Tag Archives: homemade decorations

Upcycled Christmas Tree and DIY Ribbon Garland

I really don’t like Christmas. I like the idea of it, or the “ideal” of it. Giving someone a thoughtful gift, something you put your heart into, something you worked for that was completely for someone else. Spending time together, actually having time to sit and relax, talk and play.

Unfortunately, that ideal has been slipping from my family for a little while. Since we already greened up and minimized Easter, we figured we could do the same to Christmas.

Starting with the tree. I had many ideas…

At first I wanted to build a wood tree, but our lack of resources, experience, and power tools, made me decide against it.

Next I thought a cardboard tree would work nicely. Though it would mean cutting over 260 strips of cardboard. The husband nixed this one.

Then there was lost of brainstorming as a family, we needed something large and possibly triangular, that we could rig up to be a Christmas tree for the month of December.

We came up with this…

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Our play tepee from the warmer seasons! This thing is awesome! My mom and I had made it for the snug a couple of years ago, we went to thrift shops for queen size sheets and used the Butterick pattern B4251. Be warned, it is huge, it has a diameter of 72 inches and has a center height of around 55 inches! The structure is super unfriendly PVC pipes, but they were lighter than wood. The pipes/frame is what we used for our tree.

IMG_6964TA-DA!!! IT’S A CHRISTMAS TREE-PEE!! (mind the blur). Without the fabric siding we had to drill extra holes in the middle and near the bottom of the pipes, to string ribbon and braided yarn through for support. We made it a little wider than it usually is due to the light fixture. Then we decorated.

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Tinsel, a ribbon garland, strings of ornaments and, later, a feather boa.

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What else do you need?

The best part. The few gifts we do give can go inside of the tree-pee and we can have tea parties in there until Christmas.

Also, it cost nothing. And we already had everything for it.

The ribbon garland we made, it took about 20 minutes max.

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Take a hot glue gun and a variety of ribbon cut into 7 inch strips. Any width and type will do for the ribbon, though you might want to avoid anything smaller than 1/4 inch, as it is hard to glue.

IMG_6954Then make a ribbon chain. Same way you make a paper chain, only with hot glue and ribbon, instead of a glue stick and paper.

The snug was thrilled with this project. I let her pick out the ribbon order, which adds to the fun and time.

I really have never, ever been this excited about a Christmas tree.

Happy Christmas!

Framed Quilt Art with Qoute.

My creativity is getting better. This is exciting. I actually tried my hand at free quilting. I never quilt. Leaps and bounds, I tell you!

Recently, (ahem a couple of months ago, before juice was spilled on my computer) I made this…

It turned out adorable!

Here is what you need to make this;

Lots of fabric scraps, an old frame (the one I used was 5×7 ish, my mom and I found it at a garage sale last summer), and a cute card with a saying on it. My mom and I went to a little half antique, half vintage inspired decorating shop and found these cute cards with fun sayings on them. They had a variety of options, but you can definitely make your own. Just word doc whatever you want to say and then print on antique looking paper.

(You will also need a rotary cutter, sewing machine, thread, scissors, cutting mat, iron, iron board and two pieces of tape).

So the first step, if you are easily distracted, pick out your fabric scraps, but while you pick them out organize the rest of them.

I organized mine in freezer bags by color. For now.Very eco-friendly way to organize things….no, no it isn’t.

The first step if you are not the type to get distracted is to pick out the scraps without further organizing and cut the strips. (For those who got distracted, cut the strips for step two).

For size I used seven different 1 inch wide pieces of fabric. However, make them as wide as however many you want in the background. My mistake!!! If you see in the layout picture about I only have 6 fabrics, but in the final picture I have 7, this is because I did not allow for seams. I.E. Seam Allowance!!! Please don’t forget this. So if you want 1 inch strips, cut them 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 wider to allow for seams on both sides. Nice fat seams for sloppy, can’t sew in a straight line people like me. If you already are familiar with seam allowances, go ahead and cut them smaller.

For length you want to cut a good length longer then the frame to allow for imperfections. I did about 10 inches.

After you cut, but before you sew, lay out the different pieces to get a general feel of where you want everything to go. Then sew them together one at a time and iron the seams down or open, whichever you prefer. Since this is going in a frame it needs to be as flat as possible.So unfortunately ironing is a necessity here.

TA-DA!!! But wait….

It doesn’t fit…that’s right. There is my mistake staring me in the face.

