Thursday, December 29, 2011

My last Christmas post (maybe?)

This is the craft that started my Christmas creating madness and it was almost the end of me! I just wasn't smart enough to simplify them as I should have. I wanted to make an actual angry birds game for my grandchildren. If only I had known that there would be one in stores like Amazon, I could have saved myself hours of work. But I didn't, so I made many of these beanbags for my grandchildren.

I was not capable of designing them so I found this site with a set of patterns. They were much too big, so I copied them at around 50%-67%, but then that caused all kinds of problems. They were sometimes impossible to turn, in such cases as the feather on the red bird's head. They were just too small. Nevertheless they got done and here they are in person.

The black bombing bird...
I made this bigger in size to duplicate his powers.

That bad pig who stole those eggs...

The yellow bird who can be very zippy...

The original red bird...

Once again, the entire clan.

B.T.W. Bryan, this is the clan that you are waiting to arrive.

The reaction...

Worth every moment I spent on it.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Christmas gifts unveiled

I spent many days exploring the Blog word and Pinterest looking for just the right ideas to make 3 quiet books (busy books) for each of my little grandchildren. I cannot possibly give you a tutorial for them. They were definitely trial and error with many mistakes made and corrected.

I learned that quiet books are so much more time consuming than it is possible to even consider. I made 3 books and it took about a month of pretty consistent work. Many days I spent 8-10 hours working on the pages, other days were less. I decided to use this blog's backing... heavy pellon. It worked well until I had to unstitch something. At that point each stitch showed.

Here are the finished products. I had 2 girl books and one boy book.

The following is the only page that was for the boy only. I got the baseball player at a yard sale and made the page to go with it. The ball and bat are buttons and the bases can hold the bat and ball. There is an elastic sewn on to hold the baseball player. The buttons are sewn onto ribbon.

My girl's only page was this one. The doll was a simple form with embroidered eyes, nose, mouth and hair. This doll's eyes looked so bad that I went back and used felt eyes. I'm not really happy with the end product, but it was the last thing I did and at that point, I really was so tired and so close to my deadline, I just accepted it as it was. I used eyelet lace for the dress and sewed it onto the doll. The blanket is held together with 3 small, strong magnets available at Harbor Freight. I made sure that I sewed all the magnets so that they were securely inside the fabric. The bottle is made of felt and sewn to a ribbon.

This page was very difficult. With the other 2 books, I did not have a separate compartment for each fish. With this page, I had to insert plastic (cut from acetate sheets) and hot glue them in so that the fish had any chance of coming out. I used another small strong magnet sewn into the hook and sewed small washers into the fish. The fish can be pulled out of the water with the hook, but they have to be practically out of the water in order to do so.

This was by far my favorite page to make. I could have continued for days making parts for the Mr. Potato Head. I finally had to firmly tell myself that enough was enough.

My next page was fairly easy. I used animal beads that I obtained from JoAnnes.

The next page should have been made with a stretchier fabric than felt and the ball should have been velcroed instead of sewed on.

My ice cream cones were fun to do. The left side was done with magnetic purse snaps and the matching snap was on the ice cream scoop. On the right side the scoops have a small magnet sewn into them. This way the scoop sticks to the snap on the left and to it's matching scoop on the right.

The last page I made was a family tree. I laminated family pictures and then glued Velcro to the back of the pictures and sewed the other part to the tree. There is a basket where the pictures can be placed.

A couple of other hints...

The buttons are purse buttons obtained from JoAnnes. I sewed elastic into the back page of the book to hold the book together.

I also found that no eyelets that I could find worked for the holes to put the loose-leaf rings on. I eventually went to Lowe's and bought grommets and a grommet setter. They are used for such things as tarps. I reinforced the areas of the book covers where the grommets went with interfacing.

I used a heavy outdoor fabric for the book cover, partly for the look but mostly for the hardiness of the fabric.

It was a fun, challenging, time-consuming project, but it was also fun and rewarding.

There were so many more pages that I wanted to do, but I ran out of time and energy. Very few of my pages were copied directly from another blog, but here are a bunch of resources you can use... (more ideas)

Monday, November 14, 2011

Flower pillows revisited

Earlier this year, I made Flower petal flowers and showed the results here. I used this tutorial for my pillows though I had to rethink everything because I sewed everything on. I decided that since I was making more pillows I would actually make up a tutorial. I am not especially good at it but here is my attempt. I would say that it probably took me about 5 hours non-stop to make a flower from start to finish, but that is a guess because I, like most women, don't have a 5 hour block of time to do something like this. Anyway here we go...

