Metamorphosis

Anyone who follows my blog surely knows that my very favorite thing is to make something new from something old. I hate to throw away anything that still has life in it and I don’t like to waste things. We live in a throw away society, and I think that’s sad.

The first dog bed was made from a remnant I bought to make a dog bed. I was a little irritated when I started sewing, because there was a hole in the fabric that I had not noticed earlier and I ended up having to make a small bed instead of a larger one, as I had intended. Fortunately one of my sons has a little pekingese that will love it, so it ended up being fine (although I learned my lesson, check out remnants carefully!). That bed was a simple rectangle with several thicknesses of quilt type batting. I simply sewed a top and bottom piece together (inside out) leaving an opening large enough to stuff the batting in, then turn right side, put in the batting and flatten it out, and sew up the opening. I had enough extra fabric to make a little bone shaped toy made basically the same way but stuffed with the type of batting I use for stuffed animals. I put a red box around the toy so you could see it in the picture as it tended to fade into all of those doggie foot prints!

I also got 2 other toys out of it, for my oldest son’s 2 dogs, a simple triangle (not too hard) and a disk (much more difficult –there must be a secret to sewing in a circle–it’s a good thing dogs don’t care that much about perfection!).

Of course, I still needed a bed for my much larger golden retriever, Pauli and I didn’t have another piece of fabric that size. I didn’t want to head to the fabric store (which is quite a hike for me–our local Walmart does not carry fabric anymore, very sad!). BUT I did remember that I had some sheets that I had put away to get rid of but had not gotten around to it. They were flannel but the nap was worn. I pulled out the flat sheet and it was in good condition (no holes) and I thought the red and navy plaid would look pretty ritzy.

I made this one in the same manner as the other. It’s really more of a dog mat. Pauli is not a big fan of the big plush beds, she has never been one to use them, but if there is a towel or a bath mat she WILL lay on that, so I thought she would like one of her own. It took almost no time to whip up (an hour or less) and would have taken less if I had known I could set my machine to sew faster! I figured that out, so big projects like this can now really zip by! 🙂

I also made her a little “plaid man” out of some of the sheet fabric. He’s stuffed with the loose batting like I use on regular stuffed animals, but I put a clean and dried out water bottle inside for a little “crinkle” noise. She is in love with that new toy. 🙂

Then my oldest son and his wife decided that they did indeed need 2 new dog beds for their dogs Angus and Bart. There was still quite a bit of fabric left over from that sheet. You can easily get 2 dog beds (approximately 26×36 inches) from one queen size sheet if you use it for both top and bottom. But I needed more fabric to make both of them, so I started looking through my stash. I found some navy corduroy which was actually an old bedspread I had made for my boys when they were small. I had saved it all these years because the fabric seemed like something I could reuse. And I was right!

I made these both the same way I made the others except that I used the stuffing from 2 large square sham pillows I had but had never used. I’m not sure why I had them, but they have been hanging around in the way for quite some time. I’m glad I found a use for them. Don’t you hate things that are big enough to be in the way but too good to just get rid of? The navy corduroy was a perfect match for the blue in the plaid (complete serendipity). It turns out also that both fabrics are dog hair magnets, but I think that’s probably not such a bad thing. I would rather have my dog bed collecting dog hair than my floor and my rug and…well you get the idea.

These should all be completely washable.

So, there you have it. Inexpensive to free (depending on where you get your batting, if you have to buy that it could get a little more expensive –you might also consider buying inexpensive pillows and use the stuffing from those). Washable. Quick. Easy. They even would make wonderful gifts. And these are good beginner projects for people learning to sew.

And it’s also Handmade Monday, which has moved locations. It’s now at Handmade Harbour.  But if you will click on this Handmade Monday link, you will still get there.  And it’s still full of all of the wonderful people with their wonderful crafts and ideas and beautiful things.  Nothing has really changed except the location.  So, please do yourself a favor and head on over.  🙂

Chalk Up Another Handmade Monday!


Running very late this Handmade Monday!  I actually did spend the weekend relaxing but also made a little something for a special little boy.  It’s an upcycle/recycle project.  I have been wanting to try using that chalkboard paint everyone else has already done a million things with, and I have had a jar of it on my shelf for, well, I don’t know how long.

I had a little clipboard that I used to use for school (for something, I don’t even remember what) that was too cute to get rid of, but I haven’t used it in forever.  I got the idea to paint one side with chalkboard paint and personalize it and give it to my grandson (my son’s stepson who is 8 and I think just the right age to love writing on things with chalk –plus he’s very into sports, I think he could keep score or something with it, but mostly, I just remember thinking writing with chalk was very cool when I was a kid).