Whoops. Thankfully I have all those scraps organized.

That’s better. Once all your pieces are sewn together, play around with the look in the frame and with the saying to see which angle you like best.

After playing around with angles for a while I realized I didn’t allow enough fabric for an angle look. So I went back to the original idea and decided on this look. I especially liked the chicken and the egg peeking out.

Now comes the touchy part. You will have extra fabric in length, so go ahead and mark of the edge of your frame.

Trim it down a bit and grab the back of the frame for measurement.Trim down a little more.

To keep my card in place as much as possible, I added some tape to the back and stuck it where I wanted on the fabric and put it all together.

Fair warning though, things are likely to shift a little bit when you put it together. As you can see my chicken and egg are off. Unfortunately I didn’t notice this until after the pictures were taken and the frame was packed up. I will fix it in my spare time one of these days.

That’s it! You can hang this on your wall or put it on the desk for a daily dose of inspiration!

Also, since practically, almost, quite nearly everything I used for this project came from my stash (excepting the card, but I didn’t think of the project until after I had it in my stash) I am joining this weeks Stash Bash with the Crunchy Catholic Momma.

Happy Creating!!

Tea Towels…part one: Homemade applique decoration.

I love tea towels. I adore tea towels, I vow never to buy another dish towel and to only use tea towels for the rest of my life. I will still make some dish towels, occasionally, when the fabric presents itself. Beyond that though, all tea towels, all the time.

I have yet to make myself a tea towel, but over the holiday I made quite a few. They were for my beloved, disbanded book group. They love tea towels too. I didn’t take pictures of the creation process because I was short of time and indecisive about a post. Only written instructions this time and hopefully a re-do is in the future.

Here is a picture of the finished tea towels, with one missing that I had to send off early in a different box.

Here are the instructions;

Homemade Applique For Tea Towels

You will need; a plain tea towel (I know kick me here, I haven’t made a tea towel yet, but you can buy them for cheap, otherwise called flour sack towels),  an image, scissors, scrap fabric in your needed size, double-sided fusible interfacing, thread and a needle.

First you get your tea towel and wash it, then you will have to iron it. That is a hard task, as you can see my tea towels were still a little wrinkly.

Next find an image, online, in a magazine, in a picture. This is silhouette work here, you are going to want to cut out the image or shape, so that it is recognizable but not incredibly detailed. Shadow imagery.

Now get your scrap fabric and find a piece big enough to hold the image. Get some of the interfacing and cut it to the same size of your scrap fabric. Follow interfacing directions to fuse the interfacing to the fabric.

Now grab the section you just fused and trace the image onto it. I traced onto the interfacing, with just a normal pen. My mistake: See how one of the girls is facing the other way? The one on the bottom left. Ya oops. When tracing on the interfacing be sure to remember that it is the equivalent of tracing on the wrong side of the fabric and change the direction of your image. For example, for the bottom left towel I had the image top facing me, for the rest I had the image top facing the fabric.

Now cut the image out.

Following interfacing directions again, fuse the image to the tea towel.

Wait for it to cool.

Now grab some thread that matches you fabric and a needle and hand sew around the inside of the image.

Tie the thread off and enjoy!

You can see all the little stitches above. You can do a more decorative stitch, but I didn’t want to take away from my images and only did a running stitch. I also did a two ply of thread, which means, I pulled the thread through my needle and then kept pulling it and had it meet up with the spool, cut and tied off the ends together, so instead of just sewing with one long string. I had two piece of thread, looped through the needle and tied at the end.

In the end you won’t really even be able to see the stitching.

These were lots of fun and very easy too.

Happy Tea Toweling!

*Note on my image. It is originally a wood carving, I can not find the image or the site again and I wish I could, it is beautiful work.

Knitted Dishcloths!

So the holidays were crazy, right? Right.

They always are. I had just forgotten how much crazier they are when you are actually around family. I had also forgotten how long it takes me to make presents, I was running short on time and patience and needed something simple and new to make. I have been making/knitting presents for close family and friends for the past 3 years. The first year was scarfs, the next year was hats, the third year was more scarfs and hats. This year though I wanted to try something new, I wanted to make mittens. Which I did do, for some people. Unfortunately mittens are a little more time-consuming and since, again, I was running short on time I desperately searched the interwebs for something, anything. I found this site!

