Fabric “Fishing” Set for Pretend Play

Let’s talk about how cute this is for a second.

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One of my favorite memories from my childhood was going to the Fernbank Museum in Atlanta. My mom must have loved that place because it seemed like we went all the time (to my joy). Though the dinosaur in the lobby was cool, I adored this children’s exhibit dedicated to nature (I mean, it had a tree right in the middle of the room!)  And though my memories are vague in the details, I distinctly remember “fishing” in the room’s pretend pond. I could have played there all day, everyday.

This memory came to mind when I was trying to come up with a gift for my 3-year-old nephew, and it couldn’t be more perfect. He loved fishing when he was at my parents’ house earlier this year, and I can see it providing hours of endless playtime.

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Another pro: I can use scrap fabric. I made my own template by free-handing the fish shape on card stock and cutting it out. I didn’t take the time to make sure the template was perfectly symmetrical, but it all worked out in the end.

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After using the template to cut out the fabric, I sewed on two eyes, one on each piece.  Then keeping right sides together, I sewed the two pieces of fabric together with a 1/4-inch seam allowance, stopping short to leave a hole for stuffing.

IMG_0625Once complete, I flipped the fabric right-sides out, and used polyfil to stuff the fish. Now the keys to “fishing” are the magnets. I found mine at Hobby Lobby, including these magnet hooks. I added a little stuffing to the fish’s “nose” before adding the round magnet. Using the hook magnet, I made sure the right side was facing out for the two to attract. (If the magnets repel each other, just flip the round magnet to the other side.

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With the magnet in place, I finished stuffing the fish and used a whipstitch to close the hole. I then repeated this process with three more fish. I didn’t create a fishing pole. My mom is actually delivering this gift for me, and I knew a pole would not fit in her suitcase. But I found this cool idea online. But let’s face, poles can turn into swords, and all you really need is a piece of string.

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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.

  Summer Wedding Embroidery Hoop

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I attended a beautiful wedding this weekend of my sweet friends Kathleen and Drew. It took place at Ephesian Farms, which I was told is a relatively new wedding venue about 45 minutes outside of Birmingham. Every detail of the wedding was so thoughtful, but knowing Kathleen, I was not surprised. So I knew I wanted to return the thoughtfulness with a sweet gift. I made this embroidery hoop and attach it to a gift – a book all about Atlanta, the city they are moving to after their honeymoon.

A Lulie Wallace Study

As a kid I was always fascinated by the painters who would set up in museums, right next to the most famous paintings, and replicate them color by color. I thought why is this famous painting so famous if it’s easy to replicate.

I laugh now at my younger self.

I’ve grow to learn that famous painting are famous for reason – no matter how hard you try, you can’t replicate the genius. Instead, you learn to paint by trying to replicate a master’s strokes, color choices and style.

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I’ve been following Lulie Wallace for a little while now. Recently, she’s posted a collection called a Southern floral series that I am obsessed with, specially her painting of magnolias. So I took the afternoon to try to learn from a master.

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Again, it’s impossible to replicate the genius, but it was fun to attempt to capture its style. Plus, I get a beautiful painting to hang on my wall.

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Embroidered Hand Print Pillow

This project came out of a great collaboration. A friend named Amy recently connected with me on Facebook, asking if I had any ideas for a gift I could make for her mother. She wanted the gift to somehow involve her son and niece (her mother’s two grandchildren). I spent the morning brainstorming, and after a little back and forth on Facebook, we came up with the idea of embroidering the children’s handprints on a pillow.

I am so obsessed with this finished product.

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The first step required a lot of Amy since she had to trace her son’s hands. Apparently, he kept trying to grab the paper. Her sister did the same with her daughter. The traces weren’t technically perfect, but I loved the authenticity of them. It liked that it looked like we traced their hands directly onto the fabric.

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Amy and her sister sent me pictures of the kids’  hand prints on a 8.5 x 11 pieces of paper. Knowing the size of the paper, I tried my best to print the hand prints to scale. I cut them out, and traced them onto the fabric with a yellow pen. (It probably would have been better to use a pen with disappearing ink, but I didn’t have one at the time.) I then used black thread and embroidered on top of the yellow line.

