Crafting Away

I am still here, just crafting up a bunch of baseball shirts, homeschooling like usual, and gearing up for LOTS of projects to have available for you very soon. With Teacher Appreciation week, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day all just a month or two away, I have to plan ahead!

Baseball Mom Shirt

I do have an Easter decor post coming for you soon!  Can’t wait to show you the simple canvas that says it all.

Tuesday Tutorial: Simple Superhero Cape

When my 7 yr old decided he wanted a Superhero party I was a bit surprised (all I had heard about for MONTHS was Lego Ninjago so I thought for sure the theme would involve plastic blocks).  Thankfully we have Pinterest now, seriously does anyone use Google anymore???  I know that is the first place I look for just about everything now!  I immediately started pinning away.  Then suddenly the party morphed into an Avenger theme, mainly because the birthday boy wanted to be Captain America.

Since this was going to be a small affair (only 3 guests and the birthday boy), I knew I could do a bit more for the favors.  Capes were a must!  There are many cape tutorials on Pinterest but in the end I decided just to do my own thing.

Superhero Cape Tutorial

Superhero Cape Tutorial

Materials:

  • 3/4 yard of fabric (I used cotton broadcloth)
  • bias tape
  • sewing tools – pins, rotary cutter, matching thread

To start I wanted my capes long so I didn’t cut the fabric (I left if the 44″ – selvage to selvage).  If you are making capes for little ones (toddlers), cutting the fabric in half where it is folded on the bolt would make a perfect length.

First I took one side that was 27″ and made that the top.  I found the center, marked it with a pin, and from there measured out in both direction marking my pleats with pins.  From the center I measured out 3″ then 2″ then again 3″ and 2″.  That way my pleats were about 4″ apart and there were two on each side.

 

 

mark pleats

I then pleated the fabric making sure the pleats faced INTO the center.  I folded the pins that were 2″ apart into each other so they met and then pinned them in place and ironed the pleats.

bring pins together

bring pins together to make pleat

Here is a close up picture of two of the pleats on one half of the cape.

IMG_6159

Here you can see the entire top after it was pleated.

pinned pleats

Once all the pleats were completed I did a quick basting stitch to hold the pleats in place while I hemmed the other three sides of the cape.  That way I didn’t have to worry about the pins coming out or the pleats getting messed up.

Next, I hemmed the cape on the remaining three sides.  I measured 1/4″ all the way around and folded the edges in.  I did this again and pinned as I went.  Then just stitch all the way around the camp.

 

hemmed edges

hem sides and bottom edges

I had a few eager helpers that wanted to sew when I was making these!

mommy's helpers

 

Now for the final step.  To finish the top edge and create the ties I went with bias tape.  I wanted something very simple that would still look nice. I prefer to use the EXTRA WIDE DOUBLE FOLD bias tape.

bias tape to finish top and create ties

I cut my bias tape to 36″ long (next time I think I would do a 54″ cut to make the ties a bit longer).  Then I folded the tape and marked the center with a pin.  Then I lined that up with the center top of the cape.

fold cut bias tape in half to find the center

Pin the bias tape all along the cape (it’s pleated now so it has a slight curve to it.  Fold each end of the bias tape into the folded edges to finish the ends.  Then just sew all the way around the top to secure it closed and to the cape.   Pin bias tape Add bias tape for ties

Find a willing assistant to model the completed cape and let them “fly” off to save their friends from harm.

Cute Cape Model

Here is a view of the back so you can see how the pleats fall.  My model is a bit smaller than the boys these were made for the so the pleats are harder to see.  Final Product

 

 

Here is a view of the finished capes on the Superheroes!  They are quite long but I like that they have room to grow!

Superhero Cape TutorialMy son wanted an Avengers themed party so I then used my Cricut and some iron on vinyl to create the symbols of the various Avengers.  More on that in another post!

 

Tuesday Tutorial: Fort Kit

When it comes to gifts for little boys, there just aren’t as many homemade gifts that can be given.  But this is a quick and easy gift idea that creates HOURS of fun for boys and girls (and their mommies and daddies).  My boys received a fort kit for Christmas in 2011 from a dear friend and they have played with it for HOURS!  I LOVE that it is something that has them get creative and can be played with in SO many different ways.

