Updated Stars and Stripes Wreath

My Stars and Stripes wreath had been hanging maybe ten days and I realized the stars needed some reinforcement. WreathStars 03

The stars, especially at the top, were starting to flop over. So, as I sort of expected, they needed the heavy craft stabilizer. Fortunately I had some on hand.

So I took the three floppiest stars off the wreath and laid them out on the stabilizer.

WreathStars 01

Once again, I put my Teflon pressing sheet on top of the stars and fused the stars to the stabilizer.

WreathStars 06

Then I cut them out with very sharp scissors.  I cut all the angles from point into the center because the stabilizer was too stiff to pivot the blades at that corner.

I also did my best to bevel the stabilizer, undercutting it so it would be less obvious from the front.

WreathStars 08

From the side, the thick white stabilizer is visible. A matching Sharpie could be used to make it less obvious.

And you can see what a difference it makes. The white fabric print and the blue and the red are the stars I reinforced. The red star on the left of the photo, and the blue star on the lower right. are still floppy. I didn’t have time to do all of them, mostly because, as casual as it looks, it’s takes time to mix and match the stars to look just right on the wreath.

WreathStars 10

Now that I know it does what I want it to, I’ll take time to apply it to all the stars.

WreathStars 09

With the sturdier stars they could easily be tacked to a ribbon or cord and become a garland. They could also be attached to a hair clip, headband or ponytail holder to brighten up a patriotic outfit.

I can think of at least a half-dozen ways to use a stack of red, white and blue stars. How would you use them?

Do you have plans for a holiday party or picnic?  How will you decorate for the event?

I don’t think I have anywhere to hang it, but I’d really like to make a stars and stripes garland.  I’ll let you know if I get it done.


PS – Looking forward to my next wreath, which I plan to get done by August.  Stay tuned.

Summertime Stars and Stripes Wreath

Ta da!

Here’s my Summertime Wreath. It’s to celebrate Memorial Day, National Flag Day (June 14) and the Fourth of July.

Patriotic Wreath 1

This is made on the same Styrofoam form I’ve been using since Valentine’s Day and  St. Patrick’s Day.

For this wreath I used quilty scraps of blue and red, patriotic strips, fusible fleece, Heat’n Bond Hem Tape, white muslin, ribbon, and straight pins.

I wanted a wreath full of stars, which is exactly how it turned out.

I love it when a plan comes together.

Fusible fleece is what keeps the stars from flopping over. I pressed fabric to the fleece before I cut out the stars.  I thought about using the cardboard-stiff craft stabilizer, but started with the lighter-weight Pellon 987F. This one-sided fusible fleece worked great.

I placed and fused the fabrics right next to each other so some stars are in one fabric and other stars are pieced, using two fabrics.

To start, I cut a star template out of a file folder.

Making Patriotic Wreath 03

Actually I made two, so I could interlock them and get the best use of my fabric.

I kind of winged it making the pattern and started with a pencil sketch on paper.  I erased and redrew the angles until I liked the look.

If you don’t want to wing it, search for Christmas star ornaments and find a star template you can print and copy.  Star size is up to you. You can go with a variety of sizes, but I was impatient to finish this so I stuck with one size star.

With the pattern cut out, I traced the stars on the fabric. I used a white fabric marking pencil on the dark fabric and an orange colored pencil, which just happened to be handy, on the white.

Patriotic Wreath on JanMadeIt

Don’t worry about being precise with the outlines. You’ll cut out the stars on the inside of the line so none of the pencil lines will show. You could use a regular pencil if that’s all you have.

Patriotic Wreath on JanMadeIt

The raw edges were obvious on the pieced stars. I planned ahead and found my collection of red, white and blue ribbon to cover this. Literally.

Since I had decided this was a no-sew project, I used Heat’n Bond Hem Tape to fuse the ribbon over the join.

Patriotic Wreath on JanMadeIt

At this stage, unless you’re very precise with an iron, you’ll want to use a piece of wax paper or parchment paper to keep from fusing the hem tape to your pressing surface or the face of your iron.

Or, this is when you would use your Fons & Porter handy-dandy Teflon pressing sheet. I have one, but hadn’t thought to use it until I realized I was about to fuse that sticky stuff to my ironing board and my iron.

