Wednesday, March 30, 2011

omg Bunnies!

Ever since I made Baby Petey, the bunny featured in my last post, bunnies have been popping up all over. Yesterday I chased a bunch around my backyard.

Introducing Flora Cordora:






and Relbit:

Luckily I was able to catch them all, name them, and take them down to Happy Delusions in downtown Renton where they are currently awaiting adoption. They're also available in my Etsy shop  for any out-of-town adopters.

And then there's this guy:

Who I affectionately call "Ubby" a.k.a. the Ugly Bunny. He was the the first to hop out during my manic bunny-making spree last week. He's soft and sturdy and there's nothing really wrong with him except for the fact that he's different from the other bunnies and doesn't really look right sitting next to them. I know this sounds mean but he's okay with this. He doesn't want to be with them anyway. He wants to be with you!

If you want Ubby to be with you too, simply leave a comment on this post telling me your favorite thing to find in your Easter basket. Peeps? Reese's Eggs? Jelly Beans? Cheetos? I want to know! On Saturday afternoon I'll do the thing and draw a winner. Maybe someone you love will find Ubby in his or her Easter basket this year.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Tutorial Tuesday: Plush Bunny Pattern

 A few years ago at a church bazaar in North Hollywood, I got McKenna this bunny:

He's a little dingy now and his hand-embroidered eyes and whiskers have snagged but he's still one of her favorite friends. I bought him for six dollars. Six dollars! Being used to indie craft markets where prices tend to reflect the amount of time and effort put into a project, I couldn't believe the price tag said $6.00. That's Made in China sweatshop prices! I've made many a stuffed monster in my day and I would be a fool to sell something that took me 2+ hours to make for only $6.00. Who works for 3 dollars an hour?  I didn't argue though, but I did ask the old lady at the checkout how she could sell her handcrafted item so cheaply. She said, "Oh honey, it just makes me happy to know you want it. I don't really care about the money." And the award for sweetest old lady in the world... goes to her.

Inspired by that bunny, I made my own version. And in honor of that generous crafty grandma I included a pattern for you to make your own too.

These are the pieces you'll need:

(Click on the image to enlarge and print.)

Cut 2 bodies, 4 ears, 4 arms, 4 legs, 2 tails, 2 eyeballs, and one nose. First, sew on the tail, eyeballs, nose and mouth using a zig-zag or satin stitch on your machine. Next, sew on button pupils.

Stitch together the arms and legs and (not pictured) ears.

Turn them right-side-out and stuff the extremities half-way.

Straight-stitch a line across the middle and continue stuffing, leaving a half an inch at the end. Rather than stuffing the ears, simply turn them right-side out and iron flat.

Next, stitch all extremities to the front of your bunny body.

Fold the ears and arms inward and place the back of your body on top, tail-side in. Starting at the top of the head, stitch the body parts together down the edge of one side. The other side will be a bit trickier since you have the ears and arms crammed in. Once you have the top and both side stitched, turn it right-side out through the bottom. It should look like this:

Now fold the bottom in and carefully hand-stitch closed. Ta-da!

 Finally, give it some whiskers:

Happy Spring!

(psst... next week I'll show you how to make a patchwork carrot. These bunnies get hungry!)

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Tutorial Tuesday: How to fix a too-small neck hole

I got this super-cute embroidered Mexican top for McKenna at a thrift store but when she tried to put it on she couldn't fit her big noggin through the tiny neck hole.

If this ever happens to you, here's what you can do to fix it:

First, cut a slit about 2 or 3 inches long down the center of the neckline in the back (or front, if you think it would look right).

Next, pin some double-folded bias tape  around the raw edges of the slit and leave an extra 2 inches of bias tape on one side.

Now, stitch it together making sure to go through the front of the bias tape, the shirt fabric, and the back of the bias tape so you have a nice finished edge all around.

Take your excess bias tape and turn it around to form a loop and stitch it down. On the other side, sew on a button.

Now it will fit!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Sage's Leprechaun Traps

Last year Sage built this leprechaun trap:

He painted a Sam Adams box to look like a leprechaun hat, built stairs out of blocks, and with Tinker Toys and string, suspended an empty Triscuit box in the air to fall on any leprechaun trying to steal a gold coin. In the morning, we woke to find this:

The leprechaun had busted out of that box and made off with the coin, tricky devil. Sage vowed that next year he'd build a stronger trap.

