Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Swedish heart gift wrapper in felt

I made this traditional Swedish Heart to hold a tiny Christmas present. It measures almost 4.5-inches square and was made using two 2.5 x 8 inch pieces of felt -- one white, one red. I refreshed my memory of how to make the Swedish heart using the book Christmas Customs: Handcrafted Ornaments published by Creative Publishing International of Minnetonka, MN in 2001. The book appears to be out of print, but it is available for the cost of shipping from sellers on Amazon. There are also directions online as Woven Heart Basket on First Palette: Your step-by-step guide to kids' crafts. This site gives a good guide on the actual weaving process, which is a little tricky until you have practiced a few times.

To create your heart, you may use: paper; or fabric stiffened with iron-on interfacing, or two pieces of fabric adhered with a bonding medium like Stitch Witchery; or any kind of felt, as I did. Basically, you cut two rectangles in a three to one proportion, fold the rectangles in half and cut two or three evenly spaced slits in the rectangles about 2/3 of the way from the fold to the open ends. My 8-inch long rectangles had three slits spaced 5/8-inches apart and measuring 2.5 inches from the fold to the end of the cut. Weave the folded rectangles together (refer to the online guide at First Palette) and round the tops of the rectangles with scissors to form the shape of a heart. You may attach a handle of ribbon or cord to create a hanging ornament, or a basket.

Instead of attaching a handle, I wove a 30-inch piece of 1/4-inch wide ribbon through both sides of the heart and tied the open ends at the top where they emerged. I lined the basket with a small piece of gold mesh and trimmed the mesh to conform to the shape of the heart.

After Christmas, I will show you what was inside the heart!

UPDATE: January 6, 2014
Here is the Troll Bead sterling silver Swedish heart that was tucked inside my felt heart.

UPDATE Dec. 28, 2016: Instructions on "How to Make a Fabric Swedish Heart" on Bernina website We All Sew.

Creative Publishing International,
Handcrafted Ornaments/Amazon,

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Merry makeover

Newly painted family room in Behr's Mojave Gold

I LOVE my new family room!

I had been using my family room as a working office for fifteen years and it was full of office equipment and files. After I retired, Alisa helped me get rid of a lot of the clutter and office equipment, but the room was still full of personal files, bills, junk, and one huge chaise longe. And lately, the chili pepper red walls had begun to wear on me.

So, on Thanksgiving Day when Ben said they were getting rid of a couch, I asked for it to use in my family room and I asked Alisa to help me paint. They both said yes, and the transformation of my family room began.

I took everything out of the room, and Sandy and Alisa and I painted with two coats of Behr's Primium Plus Ultra Interior Matte paint in the Mojave Gold color that weekend. We only needed one gallon. 

To try out colors, the sales lady at Home Depot suggested Sure Swatch tacky film that you paint and stick on the wall. They cost 99-cents each. I'd never seen these before and they worked like a charm. You can see a Sure Swatch in-use on the right in the pre-paint photo below.

I put the chair on the Livingston eCycle site, but nobody wanted it, so I called Alchin Disposal on Monday to haul it away. Alisa took a filebox of old files to shred as well as a SUV full of material to recycle. It took me two weeks to get all the remaining stuff sorted and stored, but it's all done now.

I put my much loved, but very old, very weary, 36-inch herbal wreath out on the porch and bought a fresh greens wreath at The Weed Lady on Fenton Road. It is glorious!

We took up the old rug and laid an oriental rug I bought years ago at Treasure Mart in Ann Arbor, and had cleaned and stored last year after using it on the front porch during the summer. I moved the leather chair and ottoman from the living room where no one ever sat on it, and Ben delivered my "new" couch. I bought a used slat-back chair for $28 at Trading Closets consignment shop in Brighton to replace a larger desk chair that no longer fit in the space.

I washed and repaired the drapes on the sliding glass doors. In a storage bin under the guest bed upstairs I found pillowcases and a duvet cover that match the drapes so I filled them with pillows and a duvet to keep cozy on the couch.

Fred Wark, the Olde England Chimney Sweep, came to inspect the fireplace and chimney, and Alisa bought me a 1500 watt Lasko ceramic tower heater on Amazon to keep the room warm when we don't have a fire in the fireplace.

To improve the lighting, I replaced the burnt-out bulb in one of the ceiling spotlights that I couldn't get out for years, and brought in an unused desk lamp from my workroom.

This weekend, Paul and I picked up a beautiful seven-foot Frasir Fir at Bordines in Brighton. My friend Carolyn gave me some tree lights to replace old ones that were damaged, and I finished decorating the tree yesterday.

I hung the drum from Steve's first tree in 1944 near the top. 

Related posts/holiday stories:
"We Cut the Tree"
"Star Wizard"


Sure Swatch: the Color Decider

Weed Lady
9225 Fenton Road
Grand Blanc, Michigan 4843

The Treasure Mart
529 Detroit Street, Ann Arbor, MI 48104
734 662 9887

Olde England Chimney Sweep Service, Fred Lasko
810 231 1189

Trading Closets
2120 Grand River Annex, Suite 600 Brighton, MI 48114
810 225 6130

6347 Grand River Ave., Brighton MI 48114
517 552 9300

Lasko 1500 watt ceramic tower heater