Friday, December 23, 2011

Fabric Flower Tutorial - Repurposing a Knit Dress

It's the holidays... YAY!!! Time to celebrate! Well, I thought I'd get in one small craft project done before we start the new year. I was looking for some cute headbands a few days ago that my girls could wear to church services and kept finding pricetags like $25 for the ones that I liked. Wha???? I need 2 of them and don't want to spend $50 so I passed thinking I can make my own. This is similar to THIS project I had done earlier in the year but with some variations. There are so many ways to make flowers!

Knit fabric - use new knit fabric or find something that's stained or just heading to Goodwill that you can repurpose
**you can certainly use a woven cotton for this project as well**
disappearing ink pen or something you can use to trace onto your fabric
Hot Glue or Fabric glue
Headband or clip

I started by finding some things that are in my donate pile. Surely everyone has this pile of stuff that is heading out the door! I've come to look at this pile in a whole new light. I had 2 knit dresses that well...I was just tired of, they weren't getting worn anymore so they were heading to Goodwill. It was time for them to go until it dawned on me that they are made of some great knit I could repurpose into something else. One was black so that was perfect for what I wanted to make. The great thing about using knit fabric is that it doesn't fray like a woven cotton and I love a project where the edges look pretty right out of the gate!
***For best results, use some knit that has some umpf to it. Many tees are very thin intended for layering so my suggestion is to use a knit that isn't paper thin so you don't end up with this flat and no life to it flower:-)***

I started by drawing a template onto cardstock. The beauty of this project is nothing is hingeing on exactness! I cut out a circle about 3 1/4" and then I just sketched 5 fat petals and cut the circle into a flower. Mine isn't perfect but it was spaced out well enough for me. I went ahead and traced and scanned mine if it just makes things easier for you! I put 2 sizes on here but modify as you need. The smaller one is the size I made shown in these photos. You can download it HERE.

Now take your template, trace (this is a PAIN on black since it makes my trace lines hard to see but any other color should be simple) I used a disappearing ink pen, traced and cut out. I stacked my fabric and did 3 at a time. You will need 9 cutouts in total. Don't worry if they aren't all exactly the same. Just get the general shape cut and trim off any areas around the curves that might look more angular.

Now cut out a circular 3 inch felt piece and this will be the backing of our flower.

Take one of your knit cutouts and we are going to start making the petals. Start by folding them in half and then in half again. I like to dab a bit of glue at the bottom so it wants to stay together and then I glue it onto the felt placing the point in the center.

Here are my 4 petals shown glued down for the first layer.

Next you'll do another layer doing the same exact thing except this time you will pivot the petals 45 degrees so that you are covering up any gaps that you can see down into the first layer. By doing this you get more dimension as well as cover up the felt backing entirely.

Next you'll add your rosebud center. Take the last piece and instead of doing it like the others, fold it in half and then just roll it up into a rosebud. Add a dab of glue so that it stays put. Now trim off the end so that it has a base instead of a point. Put a good sized bit of glue into the centerr of your flower and push the rosebud straight down into place and let that all set.

Once that has dried, add a dab of glue to all of the petals from that 2nd layer towards the center where the rosebud is and pull them up gluing them to the rosebud. Your flower needs some fullness and dimension so this is just giving those petals a lift so they don't lay flat. Here is your finished flower! Turn your flower over and trim the felt on the bottom making a smaller circle so that you can't see it when worn,

I added mine to a stretchy headband but you could also do a clip or even a pin if you wanted to accent a piece of clothing, purse etc. Hot glue the headband down onto your felt and then another piece of felt on top of the headband. These flowers would even look cute on military hat. Just get your hot glue gun and add it on.

And here you happy recipient wearing her headband!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Camera Strap Tutorial

I'm on my 2nd SLR camera and figured it was finally time to make myself a cute strap! I've seen so many tutorials pinned to Pinterest which is my new favorite site so I finally decided it was time to make one. Click on any photo to enlarge.

I checked out a handful of tutorials and finally settled on following this one from Priddy Creations. Seemed straightforward enough, let's roll!

