Happy Christmas!

I’m wishing you all a sincerely joyful holiday, filled with love, laughter and lightness.  It’s ok if it’s not perfect, just be thankful that “it” is.  A special thought to you out there who are not with your loved ones this year.  I’ve missed family celebrations before, but this is my 8th  consecutive Christmas without my U.S. family, and I sure miss them right now.  Let’s sing together…”I’ll be home for Christmas…”

Some holiday cheer?

Sam says, “My humiliation is complete.  Please, look away. “

“I won’t cry, but I am going to pout until you remove that ridiculous picture, even if Santa Claus is coming to town.”

Merry Christmas to all!

Sewing Basic Holiday Ornaments Step By Step : W.I.P. Wednesday

Last week I blogged about the famous “Cookie Cutter” ornaments I make every holiday season, and about how quick and easy they are to make.  Then, after an email and a few comments it dawned on me that easy is a rather subjective word.  For someone who has never tried to thread a needle or tried to sew (gasp!) for fun, well, not so much.

If you’ve got sewing experience then this post will probably bore you, but if you’ve got pointers or URLs with other more basic holiday projects to share in the comments section, please do.

So let’s sew up an ornament together!  It’ll be fun, promise.  You’ll need a few basic things to get started, things you may already have around the house!

What you’ll need :

  • Cookie cutters or other shapes you can trace as patterns, unless you’re going to free-hand your drawing, which is also fun, especially if working with little kids who love seeing their drawings “come to life”.
  • Sharp scissors
  • Thread – So many choices!  Cotton thread, or thicker, more durable craft thread, embroidery thread (you’ll want to use about 2 or 3 strands) or even some thin cotton yarn.  I have also used very thin satin ribbon which is pretty, too.
  • Fabric – Before you run out to buy some, or think you can’t give the project a go because you haven’t any, just stop.  You can use nearly anything!  A re-purposed dish towel, the sleeve of a torn cotton shirt, bits from a stained table cloth, etc.  You can also use heavier craft paper – it looks lovely sewn.
  • A needle for sewing and some pins to hold your fabric together.  In a pinch you can use tape to keep the pieces together, and even paper clips.

Get your fabric and fold it in half, with the right sides together.  This just means that the side of the fabric you’d like to see once your decoration is done faces the inside for now.

See what I mean?  The red-checks are facing in and the boring backing is facing out.  Perfect for drawing or tracing on.  Because we make a few new decorations every year, they are like little snap-shots of the past.  We love dinos, so we make a few each year.  If your child (or husband) likes super heroes, try a cape with an S on it, or maybe an outline of a car.  Don’t worry about it not being traditional!  I still need to make a zombie for Monsieur Fish, because that’s what he loves, but haven’t got it worked out yet.

Once you’ve traced, pin the fabric together and cut it out, going through both layers of cloth.

Now put the wrong sides together, right sides facing out, and pin to secure.  Ready to sew?  First, let’s look at your needles…

Notice how the top needle has a rather large eye and a blunt end?  That’s an embroidery needle, so it can handle thicker threads, embroidery thread, yarn and ribbon.  The tinner, sharper needle will work with cotton or nylon thread. Let’s thread your needle!

You want to have a workable length of thread, not too long or it’ll get tangled up, too short, and you’ll be re-threading often.  About from your hand to your elbow is a good size I think.  If you’re using regular cotton thread, just feed one end through the eye of the needle, then bring it to meet the other end so you’ve got a double-layer of thread (more sturdy).  If using embroidery thread, take two or three strands, feed one end through the needle and pull to about half-way the total length, then knot the long end.  It’s already sturdy enough so you don’t need to double up.

For your first stitch, you’ll begin going from the inside of your “sandwich” of fabric from the wrong side of one piece to its right side (meaning outside the dino here).  Gently pull until the knot is against the fabric, and tuck in or carefully trim any little tails that are left.  We’re going to do a straight stitch here, but to make things even easier, think of it as an in and out stitch. You just bring the needle through from one side to the other, all the way around your shape.  Stop a bit before getting all the way around to stuff it if you’d like.  You can use scrap yarn and thread, or cotton or nylon batting. Then sew up the hole and tie a knot to secure.

