Thursday, May 30, 2013

Stuffed Animal Storage

Hi!  I hope you all had a wonderful Memorial Day weekend!  It was my my 14th wedding anniversary, so I was able to get away with my husband for one night while the kids stayed with my in-laws.  We had not been away together overnight ALONE for 2 years!  I also realized that it was my first night away from the girls ALONE for 2 years!  That's just not right, is it Mom's?  We all need a break from our children now and then, no matter how much we love them. Of course, I missed them like crazy the whole time we were away from them!

Speaking of the wee ones.  If you have children you out of control the stuffed animal LOVE can be.  I finally had to tell each girl, b/c they share a room, that they needed to choose their 'Top Ten' stuffed animals to stay with them, but the others were going into the garage.  The deal is that every 6 months we will get the container out and then they can choose another top 10.  Well, even 10 animals is a lot!  And if your children share a room like my girls do, that means 20 animals floating around the room or wasting place in their closet. 

I decided I had to come up with something.   I had considered the 'sew a bean bag' idea.  That sounded pretty neat at first, but it really does not solve the problem of the 'late night/last minute'..."Mom, I need Lamby!  Oh...Oh...I also need....Tiger."  So, there I am trying to dig through that bean bag ball!

Anyway, you get the idea.  Enough talking!  You can take it or leave it.  It's not perfect, but it I think it works best for my girls.

 If you would like to make this, here is how I did it!

STEP 1) Decide how big you want your Animal Hotel and cut your fabric.  Mine is 28" x 36".  Add 1" to the length and height for hemming of all sides.  I used a heavy bottom weight fabric in black.

STEP 2) Take fabric and start hemming each side by folding over 1/4" once and then fold again another 1/4".  Pin and sew as close to the edge as you can.  Backstitch at beginning and at every corner, if you want.

STEP 3) Now it is time to add some decorations if you want.  I have been reading a lot about painting with Acrylics on fabric lately, so I wanted to give that a try.  If you have read other post, you also know that I am interested in free motion stitching, so I decided to do some 'messy' stitching on top of the letter after the paint was dry.

You will also notice that there is stitching around the lettering.  I actually was practicing on a scrap piece to see if I liked the pink paint.  I decided to just stitch that onto the main fabric so I would not have to do it again!  I used a zig zag stitch all the way around 2x.  

*Acrylic Paints: You can find this type of paint at any craft store, even Wal-Mart.  It can be used on all types of material, including fabric.  There are low end and upper end acrylic paints.  Since I am just learning, I'm starting with the cheapest I can find.  These 2 oz bottles are on sale at Hobby Lobby this week.


*Free Motion Stitching:  Far away you can hardly see my messy stitching, but it was good practice. I really wanted to free motion around the flowers, but did not want to waste the thread.   If you would like to try some free motion stitching, here are the steps you need to follow.

1.  Find a darning foot or a  free motion quilting foot.  I bought mine from Amazon- click HERE to see.  I altered mine a little, but bought this one b/c it is the most affordable.

2.  Lower your feed dogs. The feed dogs are what moves the material along as you are sewing.  When you are free motion sewing you want these to be down so YOU can be the one moving the fabric wherever you want it to go.  You will have to consult your sewing machine's manual to see how to do this.  Mine has a little switch on the back of the machine.  The arm of my machine is actually hiding it. 

3. Set stitch length to 0 and select the straight stitch setting.

4. Stitch away!  Slow and steady!


Yes, that is a 2L soda bottle.  And yest, it still has soda in it! :)   I saw this technique recently on a post from Happy House and Home, titled "Painting with a Soda Bottle".  I can't believe I have never seen this before!  It worked great.

I then used a cork to make the perfect center for my flower.

And voila!  My girls loved it, of course!

STEP 4) It's now time to add some elastic to hold the animals in place.  I used Non-Roll Elastic, 3/4 wide.  I sewed a zig zag stitch every 5 inches or so.  I made a couple only 4" apart for smaller animals.  For the bottom row, I added a little give so the bigger animals could squeeze in a little more easily.  Make sure you stitch back and for A LOT so the elastic is very secure.

STEP 5) Hanging this puppy is what I was concerned about.  I really wanted grommets, but that THING you have to buy to add the grommets was really expensive. Maybe there is a cheaper way?  I decided to just make 5 button holes instead and then just nail it to the wall.  I thought the button hole would prevent the material from tearing?  It looks pretty stable to me.  If I have issues I'll let you know.  If you have any better ideas, please let me know!

 All that is left is to add those animals. I was able to make 12 spaces for animals.  I squeezed 2 little ones in 1 and squeezed in a couple of barbie dolls too.  Last night my oldest reached up and picked out what she wanted to sleep with, 5 to be exact.  And then this morning she made her bed and put them back.  I could tell she thought that was fun.

