Adatine is an etsy maker and seller from Lithuania. She hand-makes expressive stuffed toys and brooches out of natural linen cloth. They are also totally affordable. And adorable. Here's an otter:
I love these sneaky bandits: a postman rabbit, and a pair of fox brothers.
And then there's this serious bunny. She... she speaks to me. Her little arms! Don't worry bunny, we'll make it through somehow.
And then there are her brooches! The bare-chested guy is a secret agent (don't tell anyone) and the lion is a Leo. (Of these brooches, she says they are "original and courageous accent[s] that may decorate not only your cloths, scarves, bags, but also make others more cheerful." So true.
The cherry on top is that each item I've shown here is no more than $40! You really should go see the rest of adatine's shop for yourself.
Here's another simple project — made with just construction paper, string, and staples — that you can take in many different directions. Use blue and white paper and six-pointed stars for a Hanukkah garland; use silver and gold paper for a more luxe Christmas look; use totally different shapes and make a garland of flowers; and of course, intersperse your stars with other shapes or items, such as pom-pom beads or sandwiched circle stickers.
To make my simple yellow star version, first cut a five-inch-wide rectangle from a sheet of construction paper, and fold it in half the long way. Then, cut the folded strip into triangles. Half the triangles will have a folded part (and will be one long diamond shaped piece, if you were to unfold it), and half of the triangles will actually be two stand-alone triangles.
Sort through your collection of triangles and assemble sandwiches of five points. That means you'll have two folded pieces and one single piece in the middle, or one folded piece with three singles in the middle.
Tie a loop around the end of a ball of string. I used basic cotton twine. A few inches down from the loop, fold a five-point sandwich around the string, with the string tucked into the folded part. Staple the paper very close to the fold. (Note: I am using a very tiny pocket stapler, which might be giving you false clues as to the scale of this thing.)
Add a whole bunch of these five-point sandwiches, spaced evenly apart, to the string until your garland is as long and as full as you'd like. Cut the string, leaving several inches free, and tie another loop for hanging at the end. When you're ready, make the sandwiches into stars by folding the two outer triangles all the way open, and the next two triangles to about 90 degrees, to make them roughly star-shaped. Adjust your fold angles as you please.
This is so easy. Really. This garland took me maybe half an hour to make, and I kept pausing to take photos of it.
I hope you try this one. It's fun, and pretty much foolproof!
As I teased yesterday, I made a spool ornament inspired by the previous post's scan from a 1967 magazine. I quite like how it turned out! I had an old-ish empty spool made of a silvery plastic, a box of mixed beads and sequins, and some old lengths of metallic trims. Use whatever you have!
I don't have any detailed how-to directions for you, because 95% of the craft is "glue shiny/sparkly/colorful things to an empty thread spool." And I bet you already know how to glue a thing to another thing.
That's it! It's a fun project to do in a group, if you have enough fripperies and bits and bobs lying around. The project can take as long or as short as you want it to. It's very adaptable to multiple ages! Just the way I like it.
While looking through one of my vintage magazines, I came across this Hallmark ad. There's something about this wrapping paper's exact color combination — pinks, blues, purples, pops of yellow and orange — that I find delicious. I was going to say that it makes me happy, but that's not it; it's more of a craving that's been satisfied. Bonus points for the super fluffy yarn pom on top of the gift.
And this page, below, is from 1967. I like a handmade Christmas ornament, especially one that I'd like to hang on my tree. I happen to have a silver plastic spool in my stash, along with a decades-old box of beads and sequins... So, consider this page a prequel to a post.
I am loving these DIY cardboard playset kits from the Polish company Ringo. Right now, they carry three different town sets, an animals set, and a "people" set. Click on a link to go to Ringo's site; at the end of the post, I'll have links to stores for buying Ringo stuff from the US.
I mean, just look at these colors, patterns, and fun details.
Ever sewn your own jewelry? This is an easy little project that you can make as complicated or fancy as you like. If you or your child can make a stitch, they can make this. Really!
To make the pendant, cut out a smallish rectangle from felt. Mine was about 1.5 by 3 inches. It should form a square when folded in half, which is what you should do for step two. Press the fold with your finger for a few seconds to help it stay.
Keeping the felt folded, cut out a circle through both layers, while leaving a portion of the fold intact. It should look a little like a simple snowman if you open it up.
Embroider! Because I was working on such a small thing, I didn't want to use full-strength embroidery floss. I cut off about an 18-inch length and separated the six strands into three strands of two.
Keep your stitches inside one of the circles, and don't get within an eighth of an inch of the edge of the felt. I started with the blue, then added some lavender, and ended with a bit of yellow.
And now for the hidden surprise! In order to make wearing this a lot easier, you need to add some weight. Choose a coin, such as a penny, and place it on one of the circles of the felt piece.
Fold the felt over and start stitching on the curve just below the fold. (Why below the fold? Because you want to leave a little channel for your necklace cord.) I used a third-weight strand of embroidery floss, like I did above, and just did a simple whipstitch. Finish the stitch line before you reach the fold. Hopefully, you will be able to slide a needle through the fold-channel without piercing the felt.
Now you have a finished pendant! You can go ahead and thread it onto a necklace-length piece of floss and call it a day. Or, make a few simple fabric beads to accompany it. This method works with non-fraying fabrics such as felt, pleather, or, what I used, shiny metallic vinyl.
Cut a short strip of fabric and (optional) trim one edge with pinking shears. Cut the strip into a bunch of sections of roughly equal size.
Fold and glue each little piece over, leaving a nice channel for the necklace cord. For glue, I used a fabric glue that's meant for basting (it's a white glue, not the super gooey clear gel type).
Thread a big needle with your cord of choice — I used full-strength embroidery floss — and add your fabric beads. Tie the ends together, but make sure it's long enough to slip over your head.
Shine on! xo
Why settle for a boring plain box of tissues, when you can make it into an amusing personality? This McCall's article from 1969 tells you how!
Cindy Searles has combined two hot trends, octopi/squid and air plants, in these gorgeously-glazed ceramic pieces available on etsy. Many of her pieces are meant to hang in the air, mimicking the weightless environments in which these creatures usually reside.
These urchins hang on your wall. Gorgeous! You can choose which color and size you want on her shop. Just click on the image.
Sea life not your thing? Have an allergy to air plants? Cindy makes glazed ceramic tiles and mugs, too. Here are two of my favorite mugs she offers. The goat mug's proceeds go to charity, as a nice feel-good bonus.
Even more feel-good amazing: Cindy's studio and kiln is entirely solar-powered. Very cool!
I am digging the animal designs in this farmhouse craft from 1970.
There's something Chagall-ish about the horse and the cow. I'm not so fond of whatever's going on with that pig, though. Yikes. The weird cat-fox-sheep thing, though? I'm all in.
Want to know more about the craft? Here's the dense page of directions. Warning: Power tools are involved.
These little plush toys from Cornstarch, a maker in Tacoma, WA, are just adorable. I mean, seriously, totally kawaii.
The shop's slogan is "sushi you can hug." Above is a California roll and a "ham and egg" roll. (Click on the image to go to the item's page on the shop.)
And here are a couple of lumps of wasabi, with some pickled ginger pets.
Cornstarch doesn't just do sushi, though. You can also find these pugnanas, and prickly pear cacti:
And there are many kinds of dog, in the form of loaf (corgi) and ice cream scoop (chocolate chunk).
There are way more cuties than I could hope to share here, so go to Cornstarch's etsy shop and find your favorite!
I'm Debbie Way, an artist and writer who enjoys making things.