Thursday, January 22, 2015
Has anyone made a New Year's resolution to try a new craft? I love tinkering in different creative mediums here and there. It challenges me to step outside of my comfort zone and try something new, and many times I find a new craft that I absolutely love! Dabbling in different crafts is also great for breaking up the monotony that can happen if you're used to doing one thing most of the time (like sewing, for me.)
This year, fueled by my desire to try something new (and also inspired by my friend Bev at Flamingo Toes who is basically the queen of embroidery), I decided to try embroidery; and now I think I have a new favorite TV watching activity! Embroidery is one of those crafts that's perfect for multi-tasking. You can kick your feet up and put a good movie on in the background while you stitch away. And also, it's amazingly therapeutic. I bet we could all save a few stress-induced headaches by taking up embroidery :)
For my project, I came up with this "Let It Snow" embroidery hoop. Isn't it adorable with all of those French knots?? Love love. If you're a newbie at embroidery, this one's for you. It only involves two kinds of embroidery stitches: the backstitch and French knots. It couldn't be easier! Let's do this.
SUPPLIES: tailor's chalk pen, thing black cotton fabric, embroidery hoop (approximately 8 1/2 inches in diameter or larger), white embroidery thread, embroidery needle, free "Let It Snow" template found here, one square of felt, hot glue.
ONE: first, print out the "Let It Snow" template found here.
TWO: cut a piece of black fabric at least 2 inches bigger than your hoop on all sides.
THREE: Next (and I'm sure there are better ways of doing this, this is just how I did it), tape your template and fabric to a window and trace the wording onto your fabric with a white fabric chalk pen (I used this one.)
FOUR: insert your fabric with wording now on it into your hoop and tighten to secure.
Now we're going to do a little backstitching! This is such an easy, basic stitch that will give your wording a clean look if done right.
ONE: thread your needle and tie a knot at the end. Insert your needle under your hoop and through your fabric about 1/4 inch before the end of your first letter
TWO: bring your needle down at the edge of your letter
THREE: next, bring your needle back up from the bottom of your hoop 1/4 inch from the end of your last stitch
FOUR: bring your needle and thread down into the hole of your last stitch. There you go!
Keep backstitching until you've reached the end of your first letter. Tie a knot on the backside of your hoop, then trim your thread.
The second picture shows you what the underside of your hoop will look like.
Keep backstitching each letter until all of your lettering is done.
French knots are a little tricky, but once you get it, you'll be adding French knots to everything! If you get confused, here is a good visual example on how to make French knots.
ONE: first, separate your strand of embroidery thread (you can see that mine has 6 threads) so that you're only using 3 threads.
TWO: thread your needle and tie a knot at the end, then poke your needle up through your fabric from the bottom.
THREE: (this was hard to show using one hand, but hopefully you get the idea) with your left hand holding your needle, pinch your thread close to the base. This is very important!
FOUR: with your right hand, wrap the thread around your needle 3-4 times while continuing to hold the thread taut with your left hand
FIVE: pull the floss gently with your left hand so that the coil will tighten up and slide down your needle to make a little bundle against the surface of your fabric, then poke your needle back down through your fabric, slightly next to the hole (not through the same one) that you made when bringing the needle up.
Now put on a movie (or two) and do this LOTS of times.
Look at all the pretty French knots!
Continue on until your hoop is filled with lots of pretty French knots that look like snowflakes.
When you are finished, trim your fabric on the back, leaving one inch. Using your needle and thread, sew a running stitch around the edge of your fabric and pull to gather. Knot and trim your thread. Cut a circle of felt big enough to cover the back of your embroidery hoop, and hot glue on to cover your stitching.
Now hang on your wall and enjoy the snow outside while you're warm and toasty indoors working on your next embroidery project :)
Thursday, January 15, 2015
Happy New Year! Shannon here. It's good to be back after 2 months hiatus! Michaels challenged us this month to start the new year off with a project we've been wanting to do for a long time, but never found the time or motivation to do... PLUS, they wanted us to get organized! 2 things I love combining - crafting and organizing!
Now, I have a problem. It's called a beauty addiction. I full admit it's slightly out of control. I have a ridiculous amount of make up brushes, eyeliners, lip liners, really anything beauty-centric. I managed to hit VIB Rouge at Sephora this past year AND premier status at Ulta. I know. It's crazy.