One day a few months ago Sage was eyeing an old baby wipes box that McKenna kept little toys in and said, "I have an idea! This would make a good leprechaun trap! Can I have it?" He showed us how the slit in the top would make a perfect trap door that he could cover with something... gold coins!... to lure a leprechaun in and CRASH! he'd fall inside.

Yesterday, he made it:

 If you were a leprechaun wouldn't you be intrigued enough to check it out? There's a ladder and everything, and a sign that says, "take one!"

Well, while we were sleeping a leprechaun did!

And, it seems, as he was gathering up all the big coins he crashed through just like Sage said he would, leaving behind the outline of his little leprechaun body (it's so weird how they do that.) But! That wee greenie outsmarted us again! He cut a door out of the side and escaped...

leaving only a trail of pennies and this note behind:

That sneaky thief.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Tutorial Tuesday: Shamrock Accessories with Beads and Buttons

Every now and then I take a break from my sewing machine and bust out my beads and wire and jewelry supplies. Last night I whipped up these shamrock pins and barrettes:

The first one I made was with vintage buttons and large seed beads. Here's the step-by-step process.


Pull the wires tight to form a shamrock and use the excess wire to attach it to a pin or barrette. Or trim and tuck the wires and simply glue it to a pin, barrette, magnet, etc.

I found some heart-shaped plastic glittery pony beads in my bead box and thought they were the perfect shape for shamrock leaves. 

I made a barrette for me...

and one for McKenna.

I know, I know. Neither one of us is a very good hair model. Here it is as a pin:

Happy St. Patrick's Day. Stay Green!

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Tutorial Tuesday: Vinylized and Lined Patchwork Checkbook Covers

The other night I made this:

It's a checkbook cover. Do people still use checkbooks? Oh well, it could also be a wallet I suppose, or business card holder. Here are some others I made along with a sunglasses case:

 The sunglasses case started out as a checkbook cover trimmed in bias tape, which ended up looking like crap, so I trimmed and stitched it into a glasses case.

The project  was an experiment in vinylizing fragile patchwork, inspired by this:

that I got at a thrift store for $2 the week before. It looked like it was hand-sewn together a long time ago, and possibly top-stitched by machine recently. It was spectacular... from far away. Close-up, it was deteriorating in parts, sloppily stitched, and chaotic - definite piecework material, which is why I started with checkbook covers. I liked the process so much I made a new batch tonight, and took pictures along the way to show you how to make them too.

Since I knew the patchwork wouldn't hold up to lots of wear, I had protect it somehow. Years ago, I bought some HeatnBond Iron-on Flexible Vinyl  for purse-making but wasn't really happy with the results so I haven't used it since. I thought maybe I'd like it better in smaller doses so I gave it another try.. Here's how it works:

Peel the vinyl off the backing:

then stick it to the patchwork (which should be approximately 15 by 18 inches), place the backing paper over top, and iron it down.

Oooo, shiny!

Now set it aside. For the lining, iron some HeatnBond Lite to another piece of lightweight fabric.

 Peel off the backing, place your vinylized  piece vinyl-side down and your other fabric on top of it fabric-side up and iron them together like a fabric sandwich with your HeatnBond Lite as the cheese that holds it together. Now cut it down the center vertically and horizontally so you have 4 separate pieces. I flipped two so you could see the front and back:

Now, cut out pieces of vinyl (not the iron-on kind) as wide as your rectangle and 2.5 inches tall. 

Right now you're probably thinking, who the heck has random scraps of vinyl,  iron-on vinyl, HeatnBond Lite, quilt tops, etc. lying around? I'm a craft/sewing supply hoarder, what can I say? I do it for times like these.

Now, stitch around the edge (I used a zig-zag stitch) about 1/8th of an inch from the edge. Line up the inside vinyl pocket at the bottom, hold it together as you sew and make sure to stitch it to the rectangle.

 Now trim your edges close to, but not touching your stitches.

Normally I'm neurotic about straight stitches and finished edges so this was an exercise in accepting imperfection for me. They're a little oddly shaped, but functional and aesthetically interesting nonetheless. This was, after all an experiment. Since I'm running low on labels and wanted to try out some fabric paint pens I got, I simply wrote "kokoleo" on the insides.

Viola! a finished line of shiny patchwork checkbooks...


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