DIY Infinity Scarves

I love scarves, all kinds of scarves.  It’s a bit of an obsession.  To the point where my husband has banned me from purchasing any more of them.  He never said I couldn’t make them though 😉

I found this tutorial from one of my favourite blogs, Maybe Matilda.  I love that it’s easy (i.e. lazy) and doesn’t require extensive sewing knowledge.  I happened across this really cute fabric at 50% off and decided to try my hand at my own infinity scarf.

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I followed the instructions exactly and it really was SO easy – it took me all of 15 minutes to make.  The only part I had trouble with was tucking the ends together because the fabric was a bit slippery.  I bought a metre of fabric and made 2 scarves out of it: one for my mom (for Christmas) and one for me.  I plan on buying more fabric and making one for my mother in law for Christmas as well.  I think it looks pretty cute!

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I also found jersey knit fabric on sale and given that baby #2 is on her way (soon!) I decided to try my hand at an infinity scarf nursing cover.  I’d seen a few tutorials and from what I could tell it involved all of one stitch.  Yep, that’s it, that’s all.  However, even though knits typically don’t fray, I decided to roll hem the outside (long) edges to give it a bit of a cleaner look:

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Then I just sewed the 2 shorter ends together, wrong sides together, and voilà! Easy as pie DIY infinity scarf and nursing cover. It’s very warm and will be very practical when I’m out and about with the little lady!

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Nursing cover scarf_close up

 

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I’d like to try my hand at a more complex fabric next time and maybe find a tutorial that can teach me how to hide that final looping stitch. I have yet to find one I feel I could successfully execute, but practice makes perfect.  Guess that means I’ll just have to keep making scarves 😉

Stuffed Taggie Animals

I’d been wanting to try making some sort of taggie toy for my little guy for a while when I came across a Pin for a stuffed taggie dinosaur.  Our nick-name for him is T-Rex so I thought it would be a perfect fit.  I had some left over fabric from a bundle I’d gotten at Walmart and left over stuffing from another project so I figured I’d give it a shot and if it wasn’t a success, hey, no harm done!

Since I’m still very much a beginner, I aimed for a very simple pattern. It was actually quite easy and I was very happy with how it turned out! Here is the finished product:

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 Dino 1

I only had enough of each fabric to do one side, but I kind of like that it’s different patterns on each side – I just made sure to stick with fabrics that had geometric patterns to maintain some consistency.   My little guy loves his dino (he carries it around saying “raawr” :D) and I couldn’t be more proud to have given him something to snuggle and play with.

My friend’s little girl is celebrating her first Christmas this year (and incidentally, also her first birthday a few days later), so I wanted to make her a little something special.  I immediately thought of another stuffed taggie.  Dinos aren’t really her thing, so I decided to try a giraffe.  I found this super cute and fun fabric (again at Walmart) and very chic and girly ribbon:

Ribbon and fabric

The fabric is cotton: washable and kid-friendly.

Cute combo right??  I washed the fabric first in hypoallergenic baby friendly soap (same we use for the big guy) and ironed it out.  I then cut the pattern shape out of sturdy cardboard.  I use very high tech gear for these types of projects:

I jump on any chance I get to use recycled materials!

I jump on any chance I get to use recycled materials!

When tracing out the shape, I try to make it about ½ inch bigger all the way around than the actual size I’d like the stuffed animal to be to accommodate for the seam allowance.  I kept the shape nice and simple:

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To give you an idea of dimensions, this is pattern 10 inches tall, 4 inches wide at the head and 5 1/4 inches wide at the feet.

With the fabric folded in half, right sides together, I traced the shape onto the fabric, pinned and cut out it out.  I then cut the ribbon into 4 pieces, each about 4-5 inches long.  Folding the ribbon pieces in half, wrong sides together, I placed them along the neck of the giraffe between the pieces of fabric, raw edges facing out and folded ends facing in toward the center of the giraffe shape, pinning them into place (see picture below to help make sense of this).  I also found some left over small white binding and decided to add a little tail to give the giraffe a little more character.

Pinned pattern

Ribbon close up

Pin the ribbon towards the center of the shape between the two pieces of fabric.

Then it’s just a matter of stitching around the perimeter of the giraffe with a seam allowance of no more than 1/4 inch and leaving about a 2 inch opening to turn the shape inside out (I left my opening between the legs of the giraffe).  I used a simple straight stitch all the way around.  I’m still new to this whole sewing thing so I had a little trouble rounding some of the corners but all in all it was pretty easy.

A note about the neck: given that the ribbon was longer than the width of the neck, I had to fold it over on itself between the fabric so that I didn’t accidently sew it into the seam on the opposite side of the neck.

I then turned the shape inside out and stuffed it – I used polyester, hypoallergenic and washable stuffing.  I was amazed at how much stuffing the little thing took!

Stuffed unstitched

I chose to leave the opening between the legs to make it a little easier to conceal my hand stitching.

Once it was full, I hand stitched the opening closed.  Again, I’m new at this so it’s not the prettiest job, but I wanted to make sure it was secure since I know how rough kids can be with their toys.  Here’s the finished product:

Finished product

  And there you have it! Easy DIY cuddly friends 🙂

Stuffed buddies

DIY Christmas Cards

Last year we spent way more than we’d planned on our Christmas cards.  Granted, they were very cute – we used one of A’s sleepy newborn pictures and ordered a Peace, Love, Joy themed postcard from MyPublisher.com.  I was very happy with them.  But in the end they were much more costly than our budget should have allowed for.

