Making and Crafts : Valentine Heart Wreath Revamp

February 1, 2012 07:45 by ehouston

Last year I wrote about adding a little holiday décor to our front door in the form of a heart shaped, yarn wrapped wreath


And, although I liked how it turned out I was disappointed at how much it faded into the dark color of our front door.  While our house does sit back from the road, with trees across the front, I did hope to be able to glimpse the wreath on the door when pulling in or even driving by.  Unfortunately, it was very difficult to see until you got right up to the front porch.  Dark red on dark black door = disappearing décor.


So, I got the idea to add a sort of lace doily effect to the back of the wreath giving it a white outline.  The hope was to make it pop against the dark door.  After considering many options (foam core board, stiffened fabric, actual paper doilies, etc.) I discovered stiffened felt at Joann’s craft store last week.  I had completely forgotten about this stuff and was super excited to see that I might have an easy option to work with for my idea. 


The only downside was that the largest piece I saw was only 12” X 18” , which meant I would need to put two pieces together in order to cover the back of the wreath with overhang.  At that point I was not really sure this was going to come together the way I envisioned, but the low cost and ready-to-go materials made for a project just my speed these days. 

Easy, I’m all about it. 

Oh, that might not have come across the way it was meant….but trust me, this prude meant it in the lazy way!

The next step was to tape the stiffened felt together using clear packing tape so it would not show through to the front.


I knew this was not going to be a permanent solution to keeping the pieces together, but it did work to hold them in place while making the design and attaching it to the wreath.



My first attempt to freehand the scallop around the heart wreath was with a disappearing fabric marker (greatest invention around!), but the bumpy nature of the felt and the felt tip of the marker were not a match.  So, I resorted to using blue tailor’s chalk instead.  Because I did all of this freehand, things were not perfect and I made most of my cuts inside the lines to eliminated some wonkiness and the blue chalk.  After cutting out the basic heart shape with the scalloped edge I used an oval hole punch to add the cut-outs within each bump of the scallop.  Using fabric fusion, I glued the heart wreath directly to the white felt backing.  Since the wreath is a little uneven due to the wrapped yarn, I also used some fabric piles to help weigh it down a little for a better hold.  After a night of drying I used a couple of T-pins shoved through the felt and into the back of the heart for an added safety measure in keeping the felt “doily” in place.

Wholla!  Revamped Valentine’s Day wreath that can be seen from farther away than the bottom step!


Kitschy, but fun for another year.  What type of holiday décor are you guys using to spruce your pads this year?

Kitsch Krafts

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Pinterest Challenge : Must You Mock Me?

January 27, 2012 06:56 by ehouston

Don’t laugh too hard.  I am still working on this project.  Really, I am!  It’s all just in stages.  Yep, that’s the story I’m going with.

Pinned Image

(from Milly Bee)

Pinned Image

(Heart Shaped Photo Collage, I believe from the blog, Click It Up a Notch.)

I finally pulled together enough frames to get the size and basic shape I was looking for.  Since I did not go with all the same sized frames, as in the inspiration photo, this presented a whole new challenge I had not even considered.  Big DUH, over here.


And then I changed it all…


…several times.

I’m still not settled on the middle frame, but the size of this one seems about right.  What I am not settled on is whether I will go through the pain of painting this one or just shell out the cash for a new frame.  I will definitely need to purchase a custom mat for the handprint picture, so I am leaning toward being cheap and just painting what I have.  The time needed to paint everything for this project is what really slowed me down with this whole challenge.  I started this project just as the weather began to get cold, so I felt I did not have a choice in painting by hand versus spray painting (I have to do all spray painting outside in the elements).  If I had known then how many warmer days we would still have left in the year, I never would have pulled the can and brushes out in the first place.  Lesson learned.  Now back to whether I can stomach painting that middle frame, or just throwing in the towel to buy a new one???  I’m thinkin’, I’m thinkin’.


In the end I nixed the idea of all black and white shots and here is why.  First, there are a LOT of frames to fill here!  Second, I have a ton of cute shots and artwork to put some where!  Since this arrangement is going in our master bedroom, and is all about family, I figured it’s the best place for all those sentimental things.


With an impending visit from the grandparents this coming weekend I had to make a decision on the layout which was on the guest room floor.  Or, risk another several weeks of frames stacked in the closet.  I think I am good with this and there is still a little space for adding smaller frames to round out the heart shape even more.  Although, I do kind of like that it’s not going to be a perfect heart.  So, they got post-its with numbers to aid in getting them back into this arrangement and I will pray I can get them on the wall in a somewhat smooth process.

Now, I will spend another whole bunch of time hemming and hawing over what to put where, just as I did about which frame looks best in which spot?  Once more of those decisions are made I will bore you guys with one final post so you can ooh and aaahhh!

Oye, remind me to pick a much easier challenge next time, okay?

