Monday, November 23, 2015

Bright & Colorful Busy Mat

When a friend contacted me to make a custom busy mat for her daughter, the first thing she requested was bright, bold colors.  I'm so happy she did because this turned out to be one of my favorite projects! I even found fabric to match the colors on the mat, and the fabric has silver sparkles for an extra bit of fun!

This mat is also one of my favorite projects because it incorporates so many activities all in one toy! It has FIVE activities on the inside and a zippered pocket on the back to store the lose pieces.  I love how *busy* this busy mat is and I hope it keeps its new owner happy and entertained during her travels!


*Safety note about the shoe lacing activity - if you make one for your child, sew the laces down to prevent them from coming undone and becoming a potential hazard*

Close up of the pretty sparkles!

Sunday, November 8, 2015

No-Sew Felt Christmas Tree Tutorial

Download the pattern for the ornaments and the star here!

There's a picture that's been circulating around Facebook for a few weeks of a felt Christmas tree, and I've had a lot of friends share it with me since I clearly love everything felt :)  I decided to make a pattern and write a tutorial for this since it's an easy, no-sew craft! The picture being shared on Facebook originally came from this post by Rachel over at Sol and Rachel do a Blog, so make sure you check out that post to see more pictures of her adorable tree!

I wanted to make this for Rhys last year, but he was way too young and out of control to enjoy it then.  He would have had more fun tearing the tree down than decorating it, but I think he'll really enjoy it this year!  If you have a spirited toddler like mine, they will definitely be able to pull this off the wall if they want to, so keep that in mind before you pull your hair out having to re-attach this to the wall a dozen times :)  Otherwise, this is an easy and affordable project and doesn't require any sewing!

First, here are some basic FAQs for this project if you don't need the full tutorial.  Otherwise, use the pattern linked above to cut out the ornaments and bulbs, then follow the steps in the tutorial below to make the tree!

Where do you buy such a large piece of felt?
-Most craft stores sell basic colors of felt in a 36x36 inch square.  Check for it hanging in a bag near the felt sheets. You can also buy green felt by the yard from fabric stores or Walmart!

How do the ornaments stick to the tree?
-Easy answer...felt sticks to felt! Actually, I would say that felt 'clings' to felt but you get the idea. Felt is made from compressed fibers so the fuzzy and fibrous texture allows it to stick to itself as long as the pieces aren't too heavy.

How do you attach the tree to the wall?
-I used velcro command strips and painters tape to attach my tree to the wall. It works well and won't damage the wall or the tree, but Rhys could pull it off if he really wanted to.

This tutorial makes a tree that is 33 inches tall and 33 inches wide at the base.

-Large sheet of green felt (sold in a 36x36 inch square at most craft stores, or on a bolt in fabric stores)
-9x12 sheets of felt in assorted colors for the ornaments, bulbs and star (2 sheets per color)
-3 sheets of 9x12 inch felt for the presents
-Hot glue
-Chalk or marking pen
-Velcro command strips and painters tape
-Ric rac or ribbon (optional)

1. Start by folding a large piece of green felt in half lengthwise.  I used a piece of felt that was roughly 36 inches wide and 40 inches long. Use the chalk or pen to draw half of a tree shape against the folded edge of the felt.  Cut away the excess felt and open it to lay the tree out flat.

2. If you want to add ric rac or ribbon as decorative garland, add it to the tree now by gluing and pressing a few inches at a time.

3. For the presents, cut two 9x9 inch squares and one 9x10 inch square in different colors.  Keep the extra felt from those sheets and cut the excess into 1 inch strips to use as ribbon on the other presents.

4. Glue 1 inch strips of felt across each gift and cut additional strips to make the bows.

5. To make the bows, take a 1x7 inch strip of felt and shape it into a figure eight.  Glue the ends to each other to keep it in shape, then wrap a small piece of coordinating felt around the center and glue it in the back.  Lastly, take a small strip of felt and fold it in half.  Glue the folded end of the strip to the back of the bow and glue the entire bow to the present.

6. Cut 3 squares out of your leftover green felt to fit slightly smaller than the presents.  Arrange them on the back of each present box, and glue 3 sides of each green piece to the back of each present, leaving the top edge of the presents open to form a pocket.

7. Cut out your ornament circles (I made 10) and all of the bulb pieces (I made 15).  Glue the white tips onto the top of each light bulb.  You can decorate the ornaments by gluing more felt shapes (stripes, dots, etc) onto them or drawing on them with puffy paint, but if you make them too heavy they won't stick to the tree.

