17 December 2010

Altered T-shirt

Here are directions for turning a boring t-shirt into something more feminine and trendy, originally posted on the Galblog last April. I've seen tons of similar styles in stores lately, and noticed lots of tutorial cropping up all over the interweb.
Your materials: long-sleeved t-shirt, shears, disappearing pen, needle and matching thread, differently sized circles for tracing.
Step 1: Cut off the sleeves to your shirt. I like a cute cap sleeve; you might want to use a shirt that has sleeves you like to help you decide where to cut. I just eyeballed it, then lined up the first cut sleeve on top of the second to make sure they'd match.
Step 2: Trace your circles using disappearing ink onto your cut-off sleeves. I traced each size twice, then stacked the sleeves and cut through all 4 layers at one, ending with 8 circles of each of the 3 sizes.

Step 3: Layer your circles from smallest to biggest. Notice how messy my cuts are? It doesn't matter one bit!
Step 4 (optional): Make a hat for a cute baby from the remainder of the cut off sleeve. Get totally distracted from project and admire cute baby in cute hat...
Step 5: Find a shirt with a neckline that you like--square, boat, and v-neck all work well. Line up the shoulder seams and trace the neckline onto your t-shirt, then cut it off.
Step 6: Realize other baby needs his hat.
Step 7: Pick up a stack of circles and pinch through all 3 layers, then secure with a few tight stitches, and tie a knot.
Here's the back...
...and the front:
Repeat with remaining stacks:Step 8: Arrange on your t-shirt until you like the design. I ended up sewing the flowers on straight across instead. You can see that I sewed the cut edges of the sleeves and neckline with a zig-zag stitch. Not necessary, but cute nonetheless.
Here's the completed shirt--
And another I made the same way:
Here is the tutorial that inspired me, and here's a recent tutorial at HeyJenRenee.

Let me know if you have questions!

16 December 2010

Gingerbread Houses!

Ok, so they're not really gingerbread, but "graham-cracker-house" just doesn't have the same ring to it! I found this idea on Martha Stewart, and thought it would be simpler than rolling and cutting and baking actual gingerbread, especially given that the attention span we're working with is only that of a 3.5 year old. So I melted chocolate chips in the microwave (I did this instead of royal icing so that I could snack on chocolate-dipped graham crackers while constructing the houses--YUM), then cemented the cracker pieces together in house-estimations.

Then Chloe, my lovely MIL (hi Kitty!!) and I went to town decorating. For this we used royal icing, but I think the icing wasn't quite thick enough, as there was lots of sliding around when it came to sticking the candy on. Most importantly, however, was that lots of taste-testing went on:
(yup, a little bite of tomato, a mouthful of m&m's--Chloe likes it all)

I think they came out cute for a first try--and we have plenty of time to get more elaborate as the architect matures!

15 December 2010

Let's Count Mini Book

Here's another project moved over from the Galblog...I thought it might make a quick and easy handmade present!

I wanted to make a book about numbers for my 3-year-old daughter, and when I looked at all the cute felt animals in my stash, I knew I had just the thing!
The canvas pages meant I could attach the letters and numbers by stitching through them on my sewing machine--this way I know curious fingers won't be able to pull them off! I also used Fabri-Tac to glue down the felties more securely, after taking off the foam adhesive circles first.
I sewed front and back of one page at the same time, and then glued on the felties afterward. I was thrilled to be (finally) using up the numbers from my thicker packages!
I think she likes it, don't you?

14 December 2010

Paper cone trees

I needed something festive go up on the mantel. I have seen some awesome paper/glitter/yarn trees on the internets this season, but I am too lazy and cheap to make any of those involving lots of cutting/curling/buying cones for the base.
 So I rolled up some K&Company Yuletide designer Christmas paper, stapled and embellished. I was going to top them off with glimmer mist, but that seemed like too much effort.
 Wa-la! Instant Christmas-cone-tree-mantel-decor.
Never mind that both my husband and my mother thought they were supposed to be party hats...some people just don't get it! I'm linking this up at Paper Issues Holiday Hook Up linky party, cuz it rocks.

13 December 2010

Felted sweater leftovers

After making the felted stockings, I had a whole mess of scraps leftover that I couldn't bear to throw away. I decided to make a couple different things, but I have only completed one so far! I started by trimming my scraps into circles, seen above. Just eyeball it, they don't have to be perfect. Make sure you have comfy scissors, because although it's easy, it can be hard on your hands (especially if you're a lefty using made-for-righty scissors).
The next part was Chloe's job, stringing the circles onto light-weight wire. She and I chatted while I cut and she threaded...some good Mama/daughter crafty time there. This is what I did to the wire to make it safer and sturdier for her three-year-old hands:
Can you see how I bent the wire back on itself and tightly twisted it together? Now the end is more rounded than pokey, but still small enough to go through the felt with ease. I had to straighten it out a few times, but other than that Chloe managed on her own....she even chose to add a few jingle bells along the wire interspersed with the felt circles, really cute!
But then, I did a very bad crafty-mama move: I took the entire thing apart and re-did it! I know, I know, but once Chloe had finished stringing all the circles I realized it made too dense and heavy a garland for our little tree.  The garland above is the re-done one. I folded each circle in quarters, then poked the wire through the doubled-up corner. And since Chloe had no interest in helping with version number two (can't say I blame her) I used a needle and it came together super fast!

She did help me add some jingle bells, though, so I can still say we made it together, right?!?

10 December 2010

Felted Sweater Stockings

I have been busy making recycled stockings from old sweaters, it takes a long time when you have FIVE family members! I love the way they turned out, and the way they look hanging on our mantle. It's hard to see, but D. created a very clever way to hang the stockings without putting any holes or adhesive on our solid cedar mantle! I love having a crafty husband :) So here they are, in no particular order:
the tree
snowflakes--up close
and from afar

...and finally, this little birdie
Here they are all lined up along the mantle, with our sweet Christmas tree!
Oh, and one more, I made for a gift exchange--I hope she likes it!