Wednesday, July 28, 2010

My craft swap gift is ready to send!

I am SO excited to be a part of Callie's craft swap over at The Magical Bean. It's my first swap, and I can't wait to send the gift to my partner sometime next week. I crocheted her a neck warmer with two strands of bulky yarn and a #12 crochet hook. I am including a choice of 2 different brooches to close it with.

It turned out to be so soft and cozy, and I love how the brooches turned out. The flower was based on a Martha tutorial. It was simple, but took a little fiddling to glue it all nicely in place. I also wished I would have had a bit more than 1 yard of lace on hand. Although it turned out to be a nice size, I would have liked to have the option of making it bigger. The other brooch is made from a wooden circle. I stamped it with a stamp from my Yellow Owl Workshop Cityscape Stamp Set. I love how it all turned out and hope it suits my partner!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Traveling Gnomes

I am always thinking of ways to keep Daniel entertained when we are shopping, in the car or at a restaurant. We have the standard travel toy ideas down. Stickers, doodle board, crayon roll, photo album, something with buttons, calculator, pipe cleaners, I-spy bottle, magnet games and on it goes.

When I was a little girl I had these cute
little dolls that clipped into jewelery that I would bring when my mom was meeting a friend for coffee. They were SO fun! I wish I have never sold them and I really I could remember what they were called. I was after the same sort of idea for Daniel, but what jewelry can you put on a boy?

I decided on a little, Waldorf gnome that fits into a pouch on a necklace. It was one of the first toys I've made that he actually liked. Well, for a few hours anyway. The little girl I take care of liked it so much that I made one for her too.

I read that it is wise to make the body first, because you can more easily make the head to fit the body than vice versa. I just winged it all. I free handed the bodies onto pattern paper and then cut and sewed. I usually make dolls too skinny so it took a few attempts. I wish I had made the hats a bit longer so I could knot them at the end; I like how the hat flops over when it's knotted. The head is just a ball of wool roving tightly wound. They joy of making little dolls is not having to fuss with the head!

I originally made a wool felt leaf for the gnome to fit in, but it just didn't work out that well. Since taking the photos, I've made him a crocheted pouch like the girl gnome. I crocheted a rectangle long enough to fold over into a sleeping bag. Before tying off, I chained to make the necklace and slip stitched it to the other side. Then to finish, I folded the rectangle up and stitched the sides together. It's a much better fit than the leaf!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Lithograph Portrait Pillows

My beautiful little sisters are getting older, and it's getting harder for me to think of cool things to give them! This is a great handmade gift for a preteen!

I started by doing a mini photo shoot, to make sure I would have at least one good shot. Then, I uploaded the photo at Big Huge Labs', Warholizer. I resubmitted like 20 times, trying to find a color that would match their rooms.

I printed the image onto photo transfer paper. Make sure you pick the right paper for your fabric! Some are meant for dark fabrics, some for stretchy etc.

I whipped up a couple of pillowcases, and ironed away! I think they turned out well, and they were also received well!

Golf cart cruising at the lake. Love you two!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Homemade baby shower basket

I have been sooooo excited for the birth of our good friends' baby, that I've been making things for almost two months! We just had her baby shower this weekend, and it was a blast! Here are my baby basket tutorial trials:

Fabric Beach Ball:

This ball was based on 2 tutorials:

They were both great tutorials, and I should have followed them more closely! I chose to use wool felt for the little circle because I didn't trust my tucking-in-a-circle skills and there is no need to hem felt. It has the added bonus of another texture for a curious baby. I added a container with noisy beads to the ball so it rattles when it rolls.

Giraffe Softie:

This adorable pattern is found over here (and can alternately be a dinosaur softie).

I embellished it by sewing ribbon loops along its neck and a braided satin tail. The other side of the giraffe is purple cotton and he has a squeaker in his bum! So cute! I ended up buying and sacrificing a cheap dog toy because I have no idea where one finds squeakers...

Teething Ring:

This is my take on a teething ring I saw in Chapters a long time ago. I love wooden teething rings and thought adding something soft was a great idea. I crocheted (with worsted weight cotton) a small rectangle, and then rather than tying off and sewing it in a loop, I slip stitched it across.