I put the stars on the sheet, and then flipped the other end of the pressing sheet over the  top.

Patriotic Wreath on JanMadeIt

Worked like a charm.

Patriotic Wreath on JanMadeIt

Then I trimmed the ends off the ribbon from the backside.

Patriotic Wreath on JanMadeIt

I had one little glitch with the first star. I accidentally scooched the ribbon off the mark just a smidge and the raw edge was exposed. So that star got two rows of ribbon.

Patriotic Wreath on JanMadeIt

By the way, and this is VERY important, the stars on the red grosgrain ribbon are painted or printed on the ribbon, and they WILL MELT if you touch them with the hot iron. So, if you use this kind of ribbon, it’s essential you use a pressing sheet of some kind, even a scrap of leftover fabric will do.

If you touch a hot iron to the stars, they will melt onto the surface of the iron, and then streak or smear across the underlying fabric ruining your whole project. I’d show you what that looks like, but then I’d have to clean off my iron before I could use it again.

You can tell by looking at the ribbon, the stars are sitting on top of the ribbon and not embedded into the fibers. So pay attention to this detail.

Patriotic Wreath on JanMadeIt

Got it?  Good.

I didn’t plan the design or count my stars. I just made them until I thought I might have enough.

Patriotic Wreath on JanMadeIt

To assemble the wreath, I first took apart my spring flower wreath. Then I wrapped the Styrofoam form with white fabric. Use anything you have since it shouldn’t show. It’s just to tidy up the background if it happens to peek through. I think I used a a six-inch strip of leftover muslin quilt backing.

Then I started attaching the stars.

Patriotic Wreath on JanMadeIt

I matched the color of the pin heads to each star so they’re not obvious on the wreath. I roughly laid the stars out in batches of red, then white, then blue. I needed to alternate the colors so you can see the shape of the stars.

When I’d used all my stars, there seemed to be a few gaps so I added a couple of loops of ribbon here and there. In addition to a few short pieces of ribbon, I wrapped a whole spool of ribbon around the wreath pinning loops in places where I needed them.

Patriotic Wreath 1

What do you think?

If you don’t have a stash of red, white and blue scraps,  buy 1/8 – 1/4 of a yard of a few favorite prints, a couple of spools of ribbon, and about 3/8 yard of the fusible fleece.  It will only take about half of it to make a wreath this size.

By the way, the fabric doesn’t have to be stars and stripes. A collection of red, white and blue calicoes will also get the job done.

While choosing your fabric, pay attention to the color of “white” in your choices. I realized some of my favorites use an antique ivory-colored white that doesn’t go with the true white I used here. Those red, ivory, and blue fabrics will play nicely together in another project.

Anybody else making a patriotic wreath for the summer? I’d love to see what you come up with.


30 Percent Off Cyber Monday

Promo Code 30offCyberMonday2013 will get you 30 percent off everything in my Etsy shop—The Little Blue Trunk—today only.


If you want something that isn’t listed. Contact me and I can create a listing and provide a discount.Happy Shopping!


Holiday Hearts and Stars

I know there’s probably a more productive way to spend my time, but with fabric, thread and buttons piled around I’ve been cutting and stitching these little ornaments the last few days.


They’re about three or four inches tall.


The hearts are hand cut to fit the scraps I had so they’re different sizes and shapes.


Because I’m using scraps quantities are limited to what I have on hand.


I used a template for the stars. To many points and angles to cut them freehand.


I’ve listed this set of three stars in my Etsy shop.


I have about 25 stitched up so far, so it’s time to stop stitching and get more listed.

If you want a custom order or a big batch of them contact me and we’ll work something out.


Christmas is Coming

 I’ve been making little handcrafted Christmas ornaments the last few days.

They’re great gifts for co-workers, classmates, and teachers. I’ll add a hang tag so they can be used as a gift tag.

Hang on one the neck of a bottle of wine for a hostess gift.

Fill a basket with them and gift to newlyweds for their first Christmas.

And if you have curious toddlers and pets, they are ideal for the bottom of the tree.

Burlap Stars, Jan Made it

These are all made by hand, by me, out of scraps I have around the house.


They are about 4 inches tall.

I have more little hearts made of denim, ticking, and other shabby style fabrics.

I’m taking pictures and writing descriptions today to list them on Etsy.

