Today I’m sharing a tutorial for this amazing felt flower tree skirt to finish off your Christmas tree! I shared this as a guest post at Sugar Bee Crafts last week, but wanted to make sure you all saw it here as well :) I saw one similar to this on pinterest last year, and was completely smitten. Unfortunately, it had been $320 and wasn’t even available any longer, so I set out to make my own.
- craft felt (I used 2.5 yards for a 36″ wide tree skirt and all the flowers)
- needle and thread (in same color as felt)
- fabri-tac or other felt adhesive
- optional: pearls or beads to decorate flowers
First, you need to figure out how big you want your tree skirt to be. This is for a small area in our house and a relatively small tree, so I only wanted my tree skirt to be 36″ wide. I folded some red felt in quarters, and used a piece of string to make a quarter circle with a radius of 18″. This will actually give you a solid circle piece, so if you want it to fit around your tree you’ll need to cut a smaller hole (mine is about 4″ wide, so 2″ radius) in the middle and a slit from one hole to the other so you can get it around your tree.
These flowers are the main awesomeness of this tree skirt. It can take a while to make enough of them for a full tree skirt, but they’re not hard to make. I used two slightly different sizes – a larger size mostly for the outer ring, and the smaller size mostly for the inner ring of flowers.
Each of my felt flowers has three of these felt pieces. You can download a printable template to trace here if you want, or free hand yours based on the shape above. To download the printable template pdf, either click on the image above or click here. It will open up the image in a new window in your browser, and you can right click then ‘save as’ to save it to your computer.
To make each flower, cut out three petals. Fold the center of each petal in half long-ways, and then fold the edges back up (see right photo above).
Then fold each of these petals the other way at the center, so that the two individual petals are next to each other. Sew through the center of three of these a couple times to make each flower, making sure to go through all layers.
The flowers look nice from both the front and the back – just pick one to use for all your flowers. I chose what I think of as the front – the one on the left in the photo above. Once you think you may have enough flowers (I used 60!), start arranging them around your tree skirt. I did two overlapping layers, but more could look awesome on a bigger tree skirt.
Once you have figured out where you want them, it’s time to start attaching them. I started using a needle and thread to attach each one, but that was taking a really long time. I ended up using fabri-tac. It worked great on the felt! I had a couple fall off initially, but just stuck them right back on with fabri-tac. I actually made this skirt last year, and I didn’t have any more of the flowers fall off through presents on the tree skirt, putting it away in storage, and pulling it back out this year.
I also used fabri-tac to stick on little pearls in the middle of each flower. I think it makes them look more festive and a bit more like flowers.
For the edges of the tree skirt, I covered some buttons with the same red felt and sewed on loops of red/white baker’s twine.
Pecan pie and cheesecakes are two of my very favorite desserts, so when I saw this recipe on pinterest I knew I had to try it out right away. It’s one dessert with both pecan pie filling and a fantastic brown sugar cheesecake. The first time I made this, I made it as a normal 9″ cheesecake, and everyone raved about it. It was pretty rich though, so I thought bite-sized pieces would be fun. I made them the second time in mini muffin tins, and they were perfect snack-sized bites of deliciousness, and much easier to serve to a group of people. Either size would be great for a thanksgiving or any fall meal!
I have a personal soft spot for cheesecakes in general. I grew up not cooking or baking much, but when I got to college and decided to learn how to cook/bake, I started with cheesecakes. For a couple months, I made 1-2 different cheesecakes per week. Almost no repeats, and none with chocolate (my former cheesecake-tester/now-husband is allergic). That was a lot of cheesecakes!
Pecan Pie Cheesecake (slightly adapted from bakeorbreak.com)
- 2 cups vanilla wafers
- 5 Tbsp. butter, melted
- 1/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
Pecan Pie Filling
- 1 cup sugar
- 2/3 cup dark corn syrup
- 5 tbsp butter
- 2 eggs
- 1 and 1/2 cups chopped pecans
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 3 8-ounce packages cream cheese (softened)
- 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
- 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
- 4 eggs (room temperature)
- 2/3 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Pulse vanilla wafers in food processor (Mine has cup measurements on the side, so I just added vanilla wafers until there were 2 cups. Then add butter and brown sugar and pulse until blended.