Knitting Pattern Central

That is a link to the dish cloths page, but the website is loaded with tons and tons and tons of free patterns. Lots of cute and clever things! I fell in love with these dish cloths and all the different designs.

State Dishcloth Patterns

This link is to dishcloth patterns for every state!!! Most of them contain the shape of the state as well as the state abbreviation. I love state stuff! States, states, states!!!!

All of these patterns are so easy, fast and are perfect for beginning knitters who need to practice the simple stitches. Here are pictures of some of the ones I made. They go very fast too, without interruptions I say it would take 1-2 hours max. Timing is hard to gauge with a preschooler and eighty billion other distractions, it would take me 3 max, with the interruptions.

This was the first dishcloth I made for Halloween! Adorable spider!!As you can see, for most of the patterns the contrasting stitches make the design.

This one is called Irish Moss. I love it. I made a couple of these.

OHIO!!!

COLORADO!!!

I love these dish cloths! They can be used for cleaning, dusting, scrubbing, dishes, mopping, sopping, anything!! Possibilities limitless once again!!!

However, you will want to use 100% cotton yarn to make these. They work the best for cleaning. They hold up well in the wash too. No hand-washing needed. Which is why the yarn is so nice. Sugar n’ Cream is the main brand, pretty cheap, especially if you can find it on sale. One skein of Sugar n’ Cream (2 oz) will make 2 dish cloths, with a little left over.

I can not wait to make a million of these for my house! I am never buying wash cloths again! Hooray!!!

 

Felt Tree.

Happy Thanksgiving!!! Oh wait…that’s right the holiday season is over…hmm. Well so is this project, how convenient.

I wanted to try really hard and hold off posting this project until next November, but I can’t do that, I need to abolish as many free radicals as I can, this blog post being one of them. However, this tree can be modified and used in many different ways. It could be a thankful tree for Thanksgiving, a countdown to spring tree, a days of the month tree, a goal tree, anything really, options limitless.

This project is a lot of fun and a lot of work. Fair warning. Here is a picture of the completed project, I made it a little too big, I was making it up as I went, winging it, measuring for potential, going for…well you get the idea.

Here is what you will need for this project:

Lots and lots of felt in many different colors, lots of the small 8 x 11 rectangle sheets and one yard each of two different colors of big felt, (we got two yards each, but really you only need one), tacky glue, needle, sewing floss in any color, scissors, velcro (only the super stick side), sharpie and some patience.

1. Lay out the background color or big felt. The measurements should be around 70 inches by 36 inches. A big rectangle. Adjust and cut down to the size you prefer. (Mistake time! I really would have done half the above size. I just kept it at a yard, but I think a half yard by 36 inches would have been better.)

2. Lay out your tree color and cut it the same size or slightly smaller than the size of your background color.

This is a picture of our tree color uncut, so monstrous, I apologize for lack of measurements, but this is 2 yards of 70+ inch wide felt. We just cut it down that line in the center. Our ending size was around 72 inches by 36 inches.

3. Using your best drawing skills, free hand what you think a tree might look like. Unless you have any art talent, unlike me, I find it is best to just jump in the deep end and start swimming. In other words, even if you have absolutely no idea what you are doing, like me, it is okay to just do it. Have faith and confidence that it will look like a tree and it will.

4. Get your little helper and start cutting!

5. Lay out your tree on top of your background and adjust as needed. This may mean trimming some branches.

6. Start gluing down the tree. You may glue down more than I did, I only glued slightly because of the next, optional step.

7. Pin the tree. (optional).

8. Sew the tree down to the felt. (optional). (You can do this if you have a sewing machine, but more glue would work just fine too).

9. Once the tree is firmly set on the background, roll it up and set it aside.

10. Go to the internets! Hello internets!!! Tell it you need leaves. I would look for leaf coloring pages and cut and paste as needed and print them off, to a good size that would work for your tree. We used five different varieties.

11. Get your little snug bug and let her cut away! It is cowgirl cuttin’ time!

12. Lay out your leaves onto a piece of felt and trace over them. The tracing works best with a sharpie.

13. Take a second piece of felt and flip the leaves over and trace them. You want the leaves to be able to sandwich together with the sharpie part on the inside.

Of course try to fit as many leaves as you can onto the felt. We did a bunch of sheets with only five leaves and then I figured out how to put six on there. It made me happy. We had a lot of leaves to cut out.

