The April DIY Craft Challenge Is “In The Garden”

Thank you to everyone who participated in last month’s DIY Craft Challenge! We just love seeing the awesome things you all make and feel so inspired by the ‘bird’ themed submissions we received. Be sure to check out our roundup post of what everyone made here!

Play In The Dirt

Spring is here, the sun is shining, and we’re taking inspiration from our own backyards this month! The theme for April is “In The Garden” so we invite you all to go outside, find inspiration in your surroundings and make something inspired by the seeds you plant, the flowers you pot, and the creativity you grow.

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April DIY Craft Challenge at Adventures-in-making.com

Inspiration Sources

1. Incremental Mini-Garden by No Linde
2. DIY Stamped Spoon Plant Markers by Intimate Weddings
3. Hopscotch Garden Stepping Stones by Garden Therapy
4. Springtime Tic-Tac-Toe by Chicken Scratch NY
5. Ombre Herb Garden Markers by Humble Beads Jewelry
6. DIY Modern Neon Concrete Block Planter by Modernly Wed
7. Illustration by Sanna Mander
8. Chalkboard Clay Pot Herb Garden by The Robin’s Nest
9. Herb Embroidery by Onoe Megumi
10. Moss Hearts by Alissa Burke
11. Pansy Shortbread Cookies by The Cafe Sucre Farine
12. DIY River Rock Garden Markers by West Valley Moms Blog

HOW TO ENTER

Click here for details on how to enter your project to the DIY Challenge! Don’t forget to share your projects with everyone on Instagram using #diycraftchallenge.

The challenge officially begins today, April 1st and ends on April 27th, 2016. We will post a roundup of everyone’s projects on April 30th. Have fun and happy crafting!

Need more inspiration?

Take a look out our Pinterest board for more stitch inspired project ideas.

Have a great weekend! We’ll be back on Monday with our own “Garden” themed projects to share 🙂

DIY: Spring Chicken Plushies

DIY: Spring Chicken Plushie With spring beginning to bloom, my friends’ chickens are starting to lay more eggs. I love visiting them and watching the chickens peck and strut their way around the yard. Feeling a little ‘chicken’ inspired and wanting to work on a new sewing project, I decided to make up a few Spring Chicken Plushies to give as gifts to my friends who have and love their chickens! (I also secretly hope they will trade me a cute plushie for a fresh egg!)

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This is a fairly straightforward tutorial that can be done using a sewing machine or sewn completely by hand. I love coming up with ways to use up fabric scraps and this project is perfect for that since the all the pieces are quite small.

Materials:

  • Cotton fabric (quilter’s fabric works great)
  • Red and yellow felt (use scraps if you have them on hand)
  • Sewing machine (optional)
  • Needle and thread
  • Pins
  • Sewing Scissors
  • Craft scissors
  • Embroidery floss
  • Fiberfill
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Dried lemon balm (optional)
  • Free pattern (click to download)

Download the free pattern, then print and cut out the pieces using craft scissors. Press your fabric and cut out the pattern pieces using fabric scissors. Remember not to mix up your scissors! You don’t want to dull the blade of your fabric only scissors by using them to cut paper.

Use a cotton fabric of your choice to cut out pattern pieces A + B. Then choose a coordinating cotton fabric to cut out pattern piece C. Use red felt to cut out pattern piece D and yellow felt to cut out E (as shown below).

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Once you have your pieces cut, lay the first pattern piece A (with right side facing up) onto your work surface. Place the felt pieces D + E on top as shown below. Then place pattern piece B (right side facing down) as shown and secure with a pin.

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Sew along the edge to secure the felt pieces and pattern piece B into place.

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Next place the second pattern piece A directly on top (right side facing down). Pin in place and then flip over.
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Flip up the bottom (sewn side) of piece B and pin the un-sewn side into place as shown in the photo below.

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Sew all the way around the outside leaving about a ½” opening near the top or neck of the bird. Make small cuts in the fabric (making sure not to cut through your stitches) as shown below.

DIY: Spring Chicken Plushies

Then cut a few notches where indicated on the pattern (this will prevent the fabric from puckering once we turn the fabric right side out).

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Now you’re ready to turn the fabric right side out and stuff with fiberfill. Use the end of a pencil to turn out completely and stuff.

OPTIONAL: Add with a few tablespoons of dried lemon balm then stuff the rest of the way with fiberfill for a scented sachet option.

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Use a needle and thread to whip stitch the opening closed. Set the bird body aside.

Now it’s time to sew the wings. Place two pattern piece C’s together (right sides face in). Sew around leaving a small opening. Turn right side out and whip stitch the opening closed. Repeat for the second wing.

