Sunday, January 1, 2012

Handmade Christmas 2011

What with everything else that was going on, I was quite late with planning out and getting started on Christmas gifts.

Let's start with little people, shall we?

For my nephews, ages 2 and 8 months, I appliqued matching shirts for them (and neglected to take a picture, so perhaps their mama will help me out.) It was pretty standard - iron Wonder Under on the back of fabric, cut out the design, peel the paper and iron onto the shirt, embroider around to help it stay on. In the interest of full disclosure, I tried machine stitching it on like I usually do but kept getting huge snarls with my thread and I punted!

For my older nephew, I made a train/road/farm play mat. I used various ideas including this farm play mat from The Crafty Cupboard, and this DIY Car Mat Backpack from I Can Teach My Child (though I didn't go with a backpack).

Though I used a large piece of tan felt (from a bolt) for the main backing, the rest of the mat is made from fleece, bias tape, and thread. I find fleece to be more washable than felt, and I am not a fan of the felt squares that are so readily available as they seem to pill and fall apart rather quickly. Anyway, I drew out a basic sketch of what I wanted. Right now, O is a huge fan of trains, but I suspect at some point he may branch out into cars and tractors, too. The first thing I put down was the train tracks, which are made of bias tape stitched down. Next, I cut pieces of felt for the road. I made it (and the tracks) rather wide to accommodate big-ish trains and cars for now, and possibly matchbox cars and the like in the future. I sewed down the middle of the road with black thread to help it stay in place better, then went back and made the center lines by zig-zagging with bright yellow thread.

The farm was super fun to put together, if I do say so myself. The yellowish patch is a field. I took strips of felt and sewed them down the middle, then snipped down the long sides. Yup, I should have taken a closer picture so it makes sense, but I used the haystack in the above farm play mat as inspiration so check that out. The barn is red fleece with white bias tape stitched on for doors, and the fenced pen area is just zig-zagged white thread. The house, tree, and dog house are all fleece. I didn't have a good shade of blue fleece for the pond, so I used a thrifted sweatshirt and hacked a piece out of the arm. All fleece shapes were sewn around the edge with more or less coordinating thread.

I then took a piece of Thomas fabric (much beloved by O - in fact, I wouldn't be surprised if he just used that side to drive his trains on for a while) and added a pocket for trains and cars and whatnot and a fleece O. By the way, it matched the green on the fabric much better before I cut it out and attached it... All along, I intended to add handles so it would fold up and carry a bit easier, so I made sure everything lined up properly. I totally winged the pocket - it's a rectangle of Thomas fabric with elastic at the top and a button and loop closure.

To attach it to the mat, I pinned the handles in place, stitched it to the felt then pinked off the extra Thomas fabric. I ended up getting a serger from hubs (squeeee!) for Christmas and I'd have used that to finish the edges (I think - I haven't learned enough about it yet) if I'd have had it. Except I don't know how that would have worked with the handles...

I went a bit more low key this year for my nieces. The oldest (12) got a case for her phone, of which I didn't take a picture, sigh. There are a bunch of patterns for cell phone cases at Tipnut, though I don't think I really used any of them; more just basic phone dimensions and winging it. (do you see a pattern here for my crafting?) I made a bag of appropriate size with a lining, and put some ribbon at the top. I attached a elastic pony tail holder on one end and a button on the case so it can go on her bag, backpack, or purse strap. I cut her initial out of fleece and stitched it on, then embroidered a peace symbol on the other side. Thankfully hubs pointed out that I forgot to finish it and it was just the Mercedes Benz symbol. (sigh)

The other three (8,7, and 4) got girly spa bags similar to those at Come Together Kids.

I purchased a set of canvas bags and used the above-mentioned Wonder Under method to put their names on, though this time I was able to machine stitch. Note to self, though - it would have worked MUCH better to have stitched the names to a piece of fabric and THEN stitched the fabric to the bag. I did finally figure out that I needed to pin the bottom strap out of the way and pay attention to where the top strap was... I only had to take stitches out once because of that!

I then used fabric in a favorite color (pink is shown - there was another pink and a blue as well) to make smaller bags. As I was making them, I thought how nice it would be to line them with flannel, so I did. And they are nice! One was filled with body stuff like lotion, body wash, lip balm, bath fizzies, a pouf, and an eye pillow. For the eye pillow, I just made a little rectangular bag and filled it with rice then sprayed it with some lavender spray that my sister in law bought me last year.

The nail bags were a trip to put together. I started by making the mat, though I did it a bit differently than the other site. I didn't have any oilcloth (at least I think that's what she described) but I *did* have clear vinyl. I didn't want to be looking at the wrong side of the fabric, nor did I have enough fabric to have two pieces that size.

Enter the thrifted fabric - again. I had several panels that may have been intended for quilting or embroidery or... something, so I used those. I put the fabric wrong sides together and the vinyl on top, and pinned it all together. I then trimmed everything so it was the same size and ran bias tape around the edges and pinned the heck out of that. I stitched the bias tape down then flipped it over and stitched again to make sure that I didn't have any loose edges. It was a pretty long process, but I was pleased with how they turned out. Because of the size of the panels, my mats turned out to be about 19x23".

Also in the bag, I included two or three bottles of nail polish , a bottle of nail polish remover, and a package of cotton rounds. Oh, I guess I didn't mention - the little bags were drawstring, and I didn't want the ribbon to get pulled through so I either stitched buttons on the end or put beads on the ends and tied knots to keep them from sliding off. (Yep, the whole entire process really was that much work.)

Ooh, I almost forgot, I made a hair stuff bag for each girl. I bought some pretty clips and pony tail holders, I made some more tulle pom pom pony tail holders, and I also made some headbands.

Come to find out, my nieces have pretty much collectively chopped their hair off and pony tail holders are on their way out. Oops. So I was glad to have the headbands. I bought a three pack of wide black headbands - one I left plain and hot glued some pretty beads on it. Another I covered with white ribbon (which was a process, whew) and then I strung some flower beads together and glued them on the white. I covered the final headband with blue ribbon, glued a flower on it, and glued a gem in the middle. I've seen them on a head several times already, so I'm overall pretty pleased.

I also freezer paper stenciled some shirts for Goose and her papa. I am quite enamored with this technique because it's pretty easy - and it'll be even easier now that I have a Silhouette craft cutting machine! (another squeee!! Christmas present! It wasn't looking like Hubs was going to come up with a gift for me, so I ordered myself one on ebay using some paypal money I had built up.)

It's a bit hard to see the detail on Goosie's shirt - it's a girly font plus I stitched a little pink bow on the C and used a button as a dot on the i. Papa indulged me by wearing his shirt and matching Goosie at our family dinner on Christmas Day.

My one last homemade gift was a button bracelet for one of my sisters-in-law. I got the idea from this button bracelet, but instead of attaching so many buttons to a chain bracelet, I used jump rings to attach buttons to each other. I put a jump ring through each hole and then attached those rings to each other with another ring. (Not nearly as complicated as it sounds, but no picture, sorry.)

And that pretty well sums it up for this year. Did you make anything fun? I'm thinking I'll link up to Skip To My Lou tomorrow, since it's been a while.

1 comment:

Angela said...

Oh my word, I LOVE all your gifts you made! That play mat is super cute! And I'm a tiny bit jealous you got a Silhouette. :)