Clothing, Household, Organization, Closet, Cleaning

Felt Flower Bracelet

Back when Michelle was in high school, her and a group of her friends decided to have a "formal" girls night out. Most of the girls had boyfriends, but they decided it would be fun to get all dressed up, go to a lovely restaurant, and party WITHOUT boys. And, just 'cause, they decided to MAKE each other corsages or wrist corsages. The creations ranged from gaudy and outrageous, to tasteful and lovely. But it didn't matter, they all had a wonderful time, enjoyed wearing their corsages, and had an evening of memories they would never forget.

As I was making this Felt Flower Bracelet, I couldn't help remembering that night, and thinking how lovely one of these bracelets would have looked on the girls. Wouldn't it be different, lovely, and a permanent keepsake, to make a Felt Flower Bracelet for a special event? Of course, they would look just lovely too with a sundress or a tee and flip flops!

Using The Basic Felt Bracelet, these can be made for adults or children. The one in this tutorial was made to fit my wrist. When Pixie came over, she immediately made it her own, having us tie it on her upper arm, and calling it her Fairy Armband. Yep... it worked out great! Below are the directions on how I made this Felt Flower Bracelet BUT this is just a suggestion, and hopefully a starting point for your own personal creations.

wool felt
embroidery floss
Basic Felt Bracelet pattern
Flower Applique Block pattern - reduced 50%

Follow the directions for The Basic Felt Bracelet. When the two pieces and holes have been stitched together, you are ready to apply flowers.

IMPORTANT: Remember to reduce the Flower Applique Block 50%.

Cut out 3 petals, 3 flower centers and 6 leaves.

Position the flower petals on the bracelet, slightly overlapping the petals, leaving room for a leaf on either end. Place a flower center on top of each petal, and pin in place. Blanket stitch to flower centers to the petals AND the bracelet using 3 strands of floss. Note: You do not need to go all the way through the bracelet with each stitch, but you need to 3 or 4 times to insure the flower is securely fastened to the bracelet.

Using 6 strands of floss, stitch a French knot in the center of each flower.

For the 4 center leaves, tuck them in behind the leaf petals and stitch to the bracelet along the base of the leaf.

For the 2 end leaves, tuck the base under a petal, then using a running stitch, sew to the bracelet using 2 strands of floss.

Following the instructions on The Basic Felt Bracelet, add the ties.

Have fun wearing your new Felt Flower Bracelet!
Copyright © Wee Folk Art 2008 - 2011. All rights reserved.
All photos, text and patterns are copyright protected. You may not copy, reproduce or redistribute any material found on without written permission. Wee Folk Art retains all rights.

The Basic Felt Bracelet

We all have a collection of "basic" things. The "basic" black dress, the "basic" muffin recipe, and the "basic" sock pattern. These "basics" have proven to be dependable, familiar, and most importantly, adaptable. "Basics" can be altered slightly, tweaked and accessorized to create a different look or taste. "Basics" are the "tried and trues" that we return to again and again.

Today we are sharing directions on how to make a "basic" felt bracelet. Once you know how to make one, the possibilities for embellishing are endless. Given in 2 widths, with instructions for getting the perfect fit, we hope it becomes a "basic" that you return to over and over, a starting point, so to speak, for the creation of many lovely and fun bracelets! And with the sizing variations, it works for everyone in the family.

wool felt
embroidery floss

Make a copy of the pattern.

Decide which width you prefer and cut out the template.

Wrap the template around your wrist to get an idea of size. You want the two ends to be about 1/2" to 3/4" apart on your wrist. To size, fold along one of the lines, fold it back on itself to shorten the length of the bracelet. Use a paper clip to hold it in place. Try the bracelet template on again. Continue refolding until you get it sized properly. When you are satisfied with the fit. 

NOTE: Another way to get a proper fit is to measure your wrist, subtract 1/2" - 3/4" and measuring the template, cutting or folding it to the proper size. (My tape measure was upstairs when I was doing this so I used the first method :)

Using the "How to Cut Felt" tutorial found HERE, use the template to cut out 2 pieces of felt.

