Rex and Steggy

RAWR!

Valentine’s Day seems to be about a hundred years ago, but since I’ve been MIA for so long, I have a lot of catching up to do.  I’d like to introduce you to Rex and Steggie, (or Kissasaurus and Huggasaurus Rex, as I called them when I delivered them), two felt dinos I made for Cameron and Alex for Valentine’s Day.  Back around Christmastime, Cameron saw me knitting and asked me to knit him a dinosaur.  I said “maybe” which he took to mean “absolutely, right this minute!” and from that day on, each time I saw him he asked if I’d gotten a chance to make him that dinosaur “like I promised”.

Valentine’s day seemed like a good excuse to fulfill my promise, but I decided that I had no hope of knitting them so I’d make the dinos out of felt.  I played around with some paper pattens and came up with Rex first.  He came out perfectly and I nearly sprained my arm from patting myself on the back.  I just sewed a toy!  Very exciting.  After Rex, I couldn’t decide if I wanted to make two of the same dinos to avoid the “I wanted that one” fights, but that seemed boring so I challenged myself to make a pattern for Steggie.  He was supposed to come out smaller than Rex but, sadly, things didn’t work out that way.  That left me with a dilemma.

Big brother, Cameron is on a kick now where he has to be the biggest, best, fastest, the one with the most guns, the most powers, etc. etc.  So… would he want the biggest felt dino, or the smaller T-Rex dino, since T-Rex was the king of the dinosaurs?  I couldn’t decide so I consulted my sister who said he’d want the biggest one.  I think I would have lost either way, but unfortunately when I delivered them on V-Day, Cameron complained that he didn’t get Rex until I told him that he was hurting my feelings.  The next night I watched the boys so my sister and her husband could go on their belated anniversary/Valentine’s Day date and both boys tucked their dinos into bed with them when they climbed under the covers so I think that everyone was happy in the end.

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Brilliant or Insane?

So I had this idea… This year it’s my turn to host the big family Christmas party.  I found this out before Thanksgiving and I immediately began thinking of what I wanted to use for invitations.  I like to make my own, but I’ve been thinking about using less paper, saving the earth, etc., etc.  Then I thought about my new(ish) love of sewing and, hey, look at all that felt in my fabric drawer.  Also, how did I end up with fourteen canning jars filed with vintage buttons? Then, voila!  I had an idea.

The first hurdle for me was deciding how to get the words onto the fabric.  Now, sure, I’m Martha Stewart-ish, but I’ll poke out my own eyes before I embroider party details onto sixteen felt invitations.  I wasn’t interested in writing them by hand either.  I wanted them printed neatly, and in a stylish font.  That left me with the choice of printing iron-on transfers, (which I have had frustrating hit-or-miss luck with), or a new and brilliant idea that came to me one day – printing right on the fabric with my computer printer.

I have an Epson printer which prints with waterproof ink, so I knew I’d be safe to steam iron the fabric once it was printed, but how would I print it?  The muslin I bought was far too thin to run through the printer by itself.  Then I remembered Amanda and Amy‘s posts about making fabric stencils by ironing freezer paper into fabric and (I know this is a wild jump in ideas from stencils to printing fabric on a computer – just go with it) I knew I had a winner.

So here, in no fewer than 800 steps, is how I made the invitations:

  • I ironed the muslin to the freezer paper and cut it into 8 1/2 x 11″ sheets.
  • I printed my design on the heavyweight, textured paper setting. (Every other sheet I printed jammed, but muslin’s cheap so I persevered.)
  • After they were printed, I peeled away the freezer paper and ironed on lightweight fusible interfacing.
  • I cut out circles the size of my almost spent roll of masking tape (my measuring is always so precise – cough, cough).
  • I used a fabric glue stick to tack the rounds to felt that I had cut slightly bigger using a fresh roll of masking tape as my guide.
  • I sewed rickrack around the muslin round to affix it to the felt round, and then I plugged in my glue gun.
  • I glued on a small V of rickrack to the bottom of the rickrack trim, then glued on a coordinating vintage button.
  • On the back to neaten up the stitching, I glued another button in the same area.
  • I used a small punch to make a hole in the top of the felt round and I set a grommet into it.
  • I tied a ribbon for hanging.
  • And then I stood back and admired my work.  Phew!

I really do love the way they came out and I was all excited to send them, but as soon as they were off  in the mail, I panicked.  Would people think I was showing off? Would they roll their eyes like they usually do and act disgusted with me? So far the reaction has been wonderful.  My sister, although she did shake her head a little in disbelief, had her invitation hanging on her Christmas tree.  My aunt left a wonderful message on the answering machine telling me how impressed she was, and my cousin Karen just sent an email to tell me she loved them.

So yay me, I guess.  I still think it was a crazy idea, but also a brilliant one!  What do you think?

When Life Gives You Lemons, Make a Tote Bag. Or something like that…

Well, it’s not what I planned to make.

I should never have written down my to-do list because I’m much too scatter-brained to stick to any one idea.  I set out to make the painted fabric wall hanging that Martha had on her Craft of the Day to hang in my hallway.  I, of course, cannot follow directions to save my life, so decided to do it differently.

I made a stencil out of freezer paper and painted this leaf thing on some gorgeous batik fabric.  I pulled the freezer paper off and finished painting it freehand.  Then I stretched the fabric over a wooden frame, stapled it, hung it on the wall in the hallway, went to bed, and woke up the next day hating it.   It wasn’t right, the frame was too big, the color of the fabric against my purple walls looked too matchy, something wasn’t right.

So I did what any normal person would do, I cut it off the frame and made a tote bag out of it.

Now I love it.  It’s big enough to fit a hardcover book, a water bottle and my little purse.  The straps are nice and long and they stay on my sad little shoulders.  And I had fun with the fabric painting, I might make a few more hand painted tote bags for the shop.  What do you think?

PS: Check out the cute bistro set my sister bought us for our deck (in the first picture). Who has the best sister ever?  That’s right, ME!

Snappy

I’ve been keeping up on my Drawing 365 set much better than my Crafting 365 set. I’ve failed at that one and haven’t crafted anything other than dinner in the past several days. Last night’s drawing was my camera because I spent the evening taking new pictures of my jewelry to update my Etsy shop.

I even made a new banner for the shop.  Cute and springy, no?  Doesn’t it make you want to buy stuff?

I thought the perky colors might help to improve my mood.  It might just be working.