20 October 2010

Felt Crowns

Kaia's much loved paper crown (as pictured here, up-side-down and backwards,) has seriously about had it. All of its sequins have fallen off, as has most of the glitter, and it's been taped more times than I can count. It was time for something a bit more durable.
I measured out three symmetrical spikes on a piece of paper. The center spike is about 2 1/2 inches tall. You could go with all sorts of fanciful shapes, which I think would be really fun to play around with. Later. :) For my first try, though, I thought I would keep it simple. I have a habit of making projects unnecessarily complicated and then never completing them, so with a 3 month old baby on my hands, (not to mention the 2 1/2 year old!) I'm trying to keep things finishable. I banished any thoughts of spires and dragons spewing flames, (for the time being!) connected my dots, and called it good.
I cut it out and tried it on the little Miss's head. I originally cut out from the tips of the spikes to the bottom of the paper, and it was just too big. I hacked off another inch or so off the bottom and tried it on her again, it was good! This only wraps to just behind her ears, the back of the crown will be made with a strip of a broken stretchy headband we have.
Once we had it right, Kaia picked out what colours of felt she wanted and I traced the paper pattern onto felt using chalk. I would have preferred fabric chalk, but sidewalk chalk was what was within reach. ;) I cut a straight edge on the brown felt for the backing. Then I cut the purple felt a little bit smaller, and used pinking shears along the top edge.
I also cut out a handful of various star and flower shapes, with little circles for the centers. I free-handed  these, but you could easily use a stencil, or even print some out.
Cut interfacing just a tad smaller than your front material and any shapes you want to put on and iron everything into place. I laid a paper towel over top of my material to protect it, especially since I am using the eco-felt made from recycled plastic bottles. I can imagine what a horrible, melty, sticky mess it could make!
I had her hold it up on her head again for me, and I measured to see how long of a strip of elastic we would need. As I mentioned before, we are using a broken stretchy headband we had kept for this purpose. I tacked that into place with fusible interfacing as well.

(If you don't have one you want to use and don't want to buy one to cut up, you can use a strip of elastic and sew a case for it instead. Measure your elastic in the same way, then cut a strip of felt a bit longer and a little over twice as wide. Simply fold in half and sew shut along the long seam. Turn it right-side-out, run your elastic through, and continue in the same manner. This is what I am planning on doing for the crown I will be making for my nephew.)
 Looking good! Now it's time to secure everything. I should have pulled out my machine for this, but that seemed like a lot of work at the time and it scares me anyway. Some day I will have a place for it to stay out and perhaps then I will be more willing to jump on it more often. As it was, I hand stitched the entire thing, which added to the length of this project considerably. Any further crowns I make I am definitely getting the machine out for. It would take a lot less time to get it out and put it away than I spent on stitching this. (Although I have to admit, I do like the look of the hand stitching...) Anyway, I went for contrast and used purple thread on the brown felt, and vice-versa.
Embellishing time! I didn't want anything too much, but I did glue a little "gem" onto the center of the front star / flower, and sewed a small cluster of little glass seed beads onto the little flowers on the sides.
Now it's finally time to play! She's had so much fun with it already, and I'm sure it has a lot more lovin' to come. Now to finish a couple more crown and wand sets for my niece and nephew's birthdays. I'll tack their pictures on here when I complete them, and also get a post done about wands, they're too much fun!
This is how the little one passed out tonight <3

19 October 2010

Kitty Applique

Miss Kaia announced that she really wanted a kitty shirt. Well, she didn't have a kitty shirt, which actually kind of surprised me, (we have four cats!) however, she did have a plain white shirt. So I foolishly informed her that in the morning I would have a kitty shirt for her. After finally getting her baby sister in bed around 1am I stayed up wwaaaayyyy too late to fabricate a kitty shirt. I haven't really made an applique before, so this was especially foolish, but I did have some fusible webbing, so I set to. It was amazingly easy, and I am very nearly entirely incompetent when it comes to sewing.

I sketched out a kitty shape on the papery side of a piece of freezer paper, then I cut out the approximate shape in fabric and stuck that to my fusible webbing. (It had a sticky side, it was awesome!)

I then cut the fusible webbing to match. Now, the thing about freezer paper is, you can iron it to fabric and then peel it off, no harm done. It's fantastic. So with a quick swipe of the iron, my drawing was firmly in place and easy to cut around.

I positioned kitty where I wanted it on her shirt and covered it with paper towel for safety, then ironed it on the front. I flipped it in-side-out and ironed its back, too.

