Celebrating Christmas in July with Yarn-Wrapped Ornaments

The folks over at Patience Brewster reached out to me last week with a question: How are you celebrating Christmas in July?

I loved the line they used in their email, “Though we do flourish when the sun is high in the sky and the flowers are blooming, our minds are always on Christmas!”

I’ll admit, I have a hard time thinking about Christmas when it’s 100 degrees outside, but looking through Patience Brewster’s Christmas line, I was inspired by the colors she uses. Despite winter being a cold, dark-colored month, Patience uses bright, bold colors that remind me of summer.

So I reconsidered the question, and I have an answer.  I celebrate Christmas in July by making the projects I ran out of time to make last year, like these yarn-wrapped Christmas ornaments.

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I had all of the materials to make this project because I had purchased the Styrofoam balls last December. Alas, you can only do so many Christmas crafts before the magical days finally arrives. (I understand why Santa needs all year to prepare.)

This project is also a great way to use leftover yarn (which I have by the basketfuls). Otherwise, you’ll need Mod Podge, a paintbrush (for the glue) and a knitting needle (which I used to poke a hole through the ball.)

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Using the knitting needle, I guided a long piece of yarn through the hole, and then brought it back around the ball to knot at the top. And as you go about gluing on the rest of the yarn, try to keep these pieces out of the glue. When you’re done, tie the two loose pieces together to be the string that attaches the ornament to the tree.

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Starting in the middle, I painted the Mod Podge along the circumference, and then I slowly wrapped the yarn around the ball, gently pressing the yarn into the glue. Though you can continually work until you’re done, I think it’s beneficial to occasionally stop and let the glue dry, especially if you get too much glue on your fingers. (I find it helpful to let them dry as they hang. My chandelier proved to be the perfect drying spot.)

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For the more colorful ornament, I applied the yarn in pieces instead of continuing wrapping it. This version definitely takes longer (and if you’re like me and dislike glue, it definitely requires more patience).

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I think I’ll let these decorate my gardenia bush for a little bit before I store them away with other Christmas ornaments. But thanks to Patience, I definitely have Christmas on my mind. Once you start to think of Christmas ideas, it feel like the opportunities are endless.

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Felt Valentine’s Day Sweetheart Candies

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When I asked my roommate if she minded I decorated our house for Valentine’s Day, she laughed. “Just hold back on the pink,” she said.

I love Valentine’s Day! So when I started to brainstorm ideas for spring felt products for the Etsy shop, felt Sweetheart candies – right in time for Valentine’s Day – quickly came to mind.

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Each bag comes with 20 little felt hearts, 4 of each color. (Note: this number later seemed ridiculously high when I was working on completing 16 bags – 300 hearts total.) Each heart is actually 3 layers of felt, hand sewn together.

DSC_0684The felt bag – meant to replicate the Sweetheart box – is completely hand sewn using a blanket stitch. The bag has 5 pieces: the two large rectangles for the front and back, two side piece and one bottom piece. To help with size consistency, I created templates out of card stock (which is a little out of character for me!)

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Using a blanket stitch did make the production time longer, but I think the homemade touch elevates the overall product. And so far, the product has been a major hit.

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So what are you waiting for? This bag of felt candy is the perfect gift for your little Valentines. Plus, you don’t have to worry about cavities!

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Side note: One customer asked me to create a felt bag with a flap (since she thought the felt hearts would quickly be lost otherwise). I was happy to oblige. I went back and forth about using a velcro dot (seems dangerous around felt), but (confession) it was my laziness that made the final decision. I couldn’t find a button to use around my house and I was too lazy to run to the store. Luckily, the customer didn’t mind!

Anthropologie-Inspired Felt Christmas Stocking

IMG_4921I know, I know. I’m writing about my Christmas stocking in the final days of January, but to my defense, this month has flown by. I’m ready to flip my calendar to February with hopeful thoughts that next month won’t be as crazy.

But back to Christmas: this year I decided I wanted to buy a nice Christmas stocking, one that I would treasure year after year. When I stumbled across this stocking at Anthropologie, I was instantly smitten, but the price tag made me think twice. The thought is almost reflexive at this point: I could totally make this!

IMG_4907I’ll keep the picture of the Anthopologie stocking small because when placed side-by-side, my stocking looks pretty “crafty” in comparison. The difference is in the quality. I’m sure Anthopologie used expensive wool. I used acrylic felt from Hobby Lobby. They used these adorable mini pom poms with a trendy color pallet. I was stuck with the primary colored trim selection at JoAnn Fabrics.

Don’t get me wrong, I love how my stocking turned out, especially when you compare the price. I spent about $8. The item is now out of stock, but I remember Anthropologie selling it for almost $50.

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In my excitement of the project (plus, I made it really late at night and the lighting would have been a mess), I didn’t take many step-by-step pictures. But the process doesn’t venture far from a normal Christmas stocking tutorial. After cutting out the main piece of the stocking, I simply attached rows of trim. And instead of using my sewing machine, I used a blanket stitch to hand sew the stocking together. I used light blue thread to provide a little contrast.

My final touch was the accent of purple and magenta yarn pom poms. I hunted for the white yarn in the similar style, but after going to a few stores, I felt lucky to have stumbled across the purple yarn. So I made it work!

I’m sure when Christmas comes around this year, I’ll go through the same thought process of wanting a buy nice stocking. But for now, I’m excited that this Christmas stocking is mine.

Wine Bottle Christmas Decor

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World Market is a dangerous place. My roommate and I spend an hour last night wandering through its aisles, collecting an array of fun things for our home and our stomachs. Knowing I had a Christmas party to attend this weekend, I grabbed a bottle of wine for a hostess gift and turned to find a display of fun wine bottle decorations – like little scarfs, Christmas sweaters, etc. all sized down to fit a wine bottle.

Miniatures are simply the cutest! I picked out three different items that I was very tempted to buy. But I held back when I realize (like I often do) – I could totally make this!

And though I didn’t end up knitting a miniature scarf, I decided to make a pom pom one. Super easy and cheap to make. And as you know, I love making yarn pom pom. (See video for tutorial.)

For the Love of Gold Paint Pens

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The latest craze to hit my life: the beauty of a gold paint pen. I took the pen from my parent’s house to work on a project for my Grandmother’s birthday, and I’ve been playing with it ever since.

This week, I was putting together little gifts for my co-workers, and the pen came out. (I gave a gift card for a free pop from Steel City Pops, and because that place is so clever, a gift card is a stamp Popsicle stick.) I love, love, love how these cards turned out!

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Felt Christmas Poinsettia

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When I came home with the wrong size terra cotta pots (The felt cactuses I sell on Etsy use 3-inch pots; I purchased 2-inch pots), I decided to make the most of my mistake. The result were these adorable, mini felt poinsettias.

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Similar to the felt cactuses I sell, each flower is attached to felt “dirt” and come with a real clay pot.  Teach your little ones to love gardening early on as they can “plant” their flowers over and over again. (And bonus, no mess to clean up or dead plants to deal with.)

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To create the flower, I used a similar approach to how I create the cactus flower. I took a small rectangle of yellow felt and cut slits along the width. I did the same with a small white rectangular piece of felt. I then rolled up the yellow felt and continued with the white, creating the center. Next, I hand-cut the red petals (sorry, I don’t have templates) – 5 smaller petals and 5 slightly larger ones – and 4 large green leaves. I then attach them one-by-one until the flower is complete.

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The miniature size is what gets me. My gosh, these flowers are just so darn cute!