For this project, I thought it would be the perfect time to create this adorable make up brush organizer I've been dying to make. I keep seeing these itty bitty stumps at Michaels and was just waiting and waiting and waiting for the right time to make something out of them.
All you need is a block of wood, a tree stump, a fat branch, whatever.... and a drill. The specific wood I used I purchased at Michaels, but unfortunately could not find it on the website to link to. I decided to get a little more technical and use a circle stencil to drill exact circle sizes for my brushes. Easiest way to go, though, is just using a generic size that will fit most brushes and pencils.
See! A ridiculous amount of brushes!!!
Part 2 of this challenge was organizing our craft space to start this new year off right. I am so incredibly embarrassed to be showing this... but hey, there's something to be said for vulnerability and courage, right?? I feel like Monica from friends and her dirty little secret closet. BUT NOT ANYMORE! Check out the before and after... thanks to Michaels and their incredibly sturdy storage boxes.
Monday, January 12, 2015
After making the "Hug It Out" Raglan shirt for Connor, Haley needed a new sweater as well. She is like her Daddy, warm blooded and rarely cold. Many days, I will be sitting downstairs in the living room and Haley will go to her room and swap out her pants for a skirt in the middle of winter while I'm cuddled under a giant blanket with the fire on. If I had let her, she would probably be wearing a skirt in this picture as well :)
For my warm-blooded munchkin, I decided to make a short-sleeved raglan sweater, but with a looser, more relaxed fit than the "Hug It Out" raglan I made for Connor. While I was at it, I also added a gold geometric heart on the front using Silhouette's glittery gold heat transfer material. I'm totally on a gold kick lately, and I'm sure this won't be the last thing I add gold to :)
I absolutely love this design - it's the "heart diamond filigree" from the Silhouette Design Store, and it really makes the sweater I think. I can't wait to use it on other things, maybe something for me?
If you want to make a slouchy raglan sweater, you can refer to my tutorial on how to draft your own raglan then tweak from there, or you could always modify one of your favorite raglan patterns - one of my all-time favorites, if not my very favorite pattern ever, is See Kate Sew's Recess Raglan. I love me a good unisex pattern :) Just remember - you'll want your pattern that you plan to modify to be more of a fitted one because we're going to be adding width to the neckline and sides. If your beginning pattern is too loose, you may end up with a neckline that is too wide resulting in an off-the-shoulder top. And that's cool too, just not quite what I was going for.
SUPPLIES: 3/4 yard sweatshirt knit (for a size 6, more or less depending on the size you're making), 1/4 yard ribbing for neckline, iron on heat transfer material for the design on the front (optional)
To Modify Your Bodice:
ONE: first, fold your fabric in half. Take your bodice pattern and place it 1/2-3/4 from the fold. Cut and repeat to make a front and a back.
To Modify Your Sleeves:
ONE: take your original sleeve pattern and cut it down the middle as shown.
TWO: insert a rectangle of fabric 1/2-3/4 inches wide in the middle and tape.
THREE: this is what your new sleeve should look like! Cut two.
Now refer to my raglan tutorial to assemble your shirt!
For the cuffs and hem of the shirt, I simply folded the hems to the outside, rather than the inside, to add some visual interest. You can see how much looser and more comfy this shirt is than a traditional raglan.
The perfect sweater for my girl who wants to stay warm in the winter, but not too warm :)
Here's to more warm winter days like we had 2 weeks ago! Sadly, I think that's just wishful thinking, but a girl can dream can't she?
Monday, January 5, 2015
Phew! I don't know about you guys, but I'm a little more than happy that the hustle and bustle of the holidays is over. Don't get me wrong, I love celebrating and being with family around the holidays, but I'm sure I'm not the only one who felt like I wanted to pull my hair out more than once. I took a much needed blog break to get my shopping done and make what was left of my Christmas gifts, and now I'm feeling rejuvenated and ready to get back into routine again, which means more sewing for the kiddos (and maybe a little bit for me!)
