Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Hot pads tutorial

IMG_12187 by you.

I know there are only a few days left before Christmas, but there's still a little time left to whip up a few quick gifties.  So I figured why not go ahead and put up my very first tute?

I love to bake, but I hate oven mitts and find most other potholders bulky to use.  I've always wanted something that I could use to quickly grab a cookie sheet out of the oven or a hot plate out of the microwave.  I remembered seeing this blog post a while back about making little round pads that had pockets for your fingers.  I wanted something slightly different, so I thought I'd give it my own spin.  This is a great way to use up scraps and other odds and ends from your stash.  I actually had all the supplies necessary to make these already on hand - ah, the benefits of being a fabric hoarder.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Doll quilt

I had a bunch of extra squares leftover from my Christmas quilt project that I realized would be perfect for a doll quilt for one of E's Christmas gifts. She is very very into playing with her animals and baby dolls lately, and spends a lot of time making elaborate beds for them out of couch cushions, blankets from her own bed, and bits of fabric from my scrap bag. It's actually pretty hilarious to see her "sleepover" set up all over the living room floor.

The doll quilt also was the perfect opportunity for me to get some practice with free-motion quilting, which I'd never done before but have been wanting to try. I have to say, it was a bit difficult, but I really enjoyed it! I think I still have a long ways to go before I really get the hang of it, but I'm fairly sure I'm going to go ahead and use this technique on my big Christmas quilt.

Here's the finished doll quilt, front:

IMG_12048 by you.

And back:
IMG_12052 by you.

And an "action shot" where you can see the quilting in a bit more detail:
IMG_12051 by you.

I cheated on the finishing and instead of making binding, I left a 1 1/4" border all around of the backing fabric, which I then folded over twice, pressed, and stitched down. WAY easier than dealing with binding. I'm actually pretty happy with it overall. Not bad for using up odds and ends I had laying around!

The only thing I have left to do now is wash it, which I'm actually sort of terrified to do. Normally, I prewash and dry all my fabric, but since I used the layer cake, that wasn't an option. The ladies at the quilt shop told me that it was better to keep it all the same, so wash everything or nothing. I'm really nervous about how badly the red fabric is going to bleed, especially since I have pure white squares in the mix. I think I'm going to do a trial run with one of those 'color catcher' sheets and see how it turns out. I keep telling myself, "it's only for a doll, it's only for a doll..." But if it does bleed, I guess that means that the full-size version will never be washed. *sigh* Keep your fingers crossed on that one.

Of course, now that I've made this little doll accessory, I feel compelled to make some little clothes for E's dolls and animals as well. She's actually been asking me to do this for a while, and I think I'm finally going to suck it up and make a few outfits for her stocking stuffers.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Way way behind

I've been sick on and off (but mostly on) for the better part of the last month. It's been really frustrating to not feel 100%, but even more than that, it's been driving me crazy how far behind I've fallen with my holiday crafting. I swear, my list just keeps getting longer and longer as I see more and more cute ideas for gifts and such.

The only project I've managed to finish recently is the tree skirt I started over a month ago for E's little Christmas tree. She's so excited about Christmas this year that we thought it'd be cool for her to have her own little (fake) tree in her room that she could decorate herself. I decided to make a little tree skirt for it, loosely based on this tute. Obviously I made hers a lot smaller, 26" diameter, and because of that, I also opted to only use 6 pieces instead of 8. I won't go into boring details, but if anyone's interested in how I did that, just post in the comments. ;)

IMG_12025 by you.

I actually am extremely unhappy with how the tree skirt turned out, mainly because I screwed up the binding pretty badly. It's extra sloppy (and don't even get me started about how the backside looks), so sorry, no close-up shots.

IMG_12027 by you.

IMG_12028 by you.

So since I lamely have nothing else to show for the past few weeks of sickies, I thought I'd post about some WIPs and a few links to cool projects that I'd like to attempt to have done in time for Christmas. Some are decorations, some are toys, most are holiday-oriented.

I have a couple commissions I'm almost done with, one knit and one sewn, and I'm also trying to concurrently work on some handmade Christmas gifts for friends and family. I really want to post a tutorial for the gifties, but I also don't want to ruin the surprise...decisions, decisions.

