Saturday, October 29, 2011

Pumpkin Pie Garland Tutorial

There is one color that I love in the fall. I see it and I just feel autumn, and holidays, and deliciousness.

Pumpkin pie.

Arguably, pumpkin pie isn't one color but a mix of pumpkin and spice colors.  That mix is probably why I can't find a pumpkin pie crayon in my Crayola box.

I did find some "pumpkin pie" wool blend felt, though. I cut it into the traditional pie shape to create a pumpkin pie garland.
This garland was actually pretty easy to make.  With a few changes, it can be made even easier.

To make one, you'll need:
felt (I ordered mine here, in "pumpkin pie" and "oats.")
felt scraps for turkey
crochet thread
cardstock paper

I started by cutting 11 scalloped circles out of cardstock.  Mine were about 6 inch circles, but I think if I were to do it again, I'd go smaller.  I used a bit of craft glue to attach the paper circles to my "oats" colored felt.  Then I just cut around each scallop.  I hate tracing shapes onto felt, so I thought this would save me from tracing and give structure to the felt.

The above photo shows the front and back of my scallops.

Circles aren't as bad to trace, so I looked around my house and found a bowl that was the right size and traced 10 circles (you don't need one for the turkey piece) on my "pumpkin pie" felt and cut them out.
Once I had my circles cut, I wrote letters on with disappearing ink.  The ink fades fast on the felt, so just do one at a time.
My camera isn't capable of tiny detail photos, so I'm going to send you over to The Purl Bee and their Embroidered Felt Advent Calendar to get the tutorial for stitching the letters.  I used crochet thread for mine, but embroidery floss would work as well.  Puff paints or freezer paper stenciling would work - if you're not interested in stitching.
Once you're done stitching your letters, use hot glue or craft glue to attach the pumpkin to the scalloped "crust." 

I don't have a template for the turkey because I used a clipart image from online.  Just search for some free clipart images and pick one you like.
You don't even have to do a turkey, but they are a good way to help the garland say "give thanks" and not "givethanks." 
When your turkey is finished, you're ready to attach them to a string.  I made a crocheted chain with my crochet thread.  Measure your mantle or desired spot for your garland to make sure you fit all your circles in the right amount of space (this was when I realized I should have made my circles smaller).
I just used some hot glue to attach the string to the paper backing.
Now you're ready to hang it up.  

My favorite thing about this garland is one you can't really see in pictures.  Felt is so warm and comforting.  It's like you can see the wool in there and you get wrapped in an invisible sweater. 

So nice for fall.
What are you thankful for?

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Fish Bowl Matching Game

Fish Bowl Matching Game Tutorial 

Supplies used:
16 colors of fabric scraps (about an 8 x 10 inch piece should be enough for one color)
(If you only want to make a one sided bowl, you'll need 8 colors and about an 18 x21" piece of one color for the inside)
1/4 yard of 60" wide felt
18" of 1/2" wide bias tape
fabric glue stick
stuffing for the fish

Cut out your pattern pieces

A note about the pocket pattern piece:
The pattern B piece tells you to cut on the fold.  I used this method because it makes each pocket the exact same size and helps them all line up a lot more easily.

Use the pattern pieces to cut out: one A, one B, and one C from each of your 16 colors.
If you are making a one sided bowl, cut out one A, one B, and two C from 8 colors and cut eight A pieces from the lining fabric.
For both the one and two sided options, cut 16-A shapes out of felt.

Prep before sewing
Take the B pieces you cut out.  Fold them in half and press them.  Topstitch about 1/4" away from the fold.
Get your fabric glue and use a bit to glue together the bottom corners of your pocket.
Use the fabric glue to attach the A piece of fabric to the felt.  The glue is optional, but just helps keep everything in place.
If you haven't already, decide which of your 16 fabrics you want on each side.  I suggest keeping the two sets of 8 separate.  Especially your fish.
Make your fish
Match up your fish shapes.  The only important thing to remember is that you need to be sure that you have one pattern from the inside of the bowl, and one pattern from the outside paired up.  You don't want to have two from the same side together or your matching game won't work.
 Sew the fish, right sides together.  Use a 1/4" seam allowance and leave an opening.
Clip your curves and flip the fabric inside out.  Stuff and hand stitch the opening closed.

Make your bowl
If you have a real definite idea of where you want each pattern to go on your bowl, you'll have to think a little as you go to make sure it all ends up in the right place.

Let's start with one set of 8 pieces.  I set mine out in the order I wanted.  I placed the matching pockets on top of the main bowl pieces. They are labeled as A-H.

If you want, you can even label your pieces with chalk or disappearing ink to make it easier.

You will begin by sandwiching pieces together, starting with A and B.  Flip B (including pocket) over on A.  Match up your pockets and pin the right side.  To help keep all those layers in the place I wanted, I hand basted each set together before sewing.  You will also match up C-D, E-F and G-H.