It turned out to be really easy to work with.  The hardest part?  Finding chalk!  But I found a nice box that included white and some colors too at Target, after checking the office supply place first.

You can see what I did, with photos at Paint a Chalkboard.  Then you can go and check out Handmade Monday, which I understand is also going to be moving very soon.  But don’t worry, I will be sure to give you a good link when that happens, I wouldn’t leave you high and dry!

Raining and Cats and Dogs

First I’m tired of rain.  I know it has a job to do, but it also brings headaches and too much time indoors.  However, I have managed to make a couple of things, so maybe being confined inside has an upside.

The tutorial is about a sweater cat but I also made her a little friend because there was so much fabric left over.  I seem to be obsessed with these little creatures.  The funny thing is, I get an idea in my head and I just have to get it out, and the only way to do it is to make it.

I’m a little late getting this posted.  I actually have a good excuse, as we went down to get dinner out and the car battery was dead when we were ready to leave.  So, we went and had a coffee while we waited for AAA and by the time we got home it was too late to get started.  The truth is, it was fun sitting outside (under cover of course) watching the rain, playing on our IPads, drinking coffee.  We don’t do that very often, and it felt very, oh, I don’t know, vacationish or something.  But, that’s my excuse.

Anyway, also don’t forget it’s Handmade Monday and you know good and well they have very cool and interesting things to check out, so please go there and see what’s going on.  But before you do that, click on the Sweater Cat and Template and see how you can make one of your own.  And if you do, send me a photo.  I’ll even post it if you give me permission.  Wouldn’t it be fun to have a whole page of them?  🙂

A Horse of a Different Fabric

Another stuffed critter.  I made this little horse for my oldest friend.  We met the first day of 7th grade and have been friends since.  She always was better at any sort of artistic stuff than I, and in fact I made her this horse because I remembered one she made when we were probably in Junior High School.  It also had a yarn tail.  I also made it for her because we used to go ride my horse together, so she can look at this silly little creation and it will remind her of all of those wonderful times we had together.  🙂

Anyway, it’s Handmade Monday and I’ve really been remiss (sick is more like it) but I’m back!  So, after you check out the little Sweater Pony, go on over to Handmade Monday and see what everyone else is doing.  I know they are doing wonderful things!

 

A Fox & Socks & a Musicbox

Finally finished a project that I’ve been working on mentally for months and started accumulating what I needed for it almost as long.  There were a few problems with the idea, and a few ideas I had that I tossed out over that time because they didn’t seem to have good solutions.

I wanted to make a stuffed animal for my upcoming, now due any moment, grandson.  And I wanted to put a music box into it.  I found one that plays a tune with his name in the title, and my son requested a particular animal, a FOX.  Well, while I think foxes are cool, they are not the easiest thing to come up with a design for.

After pouring over various things online I did finally come up with something I thought would be easy enough for me to make.  I wanted something two dimensional, that is I didn’t want to have to cut out more than 2 sides!

Since my blog post is fairly long I won’t go into a lot of details here, just suffice it to say, he’s a little crazy looking, but I’m pretty pleased with the outcome.  I hope my little grandson will enjoy his fox and the nice thing about him is he has 4 long legs and a tail and a long nose which can all be handles to drag him around.  Plus he’ll make a nice soft pillow to lay a little head on.  And he’ll play a nice little tune.  And maybe it will make him think about his grandmother.  🙂

Now, it’s also Handmade Monday, so, after you check out my Plaid Stuffed Fox you should go check out all of the things they have done there too!  That will keep you busy. Have a great week.

She Finally Got Ahead!

I should probably explain the title right away. I have been working on this doll since before Christmas. I had an idea in mind which she didn’t really turn out to be much like, although I’m not that disappointed. But after I finished her body, I had a devil of a time deciding how to make her head and face and hair. So, she sat from early December until this week, headless. Frankly, I was getting tired of looking at her that way and decided the only answer was to just do it.

I knew I was going to make her face/head out of some white muslin fabric I had bought for exactly that purpose. I had thought to embroider her eyes, nose and mouth on, but changed my mind and drew them on with colored pencil instead. I have a wonderful friend who makes beautiful dolls and I got the idea from her. Of course, mine is a pale comparison, but still, she has a face.

I needed to make a neck to attach her head to her body using my machine, which ran out of bobbin thread, of course. For some reason when I put the new one in I must have put it in wrong because each time I sewed the neck up, the thread just unraveled. I tried doing a search online but couldn’t find anything. Finally I took the bobbin out several times and put it back in and it worked the last time. Something had been wrong, but I’m still not sure what. Machines!

