30 November 2011

Variations on a Theme Christmas Stockings {Tutorial}

My cousin shared this story; tell me if it sounds familiar to any of you.

She bought a Christmas stocking for her little girl.  All is well.

Time passed, and she had a little boy.  She went back to the same store, and, hurray, they still carried those same Christmas stockings.

BUT--when she got home, she realized that the two stockings were not, in fact, the same; they were different sizes.  Now, a baby's isn't going to know or care that his stocking is smaller than his big sister's, but one day, he will.

How can you have all your Christmas stockings match without buying a whole new set when each new baby comes?  Even if you make the stockings, how do you know the fabric you chose will still be available next time?

Answer:  variations on a theme.

{I made these stockings last year, but didn't have time to get them posted before Christmas.  Okay, I finished them last year; I started them the year before.  Christmas passed and then I didn't have any motivation to finish them until the next Christmas season rolled around.  You've had that kind of project, too, I'm sure.}

All the stockings were made from the same pattern, but in different fabrics:  variations on a theme.  So it doesn't matter if I can't find, for example, the candy cane striped fabric again--I will just pick a new set of fabrics when we add another baby to our family.

Would you like to make your family some new Christmas stockings, too?

For each stocking, you need:
My pattern (It's at the bottom of this post.)
Some Christmas-y fabric scraps, cut into 2 1/2" squares
-----If you are buying new fabric, I estimate that you will need a bit less than 1/2 yd total, so if you got 1/8 yd of four different prints, you'd be good to go.  But you could make this out of however many different fabrics you'd like.
Approximately 60" of bias tape, or fabric to make your own  (For this project, it really should be cut on the bias, to help in going around the curves.)  See this tutorial if you need some help making bias tape.
2/3 yd (total) matching fabric for backing and linings  (I used different fabric for the linings and backing.)
Batting of your choice--enough to cut out two stockings (for the front and the back)
General sewing supplies
Quilting supplies of your choice--you could tie, machine quilt, hand quilt...

First, cut out the fabric for the linings and backing, as well as the batting.  They're all the same; might as well get them all done at once.

Next, lay out your 2 1/2" squares into a nice pattern, or lack thereof.  I arranged my squares in what I like to call "Artistic Random."  It's not true random, since I arranged and re-arranged until I liked the look of it, but neither is there a pattern.  Make sure the squares will cover the entire stocking pattern, with significant extra, to compensate for seam allowances.  Sew them together.

Pin the pattern on your ... stocking top?  (Like a quilt top...)  Cut out the stocking.

(Ouch!  Just look at all those pins!)

Sandwich the stocking.  The sandwiches go together squares/batting/lining, and lining/batting/backing.  Pin the sandwiches together.  Be sure to have right sides facing out.

Now we want to quilt the stocking sandwiches.  I stitched little snowflakes in each of the corners.  It took forever, but was a nice touch, I thought.  And I machine quilted each person's name on the back of their stocking.  You could tie quilt your stockings (tutorial here), but I would use embroidery floss instead of yarn for this small a project.  Or you could machine quilt them.  Use whatever method you'd like.

Next we'll be putting on the binding.  Mostly, the technique is just the same as binding a quilt, as in this tutorial.  But there a couple of differences.  For example...

Since you don't want to sew the tops closed, you'll bind the tops separately.  Bind the tops, but don't worry about finishing the ends--they'll go into the seam allowance when you bind the sides.

Pin the front and back of the stockings together, linings in.  Pin on the binding.  Starting at the top of the stocking, toe side, bind as usual until you get to the top, heel side.  Then...

Make a loop with the bias tape, and stitch it into place by hand.

And that's it!

Happy crafting!

(Right click-->"Save to Downloads")

They are sized so that they should print nicely on two 8 1/2" x 11" sheets of paper.  Tape them together, matching the stars.

