Sunday, December 19, 2010

Fuzzy Fleece Headband Tutorial

This past weekend my mom and I spent the week at a local lake resort. We did nothing but sew and shop. It was the perfect little getaway from every day life. I knew we'd be doing downtown boutique shopping the last day so I wanted fun cold weather accessories to wear. I got so many compliments on it that I knew I had to go home and make another one to share a tutorial with you!

You will need to download the pattern HERE. Make sure the 1" scale box is the right size. Cut out 2 pieces on the fold of a fleece of your choosing. Optional: it would also be super cozy to put flannel or minky on the side that towards your skin.

Pin your pieces together and sew around the edge using a 1/4" seam allowance. Remember to leave a hold to turn the headband right side out.

To create a cleaner product, trim a 45 degree angle from your corners and trim your seam allowances with a pinking shears. This helps the piece make the curves and comes out cleaner.

Stitch around the outside with a topstitch at a distance of your choosing. Using the specifics to your machine place a button hole at one end of the band.  The reasoning for the end closure is to not ruin your hair or make it staticky like so many other head coverings do! Option: if you don't have an auto buttonholer for your machine, you can use a hook and eye or use a snap and still sew on a button for the same look. 

Carefully cut the hole for the button. Line the two pieces up and sew on a button. I used shank buttons to make it open and close easier, if you don't use a shank button, be sure to create a shank before knotting. 

If you are more simple you could leave the band this way and it would still be super functional and cute. The next step is optional and with all of the cute flower pin ideas out there you can make it your own by adding something different. 

To make this flower fold a strip up 2 1/2" to 3" and cut the strip to about 19" long.

Using a sharp scissors cut slits at the fold all along your strip of fleece, these will create the petals of your flower. Also cut a square about 2 1/2" that will be the base of the flower.

Using the stitch, turn, and rotate technique carefully sew the flower petal strip to the base that will attach to your headband. Do a few stitches, turn more of the petals, and slowly repeat.

It won't look perfect from the back or front (unless you're really good!). Trim away excess of the square base so you don't see it from underneath the flower.

Find a button, brooch, or something else creative big enough to cover your stitching and either sew or hot glue it on.

Attach the pin to the headband where you would like by sewing by hand or hot glue. Option: you can attach a pin or clip to the bottom of the flower to make it interchangeable. 

To download the pattern click HERE! After making one you'll see how easy and personalized they can be and you'll want to make one for everyone (or one to match each one of your winter jackets!)

I'd love to see your project and how you make it to match your personal style.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Tutorial Sneak Peek

I'm only going to tease you with a tutorial coming up tomorrow! Be sure to stop back tomorrow afternoon to see how to create one of these adorable things!

Peanut Butter Fudge Hostess Gift

I live in the middle of small town USA in Northwest Iowa. Around here the simple pleasures are everyday life but the simple concept of hostess gifts is often looked past. This year I decided even a small "Thanks" was necessary. We now have Christmas parties in twos as a married couple--two families, two work parties, etc. I found a recipe that makes incredible Peanut Butter Fudge that makes 2 small jars.

1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup butter
1 1/3 cups sugar
1 12 oz can evaporated milk
1/3-1/2 cup peanut butter (depending on your preference, I did the 1/2)

Melt the chocolate chips and butter until smooth.

Add the sugar and can of evaporated milk. Boil on low for 8 minutes. Add peanut butter and stir until smooth and creamy.

Pour into 2 small canning jars. This recipe fits perfectly. I was hoping for a little extra to keep for myself but I'll have to make more!

Using scrapbook paper (or even fabric) trace around the lid and cut out the circle. Screw lid on jar, the caning rim will hold the paper down so you don't even need to glue it.

Wrap with with some ribbon, bakers twine, or crochet thread, add a little personal tag and you have the perfect hostess gift within a few minutes!

The fudge would be perfect for the hostess(s) to enjoy after everything is cleaned and they can relax. It's the smallest little things during the holiday season that mean the most. My first one goes out tonight and I'm excited!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Bakers Twine Substitute

Since this is our first Christmas I'm having a blast wrapping all my gifts (that are all homemade but ONE). There are OODLES of fun ideas out there for wrapping gifts with bakers twine. These are just a few fun ones that I quickly found, but just start looking and the www is crawling with ideas!



