Archive for the ‘Tutorials’ Category

Make a Elf Hat

November 29th, 2011 by zoe 2 Comments

This sweet little elf hat is made from upcycled wool sweaters!

It’s pretty darn simple, all you need is some scraps from an old T-shirt, and a shrunken wool sweater.

First print your pattern pieces and enlarge them using the inch guide. The hat fits toddler to youth.

After cutting your fabric match hat bottom pieces and hat bottom lining pieces with right sides facing in, pin and stitch along bottom edge with a 1/4″ inseam. Unfold the stitched hat bottom piece, match the lining and wool sections with the right sides facing in pin and stitch. Turn the hat bottom piece right side out and try on, adjust sizing now. Iron bottom edge.

Top stitch bottom edge around hat bottom.

With a 1/4″ inseam stitch hat top around the curl, leaving bottom edge open. Turn the hat top right side out.

Making sure to properly line up your seams and fabric facings pin and stitch hat top to hat bottom. Turn right side out and admire your creation. I like to add polka dots!

Pop your little elf hat on the closest cutie around!

To print pattern, click photo, save to file and print. Enlarge pattern pieces to recommended size in inches.

Make a Braided Rag Rug!

November 14th, 2011 by zoe 34 Comments

My love of old T-shirts just keeps on growing!

See this stack of old T-shirts – they are going to become a fabulous rainbow rug!

Begin by collecting a colorful pile of old t-shirts. To make a 36″ round rug you will need about 10 to 12 shirts.

Cut the shirts into lots of strips, I made mine  1 1/2″ wide and that seemed to work great. You will now braid your strips together to make one single extremely long braided rope.To begin, take three t-shirt strips and sew them together at one end. Start braiding!

I used a curtain rod clip to hook one end of my braid to a chair to provide tension while braiding. A clothes pin is also helpful for holding your braid tight. As you come to the end of your first length of strips you will need to add more length. Connect strips together to add more length – cut a small slit in the ends of all your strips. Thread new strip through the hole, loop it’s end through on its self and pull tight. 

You will now have extended your strip! It is important to stagger your strip extensions so that they are not all lumped in one spot on your braid.

Now you are ready to braid and braid and braid!

When you get tired of braiding it’s fun to coil your rope and see what kind of progress you are making.

When you have finished your braided rope it’s time to begin stitching.

Set your sewing machine for the widest zig-zag stitch,tightly coil your braid, stitch round and round. When stitching push the two braids together tightly with your hands, watch your stitches carefully to ensure they are connecting the seams.  Your hands will get tired from all the pushing, I found it was easier to set my adjustable chair higher to get better leverage while stitching. Try not to stretch your rope too much while stitching because it will cup like a bowl. But don’t fear a hot iron can correct the cupping. Every so often your bobbin will run out of thread, this is a good time to iron your rug flat. Set the iron to hot, start and the center and iron out toward the edges. Repeat on both sides.

This rug currently measures 34″ across and took me a day to make. I haven’t finished the ends off yet because I think I want to make it a bit bigger – I just found a pile of gray shirts that I am hoping will bring it closer to the size I was dreaming of. I will take another picture of it finished and in place next week. I just had to share it today because I was so excited stitching this together. I love the colors and weight of this rug. I am already dreaming of the next one!!

Maybe ocean colors?

Making Masks

October 24th, 2011 by zoe 6 Comments

Halloween is just a week away!

I spent a morning at preschool making and decorating animal masks with 20 plus children. I cut the shapes below from recycled cardboard the night before and the kids painted, glued and glittered to their heart’s content. I somehow got a teensy bit busy and didn’t manage to snap any pictures of the wee artist mayhem. The theme was animal masks and I had several different shapes for the children to choose from. Secretly I am hoping the masks will inspire homemade Halloween costumes that aren’t princess and super hero based… doubtful, I know.  We make and decorate cardboard masks a lot around here and I am sometimes shocked by their popularity and longevity. I’d call it good clean fun but as you can see from the glitterfest below we didn’t quite hit the clean mark on this latest decorating project!!

Here are the patterns I made for 3D masks.

With these four templates you can make owls, cats, tigers, bears, dogs and butterflies.

Print pattern pieces and cut desired shapes out of cardboard.

Tape the nose  V shape together to get your masks to pop out.

Punch out holes and thread with elastic.

Decorate and have lots of FUN!!!

Click mask templates and save to file, print and use as a guide to make your own animal masks from cardboard.