28 November 2011

Mr. MadeIt Plays With My Early Christmas Present

Mr. MadeIt got me an early Christmas present--a Silhouette SD!  Yay!  I am going to have so much fun with my new toy!  Mr. MadeIt was actually the first to use it, and he wanted to share his project with you.  So today you get to hear from my wonderful husband!

Hello all,
Mr. MadeIt here. I wanted to show off something I have done. I just got Mrs. MadeIt a Silhouette SD. I know you are thinking “What is he doing? It is almost Christmas.” Normally I'm the one who goes out and gets things for myself just before the holidays, and then I get into trouble because someone else was going to get--or had already gotten--that exact thing for me thinking it would be the best gift and I would be so thrilled. (I did it twice to my mother--oops). But I couldn't think of a good way to get this in a sneaky way (until after I told Mrs. MadeIt that I was getting it for her, of course). But part of the reason for it being early is that she is going to use it to make other holiday crafts that I am sure she will post here. 
But to get back on track, I am an Apple lover. The fruit is good too, but I mean Macs, iPads, iPhones, etc. Windows just doesn’t work. Mac “Just Works.” Now to really get back to the point. I am rather mechanically minded, so I set to learning how the Silhouette SD worked so I could teach my wife the generals and she could get into the nitty gritty later on. In this process I needed something to test it on. I just got a new case for my iPhone and Mrs. MadeIt said it would be cool to make a vinyl (who comes up with spelling for these things?) design for the back of it. So, who better to do that than me? So I watched some of the boring tutorials online and figured the rest out by myself. Then I chose this design because it matched the traditional design for the CTR. (CTR is kind of like WWJD, just shorter and with a cool shield.)  {It stands for Choose The Right.} So I used the tracing tool in the software to “input” the design and away it went. I was so pleased with it that I even gave an “evil laugh of success”. {I can attest to that.  I heard Mr. MadeIt laughing away in the background...} I like it so much I hope it stays on for a long time. 
So, if any of you would like a custom decal for your phone, iPad, computer, car, etc, let us know and we would be happy to make it for you. (For a small fee of course--we haven't decided on pricing, but let us know if you're interested.) 
Anyway, long story short. It was fun, easy, and I made something cool for my iPhone.

23 November 2011

Bring on the Food! And the Thanksgiving Bib

I've been wanting to make some bibs for Boo, and Thanksgiving was a good incentive to actually get it done.  I like this style of bib because 1) it's big, 2) it doesn't have a velcro closure (Boo's hair is getting really long, and gets in the way of the velcro), and 3) ... I don't know, but I think lists should have at least three items.


This is a classic craft; my mom and my MIL both have some of these hanging around for grandkids to use. So I pulled one out to use as a pattern, and with a little help from my MIL, Boo soon had a new Thanksgiving bib.

{You need:
a hand towel--I got a whole stack of them at Sam's for a great price.
some ribbing
general sewing supplies
optional:  fabric for appliqué and Wonder-Under}

I traced the opening in the bib, and got a 3 3/4" x 7 1/2" oval.  Like so.

I wrote some notes on it, so I wouldn't forget.  As you can see from the sketch, I cut out the opening 17" from the bottom of the bib.  Put it wherever you think is best; the bib doesn't need to be this long, but it does cover Boo's whole lap, which is nice.  But if you made it shorter, you could cut off the extra to use for another project...

Then I cut out the ribbing, a 2 1/2" x 16 1/2" strip.  You want the circle of ribbing (once you sew the ends together, of course) to stretch to fit over your head.  (This is because kid's heads are proportionally very large, but if the ribbing fits over your head, it'll fit over theirs.)  

Next, I sewed the ribbing's short ends together, right sides together, using a zig-zag stitch.  (You need you use stretch stitch of some kind.  You could also just use your serger, if you have one.)  Then I folded the ribbing so the seam is on the inside and it's looking like a t-shirt collar.  (Note:  a ballpoint needle is best for this step, since a regular needle sometimes makes holes in the knit ribbing.)

