Tag: handmade christmas

little projects and percolating ideas

tiny cotton doll with a satchel and linen smock

little sewing projects

The little black wool scrap insisted on being a chicken, a french hen. It’s a good day for small cosy projects, for stitching little dolls and boats, pocket size things.

stitched french hen in a nesting box

There was nothing I would rather do today, nothing more appealing than meandering my way through some little projects. Some for gifts, some for ornaments and a few little things for the shop in December.

I had intended to just sew for an hour or two early in the morning but I could not put it down today and there was no real reason to. I remained happily lost in the little details and all of a sudden the sun was going down.

tiny cotton doll satchel

tiny cotton doll with a satchel and linen smock

And while my hands were busy I felt a steady simmer in my mind, curiosity about miss thistle and the world she lives in, ideas and images floating to the surface, little glimmers of a house in the forest…

it’s time to make the squirrels, stitching expressive creature eyes and wool stuffing in the shop

little hand stitched squirrel

little stuffed squirrels and whale ornaments on my work table

It is time to make all the little things, the little gift and ornament things. It is officially time. For those of you less procrastinatey than me it is way past time, I know you are out there, you organized types who start in June. Maybe I’ll turn over a new leaf this year, I would love to be done making my Christmas stuff by Thanksgiving.

little hand stitched squirrel

little stuffed wool squirrel

find the squirrel sewing pattern here

Today I’m making very little squirrels, and thoughtful whales. This squirrel is just the right size for somebody’s pocket. He looks very happy in there.

stuffed wool squirrel in my pocket

He is a relentlessly happy little fellow.

whale ornament eye

For most of my small creatures I make the eyes the same way, a disorganized little cluster of stitches (you can see how I hide my knots here). On wool I use embroidery thread so it shows but on cotton I like the subtlety of sewing thread. And I find the less I think about the placement of the stitches the better, the more expressive the eyes turn out. This little whale has things on his mind.

squirrels and whales on my work table

adjusting stuffing placeement with a large needle

I stuff all the little folks and creatures with the loveliest wool stuffing. I spend a lot of time stuffing things, getting it just right and almost always fine tune the shape from the outside with a big needle.

Have you tried wool stuffing? it is all I use and I’ve added it to the shop in 4 ounce packs – that’s enough wool for lots of little creatures.

Are you sewing for the holidays? What’s on your worktable?

handmade christmas 2017

handmade christmas 2017

Unwrapping ornaments in soft, crumpled paper that my mother wrapped and unwrapped one million times, treasures that never lose their magic, the ceremony of their yearly appearance, that is most of the reason to Christmas the tree.

And I love it, my dear norfolk pine, all festooned and twinkling.

handmade christmas

moon tree topper

I skipped the tree last year. Got too busy, got the flu, and it didn’t happen. It almost didn’t happen this year. The big crash in October left a wake of disruption and chaos that is still not over. But as soon as I got the boxes down and saw familiar things peeking from that tissue (Christmas tissue is not like other tissue, something special happens to it) I felt inspired to do it.

handmade wrapping paper

Wrapping paper was next on my Christmas list. I decided to make my own and be super simple about it. I’m splattering plain newsprint paper (I always have a huge roll around for packing and shipping) with red paint. I’m also using plain brown paper and twine, red hemp and baker’s twine and a little green tissue left over from last year.

handmade wrapping

I like it. It’s simple and sweet and I spent zero dollars. I love an elegant economy and there will be more on that in the new year.

