Thursday, October 29, 2015

DIY Adult Anna Costume

My youngest, baby, only 5-year-old daughter asked me to be Anna.  That was pretty much all it took.  I had to seize this moment! Who knows if she'll ever ask me to dress up alongside her for Halloween again?!! 

I made my costume in a day. This included going to Wal-Mart to buy all the supplies. (Yes, they were ALL from Wal-Mart--so INEXPENSIVE--Yay!). 

I already had my white blouse and black boots. If you don't have these in your wardrobe already, borrow or try a thrift store to keep the costume cost down.  I also already had the pom pom trim, but similar can be found here or at most fabric stores. 

Here's the breakdown of the supplies and their cost: 

 For the Anna Dress: 
  1. I used 1 yard of blue jersey knit fabric and followed THIS TUTORIAL from Altered Cloth to make this simple gathered skirt.  
  2. I trimmed the bottom edge of a black camisole to have an angular scallop at the front like Anna's dress does. 
  3. I pinned, then sewed on the gold trim--just on the front of the bodice and neckline--and over the straps. 
  4. I used chalk to outline the flowers for the bottom of the skirt and the front decoration on the camisole.
  5. I used fabric paint to draw over the chalk drawings I made. 

For the Anna Cape: 
  1. I used 3 yards of 55"(ish) fleece and THIS TUTORIAL from Skip to My Lou to cut out the two pieces of the cape. The three yards helped it to fit an adult instead of a child (as in the original tutorial). 
  2. I sewed pom pom trim to the edge of the capelet (instead of hot gluing--faster and less frustrating!)
  3. I layered a strip of leftover fleece (for a tie) between the necks of the caplet and cape and sewed them all together (instead of hot-gluing). A ribbon would work well here, too, but I didn't have any that matched on hand. 

And that's it! Anna is ready!

My costume was a HIT at our church Trunk-or-Treat! There were 2 or 3 little Annas there who would stare up at me with gaping mouths when I said hi! :) And my daughter didn't want to leave my side! She said we were sisters and had to go around together! That made this definitely worth a last-minute effort!

Monday, October 26, 2015

Candy Pretzel Owls

We had some kitchen creativity time on Sunday. It was rainy outside, and we were needing some hands-on production. I came up with these cute owls and even made a video tutorial to share how to make them!

They can also be made in smaller batches in the microwave, which was the method I used to test the idea. 


Participating in these link-ups. 

Monday, October 19, 2015

Contrast Sleeve T-Shirt Tutorial

I have an abundance of T-shirts. If I see them on sale for $5 or $6, I grab them because they are my go-to comfy top. But the same old solid tees get boring, so I decided to do some sprucing up to a plain t-shirt by adding contrasting sleeves.  I've seen similar shirts at boutiques all over the place for $20-30.  This shirt was about $5 and the fabric I used was from my scrap pile! 

This is one my most basic tutorials--a perfect one for beginner sewists!! I will walk you through each step so you can add fun color or print sleeves to any of your plain ol' solid color t-shirts!

My gorgeous jewelry is from African Promise Foundation. I have a dear friend who started this foundation years ago to provide education opportunities to children in Uganda. The beads are handmade from recycled paper. Each piece of jewelry is a unique and amazing work of art created by women trying to improve their family's opportunities. 

You will need: 
  • T-shirt
  • Seam ripper/ small, pointy-nose sharp scissors
  • Stretchy fabric--jersey knit, stretchy lace, poly-knit, etc.  Less than 1/4 yard will work for cap sleeves. If you want to use this tutorial to do long sleeves (This method will work!), you'll want more fabric--probably 1/3-1/2 yard). 
  • Corresponding thread
  • Straight sewing pins
  • Sewing machine (a serger is nice, but not necessary)

1. Remove the sleeves from your T-shirt.  Use a seam-ripper/ small-nosed scissors to rip out the seams.  

Here are the two sleeves removed (I left one folded). Don't rip out the seam for the hem around the cuff of the sleeve. 

2. Using one of the sleeves as a pattern, cut out two pieces of the contrasting fabric, adding on 1 inch to the cuff-side of the sleeve.

Here you see the two sleeves and the extra I added on the contrasting fabric. Since I am using lace for this project, I will be layering it over the original sleeves. If you are replacing the original sleeves completely, you'll still need the extra 1 inch. 

3. (This step is for doing an overlay with contrasting fabric. If you are replacing the sleeves completely, move on to the next step.) Pin the new sleeves (wrong side) to the old ones (right side). Sew along the long, curved side (not the cuff side).  Try to sew right along the old stitch marks. 

4. Use a zig-zag stitch (or serge stitch if available), to sew right along the edge of the contrasting fabric's shorter (cuff) side. This is to prevent fraying and help the cuff lay flat. Repeat for second sleeve.

5. Fold and pin the contrasting fabric over 1/2 inch, wrong sides together. 

6. Top stitch the new cuff in place. Here I am showing the right and wrong sides of the new sleeves after the top-stitch. 

7. Generously pin the new sleeves to the old t-shirt, right sides together. Stitch in place, turn right-side out, and you are done!! SO EASY, and now you have a new shirt!!

Participating in these link-ups. 