I marked four equidistant points on the ribbing, with the seam being one point.  I also marked four equidistant points on the hole I'd cut in the towel.  

Then I matched up (and pinned) the points on the ribbing with the points on the towel.  The reason for this is that the circle of ribbing and the hole are not the same size--you need to stretch the ribbing as you sew. 

Then I sewed the ribbing onto the towel using a zig-zag stitch.  (For some reason, it's fine to use a regular needle to sew the ribbing onto the towel.  I don't know why.)  I then went around and zig-zagged around the raw edges, just to keep things from fraying.  It's not necessary, but I think it's nicer that way.

Now the bib is done!  I could have stopped there, but how much fun would that be?  So I embellished it a little...

I used Wonder-Under for these appliqués.  I'll give you a summarized version of how to use it, since the instructions are always on the package.

First, trace the (reversed) design on the paper side of the Wonder-Under.

Then roughly cut it out and arrange the pieces on the wrong side of the fabric, then iron it on, paper side up.  Then cut on the lines.

Pull off the paper backing and arrange the design on the towel  (right side of fabric up, for course).  Iron it on.  

The Wonder-Under will hold the appliqués in place, but you still need to stitch them down.  I decided to just use a straight stitch to outline my pieces.  I like the effect--it makes me think about tracing little hands for their turkey drawings.  :)  And any imperfections in my stitching just adds to the effect.  (Not needing to be perfect--always a good thing.)  And the Wonder-Under should keep the fabric from fraying much, maybe at all, so I feel confident that leaving all the edges raw will not be a problem.

So I got Boo's Thanksgiving bib done it time!  Wahoo!  

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

21 November 2011

Gratitude Journal

Thanksgiving is such a great holiday.  In a way, it's kinda nice that the commercial world largely forgets that November has a holiday, because it lets us focus on what Thanksgiving is really about:  family, giving thanks, and, of course, food.  

I'm here at my in-law's house this week.  Mr. MadeIt has been so excited to come.  Boo, too.  Two weeks before we were coming, she started telling me, "Get ready go Grammie, Papa's house."  (I love being here, too, by the way.)

I wanted to write just a quick post today on the theme of being grateful.  I've been keeping this Gratitude Journal for, oh, a little over a year, I guess.  At the end of the day (except when I'm lazy), I take a minute and write down a few things I was grateful for that day.  It's been a nice way to help me see blessings I hadn't noticed before, and it gives tangible proof of how blessed I really am, even when things are difficult.  (I also write about cute things Boo does; I'm always grateful for her!)

Well, that's it for today.  I hope you all have a great Thanksgiving, spend lots of time with loved ones, and eat lots of turkey.

Happy holidays!  And happy crafting!

18 November 2011

Flower Clip Giveaway Winner!

Thanks to everyone who entered my second giveaway!  And the lucky winner is...

Cassie!  Cassie said, "2. Jill I would for one really like to see more on painting, that's something I'd love to learn! Especially how to do water color! I think some painting tutorials would be awesome!!!!!!!"

I'd love to do more watercolors!  I'll have to see about getting some painting tutorials done...

Thanks so much to all who entered for your lovely comments and suggestions.  Reading your comments is one of my favorite things about writing this blog!  I will definitely use your suggestions to help make my blog better.

Cassie, I'll be e-mailing you soon to let you know you won!

You guys are awesome!

The Versatile Blogger Award {Featuring Blogs Mini-Series}

In the middle of my October Extravaganza (Halloweenfest?  Month of Madness?  I never did choose a name for my month of Halloween/autumn-themed posts), I received an e-mail from Julianne from Sew Fantastic telling me that she was giving me the Versatile Blogger Award!  So I've been a little slow in responding, but better late than never, right?

Thanks, Julianne!

As part of this getting this award, I need to:
--Link to and give a shout out to the award-giver.  (Check!)
--Share seven things about myself.  (All right, I'll do that in a minute.)
--Send this award on to fifteen other bloggers.  (I've decided to do this in a mini-series, and write up a feature for each blog.  Because who doesn't like being featured, right?  So I'll feature one blog each Friday for fifteen weeks.)

