August 9, 2014

Freezer Paper Stencil Onesies


My niece Penny is a stellar baby model.  I wanted to make her some cute onesies, so I started with fabric appliques (like I've done before here and here).  She got a "P is for Penny," a little fussy-cut skunk ('lil stinker), and a hexagon with a little embroidered lamb (pattern from Nana Company here).


Then I decided to try something new: freezer paper stencils.  I spent some time looking for designs to use on Google Images -- you need a fairly simple design that lends itself to stenciling, meaning that you have to be able to subtract the design from the outline in order to put it back in with paint.


I tried my stencil technique with two designs for Penny: a feather and a ladybug.  I used Martha Stewart craft paint (suitable for multiple surfaces, including fabric), applied three coats, and heat-set it with the iron.  My sister reports that the painted onesies are holding up well in the wash, so the project is a success -- especially since Penny looks so darn cute in them.

Materials:
Craft paint suitable for fabric
Paintbrush
Design for stenciling
Freezer paper (NOT waxed paper)
Pencil
Craft knife
Scissors
Item to embellish (I used a onesie, but this method works on any fabric)


1. Trace the stencil design onto the paper side of the freezer paper (not the waxy side).  I like to tape them to a window -- design first, then freezer paper on top -- so that I can see the lines clearly to trace them.

2. Use the craft knife to remove the parts of the stencil that you want to appear in paint.

3. Iron the fusible paper stencil to the item you're embellishing, and get your paint ready.

4. Apply a light layer of paint to the stencil. Let it dry according to the paint directions, and then apply a second layer.  After the second layer is dry, you can add a third layer if you think it's needed.  I only used two layers of paint on my ladybug onesie.



5. After the paint is dry, carefully peel the stencil away.  It should come off pretty easily.

6. Heat set the stencil by placing a pressing cloth or thin dish towel on top of it and applying a hot iron.  And you're done!


June 13, 2014

#opgivewarmth: Charity Blocks for May

#opgivewarmth is a charity quilting project created by Sarah of {no} hats in the house.  Sarah's collecting blocks in a new color palette each month, and the finished quilts will be donated to foster kids in Indiana.  Check out my April blocks from here.

This is the palette Sarah selected for May:

Source

Both of my May blocks use foundation paper pieced patterns.  The first, the Geometric Star, is designed by Katie Clark Blakesley of Swim Bike Quilt; it's available in the book Vintage Quilt Revival.  The second, the Tilt a Whirl, is from Faith at Fresh Lemons Quilts; it's available here.





Like my April blocks, both of these finished 12.5" square.  May was fun - I'm looking forward to making some blocks for June!

May 22, 2014

Big Finish: Garden Fence Quilt




I'm certainly not a procrastinator by nature, but sometimes when it comes to sharing finished projects here on the blog, I just can't seem to sit down and get it done.  I finished this quilt in February, waited on its recipient to be born in late March/April, and now I'm finally sharing the Big Finish in May.  All this delayed gratification is actually for the best, though, because now I can enter it into the Blogger's Quilt Festival, hosted by Amy's Creative Side.  I'm entering my Garden Fence Quilt in the Large Quilt Category (it's twin size, approximately 63x85).  Click here to view the other quilts in this category, and starting Saturday, May 24, vote for mine if you like!


Some time ago, I admired this Little Apples quilt from Fussy Cut, which led me to the original Garden Fence block tutorial from Hyacinth Quilt Designs.  I made this quilt for my sister Emily's first baby, gender unknown at the time.  She and her husband picked out the fabrics for their woodland nursery (read more about that and the handmade items in it here), and Emily and I sat down last fall to look at blocks and patterns in order to find one she liked.  We spotted this design, and I knew I had seen and liked it before.  I added a few fabrics to their initial selection to balance out the mix.  It's an easy block to cut and assemble (even though there are 17 pieces in each block!), and it features the fabrics really nicely.



I quilted it with wavy lines in a honey-colored thread, which worked nicely both on the busy front and the dark back.  The backing fabric photographed much brighter in the sunlit photo above - it's quite dark and wine-colored in person.


I finished this quilt and mailed it to my sister in South Carolina before the baby was born so that she could finish decorating the nursery.  The quilt is twin-sized and made to fit a handcrafted daybed that my brother-in-law designed and built (the long back side that turns it from bed into daybed remains in progress).  The bed and quilt are gorgeous together - well done, us.  Baby Penelope arrived a short time later.

