December 31, 2011

Christmas signs

I didn't do a very good job of sharing the few Christmas projects I did complete.  My favorite project is the two new holiday signs I made:

Remember all those cabinet doors I bought?  I used two matching doors to make the signs.  I sanded them then painted them with spray paint (Rust-Oleum American accents Claret Wine).  It took about 5 coats to get the color I wanted and this is probably the first time I haven't painted the back of my project.  After the paint dried, I sanded the edges and added some stain to give it an aged look.  I purchased the vinyl sayings from JanDee Crafts on Etsy.  The hardware was leftover from my hutch makeover.  The hardware had been sitting in the garage for over a year, and I'm glad I saved it because the knobs were perfect for my signs.  I hung my signs on either side of the picture window in my living room.

Earlier this fall, I made another signs out of a piece of wood and a Cricut stencil:

I think I prefer the vinyl wording since it takes me forever to cut the stencil, get it to stick to the wood then paint it without messing the whole thing up.  

December 26, 2011

Christmas cards

I know it has been forever since I've blogged.  (Once again, one of my resolutions in the new year is to be a better blogger!)  I did manage to accomplish a few Christmas crafts, and I'll try to share them all.  Every year I make my own Christmas cards.  I love using a photo of my cute little son, and here is this year's card:

Every year I contemplate having photo card made, and every year I decide to make my own to save money.  (I always forget to factor in my time, but I do love making them myself.)  This year I was really frugal and used cardboard I rescued from the trash at work.  I did spray the cards with a light coat of gold spray paint to jazz them up a bit.  I had prints made at Walgreens (5 cents each) then cropped them to fit the card.  I saw the photo idea on Pinterest--the inspiration photo is here.  I stamped each photo with Staz On ink and a "joy" stamp (purchased several years ago for $1 at Michaels).  The corrugated cardstock was from my stash.  I added a printed tag with our names before I mailed them out.  I love the clean and simple look, and I think my recipients enjoyed the cards, too.

November 13, 2011

zig zag doll quilt

Even though my Christmas crafting to-do list is growing longer by the minute, I took a break to make a doll quilt for the Pretty in Patchwork Lark Doll Quilt Contest.  You can see all the fabulous entries in the Flickr group.  Even though I don't have any use for a doll quilt, I found making one to be an excellent way to try a new technique without committing to a full-size blanket.  I had everything in my stash, so this didn't cost me a penny.  My zig-zag doll quilt:

I was pretty impressed with how well the top turned out.  I'm not much of a precision quilter, but most of my points matched up almost perfectly.  My little quilt measures about 13 inches by 15 inches.  I used gray fabric (leftover from last year's poodle skirt Halloween costume), a yellow and white floral from my stash, and Warm and Natural batting.  I made half square triangles and arranged them in a zig zag pattern.  (Sorry disappearing nine patch, but I think half square triangles may be my new favorite pattern--there are just so many options for arranging them.)  I machine quilted along the zig zags and hand-stitched the binding which took forever but I love how it looks.

This may end up on the wall of my sewing room as a cute little wall hanging.

November 11, 2011

give thanks sign

Aside from the Christmas tree, I usually don't do much decorating for the holidays.  I decided this year will be different, and I'm starting with some fall/Thanksgiving decor.  Using a 1 x 8 board my thoughtful husband cut for me, some paint, and a "Give Thanks" vinyl from Pick Your Plum, I made this:

I tried to layer the spray paint on the edges then sand it off for a worn look but it didn't turn out quite like I planned.  I may add some stain to the edges.  I'll put this on my mantle for a daily reminder to be thankful for all the blessings in my life.

October 30, 2011

a finished quilt

After sharing so many quilt tops, I finally have a finished blanket to show off.
It's another disappearing nine patch (of course) made up of 45 6-inch squares. I made this little quilt completely from supplies I had on hand. I have a bad habit of purchasing little remnants of cute fabrics (like the multi-colored polka dot and the white fabrics), but I never end up using them. Turns out they're perfect for a D9P. Some of the other fabrics (blue and white check and blue and yellow plaid) are leftovers from some of the first blankets I made several years ago. The finished size of this blanket is about 32 inches x 40 inches. I backed it in a blue chambray-type fabric leftover from decorating my son's room, and I quilted it in random straight lines across the width and length of the blanket.
This little blanket is for nobody in particular--I just wanted to make something from my fabric stash. I'd like to make more and donate them to a worthwhile cause like Project Linus or an organization that assists expectant mothers.