Okay, seven things about me:
1--My mom taught me how to sew when I was a kid, and the sewing machine scared me!  (It was so loud!)  But now I love sewing; quilting, making clothes, crafting--I love it all!
2--One of my favorite classes in college was Book Arts (aka book making).  I really need to write some tutorials on making books.  (Maybe they'd be good Christmas presents...)
3--I graduated college with my major in Studio Art.  Yep, craftiness was part of my major.  Also drawing and painting, but I haven't had too much time for those since Boo was born--it's hard to paint in only nap-sized lengths of time.  (But my wonderful sister babysat Boo long enough for me to paint this.  Thanks, Sis!)
4--I'm not really a fan of cooking, but I love making desserts.  (I don't mind cooking itself; it's the mostly washing up all the pots and pans.  And all the time it takes.) Mmmm, chocolate chip cookies...
5--I love to read.  Novels used to be my favorite, but now I really like how-to books.  I love learning how to make new things!  (I bet you're all super-surprised.)
6--If I could go anywhere in the world, I would choose Hawaii first.  (But there are lot's of places I'd like to go!  Scotland, England, Brazil, anywhere on a cruise...)
7--All right, one more thing...hmmm...I've never sewn with knits.  I really need to learn how, especially since I want to start making more clothes for Boo.

The first blog I am passing this award on to is Peace, Love, Recipes by Courtney.

Okay, so I told you I'm not really into cooking, but I love finding new recipes.  (I know, weird.)

Doesn't this Creamy Cran-Raspberry Sherbet look delicious?

Or how about these Nutella Fudge Brownies?

There are plenty of non-dessert thing, too, but like I said, desserts are my favorite.  :) 

So head on over to Peace, Love, Recipes.

Happy cooking!

16 November 2011

Thanksgiving Puzzle Blocks (Free Printable!)

{Looking for the flower clip giveaway?  Click here.  Remember, it ends Friday!}
{This giveaway is now closed.}

Thanks to my cousin who came up with this idea!  She wanted to make Thanksgiving Puzzle Blocks, like the Pumpkin Puzzle Blocks I did for Halloween.

Just print, cut, and decoupage onto nine 2" x 2" wood blocks.

No, I didn't forget to upload a picture.  The sixth side is for a family portrait!  

Happy Thanksgiving!

And happy crafting!

14 November 2011

Little Hawaiian Dresses

{Looking for the flower clip giveaway?  Click here.}
{This giveaway is now closed.}

I actually made these a long time ago; I can't believe I haven't shared them with you yet!  (You may recognize the orange dress from this post.  Yep, it's been a while.)

I used Butterick Pattern #3782 for both of these little dresses I made for my Boo.  I made the blue one first (as you may have guessed since it's smaller!), and it was nice, but, well, the pattern needed some improvement.  The neckline was just too high--it was almost a turtleneck on my tiny little girl.  And the ... straps?  Do you call them straps when they're that wide?  Anyway, those parts of the dress were too wide--they were almost cap sleeves for Boo. 
So the next time I made the dress, I made the neckline a little lower, and the straps a little thinner (more strap-like).  Then I finished the edges by adding facings, instead of bias tape, which also helped with keeping the dress a reasonable size at the neck and arms.

I also merged the two pleats into one center pleat, which I just like better.  

Then I added a ribbon for a tie.  Besides adding cuteness, I wanted to be able to tie the dress to fit my tiny little girl, instead of being so big on her.

There's a funny story behind the orange Hawaiian dress.  Mr. MadeIt had this bright orange Hawaiian shirt he loved and his family loved to make fun of.  Then one day, much to the joy of the family and the sadness of Mr. MadeIt, the shirt tore.  Mr. MadeIt threw it away.