You will end with 4 pieces that look like this.

Now you're going to make more sandwiches.  You'll put piece CD on AB and pin the right side together.  Do the same with EF and FH.  Take care when you're pinning to make sure the pockets are tucked over the correct patterned pieces.
You'll now have two half-bowls.  Place one bowl inside the other, right sides together.  Pin across the entire "U" shape and sew.  As you sew this piece, the place where all the pieces meet will be super thick.  My machine didn't handle it well, so I ended up hand sewing a little there.

Flip your bowl right side out and check all your seams.  Make sure there aren't any places that aren't sewn.
Take your other 8 pieces and repeat the same steps until you have two bowls.
When you have two bowls, place one inside the other, wrong sides together.  Match up your seams and pin.  Hand baste across the top of the bowl close to the edge.  Trim away any bits that stick up a bit.

Take your bias tape and pin it around the top of your bowl.  Hand or machine sew.
 Have fun playing with your fish bowl! 

Little Bird Countdown Board

While it may not have been a big hit on SYTYC, I love my little bird countdown.  I made it for a little girl who just turned one this week, so I'll be doing a little counting down myself before she's ever old enough to use it.  I can't be the only one who plans out "big girl" rooms before she actually has a big girl...right?

Kids wait for birthdays, play dates - even garbage day.  It seems they are always asking when something is going to happen...over and over.  It's especially rough when they're young enough to remember something is coming, but too young to have an understanding of days, weeks, and months.

A countdown board is a helpful way to help kids understand how much longer they have to wait for something. 

And if you add a few other features, they can be quite versatile.

Let me show you how I made Little Bird:

1 - Pick your shape.  I used an image from my Silhouette art, but you can find one online or draw one yourself.  I originally picked an elephant.  I was going to have to make it a lot bigger to get his belly big enough for all those circles.  My bird only needed to be about 2 feet across.  I thought that would make a better lap board.

My husband cut two identical body shapes from hard board.
2 - Select your supplies.
fabric (enough to cover your shape)
zipper for pocket
embroidery floss
washers (from hardware store)
a few layers of batting to cover the shape of your board.
scrap fabric
scraps of fabric or felt to add embellishments.

Before starting to assemble your countdown board, you'll need to do a layer check.  Make sure the magnets you bought will "stick" to the washer through all the layers you plan to use. I used Darice "super strong" magnets that I bought from my local craft store.

3 - Make the number circles. I bought one size of washer for all my numbers (1-31).  I bought a few that were slightly smaller for the + - = math symbols.  I cut felt circles (2 for each) that were just bigger than the washer.  If you use a blanket stitch, like I did, you won't need to cut the felt much larger.

Sandwich your washers between two pieces of felt and sew them in.

I used freezer paper stenciling to paint on numbers.  I used the kind that puffs a little when you iron it.  It made them have such a nice, soft texture (Tulip brand "Velveteen" fabric paints).

I used matching colors of embroidery floss (3 strands) to sew them in.
4 - Make the body.  I wrapped the fabric around the board and decided on the placement for the zipper.  I won't pretend I know what I'm doing when it comes to zippers.  I am pretty happy with the way it turned out, but I think this tutorial is going to be a better source for help. 
Can't see much of the zipper?  Good.
I think using a smaller print made it easier for me to hide the fact that I cut a seam all the way down my fabric.
On the back, I sewed a rectangle of fabric for a pocket. 

Next I added a wing.
I decided to make 7 magnets across and 5 down on my bird.  I traced 35 circles with disappearing ink.
I used 6 strands of embroidery floss and some scrap fabric (cut into 35 small circles) for this next step.

Sandwich the magnet between the back of your fabric and the circle scrap.  Sew a running stitch all the way around your traced circle.  Repeat until you have all your circles.
Once you've sewn a few on, the magnets start to stick together.  That part's kind of a pain.
I think the camera battery died for the next few steps...

I cut a small black circle of felt and sewed it on for the eye.

I cut a few layers of batting the same size as my board pieces.  I only used two, but I think I should have done more.

I also cut a slit in my batting layer and shoved my pocket back behind it.  I thought it would keep my washers from sticking to my magnets from the inside of the pocket.  It did, but I don't know if it was necessary. 

Stretch your fabric around your board.  Hot glue as you go.
The back will look something like this.
I traced a few shapes onto paper and sewed a beak and a couple of feet.  I glued those to the back of the board as well.

For the second board, you'll want to attach whatever wall hanging device you choose.  I picked two drilled holes and some strong string.

Glue the two boards together and hide all that fabric. 

You're done!


Because her magnetic circles have been placed into seven columns, Little Bird has the possibility of becoming a calendar when her owner gets a bit older.

A few added math symbols let Little Bird be a fun way to practice some math facts.

Until then, we'll probably just flip over the numbers and match the colors.