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This Week’s Project:

Well Christmas is over, it’s hard to believe. I hope y’all had a wonderful day celebrating with family. I’m in Texas at my mothers house surrounded by lots of family heirlooms and thought it’d be fun to do some projects this week with her vintage handkerchiefs.

BACKGROUND:

A  handkerchief, handkercher, or hanky, is a form of a kerchief, typically a hemmed square of thin fabric that is carried in the pocket for personal hygiene purposes such as wiping one’s hands or face, or blowing one’s nose.

Handkerchiefs have historically been used as:

  • A decorative accessory
  • By children as way to carry around small items when a bag or basket was unavailable
  • A substitute for a bandage over a small injury
  • A head-covering at the beach

King Richard II of England, who reigned from 1377 to 1399, is widely believed to have invented the cloth handkerchief, as surviving documents written by his courtiers describe his use of square pieces of cloth to wipe his nose.

adapted from this Wikipedia article

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This Week’s Project:

Since Christmas is less than a week away (insert freak out here) and we showed you DIY gift ideas last week, we thought this week we would show you 3 ways to use felt to wrap some of those fabulous gifts you made. What’s even better is that felt, or any fabric, is an eco-friendly alternative to the traditional wrapping paper and can serve as a small gift itself. Felt comes in a wide array of colors and is very easy to work with as long as you have a good pair of fabric shears.

BACKGROUND:

Felt is a non-woven cloth that is produced by matting, condensing and pressing woollen fibres. While some types of felt are very soft, some are tough enough to form construction materials. Felt can be of any colour, and made into any shape or size.

Many cultures have legends as to the origins of feltmaking. Sumerian legend claims that the secret of feltmaking was discovered by Urnamman of Lagash. The story of Saint Clement and Saint Christopher relates that while fleeing from persecution, the men packed their sandals with wool to prevent blisters. At the end of their journey, the movement and sweat had turned the wool into felt socks.

Feltmaking is still practised by nomadic peoples in Central Asia and northern parts of East Asia, where rugs, tents and clothing are regularly made. Some of these are traditional items, such as the classic yurt, while others are designed for the tourist market, such as decorated slippers. In the Western world, felt is widely used as a medium for expression in textile art as well as design, where it has significance as an ecological textile.

history of felt
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Pantone Chip Magnets

I was crafting for the holidays and faced with the age-old question: What to get for my co-workers? I mean they spend day-in and day-out putting up with me! Lord knows they deserve something…and then I came across this tutorial which I bookmarked forever ago. As a designer you end up with countless Pantone chips sitting on your desk, and if you obsess over color like me, you just hate to throw them away so this craft is sweet. I used carefully-selected Pantone chips, white foam board, magnets, double-stick tape, paper glaze, and very strong glue. First step, double-stick tape the chip onto the foam board and trim. Next apply your paper glaze, I used this one. Once dry, glue magnet to the back. A few warnings: do not buy the rolls of sticky magnets, they work like crap and hold up nothing! But if you go with a traditional magnet that you glue, make sure you’re gluing the correct side down or they won’t stick (learn from my mistakes!)

To package them I printed a message on these stickers from Office Max, which are gold and fancy, and now I want to put them on everything!

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Plant Markers

The women in my family are really, really into plants; we share cuttings from our favorite plants with each other and they become part of the fam. Confession folks: I might be a plant hoarder, owning over 40 potted plants scattered throughout our house and patio. So of course I kept those cute succulents from the tin can planter post, and in true Anna Lee Co. style I used the same crafting materials from my DIY wine charms to create some plant markers (inspired by this pin on Pinterest) for the ladies I love.

