Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Craftaholics Gift Exchange - December 2014

Sorry for the lack of posts. I've been so busy sewing, painting, and crafting all sorts of things that I haven't had time to blog! I do have time to share a handmade gift I whipped up for the Craftaholics Anonymous Handmade Gift Exchange. I think this is my 4th time participating in the exchange. Its fun to connect with other crafters and to give and get a unique handmade gift. I shipped off my gift last week so hopefully my giftee has received it and this post won't ruin the surprise.

I've been wanting to try making a freezer paper stencil with my Silhouette Cameo. When I spotted solid red pillow covers at Ikea, the perfect Christmasy project came to mind.

I found some great tips and advice for cutting and using freezer paper stencils in this post from The Thinking Closet Blog. I used the American Typewriter font for the lettering. The stencil worked pretty well. Unfortunately the pillow cover fabric is textured and some of the paint seeped under the stencil. My husband said he couldn't see what I was talking about, but it bothered me enough that I used a paint brush to clean up some of the edges by hand. 

I sewed the bow and bell on to the pillow using a thick quilting thread. I went back to Ikea this week and picked up two more pillow covers to dress a couple of pillows in my own home for the holidays. I'll post pics of those pillows on Instgram - follow me there @mandyfarn. 

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Bar Stool Makeover

The last time I was at A Wider Circle I brought home a pair of worn out bar stools. They are well made and were probably very nice when they were new, but the once nice leather is pealing off and the legs are pretty banged up - so although functional not something someone would be proud to have in their home.

I decided to make slip covers for the seats and to paint the legs. I didn't have enough fabric in my stash for both stools so I had to buy fabric.  One of the reasons I blog about my unique volunteer work at AWC is to show how used furniture can be inexpensively transformed, that being said I didn't want to spend a lot of money on the fabric. A great place to find inexpensive fabric is the linen section of your favorite thrift store. I visited once of my faces on their 25% off day and headed straight for the curtains. Curtains are great because they are usually made of a heavier weight fabric and they have lots of yardage. I found three cream colored curtain panels that appeared to be a matching set. Each panel was $3.99 ($2.99 on sale) - not a bad deal for more than 6 yards of fabric. 

The cream color was fine, but a little boring. So I decided to dye it using Dylon dye (Navy Blue). As you can see the color ended up looking more like a denim blue. I had not used this brand before and I had to go in search of front loading machine instructions online. I found easy to follow instructions on the Dylon website. Once the panels were dyed, I discovered they were not a matching set after all. One of the panels was much lighter than the others - indicating a different fabric composition. Although I was frustrated by this at first, it ended up being a happy accident. 

Now to make the slip covers. So first of all, I am self taught sewer. I am sure my way isn't always the best or easiest way - but its they way I know. I learned to make slip covers from Hildi on Trading Spaces. She basically took a bunch of fabric, pinned it around the chair, sofa - whatever - then sewed along the pinned seams. You can find a ton of great slip cover tutorials on Pinterest.

To make the slip covers look more custom and help them fit better, I used the lighter blue panel to trim the bottom of the covers and to make a sash to tie the covers to the chair - kinda like this

After cleaning and priming the legs of the stools I painted them a warm whitish grey Benjamin Moore color called Abalone. I had a large sample of this color in my stash - I think it may have been the color in the Master Bath at our last house. Doesn't it look nice with the blue slip covers?

Finally I had a little extra fabric so I decided to make little lumbar pillows for the stools. These are not at all practical but I love them. I used my silhouette machine to cut the word "yum" for each pillow. I ironed the words on (backed with heat-n-bond) after sewing and before stuffing the pillows. 

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Give Thanks

We are still in the rental house. I have no complaints as its a nice house, we have great neighbors, and we can take our time finding the perfect home for our family. I do miss having a home to decorate though. I get my fix by pinning ideas for the next house, completing little projects that I can take with me when we move, and decorating for the holidays. Normally I don't do much between Halloween and Christmas, but this year I've decided to do a little decorating and crafting for Thanksgiving. 

This week I tackled making a Thanksgiving wreath. I didn't want to spend much on the wreath so I went to one of my favorite thrift stores in search of supplies and I found this beauty. 

It took only a few minutes to remove the ribbon and silk flowers.  Note the $2.49 price, and it was an additional 25% off - so it was actually $1.87.

I wanted the wreath to be a little bit thicker so I wrapped it in strips of medium weight batting I had leftover from another project. 

Next I wrapped it with a gold polka dotted burlap ribbon that was on clearance at Joann's for $1.97. I bought 2 packs. When one spool of ribbon ran out I attached it to the other with staples (on the backside of the wreath). I did the same for the end of the ribbon. 

