23 December 2013

"Star of Bethlehem" Christmas Tree Ornament Mini Tutorial

Merry Christmas Eve-Eve!  

Today is the last of our Sew a Song of Christmas series.  I hope you've enjoyed it!  I've sure had fun teaming up with Kelli, Al, Stephanie, Megan, and Bethany to bring to you a bit of musical holiday craftiness. :)

Star of Bethlehem Christmas Tree Ornaments

For my last song, I chose "Shine for Me Again, Star of Bethlehem."  This song is about keeping the faith in the things you once knew, even though the long days and years make that difficult sometimes.    

Star of Bethlehem Green Christmas Tree Ornament

There is a line of the song that sums this idea up very nicely: "Do not despair—your star is still there."

It's nice to have that reminder hanging on the Christmas tree.

Star of Bethlehem Three Christmas Tree Ornaments

These stars, inspired by this pin, are so easy to make!  Boo made these with me last year, actually.

We used salt dough, but you could use any kind of clay you'd like--polymer clay, corn starch clay, whatever.

After rolling the dough out, we cut out the stars with cookie cutters and stamped the designs.  Rubber stamps, found objects—whatever you'd like could be used to make fun patterns.  I made these swirls with a sea shell!  :)  Don't forget to make a hole for running the ribbon.

After baking the clay, we made painted the stars and hung them with loops of ribbons.  Easy and done.  

They make nice little Christmas presents, too; my family all got ornaments last year.

Boo Holding the Star

Boo wanted to help me take the pictures.  Love her.

Merry Christmas!

20 December 2013

"Winter Wonderland" Vest Tutorial from Bethany of I Married Superman

I'm really excited about today's Sew a Song of Christmas project!  But first, allow me to introduce you to our final guest poster, Bethany, who blogs over at I Married Superman.  While I don't know Bethany in real life, I think we could totally be friends.  Her blog is so fun, I love the way she writes, and her projects are great.  Here, go read her About Me page, and you'll want to be friends, too.

Bethany sews a lot for her three adorable little kids, two of whom are approximately my children's ages, which makes her posts extra applicable and fun to read.  She posts lots of tutorials (like this cute baby cardigan!  It's really too bad I hate making ruffles...), and there's the free patterns (Hello, adorable sun hat!), and even totally boy-friendly projects (Captain America shorts!) which can be hard to find.  Maybe my nephew would like shorts like that.  

And now, on to today's tutorial!


I'm so excited to be a part of Jill's series!  Christmas songs are so fun and inspirational.  I'm listening to some as we speak {er....as I type, I should say} and it's makin' me feel so festive.....I feel some hot cocoa coming on!  ;)  

Today my song inspiration-take is on the classic, light-hearted Christmas carol, "Walkin' in a Winter Wonderland."  I have distinct memories of listening to Amy Grants version of the song as a kid.  No matter how many versions I hear, I always go back to that one.  Nostalgia.  :)  

Anyway, I happened to have all of this white/cream colored fur material that I received for free ninety-nine from my sisters neighbors grandma's attic.  I know. I'm all for telling funny, detailed stories, but I'll leave that one alone for today.  

Suffice it to say I had lots of fur material that I didn't know what to do with, so I thought "why not a cozy little vest for my little Lila Lou?"
We waited and waited to take pictures of Lila in this vest for a couple weeks.  Because we thought it would be fun to actually have a winter wonderland to take pictures in.  But no such luck. So I finally let Lila make her own "winter wonderland."
I must say, she really got into character with her tulle "snow."  I mean, check out the frolicking.  :)
A snugly abominable snowman-esqu vest is just the ticket for a winter wonderland walk, don'y ya think?  :)
To make one, all you need is fur material {or a cozy type of material if you're not into fur} and some type of soft fleece material to line the vest.
First get a shirt that fits your child and turn it inside out.  Then fold it in half like so:
Trace it out adding an inch onto each side {or two depending on how much you want the front pieces to overlap}.  You can trace out a front and a back, but I just used the same tracing with different neckline markings.
Using the upper neckline, cut your material on the fold for a back. Then using the lower neckline, cut two separate pieces for the front.
 So you'll have this:
 Do the same for the lining, so you'll have this:
You should have six pieces total.  Two front pieces and a back cut out of your fur material and two front pieces and a back cut out of your lining material.  