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Thread your needle with a matching thread and stitch the wings onto the body of the bird as shown in the photo below.chicken-plushies-11

Cut a length of embroidery floss. Divide the strands into 3 plys and thread onto a needle. Poke your needle behind a wing (to hide your knot) and come up near the top where you want to start your first eye. Use a straight stitch to add a U shape eye on one side of the bird. Then poke your needle through to the other side and stitch the second eye. Hide the end of your thread by poking your needle back through the bird and coming out farther down near a seam. Cut off excess thread with scissors.

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And you’re done! Make a few to decorate your home this spring or gift them to your chicken-loving friends and family this Easter!

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Click Here for a tutorial on how to make the Felt Cacti featured in the photos above!

 

 

DIY: Three Ways To Paint A Watercolor Feather (For Beginners)

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Can you believe it’s almost spring? Here in Portland, the rain clouds have been taking more frequent breaks to let the sun shine and people are preparing their gardens for the new year. One rainy afternoon I felt the urge to get out my watercolors and play. I had fun experimenting with a favorite subject (one that fits our DIY Craft Challenge theme this month), FEATHERS and decided to share a few of my favorite ways to paint one.

This is a great project for those who are just learning how to use watercolors. Be sure to check out my other posts on Watercolor Basic Supplies & Techniques and 8 Watercolor Techniques For Beginners.

Materials Needed:

• Watercolor paper
• Watercolor paints
• Small + medium size brushes
• Black fine tip pen (I use 0.3 Copic Multi Liner)
• Pencil
• White gouache
• Sea salt
• Feathers (for inspiration)

Prep Your Paper & Sketch

Start by cutting your watercolor paper to three pieces of equal size (I cut mine to be 4″ x 6″). OR you can simply paint all three feathers onto the same page. Then lightly sketch a feather shape with pencil. To do this, first draw an elongated oval shape. Then sketch a straight line down the middle (this will be the stem).
DIY: Three Ways To Paint A Watercolor Feather

METHOD #1: Color Wash + Black Pen

Start by creating a color wash within the feather shape. To do this, first paint your feather shape with a thin layer of clear water only.
DIY: Three Ways To Paint A Feather
Then prep a few colors by wetting the pigment with water. While the feather shape is still wet, use your brush to drop color randomly onto the wetted surface (I like to use two or three colors for this). Allow the paint to flow together. You can even lift your paper slightly to help it run together.

DIY: Three Ways To Paint A Feather

OPTIONAL: Wait a minute or two, and while the paint is still wet, sprinkle some sea salt over the top. Let dry completely, then brush off any remaining salt from the paper.

DIY: Three Ways To Paint A Feather

Once dry you can decide whether or not you want to do a second color wash layer. I chose to add some more red/orange paint to the bottom of my feather to achieve a darker, more vibrant hue. Don’t forget to paint a stem!

DIY: Three Ways To Paint A Feather

Next get out a fine tipped black felt pen. I use a 0.3 Copic Multi Liner. First draw two lines down the center. You want the lines to come to a point near the top of the feather to create the stem. Next you can begin drawing lines from the stem starting and at the top of the feather and working your way down.

DIY: Three Ways To Paint A Feather

Experiment with leaving space between the lines at different intervals. You could also try different mark making techniques like dots, dashed lines, or even illustrated patterns.

TIP: If drawing with pen directly onto your watercolor feather is too nerve-wrecking, you can lightly sketch your lines with pencil first and then go over with pen.

DIY: Three Ways To Paint A Feather

METHOD #2: Color Wash + Watercolor Details

Start by sketching your feather shape. I chose to sketch my stem in an arc/curve shape this time. Then create a light color wash by first painting the feather shape with a thin layer of clear water and then dropping paint at random onto the wetted surface.

DIY: Three Ways To Paint A Feather

TIP: To paint a lighter shade color wash, all you have to do as add more water to your paint to dilute the pigment.

DIY: Three Ways To Paint A Feather

OPTIONAL: Because I like texture, I chose to sprinkle some sea salt over the color wash (just like in Method #1). Let dry completely, then brush off any remaining salt.

DIY: Three Ways To Paint A Feather

Next create a second layer with feathery details. First choose a darker color (I chose a dark green) to paint the stem.
DIY: Three Ways To Paint A Feather

Using a small brush, begin to paint whispy lines starting at the stem going out to the edge of your color wash. Experiment by using a few different colors of the same hue.

DIY: Three Ways To Paint A Feather

Once you complete your second whispy layer, you can continue to add more color or detail (while the paint is still wet) until you achieve a look you like. Once finished, let dry completely.

