It's not what you gather, but what you scatter, that tells what kind of a life you have lived.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Twelve Days of Christmas 2016 - Day Six

Day 6 is more felt goodies. I seem to be having a felt year, don't I? And there's more to come! Anyway, this HoHoHo Banner is both fun to make and fun to give. It takes 1/4 yd. of Christmas fabric and some felt to go with it,, some embroidery floss, a piece of 1/2" to 3/8" dowel the width of the fabric plus an inch and some big jingle bells. Since my background is green, I choose red and white felt for my letters to compliment it.

Start with the fabric. You can make this part any way you like. If you like nice, smooth edges, you can fold your fabric wrong side out and sew it on your machine, leaving a small opening at the bottom to turn it right side out. You could also sew just the sides, turn it right side out and then fringe just the bottom. I like fringes and frayed edges, so I sewed my fabric with the right sides out. Then I blanket stitched around the edges, covering the machine stitching. No matter how you decide to stitch it, be sure to start about 3/4" to 1" down from the fold. Stitch from one side to the other at this pint to make a casing for the dowel. I did a running stitch by hand, but you can sew this on the machine, too. After all the stitching is done, start pulling threads around the 2 sides and bottom to fray the edges. The reason for machine stitching first is so the the frayed edges don't go too far in and leave you with no banner!

Give the ends of your dowel a quick sanding to get rid of any edges that might catch on the fabric. Using a coping saw to cut small grooves 1/2" in from the ends of the dowel, These are for the cord or twine or whatever you use for the hanger to sit in so they don't slide off. Slide the dowel into the casing and tie your hanger in the grooves. I braided red, white and green embroidery floss for my hanger.

Now that the banner itself is done, you can start on the letters. I drew mine free-hand because that's what I do, but if you don't, you can go into your computer fonts and find one you like, print it out REALLY big and use it for a pattern. Mine are about 6 1/2" tall. Cut your letters from felt, 2 pieces for each letter. Stitch them together using the blanket stitch or machine stitching, stopping with an opening big enough to stuff it through. I would advise that you start and stop on either side of the cross bar of the H. This makes it easier to stuff all 4 legs. I didn't do this on the first one, and boy, was it a booger to stuff! Stuff the letters pretty full, but not so full that you can't keep them together to finish stitching the opening shut! After all the letters are stitched and stuffed, you can stitch them to the banner or hot glue them. This is another reason not to stuff them too full. When you stitch or glue them to the banner, it will cause the banner to follow the curves of the letters instead of remaining flat. You can have your letters all straight or tilt them like I did.

Decorate each letter with a little something. I put holly on mine, but you could use little wreaths, or ornaments, etc. Or you could use a combination, putting something different on each letter. The last thing to do is stitch the jingle bells in place for the Os, and you're finished! I recommend stitching the bells instead of gluing them because it affects the sound of the bells if glue gets inside the holes.

Okay, another day finished! Go out and spread some good cheer! Shake the hand of everyone in the grocery line. Offer a mint or piece of gum to the grumpiest-looking lady in the doctor's office. Yell Merry Christmas across the intersection or to the people in the car next to you while waiting for the light to change. You would be surprised at how easy it is to make someone's day. 

Let the spirit of Christmas fill your heart and homes. In this loveliest of seasons, may you find many reasons for happiness. Love to all,

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