Then I sewed her head up, leaving a large enough spot to stuff it, stuffed that and her neck, attached the head to the neck and hand stitched (not very well, if you look at the photos you can see I didn’t do a very good job–well, she looks VERY hand made–probably shouldn’t have used red thread either, I don’t know what I was thinking other than I am SO tired of this project!) After I was done I noticed she had a sort of “tumor” on the side of her face which I took a tuck in and it left a bit of an ugly spot too. I will have to do better with the next one.

Next problem, her head was sort of floppy, back and forth. Either her neck was too long or not stuffed enough. So, I made her a little collar and tacked it down in front to hold her head up. Looks decorative, but it’s really functional. A neck brace for the poor dear with her congenitally weak neck.

Then for the hair. I had dreaded this, because for some reason I thought doll hair was the hardest thing. My husband and I had gone to the craft store and I had found 2 types of yarn. One was really hairlike and I liked it best, even tho the color was not all the same, it went from a pale cream to a darker blond. However, I thought it would work beautifully. I made a lovely little *wig* out of it and sewed it into her head and it looked pretty nice until it started pulling out in tufts! Oh, this would never do! *sigh*

OK, so I got out the other skein of yarn, very glad that I’d gone ahead with a backup plan. It was a pretty, sparkly gold color. I made a big glob of it, tied it in the middle, cut the loops at the ends and sewed it in on the top of her head (where the seam is). Then I did a second one behind that one toward the back. This gave good coverage, and turned out pretty nicely, I think. She has a better head of hair than I do, actually.

Other details. Her hands are mittens added over her arms and her feet are booties added over her legs. Those were both a little tricky to make because they were so small.

The skirt was more see thru than I intended, but I didn’t think it really mattered since her body looks like clothes anyway. I had intended to give her knees and elbows but didn’t realize I needed to sew those before I stuffed her. Live and learn! 🙂

So, not too terribly bad for a first try, I think. All done without a pattern. Maybe I would do better to actually use patterns, but I don’t follow them very well. And it takes the fun and excitement out of it for me. 🙂

Some Things Seem So Easy

Do you ever think of things that seem so easy, but when you try them they thwart you at every turn?  Yeah, me too. I had seen this recipe for making marshmallow peeps awhile back and wanted to try them –I think I was going to try Halloween ghosts but never got around to it. So, later I thought, “Oh, Valentine hearts, that will be cute and easy!” Oh, I’m so misguided sometimes!

Maybe if you’re a pastry chef.

I’ll just cut to the chase.  I made it work but if you’re going to follow my directions you don’t need the pastry bag and tip.  Unless you just want to try it that way.  Or you’re a pastry chef.

Anyway, it’s Handmade Monday again!  Yay, now THERE is something that works right every time.  🙂  So, after you check out my Heartmallows go check out what everyone’s doing for Handmade Monday! See you there. 🙂

 

It’s a Wrap

I love little boxes. And that means there are always some around, so I have to think of things to do with them. I needed something to put the little Valentine necklace in because I think presentation of a gift is almost as important as the gift. I had thought of making a bag, but I’m still in the middle of reorganizing my craft room (let’s just leave it there) and so it was easier not to try to get my sewing machine out.

But, I did have this cute little box some bit of jewelry or other came in, so…

I simply painted it with an acrylic paint called Metallic Bright Red, but it looked for all the world like red fingernail polish to me. Perfect! It took a couple of coats to cover the box, which was black. Then I glued on a wooden heart which I got at a craft store ages ago –one of those things I saw and thought, “This would be cute on something.” I have a metal tin with various hearts, buttons and wooden, just for this sort of thing. Don’t you? I just glued it with regular white glue.

I waited until the next morning so everything would be nice and dry, put the necklace in with the filling that was already in there (I always save that too, but you could use tissue paper or batting or whatever) and then tied it up with a thin little ribbon and voilà! Now it’s sort of a dual gift, since I think the little box could be used to keep something in too. Oh, and if you don’t have a little stash of hearts to glue on top, just cut one out of cardboard, I think that would look just as cute –paint it a slightly different red so it will stand out. 🙂 OK. Now, go make something pretty, Valentine’s Day is almost upon us!

