By Jessica Wilson
I know owls have been a fashionable bird for quite some time now, but I don’t think they have finished their reign as a quirky crafty bird just yet. This year I am hoping to make a good portion of my holiday gifts, and what better inspiration than this wide-eyed bird? When the weather turns cool, I turn to warm drinks – tea mostly – and when one brews tea, one usually brews a whole pot. When you have a whole pot o’ tea keeping you company, keeping it warm is as easy as popping a pretty tea-cozy atop your pot. What do you do if you are a cocoa or coffee drinker? Why, you make a tiny-sized cozy that perfectly keeps your favorite cuppa warm. So here you go, a combination of lovely winter dreams – owls and a hot mug of goodness.
2 squares of wool felt about 8″ or so
Felt & fabric scraps for embellishing
Needle & thread or sewing machine
Scratch paper & pencil
Mug for pattern making
Step 1: Not all mugs are created equal, so you may want to make your cozy as a part of a combined gift. If not, take a sneak peek at some of your favorite mugs and use your largest for the template. I used an average-sized mug that runs about 3 1/2″ across and is about 4 1/2″ tall. So break out that measuring tape and measure the height of your cup, and then measure in a curve from one side of the cup to the widest edge of the handle, and add about 1/4″ for seam allowance. Larger is good, as you will need some wiggle room.
Step 2: Make your pattern. For the previous measurements above, my owl needs to be 6″ x 6 1/2″, just a smidge wider than it is tall. You can make your template taller if you want a towering owl. It’s really up to you. Transfer your measurements to a piece of scrap paper and cut out with a pair of scissors.
Step 3: Draw your owl. Fold your template in half and draw half an owl, curving your sides outward and dipping toward the center on the top for your owly-tufts. Easy peasy.
Step 4: Cut out the owl pattern from your paper, center atop your two pieces of felt, and pin into place.
Step 5: Cut out owl template from felt and gather up your scraps to make your happy owl face. You will need three circles about 2″ around for your base eyes, plus two smaller circles for your pupils. Cut the third circle in half and layer over each eye so your owl looks all sleepy-cozy. A triangle makes a perfect nose, and you can cut a few more half circles for your belly feathers. Use up all them little felty scraps. For four owls, I cut out all my shapes from four different prints and rotated them so each owl would coordinate with the next. The hardest part is choosing your colors.
Step 6: Arrange your owl’s features on top of one of your felt pieces, and topstitch by hand or machine into place.
Step 7: On the backing piece of your cozy you may wish to add a name, a heart, or another lovely greeting with a length of embroidery thread. Or, you can cut a small rectangle out of a piece of cotton and write your message on it with a fine-tipped Sharpie and topstitch it in place where you want it.
Step 8: Layer your two pieces atop each other, right sides facing out, and pin into place. Hand stitch around the edge with a blanket stitch or pop it into your machine and use a running stitch all along the sides and top, keeping the bottom open (unless you want to turn this into a hot pad). Make sure you stitch fairly close to your edges, keeping both pieces together. Don’t forget to backstitch at the beginning and end of your stitching.
Step 9: Make a few more so that you have a whole hoot-happy army, and wrap them up by tucking them into a sweet mug or pop them into a pretty handmade drawstring bag. Either way, I am sure this will be a happy gift for any owl adorer out there!
About the Author:
Jessica Wilson is most happily known as ‘jek in the box’ and spends most of her time crafting it up and taking pictures. She can often be found standing on benches over on Flickr and creating all sorts of kiddie crafts on her blog scrumdilly-do! She lives a life of scrumdillydilly and loves to share.