Monday, October 6, 2014

The Early Bird Catches Christmas!

If you're a crafter, no doubt you've seen little birdhouses like this at JoAnns or Michaels, so I'm guessing this is younger than some of the ornaments we've been rescuing so far. More, and I can't be sure about this, but it looks like someone started it but didn't get a chance to finish. If that's the case, this little birdhouse may never have made it to the Christmas tree... sort of an ornament "wannabe."

We believe even "wannabes" deserve their chance to shine. So let's get to work...

While I like the idea of the striped roof, it looks as though the original painter was struggling to get the lines right so I decided to take the coward's way out and paint the roof all one color. The white walls felt unfinished so they went red. And I toned down the bright green accent to create what I think is a slightly more sophisticated palette. (I use Martha Stewart's craft paints as much as I can. I love their rich colors and they make creating a palette fool-proof!*)

Now for the hard part... the bird. As I've said before, I'm not a sewer, but when pressed, I can do very simple things by hand so off to Pinterest we go. I found felt artist, Abby Glassenberg and her While She Naps blog. If you're interested in felt artistry, please stop by and see Abby. She's amazing!

Now, here's the good news for me. I didn't need the whole bird, just that adorable little face, so I took the coward's way out (again) and just made the body, adding the beak which is glued on (phew!), and embroidering two dots for eyes. For me, it turned out just great (if you don't look at the butt), and even better, it fit the birdhouse door perfectly on the first try! (Sometimes it's good to be a coward).

I put some pillow stuffing inside the birdhouse to prop up the bird. With a little glue to set him in place he's right at home.

If you're following this blog, you might notice I like lots of details on ornaments, but in this case, I've been craving simplicity. The solid red makes a lovely frame for our little bird, and the roof and floor lines just needed a bit of something, so I went with a green-on-green detail for interest. I added a little melting snow and voila!

(It's funny how each ornament seems to decide for itself what it wants. All I have to do is listen.)

That being said, at this stage, I had that nagging feeling it wasn't quite done yet. If you're an artist or crafter, you know what I mean. So I put it on the shelf and walked around it for a few days, trying to figure out what else this little bird wanted. And then it came to me...

The early bird catches Christmas!

I probably should have made the stocking in felt to match the bird, but I'd pushed my sewing luck enough on the bird so I crocheted a little stocking using a pattern I've used before from Angie's great crochet blog Le monde de Sucrette. (Don't let the name fool you. It's in English). I shrunk down the stitch count to make it to scale, then stuffed it with pillow stuffing to give it a full look.

And what would be the best-ever stocking stuffer for our little bird? Seeds!

I cut out a 2" square of natural linen and wrapped it around a bit of pillow stuffing, then bundled it up with an elastic to hold it in place, trimming the edges to look like a sack. (If you have kids, you'll likely have a Rainbow Loom in the house. Those little elastics come in handy, so snitch a few if you can.)

I took a bit of twine and tied it around the sack BENEATH the elastic, cinching it as tight as I could. I tied a knot, allowing me to remove the elastic, then tied a double-knotted bow and trimmed the ends. And to finish it off, I printed SEEDS on the front of the sack with a Sharpie pen.

Using a bit of matching yarn, I sewed the seed sack to the top of the stocking, and there you have it...

...a stocking fit to be up with the birds (and kids!) on Christmas morning.


This ornament has been rescued! Please stop by our Etsy shop to see all of our other ornaments that need a home in time for Christmas. Thank you!

All proceeds benefit Hasbro Children's Hospital, Providence, RI.

If you want to give this a try, you'll need...
  • A small wooden birdhouse (I've seen them at all major craft stores)
  • Crafter's acrylic paint (your choice/s of color)*
  • Snow-Tex
  • Matte shellac finish
  • White glitter
  • A small bird (or make it yourself, see While She Naps for directions)
  • A small felt, knit or crochet stocking (see Le monde du Sucrette for crochet directions)
  • 2" square natural linen or burlap
  • Pillow stuffing
  • Twine
  • Sharpie Marker (your choice of color)
  • Hot Glue

The basic steps are...
  1. Paint, decorate, and shellac the birdhouse.
  2. Add snow (Snow-Tex) to the roof and ledges of your birdhouse (as much or little as you like).
  3. Once the snow is dry, use a small brush and shellac just the snow areas. Sprinkle with white glitter for extra shine.
  4. Buy or make a small bird sized to fit your birdhouse door. 
  5. Buy or make a small stocking out of felt or knit/crochet a stocking as you see fit.
  6. Make a small seed sack (see above for directions)
  7. Sew the seed sack to the top of the stocking.
  8. If needed, stuff the birdhouse with a little pillow stuffing to position the bird in the door. Use a dab of hot glue to secure the bird to the door.
  9. Hot glue the stocking loop to the birdhouse post.
  10. Enjoy!
*I used Martha Stewart craft paints in Tartan Red, Pesto, and Seaweed for this project, which I've found at all the major craft stores. But please know this, no one is paying for any endorsements here (and if they ever do, I'll let you know). As a crafter, I appreciate it when others share the specific materials they use. It saves me from having to figure it out. So when I find something that works for me, I'll share it with you here.

Merry Christmas!

Ornament Rescuer

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