DIY: Quick Printable Catnip Kicking Bag

img_6911kickingbag
This month’s DIY Challenge theme is Cats, so send in all your favorite kitty projects for the round-up at the end of the month. Visit the challenge page for more information, and use the handy-dandy form to upload your project photos. We can’t wait to see what you’ve made! Quick note to those of you who tend more to the barking or chirping animals – we welcome protest projects too. Show us why your favorite is better than our purring friends!

In typical cat fashion, my kitties seem to like toys that are not intended to be toys at all. You might think it’s a child-safe plug cover, but they think it’s the neatest thing since canned tuna. For a while they have been sharing a repurposed jack-o-lantern drawstring bag filled with catnip- and I decided it was time to give them something a little nicer. They do love the scale of the jack-o-lantern bag, which is long and wide unlike most catnip toys, so I decided to replicate the scale with a super-simple catnip kicking bag.

I wanted to customize the bags a bit, and I kept thinking about the lovely art Tara Bliven shared with us last month. I asked if she would write up a few feline words for us, and she did! You can use the free printable below to make this cat toy even cattier!

img_6743kickingbag

Supplies for two Bags

adventuresinmaking_kickingbagthb

Download and print out the Cat Fabric according to the specifications on the package.

img_6746kickingbag

Cut the fabric in half to make a sheet 10″ x 3.75″. Peel the backing paper off the fabric and stack it on top of the two pieces of thick fabric- with “right sides” facing out.

img_6748kickingbag

Stitch, 1/2″ in, around three sides and leave the fourth open.

img_6750kickingbag

Pour at least a teaspoon of dried catnip in the middle of your pocket…

img_6756kickingbag

Close the last side of the bag, and trim around it with pinking shears to limit fraying (and add character.)

img_6757kickingbag

Repeat with the second set of materials, and you’re done! A super cute sewing project that’s quick enough that you won’t mind when your kitties shed all over it. Now for the fun part…

(Warning, you are about to be bombarded with too many pictures of my kitties.)

img_6765kickingbag

img_6780kickingbag

img_6806kickingbag

The dangers of catnip trips. Very unflattering photos.

 

img_6871kickingbag

img_6889kickingbag

img_6863kickingbag

img_6908kickingbag

Success.

A couple of notes

  • The printable fabric is quite thin and I didn’t trust it to contain the catnip for very long, so I used it as an outside layer only. The catnip itself is contained within two layers of thicker fabric.
  • If you’re feeling adventurous, try this tutorial to make your own printable fabric!
  • If you are worried about your print running, try this vinegar bath solution to set your ink.
  • Tara is a wizard at decorative writing (and many other arts). Visit her website tarabliven.com  to find out how you can bring more of her awesomeness into your life.

DIY: Patio Friendly Pile-Up Cushions filled with Styrofoam Peanuts

IMG_6027_pileoncushions

The weather was nice for a few days in April, uncharacteristically, and began the countdown to the Pacific Northwest Summer. Ahhh; the handful of blissful weeks that makes you fall in love with the trees again, and wipes the memory of the last 8 gray months.

Safety Husband and I have been trying to be more mindful, and that extends to the way we interact with our home. We are who we are [not catalog people] and we want everything at our house to be conducive to the way we live. (Safety Husband is really into Ham Radio, so he would also like to make a great deal of the house conductive*, but that’s a different story.) We have several outdoor areas that would make great external living spaces, but we haven’t done a great job of outfitting them for the task.

All this to explain why I decided I needed to make a giant pile of outdoor cushions that I could lay upon like the Princess and the Pea. I wanted them to be cheap, washable, refurbishable, and also work with our inside decor. Fabric and wood don’t do well outside over the Seattle winter, and I can’t store things in out non-existent storage space. So I put together a handful of pillow forms from scrap material, filled with recycled styrofoam peanuts; then covered them with painted canvas covers. In one afternoon I had 7 assorted cushions, and dreams of the perfect summer.

