It's been so cold and damp in New England that even the garden centers have waited until this week to put out flats of pansies.
But where there is art, there is hope. Artists can make their own flowers, thank you very much. These sunny Flower Girls by Shirley Hansen, for example, would brighten even the most dreary day. And they're so easy to make, you could begin them this afternoon and have them finished in time to decorate your Easter table.
Here's Shirley's story and how-to.
By Shirley Hansen
On rainy spring afternoon when I was a girl, I came home from school one afternoon and complained to my mother that this was the third afternoon of rain, so I couldn't go out and play. Mom looked at me with a knowing smile and said, "Just remember, Shirley, 'April showers bring May flowers'."
The old cliché didn't bring me much comfort at the time, but somehow rainy spring days still remind me of the incident, and they eventually led me to stitch the Flower Girls.
Cotton print fabric
Poly fill (small amount)
Pencil or knitting needle, for stuffing
Needles (beading and embroidery)
Embellishments as desired
1. Cut out body parts as follows: Cut an inside face petal and two body circles from floral cotton print. (My inner face shape was cut directly from part of a floral print.) Next, cut 4 arms, 4 legs, 1 face, and 1 outside face petal from contrasting felt.
2. For the face, embroider as desired using back stitches and satin stitches. Attach face to inner petal with a running stitch. Put a small amount of stuffing in between the layers before completing the stitching. Attach the inside and outside petals with a second row of running stitches around the face.
3. For the legs and arms, freehand stitch lettering or a design on the top of the leg sections. Also add buttons or other embellishments at this time. Stitch legs together with two strands of contrasting embroidery floss using a running stitch. Stitch from the top outside of the leg, around the foot, and about 1 inch up the inner side. Stop and stuff the foot area using a long, thin object such as a pencil or knitting needle. Continue the sewing and stuffing process until the leg unit is complete. Sew arms using the same technique.
4. For the body, pin arms and legs into position on the back of a body circle. Place the body top into position and begin sewing the body together using a running stitch and contrasting color of embroidery floss. Work the stitches so that several stitches will be used over the arms and legs to hold them in position. Add stuffing to the circle as you go. Next, position the face petals onto the body and sew the face to the body, catching only the bottom layer of the face petal to the body.
5. Embellish with paper messages, found objects, flowers, etc.
Thank you, Shirley, for sharing this wonderful story and tutorial with us. It certainly brightened my day!