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Hearts on a string: how-to

I’m not one of those Christmas People who have twelve boxes of decorations in their attic and start pulling them out the second the last bite of Thanksgiving turkey has been eaten, but lately I have been missing the Christmas decorations.  We took them down a little earlier than I would have liked — it just worked out that way.  So I decided I would make some Valentine’s Day decorations!  Usually I would have ideas like this three days before the holiday, but this year I had plenty of time.  Maybe.  I’m still working on the second project and we’ll see if I finish that one before the 14th, but I can share the first one tonight!

I made enough for all of the shutters on the main floor.  If you don’t have plantation shutters or another way to hang them in your windows, they would be cute hanging from doorknobs.

Follow the jump if you want to see how to make them!

The first thing you should know is that you can probably find enough money for the supplies in your couch cushions.  Here’s what I used:

  • Felt (I way overbought the felt because I had a second project in mind), 15 or 20 cents per piece
  • Embroidery floss, 35 cents per skein
  • Shiny ribbon, 50 cents from the bargain bin
  • Needles with an eye big enough for the floss, $2
  • Set of heart-shaped cookie cutters in varying sizes, bought from Target a few years ago for about $7

If you don’t have or don’t want to buy a set of heart cookie cutters, you could make a cardboard template.  Or maybe you’re a freer spirit than I am and feel comfortable free-forming your hearts, but the engineer in me demands that all of mine be uniform.  So start by tracing the heart you want as your base onto the felt color of your choosing:

Make sure you make twice as many of the base hearts as you want of the finished product.  For the colors you want to layer on top, you’ll only need one per hanging heart.  Trace and cut out however many you need of those:

Don’t throw away anything that might make a good snack:

In fact, save all of your scraps.  We’ll use them later:

This next step is optional.  I glued the layers together with a glue stick.  If you want the glue to be permanent, use fabric glue, but a glue stick will keep the layers together just enough to handle them without messing up their placement:

Next, put a contrasting running stitch through each of the decorative layers.  You can decide how perfect you want the stitching to be, but not obsessing over it will save you time and add to the handmade look (that’s what I tell myself, anyway).  If you’re not usually allowed to use sharp objects by yourself, you can call in somebody to supervise:

Start sewing the top pieces to the bottom pieces with another running stitch.  When you get to the indentation in the heart, place your ribbon between the layers and just sew it in place as you go (you should have already decided how long your ribbons need to be and cut them with a few extra inches):

When you’re about 3/4 of the way around the heart, stuff it with felt scraps.  I didn’t make them very full, just enough to look soft.  This probably goes without saying, but save the light scraps for the light hearts and the dark scraps for the dark hearts.  Felt is pretty opaque, but you may see dark scraps inside a light heart if you hang them in a window.

Finish sewing around the perimeter and put the knot in the back where nobody will see it.  Now measure where you want the very top of the ribbon to be, fold the extra over like a U so your heart will face correctly when hung, and put a little stitch in it.  I had some help with this step:

And you’re done!  Hang them everywhere!

If you make some of your own, I’d love to see photos!

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