 Take the fur material and place right sides together and sew the shoulder seams.
 Do the same with the lining.
 Now sew down the side of the fur pieces.
 And your lining piece.  
 So you'll have two identical pieces just made out of different material.
 Turn your fur piece inside out and open it up.
Place your lining inside the fur vest {with right sides together}
 Sew along one side of the front, around the neckline and back down the front.
 If you flip it around, the vest should look like this:
To complete the armholes, fold the lining arm hole under towards the wrong side of the fabric and then fold the fur piece under in the same way.  Make sure that they align and so you can't see any raw edges.  Pin as you go.
And then sew around so it looks like this:
 Now do the same for the bottom. Fold each piece toward their respective "wrong sides" of fabric.  Pin
 and sew.
Close it up and you should be good to go build a snowman, and call him Parson Brown.  
Here's Lila building hers...putting on buttons
And sticking in a carrot nose.  
Thank goodness for imagination.  :)  Consequently, our forecast says we're in for a real wonderland tonight.  Wohoo!  
Thanks again for having me, Jill! 


Thank you, Bethany!  And isn't Lila so cute?

And in case you missed any of the posts in our series...
"I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas" Tulle Wreath
"O, Christmas Tree" Glitter Ball Ornaments
"What Child is This?" Mini Quilt {with free pattern}
"Blue Christmas" Simple Holiday Skirts
"Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer" Ornaments
"Joy to the World" Jar {with free printable}

Merry almost-Christmas, everyone!

18 December 2013

"Joy to the World" Jar {with Free Printable} by Megan from One Willis Family

It's almost Christmas; are you so excited?  We have family coming to visit in just a few more days, so we're really excited about that.  And the Christmas lights, choir programs, cookie makingit's a great time of year.

And we're almost done with the "Sew a Song of Christmas" series.  Today's project is by Megan, who blogs over at One Willis Family. She designs a lot of printables, some free, some for sale at her Etsy shop.  She also has tons of free digital scrapbooking paper packsI love this black and white pack!  I'm very happy to have Megan sharing with us today.


My choice of song for “Sew a song of Christmas” was Joy to the world:
If you remember all the lines, they are as follows:
Joy to the world! The Lord is come
Let earth receive her King!
Let every heart prepare Him room
And heaven and nature sing
And heaven and nature sing
And heaven, and heaven and nature sing
Joy to the world! the Savior reigns
Let their songs employ
While fields and floods
Rocks, hills and plains
Repeat the sounding joy
Repeat the sounding joy
Repeat, repeat the sounding joy
No more let sin and sorrow grow
Nor thorns infest the ground
He comes to make
His blessings flow
Far as the curse is found
Far as the curse is found
Far as, far as the curse is found
He rules the world with truth and grace
And makes the nations prove
The glories of His righteousness
And wonders of his love
And wonders of his love
And wonders and wonders of his love
How can one possibly capture the majesty of this song or really understand quite how joyful it is that our Lord has come. Each Christmas my family and I try to really celebrate the meaning of the season. We try to remember our savior’s birth, and life, and mission here on the earth. Although this can be difficult at times with the excitement over the presents there are little things we do each year to remind ourselves of Christ’s life. We read Christmas stories and I usually cry…of course, we read the nativity story in the scriptures; we give gifts, and the like. 
This year we have really been brainstorming how to gain more insight into the meaning and importance of our savior. 
Here is just one little thing we’ve done.

Joy to the World Jar with free printable

“Let Every Heart Prepare him Room” Jar

This is super easy to make. Just print out the jar wrap, cut around the edges, and tape it on.

