It Takes Guts

When I got all the old stuffed animals from the attic last fall one that I put aside to do something with was a patchwork fabric giraffe. He had several small holes along the seams and one very large rip at the neck that looked like a dog had tried to take his head off. In addition he was filled with chopped foam, and after at least 30 years I didn’t feel good about that at all. I don’t know about you, but sometimes if I’m afraid something will turn out badly I put it aside to think about it later. You know, like Scarlett O’Hara, I’ll think about it tomorrow. Well, finally, tomorrow had come.

Amazingly, other than the actual washing and drying, the project didn’t take much more than an hour. Why did I put it off? Let me think. Worst case scenarios. I started taking out the chopped foam and horrible creatures crawled out? REALLY? Hey, if that happened I would grab my camera and start taking photos, that wouldn’t exactly be a BAD thing. Worst case scenario really would have been he didn’t survive washing. But that was going to happen if it was going to happen. Waiting didn’t make that any less likely. And the sooner I found out, the sooner I would know.

I opened the neck seam with the already big hole a bit larger and dumped all of the very old dried out foam into the trash, turning him inside out as I went. I had to scrape him out as the foam tends to stick to the inside. Then, into the washer on delicate cycle and I held my breath. But, he came through with flying colors. I went ahead and put him into the dryer on low to get a head start on drying, and finished drying overnight hanging over the shower door. When I turned him right side he looked fine. He seemed none the worse for wear, and I wish I had thought to take a photo, but I didn’t.

I did find a little puncture in his nose, which supports my dog at the throat theory and so my first order of business was to patch that. It was big enough to get your pinkie finger in and I knew it would do nothing but get bigger. I simply put a patch with white muslin on the inside, and then stitched it to reinforce. It doesn’t really show unless you look hard because the fabric is patchwork looking anyway.

I could have repaired the small places where the seams had come unstitched by machine but I decided not to bother and just hand stitched them (from the inside).
The hard part was his neck. There was clearly some fabric missing. It was like surgery and I had nothing to do a graft with. So, his neck will forever be a little skinnier at the top. It’s like he got a little jowl lift!

Then I stuffed him with nice fresh hypoallergenic batting, not too full so he would be soft and huggable, finished hand stitching his neck closed, and I have to say, he looks fresh and dare I say, happy! I’m starting to love giving old stuffed animals a new lease on life. ūüôā

BTW it’s Handmade Monday again! Let’s all run over and check it out. Well, actually, it’s so much easier than running, we can just click on the link above and don’t even have to get out of our chair! Let’s go!

Getting Back to Normal

 

I always find it difficult to get back to “normal” after the Holidays, does everyone else? ¬†We haven’t had Handmade Monday for the past 2 weeks since Mondays have fallen on the BIG Holidays (Christmas and New Years Day) and so, I have been pretty lazy. ¬†Not that I didn’t do anything, but I didn’t write about it. ¬†ūüôā ¬†However, here is something I did do, and I thought I would share it. ¬†I didn’t exactly reinvent the wheel here, but I thought I came up with a fairly clever way to mount this glass piece simply and economically, with the additional advantage that it will also be easy to remove and change if the recipient later decides they want it mounted in a different way.

This little frog “tile” is one of the very first fused glass pieces I did –if not the first–I think it probably was, but my memory is about as old as I am. ¬† It was simply slumped into a mold at a glass shop where I went to take classes, but it came out pretty cute. ¬†The problem, of course, is that I was always afraid it would get broken, and I wasn’t really sure how to display it easily. ¬†When I found out I was going to have a new GrandSON I thought, Boys/Frogs, PERFECT! ¬†So, my husband and I (he’s so good to bounce ideas off of for this sort of project) came up with a way to frame and mount this little amphibian that I think will be really stable and cost very little.

The frame was on sale (and frankly, I think most of us have frames around the house we could reuse, OR I see them at thrift stores really cheap all the time too). ¬†The napkin I used for backing was from an after Thanksgiving sale. ¬†I had to buy a set of 4, but the others actually are ones I can use as they go with my “decor” at least until I cannibalize them for another project! ¬†The art board was a couple of dollars. ¬†And the Super 77 adhesive was a little pricey, I admit (I think about $12.00) HOWEVER, I still have a nearly full can and it is AWESOME! ¬†I will use it for a lot of things.

Well, lets get on with this. ¬†Oh, and please, don’t tell my son and daughter in law, this is a gift for their baby. ¬†Let’s just quietly go see How to Frame a Frog, shall we?

The Star of the Show

Another day, another ornament! ¬†I keep having these ideas pop into my head while I’m doing something else and I just have to try them. ¬†This one is another gift for someone and it turned out to be pretty easy. ¬†Well, sewing a circle that you’re going to stuff is not really that easy, unless you’re satisfied if it doesn’t turn out perfectly round. ¬†However, to be honest, this doesn’t really have to be round, it could be square, or randomly shaped, or if you’re creative it could be shaped like *something*. ¬†But I wanted this to be quick and easy.

