Friday, December 19, 2014

DIY Christmas Stocking Tutorials

Hello everyone!

Well, Christmas is less than one week away!  Preparations and celebrations are in full-swing here in Sutton-land! If you're like me, it is so easy to get overwhelmed this time of year.  ... so many ideas, so many possibilities, so many people you want to love well.... it can get out of hand for me sometimes.  This year I really wanted to try to scale back, get some things done early and spend the majority of my time making sweet memories with my husband, family and friends.  What does anyone really remember, anyways?  The perfect gift you gave which was wrapped perfectly with coordinated paper and ribbon or the time you shared making cookies, looking at lights or watching Elf?  (#smilingismyfavorite)

Anyways, you get the idea.  I write that to explain why I'm not making a start-to-finish craft this week... or next week!  I'm busy making hot chocolate and cutting snowflakes.  :)  I did have some last minute little projects to do; so, in case you have stockings on your list too, here are some great resources for you!  I love stockings, and there are so many great ways to make them!  You can make them for themed gifts or for your own mantle... why not make a stocking out of terry cloth or an old (but still pretty) towel and fill it with bath salts/bubbles/etc?  Or maybe use a kitchen towel and fill it with kitchen tools or baking mixes?  Get creative, and if anyone is left on your list, consider a stocking!

The tutorials that each of these blogs put together were really helpful for me, so I wanted to share them with you!  It's pretty quick and simple to make something really cute and personalized. :)

The first collection of tutorials was compiled by ChickenScratchNY blog:


Here is another great collection of tutorials from FlamingoToes blog:


Here is one last tutorial from PrudentBaby blog:



Here is the little stocking I made this week (using the PrudentBaby tutorial) for a sweet little gal with some scrap Christmas fabric and scrap flannel for the lining:

 Merry Christmas to you in advance!  Thank you for reading along with me this year!  Enjoy your time with the special people you love!

Friday, December 12, 2014

Teacher Gifts: Snowman Pencils

Hello again!

Christmas vacation is inching closer, so now is a great time to think about any teachers in your life who would enjoy a sweet gift. My mom and several of my friends are teachers, so I know very well how hard they work every day. :)  Why not take a little time to make something special for the teacher in your life?

I love anything to do with school supplies, so this craft idea from Martha is a great non-food project that any teacher would love. :)

-Pencils (#2, of course!)
-Small styrofoam balls (I used 15/16", but you could use different sizes for the top and bottom)
-Hot glue
-For accessories: pipe cleaners, pom poms, felt, beads

Ok, this is a quick and easy project!  First, smell the new box of pencils.  Surely I'm not the only one who loves the smell of school supplies. ;)

Next, take two styrofoam balls and press on them (gently) to make one slightly flat side on each ball.

Use the non-eraser end of the pencil to press into one of the balls, about 1/4-1/2". (This hole should go into the opposite side of the flattened part of the styrofoam ball.)

Now place a little bit of hot glue on the tip of the eraser and secure the ball onto it.
*Note: The styrofoam ball seemed to be pretty secure without the glue, so if you want your teacher to be able to use the eraser, you can try it without the hot glue!  I was worried that the pencils would lose their snowmen in transit, so I used glue.  You could give the teacher a cute eraser to go with his/her pencils if you like!

Now use the glue to attach the other styrofoam ball to the one on the eraser. (Glue the flattened sides together.)

Time for eyes!  I used glass beads, but you could anything small that you have around the house. Martha suggested using seeds. :) If you have any chia seeds at home, I think that would work really well. 
I used a pencil to mark where to glue the eyes, then used little bit of hot glue to secure the beads into the styrofoam.  

For the nose, I cut a small triangle of orange felt and secured it with glue. I used a bamboo skewer to push it into the styrofoam a little bit.

PS- Don't be afraid to use different colors or supplies for the eyes!

Now you have a snowman/snowlady! :)  I love earmuffs, so I decided to use pipe cleaners and pom poms to keep each snowman's ears warm. Hot glue the pipe cleaners to the sides of the snowman's head, then glue the pom poms over the ends of the pipe cleaners.

For a scarf, you can glue on some yarn or ribbon.


I used some washi tape to secure each pencil bundle, then tied on a gift tag.  Ready for gifting!

EXTRA CREDIT: Do you want to take your snowman pencils to the next level?

Check out this great idea from Modern Parents Messy Kids:

Have fun!  Thanks for reading!

Friday, December 5, 2014

DIY Christmas Garden Flag

Happy December!

I hope you all had a fantastic Thanksgiving!  Now that it is over, it is officially time for embracing Christmas carols, cookies, trees and other sugar plum fairy-friendly things. 

This week I decided to make my own garden flag, since my usual little snowman flag has lost some of its luster over the last couple years.  I love these little flags, but I don't love buying them.  It turned out to be a pretty quick little sewing project and a great way to use more of my fabric scraps.  This would make a great gift for any garden-loving person in your life!  You can make a flag for any season!

If you have some scrap fabric, you should try this too!

Here is what you'll need:
-Fabric for flag*, the dimensions I used were 20"x 14"(including allowances for hems/folds)
-Scrap fabric for applique
-Straight pins
-Jingle bells/buttons for embellishment, if desired
-Clear acrylic spray (matte finish)

*(I used a duck cloth, but you could use burlap or canvas too.  I would definitely recommend a sturdy fabric!)

Ok, first, cut your fabric to size!  I used another garden flag to come up with my dimensions, but you can make it bigger or smaller-- it's up to you!
Again, the dimensions I used were 20"x 14",(including allowances for hems/fold.)

You will need to make two 1/4" folds on all four sides to conceal any raw edges. 
Use an iron to make the crease and secure the folds with pins if needed.

Sew (using a straight stitch) along each long side and one short side of the flag.  

Now you need to make the sleeve for the flag hanger/holder.  Fold the short side that isn't sewn down one inch (towards the wrong side of the fabric.  

Now sew along the 1/4" fold to secure the sleeve.

Ready for hanging :)

You now have a flag!  If you had a fun pattern on your fabric, you could just be done here!

I wanted to add some applique to this flag to make it Christmas-y. ;)

I traced an "S" onto the back of a red, striped fabric and cut a Christmas tree shape out of burlap.  I also cut a star for the tree from the same fabric as the "S."

You could use an iron-on adhesive or fabric glue to secure the fabric pieces to the flag fabric (before sewing), but I just used pins.  (I wasn't feeling patient enough to wait for glue to dry.)  

Iron the applique pieces to help them lie flat while you position them. I used pins to hold the pieces in place.

Use a zig zag stitch to sew on the appliques.  Since this little flag will be facing the elements, I made sure to go over the stitching a couple of times, especially with the burlap.

Back view of fabric

Once you have sewn the applique pieces, you can call it a day.... or.... embellish!

I have no idea why I have a ziplock bag full of jingle bells, but I do.  So, what better time is there to put them to use?

You could use buttons or whatever you have handy to give the flag a little sparkle or pizzazz. :)  I sewed on the jingle bells to the Christmas tree.  Just imagine the happy sound the flag will make when a Christmas wind blows.  Magical, right?  I thought so too.  :)

Now it's ready for some finishing spray!  I decided to use a clear acrylic spray with a matte finish to help protect the fabric from the sun and rain.  I thought about using starch too, but the acrylic spray makes the fabric stiff; I don't think starch is necessary.

Make sure you're in a well-ventilated space when you spray!  The fabric will be sticky for a few minutes, so let it dry for a little while before you handle it again. 


Hang up the flag and make yourself some celebratory hot chocolate!  Happy decorating!

Thanks for reading!