SUPPLIES

  • Fabric scissors and optional pinking shears
  • Sewing machine and thread
  • Pillow Form Fabric: approximately 24″ (2/3 yard) of 45″-wide lightweight scrap fabric per pillow
  • Pillow Cover: approximately 24″ (2/3 yard) of 52″ to 60″-wide canvas-type material per pillow
  • Styrofoam Peanuts: about a grocery sack full per pillow. Make sure that you are using styrofoam peanuts instead of the cornstarch ones that melt under water. Imagine the mess!

DECORATING SUPPLIES

  • Tulip Color Shot Fabric Color:  I used Teal, Blue, and Green.
  • Scissors
  • Tape: masking, packing, cello, washi. Whatever you want!
  • Con-Tact Paper: A great option for cutting out larger masks or covering more material.
  • Decorative punches and scissors
  • Compass, or fun shapes to trace

 

Step 1: Making the Pillow Forms

IMG_5863_pileoncushions

Take your scrap pillow-form material and fold it so that the selvedged edges touch. Cut the other two sides with pinking shears so that you have an approximately 23″ square (45″x23″ unfolded.) Sew a 1/2″ seam along the two pinked edges, then do the same for about half of the remaining side.

IMG_5869_pileoncushions

Fill the form about halfway full with peanuts, then sew the opening closed to seal your pillow form.

IMG_5888_pileoncushions

Hire a professional to test the security of your stitching.

IMG_5932_pileoncushions

Repeat until you have run out of material. (I made 7 pillows so that I could make a GIANT PILE.)

Step 2: Making the Pillow Covers

IMG_5891_pileoncushions

There is dirt outside, so you want to make sure that your pillow cover can be easily removed and laundered; this also means you want to pre-wash your fabrics so there is no future shrinkage.

Cut your fabric to about 23″ wide. With the back side showing, fold the width of the fabric into a tube about 22″ wide. The overlapped pieces will make the flap for inserting and removing your pillow form.

IMG_5902_pileoncushions

Stitch up the two open ends of your tube approximately 1/4″ in.

IMG_5904_pileoncushions

Then turn the cover inside out using the open flaps. Make sure to press the corner all the way out with your finger or a pencil.

IMG_5905_pileoncushions

Stitch around the outside edges of your pillow cover, about 3/8″ in- then you’re done!

Step 3: Decorating the Cushions to Match your Life.

IMG_5911_pileoncushions

Decorating the pillows was definitely the biggest fun in this project (other than sitting in the sun on the cushions later.) If you’re a selfless person, you could share that fun with your family and friends, and let each person design a mask for their own pillow. Masking the pillow is as easy as using tape and scissors. Build shapes out of strips of tape, or cut shapes out of contact paper. (ABOVE: I used a compass to draw circles, then cut and arranged them on the front of my cover.) You could have the initials of everyone in your family, silhouettes of your pets and favorite animals… anything really.

IMG_5917_pileoncushions

Once you’ve settled on a masked design, take it outside and spray it down with your fabric spray paint. (I used Tulip Color Shot Fabric Color which is washable and flexible.) Remember that spray paint doesn’t ever go on consistently, so embrace the irregularity and leave some patches lighter than others.

After you’ve got a nice coat of paint on, let your cover dry for an hour or so before pulling off the mask.

IMG_5920_pileoncushions

Then let your covers air out for a few more hours.

When everything is dry (not sticky or smelly) you can put your pillow forms into your covers. Slip the form into the open flap, then push it down under the inner over-lapping flap. Press the corners of the form into the corners of the cover and shake and stomp it until everything looks nice.

IMG_6022_pileoncushions

Then build the tower of pillow on which you will reign.

IMG_6010_pileoncushions

 

IMG_6039_pileoncushions

Or, you know. Share with your friends.

IMG_6032_pileoncushions

Wheeee! Pillows.

