|I'm a little felt tree that your kids can decorate and redecorate!|
And, as per someone's request--a lovely someone who actually has this recipe printed, but fretted over the availability of it to others--the giftable grapefruit marmalade recipe is now here. I am making this tonight. Act surprised when you unwrap it, okay?
Likewise, the peppermint patties are here too. And I have pieces in this month's O magazine and FamilyFun and, as always, Real Simple, if you get a chance to look!
But I'm writing now because I was reviewing my instructions for the little felt trees here, and I felt like they were a little, oh, I don't know. . .
So I'm going to try to offer a little more guidance this time. Ready?
Make a pattern. You'll do this by tracing something large and round, such as a dinner plate onto a piece of paper. Cut out the circle and fold it into quarters. Voila! A pattern!
Now use this pattern to cut a piece of felt. I am using a washed and dried wool sweater (I say more about felting thrift-store sweaters here), but you can use any kind of felt: wool, acrylic, even polar fleece, come to think of it. Of course, I love upcycling, and I love weird wool sweaters, so that's always the direction I head.
Note that I am using a rotary cutter and am too lazy to do anything but hold down the pattern while I cut. If you are using scissors, then secure the pattern first; I find that pins or double tape both work well for this.
Now fold up your felt shape and use a needle threaded with a longish piece of embroidery thread to stitch up the side from top to bottom, leaving your needle and thread attached when you get there.
Now pop open your cone shape on a piece of paper and roughly trace around the bottom. Then find a circular object that is more or less that size, and trace around it to make a pattern for the bottom of the tree.
This is not an exact science. Use the pattern to cut a circle from your felt.
Place the felt at the bottom of your cone (again, pinning could be useful but I am too lazy to bother) and pick up your needle and thread where you left off to begin stitching on the bottom. I am using a _____ stitch. What the f is it called? Whip stitch.
When you're about 2/3 of the way around, stop sewing (leave your needle and thread where they are) and stuff your little tree. I used polyester stuffing, but you could use cotton balls or felt scraps or, like my mom used to, old pantyhose if you prefer. After it's nice and stuffed put something heavy at the bottom to weight it. I like beach rocks for these, but I was out, so I put in a few handfuls of dried peas. Pinch the bottom to the tree and sew it up the rest of the way, making sure to run out of thread when you are one fucking inch from the end, so you'll need to tie off and rethread and sew two stitches and tie off again.
Now put some sequins and pretty pins in an Altoid tin. I got all of these things at Michael's: the sequins came in a bag where the crafts are, and the "pearlized" pins were in the sewing area. There's lots of both, in case you want to make these as gifts. Which you really might, because they are so cute.
I used hot glue to decorate the tin's top with felt (and some of my thumb skin) because I am meticulous like that. Trim the felt *after* you glue it on or you will be ruing the day. That's it! It takes about half an hour start to finish, and it is seriously worth it because it gives the kids something to do while they are waiting for Christmas or to open a little flap or to light the menorah or eat a chocolate coin or for you to be done drinking eggnog or any number of the things they are stuck waiting for in December.