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Cozy Wine & DIY Charms

So it’s probably no surprise to those who read our blog often that I love to give wine as a gift (following the rule that it’s best to give gifts that you’d love to receive!) Earlier this month I attended a gift-wrapping class where I picked up a great tip from this brilliant blogger, about using the sleeves of sweaters to cozy up a bottle of wine for wintertime. I bought five sweaters (10 sleeves y’all) for a few bucks from a local thrift store. I trimmed the sleeves off, cutting them with about 1.5 in. of extra at the bottom and got to town with the hot glue! Then, I added all the fun trimmings. I’m pairing this gift with a package of customized wine charms made out of bakeable clay and a clever stamp that allows you to customize your message. This stuff was fun to work with, and simple to bake in the oven, it only took 15 minutes to bake! I had a blast coming up with phrases for each friend of mine and got a little silly, but they’ll know these are made by me with lot’s of love/humor and not store-bought!

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Mini Forests

I will admit that I have fully jumped on the terrarium bandwagon and I love them! My friends and I work hard and work long hours, INDOORS, and as I get older, this city girl increasingly sees the importance of being outdoors and in nature. With my schedule that isn’t always a possibility so a terrarium is a good way to bring a little bit of nature in. What better gift than a little plot of greenery. And making them is so therapeutic. I collected various sizes of glass vessels and went shopping in my nearest home improvement’s garden center. You will need: gravel, sphagnum moss, potting soil and small plants – succulents usually work best for this but I experimented with several types of plants. Start with a layer of gravel, then the moss and then soil and plant. It’s visually pleasing to use an odd number of plants at varying heights.

I found some miniature vintage deer on Etsy and placed them in the terrariums.

I also made mini terrariums out of stemless wine glasses which are so fun! One of these would look so great on a side table or bedside table.

You can also mix plastic plants (like the trees here) with ground cover to create a fun, super low maintenance scene.

I then created little tags with instructions for care and stamped little messages to stick in the terrariums and they are gift-ready! You can buy the ground cover and a lot of the plants in bulk and create several terrariums. Now that’s Anna Lee style.

 

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Crock Pot Caramel

I just purchased my first home (yay!) so as a way to say “Merry Christmas” and introduce myself to some of my neighbors I decided a small gift was in order. I’m really weird about receiving homemade food items from people I don’t know very well so giving something like that was out of the question. I came across this idea (here) for a way to make caramel out of sweetened condensed milk without ever opening the can! Just line your crock pot with foil and remove the labels from the condensed milk and place them in the crock pot. I was able to fit 7 in mine, so I got them all done at once. Fill with water so it just covers the tops of the cans and cook on low for 6 hours. Put the cans in a sink filled with cold water until they are cool to the touch. Meanwhile you can be making labels for the cans – I stamped mine and and then packaged each can with 2 apples for dipping in a cellophane bag. I tied them with green and white baker’s twine, wrote a little note and went door to door.

By the way, I opened a can (just to test it) and it was DEEE-LISH!

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#3: Ornament Lights

Every once in awhile in our crafting adventures we’ll work through some projects and then it comes the great idea, and it’s like a light goes off. Well this one had both a literal and figurative light. I’m afraid the picture doesn’t quite do the effect justice. But trust me adding these glass ornaments to a basic string of white Christmas lights creates something quite stunning. I’d love to create a gigantic glass vase centerpiece with these lights and ornaments, the reflections alone would be insane! (but that would require me to have a large table, many, many large glass vases which would require much, much storage….someday I will folks!) To make we simply removed the hook and silver cap off of our ornaments, inserted the light and snapped the hook back into the ornament to secure the light.


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#2: Glitter Feather Ornament

To create these I filled my clear glass ornaments with glitter sprinkled feathers. I sourced the feathers from an old down filled pillow. I opened up the edge of the pillow and pulled just a few feathers out. Next I dragged the edge of the feathers through some basic Elmers glue and then sprinkled them with glitter. I let the glue/feathers dry over night and put them carefully into the ornament with a set of tweezers.


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#1: Gold Tinsel Ornament

This ornament took me two minutes to make, our kind of holiday decor! Take the top/hanger off your clear glass ornament and fill with gold tinsel, I used a pencil to guide the tinsel inside. You can try other colors (but we think Gold trumps all!)

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