Kitsch Krafts

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Pinterest Challenges

October 28, 2011 06:56 by ehouston

By now most of you know about Pinterest, the online “bulletin board” for pinning neat things you find while web surfing.  As usual, I have been slow to the game, but like most internet activities it’s a total time-suck.  If my laptop was up and running I would probably be able to do more Pinterest damage, so to speak.  Right now it is so infected that I can’t even open the browser without it slowing to a crawl so that a million pop-ups can load first.  I’m waiting for my tech guy (big HA!) to help me fix it all up.  With the popularity of pinning for DIY ideas many bloggers have started to submit challenges for themselves (and others) to make something they find.  The most well-known is probably over at Young House Love.  The challenge is to use the images as inspiration, or a direct plan for trying to knock-off something much more expensive, but way outside of the budget.  It’s a good idea, really.  At least it helps to get some of us away from the internet for a while.  ;o)  My few little pins so far have been more of the latter.  And, while I have not been interested in jumping on the Pinterest Challenge bandwagon yet, I did stumble upon something this past week to help change my mind.

Here is a recap of the circle of events to bring me to this place:

Months ago a friend of mine mentioned having seen an image of a wall with family photos arranged in a heart-shaped collage.  The first image to come to mine was that of an outline of a heart in photos pinned to the wall with thumbtacks, and it did sound like a really cute idea.  My friend said she liked it, but wanted something more permanent and would rather do one with small framed photos.  Later I realized the idea was to have a collage of photos making, not just outlining, a heart shape.  DUH!  Again, I thought it was a cool idea and then I promptly forgot about it. 

Fast forward a few more months and I’m sitting on my bed staring at the large blank wall that I have to look at every morning when I get up and every day as I pass through to the office.  I’m thinking to myself that I would really love to do a family photo collage of just the three of us, and wouldn’t this spot be nice to house it since it is such a large expanse of open space?  After these thoughts passed through my mind they were followed with a little laugh in realizing how FAR down the “To-do” list this wall and that photo collage would be.  Oh well, back to reality.

Over the course of the last few weeks I started noticing a large number of small wooden frames whenever I browsed at the local Sal. Army store.  I never have time to really look through them because stopping means the Little Guy, who is usually in tow, will begin rummaging crazily through anything within reach.  To avoid having to pay for broken hideous tchotchkes I usually take note and quickly move on through.  When I ran in to purchase the mini-hutch that is still drying down in the garage, after a second coat of stain, I took some time to look through the frames.  I was happy to see that many were wood and still had decent glass.  I was also happy to see that they were all $.99 and about half of what I wanted had mats too!  Score!  So the collecting started and I figure after a few more weeks I should have enough to put together a nice collage.

Then I was sifting through Pinterest and I found this image,

Pinned Image

Heart Shaped Photo Collage, I believe from the blog, Click It Up a Notch.

I had already pinned this image earlier,

Pinned Image

from Milly Bee.  And, the thought of centering our handprints and surrounding them with lot’s of fun family portraits had me over the moon!

So, I’m doing it!  I’m taking on a Pinterest Challenge.  Just me…lil’ ol’ me.  Hey, I’m gonna do it anyway, so why not make it a challenge?

I have the frame collection started, I just need to get the handprints completed ASAP, since The Mister is about to embark on a record breaking amount of work travel over the course of the next few weeks.  Yeah, we know, who makes people travel all over the country right during the holidays?  The company my husband works for, that’s WHO!

For my version I will be using mismatched frames painted out in white with black and white photographs.  At least I’m leaning toward black and whites right now.  I have a pretty good idea of what pictures I plan to use already since I have been wanting to do a family collage for a while, and once I figure out all the sizes I will need I can order up the prints.  I think the handprints will be white on dark gray paper with the Little Guy’s in red.  We will have to play around with that part. 

As per the norm around here at Kitsch Designs, I’m keeping this project on a retro sort of budget, collecting the frames from junk stores and sale racks over the course of the next few weeks.  The challenge ends the week after Thanksgiving, unless I somehow finish before that time and I will keep you posted on the progress over the next month.

Do you have anything pinned on your “To-do” boards that you would like to knock out over the next month with me?  Please share!

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Making And Crafts–Crafty Cheats and Scribble Art

February 14, 2011 08:41 by ehouston

I don’t know exactly where I first saw this idea, but I just remember glimpsing  this image while browsing all different blogs one day….

…and then cataloging it away in my brain for another time.  It turns out that it was a post by none other than Vickie Howell of Lark Craft.  She’s so crafty!  Anywho….I decided, after much browsing and consideration, that this was the route I would be taking for my mom’s Valentine’s Day gift.

