Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Fabric Postcards and Projects from Christmas' Past

 I made these fun and mail-able fabric postcards for a swap group. I happened to run across one straggler in a box a while back and thought it would be fun to make some as mini-wall hanging/Christmas cards for family and friends that I don't exchange gifts with. I am putting a ribbon on top for hanging so my recipients can hang them up on a wall or memo board.  I think I will need to send them out in clear envelopes to prevent them from getting tangled up when the Post Office does whatever it is they do to get the mail from here to there. 
 The first time I made these I did a search and found the best tutorial, it was so well done and cute too. I was really hoping to share that with you. But that was pre-Pinterest. So now after browsing through 20+ pages of search results I have no idea how to find it again. (It is times like this that we can fully appreciate how Pinterest has earned its place in our hearts, right?)
 In case you do want to make some fabric postcards, HERE is a nice tutorial I found at Quilted Delights. And if you want to see more, take a look at Sew We Quilt. The guest blogger, Annie, does beautiful work and it is definitely worth going over there and oohing and ahhing at her artwork. 
 I bought a "POSTCARD" stamp to use for the backing on mine. Annie says she prints hers on paper and uses that for the backing. If you use fabric backing and write or stamp the POSTCARD and the line on it, be sure to cut your fabric a little larger than the 4"X6" finished size so that you can square it up if your stamp is a little crooked. Ask me how I know...

Some Simple Rag Quilt Ornies
 These make great tree ornaments or you can tie one on to a  package or gift bag as a little extra gift. I also think they would be cute as a garland. They are so quick and easy to make and are great for using scraps from some of your other Christmas projects!
Make a template from cardstock or an old file folder. Cut print fabric, batting and muslin backing, stitch all the way around taking 1/2" seam allowance. Snip around outside to rag. Embellish as you like. For the star Santa I used a small oval of muslin for his face, drew the eyes with a sharpie and blushed the cheeks with blush and a small stiff stencil brush. The hat band is a strip of batting, yarn for beard. Isn't he  adorable!

Hope you enjoyed seeing some of my projects from Christmas' Past. 

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Oh Christmas Trees

 I glittered and glammed my ruffled trees. They make me happy even if they are destined to try to shine on the world's ugliest mantle in the black hole room. sigh... 

And K wanted to make some too so we invited Missy and the kids over for a family craft day.
The pink tulle tree was my idea. Then Morgan set out on her own with a bottle of glitter.

 Morgan and Anna are relentless crafters in their own right. They even have their own craft table and glue gun, which is where they spend most of their time when they conspire to arrange weekend sleepovers. As long as we have puff balls and pipe cleaners you won't see those two for days.
 Anna did not approve of our menu of Spinach and Bacon Quiche and Fresh Apple Cake, she opted for a ramekin of peanut butter. Girl doesn't know what she was missing, the quiche was delicious!
 Boys can be crafty too, in between rounds of Chinese Star Wars and Attack of the Zombies, Destructo Boy and Carter Tarter Sauce showed up to make a couple of cute trees too.
K told Missy that the polka dot tree needed gold glitter, but when she went to get the glitter the bottle was empty. Ummmm, I think that Miss Morgan might have taken more than her fair share. But we still had some red glitter and the polka dot tree is nice and sparkly now.

Don't blame me if all the pajama pants I am working on this week have glitter all over them. I was busy sewing ruffles while all this was going on. I think if I ever get this mess cleaned up I am going to be over my glitter craze for this year. 

Thursday, December 8, 2011

I Really Needed This Today: Chicken Tortilla Soup

Still haven't gotten over my ruffled tree obsession. I had to go to Hobby Lobby to find decorations for some of them and played around with more tiny trees to gift to people. I have a baby quilt to make for a friend but my cutting table is covered with glitter and tiny tree ornaments. Glitter is so much fun until you remember that you have to clean it up, so I didn't make it back down to the batcave to do that today.

Instead I decided that I needed to make soup and grilled cheese for dinner tonight. It has been so cold this week so chili sounded perfect. But while I was fooling around trying to get me a few extra Swagbucks I tried a search for Tortilla Soup. And this usually never happens, but I found a perfect recipe that I happened to have every single ingredient on hand for. It is from the Pioneer Woman so that is how I knew it was going to be perfect because everything she makes is perfect, am I right? I have made tortilla soup before but never saw a recipe that calls for cooking the masa in the soup, so I wanted to try this.

I actually followed the recipe except for the fact that I didn't bother dirtying any measuring spoons or cups because that is silly when the eyeball method will work just fine. And instead of baking the chicken I coated it with seasoning and seared it then braised it in a little beer until it was tender. I didn't plan that but after I browned it on both sides I realized I needed a little liquid in there because the pot was starting to smoke, so I grabbed the nearest liquid at hand, and my beer was closer than the water at the time. Continuing with that theme I deglazed the pan with a little more beer when I cooked the onions and peppers. I think Ree would approve of my improvisation here anyway. But you really should make this soup! With or without the beer, because it was perfect!

It made a huge pot, which I was thinking would be good because we are having a couple girls over for some crafting on Saturday so I figured I could pop some jalapeno and cheese corn muffins in the oven and we could have the leftovers for lunch. Well, there wasn't really enough left after everybody went back for seconds.  

I did get 10 Swagbucks for that search later when I went back to get the link. So I guess Chicken Tortilla Soup was just what I needed. Now I need to go clean up that glitter, so I can get back to the sewing machine. I just added about a dozen more handmade gifts to my list and did you know Christmas is only 18 days away? No, neither did I until I just looked at my calendar. Good thing I am one of those people who works best under pressure. Don't we all?