Tools and fabric needed:

1/2 yard fleece for flower
1/4 yard variegated yellow fleece for center
scraps green fleece for leaf
Matching threads
Sewing machine
14" circle (I used a metal serving tray) to trace
rotary cutter and mat (or ruler and scissors)

Cut 2-14" circles out of the floral fleece. You can either trace with a pencil around the tray onto the fabric or take a large piece of paper (wrapping paper or similar) and trace and cut it out and then use the paper as a pattern on the fleece.

Cut out two long strips using the width of the fabric 5" wide and 2 long strips 3 1/2" wide.

Fold one of the circles in half and in half again. Then mark the center of the circle as shown.

Using a compass with the sharp point stuck in the center of the circle (I used the mat as a backing when I did this) and the markings on the compass, trace a circle at 1 1/2", 3", 4 1/2" and 6".

Your flower base is ready for the petals. At this point, take the 5" width strip and cut them 3 1'2" wide. You will have a 3 1/2"x 5" long rectangle. You will need to do as many as you can cut out of both strips. Then cut the 3 1/2" wide strips into 3" widths making 3"x3 1/2"rectangles. (I am sorry, I forgot to take a picture until I was almost done with the big petals.)

Take each rectangle and cut a petal shape rounding off the rectangle. If you are not comfortable rounding off each fleece petal, then take a scrap paper and cut it to the size of the rectangle. Fold it in half lengthwise. Make half a petal shape and cut. This will make the petal look the same on both sides. I did this for a while, but it was too fiddly, so I free handed most of the petals.

Now comes the most tricky part. I made a pleat on each 5" petal by folding it in half lengthwise and pinching the fold so that it was just past the halfway point and made the pleat. Hopefully the pictures will be clear enough so you can tell what I did. I then pinned the pleated petal to the outer part of the floral base.

I pinned the petals pleat side up unto the outside circle. Make sure to pin the pleats themselves or they will not stay. I placed the petals right next to each other..

Sew the first row of petals on with the machine sewing the petals on about 1/4" from the edge.

You will sew the 5" petals on the outside two rows and the 3 1/2" petals on the inside 2 rows. You may have to make a few more petals to finish the pillow depending on the size of the pleats. I know I did. Admire your accomplishment!

The center is next. I used a variegated yellow fleece and loved the look. See the variegations! I loved the effect.

I cut this fabric into 2" wide strips and then free handed circles from those strips. I cut them using a rounded pinking shears that my mother-in-law bequeathed to me. Normal pinking shears will work just fine. The free handed nature of the circles made for a nice center. I suspect that I used approximately 60 circles in the center.

Now take some yellow thread on a needle and knot it. Come up from the back on the edge of the center bare circle of the flower base. Take one circle and fold it in half. Take a stitch in the center and stitch to the flower base. Now stitch it again in the same area. You will now repeat this over and over again. I found that it looked better if you took stitches so that the circles were not all going in the same direction.

After you have sewn in the center, it is time to make the leaves. I free handed a leaf that was about 8" long and 4 1/2" wide and cut out 4 total using the pinking shears. I used a straight stitch to sew about 1/4" around the outer edges. I then used my machine's standard zigzag stitch to sew the veins. I started at the bottom and ended at the bottom which means I double sewed each of the veins. You may notice that I did not sew a straight line at the bottom. Instead I slanted it and that made it easier to place on the pillow.

It is time to sew the back to the front and since the front is sooooo big and bulky, the petals need to be pinned to the center. To do this, I just pinned the petals on the outside row to the center making a bundle of petals.

I then pinned the leaves in place so that they would look like the top half of a "Y" when turned right side out. This means they will cross each other when they are pinned. You will also notice that they are almost butted right up to each other.

Now pin the other circle to the flower "bundle". I then sewed the front to the back using a 3/8" seam. I found that the sewing was easier if I sewed the pillow together with the sewed side of the pillow up instead of the back side. I did have to prop the pillow up onto a tall object (in this case a plastic shoebox size container) so that the pillow would stay in place as I sewed. I left about 5" open. With that much bulk, I needed a larger opening than normal to enable turning.

I turned the pillow and then stuffed it to my liking. I pinned the opening closed and then slipstitched it closed.

I was finally done. It sure does look nice!