Tag Archives: #handmadewithjoann

Christmas craft bender 2021 edition

Woodland animals sewn from a commercial pattern using upcycled and leftover fabrics.

Even though I have a great deal to be thankful for, due to recent bereavement and a frustrating injury that is still a problem I was in a pretty bad mood for last week’s Thanksgiving holiday. Sewing has been keeping me from feeling a lot worse. Fortunately I’ve been really excited about making craft items to hopefully be used in a retail display someday. If all the parts aren’t done for this year I’m aiming for the next. One of the things I’m learning to get better at as I work on my Master’s degree is merchandising and displays. I wrote a paper in 2020 about some ideas I want to try and this project is an attempt at realizing some of what I wrote about. The professor wanted me to write the project as if it was a company with 50 employees, so I made it pretty ambitious and one person can’t do it overnight! So while some people have asked me if I want to sell these stuffed animals I just made, for now that is not the plan. They are inspiration for a “collection” that is going to have a lot of parts. I did find a person on Etsy who is selling some of the animals from this pattern for a very reasonable price.

I’ve wanted to try the pattern shown in the image above, Simplicity 1549, for awhile so this seemed like a good time. Sometimes I like to design my own patterns but this one was so cute I could not resist! I used all upcycled or leftover fabric for my versions. I didn’t make the owl yet because I think it’s kind of out of scale and I have another owl pattern I like better that I might enlarge a bit and use later. I do have some bird patterns for adding some woodland songbirds eventually as well.

The deer and the fox are harder to sew than the raccoon and the bunny because of their small size. I did make it harder for myself with some of my fabric choices – because I was using upcycled fabric and was initially making my choices based on color and pattern and texture, I didn’t consider the fabric thickness that much and I ended up using upcycled khaki shorts and upholstery fabric for the deer which were thick enough that I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to turn all the parts inside out! But somehow I did it. If I ever sew the deer again I’ll enlarge the pattern AND use thinner fabrics so it’s not so difficult.

I’m continuing with my interpretation of a woodland/lodge theme as I make more items. Here are a couple of stockings I made with a pattern that my Mom used circa the late ’70s or early ’80s.

I altered the stocking ornament to make it a bit bigger, and I changed where the top piece was placed to make them a little longer. I used a scrapbooking stencil that my friend Julie gave me a long time ago to trace the leaves out of felt for the fronts. There are going to be more of these, and they will have a hanging loop.

I remember Mom making the tree skirt from this pattern, the ornaments, and I think the wreath. I’m not sure if she made the large stockings or not. I don’t remember seeing them if so. I know Dad still has the tree skirt and ornaments. She also made a matching table runner which Dad still has.

The memories this pattern brings back are intense. It was more exciting than I can say to be a young crafter watching my Mom make all these items (and much more!). And it’s difficult to describe the bittersweet feeling of finding those fabric scraps you see there in the envelope when I was getting out the pattern pieces. There are tears falling and drying on my keyboard as I write this. Mom probably put those scraps in there so she’d know what fabric to get more of if she ran out. They were probably in there for at least 40 years. The awareness of what has happened to our family between then and now is pretty shocking, and I know we are not alone. It’s part of the human condition, and crafting and the arts are great gifts from our creator that are powerful aids in helping us cope.

Each holiday season involves both the past and the future. To turn my thoughts back to the future for now, here is a Pinterest board as I made as kind of a “mood board” for this project. If you find the theme I’m working with inspiring you might want to check it out!

Sewing Ideas: Woodland Animals and Accessories

I finished Experimental Art Quilts #2 and #3

I started making this series of experimental art quilts for two main purposes – to learn some hand quilting skills, and to have fun challenging myself to try to make art with upcycled scrap fabrics.

I decided to treat these pieces in a similar manner to some of my art journal pages. I thought of the fabric scraps as equivalent to the paper scraps that start off a lot of my art journal pages. Then I used the quilting stage to kind of draw with thread over and around the scraps like I would draw with pens and pencils on an art journal page. These were intended as art for the wall and not functional quilts so I had a lot of freedom to experiment with different fabrics and textures. Following are pictures of each piece and some process photos I took while I was making them so you can get an idea of how they were constructed. Enjoy!

