I’m ‘Sew’ excited

For my birthday in March of this year, my wonderful aunt and uncle J+ M sent me a little something in the mail so I might get myself something I really wanted. It took me a while to figure out what I wanted – do I buy clothes, or shoes, or a cute piece of jewellery that in all honesty I’ll hardly ever wear ‘cause I never remember to put jewellery on in the morning? (Think I’m exaggerating? – If you looked at any picture of me I’m most likely wearing the same three pieces of jewellery – a watch, pearl stud earrings, and my right-hand ring. It very rarely changes). In the end I settled on something a little more pedestrian, but hopefully long-lasting. I bought myself this: That’s right – a sewing machine. I’ve wanted one for quite a while. In ancient times when I lived in Ottawa I had custody of my mom’s sewing machine, and I made a few things – some tablecloths, two duvet covers with matching pillow cases, and a lovely roman shade. Years passed, and I moved back to Toronto, and then my parents sold my childhood home(sob!) and moved out west, and my mom took her sewing machine with her.

Since then I rarely thought of sewing, that is until I started reading blogs, and seeing all the lovely things people were whipping up in no time with the help of a sewing machine. Be it table cloths, napkins or curtains, the blogosphere is full of wonderful projects, and I want in on the fun (provided of course that the fun only requires stitching a straight line). Okay – I’ll be honest – I dream of one day actually sewing some window coverings which are sadly lacking in my little abode.

Anyways, I bought my little machine, and then it sat unopened in a corner while I tried to come up with a good first project. Preferably an easy one that wouldn’t take too much time, and only required the sewing of straight lines – it’s been a long time since I used a machine at all, and even longer since my last lessons on how to sew in grade 8 home economics.

Enter a closing Fabricland store having a 50% off sale. In all honesty I went in hopes of finding some fabric to make some curtains for my living room or bedroom, but as usually happens I didn’t find anything that screamed ‘make me into curtains’. I did however find some  lovely tea towel fabric which practically jumped up and ran into my arms.

The beauty of buying tea towel fabric is it’s already hemmed on the sides, which means I only had to do two seams on each towel – perfect for a first project, and also a sewer who is LAZY! They had 4 colours, but the red one had some issues with the dye being all over the fabric instead of in the smart stripes down the sides, so I just bought the green, blue and yellow. I won’t bore you with a step by step how to – suffice it to say I folded over the ends twice, pinned, and then made a valiant attempt at sewing a straight line. I was somewhat successful. As I had bought enough to make 2 towels in each colour, I did that 12 times, and voilà – the finished product. Now that I’ve got my first project under my belt I have to start looking for some more. In the meantime I’ll also have to consider getting an actual pincushion, because while my solution worked, it’s not the most efficient as I’ll eventually need to wear those socks. Hey – maybe I can sew one! Anyone have any good pincushion projects they’d care to share?

Almost Free Bird

Sometime last year I was browsing one of my favorite blogs -’The Art of Doing Stuff‘, when I came across a post where Karen took an inexpensive dollar store ceramic bird and transformed it with a quick spray of paint. I decided right then an there that I was going to do the same if I was ever so lucky to come across a ceramic dollar store bird of my own. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery right?

It took a while, but eventually my local Dollarama had some birds I could try my hand at spraypainting. They had three styles, and when I first saw them I have to admit that I didn’t even remember my plan to copy emulate Karen’s idea. By the time my brain kicked in, all my local Dollaramas were completely sold out of birds, and I had to Google the store to find some locations in the far reaches of suburbia. Okay – it wasn’t that bad – I just had to travel about 30 minutes by bus. That store had one version of the bird left so I scooped him up, and brought him home where he resided wrapped in tissue paper for months. (I need to work on my idea/plan execution – this isn’t the only project that’s languished as I twiddled my thumbs – but that’s a different blog post).

Dollar Store Bird - Before

Anyways, after my successful first two forays (one, two) into the magical world of spray paint I decided to unearth the bird for his transformation.

Three coats of spray paint later, and a little white felt on the bottom and he’s been transformed.

Dollar Store Bird - After

What do you think? As I already had the white spray paint and felt from my bookend project, this little bird project cost a whopping $2.26 (Incl. taxes). Pretty good right? My bird wasn’t as cheap (cheep – Ha!) as Karen’s, but I blame that entirely on Dollarama switching from the everything for $1 pricing model, to a few things for a $1, and most at $2.