Want to make your own??? Well let me tell you how…

Tutorial: DIY Fort Kit

 

Fort Kit

Materials Needed:

- twin sheets (I bought two so that the fort could be a bit larger if desired)

- bias tape

- coordinating thread and sewing machine

- clamps

- various lengths of rope

- flashlights (with batteries of course!)

- glowsticks

- a bag to put it all in

- optional – iron on vinyl to label kit

Supplies needed

I bought two twin sheets at Walmart to start with.  I love these since they are under $5 each for just a flat sheet AND they come in a cute fabric pouch.  Up until now I haven’t found a use for these but I always save them just knowing that one day I would put them to use.  They made the perfect pouch for holding the clamps and ropes for the kit.

Start by cutting your bias tape into 8 -12″ lengths and 4 -3″ lengths.  Each corner is going to get a tie and then the loops will be sewn onto the sides of the sheets in the center.  Sew up the open side of ALL the pieces of bias tape.
Fort ties

Fold each 12″ piece of bias tape and sew them onto the corners, backstitching several times.

attach ties to corners

Here are my two finish sheets with all the ties attached.  Now the hard part is done!  Seriously, the rest is pretty much just putting it all in the bag.

Ties attached to sheets

I wanted to label the bag so that it wasn’t so plain.  After cutting some iron on vinyl, it got ironed on and then it was onto the rest of the kit.  (The bag I found from Jiffy Shirts, where I order my craft shirts from.  It was only about #3.25 and came in SO many colors!  You can bet that I bought a few to keep on hand for future fort kits.)

Fort Kit bag

If you have ever made a fort with a blanket and some chairs, you know how helpful clamps would be to keep the blankets in place!  The clamps I purchased at Big Lots for just a couple dollars.  It was a 16 piece set so I split it in half and the other 8 will be used for another kit.  They were put into one of the pouches that the sheets came in and I labeled the pouches with some iron on vinyl.  I did the same with the various lengths of rope.

clamps

Flashlights are a GREAT gift for a boy!  I put some in my boys’ stockings this year and they have enjoyed them!  And best of all I found these in the Target dollar bins!!!  Yep, only $1 for LED flashlights (I bought several more to put away!)  The glowsticks just finish it off.

Glow sticks and Flashlights

There you have it.  Now go off and whip up your very own fort kit to play with!  It is perfect for winter days when it is too cold to play outside and the possibilities for forts are endless!

Christmas Creations

Now that Christmas is over I can show you a few  projects I created for my family for gifts as well as some that I crafted up for others.

I realized right before Christmas that I never posted about my Christmas / Happy Birthday Jesus Countdown calendars.  A wonderful customer asked me to create one of these for her and then I just kept making them.  They were a hit at craft fairs and sold really well on my Facebook page.  I had a few extras so I gave them away as gifts for the boys teachers (their homeschool supervising teacher, preschool teachers, and piano teacher).

Christmas Countdown

This year, we did a drawing for Christmas gifts this year with my hubby’s side of the family.  That was great since his family is getting to be SO big (he has 5 sisters, 4 brother-in-laws, and 7 nieces and nephews!).  I got my sister-in-law Darla and we both share a love for Harry Potter.  So when I saw THIS pin on Pinterest, I knew it would be a great jumping off point for a gift.  I thought a nice tote bag would be a great place to slap some vinyl, I mean – who doesn’t need a bag???

Harry Potter bag

For the next gift, it was one that was requested by a friend.  She wanted tiles made for her mom and mother-in-law for Christmas.  She texted me a picture and then I came up with the design (quite close to the picture she sent).  I haven’t heard whether or not they liked them, but as it goes with all grandparents- if your grandkids names are on it, it will be loved!

Nana Tile

Next, I worked on a few projects for my family.  First, as is Christmas tradition – PJs for the family.  In the past I have bought the boys jammies.  Have you SEEN the price of PJs lately!?!?!  It is crazy! Multiply that by 4 and you will see why I made our own.  I was going to make them all match but upon arriving at JoAnn’s one day I found that all the flannel was like 60% off.  SCORE!  The whole family was with me on this occasion so we all picked our own jammie flannel.  We usually take a family picture of us all in our jammies before we open our presents on Christmas Eve but for whatever reason we didn’t this year.  So this is the best I have…  a picture of 4 of the PJ bottoms after I had finished them.