IMG_6002_pileoncushionsB

*I have a feeling that SH will have something to say about this line in the post when and if he reads it, so I’m going to put a disclaimer- like all nerdy types, there is typically a method to his madness, so I am sure the most of the house will remain non-conductive, or resistive, or whatever. Just, you know, antennas. He likes antennas.

DIY: Plantable Felt Vegetable Garden (Part 2)

DIY: Plantable Felt Vegetable Garden tutorial (Part 2)
Stitching up felt veggies has become my newest obsession. They’re easy to make, and so much fun to watch kids play with! Yesterday, I shared PART 1 of this tutorial where we made a garden planter box, tomatoes, strawberries and faux plants for them to ‘grow’ on. Today we’ll be making… you guessed it! More veggies for our play garden!

DIY: Plantable Felt Vegetable Garden tutorial (Part 2)

Materials:

• Felt (pinks, purples, greens, and oranges)
• Needle and thread (in coordinating colors)
• Pins and fabric scissors
• Fiberfill
• Pipe cleaners
• Velcro
• Faux greenery (for the ‘plants’)
Free printable pattern

Helpful Links

PART 1 (Tutorials for the planter box, tomatoes, and strawberries)
Felt Cabbage tutorial by Fairfax
Felt Mushroom tutorial by Fairyfox

A special note: There is no right or wrong way to sew any of the felt veggies in this tutorial! You can use a sewing machine, or hand-stitch them all (like I did). My mom and I discovered different ways to make these as we went along and all methods are correct! So if you find your own way, that’s great! And if your tomato turns out a little wonky, even better! Since discovering a ‘real’ odd shape veggie growing in your garden is one of the many pleasures of growing anything.

Step One: Beets!

DIY: Plantable Felt Vegetable Garden tutorial (Part 2)

Print out the pattern provided and cut out your pieces from pink and dark green felt. Thread your needle with pink thread and tie a knot at the end.

DIY: Plantable Felt Vegetable Garden tutorial (Part 2)

Slightly overlap each edge with the one adjacent and whip stitch together (as shown below in photo 1). Repeat on the other three edges until the beet is sewn all the way around (photo 2). Next, use a straight stitch to sew around the outside of the beet (photo 3). Stuff with fiberfill and cinch the opening closed and set aside (we will cinch closed completely, tie a knot and tie off later) (photo 4).

Now to sew the beet’s stalk and leaves! Cut a length of pipe cleaner and thread a needle with green thread (photo 6). Place the pipe cleaner on top of the green stem and then place a pink stalk on top of the pipe cleaner. Holding all three pieces together, whip stitch around the entire pink stock with the pipe cleaner enclosed inside. Trim any excess pipe cleaner from the bottom (photo 7). Repeat this process for the second leaf/stalk.

Now all we have to do is connect the stalk/leaves to the beet. Insert the stalks into the center of the beet and cinch closed (around the stalks). Make a few stitches back and forth and around the stalks to secure the beet and the stalks tightly together (photo 8). Tie off and you’re done!

DIY: Plantable Felt Vegetable Garden tutorial (Part 2)

DIY: Plantable Felt Vegetable Garden tutorial (Part 2)

Step Two: Carrots!

DIY: Plantable Felt Vegetable Garden tutorial (Part 2)

Cut out the pieces using the pattern provided from orange and light green felt. Thread your needle with orange thread and tie a knot at the end (see photo 1 below). Poke your needle into the tip of the orange triangle and pull through (photo 2). Turn the edges together, with them slightly overlapped, whipstitch all the way up to create the shape of a carrot (photo 3). Stuff the carrot with fiberfill (photo 4) and straight stitch around the top. Insert the leaves and cinch the carrot closed. Make a few small stitches around the base of the leaves to secure together and tie off.

DIY: Plantable Felt Vegetable Garden tutorial (Part 2)

felt-vegetable-garden-6

Step Three: Eggplants!