Experimental Art Quilt #2
Originally this was going to be a sample for a JoAnn class for beginners I was interested in teaching. It was supposed to be four 6 inch squares with embroidery on them. Then I got inspired and started adding and adding and adding parts…
I wanted to get the embroidered parts right so I plotted some of them out on the computer first by using Adobe Illustrator to draw lines over a picture of the quilt to see how it might look. The final step was to outline it with blanket edging that I bought at JoAnn. I also bought the rick-rack, tulle, and yellow sheer ribbon there. I bought the batting online from my wholesaler and all the other fabrics were upcycled or leftovers. There are a few scraps in there that I printed with rubber stamps, a few scraps from my Mom’s stash, a few pieces from a dress I wore in 1985 and a piece of curtains that my Mom made for my room in the early 1980s!
Finished Experimental Art Quilt #3
I assembled strips from scraps and used the reverse applique technique to insert then between strips taken from upcycled bed sheets and pillow cases. The large scale black and white Aztec-looking print was taken from my favorite shirt in the 80s. These are remnants of the sleeves and collar that I cut off when I made a vest out of it a couple of years ago. The color scheme is a result of having some fun with one colorful strip among all neutrals to make a focal point.
I added a border made of tubes of leftover fabric, then decided the piece needed a bit more color and to draw attention to the focal point a little more. I added a strip of leftover brighter colored fabric and started on the embroidery. I used tracings inspired by a shirt I’m still working on that was inspired by my old shirt from the 80s. Then I embroidered through the tracing paper and tore away the paper after I stitched it.

Experienced quilters looking at these pieces I’m sure are aware I need a lot more technical skill and knowledge before I’m a “real” quilter, that’s why I call these “experimental”. One thing I’m thinking about doing this winter is learning to make a traditional quilt block to help with my skills in repairing a vintage quilt I started working on last winter. I’m looking forward to learning new skills as always! And I expect I’ll keep making experimental art quilts (I have ideas and the beginnings of two more already) because it’s fun and it’s useful to have portable projects I can carry around with me.

My Experimental Art Quilts 1-3 are for sale as wall art – if you are interested here are links to my listings on Etsy.

Experimental Art Quilt #1

Experimental Art Quilt #2

Experimental Art Quilt #3

The upside to forced inactivity – more time to sew!

In the fall, I’d rather be spending my weekends camping, hiking, or working in the garden. But because of the recent sprain/break of my foot (x-rays inconclusive), I have to keep my foot elevated most of the day and limit walking. One thing that has helped me keep calm during this frustrating time is sewing! Check out these recently completed projects.

For the triangle pillow, I combined recycled t-shirt fabric (used on the back), upcycled corduroy, a recycled jeans pocket and new flannel fabric to make a pocket pillow that my husband Tom and I gave to our great-nephew. For the pattern, I used a commercial beginner pattern and added a strip across the front to make a bigger pocket to accommodate the stuffed gnome/elf that my husband bought. The finished pillow has two functional pockets.

In the middle is a throw pillow that I made for our cat Leo. I’ve been thinking about making something like this for him since our other cat, Griffin, died in February. They were together for over 20 years and Leo seems lonely sometimes. I don’t know if it really helps him or not, but it turned out cute enough to use as a throw pillow as well. I used upcycled upholstery fabric from a chair that matched our sofa that we are replacing due to wear and other things (Leo was pretty destructive to the chair – perhaps because of frustration or loneliness or both).

I made the cat with a commercial pattern that my Mom used in the early 1980s. The pattern includes six animals and I hope to make more soon. I drew a new face for the embroidery on the cat to give it more attitude than the face design in the original pattern.