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Since their hand prints were so tiny, I embroidered a few details to help fill in the space, like their names and the year. With everything stitched, I turned the two pieces of fabric in to a pillow.

I love when a customer order turns into a collaboration like this, with both sides bringing ideas to the table. Amy’s mother loved the pillow. But who wouldn’t love such an incredibly thoughtful gift!

My Farm-to-Table Birthday Dinner Party

The word that best describes the night is magical, and it really, really was.

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Last week, I turned 24, and to celebrate, I hosted a farm-to-table with a group of wonderful friends in my own backyard. It was the best birthday I’ve had in my adult life.

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My roommate Elizabeth and I have been talking about hosting a farm-to-table dinner for weeks. To serve a meal sourced exclusively from local ingredients. And then when my birthday entered the horizon, we decided it was the perfect occasion to turn our idea into reality. With the tables I had purchased for the Woodlawn Street Market, we turned our backyard into the most magical place on earth.

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We kept the decorations simple and embraced a mixed-matched theme. I had purchased the white tablecloths for the street market, and the burlap table runners came from my grandmother’s 80th birthday party. I have an assortment of cloth napkins that I had purchased from prop sales at work. And we used every chair in our house (plus a few from Elizabeth’s mom).

My dear friend Stephanie arranged the flowers using jars I had lying around the house. I love how elegant the simple arrangements look, using only sunflowers, spray roses and baby’s breath.

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I don’t know what this says about Elizabeth and I, but we had to borrow plates, knives and chairs to accommodate 16 people, yet we had more than enough wine glasses. We set out drinks and appetizers for when people arrived, keeping the main courses inside to avoid bugs. I made a yummy white wine sangria, my friend Leah brought rum to make Dark ‘n’ Stormys, and (since my mother always say you should have a yummy, nonalcoholic option) I had lemonade and cucumber-lemon water. And then several people brought a bottle of wine.

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As people arrived, we mingled on our back porch, and we have a nice stone patio at the base of the porch steps. To combat the bugs, we had tiki torches lit on the deck, and we set up a couple of these mosquito coils from Off. (We found ours at Target.) They worked great. Highly suggested.

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The food – oh the food – was so crazy good! I prepared a bbq pork shoulder from Morning Song Farm in the slow cooker. Elizabeth made cheese grits with McEwen & Sons grits. We also enjoyed potato and green bean salad, yellow squash casserole, feta and artichoke tarts and so much more!

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We ate, drank and talked for hours. It was spectacular. And then we ended the meal with a personal favorite: Edgar’s strawberry cake. Perfection! I couldn’t have asked for a better night with wonderful weather, delicious food and amazing friends. I vote this becomes an annual tradition.

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A huge thank you to Stephanie for taking these pictures throughout the night!

Woodlawn Street Market, Round 2

Love of Felt hit the streets once again at Woodlawn Street Market this spring. The market was a big success, thanks largely in part to my mother who drove over to Birmingham to spend the day with me.

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This time around, I actually made some investments. I purchased 6-foot long tables, table covers and baskets. I did some research online of other maker’s set ups. And I put some thought into where each item should be displayed. (Like one blog suggested placing your top selling items  closest to the aisle to better grab  the attention of a walker-by.)

I’m almost too embarrassed to post a link to my first market set up, but for the sake of learning from one’s mistakes, I’ll share. (Don’t judge too harshly.) I think it’s safe to say I’ve improved leaps and bounds at my second time at bat.

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Notes I made for next time:

  • Make a sign with the shop’s name to hang in the back. (This time around, I simply ran out of time. I wrote “Love of Felt” on one of my small chalk boards, but I think a bigger sign will make a huge difference.)
  • Use the back table to create a center of focus. Again, I think a sign will enhance this, but I may also purchase more crates to place on the back table to add different levels of height.

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Before this market, I spent a good amount of time seeking advice online. I really liked this post from Catshy Crafts. I took her advice about mocking up my display at home a few days before, and I’m so glad I did. It helped so much having a game plan going into the morning. Plus, it helped me realize details I was missing. I snapped a few pictures of the mock up to help me remember.

