Monday, November 21, 2011

Modern Eco Felt... the possibilities are inspiring!

This week we are taking a closer look at the modern improvements and technology in the world of felt manufacturing, as well as fresh ideas on felt crafting. With a few simple web searches, and visits to a few Etsy shops, I've become quite riveted and impressed with the "new wave" of felters out there!
First and foremost, the new Eco-fi felt was what started it all for me. We added it to the web site this past week and it's pretty awesome! Here's why: made from 100% post-consumer recycled plastic bottles, this stuff comes in a huge array of vibrant colors, can be machine washed and dried, is fade resistant, cuts without fraying, and can be used for all kinds of both sew and glue projects.

Secondly, this super cute book called Felt Friends just came into our store and oh, how I wish I was a giddy 12-year-old again, so I could sit at home with free time to make these silly cute felt pets! This paired with an assorted variety of the Eco-fi felt would make a great gift for any crafty girl who loves Japanese style cuteness!

A lovely heart like this, as well as the "Over the Rainbow" brooches pictured at the top, are Designed by Jane, and are great ideas for a home-made way to show your Valentine some love year-round. To view the entire gallery of Jane's past works, click here.

Doing a few searches on Google yielded plentiful ideas and adorable displays of talent. I love all these felt cakes! What a sweet gift to give for a friend's birthday, or any holiday for that matter!
And lastly, with the holidays right around the corner, there's a plethora of Christmas, Chanukah, and Kwanzaa crafts to be made! You could easily adapt this idea of a felt advent calendar to represent the ideals of Kwanzaa also. It would be fun for kids of all ages to make as a group project (older ones cut out shapes, younger ones glue) and everyone can enjoy stuffing the pockets with treats - and of course - eating them too.
In conclusion, there are so many possibilities with the new Eco-fi felt, and now is a great time of year to get started exploring them!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Holiday apron and the perfect tool to help make it super easy!

One of my favorite elves brought in this apron today and I just love it. The print is so fun and quirky and the colors are not that of your typical holiday print.  Green, lavender, pink & red may sound crazy together, but here combined with just the right amount of gold it really works.

Besides showing me this fantastic apron our elf reported on a new tool she found in our Notions department. It's called Turn-it-All. She told me that it made making the neck strap and the tie at the back a cinch!

In 4 easy steps you can turn so many items inside out. Since it has 3 different sizes it's perfect for the apron shown, as well as Spaghetti straps, scrunchies (great easy gift for your tween!), doll parts, and any thing that needs to be turned inside out after you sew it.

For $10.00 this tools seems like a steal. Find it online at

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The holidays are coming...

Yesterday as I was walking from my main office to the internet office, as I must do 20 times per day, and I realized our ML elves have been very busy. As the holidays approach, they have been putting up new sample projects to get our customers inspired. I just wanted to share some of these projects with you . They range from super simple (I'm talking a great skein of yarn, some big needles and some cellophane) to ones that the more experienced sewers out there might like.

If you're looking for an easy gift idea, here are a few that I really love....

We have many beautiful skeins of yarn that (with 1 skein) you can make a beautiful scarf. The directions are included. Just add a large pair of needles (check the pattern to see what size is called for) and a pretty basket and your set. Great and super easy gift for the holidays.

We carry so many great books as well. If they love to knit, add a knitting one:  

If they like to crafts, try a fun felt book:

And I could go on and on.  What about filling a basket with fabric? Here are just a few of our pre-cut cotton bundles that make great gifts for your friends who like to quilt:

Lastly here is one of our cute sewing baskets. Have fun filling it with various items from our notion department.

Okay now for those of you who want to make something for those special someone in your life here are a few options...

I will start with the easy ones and work my way my up to the more advanced sewer...

We have so many fun polar fleece panels, from kids characters to sporting teams. These can simply be cut and used as blankets, especially for the kids, or you can finish the edges off.

Beautiful faux that can easily be made into a great throw. Perfect for you & you honey to cuddle under.

