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Upcycled Llama Ornament Tutorial

I recently came across a super cute Pin for something that, apparently, no longer exists. Isn’t it annoying when that happens? I was looking for Andean knitting projects (inspired by the hat my husband is preparing to make, as I wrote about in my recent Currently Crafting post) when one thing turned into another and I went from seeing photos of actual llamas and alpacas to ornaments with camelids. The Pin featured a set of llama ornaments from Crate and Barrel that doesn’t appear to be on their website anymore. Luckily, I realized it would be fun and easy to make my own! Today I’m sharing an upcycled llama ornament tutorial complete with a printable template so you can make cute llama ornaments too.

upcycled llama ornament tutorial

As regular readers know, I’m all about upcycling. It’s fun, rewarding, inexpensive, and saves a trip to the recycling bin! These llama ornaments are perfect for upcycling any pasteboard box from cereal, crackers, granola bars, packets of oatmeal, pasta, etc.

Materials needed to make an upcycled llama ornament

  • Your free printable llama ornament pattern! Snag it on Google drive here
  • A box to upcycle
  • A pen/pencil for tracing. I love my Sakura Sumo Grip pencil for things like this
  • A white gel pen or whiteout pen
  • A dark pen for decorating. I used a 05 Micron pen. A roller ball or gel pen would work, too.
  • Scissors
  • Yarn and or embroidery floss. I used Lion Bonbons on one sample ornament and embroidery floss on the other
  • A small hole punch or an awl.
  • Embellishments, optional. You could add pompoms, bells, beads, or whatever else you like! If you’re adding embellishments, you’ll also need glue or a needle/thread to attach them.

How to make upcycled llama ornaments

Cut open the box, then trace and cut out as many llamas as you’d like.

You can make your ornaments single sided our double sided. One sided upcycled llamas will obviously have the box’s design on the ‘back’ side, but you can glue two together so you have un-printed faces visible on both sides. If you do this, make sure you flip the template to cut the llamas in pairs, like this set shown below:

Decorate your llamas! I added eyes, a mouth, and nose with my Micron pen, then made little “w” shapes with my white gel pen to represent the llama’s wool.

I also cut a small rectangle from my box and used it as a template to make some mini tassels with embroidery floss. If you don’t know how to make a tassel, this post from Tiny Modernest is a good resource for you!

Wrap your llama’s belly in yarn or floss. I made one each way for demonstration purposes. Although you could just wrap the floss, I made a ‘finger braid’ cord and tied the ends together on the back side of the ornament. I made this video on how to finger braid for an ornament tutorial a while back if you don’t know the technique. The end result is the same as chaining with a crochet hook, but I think it’s very annoying to use a hook with floss. Use glue, thread, or whatever you’d like to add more embellishments, if you want to.

Use a small hole punch or a sharp awl/needle to make a hole so you can add a hanger. I punched my hole below the llama’s ear and added a loop of yarn.

upcycled llama ornaments

And that’s that! Enjoy your fun new upcycled llama ornaments!

upcycled llama ornament tutorial

Ever since I decided to make these upcycled llama ornaments, I feel like I’ve been seeing Christmas-y llama things everywhere. Is it just my perception, are are llamas going to be the new unicorn or something?

Disclaimer: This post includes affiliate links. If you make a purchase using one of these links, The Artisan Life will receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. Thank you for your support!






Free Printable High Contrast Cards for Newborns

LG already has a large library. She has at least two dozen board books plus several less physically baby-friendly books of rhymes and stories for reading to her. Although many of the books have pictures she already enjoys studying, particularly the high-contrast Look, Look! and her Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do You See? board book,we didn’t buy her many high-contrast books or cards because I wanted to design them, myself. Today I’m sharing a set of free printable high contrast cards for newborns that can be made into “flashcards” or set up accordion style!

free printable high contast cards for newborns

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Hello and welcome to this week’s Currently Crafting! Although I was super tempted to highlight another baby knitting project, I though it would be a little more interesting and inclusive to give a quick preview of some upcycled llama ornaments I made recently. I’m all about upcycling! For one, it saves me a trip downstairs to the recycling bin/dumpster area. That’s a pretty big bonus when you have a newborn! For another it’s just plain fun to turn ‘trash’ into something fun, functional, and desirable.

