Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Black I-Spy Quilt -- COMPLETE!

It's done! And I love it! A quilt made from 100% black background I-Spy squares!

I decided to go with a nice bright pop of color for the inner border. And get this -- it's a matching game! For every I-Spy in the border, there is one to match in the center of the quilt! Ha ha, I love it!!

I decided this quilt needed to go to my nephew for Christmas. I ended up taking out a few squares that were originally in the quilt and replaced them with some squares that would be specifically fun for him. Not too much seam ripping -- I only took out four squares on the edges.

The bright turquoise-y blue came from my stash. It's four different prints, all in the same color. I even ended up with exactly enough left over to do the binding.

I backed the quilt with a luscious piece of fuzzy Ultra Cuddle from JoAnn. The color is a perfect match. And, get this -- when I got to the cutting counter there was EXACTLY enough left on the bolt to fit the back. And it was on sale! I even had a leftover piece of batting at home, also the exact size I needed. Serendipity!

All in all, I spent $5 for the backing -- and had everything else on hand. Not too shabby -- especially for a quilt that I absolutely ADORE!!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Angry Birds -- Plush Green, White, Black (and baby pig!)

I'm happy to report that my plush Angry Birds and pigs were a GRAND success on Christmas! My boys were absolutely thrilled!

Here are the patterns for the remaining birds. The basic construction is, of course, the same as the others.

You can find detailed instructions on the post for the original red Angry Bird.
I also have patterns for the blue bird, yellow bird, and pig.

Green Bird -- a.k.a. "the flying backwards guy," as my boys call him!

What you need:
small amounts of the following:
~ green fleece
~ white fleece
~ black fleece
~ orange fleece
~ fiberfill stuffing
~ free-motion foot (optional but highly recommended~)
~ pattern (click here!)

The green bird is constructed just the same as the original red bird, but you construct his beak in two pieces. On the game, the green bird has a bit of yellow under his beak. I meant to applique a small yellow circle to go under his beak, but ended up forgetting.

White Bird
What you need:
small amounts of the following:
~ white fleece
~ tan fleece (for tummy)
~ orange fleece
~ black fleece
~ yellow fleece (for cheeks)
~ fiberfill stuffing
~ free-motion foot (optional but highly recommended!)
~ pattern (click here!)

The white bird is egg-shaped, so the pattern is a little bit different, but it is still constructed the same way. He's a bit trickier in the face. You will note on the pattern that on either side of his face there are two stars marked. You will sew only between the two stars on either side at first. That way you can applique his eyes on before fully constructing his body -- then finish up the seams. I chose to put his tail in the side seam, as you can see, as if he were looking to the side. You could also opt to hand sew it on the back of him instead, if it bugs you to have it on the side.

His beak was tricky -- I really finagled it and pinned like crazy as I sewed it on, so I could get the look I wanted. Luckily fleece is very friendly to work with in that way -- you can make it do just about anything you'd like!

Black Bird -- a.k.a. Bomb Bird!

What you need:
small amounts of the following:
~ black fleece
~ white fleece
~ orange fleece
~ dark grey fleece
~ yellow fleece
~ fiberfill stuffing
~ free-motion foot (optional but highly recommended!)
~ pattern (click here!)

Construct him the same way as the red bird -- with just a little more detail on the face. The larger you go with those four panel balls, the less "roundy" they start looking -- especially dependent upon what kind of fleece you use. This was the less stretchy, almost more felt-like fleece. You could achieve a better, more round look with better fleece!

His beak is constructed in two pieces. First I put together and sewed on the upper beak. Then I constructed the lower beak and (before stuffing it) hand sewed just the top edges to the bottom of the upper beak. Then I stuffed it and sewed it into place on the bird, again with a little finagling to get the look I wanted. I'm especially happy with his beak!

Of course I had to whip up a few eggs -- including golden eggs, of course! There are a few patterns available on the web, and I cannot for the life of me find the one I used!

I ended up adding a crown to my pig to create a king pig. I cut a crown shape from a piece of super heavy interfacing, starting with a 2 3/4" x 8 1/4" rectangle. I folded it and cut four points. I then sewed a yellow fleece "slipcover" for the crown, turned it right side out, stuffed in the interfacing, and hand sewed the bottom opening shut. I sewed the two ends together, then pinned and sewed it in place on piggy's head. I really like how it turned out. I thought about using craft foam or some other shortcut-type material, but really I love having it made from fleece -- since everything else is!