October 19, 2011

painted Halloween treat bags

I am making my son a Yoda costume for Halloween, and I purchased way too much Osnaburg fabric to make Yoda's robe. Since I have so much fabric leftover, I decided to sew some little treat bags for my son and I to decorate. His adorable little treat bags:

For these bags I cut pieces of fabric 4 & 1/2 inches wide by 13 inches long. Osnaburg frays like crazy so I made a small hem at each 5 inch end. I folded the fabric in half lengthwise and made French seams on each side--way to much work for little Halloween treat bags! We used a clearance Making Memories foam Halloween stamp set I purchased at Michaels a few years back for $1. (I'm kicking myself now for not buying every set they had.) For the paint, I mixed acrylic Ceramcoat paint with textile medium. (Michaels just started selling Martha Stewart craft paint that is suitable for just about everything including glass and fabric. As I run out of Ceramcoat, I'm going to replace it with Martha Stewart.) We'll stuff these little bags with candy and tie the tops with ribbon to make little gifts for his neighborhood friends.

I also stamped some fabric to make larger treat/gift bags. For these, I cut pieces of fabric 6 inches wide by 20 inches long. I like to stamp the design before sewing the bag together in case I totally mess up the stamping. I think I'll stitch them together leaving raw edges exposed so they'll fray and look a little more rustic. I like the way these turned out so much I'll be making some Christmas gift bags soon.

October 16, 2011

Why bother. . .

. . .cleaning off the kitchen table when it just ends up looking like this again.

(Not pictured is the baby quilt I'm currently binding, a huge stack of mail, and a wooden Christmas sign I'm in the process of painting.) When we refinished the basement, my husband let me have the really big room for a craft room. But I still prefer to craft at the kitchen table--I'm sure much to his dismay. I know it's been a while since I've blogged about any projects, but hopefully this week I can share the cute little Halloween treat bags we're making today. Hope you had a good (and crafty) weekend!

September 5, 2011

another disappearing nine patch

I've decided my new favorite quilt pattern is the disappearing nine patch. There's some nice instructions here at Cluck Cluck Sew. So even though I've done absolutely nothing with this DNP quilt top I made back in February, I decided I needed to start yet another quilt. I used a Moda Fresh Flowers charm pack to make this little beauty--
The charm pack had 42 squares and I cut 3 more squares of Kona snow. With 45 squares I was able to make 5 nine patch squares. When cut and sewn back together, that makes a perfect little baby blanket quilt top. This will actually become the center panel of a quilt for my mother in law for Christmas. (I can't believe I'm actually starting a Christmas gift in September!) On Etsy, I found a bargain--2 yards of two different coordinating fabrics for $10.50 including shipping! That was half of what I would have spent at my local quilt shop. I really try to support local businesses, but I'm on a budget and couldn't pass up that deal.

I think I need to use some of my fabric stash to make some DNP baby blankets for charity.

August 24, 2011

our happily ever after {another sign}

On my last trip to the Habitat ReStore, I found this great cabinet door. It immediately caught my eye because it was square, had this neat raised panel in the middle, and was only $2.

After some sanding, paint, and a custom vinyl saying purchased on Etsy from JanDeeCrafts, I have this great sign which will become the centerpiece for my photo wall.

I want to make this area over my stairs a photo wall. I just have to figure out how I'm supposed to get over the stairs to actually hang stuff on the wall. Any suggestions?

August 10, 2011

boy's Batman shirt

I rarely buy anything from BabyGap, but I can never resist stopping in just to see if I can score a bargain. The last time I visited, they had super cute Batman t-shirts that my son would love. And they were like $40. For a toddler t-shirt. So I made my own.

black t-shirt (though gray would look good, too)
scrap of black knit fabric (I used an old t-shirt)
heat-n-bond lite
freezer paper
yellow fabric paint (or acrylic paint and textile medium)
paint brush
Batman logo template (I found one here)
black thread
sewing machine (or you can hand sew)

Prewash t-shirt. I purchased a pocket-less shirt (yeah!) at Target for $4.