14. Repeat steps 12 and 13 until you have as many leaves as you need. We needed 31, one for each day of November.

15. Cut out numbers, however many you need, again we needed 1-31 and glue them onto the leaves. You can trace or write or free hand cut the numbers. I did free hand and they turned out fine.

16. Take a small square of velcro and glue it on the back of the leaf. Glue should work just fine, I sewed mine, I have no idea why I sewed 31 little squares onto leaves. I confuse even myself on the best days.

17. Now you have a happy little leaf ready to be put together.

18. (optional) Take some colored floss, sewing not dental, and a needle and add some pretty stitches around the numbers. It in no way helps the function of the product, it just enhances it and makes it look pretty.

19. Adhere the two sides of the leaf together. You can use glue again, or a sewing machine, or if you have time and talent you can use more floss and stitch the sides.

19-2. Mistake Time!! When sewing the two sides together, you should double-check to make sure the velcro is on the outside of the leaf.

(side note: my nails are black and white striped because I had just read Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, it is amazing! I loved every minute of that book).

20. Once your leaf pocket is complete you can put a little note or treat or whatever into it. This is our first note of thanks, Snug had been thinking about it for days and this is what she came up with; “Snug is thankful for her skeleton pajamas and slippers.”

I worried for a couple of days about her placing so much importance on items, but her thankful notes got better or more significant as the leaves wore on. Not that skeleton pajamas aren’t pretty cool or something we shouldn’t be thankful for, I was just trying to get her to see a bigger picture.

21. Go ahead and stick that leaf on the tree!

It looks wonderful and stays very well, thanks to the velcro.

22. Repeat steps, 15 through 20 until you have all the leaves you need. If at one point your table looks like this, you are going great!

Or so you think. In you mass assembly of leaves don’t make my mistake, one of these is supposed to be 19. The one on the right to be exact. I have no idea how this happened and I didn’t even realize it until I was already done stitching another 6. Whoops. Let’s see if we can fix this.

Nope, there is no fixing that. Maybe next year.

Snug had a wonderful time putting the leaves on the tree.

You could do them in number order or by color, by leave shape, by even numbers, by thankful category. Again and as always the options are fairly limitless.

23. Once you are done categorizing your leaves, take a strip of felt any color. Snug chose bright green. You can glue this, but depending on the weight of your tree with all the leaves, I would/did sew it. We did three tag type hooks. However, you could do more and get a wooden dowel to hang the tags on. That would be nice.

Here is a view of the back.

24. Hang and admire!

The end.

Lightbulb Ornaments; Decoupage!

Recently, as in the past couple of months, I have been saving burnt out light bulbs, not the fancy LED swirl ones, but the older bulb ones. I had no idea what I was saving them for, but I knew I would figure it out.

Eventually, a couple of weeks ago, I did. I was stumbling around on the internet and came across decoupaging, again. I have wanted to decoupage about ten times, but never got the chance or the right surface. After going to a couple of craft fairs, buying a decoupaged tray and seeing lots of lightbulb ornaments, I figured I would try to mesh the idea for myself.

It worked great!!! I hope you can try it, they turn out really very neat.

Though they are only for decoration, given they are burnt out, I wouldn’t try doing this with ones that you would still light up.

Here are the things you will need… Lightbulbs that are burnt out and cleaned, water and a little soap on a dishcloth will do great, do not immerse them in water, just wipe clean. Scissors, some string, any kind will do…

You will need a decoupage medium and brushes, we used foam ones. We did Mod Podge for our medium and it worked great! On the left is the gloss kind, leaves a nice glossy look and on the right is the glitter infused sparkle.

Now you will need images to decoupage. This gets a little tricky, there are rules. The image of your choosing needs to be something printed. So Magazines, music, books, scrapbook paper, etc. It cannot be anything from a newspaper or inkjet printer, the ink will smear all over your surface.

Take some string and tie it around the top of the bulb. Just one little knot will hold it fine, leave lots of excess string so you can hang the bulbs up to dry.

Cut out your image with the scissors or an exacto knife to the shape and size you want them. My Mistake! The more images the better, so cut out a lot of them! I kept having to go back and cut some more out, which makes for a very long process.

Now start putting the images onto your surface, we used the regular gloss Mod Podge for this. You have two options for adhering your images onto the lightbulb or onto your surface. You can paint the medium on the back of the image OR

You can put the medium on the surface and then stick the pictures. For the Mickey Mouse we put the medium on the back, but for the music, we put it on the lightbulb. It just depends on the thickness of the paper and how well it will stay itself. If your image paper is thin, then put the medium on the surface of what you are decoupaging. If it is thicker paper, put it on the back of the image.

