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Saturday, March 23, 2013


I thought it would be interesting to learn about artisans that work with felt, so I contacted two shops on the Craft Cafe that have various items that were created with felt.  One of these shops has items created with both felt and burlap and the other also has pottery items plus ceramic buttons and jewelry (her shop will be featured on Thursday).

The shop I am featuring today is BowsGaloreandMore, the artisan/owner's name is Melanie.  Here are the questions I asked with her answers:

How hard is felt to find in various colors?
Felt isn’t that hard to find if you take the time to research different suppliers to get it from. There are several types of felt to use, so there are a ton of suppliers to choose from.

How hard is it to cut into shapes or to sew felt?
The felt isn’t hard to cut. It just takes time to do it. Since I am so picky, it takes me a little longer. I do not like the felt to have fuzzies, so it requires A LOT of trimming. Your hands can get really tired and sore from all the trimming. I usually put a movie on when I am trimming them so that the time goes by faster. Felt is very easy to sew whether you use a sewing machine, embroidery machine or choose to hand sew.

Do you use some sort of backing to make the felt stiff?
I use a stabilizer that is made for embroidering to make the felt stiff.

How did you get that little heart shape on the felt elephant’s ear? It’s so tiny that it looks like it would be very challenging to get it right.
The heart on the elephants is ear actually built into the design. So it doesn’t require me to do anything except change the color of thread on the embroidery machine.

Did creating the girls owl (white one) felt hair clip require several steps? It looks so intricate with all the different colors which may look like they are from stitches and not on the material?
The “Tropic-Owl” is a two step process. It requires that one layer of felt be sewn to another then             trimmed. The different colors on the owl are actually part of the design that is printed on the felt that I use. It has a really pretty tropical floral pattern on it.

How did you get those black eyes on there and the white stitching around them?
The black and white eyes are part of the design of the owl so the embroidery machine actually                 does the work. I just have to change the thread out.

What does the term burlee mean?
Burlee is a term that I use to refer to my Burlap Door/Wall Décor. I thought it was much cuter to               call them a Burlee than to just call them burlap door décor or burlap wall décor.

Did you have to buy patterns to make your bows and burlees?
No. All of my bows are made by hand. They are all hand sewn so that they can be washed in a washing machine on the delicate cycle and come out clean and in one piece. The burlee designs are many of my own designs that I have come up with. I actually hold copyrights on many of my designs because they are based on many of my own original sketches. I am currently working on having many of my sketches converted to files to be used in embroidery as well.

How hard and how much time did it take you to find so many colors of materials to make all of the various items that you have in your shop?
 It took me many months of researching in trying to find the best and highest quality materials to use in my items. I want my items to last many years down the road. I want my customers to know that they are purchasing a quality item that they can enjoy for a long time.

Which is the easiest/or fastest item to make and which takes the longest?
 My bows are by far the easiest to make…..That being said they are still difficult. Each bow is hand sewn then treated with a stiffener and then baked so that they will hold their shape.

My burlees are the hardest and take the longest time to make.. Each one is hand cut, sewn by me and then hand painted. This takes MANY hours because each has several coats of a paint mixture that gives it shape.  Then they are sealed with a special sealer. They also take many hours to create because I do a lot of custom orders with A LOT of detail. So they are made to customer specifications, whether that is making them to match a certain décor in a certain room or to match outdoor décor. 

When did you get interested in working with felt and burlap and why did you decide to make bows?
I have always crafted….since I was a kid. My mom taught me when I was very young to make     candy, cakes, sew….You name it, I have probably done it. I have also won many awards for paintings that I have created. So my crafting spans many different mediums. Bow making started for me when a friend wanted to buy some ridiculously priced bows at a craft show. I told her that I could make them for her and so I got the materials and made her a bunch of bows at a fraction of the cost of the few bows she had wanted to purchase. That is why most of my bows are inexpensive compared to other boutiques.  My bows are also hand sewn and not glued together. They are made to last. I decided to work with burlap because it is such a wonderfully versatile material. It literally can go with any décor and is natural.

How long have you been making these types of items? Did you start with something else? Are there other craft items that you started out doing first?
 I have been making these types of items for 5 years now. I started with bows but it began with a             love for crafting and creating unique and beautiful things very early in my childhood. 

How long have you been selling on the web?
 I have been selling on the web for 3 ½ years now, but have just started to really keep a good selection of items. I am always creating new designs though.

Tell us a little about you.
First and foremost, I am a mom to 3 beautiful boys and a wife to a wonderful husband. He is so wonderful in fact, that he totally and completely supports my love for crafting. This allows me to be a stay-at-home mom. He is in the process of purchasing a building that will become my shop/studio.  I began crafting very young…..I come from a LONG line of crafters and artists. I have a degree in early childhood education and a minor in art. I love the outdoors, having family BBQ’s, cooking, painting, writing……pretty much anything that has to do with creating something. I am from Alabama and California.  I say this because I was born in California and spent most of my life there but moved to Alabama when I was 15. This is actually the longest I have ever lived anywhere. I went to 11 schools by the time I was a freshman in high school.  I have always been the type of person that could see something while out and about and was able to re-create it.

Craft Cafe


  1. Wow! Melanie is obviously very talented. Her designs are adorable.

  2. Very nice interview...Such cute and lovely items she has...

  3. Awesome handmade bows, very talented lady.

  4. wonderful interview. I am so off to peek at her shoppe and order some things for my grand daughter. Thanks for letting me know about her. I would not have found her without your blog post. Thanks so much

  5. Love getting to know the person behind the product! Great interview!

  6. Too cute. I'm going to have to visit her shop for my new grand baby. :)