- Press crust into bottom (and sides, if desired) of a 9″ springform pan or greased muffin tins (I did 24 mini-muffins and 12 normal muffins). Bake for 6 minutes then set aside to cool.
- Add all pecan pie filling ingredients to a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce and simmer around 10 minutes or until thick, stirring constantly. Pour into crust (if doing mini-cheesecakes, fill up about half-way with pecan pie filling).
- Reduce oven to 325 degrees F.
- Beat softened cream cheese until creamy. Add brown sugar and flour and mix until fluffy.
- Add eggs one at a time, and beat well after each addition.
- Stir in heavy whipping cream and vanilla, then pour over pecan filling (for mini-cheesecakes, fill until almost full – you may have some filling left over)
- Bake! For 9″ cheesecake, bake for 1 hour then turn off oven and leave cheesecake in cooling down oven for 1 hour. For mini-muffin cheesecakes, bake for 15 minutes. For regular muffin sized cheesecakes, bake for 20 minutes.
- Let cool and then cover and refrigerate (at least 4 hours, ideally overnight) before serving
A few notes about cheesecakes:
- These were the cook times that worked for me. In general, you should pull out cheesecakes when they are only slightly still jiggly – they will keep cooking and firm up after you pull them out of the oven and then put them in the fridge.
- There are two things I’ve found to work best at avoiding cracks in cheesecakes. First, let your eggs warm up to room temperature before adding them and beat well after adding each one. (Science note: egg proteins are often what cause cracks in cheesecakes). Second, add a little bit of flour to the cheesecake filling, even if your recipe doesn’t call for it.
- Let it cool almost completely before covering and adding to the fridge, or condensation will drip on your cheesecake and discolor the top of your cheesecake.
I generally really enjoy going to garage sales on Saturday mornings, but I’d not been having very good luck lately and hadn’t been in about a month. I went this past weekend though, and I’m so glad I did! I hit probably three of my top five garage sales ever, and found a number of other awesome and cheap finds along the way as well
One of my first garage sales had a whole stack of gocco supplies. A gocco machine is a japanese self-contained screen printer that can be used for stationary or fabric, or all kinds of other things. I seriously considered getting one for wedding invitations when we were planning our wedding, but because they haven’t been made for quite a while and are awesome, the machines are pretty expensive (~$100). Each design you make also requires some materials that can not be reused (a screen for your design and two bulbs to burn the screen), and those are getting expensive as well. Anyways, the people hosting this garage sale used to sell these machines back when they were being made, and had several of the little machines new and unused for $5 each and a ton of the supplies. When we were there the first time, I didn’t remember quite how much the machines went for on ebay, so I just bought one and enough of the supplies to last me several prints (they had screens, bulbs, pens, and fabric and paper inks). When I looked at the prices online and tested mine out to make sure it worked, we went back and bought the last machine they had and the rest of the supplies. I spent about $40 on the two machines and a ton of bulbs, screens, and inks, but plan to sell one of the machines and a bundle of inks and screens on ebay for around $120.
I’ve also recently acquired a love for vintage pyrex – especially anything aqua colored. One of the garage sales I went to later in the morning had this beauty for only $2! It’s a good sized casserole dish (2.5 qt, pyrex 045) and in amazing condition.
I also found cute designer-quality fabric and several large embroidery hoops at great prices at a few different sales – this is the pile of fabric I brought home, including that cute print underneath which is going to make an amazing scalloped skirt. Its a total of about 15 yards, and I spent about $13 on it all together.
