crafts, family, holidays, thrifted!, tutorials

a wildcards tutorial: hand-wrapped snowman ornament

Last Saturday was a lazy one. How nice are those? Me and the boys were looking for something fun to do at home. Jack said his teacher brought a Christmas tree into the classroom, and she'd asked the children to bring ornaments to decorate it.

Ornaments? Hey, that’s what we can do! I thought.

I looked to our own tree for inspiration. I found this:


My brother made this when he was in elementary school. Somehow I lucked out and now I own it. It's precious to me.

Geez, it must be blankety-blank years old. (You’re welcome, Jason.)

Anyway, my brother’s ornament got me thinking about snowmen and pom-poms. I didn’t have any ready-made pom-poms, but I had an old skein of wool yarn that I’d thrifted long ago. How do you make a pom-pom from yarn? I wasn’t entirely sure.

After a quick online search, I realized that the task was more difficult than the boys wanted it to be. Wrapping yarn around doughnut-shaped cardboard didn’t seem like a big deal to me, but it sounded like a major chore to the boys. I decided to try their hands as a template instead. And on that lazy Saturday, two little “hand-wrapped” snowmen were born.

If you like, follow along below and I’ll show you how we did it. It’s super simple—and if your kids are like mine, they’ll get a kick out of being wrapped up in yarn.

a wildcards tutorial: handwrapped snowman ornament

Snowman10What you’ll need: yarn, scissors, a yarn needle, buttons, a glue gun, and scraps of fleece. In place of fleece you can use felted wool or any other bulky-type fabric that will hold its shape. Oh, I almost forgot—you also need little hands!


Here’s that old yarn I mentioned earlier—it needed winding. The upside-down barstool worked pretty well (although one day I hope to be like normal knitters and own a swift).


1. Leave a 6" to 8" tail to start. Begin winding yarn around two fingers.

2. Wind the yarn until you find it difficult to keep the yarn on the fingers—the more yarn you wind, the fuller your pom pom will be. Cut the yarn, leaving a 6" to 8" tail.

3. Use the end of a spoon or fork to push the tail through the two yarn-bound fingers. (Charlie’s mitts were too small for this step, so I just wiggled the loops carefully off his fingers.)

4. Wrap beginning and end yarn tails around the center of the loops once. (If you wiggled the yarn off fingers, lay the loops in your lap and carefully wrap the tails around them). Tie the beginning and end tails together in the center of the loops. Tighten and knot the yarn.


Cut through the center of the loops.


Cut yarns until you end up with a spherical shape.


We made six pom-poms–three from each boy’s hand. I wound the first pom-pom using two fingers; then three; then four to get a small-to-large look. Jack’s pom-poms are on the right; Charlie’s are on the left.

Charlie’s pom poms all turned out to be about the same size. I’m okay with that. So is Charlie.


Using a long length of yarn and a yarn needle, sew three pom-poms together from small to large. Poke right through the center of each pom-pom and pull the yarn through.


Stitch through each pom-pom again, this time from large to small. You should end up with both ends of your yarn coming out of the top of the snowman's head. Knot the two ends at the head; then knot the two ends again 3" to 4" above the head to create a loop for hanging.

I used a hot glue gun to adhere buttons to the snowmen. I cut two layers of fleece into identical triangle shapes and glued them together for the hat. Then I ran a strip of glue along the bottom of the hat only, and pressed it onto the head.The sides of the hat are left loose.

No hot glue for the boys. But they did get to choose colors, sift through the button jar, and watch mom hot-glue herself to the table. Only briefly.


Our pom-poms aren’t perfect, but they sure made for a lazy Saturday well spent. Charlie's ornament is pictured; Jack's is now proudly hanging on the classroom Christmas tree.

Thanks Jacky, thanks Barley—let’s give ourselves a "hand," shall we?

And thank you for dropping by. Happy holidays!

crumbs, family, holidays

Thankful 2011

Thanksgiving launches such a flurry of activity, doesn’t it? Feasts ready to be eaten. Gifts ready to be given. Songs ready to be sung. Stockings ready to be hung.

The holidays are beginning. Before you know it, they’ll be done.

The cute couple over at Young House Love recently shared a way to capture and save your own thankfuls on paper during the month of November, with printables to boot:


A jar, slips of paper, and a pen. I love their idea so much; it’s such a simple concept. We missed the opportunity to start this idea up during November. But hey, November doesn’t own a patent on thankful. So I think I’ll start today and go through December instead. And instead of paper—just for today—I’ll save my thankfuls right here.

* * *

Thankful for a new little one in our life—found in our backyard, just before the first major freeze of the season—who is reminding all of us to slow down, be gentle, and stay playful:

Dash1Meet Dash (or DJ, if you ask Charlie).

Dash2Yes. He does feel as cuddly and cozy as he looks. (Or she. Not sure just yet.)

Thankful for a fun furniture upcycling project that has happily turned my attention away from all those boxes still in the garage:
Cabinet1Before. (Those white streaks in the photo? Snow.)

Cabinet2After. I like! (The boxes are still in the garage. And that’s okay.)

Thankful for these people:

MomMy mom.

DaddyMy dad.

And their wonderful, caring new partners in life.

Thankful for a heck of a Black Friday sale. On books. Of the quilt and sew and knit variety.

No shirt? No shoes? No problem. (Unless a really weird mood overtakes me, however, I’ll be wearing a shirt Friday morning.)

Thankful for new ideas:

FlowerFlowers at Your Feet, part two, in progress.

LogcabinLog-Cabin-loaded thoughts scratched on sticky notes (and cool notepad pages from October’s Sewing Summit—did you know they just announced dates for 2012?).

After a creativity block during the move, the ideas are starting up again. No matter how they turn out, welcome back, ideas—I thought I’d lost you forever.

Thankful for these beautiful boys:

TheboysWho I want to spend every Thanksgiving with, always. And every other day of the year, too.

Thankful to you, for stopping by.

A cue to be thankful. A reminder. Because no matter how lucky, fortunate, or blessed we are—or how stressed out, bummed out, or down in the dumps we get—prompts to be thankful from time to time are good.

Toss your slip of paper in the jar—what are you thankful for today?

Wishing a very Happy Thanksgiving to you in the states, and a very happy day to you everywhere else!

family, sewing, thrifted!

halloween 2011

This year, I finally took pictures of the boys in their costumes before nightfall. Daylight sure does help. Thought I’d share before we head out to trick and treat tonight!

Two weeks ago:
BeforeThrifted pieces for costumes.

Tonight, Charlie debuts as:



Charlie4Lots of cool karate moves included.

Jack debuts as:



After the karate hero and scary monster encounter a flying bug. . .
Frankenstein shows us his fascination with rocks.
Jack2Rocks good.


Halloween3Looks like it’s gonna be a fun night . . . as long as those spooky, evil, scary flying bugs—otherwise known as flies—don’t take over. I’m sure the boys will brave the danger for the rewards ahead.

Happy Halloween!