I can use any color of thread, add beads or bangles, and customize a set to match your decor.

Let me know what you have in mind and I can make something just for you.



A Personalized Patchwork Christmas Stocking

I know time is short, but surely I’m not the only one who waits until the last minute to finish up Christmas preparations. So, if you need to make a stocking or two, here’s another “how to” make a Christmas stocking tutorial.

I made this personalized patchwork stocking with discarded jeans, vintage buttons and orphaned game pieces.  I used pinking shears, a hot glue gun and a sewing machine to make it.

Denim Christmas Stocking on JanMadeIt

I made this stocking for my son for his second Christmas. I probably put it together on December 23 because that’s how I roll.

Denim Christmas Stocking on JanMadeIt

I wanted to cover it with little toys, but since he was just two, and all the tiny toys are choking hazards, I didn’t have much to choose from. I went with buttons and a handful of vintage game pieces.

Denim Christmas Stocking on JanMadeIt

I started by cutting a stocking shape in red fabric. I cut two pieces, one piece would be the back, and the other piece is the base of the denim on the front.

Denim Christmas Stocking on JanMadeIt

Then I cut pieces of denim in a variety of fades and laid them out on the top side of the cut red fabric. Start sewing them down on the base piece as you find a pattern you like.

Denim Christmas Stocking on JanMadeIt

I used pinking shears to reduce fraying on the denim patches. When I had the stocking top covered I trimmed the denim to match the stocking shape.

Denim Christmas Stocking on JanMadeItDenim Christmas Stocking on JanMadeIt

Then I laid the top piece on the back piece and stitched around the edges on the right side and trimmed the seam allowance to about a quarter of an inch, again using pinking shears.

And somewhere during this phase I attached a loop of red ribbon to the top of the stocking to make it fit for hanging.

Denim Christmas Stocking on JanMadeIt

Then I laid out the buttons and game pieces and hot glued them into place. I was able to spell his name with letter die from a word game. I think it was a prehistoric version of Boggle.

You could make stockings like this for all ages. Use any fabric and any adornments to personalize it.

What would you use to personalize stockings for your family?



Easter Basket Tutorial ~ 2012

Here comes Peter Cottontail and it’s time for you to make a special Easter basket for yours kids, grandkids, or to use as a centerpiece or decoration in your home.Dillon's Easter Basket ~ circa 1991

Last year I create a tutorial with directions on how to create a basket similar to this. This is Dillon’s basket, circa 1991. He was about 18 months old.

Dillon's Easter Basket

In the tutorial I spray painted the baskets a solid color. With this one, I used green craft paint to match the bunnies pants for the band around the top. The Wedgwood blue was leftover from painting his nursery.

Dillon's Easter Basket

We used this a couple of years and then brought it out as a table decoration for several more years. It was stashed in a closet in recent years but it’s still in really great shape. At over 20 years old it’s already a family heirloom… or is it?

Dillon's Easter Basket

In the tutorial I suggest one way to make your own Easter grass by dying shredded paper. In this basket I used some excelsior I had on hand. The shredded wood fibers are environmentally friendly. It’s such a nuisance to have to pick up all that pink and green shredded cellophane after the hunt is over.

Easter Baskets, 2011

Here are the 2011 tutorial Easter baskets. I used shredded tissue paper from a gift bag in the basket on the left. The homemade Easter grass is on the right.

What do you think? Any suggestions to other Easter basket makers out there?

Tutorial: Custom Made Easter Baskets

When Dillon was little I had a hard time with Easter baskets. I didn’t want to buy a pastel plastic thing that would only be used a few hours and end up in a landfill. And Easter pastels aren’t really for boys. I also didn’t like that plastic grass that would be discarded after a couple of hours. So if you’re in the market for an Easter basket and you’re not a fan of those rickety mass-produced things it’s not too late to come up with something better.

1. Buy a basket. Thrift stores or garage sales are a great place to shop. I found a couple of baskets at the Salvation Army store for 49 cents each. Look for baskets that are sturdy, with a basket deep enough to hold a batch of goodies. A few cracked and broken twigs are OK, but be sure the handle isn’t going to fall off before you buy it.

Salvation Army Baskets

Two baskets from the Salvation Army. Price: 49 cents each.

