Friday, November 29, 2013

Handmade Christmas Stockings

J & I gifted each other our Christmas stockings many years ago. So mine is purple velvet and his is this floppy hand-sewn red/red and white stars deal. They are both ridiculous and wonderful in their own ways. I've thought about replacing them with something new that matches and is better made. But I love them still, so at least one more Christmas of them.

But maybe you want to make yourself a new set of stockings? Here are a few tutorials to get you started.

Classic Cuffed Stocking from Positively SplendidPositively Splendid has a full tutorial and free printable pattern of these simple, straight-forward stockings. You could add lots of details or amazing fabric to really make these your own.


Woodland Animal Burlap Stockings from Martha StewartI got lost in the maze that is Martha Stewart's website looking at all of the options for stockings, not to mention holiday decor. Martha Stewart has tons of great ideas and beautifully styled photos, but the tutorials always seem to be missing all of the little details. So it's pretty much trial and error working with her patterns. But these look really straight-forward and easy to make. So if you're up for the adventure, they could be so cute!


Quilted Stocking from The Purl BeeThe Purl Bee is the opposite of Martha Stewart. They're tutorials are super long and detailed with tons of good pictures showing all the tricky parts. Which is good because this is a pretty intricate tutorial.


An Etsy Treasury of Christmas StockingsLast, but not least, I put together a treasury on Etsy of a whole slew of stockings I found. The top half are all patterns for sale (mostly instant downloads) and the bottom half are all stockings for purchase. I love those elf boot ones with the curly toes and I'm super impressed by the appliqued ones. Beautiful work all around!

All of the photos included in this post belong to their respective websites, except the screenshot of the etsy treasury, those images belong to the individual artists listed.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!

Turkeys on the roof

Hope you enjoy your day however you're celebrating.

P.S. Those are actual turkeys that use my parents' roof as a launch pad. It never fails to amuse me.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Happy Hanukkah

Star of David Holiday Card | Red Circle Crafts

Tomorrow is the first night of Haukkah. Every year J and I talk about getting/making a menorah to celebrate Hanukkah. I've never experienced it and while J's family did both Christmas and Hanukkah growing up, we tend to celebrate Winter Solstice/Christmas.

This year, I got as far as finding some cool menorah DIYs.

Modern Wooden Menorah

Painted Tree Branch Menorah

Glittery Plastic Animal Menorah

But yeah. Not happening. However I did make a few Hanukkah cards to send out to Jewish relatives. My Christmas cards are just about finished, but I wanted to mail these so they would be received in time for the holiday.

A sneak peak at some of the other sewn cards I made.

Holly Holiday Card | Red Circle Crafts

Heart & Star Holiday Cards | Red Circle Crafts

Friday, November 22, 2013

Crafting Holiday Gifts

Printable Gift Wrap from the Elli Blog
Did you read the post over on Crafty Pod about maximizing joy and reducing stress when making gifts? I kind of loved it.

I hate shopping at big box stores and it feels easier (in October) to make most of my gifts for everyone. But I always end up stressing in the middle of December trying to finish everything off to go in the mail so that it arrives in time.

Making lists helps me a lot. I'm a list maker. This year I started early (gasp) and I've been working on bits and pieces of gifts each week. Sometimes though I'm just not motivated to work on that project when I plan to though. So it helps to have my list to look at to see what else I could be working on.

I also think I'm going to go back over my list and see who may not be interested in receiving a handmade gift. Not everyone does. Or maybe even the projects that I'm not that excited about. The trick for me is to substitute them with purchases from places that I want to support like local small businesses and etsy shops. I'm planning to hit up a few places participating in Little Boxes the Friday or Saturday after Thanksgiving here in Portland.

In the last few years we've trimmed our gift list too. Just close family (with a few exceptions) get actual presents from us. Grandparents, other extended family we're close to, and some friends receive a card, ornament and/or cookies.

Note: The photo is from the Elli Blog and is some of my favorite free printable wrapping paper.

Thursday, November 21, 2013


Give Thanks | Log Place Holder Tutorial from Farm Fresh Therapy

I'm not feeling Thanksgiving this year. I was so excited for Halloween that when it was over I was ready to start thinking about Christmas. Partly it's because I decided not to go visit family in California for Thanksgiving and I think I'd already started getting excited for that.

The one aspect of Thanksgiving, besides all the food, that I like to give special attention to is gratitude. So even if I'm not going to see my family for Turkey Day, I will be spending the day with my chosen family here in Portland. So I'm going to be grateful. Grateful of all of the changes in my life right now and grateful that I'm surrounded by amazing people.

Thankful Craft Tutorials

Give Thanks Log Place Holder Tutorial | Farm Fresh Therapy

Gratitude Journal | Ever Kelly

Thankful Table Quilt | Jedi Craft Girl

Thankful Jar | Christine Trevino

All images in this post belong to the sites they are linked to.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Making Leaf Christmas Ornaments

Fall Leaf Christmas Ornament | Red Circle Crafts

One of my favorite parts of gift-giving is making ornaments to give to friends and family. I like to personalize them a little for each person, and I usually try to write the year on it somewhere. So I'm always on the look out for new ideas to try for ornaments.

I love the napkin rings that Design Mom created using plaster of paris and leaves from a tree. Following her instructions, I made little foil molds and added a piece of a plastic straw to the inside with hot glue in order to get a nice neat hole in the top of my piece.

Leaf Ornament Mold | Red Circle Crafts

While the finished product looks like a leaf changing colors, I used a leaf I'd just plucked from a neighborhood tree so that it was soft and pliable (and easier to take out of the plaster).