For Halloween this year, I had a grand plan for our little family to go as characters from the Magic School Bus – I would be Mrs. Frizzle, Eddie could be the school bus, and Eve (our dog) could be Liz the chameleon. As it turns out, Eddie was not willing to wear a big cardboard school bus, and our dog doesn’t like wearing anything, so I only really went all out on my costume. But I love it, and since I ended up making the bigger stars/planets/suns removable, I think I will get some extra use out of it <3
I made the dress out of some blue fabric with lighter blue and glittery silver stars. The original plan was to permanently attach the plants/moons/suns to the dress, but once I had the dress made I decided I wanted to be able to wear it without the appliques in the future, so I went about trying to find a fusible wash-away webbing, which was surprisingly difficult, and most products that came close were surprisingly expensive (~$20).
I couldn’t find anything at jo-ann’s or even online, and so ended up using a glue stick like this one for less than $2 that says it will wash out. It goes on pretty soft and takes a while to form a good bond. It does stick well if you let it dry completely without messing with it, though. I wore it all afternoon/evening on Saturday for a party that involved plenty of moving, twirling, and sitting, and only had one piece come off. Others peeled slightly at the edges, but I’ve just put more glue on the edges and re-glued the one piece that came off and I expect to be good to go for Halloween – Eddie and I have a class together on Thursday, and we plan on wearing our costumes :).
For the dress, I used Butterick 5678 for the button-down top, then cropped it and added a partial circle skirt (using some fun geometry to maximize the ammount of a circle I could get from one piece of fabric – yay math!). The extra shapes (suns, planets, moons, big stars) are all cut out of other fun fabrics.
I wanted a flouncy skirt, so I also made a double-layer four-tier pettiskirt out of some matching tulle. I think the one comment I got the most about my dress was how I made the skirt big and poofy – guys and girls were both impressed.
As for accessories, I sewed a chameleon beanie baby onto my shoulder as Liz, made some cover-button earrings out of my dress fabric, and got some sparkletastic shoes from target (which I have already gotten plenty of use from outside of my costume)
Since Eddie wasn’t completely into having a big costume, he just got a t-shirt with an iron-on transfer. I used siser easyweed heat transfer from expressions vinyl. I just got a design from the silhouette online store, tweaked it to be a ‘magic’ school bus, and ironed it onto a yellow t-shirt. I think if I let him be batman next year, he may let me make him a real costume. Side note: Expressions Vinyl was great – they shipped super fast and had amazing customer service! They also have a handy list on their website that gives you settings for cutting each vinyl on a silhouette and cricket machine – which worked great for me. They’re also going to have a huge ‘cyber monday’ sale, but on November 18, so I’m totally going to stock up on some vinyl and such then.
I’ve been wanting to paint our front door since before we moved in, and we finally got around to it this week. Doesn’t the whole house look so cheerful now?
To make a long story short, we were told we could have a bright red front door when we signed the contract for our house, but when it came time to picking out colors (we had our house built), we were basically told that that was a tacky choice and the neighborhood would not allow it. Which is especially crazy because there are entire houses that are bright red. Hmph. At any rate, we finally painted it ourselves a couple of weeks ago, and I love it!
I started by cleaning of the door with watered-down dish-washing soap (we have a lot of oak pollen in our neighborhood and it really collects on the panel frames on the door). I also removed the door hardware andsanded around the door knobs where there was a poor paint job and some rough edges.
Then I went over the whole door with liquid deglosser, and was ready to paint! I followed Sherry @ Young House Love’s lead and painted the frames around each panel, the panels, and then the pieces between panels, in that order, with a 2.5″ angled brush for each coat. Always follow the grain of the wood when painting!
We used Benjamin Moore’s MooreGlo paint. We had been putting off painting the door until Sherwin Williams had one of their periodic sales because we loved their paint when we painted our guest bathroom, but it turns out that Sherwin Williams does not carry exterior paint in a semi-gloss sheen – and neither the satin or high gloss were what we wanted. So Benjamin Moore it was! We went with their ‘red’ color. Even with the primer, it took four coats to really cover up the maroon we had going on before. Here it was after one coat:
Since I’m a grad student and was basically working on my research from home this summer, I did this over a couple of days before school started so I could stay home and leave the door hardware off and the door open just a smidge all day, but this could also totally be done over a weekend.