Free Holiday Project: Felt Envelopes

December 21, 2010, 12:34 pm  Posted by Lark

No matter how hard you try to think of the perfect handmade something, sometimes a gift card is the answer. But you can still give with handmade style! These super-simple-to-make felt envelopes, using Cathy Gaubert’s too cute candy cane appliques (from Fa La La La Felt), are perfect for last-minute hand sewing on the road. Find out how to make them after the jump.

Want to see riffs on other designs from the book? Check out our flickr group!

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Free Holiday Project: Gingerbread House

December 20, 2010, 11:27 am  Posted by needlearts

Tis the Season

Gingerbread House Ornament by Laura Howard

We have a tasty little free project for you today from Fa La La La Felt and fun designer, Laura Howard. This stitched felt ornament is the cutest mini-gingerbread house this side of the North Pole. Warning: As yummy as it looks, don’t eat the felt!

We asked Laura if she has any treasured handmade holiday items and here’s what she said:

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Free Project from “30-Minute Necklaces”

December 17, 2010, 20:27 pm  Posted by Lark

Every Friday evening, I post a set of free project instructions.

Quick! What can you do in 30 minutes? Bake fresh biscuits from scratch. Learn a new dance routine. Wash and groom your pooch, making him even cuter than before.

Or if you’re like jewelry designer Mimi Cheung,  you can make a necklace that features the sweetest cloud-shaped charms. Get a PDF of the instructions for Mimi’s  adorable necklace by clicking here. The project is one of 60 very cool designs from Lark’s recent release, 30-Minute Necklaces.


Needlearts Video Roundup: Holiday Projects

December 17, 2010, 16:45 pm  Posted by needlearts

It’s time for a needlearts holiday project roundup! I’ve searched far and wide on the webernets to bring you seven cool how-to videos that are sure to get you into the spirit of crafting. This post has crochet, quilting, sewing, needle felting, and knitting projects. I tried to find something fun for all of our needlearts fans, so I hope you like them! Click the images to visit the videos (or video series) and be sure to check the end of the post for links to find more inspiration from the crafty creators of these videos. Vote in our poll, too!

Art of Crochet by Teresa: How to Make a Crochet Candy Cane – Happy Holidays

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Free Project Friday—Funky Felt Ornaments

December 17, 2010, 11:08 am  Posted by needlearts

felt ornaments hanging on treefree project logo

Are all you busy little elves dreaming of what you’ll make from the felt in our fa-la-la-la fabulous giveaway? Well, here’s one more freebie project that’s absolutely perfect for your felt scraps.

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Christmas-garumi Ornament Round-Up

December 16, 2010, 17:08 pm  Posted by Craft Your Life Team

vickiehowellEvery year around this time, work starts to settle down for a few minutes–long enough for me to get the hankerin’ to do a little Christmas crafting for my own home and family. This year, I’ve been in the amigurumi ornament mood (hence, the Amigurumi-tree I recently posted on my blog) so I’ve been trolling the interwebs, spying what are my 10 favorite crocheted ornament finds for the season. I thought I’d share what I found with you. Hooky Holidays!

Amigurum-tree Ornament

Angel, Santa & Snowman (from Sugar ‘n Cream)

Christmas Bear (fromCurly Girl Crochet)

Rory the Reindeer (from Roxycraft)

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How to make a PRETZEL log home!

December 16, 2010, 10:51 am  Posted by Lark
Cabin made out of pretzels

My pretzel cabin with a graham cracker roof and vanilla wafer windows

I LOVE the idea of gingerbread houses, but I don’t really like the reality of rolling out stiff dough, dealing with a flour-covered kitchen or cursing at crumbling soft gingerbread walls. So as I was sharing these thoughts with my best friend, Tera, she said, “You should make a pretzel log home! It looks really cool and you’d just stack the pretzels and use graham crackers as the roof!” Tera’s so smart. Everyone should have a go-to friend like her. (She made my red velvet wedding cake, too.) Anyway, she forwarded me a recipe online that I used, and I’ll share my experiences in case you want to try this recipe.

Side view of pretzel log home

The side of my cabin shows my marshmallow snowman, icecream cone tree and chocolate sugar wafer chimney.

First off, this is a PERFECT recipe to make with friends and/or family as a weekend project. The recipe says it’ll take you an hour and 40 minutes. Yeah. If you’re Martha Stewart or have some sort of crazy cake show on the Discovery Channel it might. So dedicate a weekend to this since time is spent waiting on parts of the pretzel house to dry.

1. INGREDIENT TIME: Basically, I bought a big tub of pretzel rods (for the walls), a package of vanilla and chocolate wafers (for the doors and windows) and a box of graham crackers (for the roof)  at Aldi (it’s cheaper for this stuff). Then at the regular grocery store I got 2 small packages of Meringue Mix (each has about 6 tablespoons) you can find near the spices. I already had the green food coloring and powdered sugar. This is important: Buy enough for TWO BATCHES of icing (12 cups of powered sugar)- the online recipe doesn’t make enough for gluing and decorating. (Then you can buy whatever candies you want to decorate with- pecans for shingles or peppermints, etc.)