Joy to the World Jar printable

Then you’ll want to make the paper curls. This is pretty easy too. You all know how to curl ribbon when wrapping a present so you’ll just that with the paper.
First take a strip of wrapping paper and fold hamburger style…then fold once more hotdog style. Then you’ll cut the edge off. 
Second you’ll want to cut strips. After you have a few strips you can curl it with the scissors. (The paper is more likely to tear so I go pretty slowly)

Joy to the World Jar—cutting the paper strips

After you have the papers curled there are two ways you can “prepare room in your heart”

Prepare Him Room Option 1
Think of things you can do this Christmas season that would help you be more open to the savoir and more likely to receive him.  You will write different ways to do so and put them in the jar. Then each day you will draw one out and either do the activity or prepare everything and set the date in which you will do it. (For example for things such as caroling you might need to plan things in advance to actually do it.)
Some examples might include:
Service Ideas (When I serve others I feel closer to my Savoir): 
Take treats to neighbors and friends
 Write personalized Christmas cards with your testimony in them, 
Visit the elderly or sick, 
Seek out opportunities to serve as they come, 
Saying a kind word to a spouse, 
Call up someone you haven’t talked to in a while,
Organize or participate in a caroling group
Pondering (Pondering the savoir is a great way to help my spirit feel closer to him)
Read and study the birth of Christ: Luke 2:1-20, Look at Cross references
Read Christmas stories
Write down all the blessing you have received in the last month. Think of ways you can bless the lives of others.
Start a spiritual journal where you write down impressions and promptings or your goals to come closer to the savoir. Keep writing in it.
Any other ideas or things you think would be beneficial to you and your family.

“Prepare him Room” Jar Option 2
In this option you won’t write on the curls until after you do something that brings you closer to the savior. You can watch yourself or if you are doing this as a family and you notice someone else doing something good and kind. When you see someone o yourself do something that opens their heart you write it down and put it in the jar. Then at a determined time such as Christmas eve or Christmas afternoon you pull out the jar and read everything.
It’s fun to watch the jar fill up and it helps us keep our focus on Jesus Christ.
Hope you enjoy

Finished Joy to the World Jar

Thanks, Megan!  That's a great idea; I think we'll be adding that to our family Christmas traditions.

Only two more posts in our Sew a Song of Christmas series!  Here's what we've done so far:
"I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas" Tulle Wreath
"O, Christmas Tree" Glitter Ball Ornaments
"What Child is This?" Mini Quilt
"Blue Christmas" Simple Holiday Skirts
"Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer" Ornaments

16 December 2013

"Away in a Manger" Sweet and Simple Nativity

Do you ever feel like Christ gets a little lost in the Christmas season?  I do.  So I wanted today's Sew a Song of Christmas project to remind us what Christmas is really about.

I did already make a wooden nativity set a couple years ago, but there's always room for another nativity set, right?   We will have fun playing with these cute little guys and teaching Boo and Daddy's Girl about when Christ was born.

"Away in a Manger" Sweet and Simple Nativity

This project was inspired by these adorable Princess Peg Dolls.  When I showed Boo this tutorial, she decided she wanted to paint a princess set.  So she did.  And they turned out really cute.  I'll have to show them to you later.
Wooden Peg People Nativity Set—Supplies

Besides the regular painting supplies, all you need for this project are eight wooden peg dolls.  I found mine at Hobby Lobby.  They come in packs of eight, so that worked out great!

These are the "Man" sized peg people; they also make "Boy" sized dolls, so you could make baby Jesus smaller than the others.  I didn't want Daddy's Girl to eat or lose the little baby Jesus, so I painted Him on Mary.  (The "Man" size are still a choking hazard, so be watchful if you have babies/toddlers.)

Wooden Peg People Nativity Set—Step 1

First, I painted their heads.  The nice thing about painting all the Nativity People at once is that by the time you've finished the last one, the first is dry already and you can go right to the next step.

Wooden Peg People Nativity Set—Paint Their Clothes

Then I painted their clothes.  I decided this was a "less is more" kind of project, and painted their clothes really simply.  

I painted Mary in her traditional blue.  Joseph is dark blue so he feels like he belongs with Mary.  The shepherds are grey to show their humble state in life. (I would have done brown, but I couldn't mix a nice color.)  The three kings are rich, jewel-toned colors.  And of course, the angel is white.

