Archive for December, 2010

crochet covered ottoman

ottoman before

This ottoman is obviously in rough shape. It used to be sort of wabi sabi, beat-up chic, but sometime ago it crossed a line and now it’s just plain beat up. I’ve been meaning to recover it properly, but as I have no idea how to do that it’s been shoved in the back of my closet.  After seeing this crochet covered ottoman (ravelry link) I pulled it out from it’s hiding spot and made a cover. That is obviously the before shot…

ottoman after

and here is the after. Not bad for no planning–just some yarn from my stash and a free pattern off ravelry.  I wanted the cover to be all puff stitches, but I only had super bulky yarn and the puffs were getting too out of control puffy. I used a hat pattern–a really ugly hat pattern–and made it fit. So really I made a hat for my ottoman. Ha! Here is the project page on ravelry if you want the specs.

After I made it, I saw this ottoman and now I want to find some crazy super chunky yarn (or maybe even roving?) and make another cover.  The making never ends.

the tutorial that wasn’t

I’m going to be honest with you: I waited until the last minute to make this ornament and write the tutorial. Well, it seems the last idea I had was not so hot. Things can look so fantastic in your head and then you go to make them and turns out it’s actally crap.  I don’t want to give you a crappy present, so I thought I’d just fess up instead. I had a good run for a while there. I hope you liked the week (-1) of tutorials. I really loved making them.

If you are jonesing to make another christmas ornament there are a few hiden away in my archives that you might like: The one on the left is my tutorial for a half eaten gingerbread man ornament. And the one on the right are tutorials for some woodland ornaments I did for Sew Mama Sew’s Handmade Holidays a few years back. The pinecone is still one of my favorites.

tutorial for a half eaten gingerbread man ornament tutorial for woodland ornaments

This week was so busy I forgot to remind you about the advent calendar coloring pages I did last year. I posted one everyday of advent for you guys to download.  I also put the whole coloring book in PDF form back up on etsy in case you’d like to make some coloring books for gifts (St. Nicholas day is this weekend).

I love you guys and I hope you can forgive me for re-gifting.  We all have crappy ideas now and then, right? I know I’ve had my fair share.

geometric straw ornament tutorial

geometric straw ornament

a lovely geometric straw ornament

This is a traditional eastern european ornament and garland. The shape is simple, but a little tricky the first time you make it. After you get the hang of it many three dimensional geometric shapes are possible. I think it makes for a nice modern, but still natural christmas ornament. Like the other tutorial I used straw for, this one can of course can be made with plastic or paper straws, but if you would like to use natural straws, I found mine the at the imagination childhood online shop.

materials for geometric straw ornament


  • natural straw
  • button thread (or other strong thread)
  • yarn needle


First you need to soak the straws and cut them into 2inch pieces. I explained this in detail in my tutorial for a straw and pompom garland.

1.Take a piece of thread about twice the length of your arm and thread the yarn needle–no need to knot it. String four straw pieces almost to the end of your thread. Pull the threads until the straws meet, but don’t pull too hard or you will split the straws. Then tie a square knot (that’s the plain old kind).  You can trim the end, but don’t cut the working thread.

2. Now pull the thread through two straw pieces and

3. secure them at the opposite end.

4. Thread two more pieces and tie at the top (the opposite end you just strung them from)

5. Take your needle back through one of the straws, so it comes out in the middle.

6. String one straw at a time securing it where the next straws meet. Do this four times and tie a knot.

Trim all your threads and decide which way you would like it to hang. Loop your thread at the top point and tie it together. Now hang up that nice looking ornament you just made.

geometric straw garland on a picture

You can keep going and make a double ornament, or keep going and going and make a whole garland! If you do, I would suggest making them one at a time and then tying them all together. Making these with a long piece of thread doesn’t really work: it gets tangled and it’s bothersome.

geometric straw garland on the tree

a christmas present for my lovely readers: a week of handmade ornament tutorials!

I will be accepting advertisers on Elsie Marley starting January 2011. If you would like to reserve a spot please email me and we can discuss the specifics! Thanks!

felt dove ornament tutorial

felt bird ornaments

a felt dove ornament

I mentioned it last week, but I realized some of you may have missed it: everyday this week I will have instructions for a new handmade ornament.  You probably caught on by now, seeing it’s wednesday and look! another tutorial.  This is my christmas gift to you–all my readers! I’ve said it before, but I mean it: you are awesome. And you deserve a present, or five.

This little bird takes four strips of felt and five stitches to make. Really, that’s it.


  • one 2in x 8in piece of wool felt
  • needle and thread
  • a little embroidery floss (that matches your felt)
  • a disappearing ink pen
  • a rotary cutter is nice, but scissors are fine too


First cut your felt into four 8 x 1/4 inch long strips. Line them up nice and neat like I have below.

four felt strips for the dove

Make a mark on them with your disappearing pen at these measurements:

  1. on the top strip at 1 1/2inches and 3 1/2 inches from the right
  2. on the second strip at 1 1/4inches and 3 3/4 inches from the right
  3. on the third strip at 1 inch and 4 inches from the right
  4. and on the bottom strip 3/4inch and 4 1/2 inch from the right

Now stack up all the strips in the same order they are already in (bottom one on the bottom, then the third one on top, and so on). Flip the top one over when you stack it on top so the markings are hidden.

stack them on top of one another

Take your needle and thread and on the right side where they are all lined up sew the strips together with a few stitches. This will make the beak of the bird. When you start hide your knot in between two of the strips and when you are done hide it again–do this for the next steps as well.

the first stitch makes the beak

Next line up all the first dots you made and sew a few stitches to secure them together. You’ve just made the dove’s head.

second stitch makes the head

Now line up the next set of dots and sew. Look! A bird! You can trim the tail however you like. You can round the edges, or make them fringey, or roll the strips up at the end and iron them a bit so they curl, or whatever else you can think of.

third stitch makes the body

To make the hanger, take your embroidery floss (about 8 inches or so) and insert your needle where you made the neck stitch. And then again by the tail stitch. Put the ends of the thread together–you should have made a triangle where the base is the same length as the back of the bird. This sounds very weird when I say it, but in the picture it’s pretty obvious, right?


I used green embroidery floss so you could see it better, but you probably want it to match your felt. Tie the ends together and hang up that pretty christmas bird.

handmade felt dove ornament

a christmas present for my lovely readers: a week of handmade ornament tutorials!

I will be accepting advertisers  on Elsie Marley starting January 2011. If you would like to reserve a spot please email me and we can discuss the specifics! Thanks!