Although these upcycled llama ornaments are already finished, I still have to find the time to edit photos and write the tutorial. I seem to run into this problem every holiday season, even before I had a baby. I have all these ornament and decoration post ideas but then time gets away from me and I struggle to finish any of them before Christmas!

What’s upcycled about them, you ask? The llama! I made them out of a cracker box! Pretty much any chipboard or pasteboard box will work for these.

It turned into a bit of a stash-busing project because I used yarn and embroidery floss scraps I’ve had sitting around for about three years. Yarn was also my inspiration for creating these upcycled llamas. My husband recently became very interested in Andean knits and signed up for a Craftsy class called “Knit Faster with Peruvian Knits.” The class project is an Andean-style hat that uses six different colors of yarn! I’ll probably need to write updates about that project, even though it won’t technically be mine, because it seems pretty cool.

That’s it for this week’s Currently Crafting – I hope you come back soon for the full tutorial!

What are you making right now?

Disclaimer: This post may include affiliate links. If you make a purchase using one of these links, The Artisan Life will receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. Thank you for your support!



I seriously just can’t help loving the unicorn trend. I don’t like ‘girly’ things and I usually don’t like trendy things, either, but I have been all about unicorns for the past couple of years and hope the trend keeps going strong! I also really enjoy sewing, but I know not all of my readers are sewests. That’s why today I’m sharing an easy unicorn banner with a simple no-sew option! If you can trace, cut, and glue, I’m confident you can make this cute unicorn banner for your wall. 🙂

No-Sew Unicorn Banner [click to continue…]

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Hi and welcome to another week of “Currently Crafting!” This week I’m sharing a look at a recent knitting project, a sweet little dress called the “Fiona Baby Sundress” available for free from Very Pink.

As regular readers know, I am (obviously) a huge fan of handmade. This enthusiasm extends to items for LG, including clothing. As I mentioned in my color splash lotus blossom shirt tutorial, a lot of modern baby clothes really annoy me. I believe that babies are people and deserve to be treated as such, even if the are very small, immature people who are currently totally dependent on others. I really like classic baby clothes made with natural fibers featuring tasteful, timeless elements. LG obviously doesn’t wear only handmade items, but we try hard to make her commercially-aquired clothing as sensible as possible (no rhinestones, sequins, ‘cutesy’ sayings, etc.). Since we’re planning a trip to the Mainland for Christmas, I wanted LG to have some hand knit items and this cute pattern was the perfect project for me!

fiona sundress by very pink knits

The Fiona Baby Sundress pattern is a great choice for beginning knitters who want to learn a few new skills. Very Pink is currently my favorite knitting blog and YouTube channel because Staci is not only an accomplished knitter, but also an excellent teacher. She has many well-filmed videos explaining a variety of knitting and crochet techniques – I highly recommend you check out her channel if you have any knitting questions! [click to continue…]


Easy Polymer Clay Christmas Tree Earrings Tutorial

Okay, I admit it. I’m a crafting addict! Whenever I have a spare moment, I can’t help breaking out the crafting supplies, even if I should probably be doing something like actually folding the laundry. Meh, the laundry’s not going anywhere, right? Because my crafting time is currently pretty limited, today’s tutorial is for some super easy polymer clay Christmas tree earrings. It doesn’t matter if you’ve never touched polymer clay before, you can make these earrings! You don’t need any special clay tools whatsoever and they’re super cute, so let’s get started!

Easy Polymer Clay Christmas Earrings Tutorial [click to continue…]

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Our Hypnobabies Experience & Birth Story

Now that I’ve actually put my Hypnobabies training to use, I thought it would be fun to write a life lately update with a bit about our Hypnobabies experience! Today seems like a particularly appropriate day to publish this post because it’s LG’s one month ‘birthday.’ Happy one month, Little Gnome!

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Free Blog Planner Printables for December 2017

Wow – it’s unreal to me that 2017 is almost over! I’ve realized that, for me, individual minutes with a newborn can seem kind of slow but the hours and days have been flying by. The blog planner printables for December may be my favorite ones for the entire year – just look at the cute narwhales!

Free blog planner printables for December 2017

As usual, this planner page is available to blog subscribers in the “printables for blog subscribers” area. If you’re not a member yet and would like to become one, you can subscribe and get your printable in one go by downloading it for free from my Selz store.