2. GET MESSY: First, you’re going to make a mess making the icing. (Make one batch at a time- two total) But it makes the PERFECT glue. Mix it first with a spoon to wet the powdered sugar and meringue mix. When you’re done, keep a wet paper towel over the icing bowl when you’re not working with it. (it’ll dry out otherwise). The recipe is confusing about how to stack the pretzel rods: make the first square of the walls flush against the ground (aluminum-covered foil) with one of the ends of each pretzel rod jutting-out a 1/2-inch and the other end pushed against the other pretzel. Then ALTERNATE the rods so the ends LOOK like a Lincoln-log cabin. Use the pictures for reference.
-I used my fingers to apply the icing between the pretzels because applying it with an icing bag was actually TOO messy. Also, once you glue together your graham cracker pieces together and ice them, WAIT so they harden together before trying to move them to place them on top of the cabin. And when you do, use cans or corn starch boxes to prop up the roof before it dries.

Close-up of pretzel cabin

Adding the icicles was my favorite part of decorating the graham cracker roof.

3. DECORATE IT! This is the fun part. Get a small icing tip or cut the corner of a plastic bag and fill with icing to pipe icicles off the roof and to make trees, use sugar cones, turn them upside-down and pipe green icing onto them. (I bought the peppermint tree at Aldi.) For “snow”- I just sprinkled powdered sugar over the whole deal.

4. SHOW IT OFF! I was really lucky to have nothing break or fall during the construction, so I took many pictures of my cabin before it gets picked-at/eaten. (I even eventually added 2 figurines I coated in chocolate to the front porch of Scarlett O’Hara and Rhett Butler.)

If you want to try this or have any questions, post a comment and I’ll try to help! HAPPY HOLIDAYS!


Falalala Felt: The Big Giveaway

December 15, 2010, 09:32 am  Posted by needlearts

It’s the holidays. What better time to go a little over the top? We’ve been in felt overload mode ourselves. And now we’re going big with three giveaways! That’s right, we’ve got three packages ready to go. Each one filled with felt and felt goodies from our friends at National Nonwovens. Every package contains:

-At least four yards of felt in various colors from National Nonwovens. There’s a green pack, a blue pack, and a brown pack. As a bonus, many of the colors included are pretty rare shades you won’t find in most craft stores.

-A National Nonwovens calendar and set of swatch cards. What better way to keep inspired and keep felting through the new year?

-A copy of Fa La La La Felt. You didn’t think we’d give you all this felt without a book of projects, did you?

To enter for a chance to win one package, leave a comment on this post by 11 p.m. EST on December 20th. Any post will do, but we’d love to hear about what you’re making for gifts—with or without felt! Three winners will be selected at random and announced on December 21st. Click here for the official rules: http://www.larkcrafts.com/uncategorized/sweepstakesrules/ We have our winners–congratulations to woolensails, kris, and cakefortwo! And a big, big thanks to everyone who shared what they’re making for the holidays. There is so much creativity below, and so many good ideas–from entire felt stockings to felt eggs and bacon to felt candy cane gift toppers!

Oh, and in case you missed our posts with other felt projects, here’s some helpful links:

-Tis the Season to be Crafty: Amanda shares a stocking.

-Free Project Friday: The Green Bag edition.


Etsy Favs

December 15, 2010, 07:00 am  Posted by Lark

Why should Santa get all the attention? It seems that soon after the new school year starts, stores begin decorating for the Christmas season and Santa is front and center. Sure you see the occasional elf or angel, but Santa is always represented in full force. So I’d like to dedicate my Etsy Fav selection to an unsung hero—the reindeer. If you think about it, without the gentle reindeer, who would pull Mr. Claus around the world on Christmas Eve? The logistics are mind-boggling. They must make more stops in that one whirlwind night than UPS does all year.

paper reindeer

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[Stacie Hooder is the fantastic jewelry making editor for Craft Gossip at http://jewelrymaking.craftgossip.com, and she abounds in the holiday spirit! Stacie generously agreed to share her secrets for making salt-dough jewelry with holiday style.]

North Little Rock, ArkansasEach year when it starts to turn frosty outside, I love to turn on my oven and bake. The warmth from the oven and good smells make me reminisce about holidays spent in my grandma’s kitchen.

Since I love to eat cookies and other baked confections, I’ve found an alternative to expanding my waistline each winter — baking salt dough. For several years I’ve made salt-dough holiday ornaments for my friends and coworkers. Not only are these ornaments inexpensive to make, it’s tons of fun to gather your friends and have a day of crafting, since everyone needs a few little gifts and stocking stuffers to complete their holiday gift list.

Salt dough ornaments are perfect because you won’t break the bank to make them, and yet each one can be personalized to become a cherished object to the dear ones on your list.

This year I’ve done something a little different. Instead of making holiday trimmings for the home, I’ve added findings to make holiday jewelry adornment for you!

Take a look at the tutorial below to learn how to craft some wearable holiday cheer all your own. And while you’re here, leave a comment by 9 p.m. EST on Monday, December 20, to enter for a chance to win the snowman earrings pictured above! One winner will be selected at random and announced on Wednesday, December 22. Click through for the official rules.

You’ll need:

  • Salt dough
  • Head pins (or wire to make your own loops)
  • Paints and brushes
  • Varnish (I prefer spray varnish since it’s easier to use)
  • Earring findings or jump rings to form a pendant
  • Assorted beads
  • Embellishments

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