Striped Felted Bag

I may need to have a new series called “Felting Fanatic.” Since raiding my mom’s stash of yarn over the Christmas holidays, I’ve been so excited to try making some felted projects. The first was a felted basket to my knitting. Steve calls it “Knitting Inception,” because of the yarn within the yarn thing… he’s a bit quirky that way. The next project was this felted shoulder bag.

Knitted felted handbag with colorful stripes | Jewels at Home

I was having a lot of fun with the big needles and chunky yarn, because everything came together so quickly. I had learned a little bit about the proportions from making the basket, and so I adapted my plans for this bag a little bit. It’s a simple shoulder bag. The main color is dark blue, and I used a mix of many colors for the stripes in between. Like the basket, I was able to mix different types of yarn by doubling or tripling the ones that were thinner.

Like with the basket, I knit on my chunky needles with a gauge of 3 stitches per inch.  I cast on 90 stitches and knit in the round with stocking stitch until the bag was 22″ high, finishing with 4 rows of garter stitch at the top of the bag, so it wouldn’t roll over.  The shoulder strap is 8 stitches wide in garter stitch, and I sewed this onto the top outside edge of the bag and started as 47″ long.

To assemble the bag, I sewed the handle onto the sides of the bag, overlapping the pieces by about an inch.  I used a whip stitch to close the bottom of the bag from the inside.

Before felting, the bag was 21″ wide by 22″ long, and the handle was 47″ long. It was comically enormous, as the boys modeled. K said, I should go into business making bags for giants. If I ever meet a giant, I’ll think about it.

Knitted and felted handbag with colorful stripes | Jewels at Home

Knitted and felted handbag with colorful stripes | Jewels at Home

Knitted and felted handbag with colorful stripes | Jewels at Home

Thankfully, the finished bag is a much more comfortable 13.5″ wide by 11″ high, and the strap turned out about 30″ long.

Knitted and felted handbag with colorful stripes | Jewels at Home

As a finishing touch, I made a lining for the bag out of some vintage fabric, also from my mom’s stash.  I sewed a simple rectangular lining, with some pockets on one side.  I then folded down a hem along the top and hand-sewed it into the felted bag.Knitted and felted handbag with colorful stripes, lined in vintage fabric | Jewels at Home

Knitted and felted handbag with colorful stripes, lined in vintage fabric | Jewels at Home

I’m excited to use my new one-of-a-kind bag with all its fun colors!

“Jewels”

Stella & Dot Trunk Show and Romantic Afternoon Tea

I had so much fun last weekend hosting a Stella and Dot Trunk Show with afternoon tea for my girlfriends!

I’m especially proud that our stylist Stacey and I are each donating 10%, so 20% of the total sales, to the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer. If you feel so inclined, you can check out their beautiful jewelry, bags and accessories and participate in the fundraiser through May 25, 2013.

Here’s a glimpse at our fun girls’ afternoon, which I hope to turn into an annual event!

Ideas for a charming vintage tea party.  {Jewels at Home}

Decorations

  • I was excited to use my eclectic mix of vintage tea cups, plates, and serving dishes that I collected for a baby shower last year.

Vintage afternoon tea party.  {Jewels at Home}

Vintage afternoon tea party.  {Jewels at Home}

Vintage afternoon tea party.  {Jewels at Home}

  • Fresh flowers are a beautiful touch. I clipped some Cala lilies from our garden, and on of my friends brought a colorful bouquet that looks beautiful on the coffee table. I’m brainstorming about something similar I can put there long-term.

Vintage afternoon tea party.  {Jewels at Home}

  • Paper lanterns are so popular right now, and I’ve been looking for a way to use them. I love the garden feel these lanterns created for our tea party. I hung them using fishing line and clear Command Mini Hooks.

A collection of colorful paper lanterns brings the garden party inside.  {Jewels at Home}

A collection of colorful paper lanterns brings the garden party inside.  {Jewels at Home}

  • Tea cup garland – this was a fun and easy project. I was cutting out paper tea cup silhouettes to make signs for the food, and I was inspired to string some together with lace to make this little garland that I hung over the buffet. I love the romantic feel of the colors and patterns.

Cute paper tea cup garland for a vintage afternoon tea party.  {Jewels at Home}

Cute paper tea cup garland for a vintage afternoon tea party.  {Jewels at Home}

  • New table runner and trivets – I’ve been meaning to make these for a while out of the same fabric I used for cushions on our hallway bench. They worked perfectly for our party and will get lots more use in days to come.

Table runner and fabric trivets for a romantic afternoon tea party.  {Jewels at Home}

Fabric trivet for a romantic afternoon tea party.  {Jewels at Home}

  • Luggage tag party favors were a last-minute project using some of the same prints as the tea cup garland. I printed the names on cardstock backed with decorative paper and slipped the paper into these clear vertical badge holders and added luggage tag loops.
DIY luggage tags with beautiful paper backs.  Party favors for a charming afternoon tea party.  {Jewels at Home}

DIY luggage tags with beautiful paper backs. Party favors for a charming afternoon tea party. {Jewels at Home}

Menu

  • Cheese plate for a savory snack
  • Fruit salad in a watermelon basket – everyone said, “My mom used to do that!” My mom did, too!
  • Coffee cake – a great sour cream cake that my mom also made.
  • Cookies – classic Walker’s shortbread and some cute flower-shaped sugar cookies
  • baklava – hubby made this. SO good.