First start by choosing the fabric you'd like for your strap. One will be the one you see, the other is the interior so don't spend too much time trying to choose that print. In fact, just go ahead and buy some plain printed broadcloth and save a little money. I did adjust the fabric cuts just a tad. I actually have 2 SLR cameras, both are Canon's and the straps are 23 inches long(just the neck strap portion) by 1 5/8" wide. Measure your strap first to get a sense of how long and how wide you need it to be and adjust accordingly. I have a few changes I made along the way from the original tutorial I found as I just prefer a snug fit.
* Materials, 2 pieces of fabric (print and plain) fusible fleece, thread, sewing machine, scissors and of course your iron!
* Cut your printed and plain pieces 5 1/4" wide by 24" long - the portion of my strap that I want to cover is 23" so you may want to measure the length of your strap, just to ensure you get the correct length and just cut about 1 1/2 inches longer than what you measure. Remember, only measure the portion of the strap you want covered, not the entire strap end to end.
* Cut your fusible fleece 4 1/4" wide by 22" long or 2 inches shorter than your printed piece

With right sides facing each other, stitch together down the 2 long sides using a 1/4" seam allowance. Then center the fusible fleece onto the solid side of the fabric and follow the instructions to adhere.

Now turn your piece inside out so you can see your print.

Push the seams all the way out and press. Next, fold the ends with the raw edges in about 1/2" on each side, press with your iron and stitch those 2 shorts ends down.

Now fold the piece in half lengthwise and press. If you aren't adding any trim, stitch this long side down and you are done! If you are interested in jazzing it up some more by adding some trim, read on.

At this point you can do a few things. If you have tags you use, stitch it to one end.

If adding a trim you can do this now. Stitch this right on and fold the ends under so the ends are hidden in the interior. I've shown a shabby floral trim here in the photo. I would probably hot glue this on or secure with a fabric glue instead of stitching over the flowers. If you were going to glue the trim on you will first finish off the strap.
It is folded in half and you will stitch down that long side locking your stitches at each end. After that is done you could cut the rose trim to the length you need and add them now.

I chose to leave my strap as is with just the print showing. Ta-da! Isn't she pretty? I'm ready to take some photos!
I have since made a few changes because my brain just couldn't leave it alone and decided to do one that had different fabrics on each side. A simple change but I love it! Simply cut 2 strips 2.875" wide and then stitch them together at 1/4" seam allowance to have one single piece again. That should total your width that you needed of 5 1/4". The most challenging part of this will be staying true to your seam allowance when you stitch them together and then again when you fold and iron at the end. Iron it exactly along that seam so each print is on it's proper side and not peeking over!
I just adore these happy and bright colors!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Family Game Night with Minute to Win It

Are you all looking forward to the holidays as much as we are in our house? I just love having these breaks with no real schedule, getting to sleep in and fill in the day just as we like. Like many moms, I love the idea of getting some wonderful family time and with a bit of planning I know we can have some fun, and not spend a fortune.

I started thinking of what my kids love and this year they seem to love the Game Show Minute to Win it! I have put together our own Minute to Win It game kit for us to use over the holidays. I think this would be a fun present and an exceptional time if you are having relatives visit and need some ideas to fill your time together. Best of all, it's all contained in it's own bucket for easy storage!

I started out by collecting all the items that I wanted for my games and found everything I needed at Walmart. I have 15 games in all. Here are my supplies. The only thing not shown is a timer if you wanted to grab one (we use the iPhone stopwatch) and then you'll need a cookie or Nilla Wafer. Since that can go bad, I figure we'll just grab it when we play.

***Click on any photo to enlarge***

5 gallon paint bucket
At least 21 solo cups (one needs to be a different color)
Pack of Pencils (for this game you could substitute with quarters)
Penne Pasta
Deck of Cards
6 dice
Jumbo Craft Sticks
At least 6 nails
We grabbed stickers as well just to decorate the bucket

I love things to be self contained. Nothing makes me nuttier than pieces and parts all over my house. Head to your paint section at Walmart and find the 5 gallon paint buckets. They had some that said Walmart on the side (nope, not what I wanted) but then I wandered down the aisles and found some plain colored ones. JACKPOT! I found green, blue and white. I grabbed some plain green and blue buckets and lids (my store only had white lids but that was fine with me)

My friend Cathy is an amazing graphics artist and created this sticker to put on the outside of the bucket. We also grabbed some stickers that people use for garage sales that were blank and my kids just lined the top with alternating colors. They loved how colorful and fun their game was becoming. You can download the Family Game Night sticker here. I printed mine out on shipping labels where there are 2 to a sheet. You can always print on regular paper and just tape it on.