Now press the images on however you like. Overlapping is key.

If you can’t get the images to flatten on their own, you can use a popsicle stick or the blunt side of a butter knife.

Like so! Smooth them down. Also if the image is big, start from the center and press out.

Keep covering until the entire surface is covered, or about as much as you want is covered. We left lots of open spaces on the mickey mouse bulb, Snug didn’t want the pictures to overlap, she wanted to be able to see everyone.

Once you are all done covering the bulbs with images, let them hang to dry. I tied ours onto a hanger. You want the medium to dry completely before you put on anymore. This doesn’t take long, 15 minutes or less.

Now you have to seal and protect your images, so take the decoupaged bulb and the medium and cover the whole thing.

It should look like this, when wet, it will dry clear and hard. For the Mickey bulb we used the sparkle Mod Podge.

For the music we used the gloss.

Back on the hanger they go to dry! It will take a little longer for these to dry, probably around an hour or so. You will be able to tell when they are dry, by looking at them.

After they are dry, put another layer of the medium on them. You can put another layer after the second layer, if necessary, you want all your images covered and sealed. If you have corners or edges that are still sticking up, you will want to put more medium on them, press them down and seal them again.

Here is Mickey all nice and sealed.

And the music!

To make them into ornaments, we added some ribbon around the top. For this part, you will need ribbon and hot glue or strong glue.

We took a good length of ribbon and wrapped it around the ‘screw in part’ a couple of times. We tied a couple of knots in the back and hot glued the knots. With the strings from the knots we tied them up at the top to make the string for the ornament to hang. Then we got a separate piece of ribbon and tied a bow, which we hot glued onto the front of the ornament.

There is a picture of how we tied them off in the back.

We are giving the music ones away as gifts and the mickey one is for Snug.

This was a very fun project, Snug and I had a great time! I have gone on to decoupage other glass ornaments for a fundraiser. In fact I have two more to do today, though I am really anxious to try decoupaging on a flat surface. Last tip for decoupaging on something round, the smaller the picture the flatter it will be.

Happy Decoupaging!

Homemade Decorations: Painted Lanterns

For Halloween the snug and I made some fun lantern decorations. Now even though we did ours for Halloween, this craft can transfer over to any other holiday. You can do snowflakes or hearts, Menorahs or trees, anything really. They would be great for picnics in the summer, or in our case, great to light the porch step on Halloween.

We found the craft, from those clever people at family fun.

They call them, ‘Jar-o-Lanterns’. They are super simple and here is our step by step process.

Needed supplies are; as many glass jars as you want to make, you can use mason jars, ball jars, pickle jars, spaghetti jars, anything really as long it is glass and clean. Masking tape, acrylic paint in your desired colors, paint brushes, paper plates or paint trays and newspaper. Puff paint is optional. And tea lights or the small LED battery lights, eventually.

Get your area set up with the newspaper and put some paint on the plates. Then take your jars and with the masking tape, cut or create shapes that you want your jar to have. For Halloween we did jack-o-lantern faces, but here is where the other holidays come into play. You could do hearts with pink paint for valentine’s day or snowflakes with blue or white paint for winter. Possibilities are endless.

Here are our jars. We wrote out ‘spooky’ on the biggest jar we had. We used wide-mouthed mason jars, that were extra we had from canning season.

Start painting, cover the whole jar, even the tape.

Once they are all done, just wait, wait, wait for them to dry. Wait a little longer then you want to. Acrylic paint will peel if it is not all the way dry. After the jars are completely dry, pull the tape off.

My mistake! I got a little impatient and pulled off the tape while the paint was dry, but not dry enough. A couple of times a huge strip of paint came off with the tape I pulled off. Thankfully it was a very easy touch up.


Now just for fun and affect, also because we had some lying around, we outlined our jars facial features with yellow puff paint.

It really helped them pop!

The picture isn’t fantastic but the effect in person is wonderful! They all turned out very cute though and we will be able to use them over and over again. They are also great for holding candy or you could give some gifts in them. For example, if you do not paint around the rim where the lid screws on you could fill it with a cookie mix or hot cocoa mix and give it as a decorative gift.

Overall though, these are just plain fun.