tree skirt collection 2014

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I’ve wanted to try my hand and designing and making Christmas tree skirts for the past couple of years. This year, I was determined to make it happen. The stocking collection last year honestly had some pretty dismal sales. It did lousy on etsy, lousy in the local boutique and lousy at the markets. I’m still trying to figure that one out, but I’m crossing my fingers the tree skirts hit the big time…well sort of.

All of these skirts measure roughly 48 inches in diameter and are made from red felt. They have a velcro closure down the back/middle. Due to the mix of materials, they cannot be machine washed.

Here’s the details on each one.

The Poinsettia
2014 holiday tree skirt poinsettia version. Hand beaded.

This one is a mix of red, maroon and white felt flowers. The flowers are all machine stitched down and then it is hand beaded for that extra accent.

2014 holiday tree skirt poinsettia version. Hand beaded.

Scandinavian-Mod Ornaments

Harking back to my Norwegian roots I came up with this one based on a vintage skirt that I saw posted on flickr that was merely printed on cotton.

Vintage ornaments skirt

This one has a fun white pom pom trim around the scalloped edge and then felt ornaments are strung with colored ric rac all around the skirt. This skirt is machine sewn all the way around.

Snowflakes

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The last skirt has a beautiful satin snowflake trim along the edge that is machine sewn for durability and then snowflakes and vintage buttons are hand stitched all around the middle for that extra pop.

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I love the simplicity of this skirt and I really think the vintage buttons were the best finishing touch.

You can find all of these skirts in my etsy shop (along with the said stockings and other holiday goodies) now until the end of November. I have limited spots available and the skirts are made to order with about a 2 week turn around.

tutorial {mini buckle mat}

One of my biggest sellers this year has been my preschool/toddler buckle mats. I’ve lost count on how many I’ve made, but it was all started via a request from a friend. Truly, people coming to me with their custom orders is why I love doing what I do.

Buckle matAt the zoo

While these larger mats are made to order, at one point I decided to make a smaller version to sell at markets. These are much quicker to put together and a great beginner project for learning how to make a great quiet activity for a child.

buckle tutorial cover

One of my goals in the next year is to start writing more tutorials and patterns…so here goes! A tutorial for making your own pint size buckle mat and I spy toy.

SUPPLIES

Mini buckle Mat tutorial

cotton fabric for the top
stiff felt for the middle (regular felt can also be used for softer mat or a thin cotton batting)
regular craft felt for the back
cotton scrap fabric for the straps
small piece of vinyl
1/8 cup of poly pellets (which I just discovered you can buy a small bag of at JoAnns)
small jewels, buttons and/or beads for the I Spy game
2 side release parachute buckles
a 4 inch circle template

Cutting directions

Mini buckle Mat tutorial
Cut your cotton fabric, stiff felt and felt back into 6 1/2 by 6 1/2 inch squares.

For the straps, cut two of each coordinating fabric into 5 1/2 long by 4 inch wide strips.

Making the straps

Mini buckle Mat tutorial
Take your strap pieces and lay them wrong side up on your ironing board.

Mini buckle Mat tutorial
Fold them in half, wrong sides facing and press.

Mini buckle Mat tutorial
Open them back up again, and fold each long end towards the middle and press.

Mini buckle Mat tutorial
Fold in half again and press and repeat with the remaining straps.

Mini buckle Mat tutorial
Take them to your machine and using a 1/4 inch seam, stitch down the long end of the strap.

Mini buckle Mat tutorial
Flip it over and repeat on the other side. Then repeat with the remaining 3.

Attaching the straps

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Pin the straps in place onto the cotton piece and baste these to the sides of your square.

Making the I Spy Mat

Take your 4 inch circle template and cut out a piece of vinyl for the back. Just a hint…don’t put a pin through the pattern or the vinyl because it will put a hole in your vinyl. Just hold the pattern and do your best to cut around it.

Mini buckle Mat tutorial
Go to your machine and stitch around the circle with a 1/4 inch seam, being careful not to pull too tightly on the felt as you go around the circle.

Mini buckle Mat tutorial
Make sure to leave a roughly 2 inch opening to fill!!

Mini buckle Mat tutorial
Now you are ready to fill with your poly pellets, charms, beads, sequins, buttons etc.

Mini buckle Mat tutorial
Go back to your machine and starting at the opening, stitch the opening closed and stitch a second time around the circle on top of your original seam. I like to do this for aesthetics and also because it gives an extra line of stitching for safety.

Mini buckle Mat tutorial
Now you want to baste your felt piece to the piece of stiff felt. If you are using batting or regular felt, I still suggest basting this piece, but it’s not as necessary.

