Make a Felt Garland – using any Christmas ornament pattern

Make a Felt Garland using any Christmas ornament pattern - a tutorial from Shiny Happy World

There are SO MANY cute felt Christmas ornament patterns out there!

Shiny Happy World alone has a couple dozen. 🙂 You can find them here.

Some of them are Santas and trees and things specific to the holiday – but a bunch of them are just cute everyday items that are fun to hang on your Christmas tree. I wanted to come up with another way to use those fun everyday patterns, so I decided to make an easy felt garland.

I picked the cupcake pattern – because I love cupcakes and it was my birthday and I thought it would make a really cute party decoration that could be used year after year.

Other fun options would be this dinosaur, this rocket ship, this bird, and more. There’s also a free felt matroyshka doll pattern here that would work well.

Stitch up however many you want, in whatever colors you like.

I made a dozen cupcakes in all different colors (using up a bunch of my felt scraps – an added bonus.)

Then you just string them together!

Make a Felt Garland using any Christmas ornament pattern - a tutorial from Shiny Happy World

Cut a length of thin cotton yarn (make it a lot longer than you think you need) and thread a big-eye needle with it. Run the needle through the back layer only of your ornament. Make sure to pick a spot near the top of your ornament so the piece doesn’t tend to flip upside down when you hang it. It will always want to hang heavy-side-down.

Finished!

Make a Felt Garland using any Christmas ornament pattern - a tutorial from Shiny Happy World

Don’t tie any knots or anything – that way you can slide the ornaments along the string as needed to fill any space.

I like mine so much I decided to keep it up all year! I hung it across the opening to my studio so I see it every day. 🙂

Make a Felt Garland using any Christmas ornament pattern - a tutorial from Shiny Happy World

Make a party garland! Decorate a nursery or a child’s room! Or make one for yourself. 🙂

Have fun with it!

Happy stitching!

Best,
Wendi

Wendi’s 50th Birthday Sale – 50% Off All Patterns

50th birthday sale - 50% off all patterns at Shiny Happy World

Happy birthday to me!

Today is my birthday and I’m 50 years old!

So I’m having a huge birthday sale!

For one day only – midnight to midnight eastern time – every pattern in the shop is 50% off.

I’ve never had a sale this big before – but turning 50 is a BIG deal!

Here are the details. . .

Use the discount code PARTY for 50% off all patterns.

The discount only applies to digital patterns – not tools and supplies – so there’s no need to worry about anything selling out.

Take your time. Pick your patterns. And don’t forget to use the code when you check out.

It’s good all over the place.

Shop the Shiny Happy World store here.

Shop the FreshStitches Ravelry store here. (crochet patterns only)

Shop for online video workshops too! Get the Big Stitches and Patchy Patchwork class here and the Think BIG Giant Applique class here.

No matter where you shop, use the code PARTY for your discount.

(Sorry – the code does not apply to my Craftsy classes. Craftsy has their own sale plans and I’m not allowed to discount my own classes.)

Sale is one day only on April 6.

That’s today! Sale ends at midnight tonight – Eastern time. There’s a time zone converter here.

Happy birthday to me! And happy stitching to you!

Best,
Wendi

SHARE THIS

Happy Birthday Embroidery Pattern!

Happy Birthday embroidery pattern from Shiny Happy World

There’s a new embroidery pattern in the shop!

Stitch up some birthday motifs on anything you like! Embroider little partygoers on handmade goody bags. Stitch a towering birthday cake onto a tea towel. Add a bunch of balloons and a birthday greeting to a T-shirt.

Have a party!

You can get the new pattern here.

But don’t get it today! Wait until tomorrow! Tomorrow is my birthday and I’m having a BIG sale on all patterns. 🙂

Happy stitching!

Best,
Wendi

My Pasha Panda

Pasha Panda - an Ami Club pattern from FreshStitches and Shiny Happy World

Have you all seen the new Ami Club pattern for April? It’s this adorable Pasha the Panda designed by Alyssa Voznak.