Vintage afternoon tea party.  {Jewels at Home}

Vintage afternoon tea party.  {Jewels at Home}

Vintage afternoon tea party.  {Jewels at Home}

Drink list

  • Mimosas
  • Tea – LOVE this vintage candy tin I found in an antiques shop on my birthday.  It fits a collection of tea bags perfectly.

A vintage candy tin makes a perfect place to store and display tea bags.  Part of a vintage tea party from Jewels at Home.

  • Citrus water

Are you feeling inspired by our charming afternoon tea party? Here are a few of my favorite pieces from the Stella and Dot collection, if you’d like to participate in our fundraiser:

Red Ikat Bag, Julep Bangle, and Dot Bloom Necklace from Stella and Dot.  Shop with 20% going to the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer through May 25, 2013.

Red Ikat Bag, Julep Bangle, and Dot Bloom Necklace from Stella and Dot. Shop with 20% going to the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer through May 25, 2013.

Thank you so much to all my friends who came out to socialize and shop for a cause. I’m looking forward to seeing you next year!

“Jewels”

Vintage afternoon tea party.  {Jewels at Home}

Whimsical Retro Nursery

Here is the first room tour of Jewels at Home. The tours are my motivation to “finish” (and clean up!) our house, room by room. In reality, our spaces are a constant work in progress, reflecting the dynamic nature of our lives, but it’s a great feeling when a room gets to the point where it’s ready to share. Let me know if you have a room in your house to share on Jewels at Home!

Our house was a fixer-upper when we bought it last year. Besides maintenance problems (clogged sewer pipe!) and cosmetic issues (pink, pink, pink!), the house was built as a sort of grand space that meant a small number of large and formal rooms, when what we wanted as a modern family of five was more separation of spaces for sleeping, working from home, and playing. I’m glad I spent so many hours staring at the real estate brochure with floor plan, because I figured out that we could convert the “dressing room” off the master bedroom into our ensuite bath and create an entrance through a hall closet to turn the old master bath into another bedroom. Adding the bedroom, that we are using as a nursery, has been a huge value for us.

Bedroom before

BEFORE: This space was the dated and pink master bath. By making a new entrance through a hall closet, it became a new bedroom!

I figure the reason that the nursery was the first room in the house to be “finished” is probably because it’s a small room, and, of course, because it’s SO fun to decorate a nursery! A child’s room is a place where your imagination is the limit!

Whether it’s because we are indecisive or enjoy change, we’ve moved a lot, and each of our kids has had a different nursery. I’ve loved putting them together, and while there are elements that have naturally been shared by all of them, each is also unique. Our current nursery has established itself with a whimsical retro feel. I preferred to make our kids’ first rooms pretty neutral – no car or princess themes here. I know from experience that they will develop their specific interests soon, but I chose not to make them a focus in the nursery.

This “Connor” rug from Pottery Barn Kids circa 2003 was the jumping off point for the colors in the room. I love its palette of dark and light blue, sage, and red. Cheerful for a child’s room, but not too juvenile and cutesy.

Connor Rug

"Connor" rug from Pottery Barn Kids has the inspiration colors for the nursery. The red is picked up by the wrapping paper on the inside of the bookshelf, and the blue in the toy bins (which are old diaper boxes wrapped in fabric!). The sage green is in the bedding, including the sleepsack hanging on the wall.

The roman shades from Country Curtains are a find that I cannot recommend highly enough! They are attractive, safe and easy to use (cordless and raise and lower with a spring, like a roller shade), and inexpensive. They’re not custom, and they didn’t have a size that was right for our other rooms, or I would have bought more! Even though they have a “thermal” rather than blackout lining, I find they cut a lot of light for nap time, maybe because of the dark color.

reading chair

Here is our cozy chair for reading, nursing, and snuggling.

I didn’t buy any new furniture for this room when we moved in, because I figured that a nursery arrangement is always temporary anyway. I took a tip from one of my favorite designers, Sarah Richardson, and even though I mixed wood tones, I made sure that each wood tone was found at least twice in the space, so it doesn’t look out-of-place: the crib and dresser have an espresso color, the bookshelf and picture frame on the opposite wall are a light wood, and the floor and chair have a medium tone. I added the wrapping paper to this bookcase in this post on dressing up bookcases: “Decorating Inside the Box.”

bookcase wall

The bookcase has room for display and storage. The mix of dark and light woods can work, as long as you have each wood tone in multiple places in the room.

Change table

This change table is an inexpensive version of the popular modern nursery furniture. I love the wall decal of a branch right next to the window, extending the outdoors into the space. I customized it by adding the letters spelling "sweet dreams."

A lot of the accessories in this room have special meaning. On the shelf and off to the right are a lot of accessories from my childhood, including the lamp, a bronzed shoe, and a “ducky bank”. In our reading corner, I made the quilt, and my close friend knit the baby blanket on the arm of the chair. The display wall between the windows has a paper quilt block from an old friend, a name plaque with motifs from MY baby blanket, vintage switch plates from my baby room, and an oversize letter “J.” You can see how I made the letter here. The jungle animal clothes pegs next to the book shelf is special, because my mom, who did not survive to meet her grandchildren, bought this for them in anticipation many years ago. Last but not least, the squeaky “Jumping Jack” below was a gift she bought for me as a newborn baby with her first paycheck after returning to work. My parents told me, he made me laugh for the first time, and all my kids gave enjoyed him too.

20120423-172040.jpg

My baby toy is bringing smiles to the next generation.

The end result of this transformation is a cozy, comfortable room that brings a smile wherever you look!

“Jewels”