Monday, November 22, 2010

The Mrs. Kenney Milkweed Pod Santa Claus Ornament Tutorial

This is my Mrs. Kenney Milkweed Pod Santa Claus Ornament Tutorial. It is named after my 5th grade teacher, Mrs. Kenney, who showed me how to make them.

What you need:
  • paint
  • paint brushes
  • Snow Tech, or other snow like paint.
  • milkweed pods (don't say I didn't warn you)
  • a surface to paint on
  • decorative ribbon
  • hot glue gun
I usually just pick a whole bunch of milkweed pods and then sort through the good and bad ones once I get home. Good pods for this project are skinny(ish) and still have a rounded appearance. Bad choice pods are flattened, or curved in a funny way.

1. Clean out all the fluff from the inside of the pods and clip off the stem.
2. Paint the inside gold, this is optional, I just think it looks nicer.
3. Paint the top part of the pod red like a hat.
4. Paint a cream/skin colored circle (ish) shape under the red, this makes the face.
5. Paint the rest of the pod white. It might take more than one coat.
6. Now the fun part, use your Snow Tech paint and make a band across the bottom of the hat and top of the face, a pompom at the very top of the hat, and a beard and mustache on the face, and two eyebrows. The eyebrows are hard to do but they really make the Santa look more complete, trust me. It's okay if the eyebrows look like Andy Rooney. It is a little tricky to "paint" with this consistency, I used a palette knife, a snazzy oil painting tool, but I am sure the opposite end of a paint brush or even a toothpick would work just fine.
7. Now with some pinkish paint make a mouth, (also optional, some of mine have mouths, some don't), rosy cheeks, and a red button nose.
8. With the tiniest brush you have, or a toothpick, make two black dots for eyes, let dry, then make two even tinier white dots inside the black dots. This part really makes the Santa's come alive.
9. Cut a piece of ribbon or decorative thread, loop and tie, then hot glue to the inside of the milkweed pod at the very top.
10. Hang on your tree and enjoy! Or wrap them up as gifts for your friends and family.
Happy crafting!


Saturday, November 20, 2010

Christmas Card Conundrum

I have a problem. I started making Christmas card to send to my friends and family back when I was a sophomore in High School. Seems like a nice idea huh? Not so much. It seems that after making my first holiday card I built a name for myself and became the "girl who makes her Christmas Cards." Now I feel such pressure to make a new holiday card and sent it out to everyone I know and make it bigger and better than last year, and oh the agony of getting Charlie to take a decent photo to include in the holiday card! Oy! I am getting nauseous just thinking about it.

Then, it struck me, does anyone even care if I make them a holiday card? Would they notice if I sent them a store bought card? So I am asking you dear friends and family, how much do you look forward to getting my holiday card? Would you care if I recycled old ideas because I can't think of any new ones? Would you be offended to get a store bought card? Is this enough questions for one blog post? Please be honest.

Also in case I am overrun with post about how my relatives would throw themselves in front of a moving bus if they did not receive a holiday card made lovingly by me, what oh what should I do? I am fresh out of ideas.

Here is a list of what I have made over the last 8 years!!!
  • snowflakes
  • snowmen
  • mittens and ice skates (cutest one by far, just ask my Grandmother, she's been raving about that one since 2002.)
  • gingerbread men
  • Christmas trees
  • stockings
  • I can't remember one of the years
  • reindeer
The reindeer one was last year:
Cute huh? Crap, I think I just reminisced myself into make more holiday cards. Ideas are welcomed!


