02 November 2010

Totes of Tininess

Whew! We've been without internet. More on what we've been up to later, though. First... tiny totes! Christmas is just around the corner, and if, like us, you try to make everything handmade, you should better be in full swing by now. Er... not surprisingly, I'm not. Nevertheless, I have started so I am still ahead in my book. ;) Here's one of my projects this year. I am making 8 and they will be filled with little handmade magnets. I basically followed this tutorial and their pictures are much more festive than mine, but.. sorry, I wasn't about to bust out the x-mas shinies beginning of November to take a few pics! I was not 100% happy with them, though, so I made mine just slightly different. 

Lets start with the decoration. I didn't want to use scrapbooking embellishments, especially not when I already own some polymer clay. I rolled out some white clay and cut rectangles into it, then used the tip of a mechanical pencil to punch holes through the corners so I would have a way to attach them to my little bags. Obviously you can do this with a pin, or something else pointy, too. Then I formed triangles in green, and cut branches into them, pulling up the tips, and pressed them onto the rectangles. I used the same nice thin steel scraper I'd used to cut to also carefully slice my rectangles back up off the table. If you haven't got something like that I would just recommend working on a piece of tin foil so that your work can be easily moved.

Using just the very tip of my exact-o blade I cut itty bitty little stars. Stars was my first intention, although I have to admit that when I came to this step I tried to skimp and just put little balls on top. It just wasn't the same, though, and I think the stars were with their aggravation. I rolled little cylinders between my fingers and pressed on little trunks as well. Then it was time to bake!

After baking also dabbed some shiny gold onto the stars and added some sparkly "snow" to the branch tops with mod podge and glitter. 
Now for the bags. I followed the same idea as the tiny totes I linked above, but there were a few things I wanted to change. While I liked the stitching on the outside and the crisp edges it gave, I wasn't a fan of the overcast stitch in white. I understand it's a look, but it still just looks in-side-out to me. :) I also found it simpler for myself to just cut five separate pieces rather than struggle with keeping precise and neat folds. This also allows you to use more colours if you wish. I wished.  I measured and cut 3 three pieces of paper for a pattern, and cut all of my squares out of red, green, brown, and white felt. I sewed all sides to my bottom panel first, using coordinating red and green thread and a blanket stitch, then went up the sides and along the top edge as well.

You could, of course, just pick one colour and do whatever stitch you like on your machine, or even just switch colours a lot, and this would go much faster. For me, not only do I like the blanket stitch on these, but it is so much easier for me to work by hand while caring for my kids. I can sit down wherever they are and babble with my baby while stitching instead of polluting our play time with the noisy machine or trying to move it wherever my 2 year old happens to want to play for the moment. It is easy to start and stop frequently this way with the needs of the day , or get a stitch in here or there.

With the box done, I cut pipe cleaners (or, "fuzzy sticks, as they were marketed as O.o ) to a size that looked nice and tacked them into place on the bags. I ran my pipe cleaners clear to the bottom of the bag to help it keep its form, and just tacked at the top. I'm not sure whether or not this was done in the tutorial, I don't believe it says. In any case, that done, I stitched on my little clay embellishments.

And they are ready to be filled with sweet little gifts or delicious treats! I feel like I have to wait so long to share these little presents! Ah well, I certainly have plenty left to do to keep me occupied, lol. Now I just need to defend them from my daughter, whom I believe I will have to make a special one for. ;)

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