October 17, 2016

Christmas Count Down with Free Narwhal Ornament Tutorial!

The creative folk over at Paperless Post have informed me it's less than 100 days until Christmas (in fact 68 sleeps at the time of writing this post) and they have prompted me to share here on my blog what I am most excited about for the upcoming festive season.
A crazy wreath from last year :)

I've got to say, I think since having kids (6 & 8), the excitement in their eyes, voices and actions (think jumping up and down and running excitedly about) when it comes to this time of year is infectious and a joy to watch. Their Christmas lists have already been written, and we are starting to ooh & ahh over the glittering decorations appearing in the shops. (Do they come out earlier and earlier every year!?) I can't wait until we can go and see Christmas lights together, even though in Australia it's a bit of a silly tradition considering it's the middle of summer and it's so late before it gets dark! (Don't even get me started on Santa's inappropriate clothing choices for when he visits Oz :-) )

And being the crafty sort that I am, I think it's the decorations, the crafty project possibilities, the beautiful wrapping paper designs, window displays... is what excites me second to seeing my kids so excited about it all! Our tree is always an eclectic mix of decorations acquired over the years, ones that kids have made, tree lights, and yes, even daggy tinsel! I love the cheesy decorations! I love the mismatched look of it all, and not being fussy about how the tree looks, which means we all just get to let loose decorating it together, and it's important to the kids to feel a part of it and use their own creativity when decorating the tree. (I'm glad the kids are old enough now to help with this. I do remember one particular year that involved a certain child of mine trying to eat baubles which resulted in a mess of bauble shards and blood..)

And in the theme of decorations and all things pretty regarding Christmas... I have come up with a free craft/ sewing tutorial for you to make! It's a Narhwal Christmas Ornament for your tree, Yay!
You will need:
1. Stuffing of choice
2. Felt in dark and light grey
3. Fine glitter
4. Polymer Clay (I used Sculpey brand)
5. White Acrylic Paint
6. Scraps of felt/ beads/ buttons/ sequins for decoration
7. Fancy Thread for hanging the narwhal
8. Embroidery floss in your desired colours
You will also need scissors, pins, beading needle, sewing needle, paintbrush & oven for baking the clay.

Instructions (Please read through pattern thoroughly before beginning):

Start by downloading and printing out the PDF pattern template at 100%. Cut out your pattern pieces and lay them on your felt and draw around with a pen, I find a biro works well for this. Mark the two eyes, the hanger position, fin positions, and the centre front of the belly pattern piece. Don't transfer the decoration circle guides onto the felt, you can make this up as you go along later. When you're sewing your pieces up, make sure the side you've drawn the pen on is on the inside of your piece. Cut out your shapes carefully.
Cut a decent length of your hanging thread and sew up from the wrong side and back through the top and tie a knot underneath to secure. Trim the excess.
Sew two beads on for the eyes where you marked previously on the right side of the top body piece. Now get creative and sew all kinds of bits and pieces onto your narwhal. I've used these cute little mini buttons I had in my stash, sequins, beads & felt. You can sew yours how ever you like, get creative here :)
One of the above photos shows a narwhal horn! We are going to make one of those now. Grab a little blob of your polymer clay and roll out into a thin sausage shape. Press it thinner right in the centre as shown and then double it up on itself and gently twist together.
Make your horn about 3.5cm (1 1/4" approx) with a flat knobbly bit at the end. This knobbly bit will hold the horn in place when it's sewn so it can't be pulled out.
Bake your horn according to manufacturers instructions on your packet of clay. Once cool, paint in white acrylic paint, and whilst still wet, roll in the fine glitter and leave to dry. (Your narhwal will not be magical until it has a glittering horn, FYI.)
Once the horn is dry you can take your dark grey piece and fold in half and start to sew up the top of the head. I have just used an overcast stitch. (That's a fancy name for just sewing the two pieces together.)

Once you get near the end of the front of the head, hold the horn in place and stitch around it firmly. That little knobbly piece at the end will hold it in place once sewn.

Now grab your fins and sew a dark piece to a light piece around the two curved edges. Repeat for the other fin making sure you have mirror image fins and not two fins facing the same way.
Continue sewing around your narwhal placing the fins into position as you go, slightly angling them backwards towards the tail fin, and securing them with a pin. Once you have nearly sewn up your shape, fill with stuffing, leaving the tail fin unstuffed, and close the hole with your thread and secure and hide the end.
Tips: I use two strands of embroidery thread for sewing. When the end of a piece of embroidery thread is nearing, I fasten a few times on the inside of the narwhal. Then I thread & knot up a new piece and start sewing from the wrong side so the new knot is positioned on the inside of the shape. As you are sewing around your shape make sure intermittently that the pieces are all matching up and you are not stretching one tighter than the other. 

And most importantly, have fun whilst making your narwhal friend! I would love to see your photos!
Miss 6 called ours "Hawthorn", because it rhymes with 'horn'. :)

I really hope you enjoy the tutorial & that you are starting to get excited about Christmas too! Making this tutorial certainly has me a little bit excited now (but we have some birthdays to get through soon first!)

Jules :)

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