Home from the hospital
And here she is at 1.5 months, cute as can be:

  


  

Finally, this weekend I stitched up a label during a sew-in day with the Indy Modern Quilt Guild.  I typically put more information on my labels, but I wanted this one to blend in to the back of the quilt, so I stuck to the basics: recipient, year, and my initials.  (I downloaded a free font from www.dafont.com, transferred the text to fabric, and stitched over it.  I'm never happy with my penmanship on these sorts of things.)  I'll sew the label on the quilt when I visit Penny (and her parents) in a few weeks.


I had a great time making this quilt -- I loved the fabrics and design, and knowing it was intended for a new niece or nephew made the whole thing so much better.  Thanks for reading, and don't forget to vote for my quilt here!
AmysCreativeSide.com

April 26, 2014

#opgivewarmth: Quilts for Children in Foster Care

Not long ago I met Sarah of {no} hats in the house when she gave a little lesson on foundation paper piecing to the Indy Modern Quilt Guild.  I like her style.  When I was dragging my feet on joining the Forest QAL (quilt-along), she actually did it, and her finished quilt is amazing.  (I never joined, and so far I've only made the fox block from the QAL - I'll share it here soon.)

At the meeting, Sarah shared a new collaborative project she was just starting to pull together, #opgivewarmth.  You can read more about it here; the goal of the project is to make/collect quilt blocks that will become quilts for children in the foster care system in Indiana as part of the larger non-profit program My Very Own Blanket.  I've lived in Indianapolis for over 11 years, and I like the idea of doing something with a local benefit.  And although I don't have any personal ties to the foster system, my niece was adopted from an orphanage in Russia, so the idea of children not having much (or anything) of their own strikes a chord.  It's the very least I can do to play with fabric, sew up some blocks, and help turn them into quilts to comfort kids in tough situations.

Each month Sarah is posting a color palette to use as a jumping off point for creating blocks.  Here's the palette for April -- bright and bold:


http://design-seeds.com/index.php/home/entry/color-view8


Here are the two blocks I made using templates from Vintage Quilt Revival, an awesome quilting book that my sweet sister Emily sent me for my birthday.  The book is a collaboration by Katie Clark Blakesley of Swim Bike Quilt, Lee Heinrich of Freshly Pieced, and Faith Jones of Fresh Lemons Quilts.  Both of the blocks I made are Faith's designs.

exploding star block

tilted star block

Both blocks are 12.5" unfinished.  I think they turned out well and are a pretty close match for the chosen color palette.  I used fabrics from my stash and only purchased the sandy colored neutral.  I'm looking forward to seeing what Sarah chooses for May!

April 24, 2014

Easiest Easter Wreath Ever

Pin-spiration strikes again!  The simplicity of a Pinterest find led me to create a new Easter/spring wreath for my front door.  It might be because I have so much going on with my new planters that keeping the wreath simple was so appealing.

Pin-spiration Source: Maddy Jane Designs
Source: InspireMeGrey



















I started looking around to create a version of my own, and here's what I found:

Materials:

  • A boxwood wreath: I found one at Target by Smith and Hawken that was more than I wanted to pay, but after shopping around at several craft stores (Joann, Hobby Lobby), I figured that what I was saving on the wreath I was spending on gas.  So I just bought the one at Target.
  • Ribbon: The burlap ribbon was half-off at Hobby Lobby. Keep an eye out because there are often great ribbon sales, but they typically hit during the week and end before the weekend begins. Tricky!
  • Fuzzy bunny: Did you know the best place to find these is eBay? Most run between $6-10 and are perfect for the width of the narrow wreath. I first purchased a fabric-covered bunny at Hobby Lobby, but it's base was too big for the wreath, so it will end up in some sort of Easter centerpiece next year instead.

Steps:


1.  Create a burlap loop around the top of the wreath, and hot glue the ribbon to itself. My wreath already had a substantial hanging loop on the back; if yours does too, just make sure you don't cover that up -- you'll need it. To cover my brassy door hanger, I used small dots of hot glue to secure the burlap ribbon to the hanger. I made a bow out of the ribbon and used more glue to attach it to the covered door hanger.


Source: InspireMeGrey

2.  Secure the bunny to the wreath. You could use hot glue to hold your bunny in place, but I chose not to do so on my natural boxwood wreath. Instead I positioned my bunny on the wreath and then used some double stick tape to attach the bunny's side to the door. It's still in place after opening and closing the door regularly, so it's a good temporary option.

