December 28, 2013

Superhero Hoop Art

Superheros Rock - and my two nephews particularly love superheros.  They were superheros for Halloween, they have superhero bedsheets, and now they have some cool superhero artwork for their room!

I had a great time making hoop art for them for Christmas, and here's a quick explanation on how I made these guys...

I purchased three 7" wood embroidery hoops from the craft store for a couple dollars each.  
I wanted the hoops to have color to frame the artwork, so I wrapped each in a bright, superhero color using the following method.

1) Cut a strip of fabric a little over 2" wide (you might need to adjust the width if your hoops are bigger/smaller) and just make sure the strip is plenty long to wrap around the hoop.  Fold over the starting short edge by 1/4" and hot glue it down (see pic below)

2) You will wrap only the outer hoop - so begin at the opening - where the hardware is.  Glue the raw edge pretty close to the top inner edge of the hoop.  

3) Hot glue all the way around the inner edge until you get back to the opening at the top.  Trim your length of fabric so that you have a 1/4" overlap that you can fold under to remove the raw edge.  Hot glue it down.  Do not overlap the fabric ends.  You want to leave that opening with no fabric covering it.  

4) Wrap the strip of fabric all the way around the outside of the hoop, pulling it tight toward the inside.  Hot glue the strip down on the inside edge (you will be hot gluing directly over the hot glue line used to secure the first edge).  Try to use a thin, even line of glue.  

Once you go all the way around, it will look like the picture below.  (Ignore the white part of the fabric below.  I should not have used the selvedge edge of the fabric!  And neither should you ;) )

5) Once the outside of each of your hoop has a fabric wrap around it, you might need to make the inner hoop smaller.  Because of the bulk of the fabric, I could no longer fit the inner hoop inside.  I simply used scissors to snip out a small piece of the inner hoop (between 1/4" and 1/2") and then hot glued the hoop back together.  

Now you can make some fun superhero artwork!  

My first was made using freezer paper stencils on plain white fabric.  I happened to cut these stencils with my Silhouette, but you could use any type of stencil - even handmade.  You could also simply find superhero fabric that you like and stretch that inside the frame.  
Below, you can see partway through the process.  I layered each section of stencil, used different bright colored acrylic paint, and was able to get the right size, with just the words and layout that I wanted.

Below, it is all stretched inside the embroidery hoop and tightened.  Boom!
Make sure the metal hardware is at the top, because it can be hung from a nail right at that spot - easy!

To finish off the back, I cut a circle of white felt, just a hair smaller than my hoop, and hot glued all around the edge to cover the back of the fabric.  

My second hoop was simply different colored fabric sewn together, a little ric-rac trim, a cape shape cutout, and some freehand stitching.  I did use my sewing machine, and my free-motion quilting foot.  You could definitely embroider some words by hand.  There are lots of great "superhero" quotes and I had a hard time picking one.  I decided to go with the simple "A superhero sleeps here" phrase...

My last hoop is probably my favorite.  I stumbled upon the Wee Little Stitches shop and fell in love!  They have a ton of different character patterns, and the cross stitch is simple enough, even for a beginner.  It was fairly quick work, and fits perfectly inside the little embroidery hoop.  If you really like it, this particular pattern is free!

The great thing about hoop art is that it is funky, and can be anything you imagine!  Use fabric, use patches, use embroidery or cross stitch, make it giant or tiny...
Miss matched styles and sizes are fun - especially when you pair a few of them together in one space.  

Make your little superhero buddy really happy with his (or her) own, personalized hoop art!  
Hope you enjoy!

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December 22, 2013

Love Note Pallet Art

My husband and I just celebrated a milestone anniversary - 10 years!  I can hardly believe it.  I'm such a lucky woman!  We have such a fun time together, and I am so blessed to have him!

Since our anniversary is so close to Christmas, I usually like to give him a hand made gift - something a little different than the purchased gifts that are often under the tree.  I enjoy the sweet gesture that spending time making a gift gives.  So, this year, I decided to make a pallet art love note to hang in our bedroom.  Pretty simple, but I love the weathered look.

This frame was yet another side-of-the-road find.  Nice and big, with a really rustic wood feel.  There was still a picture inside, so I ripped that out, and had a nice big blank frame to use for my project...

I cut up some really cheap wood so that it would fit in the frame with a bit of overlap in the back.
Then, I stained/painted it and tried to make it match the color of the frame a bit more.

After the wood was painted, roughed up, sanded, and looking nice and shabby, I attached it to the back of the frame.

First I put down a line of wood glue, then I set each of the boards face down inside the natural groove of the frame.  Below you can see a picture of the back.

Then, I nailed through the boards into the edge of the frame so that it was all tightly held together.  You could totally do this with a smaller frame, and use wooden stir sticks, or some other reclaimed wood.  It's also great because you can use a frame that doesn't have glass.

Below, you can see what it looks like from the front.