Christmas PJs

This was probably one of my boys’ favorite gifts this year.  Lego Ninjago is really popular right now among young boys and mine are no exception.  So when I found a tutorial on Pinterest with pattern pieces to make the Ninjago mask on a pillowcase I was ALL over it!  For those that don’t know… I am a bit OCD in the organizing department and with 4 boys I need all the help I can get.  Each of my boys have “assigned” colors so that when I buy things in multiples I try to buy them in their colors. This way I know that the blue towel left on the floor is my oldest’s or the red flashlight in the kitchen is boy #3′s.  Well those colors have become their favorite colors and there just so happen to be Ninjas in those colors as well.  So naturally, those ninjas are their favorites (There is no yellow ninja for boy #4 since Legos are already yellow so I substituted white for him).

Colorful Ninjas

 

As you can see from the pictures from Christmas Eve, they LOVED their pillows and have been sleeping on them each night since!

Ninjago Pillowcase

Pillowcase

 

For my mother in law and grandma in law I made these scarves from some extra t-shirts that I receieved in a T-shirt order one time (they sent 10 extra shirts that were all 4x in size – guess they were getting rid of extra inventory – win win for us both!)  I pinned lots of different t-shirt refashioning projects in hopes of turning these huge shirts into something fun.  They were super easy and turned out SO cute!  I still have more t-shirts so I will definitely be making more soon.

 

I still have a couple more gifts that I made but my mom was sick all during Christmas so her present is still a secret!  More to come once she opens them.

Celebrating Cousin Day

My husband comes from a large family and I love it!  It is wonderful that my boys have 5 Aunts and 4 Uncles as well as 3 cousins on his side (1 Aunt and 2 Uncles and 1 cousin on my side).  It is great when we all get together with the family (all 20 of us).  There are 7 grandsons all 7 and under!  (Don’t worry the family is finally getting a GIRL in September!)  It is so much fun.  With the exception of my oldest, the cousins all came in pairs so they have buddies to play with.

My mom was the youngest of 8 so I have TONS of Aunts, Uncles, Cousins and Second Cousins.  Unfortunately they have always lived quite far away so I don’t see them often at all. In fact I haven’t seen my mom’s side of the family since I was in high school :(

I love to celebrate fun and obscure holidays so when I found a Cousin Day on my calendar I immediately planned a trip with my sisters in law.  We all have passes to SeaWorld so a day of fun was set!  To make it even more fun and excited I wanted to make the boys shirts that matched.  The front design was the same but the sets of siblings each had their own color of shirt so you can see which boy belongs to which family.  On the backs I put the boys’ names as well as the order they were born in.

Cousin Day shirts

Cousins

Here they are smiling for a quick picture before heading off for more fun.  It was at this point when I realized I should have made my sister in law that is expecting a girl a shirt that says #8, finally getting a GIRL.

I have a cute picture of the boys all lined up so you can see the fronts and backs of their shirts but it is on my camera and since I can’t upload those pictures yet, I will have to update this post soon! I can’t wait to celebrate Cousin Day again next year with the “new” cousins that will join the family in 2012-2013!  This is an annual tradition I definitely want to keep!

Tuesday Tutorial: Iron-on Vinyl

My obsession with iron-on vinyl started when I needed sibling shirts for my boys.  I searched all over and couldn’t find what I wanted.  So once I saw that my favorite vinyl supplier, Expressions Vinyl, was carrying iron-on vinyl  I decided to give it a try!  {NOTE: they call it T-shirt vinyl}To be honest, I was VERY nervous the first time I cut the iron-on vinyl, but the Expression Vinyl website has a great video tutorial that make it almost impossible to mess up.

Iron-On Vinyl Tutorial

Supplies needed:

  • iron-on vinyl {See all the colors and sizes available here}
  • Cricut machine or Silouette
  • a plain t-shirt
  • an iron
  • multi-use paper sheets – a must if you are layering your vinyl creations!

 

Start by washing your t-shirt if possible.  Don’t use fabric softener!  I don’t always do this step but when I am making shirts for my boys I do just to make sure the vinyl adheres well.  You can cut the vinyl while the shirts are washing so you are ready to put it on once they are dry.

To cut the vinyl, begin by designing what you want to make.  I have a Gypsy that I hook up to my Cricut and it makes designing ANYTHING on my Cricut SO much easier!!!

If I am layering my design I make sure that I put my shadow and the layer on separate “pages” in my design file.