Monday, October 12, 2015

Fall Feather Garland

Living in the Pacific Northwest makes saying goodbye to summertime hard.  What we are really saying is "Hi, Rain. You are here for the next 5 months (at least)." 
I am embracing Autumn, though, and all that comes with it.  I love the colors. I love opening my blinds more often to let the (somewhat cloudy) sunshine in! My birthday is in the fall. So is Halloween and Thanksgiving!  And I love decorating my house with fall decor!

After putting together a wreath for my last post, Yarn Feather Tutorial, I decided to change out my Summer Flower Garland for a Fall Feather Garland! I am loving how it turned out!

I started by making a bunch of feathers using my tutorial.  I decided to trim most of the feathers, but leaving some un-trimmed also looks great. 

Each feather takes about 15-20 minutes. Put your feet up, put on some Netflix, and you'll have enough whipped out in no time! These represent about 2.5 hrs of work. 

Here they are trimmed up. Sharp scissors are key.

I used gold craft paint on a few, and I sprayed them with an acrylic sealer (not essential, but I'd like these to last!). Finally, I bent their stems (which is a covered pipe cleaner, so easily bent), and attached them to some bakers twine. So easy!

Participating in these link-ups.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Yarn Feather Tutorial

I recently saw some gorgeous handmade feathers on Pinterest and decided I HAD to learn how to make them! It was time to change out my 4 Season Wreath, and feathers were my big idea for fall. 

 I learned from this excellent tutorial at Infarrantly Creative, but also came up with some additional ideas during the creative process that added to the ease of this exciting craft! I am thrilled to share! 

Here are the main items you'll need: 
  • Pipe Cleaners (in colors that correspond to your yarn); Mine are 12 inches long.
  • Glue stick (the kind used in school--not hot glue)
  • Yarn, embroidery thread, baker's twine, or other thin, flexible string
  • Liquid Starch (I found mine at my grocery store in the laundry detergent aisle--cost $3-$4)
  • Good scissors
  • Craft paint (optional)
  • Not pictured: Shallow tray for soaking (I used a disposable lasagne pan lid), Cookie sheet lined with aluminum foil/ gallon zipper bags
1. Take a pipe cleaner in a color corresponding to the yarn you are using. Coat one end and a couple inches of it with the glue stick. I used some scrap paper under me to protect my workspace from stickiness.

2. Beginning at the glue end, wrap yarn tightly and closely around the pipe cleaner. When you get past the glued area, add a few more inches of glue, and continue wrapping. 

3. Once the pipe cleaner is all wrapped in yarn, cut off the end, and add a dab of glue to hold the tail in place.  Set this aside.

4.  Cut about 12 feet (needn't measure--basically a LONG piece) of yarn. Fold it in half, then fold the doubled length in half again. Continue folding it in half until the length of the bunch of thread is about 8 inches (give or take an inch).

 5. Cut the folded edges off to make several equal-sized pieces of thread.

6. Repeat steps 4 and 5 to get 60-80 pieces of yarn the same length.

7. Now take the covered pipe cleaner and secure the end of it that doesn't have tail (the end you began covering) with something heavy (I used a weight).  Beginning at the other end, tie a single knot around the pipe cleaner, placing the knot in the middle of the piece of thread. Repeat this with the rest of the yarn, tying each knot right under the preceding one. 

8. I wanted long feathers, so I only left about 3 inches of stem.  I was pleasantly surprised how quickly the tying went. Each feather only took about 15 minutes to tie. 

Here are my three incomplete feathers for this project. The white one is made with baker's twine. The other two are acrylic yarn.

9. Pour some liquid starch in a flat, shallow container. Set each feather in the liquid one at at time, pressing down to make sure all the yarn is immersed.  Remove from liquid and gently squeeze excess (but don't wring out).  Once you have soaked each feather, pour leftover starch back into the bottle to save for future use.  You can clean up the soaking container in your kitchen sink with warm soapy water. 

10. Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil or heavy, smooth plastic (I used zipper storage bags, but will use aluminum foil next time).  Form the feathers into the shapes you desire. Be particular here because once the dry, they can't be re-shaped without re-soaking them. 

11. Place the cookie sheet in a warm (170 degree F) oven.  Don't go hotter this (you don't want to melt the acrylic thread or plastic bags). I let mine "cook" for 15 minutes at a time, then turned the oven off and left them in the oven with it off.  Drying time will vary--yarn takes longer than twine-- but using the oven is MUCH faster than waiting on the feathers to air-dry.  The oven method will take 2-4 hrs. Air drying will take 24-48 hrs.  

12. Once feathers are dry and stiff, you can trim them to the shape you desire. Use strong, sharp scissors to get through the stiffened yarn. I trimmed the blue and brown feathers, but left the white one as is. I liked the shaggy look of it for my project.

13.  Acrylic craft paint can be added to the feathers.  I LOVED this part of the process. I have all kinds of projects swimming around in my head to make feathers and paint them now!

Adding a final coat of acrylic sealer is optional, but will improve the longevity of the feathers, especially if you are using them in an outdoor setting. 

I added the feathers to my 4-Season Wreath (tutorial found here). I wanted a new look for fall, and I am LOVING it!