Monday, September 27, 2010

Nightmare Before Christmas T-shirt Applique

Another Halloween project--sewing a simple applique on a t-shirt.
It's been fun this year that my little guy is excited for Halloween, and this was a quick 15 min project that made his little day and served as a potty training prize.  Luckily, things are clicking and I hope we'll be done potty training here in a few days!
Anyway, here's our scary shirt to show you!

When I showed him his $3.00 prize he jumped up and down saying: "Cool Halloween shirt!"
I hope people recognize it as the main character from the movie, The Nightmare Before Christmas, because running around in a black skull t-shirt kind of reminded me of Sid from Toy Story.

-black t-shirt
-white fabric scrap
-interfacing: fusible, Heat'N'Bond, stitch witchery, etc.
-thread (white and black)

I sketched the head of Jack Skellington for my applique.

1. Trace template onto interfacing
 I used fusible interfacing because that's what I had on hand.  Heat'N'Bond is double sided that makes it even easier if you have that.
Since my interfacing only had one fusible side, I traced the face on the shiny/ glue side using a black marker.

2. Iron interfacing on white fabric
I used a scrap of white broadcloth.  I iron the interfacing on the highest setting for the fabric without steam.

3. Sew Face Features
Your tracings should show through your white fabric, showing you where to sew.
 Using black thread and a shorter stitch length (1.5) I sewed the mouth and teeth lines with a straight stitch.
For the nostril holes, you could just sew straight lines too.
For my nose holes, I chose to use my zig-zag stitch.  I set the stitch length to almost zero, or the button hole setting.  Then I started with a narrow zig-zag (1) and as I sewed twisted the knob up to stitch width 5 then back down to 1.  It makes a oval shape of thick thread.

4. Cut Out Applique
Cut out the skull and eye holes.
*If you are sewing this on a shirt that isn't black, rather than cut out the eye holes, you can trace and sew black scraps on top of the white skull for the black eyes.

5. Pin and Sew the Applique on Shirt
If you are using Heat'N'Bond, at this point you can peel off the paper backing and iron the applique on the shirt.  You could be finished at that point, but I always sew on appliques for durability.
Since the back of my skull didn't have adhesive, I pinned it on the chest of the t-shirt.
Using a straight stitch and white thread, I first sewed around each eye hole, pretty close to the edge, less than 1/8". 
Next I just sewed the circle perimeter of the skull (1/8" seam allowance) and it was finished!

A quick, cheap, easy, little Halloween project!
Happy Halloween!

Thursday, September 23, 2010


Hop over to Or So She Says for a lot of great ideas.
Today my ABC Flashcards are over there.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Nightmare Before Christmas Painting

Acrylic painting 12x12 on canvas

I recently watched Nightmare Before Christmas and I just love that movie.
Since I've been in Halloween mode lately, it was on the brain.  My little guy wanted to paint, so I grabbed a 12x12 canvas I'd bought at Big Lots a while ago to make a quick simple painting for Halloween decor I guess.
I know it's not really accurate, the end of the movie where Jack and Sally find love in the moonlight, it's actually all covered in snow.  But I wanted it Halloween, so I just made it grayish and kept the pumpkins from the movie cover.

It was pretty quick and fun to paint.   This little man decided he'd rather paint himself than the paper, so we both had a good time for the afternoon.

It was pretty simple:
Just a yellow circle with black/ navy around it.
Then I sketched the gray ground and Jack/ Sally silouettes.

Anyway, just a quick little painting for Halloween!  Right now it sits on my mantle with a few pumpkins.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Grapevine Birdcage: Creepy for Halloween

I know it's a little early, but my son has been really into Halloween lately, kind of his first awareness since he's only 2 1/2.  I don't think he knows what the holiday will actually be, but whenever he sees any Halloween stuff in stores he yells and points.

So I pulled out my few Halloween decorations early.
I had made this birdcage out of grapevines in order to make the tutorial earlier this spring.  It was white, and I didn't have a use for it, but thought it would be fun to change it to creepy rather than cute.

So I spray painted my cage green, but it looked too cute and perfect sparkling green, so I took black spray paint and just did little puffs to darken it up unevenly.
I think it might be best to just leave the raw, brown, stringy grapevine to look like wood, rather than painted.
If I was making it right now, I'd leave the cage unpainted for Halloween I think.  More like a witch's pet or something.
But I didn't know what to put in the cage, something creepy.  I thought about a raven, rat, or a bat.
But then I found this rat-bat with the Beetlejuice tail and thought it was great.
{I bought it in Utah when I recently visited my mom at a wholesale warehouse called Tai Pan Trading.}

So now this nasty creature is hanging kind of above and to the side of the console table as I get the rest of the Halloween decor out.

Holy Stitch Width Batman!

I recently made a little trip home to my parent's house.
While we were there, one afternoon I had to run a zipper over to Lynette at her shop in Provo, UT.
She showed me around, I tried on her latest designs, and I learned quite a lot.

For example, vintage dresses were designed to be altered?
She had one she'd just finished and showed me how they used to sneakily layer the lining to expose the side seams to make altering easy.  Needless to say, Lynette loves when customers bring in vintage dresses.

I learned invisible zippers were invented in the 70s.  She showed me this dress she bought at the thrift store, not because it was cute, but because it was a little piece of history, being so old and having an original invisible zipper.  Must have been cutting edge when it was designed.

The last thing I knew about before-hand and wanted to see. 
Her backup industrial sewing machine is a Singer.
It has a crazy stitch width--10 mm wide.
That's double standard sewing machines, and just looking at the gaping wide hole in the presser foot was crazy.  Too bad she had to get back to work, I'd have liked to sewn something with this bad boy.