I used some of the leftover fabric from the gift bags I’m making and decided to make the opposite sides different, just to make it more interesting (this ornament is going to a boy and altho it’s not classically boyish, I think it’s *interesting* enough and not girlie). ¬†I used a big ribbon spool to draw a circle on one piece of the fabric and cut both pieces at the same time (cutting them about a quarter inch larger than the circle I drew).

Next I simply placed the “right” sides facing each other and sewed around, leaving an opening about half an inch so I could turn it and stuff it. ¬†THIS is the hard part as I’m not that good yet at sewing where I intend to sew and turning in a circle is a little tricky for me, but it was mostly roundish. ¬†I stuffed it with some leftover batting from another project (and you know, if you have any old pillows you want to just get rid of, wash them first and save that batting and reuse it for other things, batting is kind of pricey!).

Then, I turned the edges under and hand stitched. ¬†This was also a little tough, as it tends to want to be a bit flat there. ¬†I just did my best, and maybe someone has some good advice for how to do this better. ¬†As you can see from the photo mine isn’t perfect, but then again, it’s sort of how I roll. ¬†If someone criticizes your home made stuff say, “Oh, I like the organic, home made look –it’s how I roll!” And then don’t make them anything. ¬†ūüôā

Last, I took some cording that I’ve had forever that’s really pretty. I bought it for wrapping gifts but hardly use it anymore because It usually end up buying things online these days. ¬†I just stitched it around the edge (not nearly as difficult as it sounds and it took about 10 minutes tops, I promise). ¬† Just be sure to leave enough on what you are going to use as the top to tie once (not a knot, just one over and under) and then make a loop for a hanger and tie a knot at the top. ¬†If you have a twisted cord like I did you will have to cut it close because it will unwind.

If you want to put a dangly thing at the bottom (do it, it looks cool!) here is what I did:

It’s 2 star shaped buttons hot glued together with a piece of metallic gold thread sandwiched between them. ¬†Be careful when you do it that you get the thread where you want it so the buttons will hang the direction you want them to (just put a little thought into it). ¬†Then I took those little glass drop things that you find at craft stores in the jewelry section (I think–I’m sorry I have all this stuff that I can’t recall where it came from anymore!) and hot glued them over the button holes. ¬†You could use beads or something else. ¬†Whatever floats your boat.

Then I put that thread on a needle and sewed it into the bottom of the ornament, and there you go. It was kind of funny because I was ready to put it in the mail this morning before I added the dangly star, but I thought…. ¬†“It needs something.” ¬†And it hit me. ¬†I’m glad I didn’t mail it yesterday. ¬†I think that last addition is sort of the star of the show! ¬†ūüôā

If I Can Do It…

It’s not that I think I can’t do anything, it’s that I’m not a seamstress, so if I can sew it, someone with minimal sewing skills can certainly do it too. ¬†I never even took Home Ec in school, I never took a single sewing lesson, I never sat still long enough to let my Mom teach me to sew (she could sew and did!). ¬†But, if you follow my blog at all you know by now that I do muddle along on my sewing machine.

Well, this is pretty elementary, and if you’re a seamstress you’re probably rolling your eyes and thinking, hey, it’s just 2 side seams and 2 little hems at the top, 6 little eyelets and there you have it. ¬†But, well, as easy as it was, I was pretty jazzed that it came out and looked really pretty.

What is it? ¬†A little fabric gift bag with ribbon run through eyelets for a closure. ¬†Initially I was going to do a drawstring, but I started having problems thinking about how to run the drawstring out without having a raw edge, and then I thought…eyelets. ¬†Let me tell you, I love my eyelet tool. ¬†I love tools in general. ¬†I love to go to the hardware store and look at tools. ¬†I love to think of projects that require me to have more tools. Well, I will shut up about that now.

So, I was going to use 2 pieces of fabric, run a seam around 3 sides and do it that way, and then it occurred to me that if I took ONE piece of fabric and just stitched the sides up that would be easier. ¬†It helps to be lazy. ¬†ūüôā ¬†I suppose this might be more of a pouch than anything else. ¬†What it is is easy. ¬†As I said, if I can do it, anyone can do it.

So, my Handmade Monday offering is this Eyelet Gift Bag. ¬†I hope you enjoy! ¬†And while you’re at it, please go check out Handmade Monday. ¬†Everyone does such beautiful things. ¬†And they really CAN sew, and lots of other things. ¬†In fact, the main reason I’m learning to sew is because I keep going back and getting inspired by everyone over there! ¬†ūüôā ¬†I’ll be checking them out myself tomorrow (it’s not Monday here in the US yet!)

Ghosts!