Then we just started bagging up the games into ziplock baggies and filled the bucket.

We decided on 15 games that have been tested by all my kids so a range of ages can participate. Sorry for the crummy photo, it's from my old iPhone but one of our favorites is the noodling around game. We like to do 2 family members at a time, creates some fun competition!

I created a template with the game names and descriptions and printed it out on white cardstock. You can download this template here. These can help you get started but you can create loads of fun by making up ones of your own or searching online for more games. We tried to choose games that a range of ages would be able to do. I also love laminating things :-) I laminated this sheet so that grubby hands don't ruin it over time.

Now put your lid on and your Game Night Kit is complete and ready for use or to give as a gift. Have fun and enjoying spending some time together!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Make your own Kids Fort Kit

Trying to find a gift for all kids and a wide range of ages? Well, I kinda think this one is pretty cool! What child doesn't like to imagine big and build forts! This idea came about as we are heading to a birthday party for 3 special foster kids. What sort of gift would be fun for all 3 and not be a zillion parts. All of a sudden I went back to my own childhood and thought about how much fun it was to build forts. So there it begins, the start of a fort building kit! Click on any photos if you wish to see them larger.

I started by gathering some supplies. I've got some flat sheets (different colored ones of course, whatever will suit your gift recipients. Walmart has them in all colors of the rainbow) tiny clamps that I found at Home Depot for just 39 cents a pop, suction cups, rope/cording and then a drawstring bag to put it all in. I made my bag but use what you like! If you have a pillowcase on hand or can grab one at the store, those are perfect too and I'll show you how to add the drawstring casing. Read on for some other ideas of things to throw in.

Here is a closeup of my tiny little clamps and my suction cups.

I made my own case out of fabric I had on hand but this would be super easy if you just bought a premade one. If you want to make one, you can always follow my tutorial I've done on pillowcases. I found some grosgrain ribbon that I had on hand and just stitched it on about 5 inches from the top. Instead of stitching it closed at the seam, fold the ribbon under on each side where it meets up. Stitch it down and you will have a vertical opening.

Now take a safety pin and pin it to the cording and feed it through the casing. Cut it to whatever desired length you like so you can cinch and tie it shut.

Fill it with all your goodies, tie shut and your present is now wrapped! Would love to hear other ideas of fun things to add to this bag of family fun.

Something that would raise the fun level if you want to keep filling the bag would be some kid walkie talkies. Your little adventure guides can communicate as the fort is coming together.

And finally, just for fun, I added an extra item. I picked up a bag of dum dums to enjoy once the fort is built and added that in there. Hey, all kids like a little candy right?

Instead of a card, I made a gift tag to attach to the cording with instructions on what this was :) Please ignore my typo, just noticed that but you get the general idea.

Of course I love ALL crafty stuff so I happen to own a laminating machine so I decided to laminate my card stock card.

Voila, you are done and I hope your little fort builders have a blast and that you get a chance to join them in their fun and make some memories! We are now off to our party with our homemade gift!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Fabric Flower Tutorial

Well, I thought my girls had left the stage of hair bows, but all of a sudden they are all into hair accessories again! Sometimes bows, sometimes headbands that they accessorize with do dads and sometimes the one I'm about to show you how we made. These are fun and a GREAT way to use up scrap material laying around...and I always have a LOT! If you have knit material, I've done another tutorial HERE for you to check out.

First you'll just need to gather your supplies. Whatever fabric you'd like to use, a piece of felt, your hot glue gun and glue, some scissors and anything that you'd want to use as a template for a circle. You can make your own or just grab anything you might find in your house that you can trace around. A cup, small get the idea! For my project, my circles were 2 1/2" and 3" in diameter. Feel free to adjust the size of your circles however you like to get smaller or bigger flowers.

First start by tracing then cutting out all of your circles. I have cut out 8 of each size. To make this process go faster, I folded my fabric in half and then in half again cutting out 4 circles at a time. Next cut out your felt in the shape of a circle, I'd do one the same size as your largest circle.

Take each circle, fold it in half and then in half again.

Your hot glue gun should be heated up. You will glue this in place at the tip. I use a straight pin for this step so that I can get the glue inside the tip of that petal that I'm making and pinch it together and squeeze off any excess glue. Be careful not to burn yourself! Repeat this for all your flowers.