DIY: Plantable Felt Vegetable Garden tutorial (Part 2)
Cut out the pieces using the pattern provided, thread your needle with dark color thread and tie a knot at the end (photo 1). Slightly overlap the edges of two purple felt pieces and whip stitch together up one side. Then add the third piece and whipstitch that on so that all three pieces are now connected (photo 2). Next bring the edges together and sew up the last side to create an eggplant shape (photo 3). Stuff with fiberfill, stitch closed and tie off (photo 4).

DIY: Plantable Felt Vegetable Garden tutorial (Part 2)

Finally, add the leaf. Thread your needle with green thread and backstitch down the center of each ‘petal’ of the leaf to secure onto the eggplant (photo 5). Cut a small piece of velcro (the soft ‘loop’ side) and stitch it anywhere near the top of the leaf. Repeat to make as many eggplants as you like! (I made three to grow on one plant).

Step Four: Make the Plant!

Just like with the strawberries and tomatoes, I used faux greenery to make a plant for the eggplants to ‘grow’ from. Simply cut off a plant size sprig and stitch little pieces of Velcro (using the ‘hook’ or sticky side) onto the leaves and/or stems. Once you’ve finished adding the Velcro, you are ready to plant your eggplants!
DIY: Plantable Felt Vegetable Garden tutorial (Part 2)

DIY: Plantable Felt Vegetable Garden tutorial (Part 2)

DIY: Plantable Felt Vegetable Garden tutorial (Part 2)

DIY: Plantable Felt Vegetable Garden (Part 1)

Plant the seeds of joyful gardening and teach your child how to tend to their very own felt vegetable garden! This is a great project that can be turned into the ultimate garden playtime complete with a garden planter box, plants, and ‘pickable’ fruits and veggies. Also, don’t forget the play watering can!

felt-vegetable-garden-47

My twin nieces will be two years old this June and I plan on gifting them their own felt garden to play with. I first had the idea last winter and had originally planned to make this as a Christmas gift but with the craziness of the holiday season, I wasn’t able to start working on it until Christmas day! Since then, my mom and I have spent many evenings stitching up these felt veggies. Not only are they simple to make and impossible to ‘mess up’ (since imperfections in homegrown veggies is part of the magic of gardening), these felt veggies are also addicting! Once you stitch up a strawberry, you’ll be hooked by its utter cuteness and want to make more!

felt-vegetable-garden-1

Materials:

• Felt (reds and greens)
• Needle and thread (in coordinating colors)
• Pins and fabric scissors
• Fiberfill
• Embroidery floss (green and white)
• Velcro (loop and hook)
• Brown felt (for the ‘dirt’)
• Wooden crate
• Faux greenery (for the ‘plants’)
Free printable pattern

Step One: Make the planter box

felt-vegetable-garden-45

You’ll need a wooden crate, brown felt (or cotton fabric), and fiberfill. I used a sewing machine to sew the pretend dirt but you could also hand-stitch them together. To create the rows of ‘dirt’, you’ll basically be making four mini bolsters that fit snuggly into the crate.

felt-vegetable-garden-diy

Start by cutting two 4 ½” circles (see pattern) and one rectangle 15 1/8” x 11 ¾” in size. Fold the rectangle in half (hamburger style) and sew along the edge leaving approx. 1/2” seem allowance to create a sleeve. Then pin one felt circle to the sleeve with the wrong sides facing out as shown in the photo 2.

Sew all the way around the edge of the circle. Then repeat on the other end, making sure to leave a 2” opening so you can turn the whole thing right side out (see photo 3). Turn right side out and stuff with fiberfill (photo 4). Then hand-stitch the opening closed. Repeat this process to make three more mini bolsters (or however many will fit in your crate).

felt-vegetable-garden-26

A special note: There is no right or wrong way to sew any of the felt veggies in this tutorial! You can use a sewing machine, or hand-stitch them all (like I did). My mom and I discovered different ways to make these as we went along and all methods are correct! So if you find your own way, that’s great! And if your tomato turns out a little wonky, even better! Since discovering a ‘real’ odd shape veggie growing in your garden is one of the many pleasures of growing anything.

