Handkerchief Art

After my grandmother passed away in 2014, I was handed down many things. Plants, a wooden stool, suitcases, a sheepskin rug. I love having these little bits and pieces of her scattered around my home, reminding me of her on a daily basis. A few things are still finding their places in my home. Recently, two more found their new purpose!


Among my Oma’s things were many handkerchiefs. Back in the days before waste was normal and tossing 150 pieces of paper in the landfill every time you had a cold became completely acceptable, everyone used handkerchiefs! Now among the everyday handkerchiefs my Oma had several decorative handkerchiefs that were probably never used. Two were rather fun and festive and lucky for me, those are the two that I was given!


I bought some square, white IKEA picture frames and popped the handkerchiefs behind the glass. One of them was actually a little small, so I ended up taping it to a piece of white paper first. Here they are in all their glory!


Vintage Handkerchief Art | Land of Laurel


I decided to hang both of them in my bedroom on the wall parallel to the length of my bed. They both have blue, white, and red hues in their imagery so it ties in with my bedding fairly well.


The handkerchief on the right is pretty great; it’s all about travel! I could totally see something like this in a nursery, but since that’s like ten plus years out, let’s not even go there. For now, we’ll call it “fun” and not “child-like,” mmkay? It’s Bon Voyage theme always makes me smile. My Oma loved to travel. She visited so many places in this world, something I’ve always loved to do as well.


Bon Voyage Handkerchief Art | Land of Laurel


Shall we get a little bit closer? Yes, that is my reflection in the glass of the picture frame. Realizing now, that although the images from the airlines are multi-directional, I’ve hung this handkerchief upside-down if you take a closer look at that plane. Whatever. Let’s call it charming and pretend it’s emulating that scene from Flight,  which is my favorite movie to watch before traveling anywhere. The little Bon Voyage marches around all four sides of the handkerchief, but I framed it to just show the one so the sizing would be more similar to that of the other handkerchief (which was significantly smaller).


Vintage Handkerchief Art | Land of Laurel


The other handkerchief is equally, if not more, representative of my Oma. It’s Struwwelpeter! Every German’s favorite stories from her childhood. The book is a collection of cautionary tales for children written in 1845 about the importance of cutting your hair & nails, not playing with matches, not sucking your thumb, etc. In basically every single story the child is either killed or mutilated after not listening to his or her parents. They’re fabulous! I mean, I probably wouldn’t read them to a child, like they were originally intended, but you know, next time you need scary stories to read around a camp fire, this is perfect! You can find the illustrated German version here for an idea of the tales. Or see Dwight Schrute from The Office reference it here as well as the English translation. I love these stories! I know it’s crazy and they’re violent and awful, but I find them some what hilarious and oh so mid-1800s German!


Struwwelpeter Handkerchief Art | Land of Laurel


My favorite story, about Harriet who was told not to play with matches, is — unfortunately– not depicted. Regardless, I the handkerchief reminds me of my childhood afternoons reading with my grandmother. Here’s a closer look at the handkerchief.


Struwwelpeter | Land of Laurel


Now, before I go on, I must note that I do not condone or promote anything from these collection of tales. They were written over 150 years ago. They are violent and occasionally racist. They should not be taken at face value, but rather studied and viewed as stories and imagery of historical interest only. I have a Bachelor’s in German Studies from Tufts University and my studies into German culture lead to my fascination with these tales, as well as my personal family history. They are in no way politically correct.


The two handkerchiefs remind me of my ancestry and my Oma. I love the idea of framing fabric, especially as both handkerchiefs were creased from laying folded in a drawer for years and years. I could have ironed them out, but some how, I felt they added to the story of these handkerchiefs. So up they went in my bedroom. Memories on the wall, reminding me of my past, present, and future.


Vintage Handkerchief Art | Land of Laurel


Have you ever framed a piece of fabric that reminds you of someone? I thought these were just too beautiful to leave in a drawer!






Happy Holiday Garland

Happy Monday everyone! I wanted to share this fun garland I made with all of you. I worked on this before Christmas actually and finished it about two weeks before hand. I never showed our holiday decorations though, because I was too busy celebrating! This garland is just so fun though, I think it deserves a shout out.