I started the felt stocking a few years ago as a sample for one of the classes I was teaching at JoAnn fabrics and crafts. If I ever teach there again, it might be a long time. So I decided to take the extra parts I made and sew this stocking up to finish it. When making my samples for teaching, I typically cut out enough parts to make several so that I could demonstrate the steps for the students during the class. If the classes were popular, I would often teach multiple sessions. When making the samples there was no way to know how many times I’d end up teaching it. The original project had more gluing and less sewing since it was for kids. I used all sewing and no glue this time since it’s unlikely I’ll teach this class again and I no longer have to stick to the project directions exactly. This sure was fun to stitch!

The stocking is now listed for sale on Etsy. Here is the link:

Felt Christmas Stocking With Hand Sewn Applique – Blue and Green

A Christmas Project That Turned Into a Valentine Project

Three softie hanging hearts made from upcycled fabric
Three softie hanging hearts made from upcycled fabric

While getting ready for my wedding last summer, I took apart the wedding dresses and veils used by my grandmother, Edith Linkul, and my Mom, Lois Hasenfratz. Neither dress fit me or was in good enough condition to wear as is, but I got a lot of usable fabric, lace and trimmings from these pieces. I started several of these stuffed hearts with ribbon hangers to give to people who helped out with our wedding for Christmas. I didn’t get them done in time for Christmas. I may revive this idea for next Christmas. In the meantime, I finished a few of them off in honor of Valentine’s Day.

All three of the hearts pictured here started out by cutting satin hearts from my grandmother’s wedding dress. I layered netting from my grandmother’s veil on two of them and leftover tulle from my veil on the other. I embellished all three hearts with lace from my Mom’s dress, champagne color faux pearl beads that came from an old necklace of my Mom’s, and small gold colored and clear glass beads. The wide piece of hanging ribbon that suspends the heart on the left came from my grandmother’s veil.

I was really glad when I got all the accessories finished that I made for my wedding, but I wasn’t ready to stop making things from the old and new materials I had amassed for wedding projects. As long as I have wedding supplies left in my stash, I’m sure these materials will keep popping up in various projects! What a great way to remember the happiest day of my life and pay tribute to my Mom and grandmother! (I need more practice getting the heart shapes more symmetrical too as you can see.)

Tutorial – Nautical Alphabet Initial Flag Banners


Canvas Nautical Flag Banners
Hand sewn-canvas nautical flag banners with my (former) initials CMH


One of my many DIY wedding projects was to make banners displaying Tom’s and my initials in nautical flag symbols. I made two sets, one with my (former) initials and one with his. To make them I dyed canvas flag blanks from Canvas Corp a lime green background color then appliqued fabric and felt on them by hand sewing with embroidery thread.

To learn how to make them, go to the Canvas Corp blog:
Nautical Alphabet – Initial Flag Banners

For more DIY Wedding ideas, see my Wedding Pinterest Board

My name is now Carolyn Hasenfratz Winkelmann…

…because I got married last Saturday! I don’t know what I’m going to do with the name of this web site. Probably just leave it as is for awhile. I’ve updated my name on some social media accounts but it will take time to get around to all of them!

Here are some of my favorite photos at the church taken by photographer Jim Kennett. He did a fabulous job, don’t you think? I cropped some of them but didn’t do any other editing for now.

Here I am with zinnias in front of the church. I love zinnias! I made my jewelry, my bouquet, and the veil from parts of my Mom’s veil. The dress was made by Kate Fournier from a vintage 1970s pattern. She helped me pick out the fabric too. The final effect is exactly what I was after – thanks Kate! She also made the marine life pattern¬† ties and pocket squares from fabric that Tom and I picked out.

Tom is changing into dress shoes. This picture is so him!

Kiss after the vows!

The gifts before being brought to the altar.

A nice overview of the church and congregation.

We are in front of my favorite stained glass window at the church. There is more than one reason why it’s my favorite but one reason is because it’s near where Tom and I usually sit at mass. The stained glass windows here are a real masterwork in my opinion.

Here we are having a little fun with the air conditioning vent!

Tom and I in front of church after the ceremony.

