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Monthly Archive for December, 2010

It’s Nutcracker Season


When I asked Laura Lee Burch, author of Sew Magical for Baby (reviewed in Living Crafts Fall 10 issue) and Sew Magical for Kids (reviewed in the current Winter 2011 issue), to design a needle felted doll with moving limbs, she immediately came up with the idea of a Nutcracker, which I loved, of course. Having seen her website, and adoring everything in it, including her logo I knew it was going to be good, and it was! When I met her Nutcracker, I immediately fell in love with how warm and cushy and beautiful he was.   We found our Clara model in New York, and asked April Cornell to send her a petticoat as her nightgown. I absolutely love these petticoats, which come in both White and Ecru. They used to come both in long sleeve, and sleeveless, but now they only carry them in long sleeve. I wish every mother would buy (or sew) them for their girls, and make them wear it until they go to college!

Laura Lee Burch
Laura Lee Burch Logo

Here is a peek at the nutcracker Laura Lee Burch designed exclusively for Living Crafts in the current Winter 2011 issue:

Living Crafts Nutcracker
He has moving limbs and it is easy to make with basic needle felting skills.  You can make him in a mini size as an ornament for your tree, or for your children’s dolls as gifts! 

Nutcracker Doll

But recently I discovered a mini felt nutcracker online designed by Hillary Lang, the author of Wee Wonderfuls, another book reviewed in the Fall 2010 issue of Living Crafts:

Felt Nutcracker

Hillary has designed her own Clara doll, and Nutcracker, and I thought you might enjoy the tutorial. Her nutcracker, like Laura Lee’s can be made into an ornament in a smaller scale. Here’s her tutorial for the Nutcracker. Be sure to download the pattern for all the pieces you need to make the “basic” doll into a nutcracker.  Also check out how she curls her Clara’s hair. It is a great technique for using on other dolls you make.

Clara Doll Hair


Posted by Living Crafts on Dec 21, 2010 12:41 PM | 3 Comments

Greta Garbo Hat

Greta Garbo Hats

This hat tutorial from annekata is so smart and easy to make. It’s a great project for recycling too.

Posted by Living Crafts on Dec 20, 2010 10:12 PM | No Comments

Gnome Giveaway


This adorable Ore Gnome made by Christine Schreier of The Puppenstube is valued at $40 and she has marked it Sold on her website since he is all packed up and ready to travel and live in his new home.

To buy one of these gnomes click here. If you want to make one, the pattern for this gnome, lovingly contributed by Christine, can be found in our Fall 2010 issue.  Important Note:  The Puppenstube sells the accessories needed to make this gnome, including the shoes, etc.

GnomesGnome photo shoot for the Fall 2010!

To enter drawing, leave a comment here. Comments are closed tomorrow, Tuesday, December 21st, 8 p.m. EST. The winner is announced Wednesday morning.

Posted by Living Crafts on Dec 20, 2010 09:16 AM | 175 Comments

Teapot Ornament

by Patricia Kessler

Ornament Teapot

One of our most popular articles, has been the Ornament Exchange article in the Winter 2010 issue of Living Crafts. We had so many beautiful projects as a result, that not all of them could fit in the printed magazine. After the printed issue came out we were able to also offer four of them on our Craft Room as free patterns. They are still there and you can click here and scroll down to upload them.

Ornament Box

One of my favorites, is this adorable teapot, which can be used both as an ornament, or for your child’s play:

Symbol: Teapot represents Friendship

In Patricia’s words: “The teapot is a symbol of warmth, friendship, relaxation and tranquility—one cannot prepare and drink tea quickly! The blue embroidery motif on the teapot was inspired by Dutch pottery designs and happily reminds me of the four years I spent living in the Netherlands. The teapot can be completed by someone with intermediate hand-sewing skills. You may sew the lid on completely, or sew only on one side so that you have a hinged lid to allow someone to enjoy finding tiny treasures hidden within!”


1 Piece of cream or white felt, 20 cm x 30 cm
Small amount of wool stuffing
Cream embroidery thread to match felt
Blue embroidery thread
Embroidery needle
1 Blue bead

Teapot Pattern Download

NOTE: Keep the construction stitches very small. The construction stitches should be secondary to the overall shape of the teapot and to the blue embroidery stitching.

Transfer all patterns to felt and cut out all of the teapot parts. Cut six teapot panels, two handles, two spouts, one bottom piece, and one of each of the lid pieces.

Pattern Pieces

Sew the two handle pieces together with a small overcast stitch. Sew the two spout pieces together with a small overcast stitch, leaving a small space for stuffing. Stuff with a tiny piece of wool stuffing. This is done easily by wrapping wool stuffing around a toothpick, then sliding the wool-covered toothpick into the spout and inserting the stuffing.