8. Turn the tree and presents over, and attach velcro command strips to the back of them (sticky side to the felt).  I used velcro strips and painters tape to attach the tree to my wall.  I attached the matching velcro strips to the strips on the tree and then removed the backing on one piece at a time while I placed the tree on the wall.  I used painters tape (doubled over) to attach the tips of the tree branches to the wall.

The presents act as pockets to store the ornaments - cute and functional!

There you have it!  That seems like a lot of pictures and steps, but it's a really easy project once you get started :)  I hope I explained everything well, but leave me a comment if you have any questions!

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Craft Room Storage & Decor

See the bottom of this post for links to where I purchased everything!

We moved to a new home in April and the first thing I did after unpacking was start setting up my craft room!  In our old town home, I did all of my sewing and crafting on our dining room table and stored my supplies in random parts of the house.  Now, I have an entire room to spread out in and I love having all of my supplies in one place!  I'm sure I will make a lot of changes /additions to this space over time, but I wanted to share pictures of it now while it's decently clean and organized :)

I keep most of my supplies out in the open for easy access, but I try to keep most of it out of my toddler's reach.  He's not allowed in here by himself, but he does like to play in the craft room while I'm sewing so that motivates me to keep the room clean and make sure nothing dangerous is left out.

The desk can fold up into a closed cabinet, but I leave it open and use the extra leaf section as a cutting table.  I keep my cutting mat and sewing machine on the desk, and store my Sizzix machine underneath it when I'm not using it.  I also have our Kindle Fire propped up on an easel so I can watch Netflix while I'm crafting :)

The accent wall was done by the former owners and we decided to keep it knowing that this would probably be my craft room for a few years.  I'm not sure what method they used, but I think it was similar to this tutorial.


The green cabinet was a $5 yard sale find that my husband helped me re-finish and paint.  We painted it to match the green on the accent wall and I love the pop of color it gives to the room!  I store my felt sheets in these drawers and I keep small scraps of felt in the glass jar on top.

I absolutely love this peg board, and it comes in so many cute colors!  You can also buy different hooks and attachments to fit the board.  I had way too much fun organizing my stuff when I first got this :) My thread spools, embroidery floss and ribbon are all stored on here along with my fabric and craft scissors.

I store most of my findings in clear jars so that I can easily see what I have to work with, and as a bonus, they make colorful decor for the floating shelves! All of my beads, buttons, zippers and buckles are stored in these jars.  I love having everything out in the open where I can see what I have to work with.

I have a simple Brother sewing machine that is easy to work with and very easy to learn on.  One day I would love to own an embroidery machine too, but for now this is all I need.  I do most of my felt cutting at this desk as well, so one of the first things I made for my craft room was a little bag to act as a thread/scrap catcher.  It secures to the desk with velcro command strips and helps keep my work area clean from felt fuzz and loose thread!

I bought this Sizzix Big Shot a few months ago, and I can honestly say that I use it every day when I'm crafting!  This die cutting machine lets me quickly cut letters, numbers and simple shapes.  I absolutely love it and I'm always searching for new dies!  I'll write a separate blog post about all die cutting in the near future :)

This white cabinet was given to me by a family member and fits perfectly in this small space!  I buy fabric mostly by the 1/2 yard or in fat quarters, so this cabinet is great for storing those small cuts. There is also a shelf that pulls out at the top of the cabinet where I can set the scale to weigh my products.

My son loves to play with his felt food and quiet books when I'm sewing, so I keep them easily accessible for him in a storage bin on the floor. His favorite activity is making a pizza with silly ingredients on top :)

About a week after getting my Sizzix and an alphabet die cutter, I knew I needed a storage solution to keep the letters separate.  I found these embroidery floss boxes on sale at Michael's and they are perfect for keeping my felt letters organized!

I hope you enjoyed this peak into my craft room!  I still have more decorating to do and some upgrades to make but I love this space and I'm so happy with how it's coming together!  Leave a comment if you have a specific question about something :)

Sauder Craft Table: Amazon
Pegboard Wall Organizer: Amazon
Brother XL2600I Sewing Machine: Amazon
Sizzix Big Shot: Amazon
Pink Desk Lamp: Target
White Shelves: Target
White Chair: IKEA
Narrow White Cabinet: Similar Here
'Joy' felt flower board: Blue House Designz
Mason Jar Pincushion: Cracked Pistachios 
Assorted glass jars: Michael's
Clear Bobbin Storage Boxes: Michael's
Green and White Striped Storage Bin: Target
Green Dresser: re-purposed night stand
Wall Pincushion: re-covered wall art from Hobby Lobby
Mannequin: LaDiff in Richmond

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