25 September 2013

Creating A Forest – Part 1

When we moved to Milwaukee, I promised Lola a cool room. She deserved it. She had a very tiny one up north and we never got around to doing something fun with it. It was her turn now, we all felt. Especially after Ryan and I confiscated a large corner of her room to store our surplus of bins in lieu of an attic or a basement. (We are a bit strapped for storage here.)

She told me she wanted a jungle or a forest. And so one day she and I sat down together, and envisioned her forest. We decided we were going to build a tree on the brick wall and change out the leaves every season. She also wanted apples in her tree. The plan was to use craft paper and somehow attach that to the wall. But then I saw these in the alley behind our building:



Ten feet long cardboard tubes, perfect for building a tree. And for the first time in my life, I exchanged my trash for someone else’s. Armed with my extra long tube, I made it up two flights of stairs and enlisted my husband and his friend to cut the tube in half lengthwise.





After cleaning up the edges with some sandpaper, I cut a hole into the tree trunk with a jigsaw to accommodate future critters and/or elves, fairies, and possibly gnomes.

To attach the tree to the wall, I used small corner brackets that I fastened on the inside of the trunk, like so:



The only think I did not like about this solution was the sharp end of the screw sticking out. While this tree does not have to be perfect, and holes are okay, I don’t want it to be a hazard. So after I screwed the hole in the cardboard, I switched out the pointy screw for a blunter version.



Then it was only a matter of drilling holes in the wall and attaching my branches.



Not bad, huh? I would like a few more branches and stumps but I ran out of cardboard. Time to head back to the alley. Stay tuned for more forest construction.



I am linking my tree construction project up at:
Friday's Nature Table at The Magic Onions
Pin Me Linky Party at Diana Rambles
Creative Friday at Natural Suburbia
One Project Closer at The Humble Brag
Shine On Friday at Happy Go Lucky
Happy Hour Projects

12 August 2013

Summer of Jo-Ann: Ice Capades

This post is sponsored by Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores.

Walking into Jo-Ann Fabric and Crafts the other day, I was struck by the fall and Halloween décor that dominated the store. I am still in summer mode. Truth be told, it feels like summer has just begun. Possibly because all we have been doing lately is packing and unpacking boxes. We are moving house, you see. My poor daughter. She was so looking forward to a summer of fun filled activities and crafts compliments of Jo-Ann. Unfortunately the craft room looks this:


Lola and I had poured over Jo-Ann’s summer catalog together and picked out a few fun crafts. We were going to sew an alligator, we even have the fat quarters in funky colors. But while there is light at the end of the tunnel, the sewing machine is still very much buried in stuff. I think I have too much of it. Stuff, I mean.

However, we had picked up a Toob of Penguins, some gray, white, and blue felt, batting, and Elmer’s spray adhesive as well. A lovely Antarctic diorama was also on our to-do list. All we needed was some sturdy cardboard to set it up. If there’s one thing that you’ll have a lot of when moving, it’s cardboard. Armed with a rough design, a ruler, and a box cutter, we set out to create our landscape.

We attached a little white tissue paper to our cardboard to cover up some of the brown. Then we added a layer of batting. I found some glitter snow fabric in my stash, but it was not enough to cover the entire scene so we put regular batting on the bottom, and saved the good stuff for the mountains and the rocks.

Once the cardboard was covered in batting, I attached gray craft felt to the back, and the bottom – I get a little carried away sometimes, and hot glued silver ribbon around the edges for that extra icy sparkle.

I used a hollowed out log, perfect for an ice cave, and gave it a felt roof. I cut water out of blue felt, and used various plastic containers to create rocks and a slide.

The rocks are loosely covered with white cardboard and glittery batting, and can be placed anywhere on the cardboard. I added a few real rocks and then it was time to invite the penguins in to play.

Behold our Antarctic diorama:

While I was fussing over penguin placement and pictures, three little ones were watching my every move, ready to jump in. When I was satisfied with the results, I turned it over to the munchkins to play with.

There are so many wonderful projects to make this summer, or later, for every age and every skill level. Just browse through Jo-Ann’s Cape Discovery catalog and see for yourself.

25 May 2013

Stars And Checkers

It’s Memorial Day weekend here in the United States and that calls for a little red, white, and blue. But rather than stars and stripes, I went for stars and checkers instead. It looks very festive, I think.