Now for the other bug-a-boo.  She is in a toddler bed, so I think I'll turn the fabric the other way.  It looks better if it is about the same size as their bed.  I'll post that one when I'm finished.  She wants purple paint, which I don't have, of course! :)

If you make one of these will you please let me know so I can see it!

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Thursday, May 23, 2013

Teeny Tiny Purse for Girls

Before I start this post I just want to say...."Yeah!!  We just finished the school year!!"  (Quite literally, 1 minute ago.)  As some of you may know, I am a homeschooling Mom.  This year my daughter was in the 1st grade, so only my 2nd year 'on the job'.  I would love to write more about my experience so far, but that is for another post.

Today I want to share with you a cute little purse I just made this afternoon.  I got the pattern from a cute little book I found at our local library.  (Where would I be without the library!!)  The book is titled, "We Love to Sew" and it is authored by Annabel Wrigley.  The entire book is made for the 'young' sewer in mind.  Girls ages 7-18 would enjoy this book.  I  like this book because I can practice sewing very basic things and get some confidence.

I plan on having some sewing lessons with my oldest daughter this summer, so I am trying to line up some easy projects.  My goal with this purse was to see if it was really easy and to see if it would be a good first sewing project for my 6, almost, 7 year old.  She does know how to use the sewing machine and has sewn a few blocks together.  We could definitely do this project together.

 In the book, the closure was a snap.  She used a snap fastener kit by Dritz.  I did not want to spend any money for this project, so I decided to use a button.

The best thing about this project is that I learned a new sewing skill.  The all dreaded  BUTTON!!  I've sewn buttons on by hand, but I have never made a button hole with my machine, nor have I ever sewn a button on with my machine.  I was SO excited when I saw that button hole!  If you have never tried it, get out your sewing machine's manual and go ahead and just DO IT! 

 The inside has 2 little pockets on the side.  Some velcro would be nice here next time.

Here is the inside.  Some velcro here would be nice too.

This is such a simple design, but we could really jazz this up.  We will post again when we've made more over the summer.

If anything, this is a perfect last minute gift for that special girlfriend. :)

I'll be trying out some other easy sewing ideas for kids, so check back soon to see what we have come up with.  If you  like this post you can follow me on facebook by liking me over on the sidebar.

Thanks!  Many blessings to you this Memorial Day weekend!

(By the way, I did not get paid to talk about the book I mentioned.  I truly did just find it at the library.)

Linked up at (Happy Hour Friday , Craftionary Friday, My Turn-Freedom Friday,The Thriftiness Miss Friday Party , Redfly Creations  Friday Party,Chic on a Shoestring- Friday Party, Blissful and Domestic - Friday Party,504 Main- Tickled Pink Friday Party, Liz Marie- Inspire Me Friday Party, Homecoming - DIY's Party, All Our Days - Finished Friday Party, Naptime Creations Tasteful Tuesday, Crafty Confessions Tuesday Link party, Adventures of a DIY Mom Tuesday Party, Sugar Bee Crafts Tuesday Party, Polka Dot Giraffe -Tuesday Party, Ladybug Blessings Tuesday Party  )

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Kid's Backseat Organzier-How to

  It has been a few weeks since I have taken on a new sewing project.  So, over the weekend I decided to tackle a problem that has been bugging me for a while.  It never fails that as soon as week get going to town (about 20 min. away) that I hear the following,

   "Mom, do you have any paper?" or"Mom, do you have a pencil?"

I do my best to always have a little notoepad in my purse for emergencies, but it's really not safe for me to be digging around in my purse while I'm driving.  So, I wanted to make an organizer that would hang on the backseat that would be in easy reach of my oldest.  She then, would be in charge of handing out the paper and pencil. So, here is what I came up with.

Remember, I am just learning how to sew.  This is a very easy "1st" project if you are learning to sew too.  Nothing too complicated.

 This is what I came up with.  I had 3 criteria for this organizer.  1.) Place for crayons, pencils 2.) place for the paper and 3.) place for the V-Tech Camera (LOVE this thing!)

Have you seen those crayon rolls?  Here is a good tutorial from Skip to My Lou  if you would like to make one.  That was my inspiration for the top pocket.

First thing to do...Get Inspiration.  I found some inspiration for design ideas from Amazon and a blog called "The May Fly".

I. Gathering Materials
    1. Measure the back of  seat to obtain desired size.  I decided mine should be 24"x18".
    2. Draw out your plan.
    3.Decide how much fabric to cut.

BASE FABRIC: The base is just one piece of fabric that is hemmed all the way around.  So, you will actually need to add an extra inch to the length and width.  Therefore, my base fabric was 25"x19".

