Monday, September 29, 2014

Halloween Paper Chain

Paper chains were a go-to DIY Christmas decoration when I was in elementary school. With scissors and a bit of paste I could transform sheets of construction paper into festive garlands. This Halloween paper chain is a grown-up version of the red-and-green garlands I used to make. You can use purchased Halloween papers, but I made my own with rubber stamps, ink, pinking shears, and a hole punch.

Start by stamping images with black ink on white, gray, and orange card stock. The stamps I used are from All Night Media® (ornamental swirls), Rubber Stampede™ (trees), Hero Arts® (manuscript), and Penny Black® (scroll). I also used an artist's eraser to make the wide stripes and a pencil-top eraser for the dots. When you're happy with your stamping, cut the paper into 1 1/8"-by-8" strips with straight scissors or pinking shears. To add more dimension, punch holes in some of the strips and layer narrow stamped strips over solid black strips.

To assemble the chain, shape one strip into a ring and staple the ends together. Add links to the chain one by one, alternating colors and patterns. Hang the chain on your Halloween tree (if you have one) or a mantel. You can also arrange the chain in a bowl or basket to make a Halloween centerpiece. 

Monday, September 22, 2014

Felt Owl Ornaments

If you haven't grown tired of the owl invasion (I haven't), raid your stash of felt scraps to make a flock (or more accurately, a parliament) of owl ornaments.

First, enlarge the body and wing patterns below to the size you like. (The finished owls shown are about 3" tall.) Cut pairs of bodies from coordinating colors of felt, and then add details to the front pieces. Stitch a small triangle of felt in place for a beak and add button eyes. Decorate the body with buttons, simple embroidery details, or a cutout design.

Sew the front and back pieces together with matching or contrasting embroidery floss. If you want your ornament to have a hanging loop, sandwich a folded piece of ribbon or rickrack between the body pieces as you sew around the top. Cut out two felt wings for each owl and stitch them in place.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Acorn Dolls

Sawtooth Oak Acorns
I have a thing for acorns and pinecones. Whenever I'm walking in the woods or a park, I look for interesting specimens to add to my collection. I found these unusual acorns at an arboretum. (Of course, I only took acorns that had already fallen from the trees.) They're from Sawtooth Oaks, and I think the acorns' caps look like frilly little hats. I paired the acorns with small pinecones to make these woodsy dolls.

Glue an acorn into each cap, turning it so that the acorn's tip makes the doll's nose. Add tiny dabs of black and white paint above the nose for the eyes. (If you don't have a fine brush, use the tip of a skewer or toothpick to apply the paint.) To assemble each doll, hot-glue an acorn head to a pinecone body and let them dry.

Tuck the dolls in autumn arrangements or add a hanging loop and use them as ornaments. Just be sure to keep them away from small children; the acorns pose a choking risk.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Cross-Stitch Leaf Pin

Another leaf project this week . . . this time it's one you can wear. The autumn leaf design is stitched on 18-count white Aida cloth with two strands of DMC floss. Follow the chart and key below, or click here to download and print a copy of the chart. I mounted the finished embroidery in an oval pin setting from the Etsy shop Kailea, but you can simply back it with felt and sew on a pin.

Leaf Pin Chart     ©2014 Kathleen Berlew

Leaf Pin Key

Monday, September 1, 2014

Paper Leaf Garland

The trees haven't begun to change color in the Northeast yet, but I decided to get a jump on autumn with this paper leaf garland. I used shades of brown and beige, but you can make your garland in your favorite fall palette.

First, enlarge the leaf patterns below to the size you like. (My leave are about 5" long.) Cut the large leaves from card stock, and the small leaves from coordinating decorative paper. Use glue stick to attach the small leaves to the large leaves.

You can string your leaves together on twine or ribbon, but I used metal eyelets and wire. The eyelets prevent the paper from tearing and give the project a finished look. Insert a small eyelet at the top and bottom of each leaf, using an eyelet tool and a small hammer. Thread a short length of lightweight wire through the top eyelet of one leaf and the bottom eyelet of another and shape it into a ring. Link the rest of the leaves together the same way to complete the garland.

Leaf Patterns