Once your design is complete and you are ready to cut there is one VERY IMPORTANT step left!  YOU  NEED TO FLIP THE IMAGE SO IT IS BACKWARDS! The reason for this is you are going to cut the design from the back of the vinyl.  The iron-on vinyl comes already adhered to the “transfer tape” that you iron directly on.

See the button on the right where my stylus is (above)

If you don’t have a Gypsy, you push this button to reverse the image.

To put the iron-on vinyl on your mat be sure to place the shiny side DOWN onto the mat.  Remember you are cutting the design from the back of the vinyl.

See how you can see what was cut through the clear “transfer tape” once it is cut.

That is why you put that side down and flip the image.

 

Load the mat into the Cricut and start cutting. Make sure to change your cut settings on your Cricut before cutting.

Cut settings:

  • blade depth: 2 (The Expression Vinyl site says 3, but I always put mine on 2)
  • pressure: medium
  • speed: high
 Once the cutting is done, it is time to weed the unnecessary vinyl away from the design.  The iron-on vinyl is VERY easy to weed if it has been cut on the correct settings. Be sure to heat up your iron before you weed so it is ready once you have finished weeding.

Place your shirt on a hard surface (not an ironing board but maybe a table with a towel on it).  Heat up the area on the shirt where you are going to adhere the vinyl.  Place your cut vinyl where you want it (it will stick to the shirt since the “transfer tape” that it comes on it sticky.  Put your iron over part of the design and press down firmly for 15 seconds.

Move the iron to another part of the design and continue ironing your design 15 seconds at a time until you have ironed all the vinyl down.

Once it is cooled for a few seconds, pull up the clear sheet that the vinyl was on.  If any part of the design isn’t ironed on well, just put the clear sheet (or a multi-use paper sheet) back over the design and iron it again.

At this point, if you are layering your iron-on vinyl then place your layer where you want it and iron again like before {When layering designs you NEED the multi-use paper sheets so that your don’t accidentally iron directly on the previous vinyl.}

I “try” to line up the layers so that I can just place one right on the other, but that doesn’t always work out. If it doesn’t line up right that just means that I have to cut each individual letter  apart and place it where I need it.

There you have it!  Now you know how to make your very own t-shirts!  You don’t have to use iron on vinyl on shirts only!  I have put it on my boys baseball bags (so I know whose is whose).  The possibilities are endless: backpacks, lunchboxes, fabric bins, fabric banners, tote bags, aprons!

What are you going to make first with iron-on vinyl???

Father’s Day is almost here!

I have been busy lately working on Father’s Day gifts for my hubby. A while ago I saw an adorable shirt and onesie combo that was probably made for a new daddy. Immediately I knew I just had to craft up something similar for my husband and boys.

So with my Gypsy in hand I began to design up shirts of my very own. I made the front say “I make ADORABLE boys” and then each of the boys had a matching shirt that just says “ADORABLE boy”. For the backs I wanted them to look something like a jersey so I put daddy and the boys names across the back with numbers on the back (1-4 for the boys and 00 for Daddy). The Cricut font cartridges I used were Varsity letter and Cutting Up. For the word adorable I made a layer to make it stand out and cut that in gold. Father's Day shirts teaser

Here is a sneak peek!  What do you think???  Be sure to check back for the after shots with all my boys in their matching shirts!

Also I will have another quick and simple Father’s Day present available for you tomorrow (It’s my present for my dad and for my hubby – from the boys).  It is super easy to throw together yet is always a hit!

Thing 1 and Thing 2 Shirts

For Ethan’s upcoming birthday, I of course wanted us all in Dr. Seuss attire.  I got very lucky when I found 3 Cat in the Hat shirts for my older boys to wear at Target on clearance for $2.74!  Unfortunately they had nothing for the birthday boy, for my husband or myself.  So back to Pinterest I went in search of ideas for party attire.  I found this shirt for my hubby and this shirt for me, but in the end didn’t want to have to wait for it to be shipped and really didn’t want to spend $26 just on shirts.

So one day while I was using my Cricut and some iron on vinyl (to label the boys baseball bags), I decided to attempt to design the shirts myself on my Gypsy. {For those that aren’t familiar with the Gypsy it is a handheld device that works with the Cricut that allows you to load all your cartridges onto it and then design with them from anywhere.  It is amazing and I could not use my Cricut so effectively without it.  You can actually see everything you are designing and place it where you want it to cut on the mat!}

Want to make your own?  Well here is how I did it.  You can adjust it depending on which Cricut cartridges you have!