Friday, November 19, 2010

Sew N' Tell - Infinity Scarf

I've been seeing infinity scarves in stores and online a lot lately. I saw one at J. Crew last weekend that I really liked but couldn't justify buying one for $40! A while back I have bought some faux wool fabric at Joann's for 50% off. I had been planing on making a scarf kind of like this one, where there is a slit and the other side of the scarf can slip though to hold it together. This was my intention yet the fabric ended up sitting either on the floor or draped over my sewing chair for the last 2 months. I finally took that as a sign meaning that I probably didn't want to make a scarf like that one if I hadn't gotten around to it yet. Then last week while my friend Lorelei was visiting I told her what my intention was and then went on a rant about how I didn't exactly want to do the original idea but still wanted to make a scarf and then I remembered seeing the infinity scarves and was struck with an idea, talked it out and finally got excited about the idea. Isn't it funny how just talking to someone about something can help you solve a problem without the other person having to say anything?

I got excited about the project after talking to Lorelei but then I got sidetracked. Figures. Darn you real job! Yesterday after sitting in a 3 hour meeting and getting home after dark, meaning it was too late for me to go running, I decided it was time to make the scarf. It was super easy and only took me about 30 minutes, hand sewing time included.

Next time I think I will make it with less length so it loops closer to my neck and can be more of a warmth scarf than an accessory scarf. Making an infinity scarf was so easy, I think I will make 10 for Christmas presents.....get ready friends.
Have I ever mentioned how much I love casual Fridays at work? The only problem is people always mistake me for a middle school student and ask "where is your hall pass?", then get embarrassed when I turn around and they realize I am a school employee!
Now I am ready for work. Sorry for the cheesy photo booth pictures, I can't find my camera and whenever I use photo booth I can't help but act like a goofball.


P.S. This has been added to she Sew N Tell for the week, check it out!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Sew N' Tell - Gathered Clutch Remix.

I had a bunch of fabric left over from making my Bonsai Bag so I decided to make another gathered clutch like the one I made a few months ago. I remembered that I wanted to add a handle to make it a wristlet.
I also decided to try my hardest to make the zipper look presentable. I think it helped that the zipper was too short, so I had to add fabric to the ends to make it fit. I also only sewed one side at a time to make sure I was doing it right. Typically what happens is I sew everything together then flip it right side out and realize the zipper is wonky and then say to myself; "Meh, you just spent all this time sewing and turning it right side out, why go back and fix the zipper?" But with a little extra caution I think the zipper turned out great
Besides the handle I did make one other change. Instead of making the body of the bag gathered I switched it and made the stripe across the middle of the bag gathered. I didn't think the corduroy would look nice gathered up. I wish I had made the gathered piece a little bit longer so I could have scrunched it more. I'll know for next time.
Happy Friday!

I get the day off from work, but we're going to help Charlie's parents move and unpack at their new house, so I'll be working in another sense. Who knows, we might even get some left over furniture.

Don't forget to check out the other Sew N Tell Finishers.


Thursday, November 4, 2010

Bedroom Artwork

When I took pictures of the bedroom for the tour I get discouraged about the progress. I think I still need to do some work in there. I started by doing some of the laundry piled in the corner, but I am not as happy with everything as I would like to be, alas there will be no bedroom tour today. But I can show you the bedroom artwork thus far.
The first is what I like to call my 30 cent art display. The frames were Lorelei's when she was in Iraq. Her mom sent them to her to spruce up her room. They were blue and green and held pictures of light houses. When Lorelei was getting ready to pack up and come back she sent me these three frames as well as a few others. I think the shipping from Iraq is a little questionable because the box was pretty dented and even wet in a few spots so the frames were dinged and scratched, so I decided to paint them black. The pictures inside are postcards of famous paintings. I got them at Ocean State Job Lots for 10 cents each. All and all, this display cost me 3o cents, and I bought a bunch of post cards so if I get sick of them I can always change them.
They hang on my side of the bed above the nightstand.
Next I have two of my most favorite pieces of artwork, also hanging on my side of the room. (I think that's why I was unhappy with the pictures of the bedroom, Charlie's side lacks personality and pizazz. I'll work on that.) This peacock print was made by my dear friend, Cait. She took a print making class in college and this was one of the prints she made. I love how the colors in the print go with the wall color.
Next to Cait's art is a pastel drawing done by my other dear friend, Beckie. I have had it since college and have displayed it everywhere I have lived since then. In fact it was the only piece of artwork in our bedroom last year, because there was only room on one wall, for one piece of artwork.
In case you can't read it; it says "Live to the point of tears." It makes me happy to wake up and see these pieces of artwork that remind me of my friends. I like how all of the pieces have black frames, it makes everything look like they go together.