BOTTOM POCKET: Decide how tall you want your pocket to be.  We know it is 18" across.  I made mine 9" tall.  Consider what you want to put in the pocket as you consider your height and how you might like to divide up this bigger pocket into smaller pockets.  I wanted mine to have  2 pockets.  One to hold a regular notebook or coloring book and the other to hold the V-Tech or some other toys or books.  8" for one and 10" for the other was a good choice.

You are also going to hem the pockets, so you will need to account for that before you cut your fabric.  Add
1.5" to the height and 2" to the width.  

TOP POCKET:  I wanted my row to be able to hold crayons or colored pencils, so I had to add a little extra height to the pocket than what you would find on a crayola roll, as I mentioned earlier.  I decided I needed my pocket to be at least 4" high.

You will hem this pocket as well.  Add 1.5" to the height and 2" to the width.

SPACING:  Consider also how much space you want between your top and bottom pockets.  I used a 3" space between my 2 pockets. 

BASE: 25" X 19"
BOTTOM POCKET: 10.5" X 20"
TOP POCKET: 5.5" X 20"

(Note: be sure to wash, dry and then iron your fabric before beginning this project)

Once you have all your fabric cut out it is time for the fun to begin!

Step 1)  Hem the base fabric all the way around by folding all sides in 1/4" once and then again.  Press with iron as you are folding and pin in place. Take it to the machine and sew all the way around.  I use 1/8".

Step 2) Take the bottom pocket fabric and hem the "top" of what will be the pocket.  hem by folding 1/4" over once, and then again.  Press and pin the hem.  Take it to the machine and sew just that top edge.

Step 3) Lay the pocket wrong side up in the exact spot you want it on the base fabric and begin folding the other 3 sides over by 1/2" once and then again.  I like to have it lying on the base fabric to make sure my edges will match up exactly on the base.  Flip over the pocket and begin to pin the sides and bottom edge to the base fabric.  The top of the fabric should be left open.  Take it to the machine and sew the pocket to the base.

Step 4) Refer back to your plan and measure out how you want this bottom pocket divided up.  Use a disappearing marker to draw a line and then sew down that line from the top of your pocket all the way to the bottom.  Make sure you backstitch at the beginning and end.  I actually go over the ends about 3-4 times to make sure they are really strong.  (May be overkill :) )

Step 5) You will treat the top pocket the same way.  Hem the top section of the pocket first, folding 1/4" twice.  Press, pin and sew.  Lay out on your base and fold over the other 3 sides, folding 1/2" twice. Press, pin to base and then sew along sides and bottom only, leaving open the top.

Step 6) In order to hold a crayon or pencil, the larger pocket needs to be divided up into 1" sections.  Measure with a ruler and mark with your disappearing marker again at every 1" mark.  I like to draw the entire line b/c I like a road to sew on.  Remember to backstitch a couple of times at the beginning and end.

(Just a side note.  I decided to go with washable markers and colored pencils b/c I began to think about all the crayons that have melted in my car in the heat of the summer.  NOT so nice.  Just something to consider.)

Step 7) Create a heading:
 As you can see, there is this big blank space above the pencils.  Well, I had to do something about that!  I checked out a book recently called Sew Wild by Alisa Burke.  I LOVE her creations and she inspired me to try this next technique.

I first marked a line to know how far up the colored pencils would go, so my words would not be covered up.  I then found some scrap fabric and wrote out the word create in block letters, cut them out and pinned them to my base fabric.

Now sew each letter in place with a contrasting thread and a closely spaced zigzag stitch, starting with the last letter.   (The settings on my machinge were: Length @ 4 and Width @ .5).  After I started sewing, I realized that it was easier to remove all the letters and just sew one letter at a time.   The 2nd will lay over the previous letter just a little bit. Continue until they are all sewn on.

I also decided to cut out some flowers from another fabric and sew them on.

Step 8) Make and attach the handles.

ALMOST THERE!   Take a break and grab another can of soda (Well, that's what I did.).  We need to attach handles to the top and elastic to the bottom and then we will be finished.

I was not for sure how long my handles needed to be or even how I was going to attach this thing.  I decided to make a long handle, attach one end and then go from there.  Use my numbers as an approximation, but before sewing anything down, take it out to your car and make any necessary adjustments.

To make a handle, cut a strip that is 24" long and 2" wide.  Fold the sides over to meet in the middle and press into place with an iron.  (Note: 4" of this handle will be cut off to make a tab for the opposite side.)

Fold the ends over a little, press and then fold the entire strip over on itself lengthwise.

Take the strip to the machine and sew along the edge and ends.