On the template, cut out the 2 holes, then position the template over the felt pieces, mark the holes, and cut out the holes using sharp, small scissors.

Pin or staple the felt pieces together and sew the 2 pieces of the bracelet together. You can either blanket stitch the edge using 3 strands of floss or sew a running stitch around the edge using 2 strands of floss.

Using a blanket stitch and 3 strands of floss, finish the edges of the 2 circles.

NOTE: If you are embroidering a design or sewing on appliques that do not extend beyond the stitching line of the bracelet, you can do that before you sew the 2 pieces together, hiding all threads.

To make the ties, cut 3 pieces of floss for each side. The length of the floss depends on whether you simply want to tie the bracelet on using a square knot or if you'd prefer to tie it on with a bow. You will need to cut the floss 12" to 24". If in doubt, choose the longer length then cut it to the desired length later.

To attach the floss to the holes, insert a crochet hook through the hole from the back. Fold 3 pieces of floss in half creating a loop and hook the floss at the loop.

Pull the loop through the hole, then slide the ends of the floss through the loop. Pull gently on the floss until the loop is snug against the bracelet.
Divide the floss into thirds (I did mine by color but you do not have to) and braid. Tie it off at the end. Try the bracelet on and determine the desired length of the ties. You may need to retie the braid and cut off extra braiding.

Your bracelet is now ready to embellish. Next time I will share directions for a flowered bracelet.
Copyright © Wee Folk Art 2008 - 2011. All rights reserved.
All photos, text and patterns are copyright protected. You may not copy, reproduce or redistribute any material found on without written permission. Wee Folk Art retains all rights.

Fluffing the House

A Table in Need of Fluffing!

A Table in need of Fluffing!

I am a functioning claustrophobic. Not only do I have trouble with tight places, I also have trouble with constrictive clothes, and God forbid if my ring gets stuck on my finger! But as I said, I am a FUNCTIONING claustrophobic, and I can usually avoid the situations that really set me off. When talking to a friend about it the other day, including possible origins, I shared this story with her that I had written for One Generation to Another March 4, 2008. The post was 1 part claustrophobia and 3 parts cleaning. Not only will it give you an insight into my phobias, it also shares my general philosophy on house cleaning. Hope it makes you smile :)  

When I was 7 years old I was “accidentally” locked in a closet. Actually, my older brother had a hand in it, but, hey, big brothers, right? Can’t live with them, can’t get out of the closet without them! Anyway, this event precipitated two unique outcomes…first, claustrophobia, and second, a life long aversion to housecleaning! The claustrophobia thing is a no brainer…trap a 7 year old in a 3 x 3 foot closet, crammed with snow gear for 4 children, assorted adult coats, extra grocery store bags, a vacuum cleaner, and, according to my brother, a vampire…then remove the knob so that your mom can’t even get you out, and the stage is set for a lifelong, debilitating disorder! The housecleaning thing is a little harder to understand. For those of you who know me, or have regularly read the blog, you know I have an acute sense of smell. While “calmly” waiting in the closet for the termination of my incarceration, yeah, right…the one smell that permeated the air was the musty odor of an engorged vacuum cleaner bag. You know the smell I’m talking about, right? It’s not exactly a bad smell, kinda like little kids socks at the end of the day, but not one you want forever associated with fear! Anyway, every time I smell a vacuum cleaner, my palms get sweaty, my heart races and I feel light headed. I can’t help associating it with the 3 days I spent in that closet…okay, so my mom said it was only half and hour…time enough to find someone in the neighbor with tools and the knowledge of how to pop hinge pins…but long enough to generate a repugnance for any activity associated with using a vacuum. Yeah, yeah, I know, there are other ways to “clean” besides using a vacuum, but that’s my story, uh, more like my excuse, and I’m sticking to it!

