Crafting: January 2012 Archives
If you are looking for a great kids craft, teachers' gift or rainy day activity, grab a bar of soap and some wool roving to make some felted soap. This project can be found in many boutiques and high-end stores but it is inexpensive and easy to do at home. The finished product is a soft, non-slippery, foamy bar of soap that is great for little ones to wash by themselves and makes an interesting conversation starter.
To get started you will need:
1 bar of soap (make sure it smells Really good because you will be spending quality time with it in a few minutes)
2-4 packages of our Wool Roving (2 packages for a small bar and 4 for a big bar)
Needle felting needles (optional for added details)
Wrap your bar of soap with enough roving to go around the bar twice so you do not see any of the bar showing. I like to use my felting needles to secure the ends of the roving; you only need a few pokes.
Next take your panty hose and cut it at about 8-10 in. long. I like to use the foot but if you have a run there, any 8-10 in. length will do. Carefully slip your wool wrapped bar into the hose and knot it tight.
With a sink of warm water or with a giant towel and a big bowl of warm water, dunk your bar in the water and then vigorously rub your soap. Periodically dunk your bar back in the water. Your soap will start to serious foam, which is really fun for the kids. My daughter wasn't interested in rubbing the soap but very excited about all the bubbles. Keep rubbing and dunking for about 10-15 min until your bar is totally felted (this is the quality soap time I referred to earlier). You can tell when it is close because the wool fibers will shift less and will feel thicker. You can unknot your hose to check. When it is done, rinse your bar in cool water and pull off the hose. My hose was felted to the wool so be sure to pull your hose off slowly. Allow your bar to dry for 24 hours on a cookie rack before wrapping or gifting. I recommend waiting until your bar is dry before your needle felt any details. My bar looked different after it was dry.
Felted soap makes it easier for kids to wash themselves. They also combine a loofah and soap so they make great girl friend gifts. You can needle felt initials for personalization or silly pictures. Felting soap is a messy but clean craft that will provide many giggles and zero stress for the adult in charge of supervision. Once your original bar is done, cut a slit in the bottom and place a new bar inside. You can felt the slit closed again.
The elephant in the corner of very sewing space/room/studio
seems to be thread organization. It has always been my nemesis but this year I
am tackling it. If I can find a way to stop stacking them up next to my sewing
machine as I change colors or tossing them into a HUGE zip top bag...
The trick is the desire to change. A sure fire way to bring about change is to make it pretty. Pretty and sewing go hand in hand just as thread and organization should also go hand in hand. Let's make thread organization pretty and I am sure we will have our solution.
Now my mom prefers the old standard that can be found in most big box craft stores and it works for her but I need something with character, vintage and a little funky. I think I would really keep up with my thread organization if it were also art. So here are some of my favorite inspirations and tutorials for fun and original thread organization.
This beautiful framed thread collection hangs on your wall
and allows for extra surface space on your sewing or cutting table. Not only is
it a gorgeous aged bright yellow but it can be built as big as your thread
collection. This tutorial
by Grey Luster Girl is very popular on Pinterest because it is a great art
piece for non-sewers as well as fabric lovers!
I love the free form shape of Copy & Paste's thread wall piece looks like a piece of seaweed floating through the ocean covered in thread barnacles. It appears that she cut the piece with a jigsaw, sanded it, added nails or added nails to a purchased or found piece. Either way it is amazing and stunning when fully decorated. You could create your own with a jig saw or wall letters that spell out "Sew", "Craft" or "Create".
Finally there is the thread organization I fell in love with. This is an antique typesetter's drawer that I found in my parents' basement. The compartments were the perfect size for spools and when they are lined up by color the rainbow effect really draws the eye in my sewing room and makes me very happy. It has been quite successful in helping my stick to my thread organization goal. You can try to find something similar or you can use a table tray with paint stick dividers or a shadow box and square dowels. Stain it lightly with tea or coffee to give it a real aged finish.
Check out our new Organization Board on Pinterest. Use it to inspire you to stay true to your new year's resolution to stay organized!
I have been taken by this tutorial I found featuring Fold Over Elastic. It seemed to fun and easy and I loved that you could wear just the headband or add a little something whenever it suited. So I tried it though I was hesitant over using my glue gun. I wasn't convinced it would last but once I got that sucker heated up I couldn't stop. This was a fun project because the gratification was so instantaneous and the results were darling.
I used one package of our Babyville Fold Over Elastic in Red/Blue because I am hot for red polka dots at the moment. I made one headband for my little one (almost 3 yrs) out of each and cut them to 17 in. as per the instructions. Each took approx 5-10 (probably closer to 5 for just the headband part) and they looked super cute as plain headbands. The next part was the really exciting bit. I wanted to add something really fun but still sane enough that my daughter could still wear them out. Her new favorite activity is going through all my buttons (well, really dumping them out and then picking out the cute ones and putting them in a "mine" pile) so I decided to make an embellishment starring her faves. The shank buttons I lopped off the shank with wire cutters and glued them in place scattered among her other favorite buttons. The base can be downloaded here. Just glue the 2 felt pieces together, glue the buttons on top and use a running stitch to attach to the head band or you can glue a hair clip to the back.
Her red head band features a collection of circles I cut while testing our Fiskars' circle cutter, linen and felt (well the felt I cut with scissors, see article for more info). The largest is 5 in. going down the to smallest at 1 in. They are all stacked and attached to the headband with a costume jewelry pin.
You can add your own embellishment to these great and comfy headbands (my little one asked to put her headband on as soon as she woke this morning!). Flowers are very popular but you can clip any of your existing hair clips or make something new.
I am taking the Notional definition #3: indulging in or influenced by fancy. Fiskars' Circle Cutter is an indulgence in fancy but also a smart buy. I loved this from the first try. One of my biggest pet peeves is cutting circle and patterns that call for circle cutting. Why? Because it usually involves a random search all over one's house looking for any and all objects round that will create the size circle that is needed/called for. Plus, I can't cut circles out with my rotary cutter very well, somewhere around the hand switch I either bump the pattern object or I don't put enough pressure on the rotary cutter and all goes awry! These days are over and a new circle cutting era has dawned in my sewing studio- a glorious era of circles of all sizes (1in. to 8 in. that is) living in harmony with me.
Eventually my eyes cleared of stars and I was able to get down to business and put this circle cutter through its paces.
- This cutter is designed for paper. Well, I say "pshaw" to that. You can use it to cut lightweight fabrics easily. Get yourself some freezer paper (I bought mine at Wal-Mart) and iron it, shiny side down onto your fabric. Now cut your circles out with the paper side up. Also keep some pressure on the paper/fabric with pattern weights. This will keep the paper/fabric from shifting when the cutter is moving.
- You can also cut lighter weight Home dec fabrics but you will need to press a little harder.
- This circle cutter does not cut felt. The felt is too thick and the blade is not long enough, plus the felt is loftier than a woven so when you press down on the gripper foot it raises the area around the blade making it difficult to cut. I was a bit disappointed by this but cutting circles from felt is not as bad as a woven for me.
- When you are choosing your circle size, line up the ruler with the center of the shaft. This will give you an accurate size (the instructions don't mention this).
- You can pop out a dull blade with the tip of a knitting needle or a turning tool. The slot is small so you can't use a finger and you might need more pressure than a seam ripper can give without breaking.
- Best on quilting cottons, shirting, apparel fabrics including bottom weight, lightweight Home dec (linen, light wovens, silks, drapery).