High on my list of to-do's was to make Connor a sweatshirt even though the weather has been more like fall than winter around here (not complaining!) I know this warmer weather won't last though, so I decided to finally cut into the gray sweatshirt fabric that I found at an estate sale ages ago. While I was at it, I also decided to do some freezer paper stenciling ombre-style, and came up with this awesome "Hug It Out" shirt that we both love.
Holy cuteness. Er, I mean toughness.
I just love the bold graphic on the front. Since I was making the shirt already, I thought I may as well do a tutorial on how to make a raglan shirt so you can make one too! I also included the "Hug It Out" template as well if you'd like to do some freezer paper stenciling.
SUPPLIES: shirt that fits your child well, freezer paper for tracing and making template, scissors, 1/2 yard + knit fabric for size 3T (depending on the size you may need more), 1/4 yard rib knit for neckline and cuffs, fabric paint, sponge brushes, sewing machine, 'Hug It Out' template here, iron and ironing board.
Creating Your Pattern:
ONE: first, take your existing shirt and fold it in half with the sleeves tucked in. Lay the shirt on some freezer paper (or paper of your choice), and trace around it, adding 1/2 inch all around for seam allowance, and 1 inch on the bottom for hemming.
TWO: draw a line from the bottom of the armhole to the top of the shirt, slightly into the neckline (see picture above.)
THREE: draw a dotted line slightly lower than your neckline to indicate where your front neckline should lay, then cut out your bodice piece.
FOUR: lay your shirt sleeve on the paper and trace around it adding 1/2 inch for seam allowance, except for at the bottom edge of your sleeve since we will be adding cuffs later. Trace the bottom edge of your sleeve 3 inches shorter than your RTW shirt.
FIVE: here is what your sleeve should look like so far.
SIX: using the bodice piece you just drew as a guide, adjust the arm hole of your sleeve to be angled like a raglan sleeve. The top of the armhole should be curved to follow the neckline of your shirt.
SEVEN: here is your finished raglan sleeve.
EIGHT: I laid my sleeve on top of my shirt to make sure the fit was good and adjusted as necessary. Note: I ended up going back and cutting my sleeve shorter than what is shown in the picture.
Cut out the following pattern pieces: 2 bodice pieces on the fold - 1 front and one back, 2 raglan sleeves cut on the fold, 2 cuff pieces from your accent fabric or ribbing (cut the width of your sleeve and 6 1/2 inches long.
ONE: you can use my free template provided here, or make your own. I cut my wording out with my Silhouette Cameo, but if you don't have a cutting machine, simply trace your wording onto the back of a piece of freezer paper (make sure to mirror your wording!), then use an X-Acto knife to cut out the lettering and iron it onto the front of your shirt.
TWO: I started out with a light color of turquoise for the word "out", and kept adding more green to give it an ombre effect as I moved upwards.
THREE: use your foam brush to carefully paint from the outside edge in to prevent pain bleeding.
FOUR: let dry according to the instructions on your paint bottle.
ONE: after your paint has dried completely, place your sleeves right sides together (RST) on top of the front of your shirt and pin the edges. Sew the edges of your sleeves on.
TWO: when you unfold your sleeves, your shirt will look like this.
THREE: lay the back of your shirt on top of the front, RST, and pin the other edge of your sleeves to the back of your shirt with RST. Sew.
FOUR: This is how your shirt should look when you open it up. At this point, I would suggest trying your shirt on your child to make sure the neck hole is big enough. Adjust as necessary.
FIVE: measure your neck hole and subtract 1 1/2 inches. cut a piece of ribbing 2 inches wide by that number long, and place the short ends together. Sew.
SIX: fold your ribbing in half long ways to create your neck binding.
SEVEN: pin the raw edges of your binding to the raw edges of your shirt all around, stretching as needed. sew using a zig-zag stitch.
EIGHT: top stitch around your neckline to secure your ribbing to your neckline and to make sure it lays properly.
NINE: fold your shirt inside out with RST and sew from your sleeve to the bottom of your shirt on each side.
TEN: now to make your cuffs, measure the diameter of your sleeve hole and cut out two pieces of ribbing 6 inches long, and as wide as your sleeve diameter. Pin the short sides together and sew using a zig-zag stitch.
ELEVEN: fold your sleeve in half, concealing the sewn edge inside.
