto the threads. Also- I love that glue.

2. Bend one end of the chenille wire over- about 1/2 inch.

3. Use your finger to separate the chenille as you stitch it to the edge of the felt with matching thread. Wetting your finger a little will help to flatten the chenille. Stitch over the wire in the center. We’ll fluff it back up after.

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4. Here it is form the back – stitch to the end.

5. Clip the stem (with scissors you don’t love) a little past the end.

6. Bend the end in towards the back.

7. Bend the end of the remaining stem over about 1/2 inch.

8.  Place it on the back so the bend extends past the top edge. Trim the other end and bend the it up a little past the bottom edge.

9. Wrap the felt around and whip stitch with matching thread.

Open the bottom to its round shape and bend the tip over in a jaunty flop.   You can pin it to the head or use a few stitches to make your fly permanently jolly.

I hope you make jolly house flies! You definitely know somebody who needs one!

holiday ornament round up 2023

moon tree topper

Let’s start with a look at christmas past – I got this norfolk pine at a bodega in Brooklyn in 2014. It had been out in the cold and sprayed with thick plastic and glitter.  It almost died the first year but has made a miraculous recovery since. It lives with me in Connecticut now and is 4 and 1/2 feet tall.  My tree plan this year is multiple, small, tree-ish situations. Norfolk will have twinkle lights and dried orange slices. So pretty and the smell is glorious while they’re drying.

ann wood christmas tree

There are tons of ornament ideas in the free pattern library including these super easy “crystal” snowflakes I make them every year.


wax paper craft idea

More recently on the blog find:

  1. jingle stars
  2. jolly flies
  3. cardinals

and I’ve scoured the interwebs for sweet holiday diy projects

These ornaments by Swoon Says are perfect for scraps. Find the tutorial here.

I’m definitely making a few of these corrugated cardboard metallic ornaments.

These paper and pompom ornaments are so elegant and simple.  Find the full tutorial here.

doll on a popsicle stick sled

Mini sled! Made from popsicle sticks using this tutorial.  PS The lamb is made from the mr. socks sewing pattern with these alterations. The tiny pants are on the free pattern page.

Make your very nice mice Extra festive with a tiny bicorne and fascinator! this pair is by @poppymayye

These felt tree’s by allsort’s 

English paper pieced stars.

And finally your yearly reminder that these retro bulbs are essential.

nostagi christmas light ornament diy

Do you have a favorite holiday project to add? Let us know in the comments.


brown paper packages tied with bakers twine and decorated with stamps. Colorful post cards and fabric are tucked into the package.

PS- Thanks so much to everybody whom purchased patterns and wool last week. Packages are mostly off – the last 20 or so tomorrow.

jingle stars tutorial and knob fobs

little wood chest of drawers with s tassel and stitched indigo tetra hanging from one knob

Current obsessions:  knob fobs (if that’s not a thing it should be) and putting bells on things. Tiny bells.

It has taken this little drawer knob to new and glorious heights. Magic. I guarantee you there is an underdressed drawer pull in your life somewhere, you just didn’t know it until today. Remember the tetra post? Go check that out if you haven’t. The little fob above is the small size with a little tassel added. Then the idea of combining tetras occurred to me. And adding tiny bells (bell season is upon us!).

If you are a confirmed minimalist re: your drawer knobs, this makes a charming and jingly Christmas ornament.

so do these little scrap stars

*this post contains affiliate links – meaning I get a small commission if you purchase through the link.

Jingle Stars! Jingle stars flowed out of the four square sew-along. As soon as I started making stitched square experiments I realized I needed a bunch. A couple sets of four are becoming  patchwork pouches. The others are (so far) stars and woebegone pines.

The stars are pretty mini and I think that adds to their magic.  After hours of intense debate about where to add the bells I landed on the asymmetrical one bell option. It has such a playful quality to it and makes the star hang in a darling very slightly lopsided way. These will be great for adding to gift wrap and as ornaments and of course drawer pulls. A garland would be super cute too.

The patched squares also make great woebegone pines. Stitch four squares together and you can just fit the small and medium pattern.

let’s talk about how to make the jingle stars

download the star template

You will also need:

1. Place the template on one square and trace onto the wrong side of the fabric.

2. Pin two squares- right sides together -and stitch the line. Leave one side open (pro tip – pick a side that is not pieced).

3. Cut out about ¼ inch all around the star.

4. Clip off the points close to the seams. Clip into each corner.

5. Clip a little more seam allowance for the points- reducing the bulk here will make your points pointier. Fold over the seam allowance at the opening and press.

6. Turn the star right side out and stuff. Start turning with your fingers and then use a chopstick to gently push the points all the way out.

7. Stitch closed starting from the point. Stop halfway down and add a little stuffing and finish closing.

Add the bell – attach it loosely for maximum jingle- and add a hanging string or hook. I loved the bells and hooks – linked above – the hooks make the stars super easy to hang on my Norfolk Pine.

I hope you make jingle stars! And dress up a drawer pull!

And a very happy thanksgiving to you,