And I rescued it.  A shirt that was amusing on a redheaded daddy became a dress that was lovely on a brown-headded daughter.  I even re-used some of the buttons from the shirt to decorate the dress.  Mr. MadeIt's family was thrilled to see the orange Hawaiian print on their granddaughter/niece....and not on their son/brother.

(P.S.  I actually liked it as a shirt, too.  Everyone should have a loud and happy Hawaiian shirt if they want to!)

10 November 2011

Happy Birthday to My Blog!

{This giveaway is now closed.}

As of today, I have been blogging for one year!  Happy Birthday to my blog!  This is what I wrote in my first ever post:

I love to make stuff. There's just something about taking raw materials and creating something! And I love to see what other people make, get inspired, and learn how to make new things. So here's my contribution. I hope you like my blog.

Wow, I think that was also my shortest ever blog post.

To celebrate my blog birthday, I want to have another giveaway.  I made these flower hair clips for one of you wonderful readers.  Thank you all for supporting me in my blogging.  I love reading your comments, and hearing about you making my projects.  

(I learned how to make these flowers from this tutorial, by the way.  They are easy and lots of fun to make!)

{This giveaway is for my followers.  If you aren't following already, it's easy to change that!}

Ways to enter:
(You can pick any or all!  Leave a separate comment for each entry.)
1--Tell me which of my posts is your favorite.
2--Tell me what you would like to see more of on my blog.  (More about my life, a specific type of tutorial...)
3--Share your favorite of my posts on your blog, with your Facebook friends, or with your Twitter followers.
4--Follow me on Facebook.

The winner will be chosen on Friday, November 18.

Good luck!

And happy crafting!

09 November 2011

Red Envelope Inspired Beaded Bracelet Tutorial (Plus Matching Necklace and Earrings!)

Okay, so I didn't restrain myself from starting my project until Craft Night.  But I realized that I wouldn't be able to finish this all in one night, and I wanted to share it with you today!

The other day, I found this bracelet (from redenvelope.com) on Pinterest:

Isn't is so pretty?  But what wasn't pretty was the price tag--$79.95.

So I made my own (in a different color scheme--I loved the rich creams and golds).  And mine only cost $10.01.  (Plus the headpins, which I already had.)

(Like the heart-shaped clasp?  I think it adds a little cuteness while still being subtle.  And it references the heart in the inspiration bracelet.)

Granted, theirs in made of semi-precious stones, silver beads, and freshwater pearls, whereas mine is made of glass beads.  But I love mine.  It's a lot more bracelet than I usually wear, but this time of year just makes me want to sparkle and shine a little.  (And the Christmas lights aren't even up yet!  I think I'm in trouble!)

I actually got too far ahead on my bracelet before Craft Night; I finished it long before my sister was ready to leave (or me, either, for that matter).  What to do...

I know, I'll make a matching necklace.

So I did.

I took more of the chain I'd used to make the bracelet, added another heart-shaped clasp onto one end, and beaded up the other.

Well, that necklace didn't take nearly as long as the bracelet had, and I got it done, too, before the night was over.  

Hmm...I don't have any pearl earrings, yet.

So I made a pair of those, too.

(Okay, the earrings look kinda' funny hanging on the necklace chain...Oh, well.)

The earrings were done in the same method as these earrings, but with much shorter wires.  I used a small, medium, and large bead for each earring, and had the wires for the small and large beads the same length, with the other just a little longer.

And then it was time to go home.  But now I've got a complete set of matching pearl jewelry!

Okay, so now for the Pearl Bracelet tutorial.  Ready?  It's time consuming, but really easy.