Pasha Panda - an Ami Club pattern from FreshStitches and Shiny Happy World

(If you’re not yet an Ami Club member – here’s how it works. You pay $4 a month and on the first of every month you get an awesome brand new amigurumi pattern. You also get other benefits – like a permanent discount on all eyes and noses, and special sales on other amigurumi patterns. You can sign up here.)

There’s been some chatter about good yarn for amigurumi in the Shiny Happy People group – so I thought I’d share what I used for my Pasha – the one in the top photo – especially because it was a REALLY nice yarn to use.

I didn’t want my panda to be black and white because both of those colors are very hard to photograph well – and I knew I’d want to post a photo here. Plus, I really like using fantasy colors for animals that (in a way) reference the real colors.

I also wanted a yarn with a little color variation in it – more for texture than anything else. So I strolled the aisles of Joann’s and found the perfect oatmeal color with very fine dark grey and medium brown strands throughout. It would work great for my “white.” And the blue is from the same collection. It’s mostly a denim color – but if you look closely it has bits of purple and green in it, so it reads like it has a bit more texture.

They’re both Lion Brand yarn and the collection is Wool-Ease. The light color is called wheat and it’s 86% acrylic, 10% wool, and 4% “other fiber.”

The blue is called blue mist and it’s 80% acrylic and 20% wool. I’m not sure why the fiber content is different in two colors from the same collection. If I was planning to wash this I would worry about that – but I’m not so it’ll be fine.

This yarn was really nice to crochet with – no splitting strands and it felt very nice in my hands. It calls for a J hook, but I used an I because I tend to be a fairly loose crocheter. Using one size smaller hook gives me a tighter fabric which is better for stuffed animals.

I’ve already seen two finished pandas in the Shiny Happy People group – one in blues and one in purples. And Alyssa has a fun modification she’s planning to share soon. I can’t wait to see what you all make!

Happy stitching!

Best,
Wendi

April Free Calendar

Free April Calendar from Shiny Happy World

Happy April!

It’s Bear Month here at Shiny Happy World AND it’s my birthday month – so of course I had to make a bear in a party hat for this month’s calendar. 🙂

The bear is one of a dozen new bears in a new pattern coming soon called Bunches of Bears. Her name is Annabelle.

Download your wallpaper below – there are options both with and without an April calendar.

Free April Calendar from Shiny Happy World

Click here to download the one for computers/tablets.

Click here to download the same image with no calendar.

Free April Calendar from Shiny Happy World

Click here to download the one for phones.

Click here to download the same image with no calendar.

And one more thing for you.

Annabelle in birthday party hat - from Shiny Happy World

I like to wish my friends on Facebook Happy Birthday by posting a cute picture on their wall. I decided to add a little speech bubble to Annabelle so I could add her to my library of digital birthday cards – and I thought I’d share that image with you so you can use it too if you like. You can download it here.

Enjoy!

Best,
Wendi

Adorable Easter Eggs – a free crochet pattern

Adorable Easter Eggs - a free crochet pattern from FreshStitches and Shiny Happy World

Want to learn how to make adorable crocheted stuffed animals with an easy online workshop – totally free?

Sign up for Let’s Make Amigurumi here. You’ll learn how to get started, the tools and supplies you’ll need, and how to make an easy amigurumi from start to finish using simple crochet stitches.

It’s a fun, inexpensive, and totally portable craft. You can do it!


These little eggs are super fun to stitch up – and a great way to use up your scraps!

Here are the patterns for a plain egg, a striped egg, and a spotted egg. The links go to tutorials showing how to do each step.

If you’re just getting started, start with the plain egg. It’s a great way to learn the basic stitches – single crochet, increase, and decrease.

Have fun!

You can use any size yarn for this pattern – but if you’re doing stripes or spots, make sure both yarns are as close to the same thickness as possible. Use the hook size recommended on the yarn band – or one size smaller if needed to get a nice tight stitch.

Plain Egg

Start out with a sloppy slip knot.

Ch 2. This video shows how to chain stitch.

Round 1 Sc 6 times in 2nd ch from hook (6) This video shows how to single crochet, and this video will help you find the second chain from the hook.

Round 2 Sc twice in each stitch (12) This video will help you with that increase round, if you need it.