To make matters worse, my mom is some kind of household whiz. Next to her I feel like a genetic mutation! I can never, ever remember our house being messy. She had that Stepford Wife ability of maintaining a home that was a showplace, despite the fact that she was raising 4 children, while smiling! (I’ve always secretly hoped she was doing some illegal drugs that gave her super human strength and Pollyanna optimism! It would make my comparable ineptness much easier to endure!) Anyway, she insisted that we kept our things “picked up and put away”, and was in a constant state of “straightening up”. (I was always afraid when I got up to use the bathroom in the middle of the night that I’d return to a made bed!) When I was growing up, if you had snapped “before and after” cleaning pictures of our house, they would have looked remarkably alike. The only tell tale signs that the house was just cleaned was the new vacuum cleaner marks on the carpet and the renewed scent of Pine-Sol! I, on the other hand, especially when the kids were young, would start my cleaning by bringing in the snow shovel and forging a path down the middle of the room. When I cleaned, you would walk in and say, “Wow, I forgot there was wall to wall carpeting in this room!” It would not be greatly exaggerating my disposition to say I really dislike cleaning…even “loathing” may not be a hyperbole, however, I certainly appreciate and desire a clean house…a complex dichotomy that has been the bane of my existence!

After many years and numerous embarrassing situations with unexpected visitors, I finally stumbled upon a housekeeping system that seemed to work for me. I would “regularly” clean my house…my litmus test for knowing when to clean was when the kids began naming the fuzzy things that were growing in the shower…but allow the day-to-day mess to give our house, what I affectionately refer to as a “lived in” look. I was comfortable with the house if it remained just 30 minutes away from being “company ready”. If I got a phone call from someone saying they wanted to stop by, I could say, “Sure, just give me half an hour.” In half an hour I could FLUFF the house. Fluffing a house is totally different than cleaning a house. Fluffing involves no direct cleaning…it is picking up, throwing things in closets (actually, that’s not true…I usually kept my closets very organized…you never know when you might find yourself stuck in one…) putting pillows back on the couch, raking toys into a corner, and loading breakfast dishes into the dishwasher. (Okay, and sometimes last night’s dinner dishes, too!) It’s stacking the magazines and newspapers in a pile…my discussion of “piles” will be addressed another day…and it’s plugging in the “tart warmer”, if it wasn’t going already. Stick a pot of coffee on during this condensed housekeeping foray, and ta-dah…the house looked surprisingly presentable! The word “fluff” became a part of our family’s esoteric vernacular. I could say, “Hey, guys, we need to fluff,” and everyone took their stations. In a mad dash we ran around, fluffing and folding, stashing and storing…but in a short time the house felt organized and comfortable. I found it was much easier to get the kids involved in “fluffing” than cleaning. And, when the house was fluffed, it made it easier and faster when it was time to pull out, gulp, the vacuum, and actually clean.

In a perfect world I’d have a housekeeper who’d clean for me. Actually, there were brief moments in my life when I did, but I found you still needed to “fluff” between cleanings. I also found, with occasional “fluffings”, I could postpone full fledged cleaning, which, to my way of thinking, is highly desirable! And, although I find it mind boggling, I know that there are people out there who actually enjoy cleaning! I am envious and stand in awe of them given the fact that through early childhood trauma or some chromosome deficiency, cleaning has always been a challenge for me. Over the years “fluffing” has become a way of life. No, I’d never win an award for cleanest house, and if you look closely, even after a good “fluffing” you’ll still notice vagabond fur balls and a fugitive Lego here and there, but for the most part, a quality fluff is appropriate for most situations!

We all seem to have definite feelings about housecleaning, and these feelings are often emotionally charged. Perhaps, as a teenager of the “60s”, my avoidance of housecleaning is a latent rebellious commentary to my mother’s values. Perhaps it was the closet…or perhaps I’m just lazy! How would you classify your housekeeping dogma? Are you a fanatic, a slob, or content with mediocrity?