DIY: Three Ways To Paint A Feather
DIY: Three Ways To Paint A Feather

METHOD #3: Color Wash + Gouache Details

Sketch your feather. This time I chose to create a slightly more detailed sketch. Start with the basic feather shape and then using your actual feather as inspiration, lightly draw ‘more wild’ feather shape.

DIY: Three Ways To Paint A Feather

Fill the feather shape with a color wash the same way we did in the last two methods. Paint the shape with clear water and then use your brush to drop in color at random.

DIY: Three Ways To Paint A Feather

Then while the paint is till wet, choose a darker color and add in some stripes. Do this by dropping in the dark color in intervals, leaving gaps in between each ‘stripe’. You can keep adding color until you get a look you like. Then let dry completely.

DIY: Three Ways To Paint A Feather

Then add some white gouache to your palette and using a fine tip brush, paint a line down the center of the feather and add in some white dots. Let dry and you’re done!

DIY: Three Ways To Paint A Feather

Three ways To Paint A Feather

DIY: MARCH Embroidered Bird Journal Kit

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Whenever we come up with a monthly theme, we always seem to have a couple of images floating around in our minds- a couple of things we’d like to tackle. Ever since last month, I wanted a chance to play around with stitching on paper, and I decided this little bird was just asking for it.

I had so much fun making this journal, I thought I would share the experience with you! This kit includes a bound journal of found papers, a black band, embroidery floss, a needle, and basic instructions. You can pick up a kit for yourself at our Adventures in Making Etsy Shop.

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March Journal Kit Includes:

  • One staple bound journal (~3.5 inches)
  • Embroidery floss
  • Embroidery Needle
  • Sewing template (if you’re reproducing this design exactly.)

Additional tools needed

  • Scissors
  •  Pencil

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Paper Stitching Tips

  • Pre-pierce with a needle or awl. Paper is less forgiving than fabric; every hole you poke will show through. To minimize the damage to your paper, poke all your holes before you start stitching.
  • Pull your thread in the direction of the paper. When you tighten up your stitches, pull your needle parallel to the paper surface. If you pull away from the paper you’ll strain you paper and make the hole larger.
  • Use half a strand of floss for a flatter piece of art. A full strand of floss was a little too thick for any of the stitches in this journal.
  • Make lots of knots, even though knots are tedious sometimes.

 

Step One: Draw Template Lines

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With the band in place, trace a pencil line gently along each edge. You will not put any stitches directly under the band.

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This kind of paper-stitching is kind of like 3-d doodling, so let your imagination take you away! Trace circular items, use a ruler or free-hand lines you want to use.

(If you want to reproduce my design instead of making your own, you can skip the drawing step and use the template to pierce holes. Instructions in the next step.)

Step Two: Pierce the Paper

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Use your needle to poke small holes along each of your curved lines, about 1/4 – 1/2″ apart. You can use fewer holes for straight lines, just make sure to have a hole at each end. (If you’re using the birdy template to recreate our circular pattern, line it up on the front cover of your journal and press your needle through at each red dot. Put the template to the side, and use the colored lines as a reference to connect the dots!)

Step Three: Adding Stitches

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You can try any embroidery stitch you want to connect your dots. Rachel’s embroidery sampler is a great reference for stitches. The back stitch is especially useful.

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Check out the sampler post for more stitches to try on your journal!

Step Four: Finishing Up

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When you’re all done stitching, and want to hide the back of your work, pull the adhesive strip backing from the front cover…

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Then partially close the book and wrap the cover flap over the cream-colored end page. Run your finger along the flap to adhere it.

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If you have any remaining pencil lines, gently erase them, and you’re all done!

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Each journal was made with vintage papers, so there’s lots to inspire art journaling or collage. You can even embroider inside!

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The March DIY Craft Challenge Theme Is BIRDS!

First I want to say thank you again to everyone who participated in last month’s DIY Craft Challenge! If you missed our roundup of submissions yesterday, be sure to check it out. We are truly blown away by the creative projects that everyone made and shared with us!

Put A Bird On It

With spring just around the corner we are drawing inspiration from our winged friends, the birds! There are endless ways to create something with this theme whether it be the eggs you dye this Easter, the bird feeder you make for your backyard, or the feathers you collect on your afternoon walk. We hope you’ll find some feathery inspiration this month and use it as an opportunity to revisit a project you had forgotten about, experiment with a new technique or skill, or simply treat yourself to an afternoon of making something you enjoy.

