Life has been whirlwind busy – as I’m sure is the norm for most people with infant children. My infant child has 7 grandparents, a huge extended family, and a set of parents with many friends so social engagements have been frequent! But we have taken to spending our mornings tucked into our big bed, just the three of us, and it is the Happiest Place on Earth.
I have found the original A Man’s Cake recipe and I’m excited to recreate it with the help of my very capable chef friend early next year. You have my permission to look forward to that.
In the meantime, I’ve been doing a Whole Lot of Knitting and Needlecraft. TR has two new hats for winter (both vintage bonnet style, thank you!)
Both hats are patterns from Vintage Knits for Modern Babies by Hadley Fierlinger. The white one is Modern Baby Bonnet and the dark teal is Vintage Pixie Cap. The latter was especially quick and easy; I highly recommend it for beginners!
I also tried my hand at some simple embroidery to make TR’s Baby’s First Christmas ornament. Foxes were the inspiration for the theme of TR’s room because there was a running joke between my sister and me about foxes. You may want to sit down – this joke is stupid and not at all funny.
One time we were at the store and I saw a fox knick knack and I said to my sister, “That looks like Rosie [my german shepherd]!”
Completely unaware that I was attempting dead-pan British silliness, she furrowed her brow and said, “No it doesn’t. That’s a fox. It looks literally nothing like your dog.”
Enjoying how seriously she took me, I decided that whenever I saw a fox I would declare to her how much it looked like my dog. For months, she was annoyed and insisted on trying to help me understand my ignorance. It’s that lovely soft, playful psychological torture that is my signature brand of sisterly affection. Once she realized that I was being impish, it became a weird inside joke that has grown out of control and has made me – to all outward appearances – into the most stereotypical hipster mom. (Which in all honesty wouldn’t be an unfair assessment, since we do own and enjoy reading Mustache Baby.) There are foxes and woodland theme nursery items bursting the walls of my home. On Halloween day, he wore a fox outfit to daycare.
With that context in mind, I decided to make a felt fox ornament for my baby’s first Christmas. Someday, he’s going to ask me to explain why it’s a fox. I’m just going to tell him that it was trendy at the time, since the actual story makes no sense to anyone who isn’t me or my sister (to be honest, it probably doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to her either).
If you use the following instructions to make your own fox ornament, please read through everything before starting. It’s a (too?) comprehensive explanation of my process.
Felt Fox Ornament
- Grab some graph paper and draw out your fox shape. I played with a few full body options before I opted for the symmetrical head shape. That way, I could fold the pattern and felt in half and get a perfectly symmetrical shape. I modeled the pattern off the fox on his Boppy pillow:
- Cut out two pieces of your pattern in orange felt. Set aside.
- Search throughout your house for that white felt you swore you had. Give up and grab some white worsted weight yarn and a large embroidering needle. Begin back-stitching a spiral shape for the white eyes and cheeks of the fox (see Boppy for inspiration). After beginning, remember that it’s probably a good idea to sketch an outline of where to sew on each side. Hope feverishly that the spiral pattern looks cool and fur-like and not like the fox has crazy eyes.
- Realize after a time that you are not back-stitching; you are actually chain-stitching. Question your decision to embroider. Perhaps it would have been better to just go to the store and buy a piece of white felt. Lament how long it’s taking. Fidget and whine about how long it’s taking. Question your choice in yarn. Switch to another white yarn that is slightly thicker (but still worsted weight) in hopes that it will help things move quicker. It doesn’t.
- Finish the spiral and haphazardly fill in the triangular space between the circle and the end of the nose with long stitches (is that even an embroidery stitch? Probably not…)
- Finish the first side. Boldly declare to whoever is listening that that didn’t take so long! Run fingers across it and feel proud of self. With renewed confidence, begin attempting a symmetrical opposite eye with the same spiral
- Locate black embroidery thread. Look up on Youtube how to embroider a … nubbin thing. After several searches, settle on the French knot stitch. Get distracted with watermelon nail art. Create each eye with a French knot right in the center of the spiral.
- Haphazardly satin stitch the nose in black. Do the same for the inside of the ears except in white yarn. Don’t worry – the unevenness looks like fur.
- At this point, if you’d like to customize the back piece with a name and date, this is the time to do so. I suggest outlining the letters first and using a real back-stitch with three threads of embroidery thread. (I used six at first and that was WAY TOO MUCH, so I had to redo it.)
- Grab some stuffing and the back piece of your fox. Thread your needle with orange embroidery thread and do like a wrap-around stitch thing to sew the back to the front. Don’t add the stuffing yet.
- When you reach the top of the head, remember suddenly that this is an ornament and it will need to be hung by something. Grab a length of white yarn and tie it in a loop. Tuck the knot in between the front and the back piece and firmly sew through it as you continue the wrap-around stitch (again, probably not a real embroidery stitch…)
- When almost done stitching the front to the back (making sure all the yarn tails from the insane backside of your embroidery is tucked in), through the 1″ gap remaining, stuff the stuffing inside. It doesn’t need to be super full. Just enough to add dimension. Then, finish stitching the front to the back.
- Tie off! Run the thread through the middle of a few stitches before trimming it off so as to hide the tail. Admire handiwork. You are so Crafty.
- Post pics to Instagram. Use Juno filter. #crafty #craft #crafting #instacraft #makersgonnamake #creativehappylife #makersmovement #diy #shabbychic #feltanimal #feltersgonnafelt #embroidery #idontknowhowtoembroider #wraparoundstitchftw #babysfirstchristmas #BLESSEDDAMMIT
- Hang on tree. Cry as baby tries to eat it.
Stay tuned for a few more updates in the next month or two, including pattern and instructions for making cute handkerchief bibs (with VIDEO!), our vintage high chair refurbishment (just in time for weaning!), the return of A Man’s Cake, and my most exciting new project, the PRAM (dated c. 1920 OMFG!!!!!).