Bandana Fit For Man or Beast

Here are the Pup Birthday Bandannas promised earlier in the week. BUT these aren't just for pups. A bandanna is a bandanna whether wrapped around your doggie's neck or for keeping the hair out your eyes!

Truly, the hardest part of making this bandanna is deciding on the size. Here is the standard sizes when purchasing bandanna's for dogs.

Dog Sizes
14" - small
18" - medium
22" - large
26" - extra large

Our dogs are 34 pounds. They are considered medium dogs. I made 17" bandannas and they fit perfect.

Another technique is to take the measurement of their neck (or your head) and add 6". My pup's necks are 11". Adding 6" to the 11" is 17". My finished bandannas have 17" sides.

To be on the safe side I suggest you could cut a square from muslin or rag to make sure it fits.

Also, if making a bandanna for a human head, and you would like to use elastic in the back instead of a bulking tie, read over the directions for our Handkerchief Bandanna found HERE.

Light to medium weight cotton fabric cut into 3" strips (I had a stack left over from a quilting project... YAY!) I used 3 different colors for each bandanna.
Light to medium gray sewing thread. HINT: When sewing different colorings together in a project, using a gray thread seams to blend the best with most colors and is the least visible.

Cut your strips 2" larger than the finished size you want. I wanted 17" bandannas so I cut my strips 19". The number of strips can vary depending on the size you are making. I needed 9 strips for my pup's bandannas.

Sew the long side of all the strips together using 1/2" seam allowance. 

Press seams. NOTE: When piecing for a quilt top, which is basically what you are doing, it is a good idea to iron your seams to one side INSTEAD of ironing open. This makes the seams sturdier and less likely to come apart.

Trim the piece so it is 1" larger than the desired end size. I wanted 17" bandannas. I need an 18" square. So I need to cut approximately 1/2" off all sides. When sewing strips together, the ends can become uneven. By making it slightly bigger and then cutting it down to size, you ensure that your edges are even and your corners are perfect 90 degree angles. Make sure you cut a little away from all 4 sides so all sides are even.

If you plan to embroider or applique something to the bandanna that will be permanent, now is the time to do it. This way all stitching will be hidden in the bandanna. When placing an applique or embroider on the front of the bandanna, remember there will be a 1/2" seam allowance all the way around. (Because I am changing the number on the bandanna each year, I am waiting until I'm done to apply the applique.)

Fold the bandanna in half diagonally, with right sides together. (Making a triangle.) Pin in place.

Sew the 2 unfinished sides together using a 1/2" seam allowance. Leave an opening (3 fingers wide) in the middle of one side.

Trim the three corners to remove bulk. Be careful not to cut too close to the stitching line.

Turn right side out.

Press flat.

Slip stitch the opening closed using a ladder stitch found in Stitch Glossary.

If adding a temporary applique, sew it on now using a running stitch. To find the right location for placement, fold the bandanna in half and "finger press" the fold, making a slight fold line. Place the applique centered on the fold, about 1" from the sides. The Bone Number Appliques can be found HERE.

Your bandanna is now ready to adorn your favorite canine friend!
Copyright © Wee Folk Art 2008 - 2010. All rights reserved.
All photos, text and patterns are copyright protected. You may not copy, reproduce or redistribute any material found on without written permission. Wee Folk Art retains all rights.

First Impressions

Several years ago Michelle encouraged me to start a blog. Actually, encouraged is a very nice way of saying she was hounding me to start writing. "Mom, I know you'll love it. It will get you writing on a regular basis, and besides, I want you to write stories about us growing up so they aren't forgotten, and we can share them with our children." That was how my original blog One Generation to Another was started. And BTW, thank you Michelle. As always, you were right. I have LOVED blogging :) ANYWAY... with all the household projects we are both busy with right now, it reminded me of this blog... MY VERY FIRST blog entry ever! First published October of 2007. Hope you enjoy and have a lovely weekend!  

When you opened the front door of our house, you stepped into the foyer. To the right was our living room, which I always TRIED to keep company ready, (okay, frequently the overflow from the rest of the house osmosed into it) a hallway that lead to the kitchen, and the stairs that lead to our bedrooms.

