The Kim Christmas Ornament

Today I started a new ornament which I designed for my friend Kim. She is planning to have her own Christmas tree this year using her favorite “girlie” ornaments. I wanted to make her something feminine and pretty. I scoured Pinterest for ideas and decided on the shape and idea for embroidered flowers. Though I’m not finished, here is a photo of where I left off.


Since I think I would use this shape in the future, I decided to make a plastic template rather than just using tracing paper. My process is to sketch out my shape on graph paper. Next I use a Sharpie around the outline so I can see it through the tracing paper or plastic.

As for the plastic I use for templates, you can purchase clear Template Plastic sheets (12″ x 18″) for about $3.50 at Joann Fabrics. You can also purchase plastic sheets with graph paper squares printed on them. However, my go-to template material is something I purchase at Staples. I use Avery’s durable write-on poly dividers.

These are much cheaper than the sheets I’ve found at Joann Fabrics. They come with five sheets (8.5″ x 11″) for about $4.29. The sheets are different colors. They are not clear, but sharpie lines are easy to see through them.

Next, after tracing the outline of the ornament on the plastic and cutting it out, I put a couple of pieces of double-sided tape on the back of the template and pressed it on the piece of pink felt I chose for the base of the ornament.


I also made a template of the top piece of the ornament. Following the same procedure as I used above, I made the template and cut out a piece of gray felt.

I use the craft felt at joann fabrics, Walmart and Michaels. It costs less than $.50 for a sheet (8″ x 11″). Depending on the size of your ornament, you can make several ornaments from a single sheet and they cost next to nothing.

For this project, I decided the stitch a couple of lines across the top piece. I used an outline stitch with two strands of embroidery floss. I used the running stitch to secure re gray top piece to the pink base. After making he two lines, I used an appliqué stitch to secure the bottom of the gray top piece to the pink base. I like to applique my large pieces so they are secure. It makes the finished piece more durable. In this piece, I chose not to applique the top or sides, because I will do so when I put the back on later.

Next, I went to my scraps of felt and freehand cut out several small green leaves, three hot pink circles and two daisies. I didn’t applique these small pieces. Instead I used one strand of green floss to see a leaf vein on each leaf which secured each leaf. I sewed a tiny bead on the flowers which I used to secure the flowers. Finally, using 2 strands of blue embroidery floss and a running stitch I made curlicues.

I’ll finish the embroidery tomorrow. I’m thinking of personalizing this with Kim’s name. What do you think? Leave your ideas in the comments. Thanks for your help.


Tools of the Trade: Part I

Today, as I get closer to drafting instructions for my first felt Christmas ornament, I realized there are several tools you will need. Here are some of my favorites:

(1) Micro-Tip® Softgrip® Scissors (No. 5)

Micro-Tip® Softgrip® Scissors (No. 5)

These are the scissors I can’t live without. There may be fancier and more expensive scissors on the market, but I LOVE these scissors. They are my all-time favorite scissors. They are perfect for small jobs and the pointed tip make cutting out intricate patterns a breeze. They are lightweight but you can feel the quality in every slice. They are perfect for cutting out felt pieces. Check them out here.

2. A pair of 8″ Fabric Shears.

Here, I don’t have a favorite. I presently use a pair of Fiskars which are adequate – they get the job done. But unlike the Micro-Tips I mentioned above, I don’t get the same warm and fuzzy feeling when I use these. In fact, I have yet to find a pair of 8″ shears that I love.

3. Embroidery Needles

I like the Dritz brand needles available here. They are sizes 3/9 so you get a  variety which allows you yo use more strands of embroidery floss when necessary. I chose them originally because they claim to be “European quality”. My package says made in the Czech Republic. In fact, these needles don’t bend as easily as cheaper brands and I haven’t broken one yet.

Stay tuned for additional tools you will need to make a felt Christmas Ornament.

Here We Go…

It is amazing how challenging it is to simply START this process. Second guessing every word that comes to mind and doubting that I can do this the RIGHT way. So, instead of listening to that voice creating doubt in my mind, I am just jumping right in…and allowing myself to end  a sentence with a preposition.

Ah, easier said than done. What is this about anyway? well, this blog is how I am going to document the steps I take to publish a book, start a website and start my business designing patterns and whatever places the process leads me to. (another preposition, yikes!)

That said, I sit here trying to decide what should come first. I have been researching a little bit of everything as a way to get started. So, perhaps a list of my favorite websites and blogs is a good place to start: I adore this site… It makes me feel vaguely jealous, because it’s a site I would love to produce. The ideas, the tools, the stuff! Another site I covet. The owners of this site sent their child to the same nurserty school that I sent my children. I’ve been jealous ever since I learned that they had a success business selling fabrics i love. When I returned to the site today, I realized that now Hawthorne Threads designs their own, adorable line of fabric. Oh my goodness! I want to do this!!! Kim Werker is who I want to be when i grow up! Let her inspire you to make something ugly. I love this site for several reasons: (1) it’s owned by a woman (2) who lives locally (3) who has made herself a successful business (4) selling beautiful and unique fabrics. What is there not to love?

Next, I need to start writing the instructions for my patterns. The plan, (1) design ornaments; (2) write the instructions; (3) sew prototypes; (4) photograph my steps; (5) blog it; and (6) send on to my partner in crime for pattern checking. (7) Repeat.

For today, I am off to start the first (actually, the second pattern. I have already made one pattern and it was a failure) original ornament. – Just choosing the pattern to try is daunting. I have several ideas sketched, but doubts are creeping in… for instance, should they all be circles? Are the square ugly? Can this be done? Yes, and I’ll start with the square…..I’m off.