Round 3 Sc in each st (12)

Round 4 [Sc twice in next st, sc in next st] 6 times (18) If you’re confused by those brackets and parentheses, take a look at this post about How to Read a Crochet Pattern.

Round 5-6 Sc in each st (18)

Round 7 [Sc twice in next st, sc in each of next 2 sts] 6 times (24)

Rounds 8-10 Sc in each st (24)

Round 11 [Sc2tog, sc in each of next 2 sts] 6 times (18) This video will help you with this first decrease round.

Stuff the egg.

Round 12 [Sc2tog, sc in next st] 6 times (12)

Round 13 [Sc2tog] 6 times (6)

Round 14 Sc next and fourth stitches together. (1) This video has help for stitching up those last couple of rounds.

Fasten off, pulling the knot towards the center. This video shows how to fasten off.

Done!

Striped Egg

For the striped egg you’ll be changing yarn colors. This video shows the basics of how to change colors when you’re doing single crochet, and this video has some tips for making those colors changes a little smoother.

MC is your main color. SC is your second color.

Start out with a sloppy slip knot.

With MC, ch 2.

Round 1 Sc 6 times in 2nd ch from hook (6)

Round 2 Sc twice in each stitch (12)

Round 3 Sc in each st (12)

Round 4 [Sc twice in next st, sc in next st] 6 times (18)

Round 5-6 With SC, sc in each st (18)

Round 7 [Sc twice in next st, sc in each of next 2 sts] 6 times (24)

Rounds 8-10 With MC, sc in each st (24)

Round 11 With SC, [sc2tog, sc in each of next 2 sts] 6 times (18)

Stuff the egg.

Round 12 [Sc2tog, sc in next st] 6 times (12)

Round 13 [Sc2tog] 6 times (6)

Round 14 Sc next and fourth stitches together. (1)

Fasten off, pulling the knot towards the center.

Done!

Spotted Egg

For the spotted egg you’ll be changing colors for just a few stitches at a time. You do that just like the color change in the striped egg, EXCEPT you don’t need to cut and knot your yarn between those changes. Just drop one color and pick up the new color without cutting the yarn. The color you’re not using will just carry on the back of the work.

MC is your main color. SC is your second color.

Start out with a sloppy slip knot.

With MC, ch 2.

Round 1 Sc 6 times in 2nd ch from hook (6)

Round 2 Sc twice in each stitch (12)

Round 3 Sc in each st (12)

Round 4 [Sc twice in next st, sc in next st] 6 times (18)

Round 5-6 [With MC, sc in next 4 sts. With SC, sc in next 2 sts] 3 times (18)

Round 7 With MC [sc twice in next st, sc in each of next 2 sts] 6 times (24)

Rounds 8-10 [With SC, sc in next 3 sts. With MC, sc in next 3 sts] 4 times (24)

Round 11 [Sc2tog, sc in each of next 2 sts] 6 times (18)

Stuff the egg.

Round 12 [Sc2tog, sc in next st] 6 times (12)

Round 13 [Sc2tog] 6 times (6)

Round 14 Sc next and fourth stitches together. (1)

Fasten off, pulling the knot towards the center.

Done!

Happy stitching!

Best,
Wendi

Using Cuddle Fleece for Dress Up Bunch Dolls

Using Cuddle Fleece for Making Dress Up Bunch Dolls - from Shiny Happy World

I’ve received a couple of emails lately asking if you can use cuddle fleece for make Dress Up Bunch dolls.

Yes you can!

This is actually a really versatile pattern and I’ve used all kinds of different fabrics for it!

Just to test the fleece I made the Beatrice Bunny you see in that top photo. 🙂

I used camel fleece and the resulting bunny is super cuddly and soft. The slight stretch of the fleece makes a bunny that’s exceptionally squishy. 🙂

A couple of things I did different with the fleece. . .

