Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Easy Ribbon & Trim Tree Ornaments - a Tutorial

If you're one of those people who like the idea of being crafty, but aren't actually into tackling complicated, timely projects... well, I've got a great craft for you!  Here's a fun, easy-to-make ornament. I was inspired by Fire Flies and Mudpies.  After doing one as suggested on that site, I figured out an easier way to make these with a little extra finish to these so they are a quick project that's perfect to do with children or non-crafty friends. 

Step 1 - You will need the following supplies, a little wire for the top. Star brads are the easiest method to finishing off your tree but if you want to add eyelet stars to the top of your trees, you'll need a little epoxy glue too:

The first tip to this project is to use twigs or suckers that you take right off a tree. I used twigs that had buds and bud scars because they were easy to cut using my craft scissors. The buds on these twigs were very useful because they held the tied ribbon in place making this a sew-less, almost glue-less project.  See each of the illustrations for the basic steps and then the comments to learn how to easily make these trees.

I liked cutting the twigs to 5" - 5 1/2" long.  That way, I used less ribbon & trim and still got a darling looking Christmas tree.

Ribbon wider than 1/2" can be trimmed in half or even 1/3.  That's what I did with the sparkly green ribbon which originally was 1" wide.  If you are making more than one tree, cut as many trim pieces per length needed per tree.  You'll be amazed at the time this step will save you as you're tying the trim onto the branch. 

 Make sure you keep all your knots on the same side.  I only tied the trim once not making it into a square knot.

Remember, tie the trim and push it down, tie trim and push closely to the proceeding trim  until you get to about 1/4" from the top or to the top bud.

Now, that the trim is in place, you'll need to trim it at an angle.  It'll look so much better once that tree is trimmed!  Note: If the ribbon frays a lot, you can use ribbon no-fray adhesive onto the edges.

Add star brads onto the top of the tree by wrapping the metal around the branch like this:

You can also add star eyelets by pressing them into the branch.  Pull out and add a drop of epoxy glue to the back and press back into the indentation.

Here's how I made the ornament holders for these trees:

Here's a close-up of the back & front of these trees:

These ornaments look great on presents!  

I hope you have fun making your gifts look great with your easy to make ribbon & trim tree ornaments.  xoxo Grandma

Monday, November 24, 2014

Silk Refashioned - Japanese Doll Kimono

Have you ever inherited something that you don't want? Well, I inherited this 50 plus year old silk bathrobe from my mother-in-law when she passed away.  It's been hanging in my closet for over 10 years and I've never worn it.  I just couldn't throw it away though because my father-in-law had it custom-made while on one of his business trips to Asia. This silk was beautiful, but I knew I'd never wear it since it was so dated. It reminded me more of a costume than a bathrobe.  I eventually ended up refashioning it into a Japanese kimono for the doll you see in the above photo. 
At first, I had decided to use the silk and make myself a jacket but when I started to take the bathrobe apart, I found stains and small holes in the silk.  My sister-in-law, Sue, was visiting me when I started this project and we both agreed that the silk was possibly deteriorating. We also discovered that whoever originally made this had cut out half the fabric's design running one way and half with the design running the complete opposite way.  My visions of a beautiful jacket went out the window.

Brainstorming, Sue and I decided that this fabric would make a cute doll kimono or two.  So, I gave the top half of the bathrobe to Sue for her doll and I kept the skirt for mine. 

It was tricky cutting around the deteriorated parts of the fabric but look how fun this Japanese style kimono turned out. 

I made every coordinating component from this pattern:  The hair piece, cummerbund, white scarf, black velvet sandals and white socks.

This outfit was a time consuming labor of love.  I'm planning on giving it to my daughter for her baby girl who is living in Japan for three years while her father works there.   When she comes back to the states, give it a few years and she'll be ready for a special doll and some fun doll clothes.

This was the first time I've ever sewn on silk.  With the right fine needle, it sewed up so easily.  So from one old bathrobe, we got two kimonos, plus I used part to make an infinity scarf for myself.  I'll be wearing it soon since the weather has turned a bit nippy here.

I started a tradition with my granddaughters to give them an inexpensive baby doll on their first birthday.  When they turn two, I give them doll clothes and a baby quilt for their dolls (see THIS post).  At what age do you think it's appropriate to give a child a special doll like an American Girl doll?  Would love to hear what you think!

xoxo Grandma

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Making Snowmen from Scraps

If you're like me, you probably have tons of scrap fabrics left over from past projects that you just can't seem to throw away.  I usually make doll clothes out of them, but when I saw this pattern I thought this would a fun and different way to use up those scraps. 

This project actually started back in June. I cut out six snowmen and some clothes for them. And then it got hot and I didn't feel like sewing them, nor did I want to think about winter and snow because that would mean I'd be shoveling and freezing!  I'm really not a fan of winter, are you?