One morning I had a scathingly brilliant idea. (By the way, my life is littered with almost as many scathingly brilliant mistakes!) I decided to remove the wall-to-wall carpeting that ran up the stairs and into the hallway. There was a rational thought process involved here. Since cleaning is not high on my list of favorite pastimes, and vacuuming the stairs involved precariously balancing the vacuum cleaner while I tried to clean the 13 steps, it seldom was done. The corners of the steps became low rent housing for domestic spiders, carelessly dropped “O”s, and vintage dust. The plan: remove the carpeting allowing me to simply sweep the steps whenever necessary, and tah-dah, efficiency in housekeeping. (My parents didn’t waste money on MY home economics degree!)

Okay, I wasn’t imagining anything quite as grand as the stairway in Gone with the Wind, but I was more than a little surprised at what I did discover. After cutting the carpet away, and giving a mighty pull, I was staring down at what I realized was construction grade stairs. It was painfully apparent that these steps were never meant to be viewed and the obvious intent was to keep them well hidden under wall-to-wall carpeting. The stairs were made of bonfire worthy wood. You could see the footprints of construction workers that must have made a point of stepping in all sorts of gooey substances before walking up and down the steps, thus leaving their mark for posterity, which rivaled the opulence of Grauman's Chinese Theatre. And, surprisingly, at least to me, very little thought was given to precise measurements…obviously stair building is an “ish” thing. I could see my basement through gaping cracks, tack less installation strips were firmly attached to each step, and gobs of hardened, aforementioned, gooey substances poxed the surface. General housekeeping note: Once you cut and rip carpeting off your steps, you can never put it back and expect it to look like anything other than a haphazardly laid drop cloth…kinda the same premise as refolding a map. Since the cost of recarpeting the stairs wouldn’t be in our budget, for, say, hmmmm, months, if not years, I had to think fast.

Fortunately, I’ve always been a rather make-do-with decorator so I rolled up my sleeves, gave an exasperated sigh, but was sufficiently delusional to be optimistic. It did take the rest of the day to remove the tack less installation strips and scrap off the larger gobs of stuff that I thought might actually trip us. With demolition complete I began to think about what I wanted to do with the stairs. That evening when my husband came home from work, I was in the kitchen cooking. He always wore shoes with hard heels, and I realized as he ascended the stairs that they had become bongo drums, amplifying each step he took. Probably as a penance for my impulsiveness, for the next several years, I was awaken each and every morning to the sound of those shoes hitting those stairs, mocking me, as if to say, dumb, dumb, dumb, dumb, dumb. To his credit he said nothing about this new household development, which I think said more about the frequency of these types of decorating debacles than personal restraint on his part.

The next morning, with a vision firmly fashioned, I was good to go. I painted the risers of the stairs the same cream color I had throughout my house and then the steps my comfy colonial blue. I did need to install some moldings to close off the gaps to the basement, but all-in-all, it turned out to be a relatively simple project. I was quite pleased with the results, although when standing back and looking at the steps, I did feel that something was missing. Another idea! Thank God I have a million of them. I asked myself, what do I want my foyer to say to people? We’re talking first impressions here. I wanted my foyer to say, “Welcome, come on in, relax, stay awhile, and make yourself at home”. How to do that? I simply stenciled the word “Welcome” on the riser of every step. I tried stenciling every other step but you kinda got the feeling some of the steps were being antisocial, so I stenciled them all.

The effect was perfect. When someone came over, not only were they greeted by a friendly face, they were extended a personal welcome from the house. Frequently, when my children’s friends came over, I’d listen to them read the stairs out loud, using a rhythmic head bob, “Welcome, welcome, welcome, welcome, welcome”, and they were!

Your foyer is your house’s first impression. What does yours say? Look around your entry. Does it say “welcome” to visitors? What can you do that will make people feel comfortable and welcome?

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