I have been eyeing the elephant prints in this etsy shop, especially this one, or maybe this one, or maybe there are too many I like to even decide. Although I would want them to go on my side of the room too. Sorry Charlie, find your own artwork!

Maybe if the sun comes out anytime soon I'll show you the (almost) finished living room.


Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Ideas Galore!

In case you aren't already really excited for Christmas, here is something that I am sure will have you wanting to start crafting right away! An online Christmas Idea Magazine. My mind is racing with all of the fantastic ideas. But alas, it is past my bedtime. I'll just have dreams of yo-yo Christmas trees and felted ornaments. Only 51 days until Christmas!

Good night!


p.s. Tour of the bedroom coming tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Sewing Room Tour

Welcome to my completely finished creative space!
When we first started looking for apartments in this area one of the requirements was a 2nd bedroom. When the landlord asked us during the tour of this apartment why a couple needed a two bedroom apartment (as he eyed my stomach for signs of a baby) Charlie replied; "She likes to sew and I hate the sound of her sewing machine." To which I replied; "Well, it is held together with electrical tape, what do you expect?" As you can imagine I did not complain when Charlie suggested that we get a 2 bedroom apartment. I did however complain when the apartment we got looked like this:
Have I mentioned before that all of the walls were baby blue and all of the trim was navy blue? Yuck. I did manage to live with the colors for a few weeks, but we knew all along that we'd have to do a lot of work in this room to make it look like we (I) wanted it to.
Luckily Charlie took on the task of painting the trim in this room. After having to endure me complaining non-stop about painting the kitchen cabinets I think he felt it would be less bothersome for him to paint the trim himself than to listen to me complain anymore. After the trim was painted we did the walls. I was unsure of the color at first but now I really like it.

Two weekends ago my Mum came to visit and she said that the color looked a lot like one of the colors my bedroom was when I was younger. We then stared talking about the other similarities between this room and my childhood bedroom. The most obvious is that the "guest bed" is the bed from my old room. My Dad built it for me before I can even remember.
What I love most is that it has storage underneath:
It's almost like my Dad knew I would be a fabric hoarder from an early age. Or maybe he just thought it would be a good idea to have somewhere for me to put my mountains of Polly Pockets and art supplies. Either way the extra storage space is ideal for hiding my fabric, patterns, and scrapbooking supplies.
In one corner is my purse collection, which was displayed for many years in my bedroom. I also re-used the curtains from two of my old bedrooms. The patchwork valance was for my old bedroom at my Dad's house and the white curtains were from my bedroom at my Mum's old house.
The book shelf that holds my sewing books, scrapbooks, sewing notions, and my Harry Potter collection was also from my childhood bedroom. It was painted purple several years ago and although it looks somewhat childish I can't bear to paint it, 1. because I am sick of painting and 2. because I like the color, it reminds me of being little.
Last but not least is my desk, where the magic happens. My Dad built that too. When I was a junior in college I moved off campus and needed a desk to do my school work at. Instead of spending lots of money or searching high and low for a desk at yard sales or stores, I did what I always do: asked my Dad to build me one. We designed and built it together and I have loved it ever since. The chair was found in the garage of the house I moved into and has been painted and recovered several times. I think both the desk and the chair are overdue for an update, but like I said, I am sick of painting right now.
Notice the unfinished project on the chair? Not sure which will get finished first; painting the desk and chair or finishing that tote bag.

Overall, I am very pleased with how the sewing room turned out. I am sure many more projects will come from this room. Maybe tomorrow I will show you the (almost) finished bedroom.


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