Ruby Star Wrap-Along

Today I’m excited to be part of the Ruby Star Wrap-Along to celebrate the new book Ruby Star Wrapping from the sweet and talented duo of Melody Miller and Allison Tannery. Melody made the projects and Allison wrote the text, then Melody’s husband took the photos and Allison’s husband did the layout. Those are some seriously talented couples! The book features simple and creative ideas for gift packaging, many projects using re-purposed materials or items you may have on-hand. With 30 project ideas plus variations, this book will inspire you to put that extra time into making a gift look special.

I chose to do the felt ball theme, because I haven’t done any felting in a while, and I wanted to try it again. Now, it’s much easier to buy felt balls. I recently bought some nice ones from this Etsy seller and plan to turn them into garland. But you can also make them!

This is a very good video that will guide you through the wet felting process, but truthfully, it took me about 10 minutes to make each ball and unless you enjoy pruning up your hands in hot soapy water, you might prefer to just buy them! I do think wet felting is a fun project for a craft night or a project to do with kids (wearing rubber gloves). You just need wool roving, hot soapy water and elbow grease. You can see my first couple of attempts over on A Happy Stitch, where I wrote a post for Melissa’s Fail Friday about craft failures, or as I call them — experiments. Anyway, I don’t know how my friend Laura has the patience for felting.

So…now you’ve made (or bought) the felt balls. What to do with them? Melody has some great ideas for garland and gift packaging. I had some medium gauge wire on hand, so I tried the lollipop bouquet (pictured in the two photos from Melody’s book below).

Once I’d made a little grouping of three, I walked around the house looking for something to attach them to and found our wreath. They would look really sweet as “berries” tucked into a wreath.

But then I saw that they looked a bit like balloons too and my older daughter is crazy about doll stuff, so I sneaked a Calico Critter out of her room and took this photo. I tucked the wire under and wrapped tape around it so the ends wouldn’t be sharp. Oh, I wish I could just make miniature doll things all day long.

Be sure to post your own projects from Ruby Star Wrapping in the flickr pool here and if you don’t have the book, go get it! Here’s the full wrap-along tour schedule:

11.7.12 – Anna of noodlehead

11.9.12 Amanda of A Crafty Fox

11.12.12 – Elizabeth of Oh, Fransson!

11.14.12 – Brooke of Pitter Putter Stitch

11.16.12 – Erin of Two More Seconds

11.19.12  – Jennifer of BettyCrockerAss

11.21.12 – Rochelle of Lucky Lucille

11.23.12 – Sukie of Sukie – don’t you know who I am?

11.26.12 – Elizabeth of Don’t Call Me Betsy

11.28.12 – Gina and crew of Bolt Neighborhood

11.30.12 – Ellen of the Long Thread

12.3.12 – Katie of Swim, Bike Quilt

12.5.12 Faith of Fresh Lemon Quilts

12.7.12 Lee of Freshly Pieced

12.10.12 Maureen of Maureen Cracknell Handmade

12.12.12 Sara of Sew Sweetness

12.14.12 Colleen of The Busy Bean

12.17.12 Amy of Diary of a Quilter

12.19.12 Monica of Happy Zombie

Indie Craft Experience

I’ve signed up to exhibit at the Indie Craft Experience in a couple of weeks and will be sharing a booth with my friend Laura of Felt Jar. We thought it would be fun, but we must have forgotten that doing a craft fair is tons of work. I’ll be selling pouches like the ones below, bags, scarves and a few kids’ items. Laura will have ornaments (as shown below), acorns, and her adorable little owls.

So if you live near Atlanta, mark your calendar for November 17-18! You can find the hours and location here.


Felted Birdhouse Workshop

Betz White let me know about her felted bird workshop and I thought it was something that might interest many of you. During the two weeks of April 4-15, Betz will be hosting an online workshop to make this adorable felted bird and birdhouse from recycled materials.

She’ll be using a combination of downloadable .pdf patterns and a dedicated blog where you can ask questions and share ideas on your own schedule. So Betz will be available to guide you through every step of the process. The course is $25 and you’ll learn multiple techniques, ending up with a lovely spring project. If you can’t be around for the two weeks of the project, you can enroll and pick up the instructions later. No sewing machine required and it looks like a great project for a beginner or more advanced sewer. Sounds like fun! You can register here.

Studio Amano

My friend Trisha has an Etsy shop! I like to persuade (annoy, pester, badger) my talented friends to sell their wares on Etsy. So here’s Trisha’s shop, Studio Amano. Trisha taught our daughter in preschool six years ago and she’s been babysitting and helping us out ever since.

And Trisha likes to knit. I mean she loves to knit. She is a yarn hoarder-deluxe (and she could totally surround herself in yarn like this woman). So help her get rid of that yarn and buy one of her lovely fuzzy bowls. It takes her about three hours to knit each one from wool yarn; then she felts them in warm water. If you’re not familiar with the process, it’s pretty much what happens when you accidentally wash a wool sweater.

I still have these on my table. And if you want to learn more about what crazy things Trisha is doing with fiber lately, you can follow her new blog here.

felt jar

My friend Laura has just opened a new Etsy shop called felt jar, featuring her wonderful, whimsical felted things. Her items are all 100% wool that have been either needle or wet-felted. Right now in her shop you can find owls, ladybugs, ornaments, acorns, pincushions, gnomes and other felted treasures.

If you’re not familiar with needle felting, it’s a labor-intensive process that involves painstakingly shaping and punching wool roving with a sharp needle hundreds (maybe thousands) of times to create dense felt shapes. Wet felting involves immersing the felt into hot water and forming shapes by molding it with your hands. Felting isn’t easy and it’s even harder on your hands.

Laura is also the photographer for my upcoming book for Chronicle Books, which explains why her photographs are so beautiful. You’d better hurry over and take a look now before her shop is sold out!