Snips and Snails and New Tools

 

I did a few small things this week, no big projects.  But it’s Handmade Monday again and there is only one more before Valentine’s Day! Plus it’s the 52nd one, which means we’ve been doing this for an entire year. I got in almost at the beginning of it, so I’ve been doing this for just short of a year too. I’m sure everyone has made all sorts of cute things with hearts and things, and I can’t wait to go see what they’re doing.  Click the link and check it out after you’re done here.  🙂

I posted a candle in a cup I did using Penny’s method, so if that interests you, please check it out here.  It turned out so well, as you can see from the photo here (I did finally light it!) I’ll share it again!

I get so many good ideas from other bloggers.  Penny, at Planet Penny has such a fun blog, and in addition to good ideas and beautiful things to look at, it’s always fun to read.

I have also been working on a little jar for a young boy for Valentine’s Day.  It’s a little difficult to make things for boys for this particular holiday.  Girls are easy, jewelry and well, everything just fits.  I ended up making something not all that Valentine-like but it came out cute enough to share anyway.  I didn’t take photos as I went, but it wasn’t rocket science so, I’m really just going to share a photo of the best part.  The jar is a plastic jar that shaving cream comes in, then Mod Podged with green tissue paper.  I put the boys name on one side and “Stuff” on the other –both cut with the Cricut of course because I could never cut letters out by hand.

I then made a little snail with Sculpy and made him some antennae with copper wire I had in my jewelry making box.  I used 2 little beads for eyes.  I made the shell and body separate so I could paint them different colors easily, using acrylic paint.

I attached him to the lid with hot glue, but he came off once, so I cleaned the hot glue off of everything and reattached him using hot glue and then put white glue around the edges.  Hopefully he will stay put.

He is so cute, I’m thinking of making some more and maybe painting a little smile on his face!

I also made a Valentine’s Day card.  I’m not going to mention who it’s for in case they see this (and this person does sometimes read my blog!).  I’m not quite done with it, but I wanted to share what I have done so far because I thought it turned out not too bad.  I really didn’t have much in mind when I started except that I had a bag full of red hearts of various sizes I had cut with my Cricut and I had a new tool (which I will tell you about in a minute) and some red ribbon.

I started with a precut white cardstock (the kind that comes in sheets with 2 cards per sheet and you feed them through a printer–I have a package of them for making cards on the printer).  I used my cool new tool and cut out a heart “window” toward the bottom.  I had a piece of red woven something that is, well, I don’t really know what it is.  It feels like something between paper and fabric.  I can’t remember where I got it, but it’s been in my “stash” for a long time.  I glued it behind the heart “window” and then decided to try cutting a heart out of it with my new tool.  That worked, altho it left the edges fuzzy and I had to trim it a little.

Then I just added hearts until I liked the way it looked.  I put the heart from the “window” inside one of the bigger red hearts, and let everything dry.  Then I made a bow with some organdy ribbon and sewed it on.  I hope I can mail this without crushing the bow too badly.

Oh, my new toy, er, tool is a Fiskar’s Squeeze Punch.  They are a little pricey, but they were on sale so I bought a couple of different ones.  I love them because you can cut “windows” OR you can cut shapes.  Just one more fun thing, and very, very easy to use.

Only one more week until Valentine’s Day, so I had better get these things in the mail!

Pink Heart and Soul

More Sculpey, more hearts, more glass etching.  I did this little jar as a gift for my Great Niece.  I thought it would be perfect for holding jewelry or other small trinkets, but I put a few Sculpey beads in there for her when I mailed it because she does make things.

This was a little face cream jar.  I simply removed the label and cleaned it. Then I used my Cricut to make the letters of her name and put them where I wanted it.  I am not the best at getting things all lined up, but I managed to get it pretty straight this time.  🙂

Then I used my etching cream.  If you haven’t done that before you can find more info and tutorial here.  As always, be careful with the etching cream, remember, it’s strong enough to etch glass.

I made a heart out of Sculpey and painted it pink with acrylic paint. I am not much of a Sculpey expert, I’m just following the directions on the box.  It says to bake in the oven at 275 F for 15 minutes for each 1/4 inch of thickness. I am finding that it seems to need longer, but I also know from experience that you can burn it, so keep an eye on it.  I set the timer and check it every 10 minutes or so.

I used a lighter pink on the lid and sprayed both that and the heart with a couple of coats of Folk Art Lacquer to help seal and give them a little nicer finish.  I used hot glue to attach the heart.

Lastly, I finished the edge of the lid with organza ribbon wrapped around twice (glued with plain white glue) and then a thin white sparkly ribbon over that also affixed with white glue.  Threading the little beads on the small ribbon was difficult!  But I like the way it gave it a more finished look.  I always have a problem figuring out what to do with jar lid edges.

Oh, and I etched a little unicorn on the other side of the jar.  Just because.