Crocheted birdie ornament

Although I should be working on Christmas presents, instead I’ve been in the mood to make Christmas ornaments.  Hence the half-eaten gingerbread boy, and I also started working on this little crocheted birdie decoration from Attic24.  I can’t wait to see how she turns out!  I just love the pattern and her little additions of the flower hanger and things.  I haven’t crocheted in awhile, and needed my friend to hold my hand a little bit, but then it came back to me.

Attic24 crochet birdie ornament

If you haven’t seen Lucy’s Attic24 blog before, definitely check it out.  Her work is gorgeous!  I love the colors that she uses and combines.  Her summer garden granny square blanket is high on my list of things to try.

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“Not my gumdrop buttons….”

Gingerbread boy ornament

Gingerbread boy ornament

I recently ran across this pattern/tutorial on Elsie Marley’s site for a half-eaten gingerbread boy ornament, and I had to make it!  He’s so adorable!  It’s an interesting technique to sew the front cut piece onto a rectangular back piece, and then cut the back piece into the correct shape after sewing.  Worked very well.  My only hint on making this would be to stuff it a little bit when you are halfway around instead of waiting until the end.  I had a hard time getting stuffing into the far arm and leg, and it would have been easier if I had stuffed as I went along.  I also used a backstitch to embroider the year on the back of the piece.  I can’t wait to hang him on my tree when we put it up in a few weeks!

Gingerbread boy has already been a hit with J

Already being played with by J

I need to learn to knit

So I can make these absolutely adorable gnomes by Alan Dart.

Montessori holiday buttoning activity – Turkey-Lurkey

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Laura over at My Montessori Journey posted the cutest felt turkey last year that she made into a practical life buttoning activity for her class.  Well, I saw it last year and marked it, but then it got lost in my legions of crafting bookmarks.  Well, thankfully she recently re-posted it and J’s teacher saw it and forwarded it to me!  I worked on it last night while watching HP Order of the Phoenix (have to brush up before the DVD release of Half-Blood Prince next month – already on pre-order, yes, I’m one of those people), and then finished it up this morning before taking J to school.  We were a few minutes late, but I think his teacher forgave us when she saw the turkey!  And we were thankfully there in time for J to respond with a chipper “Bonjour!” when she called his name at circle, although he was still at his cubby putting on his inside shoes.

It’s made of wool and wool-blend felt that I had in my stash.  I hand-sewed on the facial features with a basic running stitch and just used whatever buttons I had on hand that were approximately the same size (so the kids could put the feathers on in any order).  I made it with two layers of felt for the turkey body, and the feathers.  So I sewed those together with my machine.  It would have been nice to hand sew those, but that would have taken considerably longer and this is just as durable and nice.  Especially considering it’s an activity that will only be out on the shelf for a few weeks a year.  The feet are just one piece of felt, and I made sure to go over them twice with my sewing machine just to make sure they wouldn’t get loose.  Hmm….I probably should have used brown thread in my machine.  Oh well!

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It turned out great and I really can’t emphasize enough the difference it makes when you use wool and wool-blend felts.  It’s so much nicer than using acrylic felt.  It just has a better textural quality, both in terms of working with the materials, and using them.  100% wool felt is pretty expensive, but the wool felt blends that you can buy at places like Prairie Point Junction and Felt-o-Rama are also quite nice.  The green and red feathers are actually scraps from my advent calendar from last year.  I keep every minute bit of wool felt scraps, LOL!  The black eyes are some tiny scraps of recycled wool sweater (felted in my washing machine).

Felt advent calendar

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Last year, I went crazy with this awesome hand embroidered/appliqued advent calendar.  I’m so excited to pull it out this year.  It starts on December 1, so if you want to make one, you’d better start now!  You can see my posts related to the advent calendar from last year, here.  Or you can see close-ups of each individual pocket on Flickr, here.

I’m currently working on my list of things that I’m going to put into the pockets.  The items generally fell into three categories.

1) Small toys/candy/items that fit into the pocket.

2) Notes that told the kids that we’d be doing something special that day, “Go pick out our Christmas tree!”

3) Notes that took the kids on a scavenger hunt through the house for an item that was too large to fit into the pocket.

I’ll keep you updated on my list!  My first step is pulling out my list from last year and starting from there.