Source: InspireMeGrey





April 11, 2014

Front Porch Container Gardening


Pinspiration from The Gilded Mint

Spring has sprung in the South, and I'm hoping that our last freeze has come and gone. My green thumb has been itching, so I dug into Pinterest to look for some container gardening ideas for my front porch. Last year, because of some landscaping work that had to be done, I really didn't do much except put a few ferns and begonias in pots on the porch here and there. This year it was time for a change!

My Pinspirations:

Source: Decoratingho.me
Source unknown
Source unknown

Source: The Gilded Mint

I love the hydrangeas in the containers by The Gilded Mint, and I think the picture sold me because my door and porch look very similar. So, away I went to one of my favorite local nurseries and found:

1. Two Planters - I actually found my planters at Home Depot after I purchased all my plants. They were more expensive than I had hoped, but I knew I would pay much more at the local greenhouse. I also knew that they would be protected from the weather and last a good long time on my porch, so I decided to commit to them. Make sure you get planters large enough for what you're planning to put in them. The two I purchased are 18-inch squares, but I would have been happier with something closer to 21-inch squares just to give the roots a little more wiggle room. I love the zinc finish on the planters in the photo above, but the only similar version I could find was waaaay out of my price range.

2. One Boston fern - Yes, that's one fern for two containers. My thinking here is that I want to give the fern a chance to grow and not be immediately root-bound in the container, so I cut the root ball in half with a pair of shears and placed them in the backs of the pots. (That trick also saved me $10.)

3. Two Hydrangeas - Do not buy hydrangeas that are already in bloom. These have been warmed up in a greenhouse and I'm guessing may go into shock during chilly spring nights. Instead look for smaller hydrangeas that are thinking about flowering. These are an investment around $30, so make sure they're happy and healthy.

4. Two Sweet Potato Vines - I love these limey vines and they just need to be kept trim. They like to spread, so keep an eye on them. They're nice and inexpensive at just $2-$5 each.

5. Two Asparagus Ferns (tentative) - I haven't purchased these yet and am planning to see if the three plants I've put in my planters fill up the space as they settle in and grow. The dimensions of my planter seem smaller than what was used above, so I'll add these ferns later if there's room. They are tucked away in the back of the Pinspiration photo so I'm not sure anyone would miss them.

The container 2 days after planting - the little purple flower was a leftover from the flowerbed plantings earlier in the day
I'm hoping to see blooms starting to appear once the hydrangea gets settled a bit. It's a spring to fall bloomer so my porch should have some color until I need to find a place in the yard to over winter them. Grow baby grow!

April 3, 2014

Woodland Baby Shower


My new niece or nephew was due this past Monday, and she/he seems to wish to make a grand, fashionably late entrance into the world.  So I figure it's as good a time as any to share the baby shower that Jen and I hosted for our sister Emily after Christmas, when we were all still in town together.  (My immediate family is spread out across 4 states, so we have to cram a lot into the limited times when we're all together.)

The baby's room is decorated with a woodland theme (see this post), and we decided to use the same theme for the shower.  I was in charge of invites, and I picked up some funky owl note cards at Target to turn into invitations, but then I found these baby fox invitations from Classicology on Etsy.  I checked with Jen and Mom and they agreed that the foxes were in and the owls were out.

Jen and I pinned a lot of woodland party and baby shower ideas, and in the end, some things we used and some we didn't.  There are so many over-the-top party designs to drool over online, but when it comes down to it, you can only do so much.  People will appreciate any effort you make, and no one will ever know about the dozen other things you pinned and never made (like the burlap bunting that I even bought supplies for...).

Here are a few of our woodland decorations:

I cut the tops off of these bookmarks and glued them to skewers for little tuck-ins for the flower arrangements.

http://www.elli.com/blog/printable-woodland-friends-bookmarks/
For the favors, I made little acorns with half mini Nutter-Butter cookies, chocolate Kisses, butterscotch chips, and chocolate frosting.  More free printables decorated each treat bag.



Jen decorated the food table with a wide burlap runner, a large vase, and dried flowers.  The vase and flowers were already on her table, and to enhance the woodland feel, she wandered to the woods nearby and clipped some twigs to tuck into the arrangement along with the little bookmark skewer guys.  We were excited to discover that the vase fit perfectly in a woodsy drawstring toy bag I made for Jen's daughter for Christmas a while back.



Our mom and her friend assembled an awesome diaper cake (spiraling the diapers instead of rolling each one makes it super classy).  We wrapped each layer with ribbon and tucked in a variety of woodland animal ornaments and stuffed critters.  Mommy-to-be Emily crocheted the owl at the top.


I brought some of the quilt blocks that I was making for a quilt for the baby's room and we hung them across the doorway as a banner.


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