  • Use bigger eyes – the pattern calls for 9 mm safety eyes but I used 12 mm. The slight pile of the fleece tends to enclose the edges of safety eyes making them look smaller – so going up a size is generally a good idea.
  • Use thicker thread to embroider the mouth – the pattern calls for embroidery thread but I used thin cotton yarn. The reason is the same as the bigger eyes – I didn’t want the thinner embroidery thread to get lost in the pile of the fleece.
  • I used an 18 mm pink triangle safety nose. No special reason – I just didn’t even know about the noses when I designed the original doll. I wanted to try it here and I love it!

For those who want to know the other fabrics – that’s pink satin in her ears and fabrics from the Pretty Pinks bundle for her outfit.

What other fabrics have I used?

I’m glad you asked!

Quilting Cotton

I’ve used quilting cotton for most of the samples. It works just fine.

Mollie - a Dress Up Bunch doll  pattern from Shiny Happy World

I’ve even got a bundle of quilting cottons in people colors that are great for making these dolls.

Flannel

I used flannel to make my Pip the Cat and I love how he turned out!

Pip the Cat made with flannel - a Dress Up Bunch pattern from Shiny Happy World

Be sure to use good quality flannel so your doll doesn’t pill after just a few snuggles.

Stretchy Fabric

Yes – you can use stretchy fabric too.

Using Stretchy Knit Fabrics to Make a Rag Doll - Tips from Shiny Happy World

That requires a little special handling – mostly using a stretch needle and being careful not to overstuff your doll so she still fits into her clothes. 🙂 I share all the tips in this post – plus a link to a source for special “doll skin” fabric used for Waldorf dolls.

Faux Fur

Yep – you can use faux fur too!

Rumples - a Dress Up Bunch dog pattern from Shiny Happy World

Here’s Spot the Puppy made in some really spectacular faux fur. I love this guy and named him Rumples.

One caution when using fur – the furrier the fur, the bigger it makes the doll. It might make the regular clothes not fit anymore.

Rumples is stuffed pretty tightly into his Play Clothes.

Rumples - a Dress Up Bunch dog pattern from Shiny Happy World

If you’re looking for faux fur, this is my favorite source. I think that fur I used for Rumples has been discontinued – but they have other great options.

So there you have it! Lots of great fabric options for making Dress Up Bunch dolls!

Happy stitching!

Best,
Wendi

Playing with Improv Piecing – Stripes

Playing with Improvisational Piecing - Stripes (from Shiny Happy World)

I finished my design wall (you can get instructions here) and immediately started sewing some blocks to pin up there.

You see – I have a specific project in mind and I’m sooooo eager to get to it!

This is the door between my office and my husband’s office.

barn door before upholstering with improv quilt - Shiny Happy World

I love that barn door – and from the very beginning we planned to cover it with a quilt. Basically, I’m going to make two quilts – one for the front and one for the back, and I’m going to hand-sew the door into them (like a model on Project Runway) with a strip of solid fabric all around the thickness of the door.

I want to improv piece the quilts – but I’ve never really done that before. So I want to practice a bit and try some things out before I start on the big door project. And for that – I really wanted to have a design wall. It helps so much to be able to see the design straight on as it’s growing!

For my practice pieces I’m making some placemats. Each one will use a different basic shape so see what I like – and what’s fun to do. 🙂

I’m starting with stripes. I love stripes!

Here are my rules for this one. . .

  • No rulers. I’ll use my rotary cutter and scissors – but no rulers, either for measuring or cutting. I want my lines to be slightly wobbly/crooked.
  • A limited color palette of rich grey mixed with pastels. (All my fabrics are from the Michael Miller Cotton Couture solids collection – and the pastels are all from my Rainbow Sherbet fabric bundle. Such pretty colors!
  • Big Stitch quilted with really dense stitching. Yay! I haven’t done any big stitch quilting for months and I’m itching to get back to it.

The first thing I did was measure out a space on my design wall – a little bigger than a placemat needs to be – and mark the four corners with pins. That way I can see what space a need to fill.

Then I started cutting and sewing. Remember – no rulers. I just grabbed some pastel scraps, cut a chunk of grey, cut them into strips, and sewed them together. This is so much fun! Once a finished a little chunk of pink, I moved on to other colors. Here’s a super short video showing each little chunk going up onto the wall.

After I was happy with all the chunks, I sewed them together. Easy peasy – nothing fancy.