Cut off 4" off the end now and zigzag the ends so they do not fray.  

Position the handle where you want it.  (I took mine back out to my car to check the placement.)

 Attach one end of the the handle to the wrong side of the base by sewing a square and an X.  Go over a LOT to secure.  Slide on some type of hooking device and then sew down the other end right next to the first. (I know, my square IS pretty sloppy.  I just need to sloooooow doooooown.) 

Sew down your tab on the opposite side.  I think I did much better on this X.

This is what it will look like when hooked together on the back of the seat.  An adjustable strap would have been nice, but I just wanted to do this cheaply.  I found this clamp in the junk drawer, and it worked.
Ugh, that left square is SO ugly, but I'm learning...I'm learning.

Step 9) Adding elastic to bottom.  You will need about 15" of elastic at least.

You need to add elastic to the bottom so that it fits snug against the seat.  I did not want it hanging down on my daughter's feet.  To solve this problem, just grab any elastic you can find and while the organizer is hanging on the back of the seat, pin one side of the elastic to one corner.  Then, wrap the elastic around the front of the seat and let it slip into the crack between the back and bottom of seat.  Grab the elastic and make a mark as to where the elastic will reach the other corner and be able to wrap around a button.  Place a pin to mark the spot where you will sew on your button.

Sew a little loop on one end of the elastic in a couple of places to secure.

 Now go try it out!

This is a good beginner sewing project.  Be creative and put your own spin on it!

Have you ever made one of these?  Do you have any advice for people making one?

Next on my agenda?????  I want to play more with the idea of letters on fabric and free-motion stitching.  Maybe on a notebook cover????

Blessings to you and thanks for visiting my site!

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Homework - Tuesday Link Party
Ladybug Blessings- Tuesday Link Party
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Crafty Confessions -Tuesday Link Party
Adventures of a DIY Mom- Tuesday Link Party
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Wednesday Whatsits party
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Craftionary Friday 
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Redfly Creations  Friday Party
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Chic on a Shoestring- Friday Party
Blissful and Domestic - Friday Party
504 Main- Tickled Pink Friday Party
Liz Marie- Inspire Me Friday Party
Homecoming - DIY's Party
All Our Days - Finished Friday Party

Friday, May 17, 2013

More Stitching on Cards

This is a continuation of the post I wrote a couple of days ago,  "How to Sew on Cards Tutorial".

I have a few pictures of some cards I worked on this morning.  The background I used is a dryer sheet dyed with tea.  The leaves and dryer sheet were laminated.  I used free motion stitching around the leaves and tried to write some words on the front.  It is hard to see.  I really needed red thread, but I don't have any on hand.

I like these, but will try to improve upon them.

Have a great weekend!


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Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Framed Pressed Flower Art

Hi!  I'm so glad you stopped by!  In this post I will show you some recent framed pictures I've made with pressed flowers AND some goody, but oldy ones, as well. 

I had recently received a request to make framed picture with a hymn and pressed flowers for a friend of mine.  She was giving it as a gift for her sister.  Here is the piece I made.

My friend then decided she wanted one for herself.  Her room is painted a beautiful deep purple.  So, she wanted purple and yellow.  Here is the picture I just finished for her.

I wanted to try something different for this piece.  I had never tried to sprinkle crushed pressed flowers as a background on a picture.  I have used crushed flowers on my cards and jewelry, however, and it always looks nice.  

So, what do you think?  Too much crushed flower???

I usually like to add some ribbon, so I think I'll tie a little bow around the bouquet for a finishing touch.   

Framed pressed flower pictures make such nice gifts.  I have made many as wedding gifts, attaching the wedding invitation and/or engagement picture.  I've also made frames as memorials to loved ones using flowers they received from friends and love ones.

  Here is a framed picture that I made as a memorial to our little girl, Annabel, who was stillborn November 5, 2004.  These flowers were from a beautiful bouquet from a dear friend.

 It still hangs in our living room today.  It is so nice to be able to put up something as a remembrance when you have no pictures to hold on to.

 Here is an example of a wedding invitation framed with pressed flowers.

Another wedding invitation.

Finally, here is an example of how you could use dried flowers, or leaves, to display your favorite hymn.

So what do you think?  Does anyone want to give this a try?  It's a lot of fun for grown-ups and children.  My little girls rummaged through my stock of pressed flowers last night and came up with there own special creations...
 The artist of this picture says that it is a field of flowers, with a tall tree in the middle. 

This is a picture made by my other daughter picking flowers with her sister.  She said that she is on the right, and that big petal is a trophy on her head.  She won the trophy for having the prettiest flowers. :)

If you have any questions or comments about this post, please leave me a comment below.  I would love to hear from you! :)

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Thanks for stopping by!


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