Crinkly Taggie Blanket:

Here is a link to one great tutorial, but there are many!

I also used a few leather scraps as loops for another texture. And from what I've heard (and it worked for me) cereal bags give the best crinkle. I did one side in cotton and the other in fleece. Another cute tutorial for a baby boy is here, at Prudent Baby.

First Waldorf Doll:

I love Waldorf style dolls! They make a perfect first doll because only natural materials are used and the simple style allows much imagination. There are a ton of great tutorials on all kinds of dolls. I made one earlier this year for Daniel, so this is based partly on that experience and partly on this tutorial.

I also took my first stab at embroidery and it came out ok! Woo Hoo!

Fabric Nursery Blocks:

I spent a ton of time at the fabric store, looking for co-coordinating fabrics and am so happy with how they all look together! I wanted them to be fun to play with, so I added a crinkly cereal bag to two side of the large block, bells to the medium one, and a crocheted panel to the little one. I should have been a little more careful with the seam allowance, but they still turned out ok. Tutorial here.

I am pretty happy with how everything turned out, and I learned a ton! The giraffe and Waldorf doll are my faves. I also added a few plastic links for clipping toys onto the carseat and a couple cloth diapers in a homemade drawstring bag. There is a good tutorial at Purl Bee.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Make your own lacing cards

Last year we decided to do an entirely handmade Christmas. It was a much bigger project than I thought, but so worth it! These are the lacing cards that I made for Daniel. I was inspired by some Martha Stewart Alphabet Cards and this tutorial over at Little Birdie Secrets.

I punched holes all the way around all 26 cards and then laminated them afterward. If you punch first and then laminate, you have to punch it out again, but you get a better seal around the holes. With my very active, very boyish little one, sturdy is VERY important so it was well worth the time for me. Since there were so many cards, it was challenging to keep this project at a resonable budget. Who knew laminating ($40 for 13 sheets at staples!) and shoelaces ($1-2/pair x 13=$3-26) could be so expensive! It almost became a $50 project! Luckily, my church let me use their laminating machine and I found a case of vintage shoelaces cheap on ebay!

I just brought them out again, and am hoping he will get the hang of it now that he's almost 3!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Cute Little Matching Game

I just finished making the cutest birthday gift for Daniel. I can't believe he's almost 3!!! He's just starting to understand the concept of playing simple games so I'd been looking around for a matching game for him, when I realized I could make one.

I originally planned on stamping them, but couldn't find a stamp set that I loved so I decided to go a different route. I drew little woodland creatures and objects on them and asked my mom if she would woodburn over my designs (thanks mom!) and found a perfect little wooden box to put them in. I polished the box with this recipe.

I am so pleased with how it turned out and can't wait to play matching with Daniel in a few weeks!

Perfect size for little hands!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

DIY Wall Art- First Post!

After slowly renovating our kitchen over the last 3 years, it's almost finished. Just those little details that fall between the cracks of a busy life are left. This huge bare wall has been begging for some art, but I haven't known what to do with it.

I had made some wedding plates as a wedding gift for some dear friends of ours, based on Mark Montano's silhouette plates from his Big Ass Book of Crafts. He uses clear glass plates and spray paint. After going through 4 sets of plates, I had enough and just went to the ceramic shop with photo stencils in hand. So that's what I did first this time. The trick to cutting stencils from photos is to black out the image ( don't have to, but I think it's much simpler) and cut out every detail, every eyelash and wispy hair.

I hung the plates on wall mounted plate-hangers and when they were on the wall, I wasn't quite happy. It just seemed too small. So, I looked at ordering some wall decals. But they were expensive, and I would have to wait. So I traipsed all around the mall looking for black contact paper to make my own, and there was none. Anywhere. Finally, about to cave and by pre-made
bird-shaped, mirror stickers I stumbled across peel and stick chalkboard paper. On sale! I snapped it up and ran home to cut out my little birdies and voila! My DIY wall art is complete!

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