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Lettuce Turnip the Beet

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A friend recently gave me a card beautifully illustrated with a head of lettuce. It read, “Lettuce always be friends.” I laughed at this for an embarrassing amount of time. It then led to a Google search for “vegetable puns,” and my world was opened to the plethora of puns the world has to offer!

I then made this banner. My thought is that it can help decorate my display the next time Love of Felt goes to market. Who knows, I may even put it up for sale.

Lamb-Themed Sip & See

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Back in March, my mother and I had the honor of hosting a Sip & See for my sister-in-law Liz and Kate Lily, my niece. We initially planned to host a baby shower. But Kate decided to enter the world 6 weeks early, and plans changed. We chose to keep things simple. We picked a lamb theme (since they are Liz’s favorite), and made it an open house (meaning boys were invited too).

I first heard the term “Sip & See” recently at work. Editors here use the term as a type of meeting, like, “Call down to the test kitchen, and let’s set up a Sip & See before the photo shoot.” A little baffled, I finally asked someone what she meant. A co-worker explained that our office doesn’t use the term in the traditional sense. In reality, a Sip & See is a traditional Southern term for an open house or shower after a baby is born. Traditionally occurring soon after, the mother welcomes people over to her home to “sip” lemonade or punch and “see” the new baby.

(Note: I wish I took more pictures, but alas, I only have these few that I snapped before the party started.)

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So let’s start with dessert, shall we? We cleaned up the kitchen desk/workspace and set out brownie bits, sugar cookies and a classic buttermilk poundcake with buttermilk custard and mixed berries.

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I still can’t get over these lamb sugar cookies for a local Birmingham bakery called Icing on the Cookie. When I first ordered them, I’ll admit, I thought they would be too plain. But this order proves that simplicity can be adorable. They pressed nonpareilles into the icing to create a cool texture.

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We wanted to create a menu that would be delicious and approachable for both adults and kids since we knew a lot of people were bringing their little ones. So we kept it simple. We made ham & cheese sliders on Hawaiian sweet rolls, pimento cheese with crackers, a layered cornbread salad, and coleslaw. And since the weather was pretty cold the week leading up to the party, I made a Lemon Chicken soup that we placed in the crock pot so it stayed warm through the party. For drinks, I made raspberry lemonade punch, and we had sweet tea and coke products.

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My favorite detail of the party was the guest book I created with the help of Shutterfly.com. I received a promotion email randomly from World Market one day that offered a free 8 x 8 photo book from Shutterfly, so I created “Kate’s Alphabet Book.” Each page listed a letter or two, and I like the idea that each guest filled in a letter, maybe drew a picture and wrote a note. I laid the book out on a coffee table in the center of the room with  a bunch of markers and colored pencils. And I filled in the first page as an example (pictured above).

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The only downside to this idea is that not everyone got into it. It didn’t occur to me that not everyone would want to draw (such blasphemy). But the people who did sit down and participate produced adorable content. (The earwig for Kate’s Uncle Teddy was my favorite addition!)

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Luckily, Kate has a bunch of cousins who were happy to help me fill in any blank pages. Her cousins Faith and Charity contributed the most. We even had the littlest cousin Isaiah provide some doodles for the letter D.

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We also kept the decorations around the house simple. Mom taught me at an early age that a party is not complete without balloons. And I draped ribbon along the fireplace, hung a banner of onesies along the kitchen windows and placed stuffed toy lambs throughout the house.

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We used a lot of decor that we already owned. I had purchased these white candle holders from Ikea during Christmas. (And though I wanted to fill them with pink tulips, the store was out of them that day, and my dad purchased pink roses instead.) And you might remember the burlap table runner from my Grandma’s 80th birthday party back in December.

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We had the most spectacular weather on the day of the party, and with so many kids in attendance, most people spent the afternoon outside, snacking on the yummy food and watching the kids run around. But – being a newborn – Kate ended up sleeping through the entire thing! But it didn’t stop anyone from loving on her. I don’t think she was ever set down; she was simply passed from person to person.

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I mean, come on, she’s the cutest, right!