I purchased 1 yard of fabric (1/2 yard of each print) to make the flowers and banner. I used this very easy technique to make the flowers. I made three flowers in a variety of sizes of each fabric. I  cut a scalloped edge on a couple of them before gathering them for a slightly different look. I attached the flowers to scraps of cardboard, which made them easier to arrange before attaching them to the wreath. I ended up only using 4 on the wreath. I have plans for the left over flowers. 

I used my Silhouette Cameo to cut out the fabric letters (backed with Heat-N-Bond) and ironed them on to hand cut scraps of curtain liner fabric. I sewed them to the ribbon to create the banners. You could also glue them to the ribbon if you don't sew. I knotted the ribbon at the ends and used hot glue to attach it to the wreath. For approximately $12 I'm very happy with the way my wreath turned out. 

Follow me on Instagram @mandyfarn for project sneak peeks and other fun that doesn't always make it to the blog. 

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Hoppy Halloween: Handmade Frog Costume

My 7 year old son loves frogs. He raised frogs from tadpoles this summer and he has been fascinated with them ever since. I spent a lot of time thinking about how I would create a frog costume. Believe it or not, I do have some frog costume creation experience. During college I was a Budweiser frog (along with two of my girlfriends). My 7 year old makes a much better frog than we did.

To make his costume I used: 
  • forest green sweat suit (body) 
  • brown and green fabric paint (body) 
  • forest green baseball hat (hat) 
  • 3 styrofoam eggs (hat)
  • floral wire (hat) 
  • black spray paint (hat) 
  • silver deco mesh (hat) 
  • white opaque nylon stockings (hat)
  • 2 black pom-poms (hat) 
  • 2 black pipe cleaner (hat) 
  • scraps of red and black felt (hat) 
  • 1 1/2 yards of green felt (hands, feet, and hat) 

There are 3 components to this costume 1) the body, 2) hands and feet, and 3) the head with buzzing  fly. 

The body was the easiest part. I used the fabric paint and cardboard stencils to paint a random pattern on the sweatsuit. My son helped with this part of the costume. Although this part took a while, my son enjoyed getting to help and it makes the sweatsuit look like more than just a green sweat suit. 

The hands and feet were the only part of costume that required sewing. To make them I cut out two pieces of the pattern I created for each (see sketch below), sewed them together (leaving an opening - like you'd do if you were sewing a pillow) turned them inside out and topstitched them to close the opening. I added velcro to secure them to my son's wrist and ankles. After adding the velcro to the hands I figured out that I didn't really need the loop sections of velcro. The hooks stuck to the felt really well.  

On the underside of each hand, I sewed a little felt loop for my son's finger. The loop helps to keep the hands in place but enables him to use his hands to grab candy etc. 

completed feet
completed hands
loop on underside of hand
The hat looks more complicated than it was to construct. The first thing I tackled was the eyes. I cut two domes off the ends of two styrofoam eggs (I used a serrated knife to do this) and covered them with sections of opaque white nylon tights that no longer fit my daughter. I used short sewing pins to secure the nylon to the bottom of the eggs. Next I used hot glue to attach the eyes to the hat. I cut out crescent shaped pieces of felt and secured them to the top and bottom of the eyes. This gives the hat a more professional look and makes the eyes look more like frog eyes. I used a scrap of black felt to cut out the black pupils. 

To make the fly, I sprayed a styrofoam egg black. I used silver deco mesh to make the wings and attached them with sewing pins. I used piper cleaner to make the legs and black craft pom-poms to make the fly's eyes. I attached the fly to the top of the hat with a piece of floral wire. I wrapped one end of the wire around the little bottom thing on the top of the hat and poked the other into the side of styrofoam fly. I love the little fly!

Lastly, I used a scrap of red felt and a pipe cleaner to make the tongue. I cut out two pieces of felt shaped like a tongue. I sewed them together leaving an opening at the base. I inserted the pipe cleaner in to the opening then attached the tongue to the under side of the hat with hot glue. 

My son can't wait to wear his costume to school and trick or treating on Halloween. 

Monday, October 27, 2014

Wild About Halloween

If you follow this blog, you know that I love Halloween. And that I especially love making Halloween costumes. Over the years my kids have been a buffalo, dinosaur, old school Batman, recycling truck, recycling bin, chipmunk, zebra, Rainbow Dash, Pirate, and a Jedi. This year they both chose animals. My 4 year old is going to be a penguin and my 7 year old is going to be a frog. I love that they selected totally unconventional costumes. 

That thing floating above the frog's head is a fly. I promise how-to posts for both costumes before Halloween. Even if you don't have time to make them this year, you can always pin them for next year. :)


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