Next I cut eyes from green felt, and a nose from some thin, shimmery pink scrap fabric. I cut fusible webbing for those as well, and ironed them in place. After that I stitched around them. The pink fabric did not like this very much but I think it turned out okay. Stitching it on is not really necessary, but should help it last longer and I do like it better visually.

I stitched around the kitty, as well, with pink thread to match its spots. You should probably use a machine for this because it would take a lot less time, but I am terribly intimidated by my sewing machine so I hand stitched it. For pupils, I doubled my black thread over and stitched repeatedly. A couple of the stitches I ended in the center of the eye and used them to tack some of the threads out a bit, so that I got an ellipse shape. I added whiskers by tripling my pink thread up, knotting in the back, and then knotting it in the front to keep them from slipping out. 

I tacked on a little ribbon flower by one ear to complete it. I already had the flower, but they would be very easy to make, too. She was so happy to get her kitty shirt in the morning! It was worth staying up :) Upon being shown, she immediately ripped her jammies off and then actually wore it overnight and the next day as well because I could not peel it off of her.... /hide

13 October 2010

Halloween Party Invites

We finished up our party invitations today, Kaia can't wait to give them to our mailwoman tomorrow! We had actually looked for some ready made invites to buy because, to be honest, I would rather be investing the time into the actual party. They were all too shameful to send out with our names on them, though, so we had to make our own. :) It was fun to come up with our own design, Kaia loves them and we had to make an extra one for her to play with, lol. I hope everyone else likes them even half as much as she does. :P We only had to make 10 invites because we have a lot of siblings on our list, but this could definitely get old if you had to make 40. 

We bought a box of generic envelopes and sized our cards to them, using black construction paper folded in half. On a separate piece of construction paper I drew a castle shape that wouldn't be too hard to cut out, and then cut it out to make a stencil. Originally I was also going to cut windows into it, but I decided I wasn't interested in that much exact-o work and that glitter is more fun anyway. I did cut a door into it, though.

Once you have your stencil ready trace it out onto all your cards, I used a white coloured pencil. When you get to the doors, open your card and trace them onto the back side of the card cover. That way your pencil lines won't show. Only cut up the middle and around the top of your doors, leaving the sides connected for hinges. Cut out the sky area all the way around your castle, up to the cards fold. Leave the second half of your card whole. Pencil in where you want windows, or anything else you want to glitter. I added another roof. This doesn't need to be terribly neat, you will be gluing and glittering over it. It just needs to show you where you want things.

Now you need something for the inside of your card that is easier to write on and read. It also will serve as a backdrop for the castle. I used yellow. Cut your rectangles for the inside just a bit smaller than your folded card is. I used spray adhesive to adhere these. It is quick and it is easy to get a nice, thin, even coat of glue without bumps, wrinkles, or lines showing through. It stays tacky for a couple minutes, so I sprayed a few at a time. It is also very easy to peel your paper back up and reposition it if you get it on crooked, or to remove and replace it if you screw up your info, as I did on a couple. :)

When you fill out your information, take care not to have your writing show over or around your castle from the front. I added a moon and a few stars in the sky to help balance the open card. The info did not turn out very exciting and I wish I'd printed it.

I wanted to put something behind the opening doors to write on, but I also wanted it to look nice on the other side. I decided on the obvious choice - pumpkins! I cut one and used it as a stencil for the rest. Now, when you glue your pumpkin in, make sure you don't put glue where your doors will be. To make this easy I used the door stencil on the pumpkin and then glued everywhere else. Of course you could do a ghost, or any number of things other than pumpkins, but you want it to rest flat on the bottom edge of your card, at least for that length of it that will show inside the door from the outside.

 I drew jack-o-lantern faces on the pumpkins to do in glitter.

 I was going to tell you that you can use a paint brush and white glue for all this glitter work, but recommend using a glue pen if you have one. (Don't use a good brush for glue, they're never the same...) But that was when I couldn't find my glue pen and was doing all the cards with a paint brush. After finishing most of them I found my glue pen, and I changed my mind in a hurry. If you don't have a glue pen, I would buy one. It was soooo much nicer and easier! I love my glue pens, they are useful for so many things, they're a great tool to have around (granted you can find one when you need it!) I used a fine tipped ballpoint glue pen to finish the rest, and reveled in every moment of its ease and precision. Once you have your glue down, go ahead and dump on the shiny!

Do this over another piece of paper, or something that you can pick up and funnel your glitter back into its container with. We used a piece of cardboard left over from cutting the windows out of Kaia's boat. ;)

 Miss Kaia is my official glitter dumper. She adores this job!

Front, too!

I put their names inside the doors, and they're all set.

Oh, and Kaia beautifully decorated our envelopes.