2. Paint the baskets. I had yellow spray paint so that’s what I used. Or you can use a brush and craft paint.

Painted Baskets

I had yellow spray paint on hand so I used it. I hung the baskets outside on a broken tree branch to paint them.

3. Choose a theme for your basket. It could be traditional Easter stuff or something your child can’t get enough of: cars, monsters, dinosaurs, teddy bears, Barbie dolls… you decide.

Baskets with fabric

Find some fabric with bugs, flowers, butterflies, bunnies, teddy bears, or any other print you want to adorn your basket. These fabrics are part of my stash. You can also go to the fabric store and rummage through the remnants for a pattern you like. If you have to buy something, a quarter of a yard or less will be more than enough.

4, Cut out the pieces you want to use. I made a flower garden basket and a bug basket.

Appliques for baskets

Use small scissors to cut out the pieces you like for your basket. It doesnt have to be perfect. Leave an edge around the object when you cut it out.

5. Glue the cut pieces on your basket. Create a specific pattern—a garden of flowers growing around the basket—or place them randomly, as you’d find bugs in a spring garden.

Glue your cut outs onto the basket

Apply ModPodge to the basket and add the cut outs.

6. Fabric works best for this project because it will bend around the edges of the basket weaving.

Apply more ModPodge

Apply ModPodge to the top of the cutouts to be sure its stuck in all the right places. The glue will dry clear, but smooth out any drips you notice.

7. Meantime, grab a “basketful” of paper from your shredder and spread it on a baking sheet. You can see I’ve shredded plain white paper, magazine pages, advertising flyers and all sorts of stuff. It’s all good.

Shredded Paper for Easter Grass

If you have a paper shredder, grab a basketful of shredded paper and spread it on a baking sheet or dump it in a large bowl. It just takes green food coloring and water to finish the job.

7. Color your grass. Put some water in a spray bottle and add green food color. Less water equals more color. Spritz the shredded paper and toss it with a couple of forks or salad tongs. Food coloring will stain your hands (and lots of other stuff). Wash your hands soon after handling it, and keep a damp cloth handy to wipe up any mist or splatters that don’t wind up on the paper. Keep tossing and spritzing until you end up with the color you want. Let it dry between sprays. You want green shreds, not green pulp.

Green Shredded Paper

Domino likes the Easter grass.

8. Here’s the finished product. Don’t forget to decorate the handle if it works for the basket and the fabric design you’ve chosen.

Easter Grass

Ready for the Easter Bunny.

9. All done. The baskets were less than a dollar. I had the spray paint on hand, I had the fabric on hand, I pulled the “grass” out of my paper shredder, and the food coloring was on hand. Sturdier and cheaper than store-bought Easter baskets. You and your child decide on the theme. How cool is that?

Easter Baskets

I happened to have some shredded blue tissue paper that matched the blue flowers on the basket on the left. I used my "homemade" grass in the bug basket on the right.

Mini Christmas Tree Skirts

Mini Christmas Tree SkirtHere is the promised Christmas Tree Skirt.

It’s about 13 inches in diameter with gold ties. It’s reversible with gold on the back side, but red with gold poinsettia is the perfect finishing touch for this tree—along with the sparkling gold star on the top!

I will be taking this beauty to Roxy’s Funky Art Boutique soon.

Miniature Christmas Tree

Decorated Miniature Christmas Trees!

Miniature Christmas TreeAnyone need a tiny Christmas tree for a small space?

These are perfect for small places all around the house. Add one to your kitchen counter, the nursery, a child’s room, a home office, the entryway, the bathroom and the master bedroom.

Spread the holiday spirit around your work place. Fit one into your cubicle, your desk, your office and any other spot with holiday spirit. Perfect Secret Santa gift and always appropriate for the boss!

This is also perfect for teachers. It’s small, compact, and will fit most anywhere. It’s already decorated and will store easily for next year.

What hostess wouldn’t love to fit this into a tiny corner somewhere around the house? Can you say “Perfect Hostess Gift”?

This one is 12 inches tall and approximately 8 inches at the widest point. Wire branches can be manipulated to wiggle this into a tight corner. Ornaments are glued into place.

Lights are battery powered. Includes a 12-inch tree skirt, custom made to match. Prices start at $40.

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