I want to sing like the birds sing, not worrying about who hears or what they think. – Rumi

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March DIY Craft Challenge by Adventures In Making

Inspiration Sources:

1. Curly Paper Bird by Paper Craft Square
2. Wise Owl Pincushions by Quilt Magazine
3. Washi Tape Bird On A Branch by SuWolf
4. Birdseed Heart by Intimate Weddings
5. Paper Mache Birds by Ann Wood
6. Watercolor Feather by Lucy Akins
7. Peep Hot Chocolate by Needles And A Pen
8. Sugar Cookie Easter Egg Nests by Lovely Little Kitchen
9. Bird Sketches by Drawing The Motmot
10. Lego Bird Feeder by Gary Mueller
11. Painted Feathers by Free People Blog
12. Bird Garland by Art Bar Blog
13. Bird Costume by Probably Actually
14. Ombre Dyed Easter Eggs by The Crafted Life

HOW TO ENTER

Click here for details on how to enter your project to the DIY Challenge! Don’t forget to share your projects with everyone on Instagram using #diycraftchallenge.

The challenge officially begins today, March 1st and ends on March 29th, 2016. We will post a roundup of everyone’s projects on March 31st. Have fun and happy crafting!

Need more inspiration?
Take a look out our Pinterest board for more stitch inspired project ideas.

DIY: Heart Bath Bombs (For Valentine’s Day)

DIY Heart Bath Bombs (for Valentine's Day)
Happy February! Today we are sharing a BONUS project on how to make pretty Heart Bath Bombs for your friends and family this Valentine’s Day. Alison and I got together with some friends to make these and they turned out wonderful! We used all natural ingredients and scented them with pure essential oils of lavender and rose geranium (ie. Heaven!).

DIY: Heart Bath Bomb (for Valentine's Day)

Ingredients:

• 2 cups baking soda
• 1 cup citric acid
• 3 tablespoons kaolin (white) clay
• 1 tablespoon hibiscus flower powder
• 1/2 teaspoon olive oil
• Rose petals
• Witch hazel
• 25 drops lavender essential oil
• 25 drops rose geranium essential oil

Additional Tools:

• Heart silicone mold
• Mixing bowl
• Spray bottle
• Parchment paper

DIY: Heart Bath Bomb (for Valentine's Day)

Gather your supplies and pour some witch hazel into a spray bottle and set aside. Next add rose petals to the bottom of the silicone mold (be careful not to add too many, you just want a light sprinkle) and set aside. In your mixing bowl, combine the dry ingredients (baking soda, citric acid, clay, hibiscus powder) and mix with your hands, breaking up any clumps.

DIY: Heart Bath Bomb (for Valentine's Day)

Next combine the olive oil and essential oils together, then add it to the mixing bowl and use your hands to fully incorporate.

DIY: Heart Bath Bomb (for Valentine's Day)

Now comes the fun part. Spray witch hazel, a few sprays at a time, into the mixture using your hands to incorporate. You’ll want to work quickly as the citric acid will fizz with each spray. Continue to spray a little at a time until you reach a clump-like consistency that holds together in your hands.

DIY: Heart Bath Bomb (for Valentine's Day)
DIY: Heart Bath Bomb (for Valentine's Day)
Finally, pack the mixture into the silicone mold. Really push it in tight! Let dry in the mold for 10-15 minutes, then turn onto parchment paper and remove the mold. Let bath bombs dry overnight.

DIY: Heart Bath Bomb (for Valentine's Day)

We’d like to wish you all a Happy Valentine’s Day! Don’t forget to check out our Monthly DIY Craft Challenge and submit your own handmade project!

DIY: Heart Bath Bomb (for Valentine's Day)

DIY: Turn a Tea Towel into the Simplest Apron

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My cooking style is much like a cartoon: with ingredients flying everywhere, sauces spilling across every surface, and flour covering every inch of my clothing.

Aprons and abundant cleaning cloths are an absolute necessity. Since I like to cook my aprons need frequent washing, so I set out to make one to spare from a fun tea towel. (Before you ask, this lovely tea towel is from Seattle local Sunday Drive Designs.)

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SUPPLIES

  • One pre-washed and lightly ironed tea towel
  • About 3 yards of fabric ribbon
  • Corresponding thread
  • Straight pins
  • Scissors
  • A sewing machine or hand needles

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This design breaks down very simply into a tie around your waist, and a loop around the back of your neck.

Start by holding the tea towel up in front of you, and marking with a straight pin where your natural waist is. (For me, it was about 1/3 of the way from the top of the tea towel, at about 9″.) Cut a length of about 2 yards from your ribbon, and pin it across your tea towel at the point you marked.

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Cut two more lengths of ribbon, on 12″ long and one 24″ long. One each piece, fold about 1″ underneath, and pin to one of the upper corners of the tea towel.