Linking to: {Primp}, Addicted 2 Decorating, Coastal Charm, Thrifty Decor Chick, Remodelaholic

DIY Dove Christmas Ornaments

I’m going to let you in on a little secret – I’m having a little trouble getting into the holiday spirit this year. I’m not sure what it is, but I just can’t seem to get really excited about the holiday that is fast approaching. I own a little fake Christmas tree and a selection of ornaments and I fully intended to leave them in my storage locker for the holiday season until last week.

I was flipping through the November issue of Style At Home Magazine when I spotted this:

Style at Home – November 2011 – pg 108

I loved one little aspect of the shot, and my plan to not decorate this year went flying out the window. Can you guess what part of the picture above inspired me? Since it’s a little hard to tell from my scan here it is again:

Style at Home – Nov 2011 – White Dove

Can you see it? It’s the white felt dove Christmas ornament on the top right.

Once I spotted it, I knew I could make something similar, and all thoughts of being a complete Scrooge this Christmas went out the window. While they were a little time-consuming, they are very easy to make.

Here’s what I used:

  • White felt
  • Pearl beads
  • Silver tulle
  • White craft feathers
  • Silver string

    What you’ll need to make the doves

My first step was to find a pattern for a dove. that was easy enough using Google, and with it on my screen I free-handed the shape I wanted. There are three parts to the dove – the body, the wings, and the bottom.

My Dove Template

I cut out my pattern, and then pinned it to my fabric. I cut out two body shapes, two wing shapes and one bottom shape in the felt, and two wings in the tulle.

Once the pieces were cut out I sewed the body together using a blanket stitch and then I stuffed the dove a little with some off cuts from the felt I was using to make my dove more three-dimensional.

Dove Body Sewn Together

Once the bodies were put together I added the wings. I decided to add the piece of tulle over my felt wing to dress it up a little, but you could do it without. The wings are attached to the body with a couple of stitches at the top – this allows them to stand out from the body which I think looks more natural.

Dove with Wings Added

I sewed on two pearl beads to make eyes, but I’m sure you could just use a little dab of glue.

Dove with Pearl eyes

Next, I took the craft feathers and decided on what length I wanted the tail to be. Once that was done I cut them, and then removed a little of the down from the quill to allow me to insert it easily into the dove. I used a little dab of glue to hold the feather in place.

Making the feather tail

My last step was to add the silver string. It turned out my string was too fat for my regular needle, but luckily I happened to have an upholstery needle with a big enough eye. All I did was use the needle to pull the string thought the top of the dove’s body, and then tie a knot in the sting.

Here is the finished product:

My Christmas Dove

Here is what this project cost (everything came from dollar stores):

  • White felt: $0 (I had it on hand from my bookend project)
  • Silver tulle: $1
  • Silver sting: $1
  • Craft Feathers: $1
  • Pearl beads: $1
  • Total Cost: $4 for 6 dove ornaments

I was going to just hang the doves, but I thought there should be something else on my tree, so I came up with what was the easiest project ever – it took about 5 minutes to make 15 ornaments.

What you’ll need:

  • Small mirrors (I used round ones, but they also had squares and ovals)
  • some ribbon or string
  • some glue – I used a glue gun

    Mirror Decoration Parts

All I did was add a little dab of glue on the back of one mirror, stick in both ends of the small piece of string and lastly stick on the second piece of mirror.

Here is what they look like:

Mirror Ornaments

Cost:

  • 2 packages of 15 mirrors: $2
  • Small spool of silver ribbon: $1
  • Total cost: $3 for 15 ornaments

I was going to put all my new ornaments on my regular tree, but on the way home from work today I found a tree branch, so decided to try to replicate my inspiration image a little more.

My Christmas Tree

And here’s a close up of my dove:

Dove Close up

Felt Doves in My Christmas tree

I feel I have to apologize for the pictures in this post – I’m battling two difficulties – It’s now dark here when I leave for work, and when I get home, so there’s no opportunity to take pictures in natural light, and probably more importantly I have no photographic ability. Maybe Santa will be good to me and get me lessons;)

Linked to: The Shabby Nest, Domestically Speaking, Addicted 2 Decorating, Under the table and dreaming, Sumo’s Sweets Stuff, Polish the Stars, Coastal Charm, The Kurtz Corner, Thrifty Decor Chick, The CSI project