In my very favorite episode of Little House on the Prairie, a snow-covered Mr. Edwards bursts through the door of the Ingalls family home on their first Christmas in Kansas. There’s a blizzard blowing outside, and Mr. Edwards looks more like a frosty Santa Claus than his usual grizzly man self. Although I could replay the episode in its entirety at the drop of a hat (poor Jared has sat through both my and the real rendition probably more times than he’d like to remember), the best part comes when Mr. Edwards draws a small sack from his coat and begins pulling out presents for the girls.
A piece of candy for each, a pair of mittens and a cup. That’s it. But the girls are over the moon about their loot. For a family with very little, a little more can feel like so much. “We each got our own cups now,” Laura says. Melts my heart.
I think of that line often, particularly around Christmastime when money and gifts begin coming and going so quickly. There’s a certain kind of sweetness that comes with the kind of Christmas that boasts an old tin cup as the prized gift. Although I didn’t raid any tin cup stores in the mall for my family’s presents this year, I did decide that I’d like to start putting a little more hands-on TLC into gifts when I can, especially for Beany and her also-bitty cousins.
So fueled by the mushy mushy, Little House Christmas spirit, I started sewing felt cookies last November. And I got hooked. Seriously, this was such a fun project to do because there’s really no perfect pattern or hard-lined rules for how to do it. I followed a general method and then went to town. In the end, I had three of each cookie for both Beany and her cousin, who’s just seven months her senior. It’s quite handy dandy having two girls so close in age. Just think of all that fun felt food I’ll they’ll get to enjoy. Woot!
You might notice that some of the cookies are remarkably similar to treats I’ve made on the blog. They are! That’s part of why it was so fun! Now Beany has her own versions of the same cookies she sees coming from the real kitchen. It’s never too early to start refining that cookie palate.
What you’ll need:
• felt, in varying colors
• matching thread
• embroidery thread in varying colors (if you’re adding sprinkles)
• sewing machine (if using), scissors, needle(s) (all the usual sewing gear)
How you do it:
1. Start by tracing the shape of your cookie on a piece of felt. You can trace actual cookie cutters; for circle cookies, lids and glasses work well. Once that shape is traced, cut it out.
2. Each cookie has a front and back panel. For the back panel though, cut it into a rough square or oblong shape that is larger than the front piece that you already cut out. The reason for this is because when you’re sewing the front and back pieces together, the fabric will inevitably bunch and shift a bit (especially if you’re using a sewing machine). This is important and will keep you from running out of fabric when you’re stitching them together and getting super duper frustrated.
3. Now that the front and back pieces are cut out, it’s time to decorate the front piece (the one that’s already cut into the correct cookie shape). This is your chance to get creative. For chocolate chips, cut out small pieces of dark brown felt. Add plum-colored felt for raisins. You could even add buttons! For all of my cookies, I freehanded the decorative details and then hooked them on with an X-shaped stitch over top.
Note: For the iced sugar hearts, I first cut a colored heart shape slightly smaller than I wanted my final heart-shaped front cookie panel to be, and onto that colored heart I looped in stitches of thick embroidery thread in varying colors. Then, I sewed the colored heart shape with the “sprinkles” onto a slightly larger square-shaped piece of cream-colored felt that would become my front cookie panel (I did this for the same reason described in step No. 2). Then, I trimmed the excess from the cream-colored felt until it left a small outline around the colored heart. Then the front panel was complete!
4. Once the front panel of the felt cookie is complete, place it decorated side up on top of the piece of felt you already cut as the back panel, leaving enough felt around the edges to allow for a bit of bunching and shifting. Sew the two sides together using matching thread.
5. Trim the excess felt so that the front and back cookie panels are nice and even. You’re done! Now repeat as many times as you need cookies!
Have you done any crafting lately? What projects are on the horizon? I dare say I better get back to edible treats over yarn and felt. An oven can’t stay quiet for long!