I made myself a stencil and carefully dabbed white paint to create the words.  My vinyl was not sticking well to the stained wood, so it was a little tricky.  Overall, I think the imperfections add to the charm ;)

I took a little time figuring out how to make it all rhyme - which makes it fun to read out loud.  I love the simplicity of the stenciled letters, and the sweet message.  It a fun reminder on the wall every day of how important my sweetheart is to me.

What about you??  Do you like to make anniversary gifts too?  
I'd love to hear about your hand made gifts!  

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December 17, 2013

My Christmas Porch

I have had such a good time decorating my porch for the holidays this year.  Most of my decor is salvaged, vintage or antique, and as you can see, I love the color red!

When I took these pictures it had just snowed, so you get the added beauty of the perfectly white drifts. 
So here's what I've got...

This old toolbox was a fun find.  Just a few dollars, and because it is red I have been excited to set it out for Christmas!  It pairs with my old ladder - found free in an old house of ours - because they are both more industrial.  With some fresh greens and pinecones, it feels very festive!

This vintage lantern is my most recent acquisition.  I'd been keeping my eye out for a lantern (new or old) but hadn't found one at a reasonable price (or in a color I liked).  When I saw this one at the antique shop a couple weeks ago, (and it was 50% off!) I knew I had found my lantern!  It's a winged wheel 500, and it is safely tied to this wonderful curved stick for a fun way to display it outside!

The little "tree" is made with a tomato cage.  Turned upside down I tied (and hot glued) the three prongs together to form a point...

Wrapped it in a couple yards of burlap (above) and a couple yards of white gauzy material (below)...

I then wrapped twinkle lights around it, added a bow to the top, and now I have a funky little "tree" for outside!  I set a weight on the bottom edge because it was easily blown over.  Now it is holding up very well! (If I had had white strand lights I absolutely would have used those, but I didn't and I never got around to finding them at the store.  So green it is ;) )

The old door is probably my favorite feature.  I found this beauty and have stored it in my basement for a while.  I finally busted it out for Christmas, and decided to paint it red to match my other decor.  

I taped up the window and the hardware, and simply painted a few coats of red paint that I purchased in a little sample from Home Depot.  I didn't use outdoor paint or anything, because I didn't mind if it peeled and chipped.  And actually it hasn't done any peeling.  

I sanded the edges a bit, so that the white and green that was underneath would show through slightly.  I love how it looks roughed up and red!

I added the saying "Baby, it's cold outside" to the glass with white vinyl, and made an evergreen wreath to hang in the middle.  It is so darling, I could look at it all day!!

My antique bucket was filled with more pinecones, and I threw together a wooden star wrapped in lights to hang up high.  Now I love driving up to the house and seeing the pretty red and the twinkle lights all shining back at me.

I love using found, salvaged, vintage "junk" to decorate.  There is something so thrilling about taking a free, discarded item and making it lovely!  Christmas decorations can be so many things, and I am thrilled with the way mine turned out!

Hope you are all enjoying a wonderful holiday season!
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December 15, 2013

Personalized Teacher Gift: First Aid Kit

If your child is anything like mine, they use a lot of bandaids ;)  A papercut, hangnail, or scraped finger absolutely warrant a separate bandaid, and then everything is I right?

So, when my daughter came home from school telling me all the things she had used bandaids for, I thought I had better replenish her teacher's supply :)  And so, we made her a fun little First Aid Kit pouch to put them in, and give as a gift.  

The tutorial for this simple pouch can be found at The Crafty CPA - and it is very easy to follow!  Two pieces of fabric, sewn right sides together, turned right side out, and then top stitched around the outside (after folding it into the shape of a pouch).  That's all!

A few small differences on mine: 
I used interfacing on both pieces of fabric to make it nice and stiff.  
I top stitched across the edge that would be folded up to create a pouch before stitching around the outside.  
Also, instead of a button, I used velcro to secure the flap closed.  

I was able to cut out the text with my Silhouette into freezer paper that I ironed down to use as a stencil. If you don't have a cutting machine, you can cut letters out of freezer paper by hand, you could use regular paper or plastic alphabet stencils, and paint carefully, or you could freehand it!  I actually think it would be really cute to have the student paint on the words in their own cute handwriting :)  

Fill with bandaids (and any other first aid equipment you'd like) and you have a wonderful teacher gift that will surely be used often!  

For other teacher gift ideas, check out my Pinterest board here.  We made these yard stick magnets last year, along with some chocolate covered pretzels, and they were a big hit!  

Happy Gift Giving!

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December 3, 2013

Free Motion Quilted Ornaments

It's a tradition to give each member of our family a new ornament for Christmas each year, and this year, I've made some sweet fabric ornaments, in all different Christmas designs.

Would you like a beautiful, unique hand-made ornament for your family and friends?  These would also made darling gift tags!

Each ornament has been hand drawn, quilted and painted - and are now available in my ETSY shop!

Ornaments can be customized with specific colors, and if you purchase by December 15th, you'll receive them in time for Christmas!

Happy Holidays!

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