When I think back on my formative years, I have to give credit to my maternal grandmother for getting me interested in crafts. I remember my mother sewing and having other basic needlecraft skills, but my grandma was actually a "crafter". One of her favorite sayings was "Busy hands are happy hands". How true! I also subscribe to more ominous "Idle hands are the devil's workshop". One of my grandma's specialties was adorable little felt mice that were intended as bookmarks. You'd think I would have one on hand to photograph, but alas, I don't. I remember very clearly going into her bedroom where she kept her patterns and stacks of colorful felt that she used for her mice, and loving the colors she paired together to make them whimsical and fun. Someday I'll try to recreate the pattern she used for them and post the results on this blog.
This winter I kept my fingies busy making a plethora of flowers for brooches. I have seen a variety of flower embellishments being sold all over Etsy and in stores, and actually purchased two different e-patterns so I could learn how to make them. Let me show you the first type of flower, which gave me a chance to use up some piles of vintage fabric circles that came in an auction box lot of unfinished quilts. These are super easy and fun to make:
A lot of those flower brooches were made while I watched the winter Olympics. I usually like to keep my hands busy while "watching" TV, and I know a lot of women that do the same thing. I guess if your husband has control of the remote, you end up with background clatter half of the time and you might as well be productive. If you want to recreate these fabric flowers, visit Tip Junkie. You can find links to several flower embellishment tutorials that should satisfy your flower-making urges.
I've made many crafty projects using yoyos, but I've never actually made a yoyo from scratch. I happen to love the old fabrics, and always look for unfinished yoyo quilts that I can cut up for crafting. If you want to learn to make your own yoyos, they are really quite simple. Go to HelloMyNameisHeather for complete yoyo instructions.
I love putting together different colors and shapes of felt along with some of my vintage buttons to make another variety of embellishment. The examples below are still unfinished, however. I think they need some embroidered details to make them look complete, don't you? I might have to wait until the next Olympics to get these up to snuff:
Several weeks ago, I enrolled in a class at Jo-Ann Fabrics titled "Floral Embellishments for Teens". I was worried they wouldn't let me enroll in a class intended for teenagers, but as it turned out I was the only person in the class! I was lucky enough to have a one-on-one teacher for two hours. She taught me how to make these organza flowers using a heat tool to crinkle the petals. Extreme crafting fun! I added my own touches with feedsack fabric leaves and more vintage buttons. The technique of heating the petals is a little tricky, and it's not something I can describe in this post. I think it's best to have someone demonstrate it for you, and I'd recommend taking a class at Jo-Ann's to learn how.
If you would like to try a variation of the organza flower that uses a flame to burn the petal edges, I recommend checking out Calamity Kim's blog. She has a 10 Step Rose Program that teaches you how to make really fantastic roses using lace and sparkles and all sorts of great stuff! You can check out several other flower embellishment patterns on her blog too, just look for "Patterns by Calamity Kim" on her sidebar.
My last flower embellishment project involves tearing fabric strips and twisting and gluing or sewing them into spirals. I purchased an e-pattern to learn this technique, which is actually quite simple but surprisingly time-consuming. You can purchase the e-pattern for this, and another flower technique, at www.boppybeanies.etsy.com. Or try Alayne Studio, who fashions several of the rolled roses into a headband.
I hope my fabric and felt flowers inspire you to try something similar. Besides the obvious brooch-wearing possibilities, think of using them to embellish hats, book bags, or even prom dresses. The twisted fabric rosettes are often attached to a backing and made into "statement" necklaces. Whatever type of project you choose, you will have the added benefit of keeping your hands out of trouble!
Have fun creating,