Halloween Flags

Halloween flags

Inspired by a recent post on the Twig & Toadstool blog, J (who is now 6yo) and I made these flags yesterday before dinner.  It was a quick project, and probably took about 45 minutes.  The pattern is a download from the Toymaker website.  There are four flag patterns to choose from – owl, pumpkin, cat and skull.  Like Twig & Toadstool, we went for rainbow paper instead of spooky/Halloween paper.  J chose two of each design, and picked which color paper each would go on.

Then, he cut out the straight border lines on the top and side, as well as the scallop bottom.  I did the inside cuts with an x-acto knife.  Then we used a glue stick to attach some shiny tissue paper to the back.  To hang the banner, I folded the top down about 1/2 inch towards the back, and ran a length of baker’s twine through, and then taped the folded part down.  Since I hung it in the window, and you can’t see the back, it’s not important that the back look as nice as the front.  Then, we have these odd draw pull knobs on our window molding from where the previous owners had a valance hung.  So, I tied the baker’s twine to a few of the knobs and voila!

You can’t really tell in the pictures because of the morning sun casting a shadow, but the paper is bright blue, green, purple and yellow.

I love it!

Adding a new picture which shows the colors of the flags.  Such a fun and easy project!  I need to think about how to adapt the concept for Christmas.

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Woodland curtain

Woodland Friends Cafe Curtain

I bought some adorable prints on Etsy of mushroom homes, gnomes and hedgehogs for my children’s/Guest bathroom last year.  I really should paint the room, but I really dislike painting.  I probably will one day, but for now, I’m just trying to brighten it up with accessories.  The pictures are great and really made the room look better.  But I still had a plain white cafe curtain in there.  Blah.

So, today after spending the day at my friend’s camp (aka house on a lake), I came home and at 5pm decided that I *needed* to make a new curtain before my in-laws arrive tomorrow.  Umm…children….dinner….hello?  It was quick and easy though and I still fed my children dinner.  Just about 30 minutes later than normal.  The fabric is Woodland Friends in blue.  Now, I think I need a new rug.

Gnome print

Mushroom house print in the background

K doing a super-job kayaking

Pussy Willows in Wool

Betz White posted the cutest wool “pussy willows” a few weeks ago on her blog.  Well, I didn’t really read it clearly, and I thought she had actually used real pussy willows.  She actually just used bare branches to which she attached the felt balls to make them appear to be pussy willows.  Ah-ha!  Well, as I said, I didn’t read that clearly, and when I saw some pussy willow branches in the store, I snapped them up.  (To be told later, of course, by my friend that she has a ton in her yard!  Note for future reference.)  Well, after buying the pussy willows, I read the directions again, and realizing my mistake, decided to go for it.  And put the pussy willows out on our hall table, and added two branches of “wool” pussy willows to add in some color.  I love it!  And the high arrangement looks really good in front of the stairs.  I’ll have to remember that for future arranging.  In retrospect, I’m glad I only did two branches because I was making the felt balls by hand and my hands were getting tired rolling wet, soapy wool balls.

Happy New Year curtains

Happy New Year!  It’s been a crazy last couple of weeks, not only trying to finish up my Christmas crafting and holiday activities, preparing for guests, etc., but also crazy-busy with work and trying to finish 3 different reports within the first three weeks of December.  Quite unpleasant.  However, those were done by 4pm on Christmas Eve, and all my Christmas crafting was also done on time!  Woo-hoo!  Even got my Christmas cards out on time.  So, now I’ve been laying low since Christmas, hanging out with the fam, and doing some laid back crafting.  I will be highlighting my fun Christmas creations in the next week or so.  I was really happy with how everything turned out.  But for now, here are my New Year’s Eve curtains!  Yes, we are boring, stayed home and watched football instead of going to a party, and I made these curtains for my office!

Office curtains

We are having major winter storm over the next 3 days, so we went grocery shopping and stocked up, and made plans for some fun food, and I went shopping for fabric!

I got the fabric at my favorite discount salvage store for $2.99/yard.  It is Joel Dewberry Chestnut Hill – Chestnuts (JD10) in Deep Water.  It’s good that it was only $3/yd because you need a lot of yardage for curtains!  I took everything that they had which was 7.25 yards.  And they are fully lined which is a bit of a pain, but worth it in terms of how the fabric drapes, how it looks from the outside, insulation-factor, and all of that.  Actually the biggest pain is that they are so large that they are really hard to sew!  I’m happy with how it’s turned out so far though and I still need to hem them.  I’m trying to decide if I want it threaded across the rod (as shown), or if I would rather attach the curtains with rings/clips.

Close-up of fabric

We did a lot of work on my office this summer.  We took out the ugly institutional-grade berber carpet and replaced it with wood floors to match the other rooms in the house.  Then, we created a closet in the unused nook where the chimney is, and painted the room yellow.  Hubby has taken advantage of his week off for the holidays to make me a new desk(!), he installed wire shelving in the closet, and made a built in desk in a little nook in the corner of the room that the boys are going to use as their computer desk.  Now I have curtains!  I still need to do some cleaning up and organizing.  I want to make some fabric boxes in the shape of a in/out box for my desk top.  I think I am going to use the J.Caroline tutorial, and modify it for the size that I want.  I also have some posters from the Common Ground Fair that I want to hang, and I need a rug at some point.  We also have a guest bed in here (twin with trundle), and I’d like to make a new quilt to match the curtains, maybe make some pillows to match.  I bought a few coordinating fabrics from Chestnut Hill, so we’ll see what I come up with.

