Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Do More of What Makes You Happy

This Christmas, we are reviving the best Christmas we ever had at my parents' house - the all handmade or re-gifted Christmas. What was cool about this event was that NO ONE had to venture into a store in December. We had more time to bake, to do our Christmas cards and to just RELAX in December.  Unheard of, right? The only gifts that were allowed were either handmade or they had to be something in your house you were re-gifting. This resulted in some HILARIOUS gifts, believe me.     

We then fell off the wagon for a few years, but now it's back and I'm really looking forward to what everyone comes up with.

I have a pretty crafty family, so this can be a challenge, but luckily, my friends at Uncommon Goods are enabling me this year, by sending me a few things I am quite sure are going to make you squeal. I squealed. So here goes the Christmas 2014 edition of the Blue List.

The first one might be our Christmas family craft, because it's so easy and portable and fun - it's their Hedgehog Needle Felting Kit.


First of all, if there's any craft I l can truly say I love as much as stamping, it's needle felting. Maybe that's why I always say that things make me stabby - heh. It's a very zen-inducing process - repetitive motion, forgiving medium, tactile - and one that is as close to sculpture as I'll ever get.

Felting is like magic. The wool (in this kit it's from New Zealand and is so soft and beautiful) WANTS to stick together, and jabbing it with a needle grants that wish. I really enjoy "free felting" where I hold a little ball of wool in one hand and hold the needle in the other. I hold the needle like this - with just a tiny bit extending past my pinkie finger so that I know how deeply the needle is going into the wool ball and I won't accidentally jab myself.

 However, I don't recommend this for beginners, because you will definitely stab yourself and be mad at me. Try it after you have a little experience.

The instructions in the hedgehog kit are exactly what beginners need to use - placing the felt on a soft surface, like a pillow, or, what I did when I was working on the tiny pieces like the ears and noses - a kitchen sponge.

Speaking of instructions - they are fantastic. You do not need to have experience felting to make these cuties with the awesome step-by-step photos. It's quite the opposite of Ikea furniture. (Just bracing for December 23rd when my computer desk arrives. #twitch)

Now I don't usually present graphic content on my blog, but I thought you'd like to know how a cute felted hedgehog has a baby!


I know - it's weird that they are born without their ears and eyes - but hey - I'm not The Master.


The kit is a grand total of $17. I have no clue how you get this gorgeous wool here from New Zealand and package it up in an adorable Chinese takeout box with needles and beads and perfect full-color instructions for $17, but mine is not to reason why, mine is just to felt - OH MY!

There's OODLES of wool left over after making this momma hedgie and her baby - the kit says it makes two, but it makes much more than that! The mom is 3" long and 1.5" wide and baby is 1.5" by .5". Oh - and the beads are for the eyes, but I decided to felt my eyes.

Now while you're felting, you'll need to have some nice hot tea. Depending on what time of day it is, I recommend a London Fog (Republic of Tea Earl Greyer tea steeped in milk with sugar and vanilla) or a soothing cup of Tazo Rest, which I love. But there's no buzzkill like having your tea tag slither off the side of your cup and land in your hot tea, making the whole thing taste like an old library book.

So, I present to you a perfect, perfect tea cup. Yepper - it holds the tea bag for you so you are free to felt.


BOOM. Problem solved.

And finally, they sent me one of the most beautiful things I've ever laid eyes on - a Lumen shadow projector.


If I had had one of these when I was a kid I probably wouldn't have left my room.


First of all, they are made in Brooklyn, and mine - the Nest design - is so beautifully and perfectly made. It comes with two oil bottles, which surprised me. The wicks are pre-fed so you just pop off the childproof cap with a screwdriver and light it.

I played with different distances from the wall for different looks.


This is going to be on all the time in my remodeled studio, should it ever be completed. You'll notice the disassembled card catalog base the projector is sitting on. :D Keeping it real over here.

The oil is unscented (thank you!) and I truly cannot describe how magical this little projector is. I think my next one will be the Pine design for my guest bath.

I've loved Uncommon since I found them, because I know if I buy a gift there, it will be something no one else will get - gee, I wonder where they got the name? - and my absolute favorite thing about the site is that I can filter my search results just to see products made in the USA, and you all know how strongly I feel about that. They also have a zillion products made in OTC countries (Other Than China).  Here are some of my other faves from their site - these are all from their under $50 section:

I wish I had seen this fun gift before my neighbor's daughter's bridal shower - I would have loved to have given her this wishing ball. Super cool idea - made in Rhode Island. See more of their Christmas gifts here and stocking stuffer here.

Life is short. Do fun things, like making felted hedgehogs and wearing unicorn horns.

OH - and open your pre-order and play with it. Then enable other people to hedgies and teacups and projectors and stamps.

Below is a sneak peek from both Sale-A-Bration and the Occasions Mini catalog. If you need one or want to come to my spring classes with these goodies, let me know!

This one features the stamp we all screamed about during the catalog premiere. It's called Lotus Blossom and is a three-step stamp, only available during SAB. I used Tempting Turquoise, Pacific Point and Basic Black. Then I added a greeting from Hello Life (Occasions) and embossed it in gold.

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It's great advice, really.

Here - you better have another look at the hedgies before you go just so that I know you really are doing things that make you happy. I'm always thinking about you.



  1. Fun post. Homemade Christmas here too, where possible. Not sure how I would make a grappling hook or a crossbow. I refuse to consider needle felting. I do NOT need another craft, though I am sure I would love it. Merry Christmas!

  2. OMG, those hedgies are adorable! When I do felting, I bleed. Pea got me a beginner set one year and ... blood everywhere. I had to give it up.

    And I can see why you squeed over that stamp. It's truly scrumptious!


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