I have a HUGE amount of photos to decide what to do with. You’ll be seeing more pop up here and there as time goes on as I post more online and work on memory crafts related to the wedding. You can access more photos from this web page as I add more to the slide show that includes wedding shower pictures also.

Link to slide shows: Pictures

I made a LOT of stuff for this wedding – bouquets, boutonnieres, the ring bearer pillow, jewelry for myself and matron of honor, my veil, bracelet and wrist corsage for the mother of the groom, the program artwork and layout, the invitation web site, two thank you card designs (so far), flower girl crown, flower girl basket and faux flower sprays for the pews. For the reception decor I made flower sprays for vases, a small wreath, two shadow boxes, canvas banners with applique, wood blocks with initials for centerpieces, four table runners, a card box, jewelry to wear to the reception, bug repellent, a guestbook/scrapbook… am I forgetting anything? Possibly! I will be publishing more about some of the DIY projects related to the wedding in the future and in the meantime you can get more details about the DIY items on my Pinterest board here:

Link to Pinterest board: Wedding

I took the DIY wedding idea to the maximum of my ability because I love to personalize everything that I can and I wanted to express myself creatively as much as possible on the biggest day of my life! It was a lot of work but worth it!

Fun With Silk Flowers

Painting silk daisies with Color Wash paint by Tattered Angels.
Painting silk daisies with Color Wash paint by Tattered Angels.

Recently I went to Leftovers, Etc., a teachers resource recycling center, to stock up on donated silk flowers to upcycle. There were several items I wanted to make for my upcoming wedding so I bought up what donated silk flowers I could find in my color scheme of white, navy, lime green, and red/coral. I purchased extra white flowers so that I could experiment with painting some of them lime green. I added some flowers from JoAnn Fabrics and Crafts to supplement the supplies available at Leftovers, Etc.

Painting faux flowers with Color Wash paint by Tattered Angels

Painting some of the silk flowers and faux flower clusters made with little white stryrofoam balls was easy. I pushed the stems into chunks of scrap styrofoam from product packaging then made a 50/50 mix of Tattered Angels Color Wash Paint in the colors of Lime Cordial and Lemonade. I painted this mixture onto the faux flowers that I wanted to turn lime green. The results were fantastic – the paint is designed to tint and stain surfaces and it flowed and wicked it’s way into and over the faux flowers in a way which tended to give a natural appearance. That effect really shows up well on the lapel flowers below – I didn’t have to do anything special to get the paint to pool at the tips of the faux rosebud petals and give extra depth to the color application. If you enjoy silk flower arranging Color Wash paints can give you lots of additional creative options.

Lapel flowers - I made six of these.
Lapel flowers – I made six of these.

Finished flower girl head wreath and basket
Finished flower girl head wreath and basket.

Small wreath with upcycled flowers and foliage and purchased lovebird ornaments.
Small wreath with upcycled flowers and foliage and purchased lovebird ornaments.

These floral accessories are only a sampling of the items I’m making for my wedding. It’s going to be a real DIY event! A good friend of mine even made my dress and the ties for the male members of the wedding party (I’m not practiced enough at machine sewing yet to do those myself). As the wedding approaches and for some time afterward probably, I’ll be posting the finished DIY projects on my wedding Pinterest board – check it out!

Link to Pinterest board – Wedding

Ring Bearer Pillow Made from Upcycled Wedding Dresses

Ring Bearer Pillow
Ring Bearer Pillow

I inherited the wedding dresses of my Mother and Grandmother but neither was in a condition to wear for my upcoming wedding, nor did either dress fit me anyway. I decided to take them apart to use what decorations and fabric pieces that I could for the new dress I’m having made and for accessories. The first accessory to be completed is this ring bearer pillow.

The satin flower on top of the bow was one of two that were on my Grandmother’s dress. One had been sewn to each shoulder. The large satin bow had been on my Mom’s dress where the train was attached to the back. I dyed the bow and some of the fabric from my Mom’s dress a light lime green color with Procion MX dye. Lime green is my favorite color and will feature prominently in the festivities along with coral, navy and white.