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Now to the sewing! I used a straight stitch on my machine to attach the ribbons to the tea towel (which I show below) but if you don’t have a machine, don’t fret! You can hand stitch these pieces on without too-much trouble, just give yourself a little time.

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If you’re using a machine, follow the waist tie with a straight stitch, about 1/4″ from the edges.

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Then tack the neck straps on each side. (I stitched an “X” shape across the tab for reinforcement.)

With all the ribbon ties attached, slip on the apron and tie the pieces.(The knot of the neck strap will be on one side, since one strip is longer than the other.) Check the length of all the pieces, and trim the ends off of any of the pieces that are way too long. Make sure not to trim any of the pieces too short! You might want to share the apron with someone who is a different size.

Once the pieces are trimmed, take off the apron to finish the edges of the ribbon.

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Fold about 3/4″ of the ribbon under, then fold again to hide the raw edge of the ribbon. Pin it flat, and repeat on all of the raw edges.

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Finish by stitching the fold down on each end. Bang! Done.

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Super simple (and cute) protection from dangerous food-shrapnel.
No more will people know everything about you by the stains on your clothing. You can hide those stains on an apron instead.

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Sneaky.

DIY: February (Peace Sign) Badge Kit

February Badge Kit Tutorial #diycraftchallenge

We are so excited to be back and have our DIY Craft Challenge up and running again. This year we are changing things up and have created a little DIY Badge Kit available for purchase in our Etsy shop! Each month we’ll have a different DIY kit to go along with our DIY Craft Challenge theme. Since this month’s theme is Stitches & Threads, I’ve created a fun embroidery inspired badge using basic embroidery stitches. We invite you to visit our new Etsy shop to purchase a kit OR if you already have the supplies on hand, feel free to use this tutorial to make your own!

The monthly badge kit is designed to be a mini (warmup) project to get your creative juices flowing for the DIY Craft Challenge. We’d love to see your finished badges so be sure to snap a photo and use #diycraftchallenge on Instagram! And don’t forget to submit a ‘Stitches & Threads’ inspired project of your own this month. For more details on how to submit, CLICK HERE.

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February Badge Kit Includes:

• Two 2″ felt circles
• Embroidery floss
• Embroidery needle
• One 1.5″ paper circle (for template guide)
• Pinback

Additional tools needed:

• Sewing scissors
• Felt tip pen

CLICK HERE to purchase a kit!

Step One: Create A Template

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First you want to sketch a peace sign onto one of the felt circles to be your guide for your embroidery stitches. Use the paper circle provided to draw a circle. Then sketch a vertical line down the middle. Complete the peace sign by sketching two more lines starting at the middle of the vertical line and moving diagonally to form two pie shapes (see photo below).

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Step Two: Stitch the Design

I’ve chosen four different embroidery stitches for this project. Feel free to change it up and use different stitches than the ones I’ve chosen!

Reference THIS POST full instructions on how to:
– Thread your needle & tie a knot
– Tie off your thread (once you’ve finished your stitches)
– Chain Stitch
– Fern Stitch

First, stitch the outline circle using a chain stitch.
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Next stitch the inside lines to complete the peace sign using a Fern Stitch.
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Lazy Daisy Stitch: Embellish your peace sign with one or two Lazy Daisy flowers. Bring the threaded needle to the front at A. Insert the needle back into the fabric at A and then just poke the needle back up to the front at B. Loop the thread under the needle point then pull the thread through to create a loop (with your thread coming up inside the loop). Then anchor the top of the loop to the felt with a small stitch, from B (inside the loop) to C (outside the loop). Repeat this lazy daisy stitch for each petal (always starting at the center) to create a flower.

Lazy Daisy Stitch #tutorial #embroidery

Note: You’ll notice the Lazy Daisy stitch is quite similar to the Chain Stitch.

Video Link: Lazy Daisy Stitch

Step Three: Finishing Your Badge

Finish your badge by stitching the front and back felt circles together using a Blanket Stitch. Blanket Stitch is a decorative stitch primarily used for edging. Start by holding the two felt circles together (right sides facing out). Insert the threaded needle through just the top layer (front) only and pull the thread through (this way your knot will be hidden between the two circles). Next, starting at the same place as your first stitch, insert your needle into the back circle, pulling your needle through both layers. Pull your thread through leaving a small loop. Insert the needle back through the loop and pull tight to create your first stitch. Begin your next stitch approx. 1/8″ away from the first. Bring your needle through both layers of felt. Pull the thread through, leaving a small loop. Insert your needle through the loop and pull tight. Repeat this process until you’ve stitched all the way around the edge of the circle. Insert the needle back through the loop of your first stitch to connect the circle.