Step Two: Tomatoes!

felt-vegetable-garden-53

Print out the pattern provided and cut out your pieces from red and green felt. Thread your needle with red (or pink) thread, and tie a knot at the end (photo 1). Slightly overlap two red pieces and whip stitch them together as shown in photo 2. Then repeat with the other two red pieces. Next, whip stitch the two halves together, leaving a small opening to stuff with fiberfill. Then stitch the opening closed and tie off your thread (photo 3).

tomato-tutorial

Thread a length of green embroidery floss (or green thread works too) and back stitch the leaf to the top of the tomato as shown in photo 4.

Finish up the tomato by adding a stem with a Velcro leaf. Start by threading your needle using green thread and tie a knot at the end (photo 5). Then roll the square end of the stem piece together and stitch closed as shown in photos 6 and 7. Cut a small piece of Velcro (the soft/fuzzy ‘loop’ side) and stitch into the inside of the leaf. You can also trim the length of the stem to your desired length (photo 8).

Lastly, stitch the stem onto the tomato and tie off your thread (photo 9). And that’s it! You’ve made your first tomato! Repeat to make as many as you like (I made three to hang on a single plant).

felt-vegetable-garden-54

Step Three: Strawberries!

felt-vegetable-garden-51

Cut out your pieces using the pattern provided. Then thread your needle with red thread and tie a knot at one end (photo 1). Whip stitch the two red pieces together along the rounded edge only (just like you did with the tomatoes). Then straight stitch around the opening, stuff with fiberfill and pull the threads to cinch the opening closed (photo 2). Tie securely with a knot and tie off.

Next add ‘seeds’ to the strawberry using some white embroidery floss. Start by inserting your threaded needle into the top of the strawberry (the knot will soon be covered up by the top leaf) and make small straight stitches all around the berry (photo 3). When finished, poke the needle back up through the top and tie off. Then, thread your needle with green embroidery floss and sew the leaf onto the top of the berry (making sure to cover the white knots) (photo 4).

strawberry-tutorial

Finally stitch a small piece of Velcro (fuzzy ‘loop’ side) onto the top of the strawberry. And you’re done! Repeat to make as many strawberries as you like! I made 4 berries per plant.

felt-vegetable-garden-21

felt-vegetable-garden-52

Step Four: Make the plants!

I used faux greenery to make plants for the tomatoes and strawberries to ‘grow’ from. Simply cut off a plant size sprig and stitch little pieces of Velcro (using the ‘hook’ or sticky side) onto the leaves and/or stems. Once you’ve finished adding the Velcro, you are ready to plant your berries and tomatoes!

felt-vegetable-garden-27

Additional Links:

Here are links to two great tutorials by Fairy Fox that I used to make both the felt cabbages and mushrooms.

Cabbage tutorial
Felt Mushroom tutorial

felt-vegetable-garden-48

Be sure to stay tuned tomorrow for PART 2 of this tutorial where we’ll be making carrots, beets and even eggplants!

felt-vegetable-garden-57

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!)

chicken-plushies-22b

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).

chicken-plushies-1

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.

chicken-plushies-2chicken-plushies-3

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

chicken-plushies-4

Next place the second pattern piece A directly on top (right side facing down). Pin in place and then flip over.
chicken-plushies-5

Flip up the bottom (sewn side) of piece B and pin the un-sewn side into place as shown in the photo below.

chicken-plushies-6

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).

chicken-plushies-8

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.

chicken-plushies-9

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.

chicken-plushies-10

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.

chicken-plushies-12

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!

chicken-plushies-24bchicken-plushies-21b

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

 

 

DIY: MARCH Embroidered Bird Journal Kit

IMG_5011_MARCHbirdatistjournalembroiderykit
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.