On the Sunday after Thanksgiving, my mother and her three sisters got together to make holiday crafts. This isn’t a family tradition, but something new this year, and we all loved it! My Aunt Chrisy ended up not being able to make it, but my mother and her two other sisters got together at my Aunt Karolyn’s in Davis for a little holiday magic. My cousin Kelly and I decided to crash the party too! Because I am a planner, I got incredibly excited and started scrolling through Pinterest to see what kind of inspiration I could find. Crafting is basically my own personal Pinterest-Challenge. I fell in love with several ideas, but the one that truly captured my heart was this. It was just so colorful and happy! I knew instantly that it was perfect and I had to try to make it. Yes, it’s not very Christmas-y, but that was what I inherently loved about it! The garland is bright and exciting and could be used for absolutely any holiday or celebration. Multi-use decorations? Count me in!


First I headed to Joanne Fabrics to pick up some supplies. I debated which colors to use before settling on light blue, teal, yellow-gold, yellow, bright magenta, baby pink, maroon, lime green, forest green, white, and neutral beige. I tried to coordinate my colors so there was a darker and a lighter version of each hue. I added the neutrals in because I didn’t want the color to be too overwhelming. I got 1/4 yd of each of my colors, and a 1/2 yard of the white and neutral. In the end, I had way too much fabric, especially of the neutrals. I’d suggest getting only 5″ strips of fabric for anyone planning on trying this. That’s less cutting for you too! The fabric on the bolts was doubled over, so in the end I got 9″ wide and 96″ long strips of each color except the neutrals.


Colorful Felt | Land of Laurel


I decided to make my life easy and simply cut my fabric down the middle until I had two long strips of felt approximately 4.5″ wide. Then I cut my long strips into 3/4″ pieces. I ended up with a ginormous pile of colorful felt strips. So happy and bright!


Pile of Felt | Land of Laurel


I then took strong, white embroidery thread and a needle and got down to stringing my garland together. Because felt is so easy to puncture, I used a nice big blunt needle. I started with a big knot in my thread. Then I took a piece of felt from my pile and quickly found a good way to string them together.


Stringing Together a Garland | Land of Laurel


I took each piece of felt in my hand…


Felt in Hand | Land of Laurel


… and then pinched it in the center like so.


Pinched Felt | Land of Laurel


Then I took my needle with my other hand and stabbed it through the pinch fabric pulling it through both sides of the pinch.


Needle in Felt | Land of Laurel


I wanted my garland to be extra strong for years to come, so I then threaded that needle back through the pinched felt a bit higher than the original hole. Here you can see the two strings coming out the one side of the felt (one attached to the needle, the other to the rest of the garland) and the small white stitch on the pinched fabric.


Second Time Through Felt | Land of Laurel


I pulled the embroidery threat tight which pinched fabric together more and then pulled the felt strip to the rest of the garland. Once it the felt strip was tightly pushed against the garland, I threaded a third stitch, taking the needle and pushing it through the center of the pinch and up.

Third Stitch | Land of Laurel


This kept the fabric pinched, but left the thread and needle coming from the center of the strip, ready for the next piece of felt.

Ready for the Next Strip | Land of Laurel


You guys, I did this about ten million times over the course of two weeks.


Next Piece | Land of Laurel


Since I was using doubled over strings of embroidery thread about one yard long, I would periodically run out of thread. When I got to that point, I would thread my needle through the last three felt strips twice and tie a big knot. I would cut off any excess thread. Then, with my new length of thread, I’d go back through those three strips of felt again. Basically, my transition points between thread lengths are super, duper strong rather than being weak points! I’m hoping this will help the garland last for years to come!


Still Going | Land of Laurel


I planned to hang my garland across the front windows in the living room. The windows are huge and I wanted the garland to hang down each side as well! It took forever to get the length I needed for this, but it was totally worth it! The process of threading the strips of felt became oddly addicting and almost meditative. I sat at the island and worked on it. Then I sat in bed and threaded felt strips. I made my garland while watching TV, waiting for food to roast in the oven. I made my felt garland before bed, before breakfast, after dinner, first thing in the morning, and last thing at night. It was a HUGE time suck, but all the supplies for my garland cost less than $15.00 and it’s much stronger than anything you’d find for that price in stores!


In the end, I was able to stretch it across our big living room windows. It looked lovely. This is kind of a terrible iPhone picture, but it really shows how long this thing was when I finished!


Garland Across the Windows | Land of Laurel


The felt garland also looked great when I wrapped it around myself. Haha! It was like swimming in a sea of happy, bright, fun, and exciting color!


Finished Garland | Land of Laurel


I am so pumped for this garland! It’s perfect for the upcoming Valentine’s Day, for Easter, for Birthdays, for any and every occasion! I’m so glad I went with the colorful option rather than doing holiday colors. I have so much felt left over, I plan on making another similar garland in all neutral colors! Anyone else tried something like this?