[caption id="attachment_762" align="aligncenter" width="512"] So Pretty and Personal![/caption] Anabela writes a delightful blog called Fieldguided and runs a small accessories company with her husband Geoff. They have two cats, Oreo and Pony. Every week Anabela will be sharing a new DIY discovery to help us get a little craftier. Last weekend my husband Geoff and I bought our first ever real Christmas tree (funny story: we bought it from Ikea on the same day that a shearling coat-wearing monkey was making headlines for walking through the parking lot! We didn't see him, though). For years we've just used a small plastic white one that we decorated with tiny multicoloured glass balls. When we put up the tree and started decorating, I thought about how we had so few ornaments, and how nice it would be to grow our collection over our years together. I pulled out one of my favourite ornaments, which was a set of wool mitts that was handmade by our friend Melinda. She embroidered our names onto the mitts. This ornament made me think about how much I love handmade ornaments and how special they are, so I decided to make my own and also to share some ideas for ornaments that can be given as gifts. I decided to stick with embroidery and chose to work with velvet. My first ornament was a heart-shaped one with "Our First Christmas" embroidered on the front and "2012" on the back. We've had Christmases together, but this is our first one as a married couple so I thought it would be sweet (and a little cheesy, but why not!) to commemorate the occasion. I also made a couple with our astrological signs on them; one is the Taurus constellation, for Geoff, and one is the Capricorn, for me. And because I am a certifiable cat lady, I made a cat face ornament too. To make these ornaments, you'll need: fabric (I used dark grey velvet), embroidery floss, an embroidery hoop and needles, thread and hand-sewing needles or a sewing machine, polyfill, tissue paper, and ribbon. I know that embroidery can be intimidating and it does take some time to learn, but a simple backstitch is really easy, I promise. There are lots of instructional videos online. To embroider onto the velvet, I drew my text and designs onto tissue paper. Usually in embroidery you use fast-fade markers or transfer paper to mark your designs, but since the velvet was dark grey, these wouldn't work so well. I attached the tissue over my fabric and into the embroidery hoop and pulled my stitches through the tissue. Once I was done, the tissue was already perforated which made pulling it out simple. If you wanted to make these and not embroider, you could try painting onto your fabric with fabric paint. To sew the ornaments, you sandwich a loop of ribbon in between your front and back fabric (loop facing down), outsides of the fabric facing each other. Stitch all around, but leave a small opening so you can turn it inside out. Clip the fabric close to your stitching (being careful not to cut your stitches), stuff it with polyfill, and stitch the opening closed by hand. The constellations were fun to do as well. I added some sequins all around for sparkle, although next time I might try making stars using metallic thread too. These would make a cute gift for your friend who reads her horoscope every day, and the cat face is perfect for your favourite friend to felines (meow). When I cut the heart shape out for the ornament, the text ended up a little high on the heart. I would have preferred it to be more in the middle, but I wasn't about to re-do my stitches! So, instead, I added a little x or a smooch to the bottom. It's all about getting creative! There are so many cute, simple designs that can be embroidered, so have fun with it! PS. My first project for BRIKA was this festive pom pom wreath. Next, I created this simple and lovely star garland.