IMG_4980_birdatistjournalembroiderykit

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

IMG_4986_birdatistjournalembroiderykit

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

IMG_4981_birdatistjournalembroiderykit
With the band in place, trace a pencil line gently along each edge. You will not put any stitches directly under the band.

IMG_4984_birdatistjournalembroiderykit
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

IMG_4985_birdatistjournalembroiderykit
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

IMG_4993_birdatistjournalembroiderykit
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.

back-stitch

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

Step Four: Finishing Up

IMG_4998_birdatistjournalembroiderykit
When you’re all done stitching, and want to hide the back of your work, pull the adhesive strip backing from the front cover…

IMG_5004_birdatistjournalembroiderykit
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.

IMG_5009_birdatistjournalembroiderykit
If you have any remaining pencil lines, gently erase them, and you’re all done!

IMG_4938_birdatistjournalembroiderykit
Each journal was made with vintage papers, so there’s lots to inspire art journaling or collage. You can even embroider inside!

IMG_5005_birdatistjournalembroiderykit

DIY: Turn a Tea Towel into the Simplest Apron

IMG_4401_teatowelapron
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.)

IMG_4029_teatowelapron

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

IMG_4053_teatowelapron
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.

IMG_4055_teatowelapron
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.

IMG_4056_teatowelapron
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.

IMG_4072_teatowelapron
If you’re using a machine, follow the waist tie with a straight stitch, about 1/4″ from the edges.

IMG_4064_teatowelapron
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.

IMG_4081_teatowelapron
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.

IMG_4082_teatowelapron
Finish by stitching the fold down on each end. Bang! Done.

IMG_4413_teatowelapron
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.

IMG_4398_teatowelapron
Sneaky.

DIY: Target My Heart Pincushion

IMG_4390_hearttargetpincushion
About 12 years ago I stitched together a utilitarian pillow stuffed with cloth scraps and called it a pincushion. It was my sad companion through many a sewing project, and as much as I wanted to replace it I never made the time.

Well! The time has come.

Seeing as it’s February and Stitches + Threads time, let’s turn Cupid’s target into a nifty little pincushion.

IMG_4290_hearttargetpincushion

SUPPLIES:

  • Red and white craft felt
  • Corresponding thread or embroidery floss
  • A small scrap of chipboard
  • A black permanent marker (I used a Sharpie Stained marker.)
  • Your favorite adhesive
  • A pair or scissors
  • Sewing needle
  • A strong thin magnet
  • The printed fabric template: to download click on the image below, or here.

hearttarget

  • * Optional : If you’d like to turn your pincushion into a wrist band you will need a small length of elastic and a second magnet.

IMG_4305_hearttargetpincushion
First use the “Wrist Guard” template piece to cut a small heart out of chipboard. This will be place inside the pincushion to keep you from pushing pins all the way through. Use your favorite adhesive to attach one magnet to this piece of chipboard.

IMG_4294_hearttargetpincushion
Next tape a small piece of white felt to the template sheet and use a window to trace the rings of the target shape with your black marker. You may need to go over it a few times to make the rings as dark as possible.

IMG_4304_hearttargetpincushion
Set this piece aside for a moment to dry or you will end up with marker all over your hands. (Which is fun!) While you are waiting, use the “Heart” template to cut two red heart pieces, then when the target is dry cut just outside of the first dark ring. Keep all your little fabric scraps for the stuffing steps later. (Waste not, want not and all that.)

IMG_4314_hearttargetpincushion
Place the target piece in the center of one of the heart pieces and pinch or pin them together. Using black thread or embroidery floss whip the target down to attach it to the pincushion. (I used a blanket appliqué stitch around my target, similar to the one Rachel used in her Alphabet Hoop Art DIY . You can watch a video of how it is done here. If this looks tricky to you, use any old stitch you want!)

IMG_4315_hearttargetpincushion
When the target is all stitched down make a sandwich with the remaining pieces: target+heart piece, chipboard+magnet piece, plain heart piece.

