Wednesday, November 18, 2009

1 Craft, Three Ways: Wreaths

This is the perfect time of year for wreaths. Deck the halls and all that, right? I found this little grapevine turkey in my storage closet. My mom gave him to me a while back. We were never sure what to do with it. November we're doing wreaths and here's one that needs to be finished. Necessity is the mother of invention. I did have two issues. First, I kinda liked him the way he was. Second, I have a wreath hanger on my door that presented a bit of a challenge. In the end, I decided to go with simplicity and wrapped wired harvest-themed ribbon around each tail feather except the middle one. There I tied a fancy bow. I twisted the streamers from the bow and glued them on each "feather." When I put him on my door, it was hard to see his little poultry head. By Cami's suggestion, I stuffed him with tulle. It was a light tan and still hard to see the turkey's head. I guess I'll be heading back to the craft store to find a darker brown. For now, I'm kinda liking this little guy, though. -Angie
Wreaths was a hard one for me... not that I don't love wreaths... I totally do. But I already have cute wood craft wreaths for every month and I just recently did a square wreath for my class. So, what else could I possibly do? Then I saw these wreaths in Pottery Barn. As always, I love to get my decorating inspiration from Pottery Barn magazines.
So, this is how I made them. I bought embroidery hoops. I took the outside hoop that screws apart and used that for one wreath. And I cut the inside one open and used it for the other wreath... then just taped it back together when I was done. I bought two books at a thrift store... It was kind of hard to rip up a perfectly good book, but, hey, you do what you've got to do for the sake of decorating. I got two books so that I could have two different sizes of pages. I cut slits in the top and bottom of each page and slipped it onto the embroidery hoop. When I was finished, I closed up the embroidery hoop and tied the ribbon to the hoop. I put these in my office.... I'm going for kind of a French county look in there and I thought the books were kind of officey... (my spell check doesn't think that's a word). I plan on leaving them up as an all the year decoration. (truth be told, I like the PB ones a little better, but I think it's the red ribbon that I like. I have purple as an accent color in my office, so I may go on a hunt for some purple ribbon to brighten the look up a little. On a side note... I just found the most awesome website ever. I love wood crafts and I love wood, but I'd love to take it a little further. This woman has step by step instructions with diagrams and pictures and everything of how to build knock off furniture from stores like Pottery Barn and such. I can't wait to get started in a fun project... I've been wanting to make shelves for my boys' rooms.)
My wreath started out with a simple bleached willow wreath purchased at...the dollar store. Seriously! It was just under the size of a dinner plate. I bought a bag of green feathers, sorted them by size and began inserting them, following their natural curve, in between the twigs, using hot glue to secure them. I did the outer circle first, the inside portion. For the final covering of the wreath, I overlaid the feathers til the willow was covered, still using the hot glue to attach them. I tied a few small bows with some pretty American Craft ribbon, also attaching them with hot glue. Inexpensive and unique!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Countdown with Crafts: Ruffles and Ribbon

Continuing our countdown with crafts today, looking at the ads and giving you ideas for what to do with all the great deals out there before the holidays arrive. On SALE this week!!!

At Jo-Ann's:

50% off Holiday Inspirations Christmas Ribbon

At Hobby Lobby:

50% off all holiday ribbon by the roll 50% all ribbon and trim spools

At Michaels:
50% off Celebrate It! Holiday ribbon 30% off Celebrate It! Holiday velvet ribbon

At Roberts Crafts:
35% off all ribbon

So on sale this week and ruffles are hot right now.
I decided to make a tree skirt using both. Yay!
This tree skirt project is a good beginner sewing project. Perfection isn't necessary. Measurements won't need to be exact. The stitching can be erratic. It's going to turn out great!
The ribbon I used is a sheer but textured, wired, white nylon ribbon, 5" wide, with silvery trim border on right and left sides. I also used a 45"x45" piece of inexpensive white muslin for the base of my tree skirt.
Now, a brief tutorial on making a tree skirt shape out of a square piece of paper:
First, take a square piece of cloth (again, mine is 45" x 45") and fold it into a triangle, matching the 'A' points and folding on the dotted line.Next, take the triangle you made, without moving the the cloth anywhere, match up the 'A' points again, folding on the dotted line.Same thing here, 'A's and the fold line.This one is slightly different. Fold as shown and you'll end up with the next image.
The dotted lines are now cutting lines. Cut a rounded line in both places. The upper line represents what will be the outer circle, the lower line will create the hole where the trunk of the tree will fit. You can cut it with a rotary blade or fabric scissors. If this is reminding you of folding paper for snowflakes, it's exactly the same concept.
Open up your cloth and it'll look like this. Cut on this dotted line to create an entry way for your tree trunk. It doesn't matter if the edges look a little uneven because we're going to cover them up.
I took my ribbon and ran a basting stitch (the longest stitch setting on your sewing machine) down the middle of my ribbon. Since I am doing a very lengthy amount of ribbon, I sew a couple of feet, stop, clip my threads and begin sewing half an inch from the stopping spot and repeat.
By holding onto the bobbin thread and gently guiding the ribbon along, the ribbon will begin to gather into ruffles. You need to be gentle so the thread doesn't break. Spread the ruffles along the length of the ribbon (I didn't cut it, just unwound a bit at a time and sewed) and then pin it along the edge of the muslin skirt base. I pinned it using the center line down the ribbon as a guide. I placed that line over the cloth somewhere between 3/4" to 1" away from the edge.
After you get this first layer pinned (the pinning is the worst part), just re-sew along that center line, no need to follow the guides on the machine. I sew it using a slightly wider than straight stitch.
With this volume of cloth, just be careful not to catch extra muslin under the needle and sew where you don't want stitches.
As you can see, the way the ruffles hang over the skirt edge, there is no need for perfectly cut circles with hemmed edges.
You can continue to add more rows of ruffles or keep them just on the edge. I'm really glad I chose the white on white on white as it is very forgiving, but this would work with just about any cotton cloth base and any ribbon that was wide enough to ruffle.
I'm adding more rows, just pinning away...
Other things to do with ribbon, ruffles or both! (all pictures have links to the original pages)
Clothing re-do at My Mama Made ItMore holiday decor Home decorA High-Waisted Corset Skirt (tutorial here)Scrapbooking embellishments!!!
Have fun! -C