Monday, April 27, 2015

Cinco de Mayo Banner

Cinco de Mayo is next Tuesday, so it's almost time to break out the salsa and margaritas. We've been celebrating the holiday at our house for a few years now with tacos and nachos, but I have to admit, my Mexican decorations were lacking. I made this Cinco de Mayo banner to give our kitchen some fiesta flavor. I wanted the banner to resemble the beautiful cut-paper decorations--called papel picado--used at Mexican celebrations. I made mine from felt so it would be sturdier. My simple flower design isn't nearly as elaborate as real papel picado, but I think it has the same bright and festive look.

To make a banner for your Cinco de Mayo celebration, start with squares of colored felt. I used 3½" squares in rojo, blanco, verde, and amarillo--that's red, white, green, and yellow (I've been learning Spanish with an iPhone app). The flower design is easier to cut out than it looks. First, fold a felt square in quarters and use a sharp scissors to snip off the folded corner. When you open the square, you should have a diamond shape in the center. 

Fold the square in half lengthwise and cut a small petal on each fold above and below the flower center. Open the square, fold it in half in the other direction, and then cut another petal above and below the center hole. When you open the square, there should be four petals around the center. Now fold the square in half diagonally and cut two petals along the fold. Open the square and fold it in half along the other diagonal and cut out two more petals. Open the square and cut around the petals on three sides, leaving about ¼" of felt around the cutouts.

Repeat the process to make as many felt panels as you want and then sew them to a length of decorative trim. Use thread that matches the trim and stitch along the uncut edge of each felt square. My banner has eight flowers on a 1-yard piece of mini pompom trim from Purl Soho. I think the pompoms are the perfect finishing touch for this project, but you can also use rickrack or ribbon. When your banner is finished, display it on a wall or in a window. Mine has been hanging in the kitchen for a few weeks now, waiting for the fiesta to begin. 

I'm sending a special thank you this week to my daughter, Erin! Those are her hands you see in the cutting demo photos.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

New Page: Printable Cross-Stitch Charts

If you look at the list of pages above, you'll see something new. I added a page--"Cross-Stitch Charts"--where I've collected the cross-stitch charts that have I've shared on my blog. To download or print a copy of a chart, just go to the Cross-Stitch Charts page and click on the link below the picture. The charts are free, but they are copyrighted and for personal use only.

Enjoy! I'll be adding more charts, so please come back and visit this page to see what's new.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Earth Love Cross-Stitch Pin

I stitched North America first,
then headed south.
If you follow my blog, you've probably noticed that cross-stitch is one of my favorite crafts. This week, I'm celebrating Earth Day with this cute little cross-stitch pin. The original design was just a plain globe, but I decided it needed something extra. After a little experimentation, I came up with the bright pink heart that's floating in the Atlantic Ocean.

To make your own Earth Love Cross-Stitch Pin, just follow the chart below or click here to download and print a copy. I stitched mine, which is 1¾" in diameter, on 18-count white Aida with two strands of DMC floss (see the chart). The pin setting is from the Etsy shop Kailea. I use these settings a lot; they're easy to assemble, and they give the embroidery a nice finished look.

If you'd like to make a larger Earth Love cross-stitch that you can frame, use 11-count Aida instead of 18-count. The finished piece will be about 2¼" in diameter, and you can frame it in a little embroidery hoop.

Earth Love Cross-Stitch Chart     ©2015 Kathleen Berlew

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Check Out the the Garden issue of Craft Ideas

The Garden 2015 issue of "Craft Ideas" magazine will be on newsstands soon, and it's filled with lots of fun garden-themed projects--including my Farmer's Market Tote. The bottom photo shows some of the details I embroidered on the veggies. They look almost good enough to eat, don't they?

Monday, April 13, 2015

Fabric-Covered Orbs

Our kitchen has a sort of French Country-meets-bistro style that includes bright red cabinets, old and new furniture, and Provencal fabrics. I made chair covers, a valance, and small pillows from the fabrics, but I wanted to make sure I used every scrap of the pretty prints. I came up with these fabric-covered orbs that are simple, inexpensive versions of the decorative balls you can find in home design stores.

When I say that anyone can do this project, I really mean it. Just cut long, straight strips from fabric that are about 1/2" to 3/4" wide, and then use straight pins to attach them to smooth Styrofoam balls. I used pins with colored heads that blend in with the colors of my fabrics. Pin the end of one strip to the ball to start and then wrap it around the ball, adding pins as you go. The goal is to cover all of the foam with fabric strips, using as few pins as possible. When one strip ends, attach another and continue working around the ball. You may have to readjust the strips and pins as you work so the fabric lays flat, but that's all there is to it.

When your fabric-covered orbs are finished, you can display them on a shelf or in a bowl or basket. Just make sure keep them away from children; those pins can be dangerous in the wrong hands.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Mad Men-Inspired Coasters

"Mad Men" is back--finally--for its last seven episodes (six, after last night). I've been following the adventures of Don Draper, Peggy Olson, and the rest of the characters since the first season, but I could never predict where the story was going to go each season. I have no idea what will happen in these final episodes, but I suspect that more than a few cocktails will be consumed. So for this week's blog project, I made some retro coasters as a tribute to the end of the "Mad Men" era. 

The coasters are a super-simple project. You only need mat board or very heavy cardboard, clear adhesive-backed paper, felt, and some retro images. My pictures are from an old design book from a library sale and a 1967 "McCall's" pattern catalog that belonged to my grandmother. You can use images from old magazines or printouts from the Internet.

The first step is cutting the coasters from the mat board. I simplified this process by using a coaster I already had (it's about 3½" square) as a template and tracing it onto the cardboard. Cut out a cardboard square for each coaster you're making (I made eight), and then cut out matching squares from the retro pictures. 

To attach a picture to each coaster, cut a square from the adhesive-backed paper that's about an inch larger all around than the cardboard square. Place a picture on a cardboard square, peel the backing off the adhesive paper and press it over the picture. Flip the coaster over, trim the corners of the clear paper, and fold it onto the back of the coaster. You can smooth bubbles on the front of the coaster with a small ruler.

Use tacky craft glue to attach a felt square to the back of each coaster. I placed mine between sheets of waxed paper and weighted them under heavy books so they dried flat.

I've been using my coasters for a few weeks, and they're holding up quite well. They should definitely get me through the next six weeks so I can find out what happens to Don Draper.