Blanket Stitch Tutorial #embroidery

Video Link: Blanket Stitch

Tying Off

When tying off, you want the end the thread to be hidden in between the two layers of felt. To achieve this, you can tie a knot (optional) and then insert the needle in between the two felt layers coming out at a different spot. Pull the thread through and trim thread close to the felt with scissors. The end of your thread should now be hidden in between the felt layers.

Optional: Add a pinback

For easy pinning you can add a pinback to your badge. Simply stitch it into place making sure to insert your needle through the back layer of felt only.

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And that’s it! Show off your Peace Sign badge by pinning it to your bag/purse or stitching it onto your favorite denim vest or jacket!

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CLICK HERE to purchase a February Badge Kit from our Etsy shop!


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SHARE YOUR PROJECT ON INSTAGRAM USING #DIYCRAFTCHALLENGE

 

DIY: Heart Embroidery Sampler (For Beginners)

DIY: Heart Embroidery Sampler (for beginners)

Embroidery is one of my favorite craft mediums. It’s the perfect ‘lap’ project to work on while watching a movie and I love that I can pick up my project, work on a few stitches and just as easily put it down again. I first learned embroidery from my grandmother, who taught me to sew when I was a kid. Since then I have accumulated a big collection of vintage embroidery kits, endless boxes of floss, and have been known to transform my own art into embroidered masterpieces.

In case you haven’t heard, the DIY Craft Challenge is back! This month’s theme is Stitches & Threads, which pairs perfectly with embroidery. I’ve been longing to create a beginner embroidery tutorial for quite some time now, so this month is the perfect opportunity! And since it’s February, I made sure to design a project that can also become a Valentine for someone special in your life!

What is an embroidery sampler?

An embroidery sampler is created as a demonstration or test of skill in needlework. It’s the perfect way to practice different kinds of stitches and make something pretty at the same time.

There are hundreds of different types of embroidery stitches in existence. For this beginner project, I’ve chosen just seven: three basic outline stitches (Running Stitch, Back Stitch and Chain Stitch) and four decorative stitches (Threaded Running Stitch, Cross Stitch, Star Stitch and Fern Stitch). To make these stitches as easy to learn as possible I’ve included both photos with written instructions and a video link for each stitch.

7 Embroidery Stitches For Beginners

MATERIALS:

  • 8-inch diameter embroidery hoop:
    The Heart Sampler pattern was created for an 8” hoop but if you would like to make a different size sampler, you can shrink or enlarge the pattern provided to fit your hoop. I’d recommend not going smaller that 6” for this pattern.
  • Hand-sewing/embroidery needle:
    You’ll want to use a medium sized needle with a sharp point and a long opening, or eye, at one end, for easy threading.
  • Embroidery floss (7 different colors):
    Embroidery floss comes in a small bundle or skein and there are tons of colors available (check your local craft store). A length of floss is made up of six smaller strands or plies that are twisted together. You can use all of them or divide them up and use two, three or four plies for a thinner line. For this project, we’ll be using all 6 plies on all our stitches EXCEPT the star stitch, where we will use only three plies.
  • 12”x12” square of fabric (quilter’s cotton or linen works best):
    The looser the weave of your fabric, the more forgiving it can be when taking out stitches and starting over. A finer weave fabric is more likely to show holes from your needle.
  • Sewing scissors:
    Sewing scissors are sharp and used only for cutting thread and fabric. Avoid using your sewing scissors to cut paper or anything else beside fabric so that you don’t dull the blades.
  • Iron & ironing board
  • Fine-lead pencil (or nonpermanent fabric marking pen):
  • Crayola Light-Up Tracing Pad (or light table or sunny window)
  • Washi tape (or masking tape or pins)
  • Paper cutter (or scissors & ruler)
  • Heart Sampler Pattern

Other Useful Tools:

  • A needle threader (helpful when you find yourself struggling to thread your needle!)
  • Thimble (can prevent you from stabbing yourself in the finger with your needle. Ouch!)

DIY: Embroidery Sampler (For Beginners)

INSTRUCTIONS:

Step One: Prep the Pattern & Fabric

Download the Heart Sampler Pattern HERE and print out onto white copy paper. Then cut 1.25” from both the top and bottom of the page to create a square piece of paper with the pattern at the center.

Cut your fabric to size. I cut mine to be 12”x12” square leaving me plenty of extra. You could also get away with a 10”x10” piece of fabric too. Press your fabric to rid of any wrinkles using a hot iron.

