Friday, July 26, 2019

Snow Bird pattern revisited

I recently took another look at a pattern I wrote in 2013, Snow Bird. It's a fun, uncomplicated hand sewn ornament. You can comfortably sew it up in one or two afternoons and have a really special handmade gift to give to someone. I like that it has a little Christmas sparkle added by sequins and silver lined seed beads. As I reviewed the pattern, I was inspired to make one, seen in the first photo above. *sigh* My weird wrinkly wrist. I had my arm at a strange angle trying to take the shot and simultaneously be my own hand model. Anyway. The felt colors I used are a mashup of FOTF and Benzie:
Head/wing details: FOTF Orange Red
Wings: FOTF Shrimp
Body: FOTF Lavender Pink
Beak: Benzie Peacock

I used sequins and beads I have in my collection (which are now catastrophically and maybe permanently mixed after I accidentally dropped the container they were sorted in) but also some lovely new sequins that were so kindly sent to me by Benzie Design. They are 4 mm and flat as opposed to the 5 mm cupped ones I usually find at my local craft store, so the smaller size is really nice for small details. They come in some reeeeeally gorgeous colors with coordinating seed beads. In spillproof containers. I'll have to experiment more with those!

As it happens, I've learned a couple things since 2013, so I did a few revisions to the instructions while I was updating the contact information (there's no such thing as my flickr page anymore haha). There was nothing wrong with the original instructions, but I changed them to utilize freezer paper for all the pattern pieces instead of just for the beak. I think that method is quicker and more foolproof when it comes to transferring accurately to felt. I also included a handy template to take the guesswork out of the beak placement.

Do you have your Christmas projects lined up already? Perhaps you need a Snow Bird in that list? You can find the PDF pattern here in my Etsy shop.

Monday, July 15, 2019

baby name banner for Teddy Graham

A blessing in the form of a tiny baby boy will soon be joining my extended family. Theodore Graham will no doubt be super cute just because of his parents, but I'm also crossing my fingers for some curly red hair. Please oh please! See what you can do, Lindsey. :-)

This wool felt teddy bear banner was designed to coordinate with human Teddy's nursery in muted and manly shades of gray, maroon, navy blue, and brown. Since Theodore is quite a long name, I did this banner at half the size I did for the previous two banners. The finished length is just right, I

The banner was constructed basically in the same way as the others, with nice wool felts for the flags, stiffened white acrylic felt for the backings, and grosgrain ribbon. The letters are also backed with the stiffened felt. (It's really inexpensive and can be found in most big craft/hobby stores located near the acrylic craft felts.)

The fun part was making the bears. I designed the two affable fellows at the ends to be spiffed up in fabric bow ties and collars. Their look was a bit trial and error and involved a lot of squinting. (I squint when I test out colors and arrangements. I don't know why.) I could have done them completely as applique, but I wanted them to have some dimension. Their ears and noses are craft store pom poms. The bow ties are two layers of quilting fabric adhered together with Heat n Bond® (a really great iron-on adhesive), which gives the fabric the right amount of stiffness and will prevent the edges from raveling. The eyes and collar are stiffened craft felt.

I designed the whole banner on my Mac first, then output it directly to my old 'bad' batch of Sulky Sticky Fabri-Solvy (see this old post for more on that). As I've mentioned, I'd use even the good stuff for this because it really streamlines the whole process. You just print each flag once on the Sulky and use it four times over to cut the backing, flag, letter backing and letter. It's so easy. Then I used my usual method of glue basting everything together and then sewing it down.

I did attach the ribbon differently this time. I usually thread an entire long piece through the sewn channels on the backs of the flags, space the flags as I like, then secure them in place. It occurred to me that is a waste of good ribbon. So this time I glued on short, measured pieces of ribbon between the flags on the backs, then hot glued the back flaps in place. Tada. It looks the same but uses less ribbon, and it's less frustrating to do. (Unless like a complete numpty you find you've glued the flags in the wrong order and have to puzzle out how to fix this after the flaps were already hot glued down over the ribbon. *loud clearing of throat*)

I did manage to fix that without having to start over, so it's all good. There were some pretty negative comments made about myself to myself, I'm afraid. But all's well that ends well. I'm so pleased with this banner, and I can't wait to welcome little Theo to our family, no matter what color his hair turns out to be. :-)