Note: Yes, I know the king pig on the game has the crown more on the side of his head -- but I just like it better like this! :o)

And, last but not least, I couldn't help but create a few baby pigs! They are my very FAVORITE of all the Angry Birds plushies I made -- and they are my boys' favorites too! :o) Here's a pattern (click!) if you'd like to make some baby pigs! He is constructed the same as original pig.

That's it for my whirlwind wrapup of the Angry Pigs plushies! I have LOVED seeing all your Angry Birds creations in my flickr group -- please keep posting photos!


Tuesday, December 21, 2010

What to Make -- Christmas Playing Cards

Today I'm over at Dollar Store Crafts sharing TWO ideas for what to do with Christmas playing cards. Let's face it -- shapey playing cards are super cute, but actually playing a GAME with them? Extremely inconvenient!

Come see what I made with mine, and tell me what you would make with yours!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Angry Birds -- Plush Yellow Bird

Hee hee! I love him!

(He may have "beak reduction" surgery in the near future... I haven't decided yet. If you think his beak is too long, adjust the beak pattern accordingly -- or whack off an inch or so after you put the beak together!)

Instructions are basically the same as the original Angry Bird.
I also have patterns for the Pig and little blue bird.
And now also the green bird, white bird, black bomb bird, and baby pig!

What you need:
small amounts of the following:
~ yellow fleece
~ white fleece
~ black fleece
~ orange fleece
~ fiberfill stuffing
~ free-motion foot (optional but highly recommended!)
~ pattern (click here!)

QUICK rundown:
applique the eyes and eyebrows
sew one triangle to each side of face
make head feathers and tail
insert head feathers in tail in back seam when you sew it up
sew bottom triangle on, leaving a small opening for turning and stuffing
turn and stuff
sew up hole
make beak
sew on beak

White bird just needs a beak -- and I've run out of fiberfill stuffing. Looks like I have to hit the store before I can finish the black and green birdies! :o)

Friday, December 17, 2010

I-Spy Squares WINNER

WOW, thank you for all the interest in my giveaway! There are so many people interested in I-Spy! :o)

I've picked a winner....

I'll be emailing you shortly, Captain Sharmie! Congratulations!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Angry Birds -- Plush Pig! (and blue bird!)

Look who's here!!

The plush Angry Birds pig, in all his glory...
...looking slightly dimwitted, as he should!

(Also see my patterns for the original (red) Angry Bird and the Yellow Bird! And now also the green bird, white bird, black bomb bird, and baby pig!)

I confess this tutorial may be ever-so-slightly sketchy, which is not my favorite way to do things. But. At least I can get this posted with (hopefully) enough time for you to make one before Christmas -- and with enough time left over for ME to work on my other Christmas items!!

What you need:
small amounts of the following:
~ green fleece
~ slightly lighter green fleece (for snout)
~ white fleece
~ black fleece
~ fiberfill stuffing
~ free-motion foot (optional but highly recommended!)
~ pattern (click here!)

Throughout my instructions I am going to assume you've already made the original Angry Bird -- and therefore can follow along. The basic concept is the same!

STEP ONE: Cut four body pieces, two of each ear pattern, two eye pieces, and one each of the snout pieces. Applique the pupils and insides of the ears using your free-motion or regular sewing foot. Sewing from the back is very helpful, so you can see what you are doing!

STEP TWO: Eyes! Take a running stitch around the eye, 1/4" from the edge.

Begin drawing it up tight by pulling the tail of your thread. Leave just enough room to stuff it full of fiberfill.

Pull it tight and tie a firm knot. Leave that thread tail and needle attached for when you sew it to piggy's body!
Repeat for second eye.

STEP THREE: Snout! Applique the nostrils onto snout piece 1. I just layer a scrap of black fleece on the front...

...then flip it over and sew from the back. Again, an easy way to get the placement right!

Trim away the excess fleece and you have perfect nostrils!

STEP FOUR: Layer your snout piece 2 on top of piece 1, lining up the seam allowances. You are starting at the BOTTOM of snout piece 1.

Sew all the way around with a 1/4" seam allowance, matching the edges of the pieces as you go, and stopping when you get back around to your starting point.

This is what you'll have.

Lay your snout piece 2 pieces right sides together, as shown, and sew straight down from the meeting point at the top.

Trim away the excess from that final seam and flip it right side out. You have a piggie snout!

Hee hee!

Applique one eyebrow onto each of two body pieces. Make sure you mirror the first eyebrow so they'll look right. Sew the two front pieces together, and the two back pieces together. When I sewed the front to the back I opted to sew the ears in place with a scant 1/4" seam allowance rather than pinning -- it seemed to work so much better with all those thick seams.