I was going to do this for Monday but I started it Saturday and it didn’t work out and I had to start over. ¬†I finally finished the second one today after some mishaps. ¬†If I wait until NEXT Monday, obviously it will be too late for Halloween (it nearly is now). ¬†But I’m going to go ahead and post this today. ¬†If you see this and start today, you can have them made before the weekend, or save this for next year. ¬†I’m also intrigued by the idea of making things other than ghosts anyway.

And you can learn from my mistakes. ¬†I certainly did! ¬†I don’t know about you, but I remember things better when I do them wrong the first time. ¬†I still have a few things on this I want to work out, but this works just fine. ¬†And since it costs basically nothing and recycles things you could just get rid of anyway, it’s my favorite sort of craft. ¬†The glue is pretty cheap (and who doesn’t have that around the house anyway?). ¬†So, it’s a fun thing to try, takes minimal ingredients, makes a mess, and I’ve already made the mistakes! ¬†Sounds like a perfect project to me!

Click on the link and see how I managed to make a couple of Tabletop Ghosts for Halloween out of old T-Shirts. As always, if you try it, let me know. I would love to see photos. And your comments always make my day!

 

I Hate To Sew

And with good reason. ¬†First, I never took Home Ec. ¬†I managed, during a time when it was a requirement for girls (and I guess boys had to take shop) to not take it, because we moved enough that I needed other things to graduate, and so they waived it. ¬†At the time I thought, “Well, isn’t that cool?!” but now I realize I lost out, because while I managed to teach myself to cook, I think learning the basics of sewing would have been very valuable.

I don’t understand patterns, and so I don’t use them. This is probably at the basis of my hostility toward sewing. ¬†Patterns are written in some sort of unbreakable code by people who clearly hate me. ¬†But, in addition, sewing usually requires those instruments of torture ¬†–sewing machines. ¬†I have owned several in my life, which is odd for someone who hates to sew.

My first sewing machine was my Mom’s old Kenmore. ¬†It came to me with a number of gadgets and gizmos which I recalled from my childhood, but I really had no idea how to use. ¬†It also had a distinctive odor when I used it, sort of a warm motor smell, that always made me think of my Mom sewing. ¬†Yes, my Mom, while not the most domestic of people did knit and sew. ¬†Anyway, I only used it to sew straight lines anyway, and never used all the paraphernalia. ¬†I made some baby clothes (don’t get excited –just those sack things) and a very sad quilt and a few other things with it. ¬†I remember I always dreaded the moment it ran out of thread or I had to do anything with the bobbin.

Eventually I convinced my husband that a newer machine with all of the parts and pieces and  instructions would be a good idea, and maybe I would love to sew.  So, he bought me a new Kenmore machine, and I did actually sew a little more.  Halloween costumes, a few more craft items.  But still, I hated threading that thing and trying to recall which way the bobbin fed, and never used any of the various parts.  What good are bells and whistles if you never ring them or blow them?  So, Most of my sewing was still a thing here or there, mostly repairing something, and my machine stayed in the closet, lonely.

Then, I decided to make a little clutch purse, because I wanted to do something with some paper mache buttons I had made. ¬†I dragged it out. ¬†Now, it’s been awhile since I’ve used it. ¬†We have lived here 7 years and I know I have sewn with it only once since we’ve been here. ¬†After sewing about 10 inches it needed thread in the bobbin. ¬†I couldn’t recall how to do that, so I just wound some on popped it in and hoped for the best. ¬†Ha! ¬†If you sew, perhaps you know what I mean when I say the words BIG WAD OF THREAD SEWN ON THE BACK SIDE! ¬†Took awhile to snip it out without ruining the fabric. ¬†I couldn’t find the instruction book, and of course, nothing online either.

Let me stop here and say, I have the kindest husband in the world and cut to the chase. ¬†I now own a nice new Singer machine. ¬†It does have bells and whistles that I may or may not use, but I think I’m determined to try to do a little more with this one. ¬†It does sew beautifully, threads very easily, has a picture right on the machine how to thread the bobbin (they must have had me in mind) and is about half the weight of my old machine.

If you’ve read this far, I won’t make you click to another page just to see photos of the clutch I made. ¬†I didn’t do a tutorial because it would have just been pictures of me tearing my hair out. ¬†But here is the finished clutch. ¬†It’s not perfect, but I did learn a few things, and I may make another one, and I will do a step by step. ¬†This is a fabric I’ve had forever (and by forever I mean probably 25 years). ¬†I think I may have bought it to make placemats, but I don’t recall.

There were a number of things I would do differently, and a couple of things I intended to do that I forgot, but there is something they say about the best laid plans! ¬†Anyway, I would say, it’s a small success. ¬†And I did learn a few things. ¬†Maybe I should have taken Shop Class with the boys.

Clutch Untied

Untied Clutch

Homemade Paper Mache Buttons

Homemade Paper Mache Buttons

Finished Clutch

Finished Clutch with Tie Closure