I hope this is helpful, and inspires you to make a few ornaments for your tree or window or potted plant or whatever.  The tutorial for the Felt Doughnuts may also be helpful for you, too.  They also make cute decorations for you tree, Jeni Treehugger says so herself!

Here are a few flashed-out examples of other shapes to try…


Happy Mother’s Day – To Every Woman, Everywhere


Is it Mother’s Day where you live? Even though it’s not Mother’s Day yet here in France, I feel compelled to wish a very happy day to all you Mothers out there in North America – and wherever else people are celebrating today.

I sincerely feel that every woman is in her own, sometimes quiet and unsung way, a Mother. Women nurture, coach, listen, lend a receptive shoulder and offer heartfelt advice. I wish I could create a holiday that celebrated all that every woman does to cultivate the beauty around them, especially in the lives of the women who consider them sister, friend and mentor.

So to all women, be they the biological Mother of six (like my mumma!), the big sister someone has always longed for, the school teacher who gives 110% to show her students she cares… Happy Mother’s Day!

W.I.P. Wednesday : Little Purl Bee Rabbits or What I would be making for Guppy if I had time…


Were any of you “X-Files” fans? I was a bit ‘ole “X-Files” nerd, and while I don’t think I believe in alien abduction (the truth is out there), I can so relate to the phenomenon they oft referred to as “missing time” : when you have this hunk of time which seems to just have disappeared and you have no idea where the time went, or what you were doing… because here’s the deal, despite my lofty ambitions and best intentions, I still haven’t made Guppy’s Easter Bunny gift yet.

Well over a month ago, back when I thought I was going to have lots of time to get them done, I saw these adorable Purl Rabbits at The Purl Bee :

rabbit36photo credit : The Purl Bee

These are some of the most stylish bunnies I’ve seen around! Trying to figure out how to spend all your copious free time? Well, make yourself a Purl Rabbit! You’ll need the Pattern Pieces for Rabbit (Just look at the top of the post in the project journal for the next part of the project.)

I really love the Rabbit Clothes – do they come in adult sizes? They are so cute, and really make the Bunny look all dapper-dan. And fancy-pants. Fancy Danny Dapper Pants. Whatever.

Realistically it’s not going to happen because this week is going to be very full for the Shellyfish, but I technically still have time, so let’s not start calling bets yet, ok? And if all fails, I can still make more of these felt cuties à la Aranzi Aranzo like I did last year – they are always a hit. And of course, if I really go into “you’ve got to be kidding me” mode, I know I have a dino book stashed somewhere that could also be slipped into the basket. Must keep our bases covered and all that.

What are you making for the baskets o’ festiveness? Have a crafty week, and don’t forget to see what the other Wipsters are up to, and to check out our W.I.P. Wednesday Flickr Pool, too.

The Bunny!

I woke up and wanted to hurry to get out for my run, when I heard squeals of joy emanating from the living room…

the-egg.jpg oeuf.jpg

The Guppy knew that today was “Bunny Day”, and she was up and in the living room standing before her basket, repeating excitedly, “Mumma, Mumma, look!”

rouge.jpg jaune.jpg

rose.jpg tada.jpg

How exciting! Baby felt bunnies hatching from vegan chocolate eggs!


Madame & Monsieur Lapin (Monsieur is easily recognizable by his little French moustache and pink attire…because male-folk do wear pink!) were my first attempts at sewing with a machine (more on that another day…). I followed the free Wee Bunny pattern from Wee Wonderfuls. Monsieur Rabbit was my first attempt (er, pas terrible or not-so-great as we say in French), but Madame Rabbit is much cooler (and looks darn good for just having a brood of felt bunnies!). The little felt bunnies are from the cutest book in the world which I want to blog about when I get the time so I won’t steal the thunder from a future post.

The Bdefilles.jpgunny of Spring didn’t forget me, as I found this beautiful book in my basket and cannot wait to start a billion projects…