Monday, December 5, 2011

Ruffled Christmas Tree on the Cheap w/ Tutorial

I survived the craft fair on Saturday despite the fact that I had a major meltdown on Friday because I was definitely not ready and I knew it was going to be a total flop and I was just going to embarrass myself with my pathetic selection of wares. That's just me. I just freak out over things like that. Then everything turns out OK. Which it did, and I had a great time and had to apologize a few hundred times to everyone for being a psycho. I probably didn't have to apologize because they know me and know I  am a psycho crazy person, but I did anyway.

So today I was all happy that I didn't have to stress out about the craft fair anymore and I wanted to do something for pure fun. Like make fabric Christmas trees. I have seen so many cute ones and for some reason I didn't pin any of them. But I did a search and found these adorable ruffled trees over at Craftaholics Anonymous.  I love these ruffled trees so much! And I wanted to make them right now.
But I didn't have any paper mache or styrofoam cones on hand. I thought about running out to Michael's but we are having this thing called Winter here right now and there is snow everywhere and the high today was supposed to be about 20 degrees. Definitely a staying in kind of day, so I decided to improvise and figure out how to rock what I got so to speak. After all, how hard could it be to make a cone shaped object to cover with fabric ruffles?

Well actually it wasn't that hard at all! And I ended up staying warm and cozy and now I have 4 cute little ruffle trees for basically $0, love that!
So here is how I did it. I used 4 12"X12" sheets of cardstock from my stash. The color doesn't matter because you will be covering it with fabric anyway so I just picked out the ugly ones that I am not likely to use for anything else. You will also need masking tape, glue, newspaper or junk mail ads, some cardboard for the bottom, fabric scraps that can be cut into 1 1/2" strips, and a sewing machine. 

First I rolled the cardstock into a cone shape and taped it with masking tape down the seam and around the point on the top. I also taped a little bit on the inside to hold down the loose part that was rolled to the inside. Don't worry about being pretty here, it all gets covered later. Now the bottom of the cone needs to be cut off evenly so it will sit flat so I started at the point and measured down to the length that I wanted and took a sharpie and marked it all the way around. Cut on the dotted line and VOILA! you have a nice flat sitting cone.
Since cardstock is a little flimsy I wanted to sturdy it up and give it some weight so I tore up some newspaper and stuffed the inside of the cone firmly. Warning: Resist the temptation to set the pointy end on the table while you stuff the newspaper in, or you will scrunch it and have to fool around trying to straighten it out and make it pointy again.
Next I traced around my cones and cut out a cardboard circle to fit just barely inside. I glued and taped the circles in.

Now I pretty much followed the tutorial over on Craftaholics, but I used 1 1/2" strips and I hand pleated them using my thumb turning method. I didn't get a picture of that because I have yet to figure out how to sew and take pictures at the same time. But basically I feed the strip of fabric through the machine and pinch it between my thumb and fingers to turn it under before it goes under the presser foot. It sounds a little complicated until you try it, but if you just stitch very slowly and keep turning the folded end toward yourself you will get the hang of it pretty quickly. 
I stitched the pleated strip with about a 1/2" seam allowance and you can see that it isn't all perfect, but pretty close. I used craft glue and just dotted it along the stitching line maybe 12-15 inches at a time, then I started wrapping it around my tree. I overlapped it so it covered the seam line.
It was really pretty quick and easy until I decided to break out my ruffler, which I haven't used in 5 or 6 years. That took me a while to figure out because I was too lazy to go on a search for the instructions so I just kept messing with it until I came up with a ruffle that I liked.
And I can't quite decide which one is my favorite, but I love them all together like this. When I finally venture out to Michael's I think I might get some glitter to glam up the sheet music tree and the green one because the batik fabric actually is sparkly. And I want some sparkly stars for the tops. 

Doesn't it just make you a little extra bit happy when you get something so cute from stuff you have laying around the house? 

Linking up here:

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Upcycled Frames

Here is a super easy project that I did a few years ago and I still get happy every year when I get them out and hang them on the wall at Christmas decorating time. 

Three recycled picture frames, dark green craft paint, foam core, a little wrapping paper and 3 whitewashed wood letters. I covered the foam core in wrapping paper, stapled the letters to the foam core and stapled it into the frame, then stapled the ribbon on for hanging. I have some bows that are supposed to be glued atop the ribbon hangers, but they fell off and I need to reattach them. Will get to that soon as I find the time. 

I have been working on finding the ultimate jewelry organizer for K for almost a year now. I wanted it to be cute and stylish and functional and, you know, cheap. All of the organizers I saw in the store were cheap looking and high priced and they didn't really hold much. So I knew I could do better with making it myself. I started with these frames that artist canvases are stretched on and I got them for free from a friend.

I wasn't quite sure what I wanted to do with it until I walked into the garage and saw a roll of wire mesh fencing material that Mr. Rainbow Creek had bought for some reason. (I secretly think he bought if for this project and didn't know it because he still hasn't used it for anything that I know of.) So I questioned him about it and asked if it would be possible if he could spare some of it and cut it at an angle so that it would form a diamond pattern and sandwich it between two of these frames. He agreed that he could indeed do that if I so desired. And then I wondered if he could fill the space in the frames with wood putty and sand it smooth and paint it black with Martha Stewart Francesca. And he said yes, he could do that if I really wanted him to. And he did. So then I thought if he added some white cup hooks on the bottom of the frame, which I just happened to have in a drawer, that would make a good place to hang necklaces. So he attached the cup hooks as requested too. And then I covered a piece of foam core with this cute decorator fabric, stapled it on the back of the frame and glued on a cute letter K. 
Cute jewelry organizer. Big K loves it and I think it was her best birthday gift ever, if I do say so myself.  

I have one more picture frame project I am working on for a Christmas gift. They are kind of addicting. Do you have a picture frame project you want to show off. I would love to see what you have done, leave a link please!

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