Merry and Happy to you,
ann

little gifts : endeavor to delight

handmade toadstools

Little things. The kind of things you can make in an hour or two or over  a couple evenings. Something unexpected, something that charms.

handmade toadstools

 

If you visit here regularly you know that the holidays are not my favorite thing.  But that part appeals to me, making presents for people, especially little things.

little sailor mouse

And I like Christmas trees, festive, spicy  smells, sweet packages (download the free little yellow house tags here) and a manageable amount of snow might be nice.

small handmade gifts

small handmade gifts

You can find most of the ornament patterns above in the shop as well as the mushroom pattern ( I reduced it by about half for the minis).  And find the free mouse pattern here and the free woebegone pine tree pattern here.

doll kit making

I’m also making doll kits. One million of them. Not really but that’s what it feels like. I’m assembling and shipping kits (and staying hydrated).  After a few days I found a rhythm and the assembly part has sped up. It’s a good thing I enjoy repetitive tasks. So far anyway. I am not enjoying all the paper cuts. So many paper cuts.

shop note:  Stuff is shipping every day and all current orders (including back orders) should be out by Tuesday of next week. And doll kits will be back in stock by next week too.  Send me an email if you want to know as soon as they are available.

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

woebegone pines : a free sewing pattern

woebegone pines

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 myself. You can  purchase little bark slices like mine here – fyi if you purchase through this link I get a tiny commission so it works out all around.


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

handmade christmas

ann wood christmas tree

ann wood christmas treeI had pretty much talked myself out of a Christmas Tree – one more thing to do- that sort of thing………  And then all of a sudden talked myself right back into it. I already had a tree so why not. Last year I got a living tree – a little Norfolk Pine – and it’s still here, a much more charlie brown sort of affair than it was when I got it last December but alive and pretty well. I’m so happy it survived – they often perish post Christmas and I’ve gotten very attached to it. I got it on a whim (down the street at a deli for 30 bucks) without knowing much about Norfolks; hot, dry, semi sunny New York apartments are not ideal environments for them. When it began to struggle last year I got a tip from a reader (thanks Sally!) to give it a cool shower once in a while and that did the trick. Decoration-wise I wanted to be gentle with it so I kept it simple – mostly things I made (pattern resources are listed at the bottom of the post) and a few heirloom treasures like my Mom’s pink glass beads.  It’s twinkly and festive and makes me happy.  I’m so glad I did it and I hope the tree doesn’t mind to much.

handmade boat ornament
fancy bird ornament
shooting star ornament

ornament pattern resources:

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

handmade christmas

I got a tree!  And I made ornaments to put on it. It’s my  first ever as a grown up and it’s a living potted tree- a Norfolk Pine.  I hope it’s happy here for a long time. I also hope deciding to live with a tree  in my tinyish Brooklyn apartment wasn’t a mistake. I like plants and they seem to tolerate me well enough  – I think we’ll be all right.

ann wood christmas tree 2014

Full disclosure,  the holidays aren’t my favorite, I don’t exactly look forward to them but I decided to dive into the parts I can get enthusiastic about. I like making things – I like making presents for people and I do love a Christmas tree.  I pulled out my box of saved Christmas treasures,  some that I made as a child and I created some new things. I’m so happy with my little tree it has nearly unscrooged me.  Some of the handmade ornaments are below and I included links to the patterns or tutorials where possible. The first is a little clothespin ballerina I made as a child – she magically reappeared last year.

clothespin ballerina

handmade cardboard horse holiday ornament

Find the cardboard horse pattern here and the paper mache teacup here. The ballerina is part of a set I designed for Crate and Barrel – they are sold out online but still in some stores.

clothespin soldier   fancy bird ornament  catherines bird   whale ornament

(click the tumbnail for a larger image)

The little soldier above is another childhood clothespin creation – his arms are coffee stirrers and his hat is a pom pom. The silk bird has a fluffy, lace wired tail that winds around the branch – she was made with this pattern. The little blue bird is a gift  for my sister Catherine. It’s embroidered with her wedding date and made from a blue vevet dress that was our mother’s.  It’s made from the merry wobbler pattern. The little white whale pattern is here And the pattern for the felt boat is here. Or for another boat ornament idea you could print the template for my free  paper mache boat at about 50%  of the original size.

ann wood handmade boat ornament

 merry merry!