Then a few weeks ago, when the weather turned a little colder, I finally felt ready to sew these together. But, of course, I couldn't find the pattern or the instructions.  After searching and cleaning a bit, I decided that I must have thrown them away. "Oh well," I thought, "it really doesn't matter because I usually change things when I'm sewing anyway." So, below is the outcome of pattern-less snowmen. 

For these snowmen's bodies, I used left over batting and the tiniest of noses from my Easter carrots free pattern found HERE.  For this snowman's hat, I used fur which was left over from making baby booties.  

This snowmen's coat and hat were from a fleece scarf one of my children made in a sewing class.  

This snowmen is wearing a nice warm refashioned wool sweater that a daughter left at home.  I had to work around a few pin holes that the sweater had but don't you think that this little snowman looks toasty warm in his winter looking attire?   

The scarf above was refashioned from a belt that I took off a jacket.  

In several of the snowmen's hands, I found some small ornaments that I attached with a few quick stitches.  I think these scraps of fabric made some pretty adorable snowmen.  Yes, snowmen from your scraps take on lots of personalities and are a fun way to use up your leftovers. 

Now that these snowmen are completed, if my children don't claim all of them, I'll be donating a few to my favorite winter charity, Festival of Trees. Happy scrapping! 
-xoxo Grandma

Monday, November 17, 2014

Winter Wonderland Pillows - Add Texture to Sewing Projects

Before I left on my "new grandchild/Christmas" trip last year, I created a little project to take with me, using scraps of fabric and ribbon. This project was very portable; it was small enough that I could carry it in a medium sized zip-lock bag and stuff it into my purse. You know, for those down times when you don't want to watch anything on television or the baby doesn't need changing or it's someone else's turn to hold the baby or the little apartment doesn't need to be cleaned - again.  

I used a Fiber Mosaics pattern #61202, Winter Wonderland as inspiration:

When I opened the pattern, I discovered the pieces were too small for my eyes. So with a copier, I enlarged them quite a bit. Then I changed them just a little, hand-stitched the fabric art and then added some embroidered details.

Here are a few tips to add texture to this and other fabric art projects.
  • Use a variety of fabrics. The hat above is a quilted looking gold fabric stitched over some embroidered hair. I also used cotton, flannel, fake fur and fleece to create the figure's clothing.  
  • Use a variety of embroidery stitches. French knots were used for the pom pom on the bottom of the hat.  The hair was a series of tightly stitched running stitches.  On the ends of the scarfs, I tied a knot and left 6 strands of floss loose so it would look like fringe.
  • Add different scraps of lace to the edge of the clothing.  
  • Use different embroidery thread to add more interest. Most of the details were added with cotton floss but for the skates, I used a shinny thicker silver floss. 

  • Ribbon can also be used for the tree trunks, for windows and even scarfs.

Texture really adds a lot of fun to sewing projects!  With all my children moved out of my house, I've decided it's time to update a few of their bedrooms, and these two pillows make a fun accent in my dusty blue room.  

xoxo Grandma

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Five Super Simple Neighbor Gift Ideas for Christmas

It's that time of year again... when you get to figure out what on earth to give your neighbors for the holidays. It's always a dilemma, but hopefully these ideas will help!

I've put together five super simple neighbor/co-worker gift ideas. And the best part is they all cost under $3 each - easy on the pocket book. To make these gifts even simpler, I've created links so you can download the ready-made gift tags that are pictured with each stellar gift idea.

1.  Extension Cord: $2-$3 - "Extending a Merry Christmas" tag download HERE.

2.  Ice Pack: $2  - "You are Cool Neighbors" tag download HERE.

3.  Lighter and a bundle of wood - The lighter was $1 and wood can be purchased for a reasonable cost or free depending on where you live.  "May this handy tool help to bring light & warmth into your home this holiday season!"  Download tag HERE.

4. Rolls of Tape and Christmas tags- $1 for the tape and about 10 cents each for tags (see THIS post for six tag ideas.) - "Here's a Classic, that no home should be without at     Christmas time." Download the tag HERE.

5. Toilet Paper disguised as a snowman - under one dollar - "There's no hiding it....We know you'll use this gift during the holiday season!"  Download the tag HERE.  The eyes and nose were made from construction paper & glued to the toilet paper.  A regular hole punch was used to create the mouth dots.  I know, a dumb but practical gift.  It would be fun as a gag gift for a co-worker!

Which of these gift ideas is your favorite?  xoxo Grandma
Linked to: Nap Time Creations

Monday, November 10, 2014

Warm Lined Baby Booties - a Tutorial and Free Pattern

Brrr, it's getting cold outside.  Has your weather turned cold already too?  If so, I've just created a pattern to keep your babies feet toasty warm.  You can download the free pattern for baby booties HERE (make sure you do not print it "to fit," just print as is).  These booties aren't your typical baby booties either because these ones actually stay on a baby's feet.  They are sized to a toddler 4 (which should fit a one year - 18 mo. baby).  But feel free to adjust as necessary to fit your own little one. 

