A DIY Christmas Ornament? Made By ME?
I love making crafts. I’ve always loved to walk the aisles at Michael’s, imagining the amazing wreath I would make, or painted birdhouse. Or perfectly iced cake.
The problem is crafts don’t really love me. And by that, I mean, have you ever perused the #pinterestfail hashtag? Or the tv show Nailed It? Let’s just say they both hit home for me.
My craft skills peaked in high school. I made some kick-a$$ friendship bracelets back then – like complicated patterned bracelets. I was quite proud of my skills. But those skills topped out in high school. They just never really progressed.
I do know my strengths. And my weaknesses.
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I’m not a complete crafting disaster. I’m a solid needleworker. I love to knit and cross-stitch. However, I will never, ever be able to make a career of it. And I’ll only occasionally complete something that I’m comfortable giving as a gift. Or displaying.
But I’ll always love attempting to craft. And every once in a while an idea comes my way that I can’t resist trying.
And this time it came in the form of one of my dear high school friends, Clara Batton (or CB, as we call her).
CB was super creative even when we were teens, so it was not at all a surprise that she pursued a career in the arts.
After college, she designed costumes for Chicago Children’s Theatre, Northwestern University, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and various film companies.
She has shown her mixed media pieces in Illinois, New York, California, Florida and Melbourne, Australia. To include with the Chicago Artists’ Collective – and she’s been featured in the House of Blues Hotel.
CB’s illustrations can be seen in Short and Scary (published by Black Dog Books), Pocketful Illustration Magazine, Imagination Cafe, and Guardian Angel Kids online magazine.
She has also illustrated two books for Guardian Angel Publishing: Midsummer Dance by Bill Kirk and My Sister is My Best Friend by Nicole Weaver. Elliott & Anastacia is the first book that she has both written and illustrated.
She lives in Melbourne, Australia with her fabulous Australian husband, Matt, and their two kids.
CB is now selling her amazing designs in the form of felt ornaments and other creations. She’s got an Etsy shop called Elliots Playground. You should definitely check it out.
She’s got a ton of amazing patterns and ornaments. And they ain’t your mama’s felt designs. There’s even a Demogorgon! Which so completely impresses me that I feel I must share it with you. Isn’t this neat?
Anyway, CB got in touch with me recently to tell me about her business and to see if I was interested in a collaboration. Which I immediately was.
So we settled on the idea of making a Christmas ornament out of my logo. AND to have me, the wanna-be crafter, use her pattern to try to make the ornament myself. AND even better? We are giving the pattern away to my readers FOR FREE!
This project has been a total win-win for me. Almost all of the ornaments on our tree have a special meaning. And the one I made is now extra special.
Because it was designed by an old friend. Because I actually managed to put together a great looking ornament. And because it represents this great business I’ve grown.
Putting Together The Ornament
First things first, I had to buy the supplies. I found everything on Amazon and with Amazon Prime was able to get my materials quickly (which, please if you don’t have, sign up. It is SO worth it). Once they arrived, I was ready to get started. You can also find all of this stuff at your local Michael’s or craft store. None of the materials are super-specialized or hard to come by.
I bought a large multi-colored package of 8″ x 8″ felt squares. It is way more than you need, but is enough that if you wanted to, you could make several birds out of each square. And still have lots to spare for a ton of other crafts with all the different colors it comes with.
For embroidery thread, instead of buying individual colors, you can buy a pack like this one – as with the felt squares, it will be more than you need. But if you want to do projects in the future, it can come in handy.
Make Your Pattern
I printed out the pattern pieces on regular white paper and, just as it called for, cut them out. In retrospect, I might have thought to use a thicker paper stock so the pieces weren’t quite as flimsy. This would especially come in handy if you’re going to make multiple ornaments.
But yes, cutting out shapes is literally the only step involved in making your pattern. Easy start, right?
Cut Out the Felt Pieces
I then used the paper patterns to cut out the felt pieces that would make up the bird.
A word to the wise (or at least the non-scissor-coordinated, like me): You might want to use a straight pin to affix the pattern pieces to the felt while you cut.
I didn’t on my first try and they slid around so my poor first felt hummingbird shape looked more like a pelican.
But I did get the hang of it and ended up with the right shape.
Also, yes you can totally play around with the colors. But if you want a bird with the colors in the pattern, pay attention to the pieces you cut. I cut an entire bird body in the wrong color before realizing and then I had to start over with the right color.
Yep. This was entirely user error, NOT pattern error. I want to emphasize – the pattern is truly clear and easy to understand.
Let’s remember this one thing about me that I’ve already told you. I love crafting but I simply don’t possess the abilities to ever make a career of it.
Sew The Pieces Together
The pattern shows you pretty much exactly how to sew the ornament together so that you get the cute stitches that make it look like patchwork. I still can’t get over how well it turned out!
Insert The Stuffing
I want to preface this by telling you that you need a minuscule amount of stuffing for these ornaments. Like maybe a handful? Truly it’s not that much.
Lemme tell you. The 16-ounce bag of stuffing I bought will enable me to make approximately nine hundred thousand hummingbird ornaments. Turns out that 16 ounces is actually a lot of stuffing.
The stuffing is fairly inexpensive but I don’t think it comes in smaller sizes (or maybe I wasn’t paying attention to the amount I was ordering. That’s also highly possible.). Anyway, I now have enough stuffing for all kinds of crafts (and craft fails, let’s be honest).
The pattern talks you through stuffing the bird and then attaching the silver thread so you can hang it. But like the colors of the bird, you could also decide to use a different color thread. Like gold. Or really any other color that complements the colors of bird you’re making.
The Final Product
Not gonna lie. I like this little bird on our tree!!
I would give this little craft project an A+, hands down. And I’m only slightly biased towards the pattern creator. But seriously. Any fails I had were pretty solely the result of my inability to follow clear instructions. And I thought it turned out pretty darn well.
It really was an amazingly simple project to complete. I was able to do it in front of the TV with a glass of wine. And before I knew it, I had a gorgeous felt patchwork hummingbird. I really couldn’t believe it.
I’m so happy CB and I were able to bring you this fun project. And by CB and I, I really mean CB – let’s face it, she’s the creative brains of the operation. I love that she’s able to not only draw out an amazing project but write instructions clear enough that someone like me can do it.
And repeat after me: if I can do it, YOU CAN DO IT.
I hope you’ll check out CB’s Etsy store and all of her amazing creations. Her designs are so inspired and original!
So if you’re looking for a last-minute Christmas gift, Valentine’s Day gift (come on guys, I’d love to see you put this together for your ladies), or Mother’s Day present, you should pick up these supplies and try something new!!
If you try this, comment below and send me pictures of your efforts. I’d love to see how yours go!