TWELVE: pin the raw edge of your cuff to the raw edge of your sleeve and use a zig-zag stitch to sew all around. Hem the bottom of your shirt and you're done!
And there you go, a cool shirt for a cool kid.
Monday, December 8, 2014
So, have I mentioned how terrible I am at wrapping gifts? You'd think, being the crafty type, that I'd be at least decent at gift wrapping but no. I just can't seem to cut the paper straight or get the corners folded just so. By the end, my presents usually look like they were mauled by a wild animal. On top of that, I also always forget to buy gifts tags for things, so when we go to one of my kids' friends' birthday parties, I end up having to pull out random Christmas tags in the middle of summer. You'd think I'd stick to gift bags by now.
Rachel at Lines Across recently launched Let's Wrap Stuff, a website devoted to all things gift wrap related, and challenged a group of us to come up with a creative gift wrapping idea involving plain kraft paper. I was a little hesitant to accept because I'm pretty sure she wasn't going for "slightly mangled package" for my part of her lovely collage. Thankfully, kraft paper is more rigid than traditional wrapping so it's pretty forgiving, and the true star of my project is actually the gift tags!
Like I said, I have a problem keeping gift tags on hand but I also have a slight obsession with cereal (my go-to breakfast of choice!), so I gathered up all my cardboard boxes and came up with three fun ways to make upcycled cardboard gift tags for the holidays. Less waste, and now I don't have an excuse for not having gift tags on hand!
Ready to rip some boxes apart??
SUPPLIES: cardboard boxes, gift tag template, scissors, pencil, acrylic paint, Mod Podge, glitter, duct tape or washi tape, hole punch.
Creating The Tags:
ONE: first, gather up your cardboard boxes. Carefully rip them open.
TWO: print out the gift tag template above, and trace onto one of your cardboard box panels.
THREE: cut out!
Duct Tape Tags:
Cover the printed side of your cardboard tag with duct tape and trim off excess. Done!
Glitter Gift Tags:
Coat the printed side of your cardboard tag with a generous layer of Mod Podge. Sprinkle on glitter and let dry.
Polka Dot Gift Tags:
Coat the printed side of your cardboard tag in your paint of choice and let dry. After your first layer is dry, paint or stamp on polka dots in a contrasting color.
And there you go! Easy recycled gift tags 3 different ways. And hopefully, people will pay attention more to the tags than my wrapping job ;)
Check out all of the amazing projects that everyone came up with using plain kraft paper!
1. Pom Pom Ice Cream Cone Gift Wrap by Let's Wrap Stuff 2. Embroidered Wrapping Paper by Lines Across 3. Holiday Lights Gift Wrap by Burlap and Blue 4. Printable DIY Watercolor Gift Tags by Dawn Nicole 5. Chalkboard Painted Wrapping Paper by The Winthrop Chronicles 6. Let it Snow Neighbor Gift Printable by Ginger Snap Crafts 7. Upcycled Cardboard Gift Tags 3 Ways by Eat. Sleep. Make. 8. Kraft Paper Gift Card Envelope Printables by Delia Creates 9. Make + Give Christmas Tree Gift Topper by Make and Tell 10. DIY Wrench Wrapping Paper by Maker Mama 11. DIY Stamped Trees Gift Wrap by Shaken Together Life 12. Brown Paper Packages by Delineate Your Dwelling 13. Yarn Tassel Gift Wrap 2 Ways by Hands Occupied 14. Holiday Writing with Washi Tape by Club Chica Circle 15. Glitter-Dipped Gift Tags by The Thinking Closet 16. Coffee Container Christmas Gift Tags by Simply Kelly Designs 17. Gift Wrapping Ideas by C.R.A.F.T. 18. Holiday Gift Wrap Ideas by Making Home Base 19. Sewn Brown Paper Gift Card Gift Giving by Dream a Little Bigger 20. Chalkboard Gift Tag & Ornament by Tried and True 21. Easy Holly Ornament Gift Tag by Rae Gun Ramblings 22. Printable Hand-Lettered Christmas Tags by Persia Lou 23. Christmas Gift Wrapping Ideas by Eighteen25 24. Washi Tape Christmas Tree Gift Card Box by That's What Che Said