At the end of the video you see it hooped up in a square frame all ready for stitching, stitching after one evening, and stitching after two evenings. So here’s a little more info about that part of the process.

It’ll probably take me about a week to do the quilting on this piece. It’s small (standard placemat size) but I only get to do hand work for an hour or two most evenings.

Once I’m done, I’ll update this post with more info!

Next up I’ll be doing more stripes – but this time slightly wavy stripes. No tight curves – just gentle waves. There’s a little trick to it, so I’ll be sure to post a video showing how. 🙂

Happy stitching!

Best,
Wendi

How to Build a Design Wall (Flannel Board, Bulletin Board, etc.)

How to Build a Design Wall (or Flannel Board or Bulletin Board) - a tutorial from Shiny Happy World

I finally have a design wall in my new house and I’m so excited! There really is nothing like being able to step back and see an entire quilt like this!

And I’m going to show you (in excruciating detail) how I built mine – including the specific materials I used. I’ll also show you a pieced board I made for my husband. And I’ll even show you how to do that little cutout around the electrical outlet.

Ready?

Here we go!

To start with – I like to use foam insulation board. Styrofoam sheets are less expensive – but pinning into styrofoam gives me the willies. It’s a real nails-on-the-chalboard reaction so I don’t do it. Look for the 4 ft x 8 ft sheets of foam insulation board at your home improvement store. I like the ones that have a metallic foil material on one side.

I covered my board with flannel because I want to have both options – being able to pin into it but also being able to just smooth blocks up there and let them cling to the flannel.

Specifically I used Jazz flannel in the color Smoke from Timeless Treasures. Click throgh so you can see it close up. It’s a nice tone on tone print that looks interesting when there’s nothing on the board, but is subtle enough not to distract me from any design I’m working on up there. Later I’ll show you a different kind of option.

For my last design wall I glued the fabric to the board – but that meant I couldn’t wash it, or easily change it if it got faded. This time I did the whole thing with pins.

Start out by piecing together enough fabric to completely cover your board, and wrap around each side with a couple of inches to spare. Press everything nice and smooth.

Lay your insulation board foil side up and cover it with the fabric – getting the fabric as centered as possible.

Start pinning your fabric into the sides of the insulation board. I used these 1-inch T-pins.

How to Build a Design Wall (or Flannel Board or Bulletin Board) - a tutorial from Shiny Happy World

Basically – I used the exact same method I use to prepare fabric for framing – just on a larger scale. You can watch that video here.

Keep adding pins, pulling the fabric smooth but not stretching it, until you have pins all the way around your board every 1-2 inches.

How to Build a Design Wall (or Flannel Board or Bulletin Board) - a tutorial from Shiny Happy World

Flip your board over so you’re working from the back.

How to Build a Design Wall (or Flannel Board or Bulletin Board) - a tutorial from Shiny Happy World

Fold in one corner, then fold in one side. Insert some of the T-pins at an angle so they hold the fabric flaps in place, but don’t poke through the front.

How to Build a Design Wall (or Flannel Board or Bulletin Board) - a tutorial from Shiny Happy World

Fold in the other side. Now your corner is nice and neat!

(See how pretty that tone-on-tone Jazz print is?)

Continue around the back of the board, securing the excess fabric with T-pins inserted at a slant. Remember – the side pins are the ones really holding the fabric in place on the front of the board. These are only holding the excess fabric in place, so you only need a pin every 8-12 inches or so.

How to Build a Design Wall (or Flannel Board or Bulletin Board) - a tutorial from Shiny Happy World

Use an awl or other sharp tool to poke a hole in each corner of the board (mine is 1 inch in from each edge) and one more in the middle of the longest edge.

This step is important! Don’t think you can just screw right through the fabric. The bit or the screw will catch the fabric and yank it into an awful twist, ruining all that work you did getting everything nice and smooth.

Hold the board just where you want it on the wall and mark through each of those holes with a pencil. Take the board away and insert a wall anchor at each of those spots.

Now screw the board into those wall anchors!

I used these nice stainless steel screws and washers.