I’m looking forward to filling out my stats tracker page and comparing it to last year. I haven’t been as active with my blog or online in general this year when compared to 2016 so my growth has been slow, but I’ve been pleasantly surprised to see at least some growth. It’s also been quite nice to see a few posts from 2016 popping up in my daily top 10 from time to time. For ages and ages, my top posts have been basically the same ones from years ago. It’s somewhat annoying since I know my newer posts are better written and have better photos! It’s just how the internet works, though.

I know it’s the end of the year, but it’s never too late to start planning and organizing your blog posts! It’s especially important to have a plan going into the busy holiday season, and setting up a planning/organization habit now can help you be more successful at continuing the routine into the new year. If you haven’t already downloaded the monthly schedule calendar pages, you can check them out in this post here:

The free blog planner printables for 2018 will be even ‘bigger and better,’ and I’ll be releasing them in just a couple of weeks so make sure to keep an eye out for them soon!

How are you keeping your busy end of the year organized?





Currently Crafting – Polymer Clay Flamingos

Hello and welcome to this week’s Currently Crafting where I’m sharing a look at what’s on my proverbial crafting table! I realized that November two years ago is when we got ‘serious’ about experimenting with polymer clay, so today I’m sharing a couple of recent polymer clay projects and a few design tips.

My husband and I spent a weekend afternoon shortly before LG was born playing with clay and, while he also made a couple of Halloween pieces that seem odd to share now, we both ended up making a piece featuring a flamingo. I was inspired by two of my favorite polymer clay artists, and he was inspired by the Florida Lottery symbol. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

currently crafting - polymer clay flamingos

The style of my piece was very influenced by the work of Kay Miller of My Joyful Moments designs. Her Etsy store sells out super quickly after each update, so the best place to see her polymer clay and totally awesome cards is Instagram. I know that creating pieces inspired by other artists can be controversial, so I just wanted to let everyone know her blog specifically says to feel free to create your own designs inspired by her work. It’s always important to consider the wishes and preferences of an artist whenever you create something inspired by their work.

The way I actually constructed many of the elements was influenced by another pc artist I love, Mandarin Moon. We’ve purchased a couple of her tutorials on Etsy and while the flamingo piece is nothing at all like her work, I definitely used a lot of her tips while constructing the embellishments and selecting colors.

currently crafting - polymer clay flamingo

I intend to turn the flamingo medallion into a magnet that will probably be a Christmas present. At least, I made it with Christmas and a specific person in mind! I may like it too much to give it away…

If you’re interested in working with polymer clay or improving your designs, here are a few things I’ve learned in the past two years:

Use a range of values. Just like a painting or photograph, most pc pieces look best with a range of color value (lights, mid-tones, and darks). I tend to use mostly mid-tones with a few lighter and darker bits thrown in for contrast and interest.

Plan your colors ahead of time. Take a look at a color wheel to help you visualize what colors go well together, but remember that complements do not mix directly. Yellow and purple are complements, which means they look well together. However, physically mixing complementary colors, whether it’s paint, clay, or another medium, results in muddy, dull colors.

Don’t get discouraged. That flamingo too me a zillion tries to get just right! Polymer clay doesn’t dry out so if you’re not happy with your piece, just take it apart and try again. You’ll be glad you did.

Don’t stop learning! Even if you’ve been working with a medium for years chances are good you can still learn new techniques or experiment with something you’ve never tried before. We love free tutorials and YouTube, but we have also purchased a few tutorials to learn a really interesting technique. Investing in education is always worth it. 🙂

Whenever you follow someone else’s tutorial or pattern, make sure to read up on their policies regarding how you can use the finished item. Some artists are totally okay with you selling items made from their techniques/tutorials/patterns while others are not. Please be respectful.

Do you have any tips to add regarding designing and planning pieces, wether they’re clay, beadwork, mixed media, or something else?




As regular readers know well by now, I’m a huge fan of handmade and homemade items for babies! In addition to an open-front ‘dresser’ and a baby shelf, we also made LG an activity gym. For her very first baby gym toys, I designed a set of very basic high contrast cards. She absolutely loves them! My husband and I enjoy just sitting there watching her watch the cards. I used the cards I designed to make a DIY high contrast baby gym mobile substitute using some inexpensive satin ribbon and just a few minutes of effort. I hope you enjoy these free printable high contrast baby gym cards for newborns whether you decide to display them in a changing area, for tummy time, or hang them!

Free Printable High Contast Baby Gym Cards [click to continue…]

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