Here is a pic of all my petals.

Now take your scissors and snip a few lines down each petal as I've shown in this pic. This will give your flower a more full and fringed look. Repeat this for all of your petals.

Now we are going to put them onto the felt which will be our backing. I'd lay them out first to get a sense of how they are going to fit. Then move them, put a glob of hot glue in the center and lay them all down tips to the center, petals facing out. Your first layer are your larger petals. If you want to take your time, you can put a dab of hot glue on the back of each petal and take your time laying them down. This is a good idea the first few times as you most likely will start rearranging them spacing them out differently as you go. After making a few, you'll get the hang of it.

Repeat this same process with the next layer of petals. For this layer, I think I ended up using only 7 petals but just place them first so you can get them how you like, and then glue them on.

I always enjoy finding something fun to put in the center. Do you have some fun buttons, rhinestones, something special from Grandma's old jewelry box? Hot glue it to the center.

These are fantastic for both kids and adults. You can add them to hats, purses, tee's, headbands, clips and more. Instead of putting a bow on a gift, maybe add one of these fun flowers instead. Have fun!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Working on a new free tutorial ... a French Country Table Runner

I've officially been struck with the " I love all things that look French Country" bug! I keep looking around my house, seeing the remains of my red Tuscan phase and trying to swap things out without breaking the bank!

I picked up some fabrics and wanted to make a table runner for my kitchen table and change up the look by changing the colors. I've got lots of pics I took all along the way. If you want to make a new table runner, whether it's for a new look or for the upcoming holidays, stay tuned, I'll be posting pics with the follow along instructions!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Reclaimed Wood Window Frame Tutorial

I finished my window frame project! This was so much fun to do! My family has a place out at the lake and well, we desperately need to have some artwork on the walls. I thought this would be a great project to try to fill our walls with a bit of color.

To get started, of course I had to find my window frame. I bought this for $20 at an antique store, all the glass was intact so I was thrilled. I've found many frames from houses that have been torn down but so many of them have at least one windowpane smashed out. Getting started all I got in addition to my frame was my paint color, some sanding paper, an image that I wanted to use, brushes, painters tape and then some wax to seal the paint.

I got started by cleaning the glass and the frame of any dirt and debris. Trust me, these reclaimed pieces are ALWAYS dirty so get it nice and clean. Sand down any of the rough edges. I didn't do too much of this, just cleaned it up here and there but the rough look was what I liked so I didn't need to be sanded to perfection.
**be careful, if you have a REALLY old frame, it might have lead based paint so take appropriate caution if sanding**

I just did a single light coat of paint to the backside first. You're not going to see this but since you can see a tad bit when hung, I figure I should have the same color on both sides. Then I let it dry for a few hours.

Then I flipped mine over to the front side and sanded just a little bit more hitting some spots I missed the first time and then wiped it all off so it was clean of any dust from sanding.

I put painters tape all through the glass panels and then painted all of the frame my color of choice, apple red! The lakehouse needs a big pop of color so decided to go bold! I let it dry for several hours and then sanded the edges a bit so it looked a little roughed up. After it was dry, I did add a layer of wax over the top just to seal and protect.

Once I was done with that I scanned my image that I wanted to use which was a vintage postcard I found. I loved the image, it sort of said "lake" to me and something I could see hanging on the wall. I scanned it and then had my friend who is an ace at Illustrator size the image to what would fit my frame and then divide the image into 6 equal sections and print.

My openings are larger than what I can print on my ink jet printer (bummer) but thankfully my good friend Cathy has one of those big ole printers that she uses for her work and helped me with getting these printed so I didn't have to schlep to Office Max.

I started by just laying them out on top of the glass just to see if I liked how it looked. Whoops, if you are paying attention, I have the 2 top corners in the wrong spot! I had originally started with another image but the way the 6 squares cut the image up, it didn't look right, this one worked for me. I was super happy!

Happy with the look, I inserted them into their permanent spot on the backside of my frame and here it is. I haven't added my hanging hardware yet but that will come just as soon as I can get to Home Depot.

I think it's going to look just lovely at the lake!! This was so much fun for me to do, so inexpensive and my hubby is happy that the old frame sitting in our garage for months has finally moved off my ever growing project list! Do you have an old photograph you might want to do this to? I can see all kinds of personalized pieces of art.