For years I have been crafting some sort of heart shaped Valentine to give to my mom.  She has a huge basket filled with stuffed cloth hearts of all shapes and sizes.  Along with that collection she has heart shaped rocks, a crocheted anatomical heart, wire wrapped hearts…you name it, I have made it or hunted it down for her annual gift of love.  This year, as I did for 2009 (see here), I wanted to create something special from me and my Little Guy.  So, I used the idea above to transform some plain cotton canvas into a sweet heart felt (no pun intended) Valentine.  Here is how it all went down:


It started with a crafting cheat that I found while searching through the embroidery aisle at Joann’s Etc.  “Stitches as quickly as if you were drawing a picture” got my attention right away.  And, while I knew it was against my nature to go about a project this way, I also understood time was not on my side since I was making this purchase on the 10th for a gift due on the 14th.  Shew!  I know, I always cut things way to close and they just end up being late.  Better that, than never, right?  Okay, so back to the rest of this project.


I pulled together the materials I would need.  I had to purchase a small to medium hoop for this project, but the fabrics were from my stash.  I started with a soft creamy flannel, but ended up having to use a heavier cotton canvas.  I also started by placing a sheet of scribbled art over the fabric and I attempted to clamp it in the hoop too.  I figured this would make following the pattern REALLY easy.


All it did was end up in the way, ripped to shreds and when I tried to remove the bits that stuck under the stitches the stitching just came out with the paper.  So, I ended up letting him use a pencil to scribble directly on the cotton canvas.  The punch embroidery tool was pretty easy to use and get the hang of, but it put a lot of wear and tear on the fabric.  Also, the stitches seemed to come out easily with the softer fabric, hence the switch to the cotton canvas.  I was so glad I used the multicolored embroidery floss, since it mimicked the way the Little Guy had scribbled, with dark and light areas where he changed pressure.

Once the embroidery portion was completed I cut around it in a heart shape and used the embroidered piece as a template to cut out the backing fabric.  At the last minute I also decided to add some vintage black and white crocheted trim to the edge.  First I sewed it around the cotton canvas piece and then I put the right sides together with the backing fabric and used the stitch line as a guide to sew the front and back together.  After a little snipping of the curved edges I turned the whole thing right side out, stuffed it with polyfil, then stitched up the edge by hand.



I don’t know, I may be a tad bit biased, but I think it came out rather nice.

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Making And Crafts–Valentine’s Day Wreath

February 9, 2011 07:20 by ehouston

In an attempt to add a little celebration to our lives each month we have decided to get on board with the holidays- no matter how small.  Not that Valentine’s Day is an insignificant holiday, but to us it’s just not the same as Christmas or Thanksgiving.  Those are the majors.  Most other holidays fall into a different category around here.  One in which we have a simple, but special meal, a quick holiday greeting, maybe a card, and then we move on with our lives.  Usually there are no major decorations going up or weeks of shopping for the right gift.  No serious large meal planning and work to get ready for a stream of houseguests. 

However, we have decided as a family that we would like to make sure we do acknowledge the special days throughout the year so we don’t lose site of what is important to us.  Love, God, Fights for Freedom, Independence…you get the picture.  So, this year I finally got around to putting together a bit of holiday décor for the front door as a sweet reminder that this is the month of love.  After long admiring those wrapped yarn wreaths you see all over places like Etsy, I decided to give it a try myself. 

Retro Hostess Kitchen Wreath

(I have long admired this exampler from Knock Knocking.)

My goal was to create something cute, but only with materials I had around the house.  That was key!  I did try to find a foam heart form for the base because I thought it would be easier to work with, but the only ones I found were on the small side  Which ended up being a good thing because I really did not need a foam form after all.


I ended up using a cardboard box that was laying around the house as a base for the wreath.  I don’t knit or crochet, so I did have to break down and buy some yarn, at $2.79, a skein for this project since that is not a supply I keep on hand.


As I cut out the form I rounded the points a bit to help with the wrapping process.


To give the form some bulk, softness and a little shape I wrapped it with some leftover heirloom cotton batting.   Then I just went to town wrapping the yarn around and around the form until I had the coverage I wanted.  It took two times around the whole thing, but with all the curves and points I had to get a little creative in the wrapping process.  At one point I realized if I kept things smooth and did not backtrack from to far up the line I could wrap the yarn outward instead of just along the form.  In other words I could keep wrapping in one area until I had the coverage just right and then I could move along the form.  The trick was to just be sure that you wrapped the next area to the same depth as the one before it.  Otherwise you would end up with bumps and lumps.  Once I realized I did not have to do one overall layer at a time things went pretty quickly.


Of course I wanted to embellish the finished wreath with something a little Springy.  So, I cut flower and leaf shapes out of vintage and reproduction fabric scraps.  Then I coated them with fabric stiffener.  Before they completely dried I folded, curled and rumpled them up a bit to give them some character.


After they completely dried I stitched the pieces together to form larger flowers and used vintage buttons to finish off the centers.


I also really wanted some kind of ribbon or bow with tails to add a little charm.


I think this vintage scalloped trim did just the trick!


Later I broke out the glue gun and added the flowers.  I think it came out pretty cute for a quick, couple of afternoons project.  I figured it can grace our door through the end of the month, by which time I hope to have come up with something for March.  Clover maybe, or a horseshoe?  Hmmm….

Kitsch Krafts

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