 

 

We Do Cloth

October 16th, 2011 by zoe 5 Comments

Around here, we do cloth. Don’t even get me started about how much I love cloth diapers especially these!!  My sister actually packs her own paper towels when she comes to visit, which kinda cracks me up. Cloth napkins at the table are lovely. BUT, setting the table with a new round of napkins for each meal was proving to be a washing CHORE.

This post from Amanda over at SouleMama proved to be just the sort of big family table advice I needed to find  balance. Napkin rings — huh, not something I would have ever thought of…. but you know when each family member has their own special ring they can use a napkin for more than one meal and it really cuts down on the washing. Plus, children love rituals and jobs.  I love having them be part of the household by setting the table and helping prepare the meals. Win Win!

I had a bit too much fun finding antique napkin rings on Ebay. After way too much computer lusting…  Oliver my jumper has a kangaroo and Emmett my little bird has a chick. Big Dada has a very plain classic napkin ring,  just they way he likes it. I am still on the hunt for my own napkin ring identity —- out in the studio I have a bit of silver that might evolve into something perfect, someday.

Oh, and I did not make these napkins, I splurged and bought them at Target. I really hate ironing and the thought of making all those mitered corners makes me cringe! I am a big fan of no sew fringe edge napkins made with Kona Cotton fabric which can be found at just about any fabric store. Elmers our local breakfast joint uses single layer raw edge napkins and they work just great.  And if you missed it, here is a little tutorial I shared a few weeks back for a super quick school lunch napkin using the same technique.

Click the Captain Crafty project sheet, save to file and print.

Story Blocks & Stones

October 13th, 2011 by zoe No Comments

These past weeks have been hectic and exhausting but now …. with some rest and relaxation I am feeling the happy groove of fall. My craft fair was a sparkly success, thanks to all those who came out and bought ALL my wares.

Ah… now I can relax by the fire, enjoy the fall colors and party under the big full moon.

Now I can get back to fun little projects with my boys!  We cut down a few small trees to make some natural log blocks. All I did is cut slices of wood and sand the edges. I have read here and there that a bit of bee’s wax makes for a nice finishing touch.

With all our gathered stones and the fabric scraps on the studio floor we made some story stones following the tutorial over at Red Bird Crafts.Then, we mixed it all up and made story blocks too.

With a handful of stones or wood slices you can easily make these too!

Simply cut little fabric or paper scraps into shapes.
With a brush coat your rock or wood slice in a layer of goop. Lay your story inspiration image,on and brush with another layer of goop.  You can use the real deal Mod Podge or make your own goop by mixing one part Elmers glue to one part water.After your story blocks and stones dry gather some folks together and tell  tales of the fox and snake on their way to get ice cream cones.

With the cozy indoor days ahead we are planning to make lots of story blocks and stones – nothing is quite as fun as building stories.

Dyeing a Rainbow of Play Scarves

September 7th, 2011 by zoe 5 Comments

Whenever the kids ask me what my favorite color is I say RAINBOW. One of my boys loves hot pink best of all, this makes me happy beyond all belief. I wonder when he will be hustled into believing colors belong to different genders? A few weeks ago he approached an older woman at the lake – “Excuse me, I really like your dress because, you know, hot pink is my favorite color!” Big smile.

I imagine before long hot pink will not be a favorite, but for now, I happily ride this wave of color neutrality.  Children always seem to make color allegiances with other kids, they bond through color, it’s one of those cute ways in which kids make friends …..” Hey I like your green bike dude, did you know, green is my favorite color?”

I am pretty happy to have brought some new rainbows into our lives lately. A good friend and I managed to have a day of nature hikes, and rainbow creativity with a whole passel of kids — we were quite proud of ourselves and the awesome results.

We ordered blank silk scarves through Dharma Trading Co. and looked all over for tutorials on how to Kool-aide dye them. Some the sites we found helpful can be found

here and here .

But mostly after looking around we realized you couldn’t really go wrong!

We dumped our scarves in hot, hot water and threw in a few cups of vinegar. We took medium-sized bowls with a bit of hot water and added three to four packets of Kool-Aide to each one and let it dissolve. Next we dropped a scarf into the dye and stirred a bit watching it quickly soak up the dye. So quick and easy and fun!

The Saffron Yellow and Sky Blue were done using a dozen drops of  McCormick Food Coloring. The colors came out less marbled and a bit more vibrant. I am loving that!

After our scarves were washed in cold water and dried we used them to put on a weather performance. There was thunder, lightning, sunshine, floods and in the end a beautiful rainbow!

Kool-aide flavors from left to right -

Cherry, Orange, Yellow (food dye), Pink Lemonade, Grape and Blue (food dye).

After so much rain these last few weeks I am ready for the rainbow!