Gnome-tastic Tutorial and Whimsy Kit Giveaway!

If you love gnomes and woodland sewing projects please check out my newest book Stitched Whimsy. In honor of National Craft Month I'm giving away two of my new Whimsy Stitching Kits. They include everything you need to make your very own stitched felt creation.

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Thai String Dolls Tutorial

I still have so many projects to share with you from my summer workshop series, but I'm skipping this gem to the top of the line up. Our young adult librarian had suggested making Thai String Dolls, and after a little research I realized that it could be an accessible and popular project. I had a blast making these dolls with a half dozen great teens.

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French Mirrors a la Modge Podge

Teens will always keep you guessing... I knew this mirror project was going to be a hit with my DIY Friday library group. What I didn't realize is how much teens love collage and working with Modge Podge. It was the best project yet, everyone was relaxed, creatively engaged and in the end tremendously proud of their mirrors.

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Don't worry, be happy! How to make your own Guatemalan worry doll

Worry dolls are an ingenious Guatemalan craft that help ease troubles of parents and children who are working together to cope with stress associated with sickness and poverty. The idea is to make a likeness of the child and place it under their pillow at night. The belief is that the doll will take away the worry or sickness as they sleep. Like a dream catcher the act of making the craft is soothing.

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Flower Crowns for May Day!

Happiness is watching children joyously dancing around the May pole. A symbolic ritual that chases away cold winter winds and welcomes springs blooming flowers and trees. As the mom of a kindergartner this was our first time celebrating May day at our local elementary school. 

Learn how I made these easy crowns made from lightweight garland!

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Tweet Sachet tutorial

The woods surrounding our Maine home are covered in a dense quilt of snow. The early mornings are especially quiet, if it wasn't for the sounds of the woodpeckers and chickadees I'd be convinced that the whole world was sleeping. The last few morning robins have covered our crab apple tree filling their bellies with fruit. I'm hoping these red breasted birds are a harbinger of warmer temperatures and birdsong to come.

Just after the holidays a local patron had asked me to make a couple of the bird sachets that I had stocked over the holiday fair season. She was willing to wait until I'd wrapped up the copy and illustrations for my latest book 'Stitched Whimsy'. I finally delivered the finished sachets this morning, just in time for her to mail them as Valentine gifts. I took photographs while I made them so I could share the instructions with you.

You'll need scraps of muslin and cotton. Use a cutting mat, clear rule and rotary cutter to cut a 7 1/4" x 4 3/4" rectangle of muslin for the front and the same sized printed cotton for the back. While you're set up go ahead and cut multiples. When you're in stamping mode you'll be happy to have a stack of muslin ready for printing.

Cover your work surface and mix up Simple Spray (Duncan) fabric paint with brown acrylic paint. I find the loose liquid of the simple spray dilutes acrylic and helps the fabric absorb the paint. Brush the mixed paint onto the fabric stamp. I purchased this gorgeous hand carved wood stamp from Nest, its a fair trade product that is also available online at Connected. Match your brushstrokes to the form of the stamp. I started at the head and worked my way down the body increasing the length of the stroke on the wings and tail.

I found that laying the fabric over the painted stamp works better than conventional stamping. Rub your fingers over the entire surface of the fabric covered stamp. If you prefer to press the stamp down onto the fabric, layer a folded old towel under the muslin. The padding will allow you to press down on the stamp and push more paint into the muslin. 

Allow the printed fabric to dry before continuing.

Placing right sides together pin the printed muslin to the printed fabric backing.

Align the outside edge with your presser foot and machine stitch around the outside of the sachet. Leave a one inch opening to turn the sachet right side out.

Trim away any excess fabric and clip the corners.

Turn  the sachet right side out, using a stuffing stick or knitting needle to push out the corners. 

Pour a cup of dried herbs into the opening. I used a 1/2 cup each of Balsam and Lavender over the holidays. I filled this new batch sachets with a cup of lavender. It's time for me to place a new order at San Francisco Herb Co. and experiment with spring and summer scents. Tuck the raw edges of the opening into the sachet so it matches the seamed edges on either side. Instead of hand stitching the opening closed I machine stitch a second top stitched seam around the edge of the stuffed sachet. The opening will be stitched closed in this seam.

Hand stitch cut felt leaves and wooden beads by the foot of the bird. You'll be happy that you cut and stamped extra birds, this sweet sachet makes a great gift. It's too pretty to hide in a drawer enjoy it out in the open until spring arrives. If you're not in the mood to whip a sewing project I'll be stocking these sachets in my brand new Etsy Store.