I wish I'd taken photos of all the interesting things, but all I have is a photo back when she first opened her shop last winter.
It's great to have a mom and little sister who know so much about sewing to teach me along the way!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Bird Pillow Cover Tutorial

 Remember a while ago, I had a guest post on Ucreate? Well here it is on my blog too in case you missed it.
Many different ideas combined to inspire this pillow.
Here are a few:
The pillows you can purchase here for $124 to $135.
The fabric is from HERE for $14.00 per yard.
So I combined my fabric scraps and designed my own variations of these to make a unique decor pillow.

-pillow form (mine today is 16x16)  I snagged mine for $1.00 at a yard sale!
-main fabric (1/2 yard)
-scraps for applique leaves
-freezer paper (buy next to the tin foil) or freezer paper printable sheets in craft section
-fabric paint
-decorative trim (18 " or half yard)

Monday, September 13, 2010

Mom Feature: Airplane Applique Quilt

This post is featuring a quilt made my mom.
My son loves airplanes, and this is his new bedspread she made him.

Amazing right?
I had been collecting fabrics to make him a little quilt, and she said she'd been planning an airplane quilt too and wanted in on it.  So I just mailed her the fabric I had and we talked about what I had been thinking, and she had ideas of her own.
I sent her old knits to use for the planes, mainly old t-shirts to add texture.
We both envisioned vintage prop planes, and so super bright fabric didn't seem to fit, so my mom actually tea-dyed the knits to mute the colors for a more vintage feel.

The quilt has a lot of different texture, the blue background is a flat sheet, clouds are fleece, and the airplanes are a variety of knits and cottons.
The quilt is backed with a chocolate flat sheet and bound with chocolate corduroy.

Once she decided to make it a full bedspread, she chose to hand quilt this puppy.
I feel bad we live far away now and I wasn't around to go help quilt it.

Anyway, more details of my mom's quilt.
Each plane is an applique she made.  The detail is crazy for such a big quilt and so many planes and different styles.  She went above and beyond what I had planned.
Each of these stars below is an applique--so much detail.
The yellow planes are from that yellow ribbed tank top I've had for a long time, and now something much better!

Another cool feature my mom added was naming the planes in the center panel, which will be on top of the bed. 
Each plane is named after one of my son's family members.

Here's the my mom's (his maternal grandma) plane: Sheila

Mine: (mom) Jessica:

my husband's maternal grandma, so RJ's great-grandma Lilac:

There were other planes, his dad, other grandmas, and this last one is the plane with his name/ initials on it: RJ

Such an amazing quilt designed and created by my mom. 
And like any great work of art, signed and dated by the artist:
The little guy was really excited when he saw the quilt and yelled "Airplane!"
Can't wait to get it on his bed, and I have leftovers of the stripe to make a pillow case to kind of match.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Leap Frog Letter Factory Flash Cards

I've really enjoyed Leap Frog's educational DVDs, mainly the Letter Factory that teach sounds each letter makes .
I've been looking online for flashcards that coordinate with the alphabet characters in the DVD for a while, and couldn't find any, so made some myself.

So far they've been great, and I was actually surprised how many sounds my son knew from watching the DVDs.  I think having the cards with the same clues helps him, and it's nice to review the same clues he's already familiar--not having to watch TV to do so.  It seems like he learns a lot more using the cards, since he has to recall info rather than just watch the DVD, but it's fun to have both that reinforce one another.

My mom gave us the Leap Frog DVDs for his 2nd birthday, but I saw them at Costco for $5.99 the other day.
So if you would like some ABC Flash cards to go with the Leap Frog sound clues, I'm sharing the ones I made!
**Keep in mind I just sketched them so take them for what they are--home made by a non-artist mom.**

Here's links to print your cards:
(I recommend you print them on card stock for durability)
Plain cards so you or your kids can color them:
Or if you don't want to color, save time by using these:

I did try in the sketch to emphasize the actual shape of the letter rather than all the clue crap around them, by drawing the letter in bold marker. 

Here's my add-ons once you've printed them off, colored them if you chose that route, and cut them apart.

1. Backed them with scrapbook paper.
Just cut 4"x4" squares, and used glue sticks to attach them on the backs of the cards.

2. Printed uppercase and lowercase letters on address labels.
I wanted to have just the printed letters on the back, so as he gets better at knowing his sounds, I can easily flip the cards, to test his knowledge of the actual text letters, rather than the cartoon clues.  Eventually just using the text backs when he's learned them all, but having the clues for reminders.
So I just printed them out and stuck them on, you could obviously print letters on regular paper and glue them on too.

4. Laminated for durability
I looked into having these laminated at office stores.  But it is expensive!  $3.00 per square foot, or buy many 8 1/2" x 11" sleeves for $2.00 each.
I found this laminator at Costco for $18.99, and it included 100 laminating sleeves.
So I decided it was worth it to just get the equipment, since one set of cards would have cost around $15.00 anyway.

It's really easy, I used the 4x6" sleeves for these cards.
Just slip in the card, put it in the machine, and it comes out great!

(I did have to trim the extra plastic on the bottoms)

After everything was done, I thought it would have been smart to have used a different, bright plain color on the back of the vowel cards.   Then when he's just practicing with the text letters, those would stand out as different.  It was too late on mine, but maybe an idea as you cut the paper on the back of your cards.
I just bundle the pack with a rubber band to keep them together for now, and they've been great having to wait at doctor's offices, and the post office.  They fit in my purse, so I keep them there and just grab a few while we're waiting.  They're still new and fun right now, so this entertainment may not last as long as I hope.
I also thought it would be a good idea for a gift to give the DVD with a set of these flashcards. 
Anyway, enjoy!


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