Thing 1 and Thing 2

Supplies Needed:

- red shirts

- black iron-on vinyl (I get mine from Expressions Vinyl)

- white iron on vinyl

- Cricut

- Gypsy

- All Mixed Up cartridge

- Any cartridge with a circle shape – I used Plantin Schoolbook

- Cutting Up cartridge

 I started with an O from the All Mixed Up cartridge.  The black outline behind the white circles on Thing 1 and Thing 2 aren’t perfect circles so this O was the perfect shape.  It outlined the white circle perfectly.

O - All Mixed Up

 In order to make it a solid back circle instead of an O, I hid the inside of the letter by selecting the hide icon and and then the inner circle.  This makes it NOT cut so you will have a solid black circle.

Letter O - All Mixed Up cartridge Next I selected a circle from the Plantin Schoolbook cartridge.  This would be the white circle layer that will be placed on top of the black circle.

Circle

Once the circle is added, I made it just a little bit smaller than the O so that the black would show just a bit behind the white circle.

white circle

Next I used the Cutting Up cartridge for the lettering.  To me it was the most “Dr. Seuss” looking font.  I typed in THING in all caps.  To get the letters to bend in an arc shape, you adjust the angle.  In the advanced tab, you move the angle up or down.  I did that for each letter until I got the arc shape I wanted.

adjusting the lettering

Once the arc was set, I moved the letters onto the white circle.  This way when it is cut out and weeded (unwanted vinyl removed) the black from underneath the white circle would show through. THING lettering

Now add in the number 1.  ONERepeat for the THING 2 shirt.
TWO

The last step (which I forgot to take a picture of) is to flip the wording, in this case you don’t need to flip the circles since it won’t matter which side is which.  You are cutting from the back of iron on vinyl since the film on the front gets placed face DOWN on your mat.  So basically you are cutting from the back of the film.

Now you are ready to cut. I placed a 6″x12″ sheet of black on the left of my mat and white on the right.  Be sure to place the side with the film DOWN on the mat when you cut and that you have flipped your image.

To cut the iron-on vinyl you adjust the blade depth to a 2 and the pressure to a 3.

Once it is cut, weed out all the vinyl you don’t want and then cut the circles apart so you have only 1 to iron onto the shirt.

completed shirt

Here is the finished product!

Brothers

Before my newest addition was born I made the boys brother shirts.  I had searched Etsy for just the right shirt but couldn’t find any that said just what I wanted.  So I went ahead and made my own!  I used iron-on vinyl in the boys colors (yes, this type A mama has colors for each boy.  It keeps me organized and helps the boys tell whose things are what!)

Here is the front-
Here is the back
When Ethan was big enough to fit into his my friends at All Yours Photography took the boys pictures.  Jessica did a great job photoshopping all the boys into one collage (I know you didn’t think they all were smiling, happy, and looking at the camera all in the same frame!)
I cut some extra vinyl for Ethan so that he can still have a brother shirt when he got bigger.  It is about time to get him a shirt and put them all in them again.  Can’t wait to line them up and photograph the backs!

Carnival Birthday Party

Back in August my little guy turned 2.  We had a carnival themed birthday party complete with game booths, a prize table and LOADS of fun.  I recently realized that I never posted the pictures on my blog. So here you go, a glimpse at some of the things I made.

First the carnival booth banners – I used felt and (with the help from an amazing friend) cut the lettering out on my Cricut, traced them, and cut them out.
I love the way they turned out.  And did you notice the bunting along the booths.  So cute and so much fun!  I used an adorable Debbie Mum polka dot fabric that will now be pulled out for all birthdays in our house.
Here is the bunting right after I finished it.  They were simple but took quite a bit of time to make.  Using some cardboard I made a triangle template.   Using my rotary cutter I cut out TONS of triangles.  Then I matched them up and sewed up right sides together.  After turning them I topstitched – I used a zig zag stitch to dress it up a bit.  Then I used bias tape to connect all the triangles.
Next, the birthday boy’s shirt.  I LOVE iron-on vinyl!  Using some scraps I had left over from the boys brother shirts I tried out a double layered design.
Here is another item that will become part of birthday traditions around here.  Can you imagine getting your own special chair decoration on your special day!  Well here is ours.  Ideally I would have liked the lettering a bit larger but I was working with scrap vinyl so this is what I have.  Might just have to make another one and applique the lettering on!