Sew the front to the back, leaving a hole for turning and stuffing. Stuff him, sew the opening shut, and attach his eyes and snout by hand. Done!!

Feel free to add a mouth, crown, mustache, or whatever else you like to your pigs to make your favorite characters!

(The pattern for this little blue Angry Bird is also included in the pig pattern. The concept is just the same as the original Angry Bird -- just do the pink circles under his eyes first!)

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

On Hand By Hand

Come check out my sister-in-law Sarah's brand spanking new Etsy shop. She is a creative genius, and right now is specializing in handmade puppets. These are adorable, high quality little guys!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Giveaway Day -- I-Spy Squares! (CLOSED)

Giveaway is now CLOSED

It's that time again! Giveaway Day with Sew, Mama, Sew!

WELCOME to anyone who has never visited before -- I'm so happy to have you!

Today I am giving away a stack of 88 4" I-Spy squares -- enough to make an I-Spy quilt for yourself or someone you love!
These are FUN I-Spies -- no garbage here!
Maybe I can convince more people to become addicted to I-Spy?

Here is just a sampling of what is included!

All you need to do is leave a comment, including your email address -- that's it! I will pick a random winner on the morning of Friday December 17th. I will ship anywhere -- giveaway open to everyone!!

Don't forget to check out the master lists of other blogs hosting giveaways
at Sew, Mama, Sew!

Have fun, and good luck!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Angry Birds -- Ornaments!

(Thanks for all the love for my plush Angry Birds!!)

Today's Dollar Store Craft is just KILLING me!! With a small amount of paint and a few scraps of felt, you can transform plain ball ornaments into a FANTASTIC group of Angry Birds!

I got my supplies at the dollar store. I searched out the entire store for some PLASTIC ornaments, knowing full well that these birds and pigs would not be staying on the tree. :o) This year, the only plastic ornaments to be found were strung on a garland. You can get a garland with all red ornaments, but I chose this one so I could get a couple green ornaments -- for pigs, of course!

The dollar store acrylic paints will do the job, with some patience. I admit, though -- the white and yellow require numerous coats in order to get the coverage you need. I finally gave up and bought some "real" acrylic craft paints in white and orange at the craft store for about $1 apiece. The green and black from the dollar store acrylics worked just fine, though!

Let's start with one small bit of information: I am NOT a craft painter! Feel free to mock my craft painting skillz! :o)

STEP ONE: You will paint your birds in three steps -- first white, then orange, then black. Allow the paint to dry between colors.

You will do the same for the pigs.

(Side note: Look how perfect the top of the ornament would be for a king pig -- just pop it off and turn it upside down!)

STEP TWO: Cut scraps of felt, as shown, to create their hats. Don't stress about this -- just wing it! You don't need a pattern!

STEP THREE: Do a quick running stitch to attach the white trim. (I used red thread so you can see my stitches.) Tie a knot, but don't cut your thread yet.

STEP FOUR: Whipstitch the sides of the hat together. It doesn't have to be pretty -- these stitches will be (mostly) hidden. Knot and clip your thread.

STEP FIVE: Take a running stitch all the way around your small circle. You will then place a small scrap of felt in the center and pull the stitches tight, creating a little ball.
**If you have small pompoms on hand, use them instead!**

STEP SIX: Attach the ball to the end of the hat and knot and clip your thread. Then fold the end of the hat down. Take a few stitches to hold the fold in place, as shown.

STEP SEVEN: Loop an ornament hanger through the top of your ornament.

Thread the hat onto the ornament hook, poking the wire through the top of the hat, and curve the wire. You're ready to hang your cute Angry Bird on your tree!

The garland ornaments don't have a hole in the top, so you just have to remove the top and hook an ornament hanger underneath, twisting it together at the top. Then pop it back on your ornament and place the hat on.

Hee hee! They're so crabby! :o)

Won't they be perfect for a desktop tree at the office?
You can make all your co-workers so jealous!

My pigs and birds stayed on the tree for about .5 seconds after I took photos... and now they are off having adventures with my kids. :o) Good thing I sought out the plastic ornaments!!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Angry Birds -- Plush!

This is my Top Secret Christmas Project!

My boys (husband included, but especially the boys!) are obsessed with the game Angry Birds. They like the game, but they really like to play a real life version they invented, where they chuck objects at each other. (Don't worry! They use safe projectiles for this!) I want to make their game a little more fun for them, so I am creating some Angry Birds and pigs for them to play with!

Again, this is a secret, so it has not been easy to put together a tutorial. I would wait until after Christmas, but... Maybe you want to add them to your secret project list, too?