This year we wanted to do something on the cheap, but keep with the personalized theme.  I got this idea from Pinterest (where else?) – using your little one’s footprint to create a fun character.  I wanted to go for a simple, rustic, organic look so I decided to go for the footprint Reindeer (if you’re on Pinterest, I’m sure you’ve seen lots of them).

I found these blank ivory cards at a craft store – I think they were only $10 or so:

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I then attempted to take A’s footprint.  The first time, I did it on my own.  NOT a good idea.  I hadn’t really thought it through, didn’t have any paper towels or washcloths nearby and put WAY too much paint on the platter.  DISASTER.  My husband, Keegan, came home just in time to find us both covered in brown acrylic paint (he thought it was something else. Imagine his relief!), which unfortunately didn’t wash out all of our clothes.

Lesson learned.  The second time Keegan helped me and we go this PERFECT print:

Such a perfect print! Too bad it's on the wrong side of the card :(

Such a perfect print! Too bad it’s on the wrong side of the card 😦

EXCEPT – it’s on the wrong side of the page.  I’d confused which end of the foot I was going to have to draw the antlers.

Take 3 was a success.  It was a little darker and smudgier than I would have liked, but A was beyond fed up at that point so it would have to do.  I painted the antlers, nose and eyes with acrylic paint and used a gold Sharpie to write “Joyeux Noël”:

Scanned image unedited

Scanned image unedited

I wasn’t pleased with my script – it’s too small and a little crooked.  I practiced a bunch of times before writing it on the actual card but I think I got nervous and choked.

I scanned the image to my computer.  Once on there, I was able to edit the exposure and colouring of the image (just using the stock software, nothing fancy) to make it a little more grainy, a little more “raw”, like I wanted. I also cropped my script, enlarged it, and pasted it back on to make it more proportional.  Ah the wonders of editing!

Scanned image edited

Scanned image edited

I typed up the message to go inside and a little ode to my new blog on the backside.  I feel like having something on the back makes them seem more “official”.  Looking back, I could have just printed the date, so I’ll keep that in mind for next year. I then printed the whole thing on the cards.  I had to practice a few times to get the image printed on the right side and then flip the paper to print the message on the inside, but it didn’t take long to figure out.  Finally, I tied on a twine bow to add a little rustic texture to the cards.  And there you have it, our DIY personalized Christmas cards:

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The perfectionist in me isn’t 100% happy with them, but I think they turned out pretty close to what I had envisioned.  And really, I’ve got plenty of years ahead of me to practice making them just right 🙂  Now all that’s left is to add a little message and mail these babies out!

DIY Christmas Ornaments

Three of my nearest and dearest friends and their significant others are celebrating some pretty important firsts this Christmas: first Christmas in their home, first with their new puppy, and first as husband and wife.   To help them celebrate these milestones this holiday season I wanted to make them special personalized ornaments.

I found images of simple shapes that I wanted for each ornament and asked my father in law to cut them out of wood (maple to be exact).  If you don’t have a handy-dandy father in law (or someone who can cut wood for you), lots of craft stores sell stock wooden shapes, some already with a hole for a lanyard.

Here are the plain shapes:

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I chose lovebirds, a simple house and dog paw as ways to represent each of the milestones. I liked the simplicity of each one.

I then painted each one with acrylic.  I wanted to keep them fairly rustic as I find that’s always a classic look for the holidays and goes with most décor, so I stuck with neutral colours.  I tried to keep natural wood wherever I thought it would work.  I also wanted to make sure I incorporated the year on each one, even if it was on the back.  Finally, I used twine as the lanyard – again, keeping it rustic.

Here are the finished products:

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I’m not 100% happy with the writing and script – I’d like to find something that’s a little easier to write with than the paintbrush I currently use.

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I put the dates on the back of the paw and house to keep the fronts clutter-free.

I need to work on my script/writing, but overall I’m pretty happy with them and I really hope my friends will love them too.

Minky Blanket

I’ve been debating what I would write as my first official post, then I thought my most recent sewing project would be just as good a place to start as any.

We have a little lady on the way.  She’s due 3 days before Christmas (I’m not-so-secretly hoping she arrives a little earlier).  It’ll be cold and windy for the first few months of her life and I want to make sure I can keep her warm and cozy, but still looking like a classy lady.

I was going through the scraps of fabric I already have and found good sized chunks of ivory minky and floral cotton.  I decided I’d try my hand at a satin trimmed minky blanket.  I was nervous at first but it turned out to be much easier than I thought. The toughest part was pinning the binding and mitering the corners. I bought taupe blanket binding – such fun stuff! It comes already folded so this is quite possibly the easiest blanket ever.

I didn’t take pictures of the work in progress (will do that for future projects) but essentially all I did was put the 2 pieces of of fabric wrong sides together and pinned the binding around the edges, mitering the corners.  I started the binding part way through a long edge of the fabric and folded  in the finishing edge to ensure there was no fraying.  I used a simple zig-zag stitch and matching thread (taupe). I started by sewing the binding ends together first to make sure it didn’t move around as I did the rest of the blanket. The rest was a simple straight stitch along the edges of the blanket, leaving about a quarter inch of the outside edge of the binding.  And voilà! Easy peasy 🙂

Here is the finished product (apologies for the not so great photo – will work on these in the future):

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