Monday, December 21, 2009

Tutorial: Make an embroidered fabric photo ornament

Last night I finally sat down and made my baby's first Christmas ornament. I have a thing for photo ornaments, but I also wanted to incorporate some of the fabric I used for his crib bedding, as well as a little embroidery. Here's what I came up with.

Even if the ornament itself hadn't turned out well, how could it not be cute with that little face on it?

I didn't take photos while I was making it because I wasn't planning on doing a tutorial. But this morning I figured I could give it a try using (bad) drawings. Don't be fooled by all the steps. This really is a very easy project. So here goes:

How to make an embroidered fabric photo ornament.

You'll need:
sewing machine
thin, clear vinyl (optional)
pencil or disappearing ink marker
embroidery floss
hand sewing needle
embroidery hoop (I used a 3" hoop)
hot glue gun

1. Using your embroidery hoop as a guide, cut 2 pieces of fabric for your front that are about 1" larger than the hoop.

2. Cut one back piece of the same size in a plain fabric (this will not show).

3. Lay front pieces together, right sides facing, and trace a circle in the center with a pencil or disappearing ink marker that is about 2" in diameter.

4. Stitch along your marked circle.
5. Trim away the fabric inside the stitched circle to about 1/4".

6. Clip notches in the seam allowance very close to the stitching, all the way around the circle.

7. Turn fabric right side out by pushing one side through the hole.

8. Finger press the circle, then press with an iron.

9. (This step & step 10 can be ommitted if you don't have or want vinyl to protect the photo.) Place a larger circle of vinyl over the fabric circle. Pin together carefully at the edges so as not to make any pin holes where the vinyl shows through the fabric circle.

10. Turn over so the vinyl is on the bottom and stitch close to the edge of the fabric.

11. Embroider whatever you'd like very near the hole (year, baby's name, etc.).

12. (No photo) Print photo of your subject to appropriate size for hole.

13. Center photo on the back piece and stitch along the top to keep in place.

14. Place front piece on top of photo and back piece, centering the photo behind the vinyl.

15. Carefully place into wooden hoop, tightening fabrics evenly on all sides.

16. (No photo) Trim excess fabric on back to about 1/2" and glue to the edge of the hoop with hot glue.

17. Cut a piece of felt the same size as the hoop and glue to back to cover raw fabric edges.

18. Add a ribbon to the top and hang on your tree to enjoy!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Christmas decorations

I completely forgot to post photos of my finished tree!! Man, what a slacker I am! Anyway, here she is:

After I took this photo I made a proper skirt from oyster colored burlap and trimmed it with a wide plaid ribbon. I'd have posted a photo but my couches are now pushed back together and they hide the whole base of the tree, and frankly I'm just too lazy to move them out of the way. :)

We cut several low branches off the tree so there'd be room for presents underneath, and here's what I decided to do with them. (Keep in mind, these photos were taken a few minutes ago so the branches have had a couple of weeks to dry out and curl a bit, but I think they still look okay.) You can click to enlarge and see the details a bit better.

Here are a few more decorations I have around my house this season. I'm in love with this beautiful feather wreath that I got at Joann for 50% off. I added in the little bronze ornaments for some sparkle, but they're removable because I just couldn't bear to mess with such a lovely wreath.

For fall I'd hung some grapevine garland along my curtain rod, then just stuck in a few red berry sprigs to add a little color for Christmas time.

I made this wreath for my front door after seeing this one featured on someone's blog (can't remember where, I'm afraid) and totally loved it. I had some of this webbing left from an upholstery project so I just bought an inexpensive straw wreath form at Michael's and wrapped it up in jute!

And here's today's project, found on this blog by way of this blog. I love hanging things above my dining room table. I don't know why, but I do. And I do it a lot. These paper ornaments are festive and pretty, and so so very easy (and inexpensive!) to make. I love that they go with the blue theme I've got in my dining/kitchen area.

If I don't get back here before the new year, I hope you all have wonderful holidays!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Planning the tree

It's true- I haven't decorated my Christmas tree yet. In fact, I haven't even put it up. Though, to be fair, we may actually be getting a real tree this year (for the first time in 9 1/2 years!) so I've been putting off dragging the fake one in until we've decided.

BUT I do have a plan for the tree, fake or fresh. It's going to have a woodland theme with a cranberry/green/bronze color scheme. I am soooo excited! I've started collecting both outdoors and in stores. Here's some of what I've got so far.

From outside...

milkweed pods

I'm trying to figure out how/if I can make a star shaped tree topper with some of these...

A few red berries.

Some very sharp, very poky but pretty thistles.

I don't know what the heck these are, but they're cute.

And of course acorns. I LOVE ACORNS!

Last night I made a batch of cinnamon ornaments using this recipe and tutorial from Martha. They smell like Christmas.

I bought the bronze (even though it looks gold on here) glitter at Michael's. It's also from Martha- heh. Weird.)

Michael's also provided me with some pine cones, fake birds and nests, and some cranberry and moss green glass ball ornaments. I'm also hoping to add some faux eggs, feathers, ribbon, burlap (for the skirt) and other pretty woodland-y items. There will be more cinnamon ornaments made, more critters, maybe some bugs this time. I don't know. But it's gonna be pretty!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Sleeping baby sign

I made this sign over the weekend.

Found the perfect picture of my second baby sleeping...

...then used an archival pen to draw him onto a small piece of wood from the craft store. Tiny rubber stamps were used for the words and a little distressing around the edges from a stamp pad. Then I gave it a good spray (front and back) with some polyurethane, added a scrap of ribbon for a hanger, and now I have the most personal, precious sleeping baby sign.

I almost hate to put it outside.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Easy photo gift idea

This weekend I went to a baby shower for a neighbor friend of mine, and until the night before I'd only planned to give her a pair of baby shoes as a gift. Then I came across an idea online that I wanted to try to recreate myself.

I'd seen where some vintage blocks were used to spell out the baby's name and were accompanied by some adorable miniature animal toys. The little display was then photographed and sold for $18 per print. As much as I would have loved to give her one of those darling prints framed and ready to be hung in her nursery, I didn't have the time as her shower was the very next afternoon.

Instead I got up the next morning and dug through my kids' baskets of toys until I'd found all the blocks that we own, and set up my own little photography session by a big window in my dining room.

Here's the original photo I ended up using. I used a large sheet of white paper on a dining room chair as my backdrop. I put my camera on the Macro setting (the little flower symbol) and kept my overhead lighting and flash off. I just used what was coming through my east facing window. As you can see in the lower left corner, I accidentally got a little bit of the chair in the shot. Grrr.

First I used Picasa to edit the photo. Here's what the photo looks like after using the "I'm Feeling Lucky" basic fix feature.

Then I used the Glow effect to make it look a little softer.

I cropped out that annoying sliver at the bottom...

... then used Photoscape to add a pretty vignette around the edges.

I ordered an 8x10 print with and picked it up in an hour at my local store. I was in too big a hurry to take a photo of the finished project, but I ended up "matting" it with some purple fabric from my stash in the same way I'd done these for my son's room.

A white 10x13 frame that I already had made the whole thing turn out nicely. I may just have to do this with my own kids' names! I really like the idea of putting special toys in the photo as well, so if you try this look around to see what items you can add to the photo for a personal touch.