With my Christmas decorating and wrapping budget of about $0 I had to find a way to have this look on my huge budget! About a moth ago at Goodwill I paid $5 for an entire garbage bag of crochet thread. I don't crochet but figured I'd have to have a use for it eventually. Well I found some red and white in the bag, cut my lengths, taped the edge to the counter, and started twisting. Holding the ends to keep the twist I wrapped up my package. The gift was initially wrapped in a brown paper bag rather than kraft paper. The amazing gift tags are a free printable from Eat, Drink, Chic. 

Who said that pretty presents had to cost you anything? With everything I had in my studio these pretty little things didn't cost me a dime, which fits quite nicely within my budget!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Magnetic Non-Slip Ironing Mat Tutorial

Before Christmas began this year I decided that I was going to make 100% of our Christmas gifts. Well I managed to do all but one guy (who's almost impossible to buy for). My mother in law made it a challenge for me. I knew she'd been wanting one of these or these things. I've never seen them before but it's pretty much ingenious! After doing a little research on them I found that they weren't that expensive, but wouldn't a handmade personalized one be SO much better. The price is about the same (depending on how stocked your sewing room is) but this one will match her laundry room to leave out all the time. I took to the challenge and created one that turned out quite well. She'll be my guinea pig and I'll tell her to let me know if there would be anything to change (she hasn't gotten it yet, so SHH).

You will need:
1 yard of top fabric
1 yard of bottom fabric
6" of non-slip footie pajama fabric
1 yard of Insul-batting

**These size are for a standard dryer. Double check the measurements of your dryer.

From your top and bottom fabric cut one piece of each 19 3/4" by 31 3/4". Also cut a piece the same size out of the Insul-Batting.

From the non slip fabric cut 2 strips 2 1/2" wide. TIP: Someone mentioned that a cheaper alternative to this special fabric would be puff paint dotted either directly on the back or on these strips and then sewn on. Position the far edge of the strip 5-6" from the edge. Zig zag around the edges. I placed a piece of sew-in interfacing (3" x 16" strips) on the back to give it some strength. Make sure you go nice and slow or use a teflon foot. 

Cut 4 rectangles that will house your magnets (the size depends on your preference and size of the magnet). My pieces were about 2 1/2" x 5". Sandwich the magnet in between, place in the corner, and sew around the edges to hold the magnet it.

Be sure to sew the magnet pocket to the wrong side of the back fabric. 

Take your 3 layers and sandwich and pin them together with right sides of the fabrics together. The shiny side of the Insul-Batting must face your ironing surface to reflect the heat back to the top, so put the shiny side of the batting away from the wrong side of the fabric. 

With your sandwich of fabrics all pinned together, sew around the edge with a 3/8" seam allowance. Remember to leave an opening to turn right side out and backstitch at each end! I suggest putting a walking foot on with these odd layers of fabrics. 

Be sure to clip a 45 degree triangle from the corners. This reduces the bulk and makes for a cleaner corner. 

Iron the opening and hand whip stitch it together for a clean finish. Optional: You can topstitch around the entire mat rather than hand-stitching the opening.

Place on your dryer and iron away! The magnets hold it in place and the non-slip fabric makes sure it's not sliding around. You could even get creative with a quilted top or something fun depending on your style and creativity, the possibilities are endless! Now your hubby has no reason not to iron those good clothes or pants because there's no need to haul out the bulky ironing board. :)

I couldn't get a very good picture of it because our laundry room is under construction and the lights are all goofy. I'd love to see yours or hear ideas for improvement!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Our Very First Tree!

When I was younger my family always went to cut down our Christmas tree after Thanksgiving dinner. We're one of those odd families that don't get into football and found something better to do with full bellies. With out family growing up and having parties with 'their other halves' this hasn't happened for a few years. This year is our First Christmas together as a married couple and I was determined to have a real tree for the smell and fun of cutting one down. On Thanksgiving it was BITTER cold here but I was convinced this had to happen. So we bundled up in our Carhart, longjohns, and oodles of layers of clothes and headed to the tree farm. We came home with the perfect tree and it's finally decorated with Christmas cheer and of course birds! Birds are so natural and whimsical to me and I have this weird thing for them, so of course I went with a cardinal and winter bird theme this year. I used my sticks back from this post and gave them a place to perch.