I feel like the nativity set is already identifiable, but that's probably just me.  Let's add a little something, while still keeping them simple.

Wooden Peg People Nativity Set—Mary and Joseph

Mary is holding baby Jesus and wearing the blue head covering.  I didn't know what to do for Joseph; most nativity sets I've seen have him holding a shepherd's crook, which doesn't make any sense at all for the carpenter that he is.

Wooden Peg People Nativity Set—Angel

 The angel gets a halo and wings.

Wooden Peg People Nativity Set—Shepherds

The shepherds get a shepherd's crook and a lamb.

Wooden Peg People Nativity Set—Three Kings, Wise Men

And the kings get crowns.  I thought about giving them gold, frankincense, and myrrh, but I went back to "less is more."

UPDATE:  I realized these guys should have a coat of clear polyurethane to protect them, but I haven't done that yet.

Wooden Peg People Nativity Set

I think this little nativity set turned out so cute.  :)  

 Merry Christmas, everybody!  Only nine more days!

Don't miss the other posts in our Sew a Song of Christmas series!
"I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas" Tulle Wreath
"O, Christmas Tree" Glitter Ball Ornaments
"What Child is This?" Mini Quilt
"Blue Christmas" Simple Holiday Skirts
"Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer" Ornaments
"Let It Snow" Mitten Ornaments

13 December 2013

"Let It Snow" Mitten Ornaments

As you already know, I have two nieces, Boo and Daddy's Girl.  You may not know that I also have a nephew, my brother's baby, "Bam". Boo knows better than to play with the Christmas tree ornaments, but the other two don't, so like just about every home with small children, Jill's Christmas tree is decorated with the breakable ornaments out of reach.

If you want some unbreakable ornaments (or just some cute ornaments that happen to be unbreakable), you can make yourself some of these.  When the weather outside is frightful, and the fire is so delightful, and if there's no place to go, make these felt mittens and Let It Snow.

"Let It Snow" Mitten Ornaments

These felt mittens would make a great kid's craft, too.  If the kids in your life aren't old enough to use scissors, you can cut things out, and they can still have fun glueing decorative felt bits on to their mittens.  You can use the template below, or design your own mitten shape.

Back Of Mitten

To attach the hanger, I sandwiched part of the wire between two pieces of felt, glued them together, and curled the end of the wire over the felt patch to make sure it wouldn't slide out.  I imagine you could avoid making a felt sandwich by simply attaching the wire with a blob of hot glue.  I don't own a hot glue gun, and so, used the felt sandwich.  For extra baby-friendliness,  you could swap the wire for a loop of ribbon.

Isn't felt wonderful?  It's fabric that you don't have to hem.  Too bad felt clothing isn't in style :)
What fun felt things have you made?

Have you seen the other posts in our Sew a Song of Christmas series?
"I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas" Tulle Wreath
"O, Christmas Tree" Glitter Ball Ornaments
"What Child is This?" Mini Quilt
"Blue Christmas" Simple Holiday Skirts
"Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer" Ornaments

11 December 2013

"Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" Ornaments (that Give You a Kiss)

Today's guest post is by my good friend Stephanie!  She's the talented photographer behind Pink Pearl Photography.  She also writes the blog Life as a Wife, where she posts about her crafting, cooking, and mommy adventures.  She also has great party and date ideas!  How cute is her Whoville Christmas Party?  Or her Clue Date?

Thanks for joining us today, Stephanie!

Growing up, I have memories of my mom make a bunch of ornaments for our themed tree. One of my favorites she made were these Reindeer ornaments
They were my favorite because she would hide chocolate Kisses inside 
This year I made some for my tree and some to give away. I love these little deer they fill me with Christmas memories from my childhood, and memories of my dear mother who always filled every holiday with cheer!
I used my mom's pattern but tried to put my own spin on them by adding some color...

for instructions on how to make this ornament click here.


Be sure to check out our previous Sew a Song of Christmas projects!