Update: I now have patterns for the Pig and little blue bird, and for the yellow bird!
And now also the green bird, white bird, black bomb bird, and baby pig!

What you need:
small amounts of the following:
~ red fleece
~ black fleece
~ white fleece
~ orange fleece
~ fiberfill stuffing
~ free-motion foot (optional but highly recommended!)
~ pattern (click here!)

STEP ONE: Cut out 4 body pieces (in the file it has a face drawn on it) in red, a rectangle of white approximately the same size as the red pieces (shown above), a 2"x3" rectangle of black, one of each of the beak patterns in orange, and some scraps to use for creating the feathers for the top of his head. The pattern piece on top of the white and red is the belly of the bird.
NOTE: You want the stretchiest direction of the fleece to go left-to-right!

STEP TWO: Cut out the white belly portion of the pattern so you can mark where it goes on the one red panel that will have all his features. On the wrong side of the panel, mark the line. I used chalk, but you could also use pencil or a "disappering ink" marker.

STEP THREE: Layer the panel on top of your white rectangle. BOTH LAYERS should be right side DOWN -- with the marked line showing on top. Sew directly on the line. I used my free-motion foot for this, for speed's sake and to avoid having to lift the presser foot and turn the fabric.

STEP FOUR: "Draw" on the eyes -- still working from the wrong side! Working from the back will make it easy for you to see your previous stitching lines and place the features accordingly. Again, I used my free-motion foot, but you could do this with a regular foot.

STEP FIVE: Trim away the excess white fleece to reveal your bird's eyes and white belly.

STEP SIX: Layer your black rectangle over the top of your bird's eyes. Be sure there is sufficient area to create his pupils and eyebrows.

STEP SEVEN: Flip it over and "draw" sew his pupils and eyebrows! He's looking ticked off now!

STEP EIGHT: Trim the lower half of your white fleece to match the red, then trim away the excess red, as shown.

STEP NINE: Trim away the excess black fleece to reveal his eyebrows and pupils. Hee hee! I love it!

STEP TEN: Create the feathers for the top of his head. REMEMBER: The lines on the feather pattern piece are your SEWING lines, and NOT your cutting lines! I used some small scraps of red fleece and free-motion sewed directly around the pattern piece.

Cut around your sewn lines, remembering to clip almost all the way to your sewing line between the feathers, and turn it right side out.

STEP ELEVEN: Layer one of your red panels directly on top of your bird's face, right sides together. Sew down the right hand side of the pieces, using a 3/8" seam allowance.

Repeat for the other two panels. Your bird is now put together in two halves.

STEP TWELVE: Center your feather piece over the seam on the "face" half of your bird, raw edges together, with the bigger feather on the left, and pin it in place.

STEP THIRTEEN: Go around to the bottom half of your ball and layer the two halves right sides together with the seams matching. Pin if you like. (I didn't! Lazy!)

Start sewing a few inches behind the matched seams (so the opening for stuffing will be on the back of the bird, not right by his face), and sew almost all the way around, leaving a few inches for turning and stuffing.

STEP FOURTEEN: The beak! Match your two beak pieces together on one edge, with the smaller piece on top, and sew with 1/4" seam allowance. Stop with the needle DOWN, 1/4" before the point of the beak.

Lift your presser foot, turn the beak, and shift the smaller beak piece over until the sides match, as shown. Lower your presser foot and continue sewing to the end. Turn the beak right side out and stuff it.

STEP FIFTEEN: Sew on the beak! If you like, you can use four pins to hold the beak in place after you line it up the way you like it. The smaller portion of the beak is the bottom, and the larger portion is the top.

Turn the edges of the beak under as you go, and sew the beak in place. I like to match up the seam of the beak to the line where his white tummy starts.

The red angry birds do have a little black tail, which I chose to omit. If yours must have a tail, you can certainly sew a little tail using the same method as the head feathers, and attach it the same way as the beak. I suppose I may go back and add tails to mine!

Ta-Da!! They are so very angry -- and CUTE!
Here are a couple of my red birds with a little blue one. I do plan on making all the different "breeds." The method is the same, with slightly different facial features. Of course there are some egg-shaped birds, and that pyramid-shaped yellow bird -- which will require a different basic pattern. But they are in the works! If anyone is interested in patterns for the other birds -- or the PIGS, which I am in the middle of creating -- let me know!

And PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE post pictures to my flickr group if you make these little guys!! I wanna seeeeeeee! :o)

(Update: I've now created some Angry Birds Christmas ornaments -- check them out here!)