Supplies needed:  
  • 1/4 yard of fur (faux fur works too)
  • 1/4 yard of faux leather
  • 1/4" elastic
  • 1 sheet of sticky foam (for the soles)      
  • socks with non-skid soles (hospital socks work great for this) - optional             

Note:  use 1/4" seams  unless otherwise stated.  Cut out all pattern pieces: two from lining and two from outside fabric.  For the outside fabric, I used faux leather on the pair photographed.  You'll need a left and right piece per pair of booties.   
  1. Cut out the pattern pieces.  For the sole, I used a pair of those ugly socks that some hospitals give you when you're having a baby.
  2. Sew the toe lining to the toe piece along the top seam.  
  3. Clip curves.
  4. Turn the toe piece so that the outside fabric is on the outside.
  5. Baste the back pieces together.  Now sew the casing per the details on the  pattern piece.
  6. Photo showing the bottom of the casing being sewn.
  7. Sew on the bias around the back top edge.  Do not sew the bias onto the casing.
  8. Turn the bias and sew to the reverse side of the back edge.
  9. Top stitch around the bias as close to the stitched edge as possible.
  10. Top stitch toe pieces along the edge.
  11. Sew a strip of bias together.  Turn right side out.  This will be your back tabs.
  12. Sew the sole to the toe pieces and then attach the heal... in that order.
  13. Sew a scrap of fabric to the middle of the toe piece as directed on pattern piece.
  14. Photo showing placement of this tab.
  15. Thread 6 3/4" long x 1/4" wide elastic into casing in the back pieces and through the tab just sewn.
  16. Stitch elastic together.
  17. Sew on the tab onto the middle of the upper back pieces. 
  18. This photo shows the foam pieces with the fabric attached to one piece on the right side and one on the left side.
  19. Glue the sole with the fur to the foam sole lining.  You'll want to use a washable glue if you want to keep these booties clean.
Once you're done sewing, you should now have warm, fur lined baby booties that will look like this when they are finished:

Warm feet for my granddaughter!  This little one is learning the joy of creating.  Time to play with chalk anyone?

Don't these booties look toasty?      xoxo Grandma

Etsy shop: xoxo Grandma

Totally Tutorials Blog

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Everyday Tank Tour - SF Baseball Style Shirt

Today I've joined another group of talented seamstress to bring you my version of the Everyday Tank by Sergerpepper:  Top & dresses. If you'd like this free pattern, make sure you keep reading this post because the pattern's designer is sponsoring a giveaway!

Ta da - here's my latest boy's shirt! I refashioned two of my husband's "donation" pile shirts into a one of a kind San Francisco Giants World Series shirt. Last week the Giants won the World Series!  I'm not a huge sports fan, but I watched every game of this series, while I sewed a little of course.  YEA Giants!

The graphics say it's the San Francisco Seals - if you don't know a lot about baseball, then let me explain a few facts. The San Francisco Seals were a professional baseball team that played in the Pacific Coast League from 1903 through 1957. There was even a Seals Stadium which was constructed in San Francisco, California in 1930 for this minor league. The stadium was demolished in 1959.  My husband actually attended his first game with his best friend and his baseball loving mom at this stadium.  Years later, he purchased one of those vintage reproduction shirts, and now he no longer wants it, so I used the graphics from this shirt for the front and the back of my tank/shirt.  

Making this tank had a few challenges.  The hardest part for me was deciding what fabrics to use for my grandson. When I saw these shirts in the give-away pile, I knew just what I was going to do.  Refashion of course!  The next challenge was cutting out the front graphics with the seal on it.  The graphics was high on the shirt and I needed the shoulder parts to fit per the pattern.  That is why I divided the center front piece into two sections. The black at the top gives the whole shirt's front graphics a framed in look.  If you want to try this technique, simply fold the pattern piece into two pieces and add a seam allowance for each pattern piece. The only bad part of using these two colors of fabric together was I choice to change the thread colors often depending on which color fabric I was sewing on made this a time consuming task.  

If I had to do it over again, when making a shirt for a boy, I would raise the front neckline. As the pattern is made, it's too scoop neck for a boy.

I shipped this shirt off to my far away grandson, and was hoping it would fit him!  What do you think?

If I had to do it over again, when making a shirt for a boy, I would raise the front neckline. As the pattern is made, it's too scoop neck for a boy.

One question, did you watch the World Series at your house, if so, who did you cheer for?

For all of those that want to make this easy tank, because it was really easy to sew up, save 40% off your purchase by entering this code: BLOGTOUR40    Hurry you only have until November 9th!

You can purchase the Everyday Tank Pattern from:
2 Everyday Tank patterns will be given away to two lucky winners.  Go here to enter: 
a Rafflecopter giveaway  If you don't win a pattern, you'll want to purchase this pattern.  Trust me on this one.
xoxo Grandma

Shared:  Creating my Way to Success, Nap time Creations