I fused gingham cotton in blue and red onto navy blue and red wool felt, and cut out stars in different sizes. With a small hole punch I made two holes in my stars and strung them on a length of red and white baker’s twine.







Have a lovely Memorial Day weekend, everyone! Enjoy the extra day off. I think I'll go out and do some garage-saling.



I am linking my starts and checkers garland up at:
The Humble Brag Party at One Project Closer
Friday's Nature Table at The Magic Onions
Creative Friday at Natural Suburbia
Pin Me Linky Party at Diana Rambles

22 April 2013

Pastel Hearts

A customer requested my rainbow heart garland for her mother’s wedding which she is planning. She wondered if I could make it in pastel colors. Why, of course! I love how it turned out.




Even better: I was able to go outside for a quick photo shoot without having to put on a snowsuit. Not that I would call it spring yet. Much too cold still. But I did see the first of my bulbs come up. Finally evidence of spring.

07 April 2013

Fabric Flower Pots



My husband suggested we make flower pots out of fabric not too long ago. To be honest, I was a little skeptical at first but I have to admit I was wrong. The first pot we made turned out awesome. You’ll have to take my word for it because sadly, there are no pictures and the pot in question was a gift. We used different patterned blue fabric scraps and a piece of matching vinyl as a liner. An idea was born, begging for a repeat.

To give the pots a little more body, I wanted to use a fabric that is a little heavier than the quilting cotton we used on our prototype, such as an upholstery fabric. JoAnn’s carries the new HGTV line of home décor fabrics, which has some beautiful prints. Now I am more of a summer colors girl for flower pots, and I love the combination of hot pink and bright orange. The Urban Blossoms and Checkered Past in Berry fit the bill perfectly.

I have to stop here for a minute and tell you that JoAnn’s and HGTV sent me generous samples of the new HGTV home décor fabric line to play with. But I was genuinely thrilled to see which prints had been sent my way. I mean, look at those pots, how could I not be? It is gorgeous fabric.



I used a simple pattern for a lined bucket to make my pots. Out of each print I cut a 19.5” by 10.5” rectangle and a 6.25” circle. Because I was making flower pots I used Pellon Vinyl Fuse on the liner fabric to make it somewhat waterproof and protect it from the dirt. Great stuff, easy to work with. It makes the fabric very stiff but I had no difficulty at all sewing through it.



First you make a tube by sewing the short sides of the rectangle together with the right sides facing. Iron open the seam. A word of advice: use the protective paper backing from the vinyl fuse when ironing the seam of the fabric fused with vinyl. Use it not only on top of the fabric, but also on the inside. Your tube will otherwise melt together. Trust me on this one.



Then you pin the bottom to the tube you just made and sew it in place. Go slow.







Do not turn the inner layer inside out. Repeat these steps with the outer layer and turn that one with the right side facing out.



Place the outer layer inside the inner layer. Line up the tops and pin in place. Sew together, leaving about a 4” opening.





Pull the fabric through the opening and turn the bucket inside out. Push the inner layer into the outer layer and topstitch along the top edge to close the opening. If you like, you can fold over the inside a little, or a lot.



That’s all there is to it. Lovely and vibrantly colored flower pots. Of course you don’t have to put a plant in them, you can use them to hold whatever you want.





If you too would  like to try the new HGTV home décor fabric line, there is a 10% off coupon valid through May 4. (And if you can wait a little bit longer, the HGTV line is available at 50% off starting April 14.) Enjoy!

21 March 2013

Bunnies

Perhaps it’s because there is still at least a foot of snow on the ground, and more falling as I type, but I am just not feeling the pastel colors this Easter. I went for navy, gray, and white instead.













The blue bunnies are made of a very heavy navy wool with gingham cotton in two sizes fused to the back. I used a small rectangular hole punch to create holes in their ears and strung them onto some lovely yellow satin ribbon.

The gray and white bunnies are made of 3mm thick 100% merino wool felt, strung on yellow and pink baker’s twine. Now all I need are some branches to hang them from. Normally I would go outside to snip a few here and there, but not today. I am staying inside.

I just listed them in the shop if you would like some, too. Happy Easter!



Linking up at:
The Humble Brag at One Project Closer
Creative Friday at Natural Suburbia
Friday's Nature Table at The Magic Onions

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