You need:
A plain chain bracelet  {OR a length of metal chain (from the jewelry section, still) and a clasp.  This is far and away the cheaper way to do it.  I got enough chain for my bracelet and necklace with lots still left over for $3.  One chain bracelet was going to cost me $7 or so.}
lots of headpins {OR you could make your own, like I did for my Holiday Earrings, but you'd need so many for this project that I think it's more worthwhile to just buy them.  I don't remember how much they cost, but it wasn't too much.}
a lot of beads of your choice  
Round-nosed pliers
Wire cutters
Second pair of pliers {optional, but very helpful}

Plan out where you want your beads.  I started with a pattern at first, but by the end, I was just filling in beads wherever they were needed.  So this picture shows where I put my first round of beads--the pearls.

Thread a bead on to your first headpin.  Use your round-nosed pliers to make a loop in the headpin above the bead (as above), then thread the wire on to your chosen link of the bracelet.

Next, wrap the wire around itself just above the bead.  Cut off the extra.  Bend the loop so it comes out straight from the bead.

{You could also attach the beads like in my Holiday Earrings tutorial, it you like that better.  I like that the loop can't accidentally be pulled open with this method.)

Continue until your bracelet is as full as you want it.  

Wasn't that easy?  A few supplies, a simple technique, and a few hours and you can have an $80 bracelet for $12 (to include the headpins in the total).  

Happy crafting!

P.S.  Tomorrow is a special day for my blog.  Check back to see why...  :)

07 November 2011

Quick Project Preview

I just got new materials for my next project!  I'm so excited--I want to start now, but I'm going to restrain myself until tomorrow, when I'll be getting together with other ladies for  a Craft Night.  

So here's a little teaser for you to enjoy until then.  :)

What would you do with all these beautiful beads?

Hopefully I'll get this done in time for my Wednesday post, but until then:

Happy crafting!

02 November 2011

Holiday Earrings Tutorial

Whew!  I liked doing my Grand Month of Halloween, with all those fun projects and extra posts, but I'm glad to get back to my regular two posts a week.  Four posts each week is hard!  (I didn't even always manage that.)  Hats off to you bloggers who always do that (and more).

Let's start off November with these fun earrings I made the other day!  I realized that Boo is long past the pulling-on-everything stage, so it is safe to wear earrings again.  I really love dangly earrings, but I didn't have any yet, so I made up this pair while watching TV with my hubby one evening.

They will be great to wear all the time, but they make me think of fancy Christmas parties.  I'm just imagining theses earrings with a pretty, red, fancy dress...

And they are really easy to make.  Just gather your materials, put on your favorite TV show, and you'll have new earrings before the credits roll.

(The above picture shows the materials for each earring--you'll need twice this so you can make a pair.  But not twice the pliers; that would be silly.)

You Need:
a pair of ear wires
some 20 gauge jewelry wire
2 large jump rings
6 largish glass beads
round-nosed pliers
wire cutters
needle-nosed pliers (or a second pair of any kind of pliers)  These aren't absolutely necessary, but it does make working with such small things easier to have pliers for each hand.

(Note to self:  Use a pen instead of a pencil the next time I need to take pictures of writing.)

First, cut your wire.  Determine how long you want the finished earrings to be, then add a little for making loops at the top and bottom.  This is Wire 1.

Wire 2 will be one bead-length shorter than Wire 1.

Wire 3 will be one bead-length shorter than Wire 2.

Next, make a tiny loop at the bottom of each wire.  (This is just to keep the bead on.)  Bend the wire so the loop comes out straight from the wire.

Thread the beads onto the wires.

Make larger loops on the tops of each wire.  (I forgot to take a picture of this, but you know what I mean, anyways.)

If the loops are not lined up the way you want them to be, just twist them into place.

Connect the ear wire and beaded wires with the jump ring.

Repeat for the second earring, and you're done!  

See how easy that was?  I was so excited these earrings turned out so well and so easily, that I made several more pairs of earrings over the next few days.

First these pretty little things.

And then these fun little feet earrings.  I was actually trying (unsuccessfully) to do something else, when I realized it was starting to look like a foot.

And, of course, the earrings for my vampire costume!  But I love that they will work for non-Halloween occasions, too.

What kind of earrings do you like best?  Dangly, stud, or hoop?