I added some berries, silver balls, vintage ornaments, and a little mercury glass for the vintage feel.

These awesome birds were my inspiration. I LOVE the huge ribbon tail feathers. They were my splurge for decorating this year. :)

The sparkly balls and sticks are incredible at night.

I have no idea what this crazy chenille ribbon stuff is but I found it in the craft aisle and it fits my look perfectly!

The only thing missing (other than a tree skirt) are the embroidered birds that my mom just did on her new embroidery machine. They are in pieces in my studio and waiting to be hung!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Did you Hear?

Did you hear? Shutterfly is spreading Christmas joy a little further this year. They are offering 50 free Christmas cards. I love how their prints turn out. Now they even let you send them to Target (which is even better). They have an incredible selection of cards from Contemporary/Modern (my faves), to the traditional cards. I love how they look like you spent a lot more than you actually did since they are heavy cardstock rather than photo paper.

Since we just sent out our wedding Thank You’s I feel silly sending out another picture to the same people, but with all these great formats and fun wedding pictures I can’t really complain. They even have some formats with slots for several pictures so I might have to go to one of them because I can’t decide on a picture.

The folded cards are awesome because they have a picture but you can also add a Christmas letter and a more personal note.

The flat stationary cards have fun backgrounds, monograms, and Christmasy graphics.

The flat photo cards are your traditional cards but Shutterfly adds their own twist.

Us in blogland seem to be the best at spreading the word, so check out this link to see how you can receive 50 free quality Christmas cards. Be sure to order them soon to hand out before the holidays fly by. Good luck choosing a format and Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Nothing cures the shivers like a red sweater....

When I was out Christmas decoration shopping the other day I saw a store that was trying to sell a stocking made from a red sweater for $26.00! Unheard of in my book! The next day I went to the closest Goodwill and found some red sweaters with big buttons, cowl necks, and unique knitting stitches for $3.50 each. I turned them into the most adorable stockings and right now they are the only decoration up yet. I've never had a stocking before and am stoked to hang them. My family didn't do the whole 'Santa thing' when I was little. My hubby keeps teasing me that there really isn't going to come a fat man down our chimney to fill the cute little things up.

This is the story of what I did with the rest of my sweater.....
I was cleaning out my design studio and found an old "Shivers embroidery" that I did when I was still in high school. I decided he would look perfectly cozy wrapped up in a sweater. (Any embroidery that's cut down to 4" x 6" would work)

I cut 2 pieces about 2 1/2" x 6" and using a 3/8" seam I carefully sewed the piece to the top and bottom of the embroidered piece.

I pressed the seams towards the embroidery piece and topstitched on the fabric. I made the stitch length longer to blend better with the hand stitched embroidery.

Using the bottom ribbing of the sweater, I cut 2 pieces about 7" x 8". I sewed them on the left and right sides of the pillow top.

Press the seams toward the sweater ribbing. Using the same seam allowance, I topstitched on the sweater this time. The puffiness of the sweater created a look similar to having piping on either ege.

I didn't have enough sweater to use for the back and wanted something stiffer to pull straight any stretch that happened during the sewing so I used some brown felt left from this project. I pulled it evenly straight all around. It will curl a little when pinning but comes out fine in the end.

Pin the pieces right sides together. Stitch around the edge using a consistent seam allowance. I use 3/8 but some may be more comfortable with 5/8, as long as it is consistent.

Before turning right side out, clip the 45 degree seam allowance from all corners. The fabrics are quite bulky and this will result in a cleaner finish. 

After it is all turned right side out (make sure you poke the points out really well), start stuffing it with poly or fiber fill. Make sure it's not lumpy and evenly fluffed all over.

After it is all smooth and filled to perfection, fold up the open raw edges you left on the bottom, pin them together, and whipstitch. If you are short on time you can use the machine, but it's a cleaner finish when done by hand.

After making one, they are pretty much addictive! They turn out so soft, homey, and comforting. Especially here, where we got our first taste of winter last night, with an entire 6" of snow. Now I can just cuddle up all cozy with a huge mug of cocoa.