IMG_4317_hearttargetpincushion
Then use thread (or floss) to stitch the two red felt heart pieces together, beginning at the top of one side. (For this stitching I used a blanket stitch. You can see a video of a pro doing it here. Any stitch should work to make this little pillow, so play around with it!)

IMG_4326_hearttargetpincushion
When you reach the top of the other side of the heart, stop sewing and collect your scraps to stuff. Any large scraps can be cut into tinier pieces that will fluff up the inside of you cushion.

IMG_4327_hearttargetpincushion
Start to fill the space between the chipboard wrist guard and the heart+target piece, using a little bit of stuffing at a time. Make sure to press into the point and sides of your heart to make it really puff.

IMG_4331_hearttargetpincushion
When you’ve got it almost over-full stitch up the remaining open space and tie a firm knot. Tuck your thread-end into the heart or trim it and you’re all done!

IMG_4380_hearttargetpincushion
So, why did I have you include a magnet? Because magnets are awesome! If you’re prone to losing straight pins like a startled porcupine loses quills you’ll appreciate the pin collecting magic of a strong magnet. Have a magnetic board or fridge in your making space? Smack your pincushion there for safe keeping!

But if you want to really kick your pincushion up a notch…

IMG_4329_hearttargetpincushion
you can make a magnetic wrist band. Cut a piece of elastic a little bit smaller than your wrist, and glue a magnet to one end. Sew the two ends together to form a loop, stitching around the magnet.

IMG_4335_hearttargetpincushion
Then you should be able to attach your pincushion temporarily to your wrist whenever it’s convenient.

IMG_4376_hearttargetpincushion
If you’re anything like me, it will be convenient a lot.

IMG_4369_hearttargetpincushion
I don’t think I’ll ever look back to the silly old pincushion of yesterday, but I am tempted to make a bunch more of these guys. Maybe a porcupine…

SHOW+TELL: A Rainbow of Faux Embroidery

IMG_4535_fauxembroidery
I have spent quite bit of time working on my studio lately, and in the process have embraced a few truths about my personality. 1-I like to turn chaos into order 2-I love clean visually simple spaces with little subtle details 3-Rainbows are the best.

With that in mind, I set out to turn this basic curtain (that hides the closet that houses the clutter) into something a tiny bit more special.

IMG_4444_fauxembroidery
I have an absolute wealth of Sharpies, and I decided to use them to doodle a faux-embroidered rainbow trim across the curtains.

IMG_3988_fauxembroidery
First I cut strips the length of the curtains and about 8″ wide to doodle on.

IMG_3991_fauxembroidery
I ironed under the raw edged, and put a seam down the middle as a reference point for the decoration.

IMG_4003_fauxembroidery
I then gleefully sorted my Sharpies by color (to understand my glee, see points 1 and 2 above) and chose the best colors for my rainbow.

IMG_4013_fauxembroidery
I divided the length into a small portion for each color, and made a light mark where each color began and ended.

IMG_4024_fauxembroidery
Overlapping those marks a bit, I began to draw shapes with small dots and dashes– mimicking the stitches on decorative embroidery pieces. I used a lot of botanical shapes (cause I love ’em) and tried to break up the space with a lot of variety.

IMG_4466_fauxembroidery
When I had the strips all filled up with decoration, I pinned them to my curtains, and used a simple zig-zag stitch on my machine to attach them for good.

IMG_4527
I really like the little touch of color this added, and it was tons of fun to doodle inch-after-inch of floral rainbow.IMG_4545_fauxembroidery
One day I’ll show you some of the other rainbows I’ve captured in here…

Cause they’re the best.

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.

february-badge-1

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

february-badge-2

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).

february-badge-3

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.
february-badge-4

Next stitch the inside lines to complete the peace sign using a Fern Stitch.
february-badge-5

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.

february-badge-9

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!

february-badge-8

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


February-badge-kit-1

SHARE YOUR PROJECT ON INSTAGRAM USING #DIYCRAFTCHALLENGE