Kid's desk nook - still needs work but functional for now

Fabric coasters

I love to make fabric coasters.  So quick and easy, with that element of instant gratification combined with usefulness.  We attended a family wedding last weekend, and purchased the standard “kitchen equipment” sort of present.  Well, not quite standard, but eminently useful and loved here at our household!  In any case, I also wanted to give the bride and groom a little something handmade as well.  We did a big “cousin dinner” thing while we were visiting and went out to the bride and groom’s favorite sushi restaurant.  Yummy.  Even the non-sushi-eating cousins were good sports and tried some things.  (Although the look on cousin Steven’s face when he ate the Philly roll was quite humorous.)

So, I whipped up these little sushi coasters.  On the back is some great fabric from Sandi Henderson’s Ginger Blossom line for Michael Miller (Blossom Buds in Mustard).  I got the sushi fabric at JoAnns, and it’s from Robert Kaufman.  The coasters are super-easy to make.  I cut 4.5″x4.5″ squares out of the two fabrics, and one same-size square of a thin cotton batting.  Sandwich it together, like such….batting on the bottom, backing piece facing up, front piece facing down.  Sew around the square with a 3/8″ seam allowance, leaving a big enough gap for turning it right-side out on one side.  Clip the corners off, although not too close to the stitching.  Turn it, and push out the corners with a chopstick or pencil.  Press.  Then, top-stitch around the outside, close to the edge, which also closes up the gap that you used to turn the little quilt sandwich.  I used a bright green thread for the top-stitching, which actually turned out quite cute and matched better than I thought it would.  Voila, coasters!  Easy-peasy.  And all fabric from my stash – even better!

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Birthday Bunting

Birthday bunting

Birthday bunting

I have been wanting to make a celebration bunting for awhile, and just never got around to it.  Well, I finally made some for J’s birthday party!  They are just triangles that I cut out of some fun fabrics.  I sewed two triangles together, wrong sides facing, and then pinked the edges.  You don’t need to sew the tops because you attach them all together with wide double-fold bias tape.  The only hard part was the pinking shears (almost gave myself a blister! should have bought a pinking rotary cutter blade), and sewing closed the bias tape edge at the ends.  It was trying to get stuck in my machine.  I made my tying ends about 12-14 inches long, and I think they should have been a bit longer.  Because I used two fabrics for each triangle, they are also reversible.

Make your own celebration bunting!

1. Cut out your triangles.  I made a pattern out of cardstock, and then decided that I wanted it to be a little bit bigger, so I just measured an extra half-inch all the way around when I was cutting.  I probably should have just cut a new piece of cardstock, LOL!  This is a lot easier with a rotary cutter and long ruler.

Cut out your triangles

Cut out your triangles

The size of my triangles was around 8.5" by 11"

The size of my triangles was around 8.5" by 11"

2. Take two triangles (I matched the fabrics, but you could mix and match too), put them together, wrong sides facing, and sew from the top corner, down to the tip and back up to the other corner, with a 1/2″ seam allowance.  Backstitch at the start and stop.

3. Don’t even bother cutting your threads, just push the first off, and keep going, sewing the next triangle, etc.  Snip the threads later!

Sew two triangles together

Sew two triangles together

4. Trim the sewn sides with pinking shears.  This helps prevent fraying.  If you feel like you are going to wash them a lot, you might want to sew them together right sides facing, and then turn them inside out, and press.  And skip the pinking shears.  I didn’t really see myself washing them ever, so this was not a concern to me.  You can also buy pinking blades for your rotary cutter which is a lot easier than doing it by hand!

5. Buy a package of double-fold wide bias tape in a coordinating color.  Mark 18″ from the end with a pin.  Sew the bias tape closed up to the pin.  Remove the pin, and place your first triangle inside the fold of the bias tape.  Just keep sewing and enclose the top end of the triangle into the bias tape fold.  Stop about 2 inches from the end of the triangle, and place your next triangle.  I didn’t bother pinning or anything, but you could if that makes you more comfortable.

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6.  The number of triangles that you can fit will depend on how wide your triangles are, how much you overlap them, and how long you make your ends.  My ends are actually about 12″ and I think it’s too small.  It would be better just a little bit longer in terms of being able to tie them securely around objects.  My triangles were 8.5″ wide across the top, I only overlapped by a tiny bit, and had 12″ of end strings.  I was able to fit ten triangles on each length of double-fold bias tape.  You could also sew two packages of bias tape together before you start, giving you two lengths, and an extra long bunting.

7.  When you finish the last triangle, keep sewing the remaining end of the bias tape closed, remembering to backstitch at the end of course.  Without the flags inside the bias tape, my machine was really trying to eat it up and jam, so keep pulling it along if you have to.

Voila!  Celebration bunting!  I see a lot of people who applique words on their bunting (you could either sew the appliqued letters, or even just use Wonder-Under).  Or you could stencil letters with fabric paint.  You could make this as a decoration for your child’s room instead of for a party, applique their name on it.  If you wanted to make it super-quickie, you could just use one triangle, and just sew them into the bias tape.  Of course, you could also make your own bias tape if you wanted!  This is a quick and fun project.

My first curtain!

My in-laws are visiting and I wanted to spruce up the guest room a bit before they arrived. I made a new valance for the window, and painted a white mirror that we have a pretty apple green color to match the quilt on the bed. This was the first curtain I’ve ever made! I was very proud of it, even though I know it’s rather simple. I even lined it and didn’t even use a pattern.

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Guest room

Guest room valance

Guest room valance

See!  Valance lining!

See! Valance lining!