How to use the pattern:

Use the lines of the pattern as a guide for your stitches. You’ll notice that each line has an assigned number to indicate which stitch to use. In this tutorial I will demonstrate how to make each stitch. There are a few stitches that are used more than once (like the running stitch, back stitch and chain stitch). Feel free to fill in these stitches as you go along.

Step Two: Transfer the Pattern to Fabric Using the Light Method

The easiest way to transfer a design onto a light-color fabric is to trace it. Place the square paper pattern face down onto the center of the square fabric and secure with washi tape or pins. Flip over and use a light table or my favorite tool, the Crayola Light-Up Tracing Pad, to transfer the pattern to the fabric using a fine lead pencil or nonpermanent fabric marking pen. You can also tape your fabric/design to a sunny window and use the natural light to trace.

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Step Three: Prepare the Fabric & Floss

Place the fabric into your embroidery hoop making sure the design is centered. To make your fabric taut, spread it over the smaller inside hoop and fit the larger outside hoop over the top with your fabric in between. Tighten the little screw on the outer hoop and gently pull on the edges of the fabric until you have a taut surface to work with.

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Threading your needle:

Threading the needle can be a little tricky, especially when using all six plies of floss. It may help to slightly dampen your finger and twist the end of the thread into a point, or try squeezing the floss ends flat between your thumb and forefinger. Then slide the needle’s eye onto the floss (instead of pushing the floss through the eye). If all else fails, use a needle threader.

Once you’ve threaded your needle, knot the longer end of the floss by first wrapping it around your finger, then roll it off and tighten into a knot.

Video Link: How To Tie A Knot For Hand Sewing

Step Four: Stitching the Design

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1. Running Stitch: To begin stitching the Heart Sampler, let’s start with the most basic embroidery stitch- the Running Stitch. Begin at the center dashed line of the heart pattern. Starting at the bottom, pull the threaded needle to the front of the fabric at A (see photo above). Then return to the back of the fabric at B. The distance from A to B can be as long or short as you want. For this project, I recommend making small, even stitches of equal length. End your last stitch so that your needle is to the back of the fabric and tie off.

Video Link: Running Stitch

Tying off:

On your last stitch, return the needle to the back of the fabric. To tie off, pass the needle under a previous stitch creating a loop. Bring the needle back through the floss loop, and tighten. I recommend pulling the thread gently when tying off to ensure that the knot ends up snuggly next to your fabric (and not half an inch away). Avoid yanking the floss.

Video link: How to tie off a stitch

Embroidery Tip!

Your thread will get twisted up as you make your stitches. To correct this problem, hold up the hoop and let the needle and floss dangle straight down so that the strand can untwist itself. Just make sure not to lose your needle!

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2. Back Stitch: Move over to the next line on the pattern (from the middle running stitch). Starting at the bottom of the pattern, bring your needle through to the front of the fabric at A (see photo above). Then go backwards and return your needle to the back of your fabric at B. Next your going to move your needle forward, coming up at C. Repeat this process to create consecutive back stitches by once again working backwards, poking your needle through at the end of the previous stitch, then moving your needle forward. Be sure to make small, even stitches of equal length. Once you reach the end of the line (of the pattern), tie off.

Video Link: Back Stitch

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3. Cross Stitch: Next we are going to try our first decorative stitch! Starting at the bottom of your pattern, bring your needle through to the front of the fabric at A and then back down again at B (creating a diagonal straight stitch). Next make a second stitch from C to D. Make sure each cross (x) overlap is in the same direction. Once you finish your row and tie off, notice what the back or your stitches look like. The back of a Cross Stitch row should look like the image shown.

Video Link: Cross Stitch

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4. Threaded Running Stitch: First make a line of small close Running Stitches. End the floss. Start a second floss strand (in a different color) at the same spot as the first line of running stitches, bringing your needle to the front of your fabric at A. Working on the front only, without stitching through the fabric, insert the needle under the first Running Stitch, then through the second Running Stitch. Continue weaving back and forth under the Running Stitches until you reach the end of the line. End floss and tie off.

Video Link: Threaded Running Stitch (Warning: This video is not in English, but her demonstration of the stitch is all you really need).

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5. Chain Stitch: Start again at the bottom of the pattern and move your way up. Bring the threaded needle to the front at A. Insert the needle back into the fabric at A and then just poke the needle back up to the front at B. Loop the thread under the needle point then pull the thread through to create your first chain. Begin the next stitch in the same way by inserting the needle back into the fabric at B (now under the loop), coming up at C (outside the loop). Bring the thread around and under the needle point and pull the thread through. On your last stitch, end the chain by inserting your needle into the end of the last chain (outside the loop). Pull the thread through to the back and tie off.