Trace the Batman template onto the freezer paper and cut out around the oval. You can print the template out then place your freezer paper on top (shiny side down) and trace. Or you can wait until your husband isn't watching, put your freezer paper (shiny side down) right on your computer screen and trace lightly with a pencil.

Cut a scrap of black knit fabric slightly larger than the Batman logo and cut a piece of heat-n-bond lite the same size as your knit fabric. Following the instructions on the heat-n-bond lite, apply the heat-n-bond to the wrong side of the black knit fabric.

Place your Batman logo on the paper side of the heat-n-bond lite and trace the oval shape. Cut out around the oval.

Cut out the bat shape from the freezer paper, center it on the right side of your knit fabric (shiny side down) and iron in place.

Apply yellow fabric paint to the black knit fabric. (I used Delta Ceramcoat crocus yellow and Delta Ceramcoat textile medium.) It's best to either "dab" the paint on or brush from the freezer paper out so the paper doesn't peel up and you end up with paint under the freezer paper. I wanted a faded, vintage look so I applied two thin coats.

Let the paint dry. This is the hardest part for me as I immediately want to rip the freezer paper off and see my amazing creation. Bad idea. This is a good time to do some laundry or wash dishes. Or if you're like me, you go to Target. When the paint is dry peel off your freezer paper. (I waited 24 hours.)

Remove the backing paper from the patch and center it on your shirt. Iron the Batman patch to the front of your t-shirt. (The textile medium I used said to wait 7 days before heat setting the paint. I waited 24 hours. I cannot wait a week to finish a project.) I covered the patch with a cloth so the paint didn't destroy my iron and pressed for 20 seconds.

Using a sewing machine and black thread (or you can stitch by hand), stitch around the edge of the patch.

I spent $4 for the t-shirt. Everything else I had on hand.

Linking up to:

August 5, 2011

kids' tent

My son has way too much stuff. Too many toys, stuffed animals, clothes--everything. My husband and I try not to spoil him, but it seems like every time one of us returns home we bring something new to play with. (And don't even get me started on Christmas when you factor in all the grandparents and aunts and uncles.) With all the stuff kids have, it still amazes me that they really don't need much to create their own fun.

This past Wednesday while I was trying to clean the house, I heard frustrated cries coming from my son's room. He was trying to make a tent on his bed using baby blankets and wasn't having much success. His bed. . .

Yes, my son is 4 & 1/2 years old and the Fisher-Price Rainforest Musical Mobile (complete with dead batteries) is still attached to his bed.

Using a queen size sheet from my thrifted stash and a few clothes pins, we created this for my now-happy camper. . .

He played in it quietly for a good 30 to 45 minutes, and it only needed a few minor repairs during that time. If you don't have a bed like this, you could use a simple card table to create your own fort/tent.

August 3, 2011

"family" sign (from old drawer front)

Remember my ReStore adventure? Well I finally finished my first project from one of my 14 cabinet door/drawer fronts. I decided to start with one of the drawer fronts since it was smaller. Only $1 for this. . .

I sanded it and ended up using about 10 different coats of paint because I couldn't decide what colors I wanted and I didn't have a really good plan of what I was actually making. I also learned that spray paint (though a pain to use in the middle of a hot, humid Midwest summer) yields the best results.

I ended up doing a couple coats of satin black spray paint then a couple coats of Rust-Oleum navajo white. (All Lowe's had was gloss but a few coats of Rust-Oleum matte clear spray on the finished project took care of the gloss.) I sanded the edges to reveal some of the black paint and give it a distressed look. The word "family" was part of a rub-on I found at Hobby Lobby in the clearance sections for $2.14. Eventually this will be hung in a little nook next to my kitchen with family photos around it. (If I ever get the nook painted.) Now to figure out what to do with the remaining 13 doors. . .