I sewed a lacy section from Mom’s train to the front of the pillow and embellished it with glass and faux pearl beads. As I sewed on the bow assembly, I added some ribbon for tying the rings on.¬†I spent $0.00 making this because I already had all the supplies I used on hand. I’m very pleased with the results!

Making Signage From Letter Stencils: Part 1

As a member of the “gig economy” I do contract and part-time consulting, marketing and customer service work for various clients. Two retailers I work with recently had need of some in-store signage. One is a hardware store and one is a craft supply store and they both sell stencils. I’ve been experimenting with letter stencils to make signage that gets the message across and at the same time demonstrates how to use some of the products that the stores sell.

JoAnn Fabrics and Crafts in Maplewood, MO has a teaching department of which I am a member. The education coordinator asked each teacher to make a sign or two for the classroom samples display to highlight the categories of classes we teach. I was assigned “Kid’s Crafts” and “Jewelry”. I was given two blank pieces of foamcore already cut to size and access to the classroom supply cabinet. Fun!

I like the look of cut-out letters layered over a background. To help me visualize how to arrange the letters on the foamcore board, I cut out some pieces of scrap chipboard and used a letter stencil to trace the outline of each letter in position. Then I decided what colors to use in the actual sign. Since it’s spelling out “Kid’s Crafts” that’s a good excuse to use some really bright colors!

Planning the placement and colors of cutout letters on a sign

I traced the letters again onto the colorful cardstock pieces I selected then cut the letters out with an X-acto knife. I’ll save the cutout letters in case another suitable project comes up.
Cut out letters

Next I selected papers to use as backgrounds for each letter. I marked the foamcore as a rough guide to where I would place the background for each letter.

Selecting backgrounds for the cutout letters

A little black and white in a design is a great way to add visual interest. Some of the background papers already have some white in the pattern. To get some black in the design, I outlined each cut letter with a black Sharpie marker and drew some faux sewing stitch lines to help convey the hand crafts theme. The black outline also covered up my pen lines from when I traced the letters. Black Sharpie markers are such an essential part of my tool kit (like glue sticks) that I buy them wholesale because I go through so many!

Adding details with a black Sharpie marker

In order to read well from a distance, I thought some of the letters needed an improvement in the contrast. I added high contrast solid paper behind the letters that needed to pop a bit more. Then I added a strip of black and white paper tape (also known as design tape and washi tape) to the top and bottom edges for a more finished look.

Assembled sign with paper tape

The final finishing touch was to glue on a few colorful buttons here and there. I used a similar design idea to make my sign for Jewelry. That was fun to make because it gave me a chance to use some “shiny” supplies that are appealing but hard to find a use for that is tasteful and appropriate – metallic papers, silver ribbon, glitter papers and plastic jewels! I outlined the letters in the Jewelry sign with a metallic gold Sharpie paint marker that looks good with the jewel-toned papers and theme. The paint marker also has good enough coverage to conceal my pen lines.

Finished signs for the Jewelry and Kid's Crafts classroom display signs.

These signs were fun to make and also stretched me creatively because I used a few materials and colors that I don’t design with very often. That’s good exercise for any designer!

Crop Circle Necklaces

Convertible necklaces with polymer clay pendants
Convertible necklaces with polymer clay pendants

Back in the late 1990s I was really into crop circles as designs. I carved a lot of rubber stamps of crop circle designs and used them in all kinds of art work. I stamped some crop circles onto polymer clay to make pendants and painted them with wash and dry brush techniques.

I never could think of what to make with the crop circle pendants until this past weekend when I was practicing making convertible pendants as samples for a jewelry class I was getting ready to teach. The lesson plan called for adding a lobster clasp to a pendant so that you could fasten it to different necklaces and chains for a variety of looks. I combined my crop circles with some hematite beads and gunmetal colored rings and lobster clasps to finally get a look that I liked. I’ll have a lot of fun mixing and matching these with other jewelry pieces!