Sunday, January 29, 2012

Valentine's Day Topiary

For Christmas this year, I gave my friends and neighbors paper Christmas trees based off an idea I got here.  They were so much fun to give away that I wanted to make a Valentine's Day version.  They are super easy and fun to make!  Here's how you can do it too!

What you will need:
6 sheets of 12x12 cardstock
clear glue
1/8" wooden dowel or bamboo skewers
wood or metal container
floral foam base
pony beads
hot glue gun
heart & bird cartridge for a Cricut or SCAL
(I used the Cricut cartridges George & Basic Shapes for the heart and the Storybook cartridge for the bird.)

Step 1: Cut out 3 hearts each in sizes ranging from 1 & 1/2 inches to 6 & 1/2  inches in half inch increments.

Step 2: Glue around the edge of each heart and add glitter.

Step 3: Punch holes in the center of each heart. 

Step 4: Cut the dowel down to the height you want.  I cut mine to 17 inches.  Add the floral foam to the container and put the wooden dowel in the center.  Don't glue anything in place just in case you need to adjust later.

I got my container at Tai Pan for $4 and the foam at the Dollar Store.

Step 5: Stack the hearts on the dowel and place a pony bead after every heart to add height and dimension.  Keep going until you've used all of the hearts.  (I only put one 1 & 1/2 inch heart on the very top.)

Step 6: Your topiary should look like this.  There will be extra space between the hearts so gently press down and squish the hearts closer together. 

Step 7: When it looks good, take the dowel out of the foam and glue a pony bead underneath the first heart (on the bottom).  Then glue the dowel into the foam so about 4 or 5 inches of the dowel is showing. 

Step 8: Hot glue the moss to the foam base.

Step 9: Tie a ribbon and streamers to the top of the dowel and add the paper bird.

Finished! See I told you it was easy!  If you use bamboo skewers, like I did on the pink one, it will be a little shorter, but they are both cute!

Happy (early) Valentine's Day!

Have fun!

~ Cindy Jane

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Ruffled Minky Blanket Tutorial

 Minky is such a soft comfy fabric- It makes the best blankets! It is not, however, the easiest material to work with. If you follow a few simple rules, you can do it with great results!!! After lots of trial and error- here are my methods:
1 yard of cotton fabric for the body of the blanket
1 yard (or more, if you want it more ruffly) for the ruffle
1 yard of minky fabric for the back
Sewing machine

1. Wash and dry your cotton fabric. It will shrink up a bit, and the minky doesn't shrink. It is important to pre-wash the cotton to avoid a wrinkly underside  when you finish!

Cut your ruffle fabric into 5" strips. to get these strips nice and straight- I cut a 1 or 2 inch slit and rip the fabric. It will rip straight.
 2. Sew the strips together end to end to make one giant strip. Fold the strip (length-wise) and iron a crease all the way down the center of your ruffle.
 The minky fabric can be expensive. Hobby Lobby sells a pretty good selection of colors for $12.99/yard- so if you use their 40% coupon (located on their website most weeks. Every once in a while they don't offer that coupon- but if you wait a week you can bet it will be back).

3. The minky fabric is 60" wide- you can get two 30" by 36" pieces out of each yard. I think this makes the perfect blanket size. This makes your blankets very affordable (if you use the coupon). Only about $4 in minky fabric per blanket!
Once you have cut your minky in half it is time to trim the cotton. One side of your fabric (the 36" side) should match up in size pretty closely. You will have around eight inches of overhang on the other side of your cotton. Trim this strip off and use it later for burp cloths, hair bows, bibs, etc. A nice little addition to a gift!

 4. It is time to sew your ruffle onto the front of your blanket. Your ruffle should be folded in half with the right sides out. Line up the raw edges of the ruffle and the blanket top, and position your presser foot to leave a two or three inch tail.
 4. About every four inches you can make (approximately) a one inch pleat. Alternate the directions of the pleat as you go. Continue until you approach the first corner.
 5. When you reach the corner you want to give yourself plenty of fabric to work with. When the blanket is opened up it will spread the ruffle out and you will need the extra. Carefully stitch slowly around the corner- making the ruffle as full as you can.
 Continue until you have gone around the entire top of the blanket.

6. When you get to the end- guess about how much fabric you will need on your ruffle to make one more pleat- and trim the excess.
You will then want to sew the two ends of the ruffle together. Open up the ruffles and put the right sides together and sew. Make your final pleat and finish attaching the ruffle.

 This is how your top should look now.
 7. Lay your top out- right side up, and ruffles going towards the inside of the blanket. Make sure the blanket is completely flat- with no wrinkles.