July 20, 2011

cabinet doors

I was feeling adventurous last week and took a little trip to my local Habitat ReStore. I've been wanting to go forever and decided my surprise day off last Friday (with my 4-year-old son at daycare) was the perfect opportunity. I discovered they sold cabinet doors. Amazing pieces of beautifully framed solid wood for $2. So I loaded up a cart with 12 cabinet doors and 2 drawer fronts, paid $14.98 for my treasures and headed for home. I'm pretty sure the guy at the cash register thought I was nuts. I'm glad my son wasn't with me because I'm sure he would have been asking "why do we need so many doors?" over and over and over again. I don't know why I need so many doors. I just do. My favorite find was this one. . .

$2 for a beautiful square door with a decorative raised panel. I have big plans for this one and it's already had a couple coats of spray paint. Hopefully I'll have a project to share soon. The other doors are still in my trunk since I'm not sure where I'm going to put them all!

June 23, 2011

boy's 4th of July outfit

The 4th of July is still about 10 days away, and my son's holiday outfit is finished!  It's nothing special, just some festive plaid shorts (that kind of look like boxer shorts) and an embellished t-shirt.  
The fabric for the shorts is from a thrifted men's dress shirt.  I'm always on the lookout for a cute red, white, and blue shirt.  I cut the pieces so the shirt's front pocket becomes the short's back pocket.  The t-shirt is from Walmart, and I used Heat-n-Bond Lite to fuse fabric stars to the front.

I was going to make a freezer paper stencil and do a saying more related to the 4th, but I figured if I went with stars he could wear the shirt for more than just one day.   I also made a couple of wavy rows of contrasting red stitching around the hems on the sleeves and the bottom of the shirt for some added interest.

He's excited to wear it--I told him with the stars on his shirt he'll look like a superhero!

elastic, thread, and Heat-n-Bond from stash
blue t-shirt:  $3.50
thrifted dress shirt:  $0.99
total:  $4.49

June 13, 2011

painted wood signs (for Father's Day)

Father's Day is fast approaching and I actually made a gift for my husband.  My husband has been wanting some artwork for our newly-finished basement, so I decided to try my hand at some painted signs.

1.  Gather the pieces of wood you want to use.  I rescued mine from our trash (leftovers from one of my husband's project), and they measure approximately 16-1/4" long x 5-1/4" high x 1/4" thick.  I also picked up some mistint paints at Lowe's--only 50 cents each!

2.  Using a foam brush, I applied Ceramcoat acrylic paint around the edges of each board.  (barn red and brown velvet on the left; blue velvet and poppy orange/brown velvet on the right)

3.  Apply one coat of your main color paint to each board.  I used a putty-colored mistint.  (I also painted the back and sides of each board.  I know this isn't necessary, but I can't help it!)  Let dry completely.

4.  Sand your boards to distress them and let the paint underneath show through.  I used my palm sander.

5.  I used my Cricut to cut a freezer paper stencil.  (More info about how to make a stencil on this post.)  I should break down and buy some vinyl for these projects, but I am so cheap and freezer paper works pretty well if you're going for a distressed look.  I would not use your best iron to iron the freezer paper to the wood (my iron now has paint on it--I hope it comes off!).  I also recommend using a blank sheet of paper between your iron and the freezer paper/wood.  If you do not have a Cricut, you can use stencils or trace letters (great post here).  I also found this post that uses a computer and printer to generate the letters. 

I wanted to make two signs for my husband--one saying "free ice" and another saying "cold beer."  Here's the "cold beer" sign ready to be painted.

6.  Once the freezer paper is ironed to the wood, use a foam brush to paint the letters.  I tap the paint onto the board instead of brushing it on.  This helps prevent some seeping under the stencil, but it's still going to happen.  It's not a big deal since you sand over the letters, but if it seeps a little too much you can fix it by painting over the really bad areas with your main color.  Really bad areas:

Kind of fixed:

7.  I didn't do a good job of taking pictures of the next steps.  I sanded over the letters with a palm sander, used some Tim Holtz distress ink around the edges, sprayed the signs with an acrylic sealer and hammered an upholstry nail into each corner.  My nails were too long for the boards I used, so I had to clip the end of the nail with wire cutters.

7.  I stamped the back of each sign.

Wood, acrylic paint, freezer paper & ink already on hand. 
Mistint paint:  $0.50 (Lowes)
Upholstry nails:  $1.49 (JoAnns)
Total:  $1.99