How to Build a Design Wall (or Flannel Board or Bulletin Board) - a tutorial from Shiny Happy World

You definitely need to use some kind of washer so that over time the head of the screw doesn’t just pull through the soft foam. See how nice these look?

How to Build a Design Wall (or Flannel Board or Bulletin Board) - a tutorial from Shiny Happy World

I like to screw it in tight enough that it kind of dimples into the surface of the foam. That way I can skim blocks right over the screws if I want to.

What About Electrical Outlets?

So my first board was easy – but the second one was going to go right over an electrical outlet. And I wanted to be able to continue to use that outlet, so I needed to cut a hole in the board and finish those edges.

Don’t worry – it’s not hard!

Measure your space and cut a hole in your board just a little bit bigger than your outlet cover.

How to Build a Design Wall (or Flannel Board or Bulletin Board) - a tutorial from Shiny Happy World

This stuff is easy to cut with a simple X-acto blade.

Now cut four squares of fabric roughly 2-3 inches square. It doesn’t not have to be exact – or even especially neat, as you can see with mine.

Cover the back of one square of fabric with glue.

How to Build a Design Wall (or Flannel Board or Bulletin Board) - a tutorial from Shiny Happy World

I used a Uhu glue stick – not my fabric glue stick. I wanted a permanent hold here.

Stick the square right into one corner of your cutout and press it in place, as shown.

How to Build a Design Wall (or Flannel Board or Bulletin Board) - a tutorial from Shiny Happy World

Now use a sharp pair of scissors to snip down from the top and up from the bottom – right on the fold created.

How to Build a Design Wall (or Flannel Board or Bulletin Board) - a tutorial from Shiny Happy World

You want to cut very close to the surface of the board – with just a few threads to spare.

Now folds those flaps down and smooth them onto the front and back of the board.

How to Build a Design Wall (or Flannel Board or Bulletin Board) - a tutorial from Shiny Happy World

Repeat for the other three corners.

Now just cover your board like a showed in the first part of the tutorial. Pretend that hole isn’t even there.

How to Build a Design Wall (or Flannel Board or Bulletin Board) - a tutorial from Shiny Happy World

When you flip your board over, you’ll see the back of that fabric through the hole.

Make sure the board is on a flat surface (so you have something to press against) and coat all the fabric inside the cutout with glue.

How to Build a Design Wall (or Flannel Board or Bulletin Board) - a tutorial from Shiny Happy World

Now use a pair of sharp scissors to cut an X in that fabric from corner to corner.

How to Build a Design Wall (or Flannel Board or Bulletin Board) - a tutorial from Shiny Happy World

Pull those triangle flaps to the back side of the board and smooth them in place.

How to Build a Design Wall (or Flannel Board or Bulletin Board) - a tutorial from Shiny Happy World

Sorry – I was using my camera’s autofocus and it focused on what it could see through the hole, instead of the fabric treatment around the hole. But I think you can still see what I did, blurry as it is. 😛

That’s it! This board is ready to hang,  just like the first one.

How to Build a Design Wall (or Flannel Board or Bulletin Board) - a tutorial from Shiny Happy World

Ta da! I have a design wall!

Tomorrow I’ll show you the small improv quilt I already used it for. 🙂

Pieced Bulletin Board

I needed my board to be pretty simple so it wouldn’t distract from whatever I’m designing on it.

But my husband wanted a similar board to outline his next book on – and he wanted it to have a bit of design. Nothing too fancy – but just a little extra pizzazz.

Here are the fabrics he chose.

How to Build a Design Wall (or Flannel Board or Bulletin Board) - a tutorial from Shiny Happy World

That gorgeous gold is Hatch in Citrus and the grey is Sketch in Dove – both from Timeless Treasures. He doesn’t need fabric to cling to his board, so I just used regular quilting cotton instead of flannel.

And here’s his finished bulletin board.

How to Build a Design Wall (or Flannel Board or Bulletin Board) - a tutorial from Shiny Happy World

It’s all ready for him to start hatching his next novel!

I love having a design wall again! It makes it so much easier to really SEE the layout of a quilt in progress.

Happy stitching!

Best,
Wendi