Video link: Chain Stitch

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6. Fern Stitch: Fern Stitch consists of three Straight Stitches of equal length radiating from the same central point A. Starting at the top of the pattern and moving your way down, bring the thread through at A and then make a Straight Stitch to B. Bring the thread back through again at point A and make another Straight Stitch to C. Bring the thread back through at point A (for the final time) and make a final straight stitch to D. Repeat this pattern by moving the needle down and coming up through the next center stitch to begin the next three radiating stitches. The center stitch follows the light of the pattern design.

Video Link: Fern Stitch (Note: This demonstration is done differently than described above. Either method works!)

star-stitch

7. Star Stitch: This is an Eight Point Star Stitch. Begin by first making a basic cross stitch. Then make another cross stitch diagonally on top of the first one to form a star.

Video Link: Star Stitch

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Step Five: Finishing for Display

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Once finished, turn your embroidery sampler to the back and take a look. My grandma always said that the back of your embroidery project should look just as neat and tidy as the front! But don’t worry. It’s OK is yours doesn’t look so tidy, since no one is meant to see the back of your project anyway (unless you show your grandma and she wants to check your stitches lol).

You can now prep your project for display. If you plan to make your heart sampler into a pillow, for example, you can remove it from the hoop and move on to your sewing machine. Or you can leave it as ‘Hoop Art’ by using the embroidery hoop as a frame for the project. To do this, make sure your Heart Sampler is centered in the hoop and the fabric is nice and taut. Then use sewing scissors to cut away the excess fabric.

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The DIY Craft Challenge is back!

It’s a little late, but we want to wish you all a bright and happy 2016! 2015 was a big year for us, full of laughs and tears both personally and professionally.

After taking a bit of a hiatus, we’re excited to get back to Adventures-In-Making and are making a few changes to push the focus to what we’re really passionate about… getting YOU involved! Tutorials are great, but our goal has always been to make Adventures-in-Making about a community of people embracing opportunities for creativity in their own lives. We want to inspire you, and to have you inspire us!

New Year, New Adventures…

Today we are reintroducing our Monthly DIY Craft Challenge! For those of you who have participated in the past, we welcome you back for more fun! And for anyone new to our website, we invite you to look through our archives, check out past DIY Challenges and stay tuned for the new projects we have in store this week. Each month we choose a new theme to explore from the many shapes, mediums, and subjects that surround us. We invite you to join in the fun and share your own creations with us.

So, What’s New?

Like I said we are changing things up this year! So for the first week of each month we will share projects and posts to inspire you to a new creation, or to share an old one. After week 1, you can find us on social media where we’ll be sharing some of our favorite theme-related projects from both our archives and from around the web. Anyone can submit a project thru the last week of the month (we’ll give you a deadline reminder). Then we’ll do a final round-up post of everyone’s submissions on the last day of the month!

We’re really excited to relaunch our DIY Craft Challenges (especially after all the requests from you guys!) and to let the themes inspire us all to learn and try new things. We hope you’ll join us and help make the A-I-M community a positive force for creativity.

Now without further ado…

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DIY Craft Challenge: Stitches & Threads

Inspiration Sources:

1. Scrappy Applique Embroidery by Jessica Sower
2. Pea Pod Pin Cushion (Source Unknown)
3. Succulent Embroidery by MoonriseWhims
4. Empire Yarn by Jill Draper
5. Embroidered Constellations by Jessica Marquez of Miniature Rhino
6. Embroidery Alphabet by Jessica Marquez of Miniature Rhino
7. Embroidered Gift Tag by About The Nice Things
8. Clothespin Wrap Dolls by This Heart of Mine
9. Cat Embroidery by Bugambilö
10. Many Ways To Sew A Button by The Button Blog
11. I Heart Portland by JessB
12. Crochet Granny Squares by The Writing Tree

FEBRUARY DIY CRAFT CHALLENGE: STITCHES & THREADS

We’re kicking things off with our first theme of 2016 – Stitches & Threads! So get our your favorite sewing supplies and make something new. Don’t know how to sew? Not to worry. Challenge yourself this month and see what you can make with your favorite color yarn or embroidery floss. Experiment with making stitches on paper, learn a few simple embroidery stitches or draw something that is ‘stitch’ inspired. There are no limits to this theme! See where it takes you and most of all, have fun!

HOW TO ENTER

Click here for details on how to enter your project to the DIY Challenge! Don’t forget to share your projects with everyone on Instagram using #diycraftchallenge.

The challenge officially begins today, February 1st and ends on February 27th, 2016. We will post a roundup of everyone’s projects on February 29th. Have fun and happy crafting!

Need more inspiration?

Take a look out our Pinterest board for more stitch inspired project ideas.