I'm also still hopeful that I might be able to finish the Christmas quilt before Christmas. I have, however, given up on hand-quilting. Partly because I just didn't like the look of it, but mostly because I regained my sanity and realized that it would take me about 10 years to finish it by hand. Now I'm thinking I may give free-motion quilting a go.

This weekend's big project is baking! I'm hosting a cookie exchange next week and I have LOTS of baking to do. I still haven't entirely decided on what kind of cookies I'm going to make for the exchange, but being the overambitious nerd that I am, I also want to make decorated cookies for everyone. Going to be a busy busy weekend.

In a perfect world, I'd also have time to make some of this stuff:
Felt circle garland
Origami star
Paper evergreens
Salt-dough ornaments
Crochet snowflakes
Snowman decoration

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Christmastime is here!

IMG_12020 by you.

I love Christmas and all the hoopla that surrounds it. I'm especially excited this year because not only are we not traveling for a change, but my daughter is finally old enough that she really 'gets it' when it comes to holidays. It's really fun to see everything through her eyes for the first time again.

PBK Advent treeThat being said, she has already started driving me nuts asking me, "Is it Christmas yet?" So I thought an advent calendar would help her count down the days. I remembered seeing this calendar in the Pottery Barn Kids catalog a while back. But even if I did want to shell out major $$ for it, it's no longer available. Of course, crazy person that I am, I figured I could make a reasonable facsimile.

I decided to take advantage of the Black Friday deals at Jo-Ann's last weekend and picked up a yard or two of felt in several different colors (I figured whatever I didn't use I could save for other kid-crafts).

I wanted to stick with a tree, like the PBK one, but seeing as how I waited to start this till November 29, I knew I couldn't do anything too complicated, so elaborate embroidery or applique were out. Instead, I decided to make a felt ornament pocket for each day.

Starting with a yard of green felt, I cut out two large tree shapes (one top piece, one bottom). Then I made a couple ornament stencils on cardboard and cut out 25 in various colors. The balls are just under 4 inches in diameter, and the bulbs are about 5 inches long and 3 inches wide. I wanted them to be big enough that I could stick a little gifty inside instead of candy, if I felt so inclined.

I also decided to embellish some of the ornaments with some of the fancy decorative stitches on my sewing machine. Even though a lot of the stitching ended up obscured by the numbers, I think it adds a nice touch. I did sort of wish I had more stitches to choose from, but oh well. This was the first (and probably last) time I used almost every one of them.

Oh, I almost forgot. The Santa face on the 25th day is from a small felt stocking I found at the dollar store. I just cut him out and stitched him to an ornament shape. Again, I had originally planned to make on myself from scratch, but when I found one already made, of course I opted for the short cut. ;)

I stitched each ornament to the top tree piece using contrasting thread, and leaving the top open to make a pocket. I used one of the blanket stitches on my machine, but a straight or zigzag would have worked just as well. I cut two rectangles of brown felt for the trunk and two stars out of yellow for the topper and then stitched each of these together. Again, I used the blanket stitch, but you don't have to. That's the nice thing about felt, you don't have to worry about finishing edges or turning and topstitching.

Next I put the top tree piece on top of the bottom piece, sandwiching the trunk in between at the bottom. Pinned and stitched all the way around and then I stitched the star to the top. Really, you could probably skip this step, but

Last, but not least, I let E help me put the numbers on each ornament. I originally thought I was going to have to either cut out numbers from felt on my own, but then I lucked out at found sticky felt cutouts at Jo-Ann. I had to buy two packages to have enough numbers, but I managed to use coupons for both so that I only ended up spending an extra $5.

Actually, when all is said and done, this really was not a very difficult or expensive project at all. You could even hand-stitch this if you don't own a machine. Definitely could be made in a weekend - it took me the better part of 3 evenings to complete it. One to cut everything out, one to embellish the ornaments and figure out what order I wanted them all to be in, and then one to sew everything together.
Even with the "splurge" on pre-cut numbers, this whole project cost me less than $10. Take that, Pottery Barn!

Edited 12/11/09 to add:
Here are a couple close-ups, as well a shot of E standing in front of it, so you can get a better sense of scale.

IMG_12030 by you.

IMG_12031 by you.

IMG_12029 by you.


Blog Widget by LinkWithin