Form a slight cone shape from the teapot lid top section and sew seam with overcast stitch. Sew a small blue bead to the tip of the teapot top with blue thread, hiding the knots on the underside. Sew bottom piece of lid to top piece, leaving a small space for stuffing. Stuff the teapot lid slightly and sew closed.

Using the embroidery pattern, embroider two panels with blue thread, using French knots, straight stitch, and back stitches.

Position the finished teapot spout between two blank panels and sew the panels together, with the spout sandwiched in at the edge, using a small overcast stitch. When you come to the spout, use tiny straight stitches, then continue with the overcast stitch.

Position the finished teapot handle between two blank panels and sew the panels together, with the handle sandwiched in at the edges, using a small overcast stitch. When you come to each section of the handle, use tiny straight stitches, then continue with the overcast stitch.


Using a small overcast stitch, sew the six panels together one after another to form a cylinder shape. Place the embroidered panels between the two finished spout and handle sections. You will now have a cylinder shape, open at both ends. Be careful to sew them in the proper order.


Stuff this shape with plenty of wool to make a firm teapot body. Carefully sew the bottom of the teapot onto the body. Add more stuffing if needed. You may also wish to add some scented items to your teapot such as a crushed cinnamon stick, lavender, mint, etc.


Stitch the finished teapot lid onto the body with a few stitches on either side of the lid.

Stitch finished teapot

Finished ornaments

Posted by Living Crafts on Dec 20, 2010 07:53 AM | 16 Comments

Good Toys Bad Toys

This is a great discussion on toys by Touch the Future.

You’ll read two interviews on Good Toys – Bad Toys. The first on open-ended toys is with Jane Krejci, a grandmother, early childhood educator and former consultant to Brio Toys, USA. The second is with Dr. Toy … Stevanne Auerbach, Ph.D., an educator and author of Smart Play – Smart Toys, How to Raise a Child with a High PQ. We all know about IQ – the Intelligence Quotient. In Stevanna’s book she describes PQ, the Play Quotient: a child’s capacity to play which is actually related to intelligence. The more a species plays the greater their intelligence. A child’s play quotient depends on the parent’s ability to be playful. (I am now feeling bad about all those times I was not playful!)

I’d love to hear from you on your thoughts about it, and how it relates to your family.



Posted by Living Crafts on Dec 19, 2010 05:32 AM | No Comments

Dyeing Wool Felt with Kool Aid

Hand-dyed felt by Fiona
This tutorial has great step-by-step instructions and resources. Great gift idea too for craftsy friends.

Variegated felt is what I use most when I’m working with felt. Some people call this fairy felt which sounds much better than variegated.

Stay tuned for a step-by-step tutorial from Fiona on how to make your own prefelt!

Posted by Living Crafts on Dec 18, 2010 09:18 PM | No Comments

Country Fair Fabric

Urbane County Fair fabric

This is even better than London Bridge!

This Japanese cotton fabric is called Urbane Country Fair and can be found in Britex Fabrics second floor.

If I had time, I would make a long skirt with it. How about you? Wonder who the manufacturer is.

Posted by Living Crafts on Dec 18, 2010 09:13 PM | 3 Comments

Wee Folk Art – The Mitten

The lovely folks at the Wee Folk Art are giving away 5 years of Living Crafts magazine starting today! The giveaway includes 3 years of back issues, along with a 2-year subscription which starts with the current Winter 2011 issue, featuring their own article. The mother-daughter duo’s article includes a complete tutorial for a beautiful hand-sewn felt mitten and a set of woodland animals, exclusively designed for Living Crafts, based on the children’s classic fairytale, The Mitten by Alvin Tresselt.

Please visit Wee Folk Art blog and leave a comment to enter, until Monday, December 20, 9:00 p.m. EST.

Once you make the wooden animals from this article, you’ll be ready to make any wooden figures for your children. Here are some of the photos from their project:


Lacing the mitten

The finished mitten

Posted by Living Crafts on Dec 18, 2010 07:29 AM | 137 Comments

Star Lantern Tutorial and Pine Cone Christmas Tree

Candle with star tools

Instructions for the Star Lanterns in the yesterday’s post can be found on Guusje’s Appletaart blog.

A great video tutorial on making star lanterns can be seen here:

Also, the instructions for the Pine Cone Christmas Tree in the previous post can be found in the Living Crafts Winter 2010 issue.

Living Crafts Winter 2010 Cover

Both projects are pictured here along with the candle craft.


Posted by Living Crafts on Dec 18, 2010 06:40 AM | 22 Comments

London Bridge Fabric

Koko Soldiers Fabric

I must make something with this. Check it out, so cute! Found it in the Britex blog.

A journal cover is what comes to mind, or a bag.

Any other ideas?

Posted by Living Crafts on Dec 18, 2010 01:48 AM | 10 Comments


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