Friday, April 26, 2013

Tip-toe through the tulips with me...

 I made up a tutorial for this basket of tulips I am taking to the CreativFestival in Toronto tomorrow.
But, I am also sharing it here, adding some (hopefully helpful) photos. 
These are a nice project to do with kids. They are not hard to do, use up fabric scraps, don't take forever, and introduce some cool sewing concepts.
I can see a nice bouquet for Mom or Grandma for Mother's Day. You can download the patterns from here:
The patterns should print out in actual size. Make sure your printer is set to "no scaling."

Gathered at the bottom
Fabric for the blooms
Fabric for leaves
Small dowels or wooden skewers
Embroidery floss
Fiber fill
Paint to match leaves
Paint brush

How to:
Fold the material for the leaves in half, right sides together. Place a piece of thin batting, underneath the leaf fabric. Trace the leaf pattern on the top of this fabric sandwich. Pin all the layers together. Using a small stitch length, sew along the traced outline. Cut out, adding ¼ inch seam around the stitching. Clip all curves, turn right side out. Press.
Using embroidery floss, sew a line of running stitches up the centre of each leaf. Pull gently to create a natural looking curve, but do not gather the leaves tightly.
Paint skewers to match the green leaves. Allow to dry.

Glue in the skewer
For the tulip buds, cut out petal shapes from the pattern provided, adding a ¼ inch seam allowance. Sew three petals together, starting at the point indicated. Clip curves, turn right side out. Turn under a ¼ inch hem, press. Run a line of gathering stitches at the hem. Fill bud with fiber fill, pull up gathering stitches, but do not knot. Dab the end of skewer in glue and insert into bottom of the bud. Now, pull gathers tightly. Allow the glue to dry slightly and pull the gathers tightly against the skewer. Tie off. Allow the glue to dry.

For tulip blooms, cut out the rectangle pattern, adding ¼ seam allowance. Turn under ¼ inch hem along the long sides. Press.
With right sides together, join the short ends, using a ¼ inch seam allowance.
Turn right side out.
Run a line of gathering stitches along the bottom of the bloom hem. Dab the end of skewer in glue and insert into bottom of the bud. Now, pull gathers tightly. Allow the glue to dry slightly and pull the gathers tightly against the skewer. Tie off. Allow the glue to dry.
Tack tops together
Fill with fiber fill. You want plump blooms that have body, but don't make them too firm. It's harder to finish the flower if you do.
Tack one long side the adjacent side, pulling tightly. Add a few tacking stitches. On the opposite side, repeat the  tacking stitches, pushing down the fiber fill if necessary. Finger press to form neat points. 
Run a line of glue along the skewer, attach the leaves by folding them in half over the skewer. Use a clothes pin to keep the leaf folded around the skewer if necessary. Allow to dry.

The tulips can be displayed in a basket, a vase or even a re-purposed canning jar. I did a mixture of buds and blooms -- just to make the bouquet interesting. Mine are displayed in a small basket with a bit of dry floral oasis hot glued to the bottom.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Finishing up before the Festival

Finished roos!
I have managed to finish a number of things in the past couple of weeks. The kangaroos are finished, faces blushing, eyes painted on and the baby's hair bow and heart in place
Then, I made a basket of fabric tulips. I found a tutorial on how to make them, but it is not in English, and though fairly straight forward, I elected to re-draft the patterns to make them easier. I also added a few touches of my own -- I do that with alarming frequency.
This basket of flowers will be coming with me to the CreativFestival this weekend in Toronto, where I will be showing folks how to do a piece of wall art framed in a fabric hoop.
Last weekend, I went to Ottawa to visit my cousins. I made them some little change purses. They got rave reviews, and made me appear terribly clever. I made them small because they are all hikers and walkers. These little purses are small enough to slip into a pocket and could contain enough cash to pay for a little treat like a coffee or an ice cream cone -- a reward for putting in the time to hike.
Now, I am off to finish packing up for the festival. Photos to come!
Have a great week, y'all!
Sewing the tulip blossoms in a chain

Fabric tulip in a basket to welcome Spring

Purses for the cousins' coins

Friday, April 12, 2013

Literally, just limping along...

Birthday purses for some old friends
A couple of weeks ago, I sprained my ankle. It hurt quite a bit. So much that I voluntarily went to the doctor. I even had an x-ray to make sure it was not broken. All this got in the way of my creative pursuits and writing blog posts.
Turns out it isn't a difficult as one might think to sprain an ankle when there are little piles of frozen snow in the driveway, strategically frozen in just the right place to step and twist upon on the way into the car. On the morning I did it, I sort of fell into the car after the slip and twist event. It was not graceful, but at least I was in the car. It didn't even hurt right away.
The pain emerged at the grocery store, and was horrible on the drive home because I had sprained the foot that does all the pedal business involved in driving.
We have had some freaky weather lately, freezing, thawing, snow, rain, freezing and more thawing. Despite all best efforts, there was bound to be some snow and ice to trip me up. And so, I was forced to prop up my foot and ice it down -- 20 minutes at a time all day long. At one point, Sandra came over to visit and brought me some fabric with Russian dolls all over it. This brought great joy, and as usual, Sandra herself cheered me up and swept away my grumpy mood immediately.
During this foot propping, iced-over sprained ankle adventure, I was able to do a lot of armchair projects.
First up, are some linen/cotton coin purses, made for girlfriends I have known since childhood. We got together to celebrate our birthdays, so I was able to limp in to the restaurant bearing handmade gifts.
I also finished three ornament designs for A Needle Pulling Thread Magazine's Festive issue, which is due out in August/September of this year. (This is now available in digital format now through Zinio and Apple Newsstand) I can't post a photo yet, but the ornaments I designed are inspired by vintage gift tags. They are embroideries in retro colours, mounted in four-inch embroidery hoops. They can be used as package toppers, gift tags or tree decorations. I had a blast doing them, and I hope the readers like them too.
Then, I fulfilled a long time desire and made a Tilda Kangaroo. This pattern was featured in Australian Homespun Magazine in 2008. The stuffing and construction was just the kind of project I needed to keep me busy and occupied while I waited for the ankle to start feeling better.
The kangaroos are now awaiting their face painting and final touches, and my ankle is less painful now. I found I could even do some sewing at the machine yesterday. Next up: walking outside. But, not today, we have had freezing rain again last night. I think I will keep the ice on my ankle -- not under foot.
 Have a lovely weekend everyone!