Putting the square together

Mini buckle Mat tutorial
Now you are ready to sew your squares together. Make a sandwich using the basted I spy mat and the cotton piece with wrong sides together. You want your I Spy mat and your straps facing out.

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Sew a roughly 1/2 inch seam around the sides two times. Again, I like this extra line of stitching for looks, but also to give an extra measure of strength for the straps.

Mini buckle Mat tutorial
Because my squares never come out just perfect due to pulling etc, I take my rotary cutter and cut about 1/4 inch off on the sides to even them all out and straighten them up.

Adding the buckles

Mini buckle Mat tutorial
Now you are ready to add the buckles. Make sure they are put together and slide the ends of the straps through the ends of the buckles. Pull the straps to make sure that the buckles are even in the center of your mat.

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Fold the ends of the straps under and pin in place.

Mini buckle Mat tutorial
Open the buckles up and take it to your machine and sew in the middle of the fold. Make sure to do a lock stitch (stopping and starting at the beginning and end) or tie your threads before you snip them.

You Made It!!!

Mini buckle Mat tutorial
Check to make sure all your loose threads are tied and snipped. Pass it to your nearest toddler and proclaim victory!

**please respect that this is my design and share only with a link to this original tutorial and please give credit where credit is due. Also remember that this is a toy with tiny parts and while even the best sewers will tie up all their loose ends, children who are at the age of putting things in their mouths do not need to play with this unattended.** Thanks!!! ~ aimee

a few pattern reviews…

I went into vacation mode on etsy this past weekend which meant I went into sewing-like-mad mode this week. I had 3 days with the kids left in school to get a whole host of secret projects completed. I’m on day 3 right now and it’s looking grim that project 4 will get finished today…I digress.

Here’s a wrap up of this week’s projects so far and some pattern reviews to boot.

First up was a holiday/winter skirt for the chick. It’s the skirt part of the Gracie pattern by Portabellopixie.

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The pattern I’ve had in my stash before and I’ve made this particular skirt before and a couple of the dress versions too. Overall it’s a super easy pattern to follow. The pictures and directions are well done and easy enough for a seasoned beginner.

I tried something different this go around with making the gathers. I don’t have a ruffle foot so I’m always trying these tactics I see around the web for making perfect gathers. Alas, I’m still struggling.

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This time I took some cotton pearl thread that I had and sewed a zig zag stitch on top of it and pulled it to make the gathers. Actually I did prefer this method, until I put it on my serger to sew it and it all fell apart. For the second layer I attempted to do this again and instead of going straight to the serger I decided to sew a basting stitch on top of the gathers and then serge it. That helped some, but it still wasn’t perfect. For the top layer I just went back to sewing a basting stitch and pulling it. I do think for really long strips of ruffles I would totally do the string and zig zag because you don’t have to worry about your basting threads stripping out.

Here’s the finished skirt:

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The next project was a kindle case for the chick’s Christmas gift. I followed this tutorial on Riley Blake’s site and it was pretty darn simple.

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I used some zebra corduroy I had in my stash and some purple cotton for the inside. The button closure was from my stash of vintage buttons and it makes the whole case awesome. It did turn out just a little bit wider than I would have preferred. I would have rather had a more snug fit, but that’s something that could easily be rectified if I decided to make another case later. And honestly this is such a simple tutorial that even a young beginner could put it together with a little guidance.

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Yesterday I put the pedal to the metal and finished a pair of pajamas for the chick’s birthday. Today is pajama day and I knew she would want to wear them to school if I could get them done. The pattern was Oliver and S’ Sleepover pajamas. I’ve had this one marked for a while and bought it over Thanksgiving. I love it mostly because it’s pretty versatile as far as boys v. girls etc.

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The fabric is a flannel from Joanns that I bought like 6 yards of a while back. Some of it I used for the chick’s woodland party and then I knew I would do some pajamas out of it too. It’s super cute and they scored big with this print.

Oliver + S sleepover pjs

I love Oliver + S and Liesl writes what I think are truly the best patterns out there. I’ve grown as a seamstress and garment maker mostly because of how she puts a garment together. This is a very easy to read and follow pattern and honestly they go together really well. There were a few moments where I had to reread the directions and figure out how she was wanting the seams to be, but so much of that could be because I’m so rusty with garment making lately.

Oliver + S sleepover pjs

This is the first time I’ve done buttonholes on my new machine and man oh man; those buttonholes were well worth the debt I’m still paying off for it. Dang they are lovely.