 8. Now it is time to attach the minky fabric.
Lay the minky fabric (right side down) on top of the cotton fabric. Again- make sure there are no wrinkles and everything is nice and flat. This is where things can get a little tricky, so take your time!
 9. Once it is all laid out pin pin and pin some more!!! This is such an important step! This is what keeps it from ending up a wrinkled, stretched out mess!
Pin your corners first, and then pin the center of each side. Then another pin in between the center and corner pins, etc. etc. until you have pins all the way around- no more than about 2" separating each one. I can't stress enough how important this is!
10. Carefully begin sewing around the blanket, removing the pins as you go. Make sure your minky is on the top, and the cotton is on the bottom. Take care not to stretch the minky at all as you go. it needs to stay flat or your blanket will be totally wonky (that is a very accurate description!) when you are done! Also, be careful that all your ruffles inside the blanket stay flat, and you don't catch them in a stitch. 
11. Leave a 4" opening so you can pull your blanket right side out. Go ahead and turn it right side out and check to make sure all the ruffles are securely sewn into the blanket and everything looks as it should. Now is the time to fix anything that may not be perfect.

 12. Turn the blanket inside-out again and trim all the excess fabric around the edges. Take care not to cut your stitch!

 Flip the blanket right side out again and get ready to top stitch.

13. When I do the top stitch, I do it with the cotton on top. Start your top-stitch at the 4"opening and stitch it closed. Continue your stitch all the way around the blanket. Pull gently on your ruffle periodically to make sure it stays nice and flat on both sides.

Cut off any loose strings- and that's that!

These are my favorite blankets! They fold up small enough to go in the diaper bag- but are big enough to use as your baby grows. And they get softer with each wash. My four year old has blankets as old as he is- and they look just as good as the first day we used them!

The perfect pajama craft- and I think all this talk of blankies made me sleepy! Night Night!


Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Angry Birds Part 3...This Little Piggy

I used to think this little piggy had a face only a mother could love until I let my 4 year old nephew pick from my Red Bird, Yellow Bird, and Large Pig cards.
He went straight for the Pig card, grabbed it, and gave it a big hug!
Your little Valentines or birthday boys and girls will love this card too!

What you will need:
1 blank notecard 5x7
brown stamp pad in to ink edges
blue ink or chalk (or use my eyeshadow trick)

Cardstock in these colors:
2 complimentary shades of green - one slightly lighter than the other
icy blue               
Cricut cartridge George and Basic Shapes

Use your paper cutter to cut out a 4 & 5/8 x 6 & 1/2 piece of black paper

Shape: Circle
Size: 3 inch
Color: darker shade of green
Amount: 1

Shape: Circle
Size: 3/4 inch
Color: white
Amount: 2

Shape: Circle
Size: 1/4 inch
Color: black
Amount: 2


Shape: Quotation marks
Size: 1/4 inch
Color: black
Amount: 2

Shape: capital letter U on "Shadow" setting
Size: 1/2 inch
Color: lighter shade of green
Amount: 2

After you cut out the Us, back them on black cardstock and cut out.

Shape: Balloon 2
Size: 1 & 1/2 inches
Color: lighter shade of green
Amount: 1

Trim the "balloon end" off and ink the edges for contrast.

Nostril 1
Shape: circle
Size: 1/2 inch
Color: black
Amount: 1

Nostril 2
Shape: Balloon 2
Size: 1/2 inch
Color: black
Amount: 1

Shape: Moon
Size: 3/4 inch
Color: lighter shade of green
Amount: 1
Ink the edges for contrast.

Shape: Square 2
Size: 1 inch
Color: icy blue
Amount: 2

More Ice
Shape: Rectangle 4
Size: 2 & 3/4 inches
Color: icy blue
Amount: 4

I'm too cheap budget conscience to buy chalk or ink pads in random colors, so I get eyeshadow at the dollar store or inexpensive eye shadow multi-packs with a lot of fun colors to use for edging.  It works great!  Just make sure it is all rubbed in so the color doesn't transfer.

Color: white
Amount: 1
Size: 2 x 6 & 1/2 inches
Cut the strip out on the paper cutter and cut out the snowy bumps freehand.

Almost finished!  Place your piggy's eyes on first and then add the nose, mouth, ears, and eyebrows. Make sure you like the placement and then glue! 

Glue the black background and snow to your background.  Center Pig and add the ice around him.  Measure twice, glue once!

Have fun giving these cards away! 

~ Cindy Jane