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Does your gift list have you stumped? Can never figure out what to make for Great Aunt Felma?  Each day through December 24, we are featuring a fabulous gift tutorial!  Check out the 2017 Handmade Holiday Gift Guide for (free!) recipes, patterns and more.
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1  FIBER ARTS / Felting: Completed Projects / Needle felted flower tutorial on: April 19, 2005 06:30:42 PM
I made another needle felted flower, and took some pictures along the way.  (Here's my first one.)  I tried to keep the scale the same in each of them so you can see the shrinkage.  The grid in the background is 1 inch squares.  The pictures were taken every commercial break for ~45 minutes, just to give you an impression of the time scale involved.

Wad of roving.  I got this at a neat toystore that had a bunch of Waldorf/Montessori-type toys.  You'll also need a barbed needle made for felting.


Pull the roving apart into little wisps and wad it up into a flattened oval.  Put it on a pillow or a piece of foam and have at it with the needle.  Push the barbed part of the tip all the way through the fiber and into the pillow.  It's the barbs that do the work.  It'll start to felt onto the pillow if you jab too much, so flip it over every few jabs.  If the edges seem irregular, just push them into shape and jab a few times to secure.


The oval should start to reduce in size and start to hold together.  Keep jabbing all over, flipping, and jabbing more, paying attention to the edges, until it starts to feel like felt.  I find this step the hardest because it doesn't seem like it's working at first.


Now you can start forming the petals.  Jab into the edge of the disk in a line where you want the petal divisions to be.  It should only take ~10 jabs to get an indentation.  If it takes much more than that, go back to jabbing all over and make the felt a little denser.  For now, just make a little indentation for each one.


Finish the petals by jabbing all around the petals and further felting the indentations.  I also jabbed in a line along the top to further define them.  The felt should really be firming up now.  You should feel some resistance when you put the needle through.


Once you're happy with the flower, you can embellish it however you want.  I used some felt beads I got in my Sampler from Lili la Malice.  She was kind enough to post a tutorial, too, if you'd like to make some yourself.  Just place the beads on the flower and jab until they're secure.


It all makes a lot more sense when you have the needle and roving in hand, I promise.

I'd like to thank the felted flower makers of the web for giving me inspiration to learn this great craft:  anatomy of a skirt, leslieduckie, Lili la Malice, Supermaggie, and dabblersupreme.  I hope they don't mind my ripoff too much.
2  MISCELLANEOUS TOPICS / Completed Projects / Pez dispenser USB drive (with instructions) on: December 22, 2004 10:18:53 AM
The kitten got ahold of my husband's USB drive and chewed up the casing.  What could we do with a mangled USB drive?  Then we remembered that my sister collects Pez dispensers, and that we needed a present for her, and the Pez dispenser USB drive idea was planted.  Googled it later and found out that, of course, someone else had already thought of it.  But his Pez dispenser no longer dispenses Pez, which I believe to be the essential function of such a device.  But, the compromise is that our design doesn't stand up any more.

1. Open dispenser as if to load it, overextending it so it will stay open.
2. Cut through both sides of the plastic Pez-holder, right near the very bottom.  The whole thing will pop apart.
3. Study how it's assembled.  There's a little plastic thing on the top of a spring.  That pushes the Pez up.  It travels in two grooves in the front and back of the body.  It only fits in one way.  The bottom part of the Pez holder also fits in the groove so that, when connected with the top part, it won't pull completely out of the body.
4. See if the USB key will fit into the body.  If it does, your life is much easier.  If it doesn't fit, disassemble it.  The mini Cruzer that we used has a screw hidden under the label that holds the whole thing together.  Once the case was off, it fit fine inside the body.
5. The drive will sit in the bottom part of the body.  The plastic holder will fill up the rest of the body.  Cut down the plastic holder part so it'll be the right length.  Ours holds 4 Pez.  Cut the spring, too.
6. Reassemble the dispenser.  It's a little tricky because of the spring and getting the little plastic cap in right.  We used packing tape to connect the top and the bottom back together.  Taping on the inside seems to work better than taping the outside.  There's actually very little clearance where the parts slide past one another.
7. Test it out with some Pez to make sure it still works.
8. Put the USB drive in and make sure it still fits.
9. Make any adjustments.
10. We used hot glue to secure the USB drive.  Squirt a bit in the body and quickly squish the drive in place.  Let it solidify and fill around the drive with more hot glue.  Just be careful none drips down and interferes with the holder.
11. Tada!



I wish I'd taken a picture of it plugged in.  The LED on the drive lights up and makes the whole thing glow.
3  JEWELRY AND TRINKETS / Trinkets and Jewelry: Completed Projects: General / Ultrasuede flower on: June 22, 2004 08:15:30 PM
Yes, I know, yet another felt flower.  I think the ultrasuede makes it a little dressier, though.  I love ultrasuede.  I got a whole pack of little squares in all sorts of colors on Ebay for just a few bucks.

The flower shapes were traced from the flowered skirt I wanted to match.  In the picture, you can only barely see the top stitching around the edges of each piece, but it looks really nice in real life.  I did that using my sewing machine, which took A Long Time since the pieces are tiny and curvy.  I ended up using the handwheel for most of it.  I'd do a stitch, leave the needle down, lift the foot and pivot it a little, lower the foot, and repeat.  It might actually be faster to handsew it.  I really like the way it looks, though.

Once I had the 3 pieces, I sewed back and forth through them with brown embroidery thread, catching a safety pin on the back as I went.  The little bits in the center are French knots, made as I was sewing it together.

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