My only complaint about this pattern is the sizing is way off. I did make a size up just because I would rather make them too big than too small. But I had to cut off like 5 inches on the length of the pants and they were still crazy long and my chick isn’t really that short. The same thing with the sleeves. They were crazy long. I could have totally gotten away with making a 6 instead of a 7. There was that much of a difference in sizing. But who cares…because they are totally cute and now she can wear them for longer anyhow!!

gifting time

It’s about this time of year that my list making goes into hyperdrive. Between the holiday markets I am doing for daisyeyes handmade, there is Christmas and before that my daughter’s birthday. My one and only goal this year with all the gift giving is to be insanely intentional and simple.

That said, my first gift purchase was for my daughter’s birthday. She is a tough one to buy for because her attention span is like nil. But, she does love animals and knowing and pondering the toys that she always tends to gravitate to helped me solidify this years major birthday investment. We are doing a woodland themed party and in the spirit of that theme I found the most amazing seller on etsy so I just had to share!

My girl loves to play with little animals, especially those by schleich. We have a fair amount of them floating around our house, but she didn’t really have anything to play with them on. I started researching some play mats and came across the shop SooSun on etsy.  She created the most amazing play mat and felted animals that I’ve ever seen!

Here is the mat and set in it’s entirety. It measures about 16×23 and honestly is the perfect size.

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We specifically asked for a family of badgers, some hedgehogs, a duo of foxes and owls for the tree. She gifted us with some little ducks for the pond. :)

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Then came something even better! My daughter and I recently finished up reading The Wind in the Willows. I realized that it would be so fun to have Mr. Toad, River Rat and Mr. Mole to play with her set. I couldn’t find a set anywhere, so I decided to go back to this shop and ask if she could make up a set for us. And she did! Aren’t they the cutest!

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Here’s hoping for many years of fun to come and an amazing gift to pass on from generation to the next. And check her out!

And as a teaser…check back in the weeks to come as I plan for this little woodland event!

introducing…

buckletoy announcement

featuring:
soft flannel front and felt back
a variety of buckles and clasps including:
2 differing sizes of side pinch clasps
magnetic clasp
overall buckle

and an I Spy window on the back filled with letters and sparkles.

Available to pre-order September 2013 in the shop.

a little chemistry experiment

A while back I was spending some time “etsy-gazing” and came across this amazing embroiderer who had taken a photograph, printed it on fabric and them embellished it with embroidery. It was the coolest thing and I added it to my long list of “things I want to try.”

I looked into the materials needed to try this out and finally had a chance to order them and tried them out this weekend. I was pretty hesitant to try something like this and just kept crossing my fingers that it would work!

printing on fabric experiement

I ordered the solutions from dharma trading company after doing a little research online. They aren’t cheap and honestly you use a ton of the Bubble Jet Set. One thing I did learn is that if I’m going to keep on doing this, it’s best to do a fairly large size lot of items instead of just a couple to make it really worthwhile. I digress.

Overall it was pretty simple. After cutting your fabric (I used 100 percent cotton muslin) to a little smaller than a sheet of paper, you pour the Bubble Jet Set 2000 into a container and and let the fabric soak for 5 minutes. After soaking, you take it out and let it hang dry. After it dries, you iron freezer paper onto the back side of the fabric and then load it into your printer. Then, after printing let it sit for at least 30 minutes before you wash it in the Rinse. Let it hang dry again and then peel off the freezer paper and voila!

printing on fabric experiment

I made labels to stitch onto the backs of my embroideries and then printed a couple of photos I am planning on embroidering onto. Easy peasy!

A facebook fan asked me about the washability of these after printing and I don’t know. I wasn’t planning on using these labels for items that would be washed, but it’s something that I plan on looking into.

I call this first chemistry experiment a success!! Now on to tie-dying a few shirts for the kiddos…

happy fourth of july!!

So, yesterday I decided that I needed to do a craft project. No worries about the fact that we were hosting 20 plus people for a block party that night. No, I needed to make a wreath.

Fourth of July wreath and front door

Here’s a glimpse at my festive front door! The pennant banner was out of my stock of these felt fourth of July banners that have been a hit in the shop! I’ve had these listed in more treasuries than I could have ever imagined. All I need now is some little flags for my pots on the front porch.

The wreath was the result of a huge stash of felt scraps I have hanging around my house!

Fourth of July wreath and front door

I wrapped a wreath form with strips of red and blue felt. Then I used my fun little Sizzix cutter to cut out some white flowers and then added some blue and red hand cut ones to top it off.

Fourth of July wreath and front door

The stars were out of my stash of Sizzix stars that were too small for my banners.

All in all, I’m crazy excited about it. I think it turned out so cute and can’t wait to make some more festive wreaths.

Happy Fourth everyone!