Want your own grown up throw? Try lining this amazing, super soft faux fur.  I'm sure your honey would love to snuggle up under one of these.

Love to quilt? Look at this amazing flip flop quilt....Who wouldn't love to get that!

I also really like this cute holiday flannel blanket:

Two other great holiday gifts, very pretty & completely usable are table runners and pot holders. While they may sound old fashion with all the amazing choices in fabrics at the store they won't be dated. You can make them as cool as your imagination lets you. Here are a few holiday ones our busy elfs just finished...

Thanksgiving table runner

Pot holders and an adorable place mat

Okay just when I thought your tour was done I saw a few more goodies...

Love these Ugg-like baby booties. If you have any extra yarn around these would make up so quick and what a perfect gift for anyone with a little one.

If you crochet here are 2 great little purses that all your friends would love to get.

Okay so that is it from the Apparel store. I will be checking out the Home Decor store in the coming days. I hope our elves are hard at  work over there as well!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Rest Your Head On A Personalized Pillowcase!

Making a pillow case as a gift, to donate, or for yourself is a wonderful way to bring a personal and unique story into someone's sleeping space. I like to make pillow cases for my close friends and loved ones for holidays and birthdays, or when they are setting out on a journey or moving to a new place. A pillow case is easy to make, it's small and packs flat, and it can be made very special just by the unique variety of materials you choose to combine. What's a better place to rest one's head than on a one-of-a-kind, made-with-love pillow? Or, if you are looking for an easy weekend project and are interested in sewing for a cause, there is the "1 Million Pillowcase Challenge" hosted by Here are some pictures of the pillowcases Denise made using their "Roll-It-Up" pillowcase method:

I recently made a pillowcase for a friend who was moving to the southern Pacific island of Palau. I chose an appropriate variety of appealing cotton prints from Michael Levine's, all with an island air, in a palette of sea greens and azure blues, and featuring tropical foliage, birds, and flowers. It isn't the first time I've made a pillowcase as a "Bon Voyage" gift, because as I mentioned before, a gift for this occasion must be practical and pack flat. He later wrote to me and said "I had to stay in a shady motel the first night, so your pillowcase saved me!"

Before you begin, be sure to choose fabrics that are 45" wide, 100% Cotton. You may also want to pre-wash and dry your materials to prevent uneven shrinkage. I recommend that cotton prints be machine washed in warm water and tumbled dry on warm, and then pressed smooth with an iron on the cotton setting.
1. Cut the fabric using this guide, although you will probably be using different fabrics for each piece:

You will need:
7/8 yard of main FABRIC A1-1/2" x 45" strip of piping FABRIC B3/8 yard of band FABRIC C

2. Press both band and piping strip in half lengthwise, wrong sides together:

3. Place main fabric (A) right-side-up, design facing you. On the right-hand edge (which will be a 45" edge), layer the piping strip (B) and then the band (C), all raw edges aligned on the right. Stitch together using a 1/2" seam allowance, then serge if you wish. If you would like a no-serge pillowcase method, check out this video.

4. Open and press band to the right, while pressing piping strip to the left:

5. After pressing, topstitch 1/8" from left edge of band:

6. Fold pillowcase in half, right sides together, wrong sides out, aligning both ends of piping and band. Edges should form squared corners. Starting at top right corner of picture below (band edge / pillowcase opening), stitch and back-stitch, then stitch long edge, pivot at corner , and stitch short edge. Serge if you desire.

7. Iron seams flat, turn pillowcase right side out, and press and steam all seams flat/smooth from outside. You may want to launder once more before using, to soften it up a little.
8. Lastly, if it will be a gift, I like to add a ribbon or bow. Fold or roll up the pillowcase, and tie it with a ribbon or a coordinated strip of silk georgette like I did:

Next time you are looking for a very personal and meaningful gift to give, I hope you will think of this tutorial and give the gift of sweet dreams!