Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Front Porch Pillows

I live in Daybreak. It's a planned community with the idea of older style homes and front porches. We have a lot of fun colorful houses in our neighborhood. I have mixed feelings about my front porch. I would prefer to have it open so that I can sit out on my bench and watch my kids play in the street. However, I do love that it hides the scooters that are always parked on the front porch. Anyway, I put my cute yellow bench out on the front porch and I wanted to decorate it with some pillows. I have been wanting to make something with burlap... since it's so trendy right now. So, I thought I'd do something with pillows!
I started with this pillow. I bought outdoor fabric at Joann. I followed my own tutorial to make it a slip covered pillow. Then I just cut a strip of burlap and sewed a reinforced stitch around the edge so it wouldn't fray. I sewed it into a band and made another smaller band to cinch it up in the front. Then I attached a fabric (burlap) flower that I made using my tutorial here.
Then came the fun part. I really liked the pattern in the fabric. And I wanted to make a smaller coordinating pillow out of burlap. So, here is what I did.
  • I enlarged the pattern on my copy machine. I think it was about 8x8.
  • I traced the pattern onto freezer paper.
  • I used an exacto knife and small scissors to cut out the pattern. ( I got lazy and just cut out the part that repeated.
If you would like a more detailed tutorial on freezer paper stencils, you can find one here.
  • I ironed the freezer paper stencil onto the burlap and used a sponge brush to dab acrylic paint onto the burlap. (this is where the lazy part came in. I had to take the freezer paper off and turn it 4 times to get the repeating pattern. That seemed easier than cutting it out.)
  • I heat set the paint on with the iron.
  • I sewed the pillow using the same slip covered pillow tutorial.
Here's the funny part... I was worried about a pillow form getting wet on the porch and getting moldy, so I made my pillow form by stuffing a ziploc bag with polyfil!!!
It turned out totally cute!!!
Now my front porch has a cute set of matching pillows. And I love the way they look on my yellow bench (scooters have been removed for the photo) Maybe I don't hate sewing so much after all... I just hate sewing clothes!!!

Anisa's Rant about Sewing!

Okay, so I'm going to warn you... I feel the need to rant about sewing right now. If you love to sew... you may not want to read this!!!

I have 3 boys. I love that I can just pass down their clothes and not have to buy new ones every year. So, it totally irritates me when my oldest gets holes in his knees or cuts a hole in his brand new shirt. So, I had a pile of mending that I wanted to do. I finally sat down at work one night and decided it was the night. I cut off some shorts and sewed a reinforced stitch along where I cut and let them fray. Those turned out cute!!!

Then I tried to patch the holes in the knee of one of the jeans. How do you patch a hole in a knee???? You can't turn the sewing machine in all directions when the jeans are on it??? Seriously, does anyone know how to do that?

Then I tried to re-hem a shirt that had a small hole at the bottom. I hate sewing on knit. It's too stretchy. I did a simple zig zag stitch, but it is completely uneven and it has already started to come un-sewed after one wash.
I got completely fed up. I buy their clothes on clearance anyway. And for that matter who cares if a boys clothes has holes?

So, I've been bored at work. And I've really wanted to do some refashioning of t-shirts like I've seen on several blogs. I love Elizabeth Kartchner's posts here and here. I love this tutorial on Ruffles and Stuff. I take cell phone pictures of clothes that I see in stores so I can try to make them myself.... Love this idea I saw at Target.I have a shirt that I love that has a hole in it. So, if I did reverse applique like this shirt at Old Navy, I could take care of the hole. I also love the applique on this shirt at Target. I've seen tons of others out there as well and I love the idea of taking a shirt that I have that has a stain or hole or is just plain, and making it cute and fun. I've been putting it off because... frankly, I'm scared. It usually doesn't turn out for me. And after my mending.... I just didn't want to so it. So, last night I thought I'd give it a try. I asked my mom how to hem a knit shirt. This is what she told me....

Cut it off. Zig zag the edge. Then turn it over and with a double needle, sew on the top and it's a great finished look. I did all of this, but I just don't sew well!!!! And I'm seriously jinxed when it comes to sewing clothes. It turned out awful. I can't even hem a simple t-shirt. How am I supposed to put cute ruffles on it!!! So, I threw it in the trash and decided that I will leave the clothing sewing to someone else!!!

Now that I've put this post together... I feel bad that I gave up. Should I try again? Should I just not hem the sleeves? Seriously, what is my problem?

Monday, May 17, 2010

Top Picks for Kid Crafting

Crafting with your kids can be a lot of fun. Expect a mess and you'll have a great time, though these aren't very messy anyway.

Here are my three top choices for crafting with my kids. By saying with my kids, I do mean, supervised crafting and together time.

1. Perler Beads/Fusible Beads-Ever since my little girl got these beads for her birthday we've been having a blast with them. The boys love them and we even got my husband involved once. She has been very gracious in sharing them.

The concept: small cylindrical beads are placed on peg boards for infinite possibilities. Then you fuse the plastic together using your iron and parchment paper.

My son is holding the horse that he chose the colors for. We assembled the shape together on the horse-shaped board with our heads close together. I made up my own owl using the hexagon peg board. I love it!

2. Pipe Cleaners-This mostly has to be supervised because they always use too many! It's also good to have me on hand to cut extra length off with a wire cutter.

The concept: fuzzy wires are twisted and woven together to create anything their minds can come up with.

My oldest son likes to make pet dragons out of them.

Yesterday, my three year old made me a modern art mobile that I really am planning on hanging in my craft room after the flood clean up is over.

These are also a great items to take along on road trips because they're mess-free. (Just be aware that the ends are poky and wouldn't be great for kids under, say, three.)

3. Shrinkable plastic-Shrinky-Dinks or any brand shrinkable plastic is something that was cool way back when, but it is SO fun.

The concept: special plastic is drawn and/or colored on using colored pencils, water colors, or markers. (Crayons are a big, flammable NO) Cut the item out, place it on a foil lined cookie sheet, in a preheated oven and watch through the oven window as the plastic twists and distorts down to a considerably smaller size than when you started.

I used to wonder why you'd make something big, just so it could turn out smaller. (I still wonder this about felting). However, once I gave it a try, I learned. It's just SO COOL watching it melt in the oven. We spent two hours playing with them the first time.

I like tracing an image from the kids' picture books with a fine Sharpie marker and letting them color the item or they draw something on their own. My son wore these to school today.

Summer is approaching and all these things are great to do to keep the boredom away. They can all be found at your chain craft stores and you can use those great %off coupons. :)

What do you like to do in the summertime to keep your kids entertained?