Saturday, April 13, 2013

Easy gifts (like for teachers!)

Apparently I only blogged about these in passing this past Christmas, but with the end of school approaching, it might be a good idea to revisit them.  I made a bunch of key fobs as teacher gifts this year.  Well, and for friends and family, too, but the main impetus was for teacher gifts.  Most of the online tutorials I saw were for ribbon and webbing, but I used Sew4Home's tutorial, as I wanted to use just fabric.  The teacher key fobs were all made from fabric specifically bought for this purpose, and then the other key fobs used leftover fabric from other projects.  I really liked how finished these look with the piping.  They were easy to do, fairly cheap, and fairly quick.  And now the recipients won't have an easy time losing their keys!

Hanging towels have been a mainstay for me for the last couple of years.  I haven't blogged about them much, but believe me, I have made a crap-ton of them!  Just before Christmas, I stitched up seventy-plus towels - yikes!  But what can I say?  They're easy, fairly quick, not terribly expensive, easily personalized, and so totally useful!  In other words, the perfect gift!  Two Christmases ago, I gave all the teachers two hanging towels in their Christmas gifts.  This past year, I gave them to the new teachers on our list.  And about a month ago, the assistant principal at the school caught me (at parent-teacher conferences, amusingly enough!) to ask if I'd be willing to make her some more.  It seems that she highly values her hanging towels and wanted some more for her house. Of course, I agreed.  So here are the latest hanging towels to come out of my sewing room.  I love making them assembly-line style - in a couple of days (well, ONE day if you don't waste a lot of time!), you can get through a ton of towels and then have a bunch around for future gifting needs.  Hmmm....maybe I should double-check my current gifting stash....

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

A baby gift!

Oh, this one was so much fun!  A former student and her husband were expecting a baby, and I'm told they wanted a dinosaur-themed nursery.  Unfortunately for them, it was apparently impossible to find girly dinosaur baby stuff.  And this, my friends, is why we sew!

Enter the stash....The dinosaurs on blue flannel in the background was a Black Friday purchase from a few years ago.  If I remember right, it was long enough ago that I intended it for toddler bedding.  Oops!  Well, now part of it became a crib sheet.  The dino flannel to the left was a thrift store find, and now it's a pack-n-play sheet (I stalked the baby registry to verify that they had or intended to purchase both a crib and a pack-n-play.)  Then the onesies were the really fun part. :)

People always give new parents newborn or 0-3 month clothing, so I figured that something a little bigger was a better plan.  I bought a three pack of plain white, short-sleeved onesies (Child of Mine brand - I think that's Carter's brand for Wal-Mart) in 3-6 month size.  Then I searched the internet for uncomplicated pictures of dinosaurs.  If I remember correctly, my google search was "free dinosaur stencil" - and I found these, which had been used for freezer paper stenciling on an art smock.  Awesome!  The blue and purple mottled prints were leftovers from the Christmas stockings I made for my sister-in-law and niece, and the pink is a fat quarter I found at JAF.

After printing out the patterns in several different sizes (this was totally not methodical - more trial and error), I traced the shapes onto the paper side of Heat-n-Bond Lite and then fused the adhesive to the fabric.  (Make sure to fuse it to the WRONG side of the fabric - I wasn't thinking and screwed up my first applique.)  Next, I cut out the shapes and then fused them to the onesies.  I wasn't sure whether I could get away without stitching them in place, but after consulting my online sewing group, I decided it would be better to stitch them down.  I didn't want to do satin-stitching on these, so instead I simply stitched a line around the shape, just inside the edges.  I also applied Fray-Check to the raw edges, just in case....I think these are hilariously cute, and I'm definitely going to make more in the future!

Friday, April 5, 2013

A little wall art for my sewing room

When we repainted my sewing room and added fabric shelves, I planned to make sampler quilts using the wall colors and hang them on the walls.  Yeah, well, didn't get there yet.  (I do have four large quilt blocks ready to become a wall hanging, but it's obviously not ready yet.)  So when I saw the sewing silhouettes tutorial, I thought it would be great to go in the room!  Not to mention that it was much more likely to happen quickly....I chose a darkish mossy green and dark purple, as those are 2 of the 3 wall colors in the room.  And then I went to town!  

I started by painting the edges and part of the fronts - just enough that color would show around the edges of the background papers.  After that, I followed the tutorial pretty closely.  I did print the shapes out, cut them, and then trace them onto dark purple cardstock.  If you wanted black silhouettes, it would make it simpler to just print them onto cardstock.  I used cardstock as I felt it would be a little more sturdy than regular scrapbook paper.

I'm really happy with how these turned out!  They just need hangers on the back, and then I have to decide where to hang them!  And one of these days, I need to finish the first wall hanging....