Leaf Christmas Ornament | Red Circle Crafts

Once it was painted, I added a red ribbon and it's ready to hang! Super easy and using mostly items I already had at home.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Kung Fu Theater

Hollywood Theater Marquee

I'm not a big Kung Fu buff, in fact I'm particularly unintelligible when I try to talk about Kung Fu Movies that I like. I can never remember actor's names or movie titles and some of them have a tendency to blend together in my brain after watching. But I love to watch them.

The Hollywood Theater (located strangely enough in the Hollywood Neighborhood in NE Portland) shows an older Kung Fu Movie every second Tuesday of the month. Which was this week. And I was there. Yes!

The Prodigal Son was amazing. I laughed when it was supposed to be funny; it had awesome kung fu; and best of all it had Sammo Hung. If you like older Hong Kong style kung fu movies, I totally recommend it.

Also I noticed that the Hollywood Theater is showing The Last Unicorn at the end of the month. I am totally going to that too.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Felt Fall Leaf Garland

Felt Fall Leaf Garland | Red Circle CraftsI am a big fan of garlands. You probably noticed. They're versatile and I can put them up high enough that my cats won't get into them. I also love flowers, but they are instantly eaten by the cats. I'm lucky that I haven't had to take them to the vet because of something they ate. So fake plant life, pretty much perfect for my home.

I saw a tutorial for a no-sew felt garland on Pam Garrison's Blog. It's bright, colorful, and looks easy. I followed her directions and looked up "oak leaves" on google images to use as templates. Since I went to all the effort, I'm providing you with the templates that I used here.

Felt Fall Leaf Garland | Red Circle Crafts

Once I began cutting out all of the leaves, I realized how big of project this really is. I mean, it's a lot of cutting. I used a a large-eyed needle and some goldish craft wire (it's pretty skinny) to string up the leaves. I think next time I'd make the leaves go in all different directions, but I still like the way this turned out.

Felt Fall Leaf Garland | Red Circle Crafts

I can't believe how different mine looks from the original, but I think it has a lot to do with the colors we chose. I dug through my stash of felt and used what I had, so the colors vary widely from the soft muted fall tones Pam Garrison used.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Christmas Card DIYs

I always have the best of intentions to make my own Christmas cards. And sometimes I do. But often I end up only mailing a few cards to close family because I only had time to put together or money to spend on a handful of cards.

This year I'm starting my good intentions a little early and may actually mail out a respectable number of cards. With that in mind, I'm concentrating on ideas that are on the simple side and can be reproduced easily.

Ornaments Card DIY from Creativity Prompt
Creativity Prompt has a video that details how to make these cards. I love the look of 3D images on cards.

Reindeer Postcard from Eat Drink Chic
These reindeer can also be used as gift tags or ornaments! Free printable is available on the Eat Drink Chic blog and a tutorial for putting them together.
Stitched Gift Cards from A Spoonful of Sugar Designs
A Spoonful of Sugar Designs has a quick and easy DIY for sewing fabric hearts and stars onto paper. Their simplicity is delightful.

A few other ideas I'm playing with are using stamps, embossing powder, and embroidering on paper.

Note: All photos in this post belong to the sites they are linked to.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Cleaning Up For Crafting

My Singer Sewing Machine

I sat down at my sewing machine today and noticed that it sounded off, meaning I probably hadn't cleaned and oiled it lately. I haven't been sewing as much in the past year as I used to and I've gotten out of the habit of cleaning and oiling my machine on a regular basis. I actually love taking it all apart, cleaning and putting it back together. It's very meditative and hits my need to break things down to its component parts very well.

While I was cleaning my machine it reminded me of a post at Coletterie that I had glanced at and moved past about sewing machine maintenance. Because I know it all, right? So I went back to check it out and at the very least remind myself of what I should be doing to care for my very well-loved machine.

While I generally clean up after myself when I'm crafting (a very small apartment + very curious cats = everything must be put away), I know that I'm sometimes careless with my equipment, especially the ones that don't get too messy, like scissors. What other tools should I be caring for better? What do you clean on a regular basis, just because you should?

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Giraffe Plate

Giraffe Plate | Red Circle Crafts

On the Three Little Monkeys blog I saw this amazing T-Rex plate and I knew I had to attempt to make it.

I tried so hard to find an octopus instead of a giraffe. I wanted more than anything to have an octopus plate. Besides the fact that the person I gifted this to is a marine biologist in-training, she just likes octopi. It was not to be though. After spending far more time than is healthy looking through plastic animals at all of the toy stores in town, I decided on this giraffe because it was sturdy and adorable.


With a little help from a saw, I carefully sliced the neck from the body. Turns out that this particular toy is solid plastic, not hollow, and difficult to cut with a hand saw. Who knew? I ended up using an exacto knife and some sand paper to make good surfaces to attach to the plate.

Attaching the giraffe

Unlike what the post on Three Little Monkeys shows, I chose to spray the giraffe separately from the plate so that the plate is still food safe. But that meant I had to be a little pickier about the plate I chose. After spray painting both the top and bottom halves with just off-white paint and another coat of clear, I glued (with E6000) it all together. It was not easy. And in fact I ended up knocking it around when it was not quite set and had to start all over. But the end product was certainly worth it.

Giraffe Plate | Red Circle Crafts

Friday, November 1, 2013

Goodbye October, Hello November!

Fall Photos of Portland

Halloween was crazy here. The party was a big hit. Though sometimes I think I have more fun putting together the decorations, menu, planning everything than I do at the party. The party was fun too though. I love an excuse to get all my friends together and laugh until someone almost sprays their drink all over themselves. The best.

Photos of my Halloween Party