Category Archives: felt

Homemade gift tags- easy teacher and neighbor gifts

I’m always intrigued by what kids come up with when put to a crafty challenge. These gift tags were the brainchild of my 12 year old. Easy, fun and fast, it’s a great budget friendly gift project that has the added bonus of fostering creativity in your kids (and yourself). Use them on gifts you give or gift them in bundles. Put all that pre-Christmas kid angst to good use!

We went through the craft supplies and dug out: card stock, rubber stamps, markers, glitter glue, a hole punch, felt and the glue gun. Also embroidery floss, yarn, ribbon, twine or other sort of string to make ties.

Make a set of colorful tags by filling an an entire page of card stock with colorful geometric shapes, add glitter glue for sparkle and dimension. When the glue is dry, cut the paper into small rectangles. Punch a hole in the corner and stamp or write “To:” and “From:” on the back. Loop the piece of string (of your choosing) through the hole and tie a knot.
With felt scraps, cut out and create any shapes you can think up- Christmas-y or otherwise. (hint: customize tags with personalized interests or letters). Glue the felt to the card stock then use markers or glitter glue to add details. When dry, finish same as above.
An perhaps the easiest- incorporate rubber stamps. If you have a large collection of rubber stamps it’s time to put them to good use! Add color, glitter or glitter glue to your hearts content. Finish the same as above.

Place an assortment of your handmade tags in bags and pair with a treat, a plant or just by themselves- a handmade gift is always the best!

felt inspiration from the kitchen

Referring to a kitchen I saw in the Land of Nod catalog, I built this kitchen for my kids for Christmas a few years ago. It’s been a fixture in our house ever since (except for the 2 years it was in storage when we were moving, sorry little dudes for missing a few formative years of fake polishing silver and pretend preparing meals.) Now, it sits mostly on display, but every now and again it warms my heart to walk by and see even the high schoolers rummaging through the refrigerator and menu planning.
The best part now, is all of the clever thinking it inspires. Our little friend Millie (age 12) hopped right on the felt train, got out her needle, thread and markers and this is what she came up with:

Sliced felt kiwi fruit.

Felt all beef patty, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onion on a sesame seed bun, hold the sesame seeds. (anyone remember the hand motions that go with that 1980’s McDonalds jingle?)

The heirloom china has seen better days, one rambunctious tea party too many seems to have wiped out nearly the whole set. Looks like it’s back to paper cups for guests at future soirees. Felt chocolate chunk and M&M cookies, yum.

And last but not least, perhaps my kids favorite meal- felt broccoli and bowtie pasta, incidentially in a felt bowl.

I was super stoked when I found this bowl at a Michael’s craft store. When I handed it to the youthful clerk, she turned it quizzically over in her hand and asked what the heck I was going to do with a felt bowl. As. If.   Honey, it looks like it’s time to put down the phone, pick up some craft supplies, and get out your imagination.

a handmade, personalized gift is the best

I think there are few would wouldn’t agree that handmade gifts are the best! And so, a simple suggestion this holiday season- put on your thinking cap this year and dream up some glorious, personalized handmade gifts that will stand out in the crowd.
Here are a few tricks and tips:

1. Get started early, what better time than Thanksgiving to start brainstorming ideas than in the company of the gift recipients and in between a bite of turkey and a nap?
2. Incorporate others in the design and planning sessions (ie. kids, husbands, siblings) and together you can dream up some clever ideas and have a good laugh in the process.
3. Choose easy subjects, keep it on a small scale…
4. Ask kids to draw for you, if you don’t trust your own hand,  kids come up with wonderful, simple pictures that are easy to make into embroidery, fabric (etc.) patterns.

I’d like to explore the handmade ornament as an option. As we become obsessed with pets in these modern times, don’t try and deny it- you know you adore a fluffy or furry friend as much as any human in your life.  So, think of the loved one’s on your Christmas list- what do they love?-  their pet, their car, tacos, Jacob… Edward?  Pets are a good jumping off point, easy to render– but expand to whatever topic you must to make it personal and funny.  Working on a small scale (ornament size) can simplify the gift while still working the magic of handmade.

5. Work with familiar products– fabric, felt, clay, paint, paper, whatever medium you feel the most comfortable working with.
I used felt and sequins because I’m most comfortable with a needle in my hand. This Siberian Husky is made from wool felt with a little flat quilt batting in the middle. I sewed it all together with embroidery floss. I tacked down the white parts and the nose with a quick basting stitch. I sewed on the sequins one at a time with clear thread, the entire front is covered.
My favorite part is the sequins. You see- it’s all about the sparkle, even when it comes to dogs. It took quite a while to sew on all the sequins- I would recommend a book on tape or keeping a good playlist rolling. It’s a good thing I find this kind of hand sewing very relaxing.

And there you have it, a gift that will be cherished forever-  even after a pet is gone, a trip is over, a car has been totaled. But, your friend/loved one will never forget the awesome person who took the time to hand make them a gift!