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Give a hoop: No-sew fabric favors and ornaments

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Sewing and embroidery seems like a daunting skill to learn and more intimidating to master. If your children are too young to wield needle and thread, there are other crafts you can do to get them acquainted with the tools involved at the sewing section at the craft store. In this case, the embroidery hoop can be used for a decorative purpose. No mad sewing skills either, mom? Don't fret, you'll enjoy this just as much as the kids will. Let's get started.

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What you need:

Several of the smallest wooden embroidery hoop (under $2.00 at craft stores)

Fabric (your choice)

Embellishments (beads, glitter, chenille pipe cleaners, etc.)

Iron-on sheets for dark fabric or light fabric (at office supply stores under $15.00 for a 6-pack)

Glue or hot glue

Scissors

Pencil

Small bowl or circle template (with an opening slightly bigger than the hoop)

Ribbon

How to:
Lay your fabric flat and set your bowl upside down or template on it. Trace around with a pencil and trim out the circle. Take your embroidery hoop and unscrew the hardware to separate the two rounds. Center the inner hoop and center on fabric circle as best you can. Flip it over and slip the outer hoop carefully over the fabric, making sure it doesn't shift around. Adjust the fabric as you go and secure in place by replacing the screw fastener.

Help the kids choose colors by teaching them which colors can look good together. Talk about patterns, textures, and theme. Is there an occasion for which you can make a memento? Is there a holiday you are about to celebrate? Once they have a plan, let them have free reign.

When the embellishments have set, tie a bow or wrap a chenille pipe cleaner around the hardware to conceal. Cut a length of ribbon and tie around the hardware as a hanger. You're ready to show off your handiwork.

Another idea is for a party favor by using a photo of the celebrant or celebrants (such as a new baby announcement or the bride and groom for a wedding) printed on iron-on sheets. Remember, choose your fabric first. Make sure it is not a stretchy material (like a t-shirt) or it might stretch the photo when you slip it in the hoop. Also, it's very important to use the correct iron-on sheet according to the color of your fabric: light fabric vs dark fabric. Print, iron, trim, and mount on the hoop. It's that easy.

One more idea, (dare I say?) is to try your hand at embroidery and use the hoop for its intended purpose. Trace your child's first initial on the fabric circle, then mount onto the hoop. Use embroidery floss or thread in your color choice. The satin stitch, although time consuming to do by hand is quite simple. Start the stitch from under the fabric at one end of the sketch. Take the needle up and across the opposite side within your sketch and down into the fabric, starting again from the bottom up. Continue while keeping your stitch in the same direction until the entire area is covered. That wasn't so bad, was it? Better yet, while you're at the craft store picking up the embroidery hoop, they have iron-on letter appliques. I won't tell if you won't.

For inspiration on handmade art, be sure to check out one of Austin's holiday traditions, thirty-eight years in the running. The Armadillo Christmas Bazaar is happening from December 17th through the 24th at the Palmer Events Center. They're open from 11am - 11pm every day. Daily tickets are $7 and children under the age of 12 get in for free. Local artists will showcase their beautiful handmade products. It's Austin so yes, there will be food, drink, and live music. Click here to see the daily schedule including the complete line-up of musicians.

Did you enjoy this project? Be sure to Subscribe to Theda's Examiner articles to get craft ideas delivered straight to your inbox each month. Remember to Like it, Share it, and Pin it.

Follow her blog Things My Mother Didn't Tell Me About Motherhood in which she talks about a first-time parent's misadventures. Her first children's book Pepipacifoo is now available online.

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