Category Archives: Crafts

Homemade Dinosaur Ornaments

If you know me very well at all, you know I’ve kinda got a thing for dinosaurs. I know. Kind of a 5-year-old boyish obsession to have, but it’s not my fault! They’re super awesome. Ferocious while still being amazingly cute. Stars of such movies as Jurassic Park and The Land Before Time. What’s not to love, really?

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Now that I’ve actually got a Christmas tree for my apartment (albeit a pretty darn tiny one), I knew I needed to get myself some ornaments that are unique and more modernly me. I’ve got a ton of things from when I was younger, both ones that I’d received as gifts and ones I’d made myself, but let’s be honest. The tree was severely lacking in the dinosaur department.

Enter these guys.

inspiration

Since he’s all kinds of fabulous, my boyfriend sent me the link to them nearly a month ago, and I haven’t been able to get those glittery, wreath-necklace-wearing dinosaurs off my mind since.

Tonight I finally decided to do something about it. The originals are something like $16 each, which is absurd. I had to make them myself, obvs.

I knew I wouldn’t be able to pull off the wreaths–I’m crafty, but I’m not that good–so I settled for just completely plastering the things with glitter. Yep. That would be just fine by me.

Glitter, Mod Podge, and a hot glue gun–my crafting trifecta. Hallelujah!

Here’s what you need.

materials

Toy dinosaurs of your chosen size and breed–mine are from the Dollar Store. Mod Podge (I buy the off brand because I’m cheap). Glitter. A paint brush. Hot glue gun. Strings for hanging from the tree branches.

Confession time you guys. I had every intention of making this a step by step tutorial. But literally as soon as I got started, I was pretty much up to my elbows in glue and glitter. Not exactly a good recipe for snapping a ton of shots with my super fancy camera phone. Let’s be real though. If you need me to show you how to paint Mod Podge onto a toy dinosaur before pouring glitter over it, then you may be in more trouble than we realized.

So here is my first dino, covered in glitter and awaiting his string:

glitter

Seriously, I’m in love. Like, a giddy, giggling alone in my apartment, clapping my hands at his adorableness, sort of in love. Triceratops are kind of my favorites. I’m not sorry. T-rexes are dumb. Brontosaurus are cool, but Cera all the way, baby.

Once your glittery creations are completely dry (Don’t rush it! You’ll just end up with glitter and Mod Podge all over yourself and NOT on your dino anymore. Not that I speak from experience…), hot glue that string on and freak out about how seriously adorable they are.

group

It was way hard to stop myself at only five. I think I see more glitter dinosaurs in my future…

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Quilt Update

So I’ve been hardcore slacking on letting you all know how this bad boy has been coming along. I’m sorry! I’ve been making progress, but I’ve been pretty terrible at taking pictures of that progress. For that reason, this will be less of a “how-to” and more of a “here’s what I did,” with just a couple pictures thrown in.

When we last talked about this project, I had pieced together my squares and needed to create a border. Annnd that was where I hit my first snag.

I took measurements and did calculations and sat on yet another floor in a craft store (I tried to hard to be prepared, but it just didn’t work!!), but I somehow still didn’t get the right amount of fabric. I guess, technically, I did get enough–literally just enough to create my borders.

But my pieces would have had something like four seams each, and I hated how messy that was going to look. I knew I was going to have to put at least one seam in each, but four? No thanks.

So I improvised. When my grandma moved out of her house, I inherited a ton of her old craft supplies. She had about a yard of green fabric just a shade darker than what I had purchased. It was actually the inspiration for the color I ended up buying. I wanted to use it, but there wasn’t enough in the box. Silly me…now I was going to have to use it anyway, because I am far too lazy to go back to the store.

The final result ended up with the two long sides in my original green and the two short sides with the darker. Unless you’re looking for it, you can’t really tell, and I actually love the two greens next to one another.

Next step…basting!!

After pinning…there are 150 pins in that bad boy!

Oh also. You can’t really tell from the photo, but the upper right hand corner had a little bit of an…accident. When I was mitering my corners, my angle was a little off. I thought it could be fixed just by ironing it flat, but it was a lot more serious that I thought. I’d already cut off the excess fabric, so I just had to rip out my stitches and sew in a little extra square of fabric. Bust.

When making your quilt sandwich, you’re supposed to stretch your backing fabric as tight as possible and tape it down to the floor. Of course, in my little apartment I don’t have hard flooring big enough for that. So I just spread it out on the carpet and went with it. Things aren’t as tight as they really should be, but I’m pretty OK with that.

On to quilting!

This is where I made myself absolutely crazy before figuring out that apparently I’m kind of a dummy. I was practicing and practicing and practicing on a little baby sandwich to make sure I knew what I was doing before I took to my actual project. And it absolutely wasn’t working. Not one bit. I even gave up for the night before turning to the Internet for help the next day.

Turns out that even though a quilting foot doesn’t always make contact with the fabric, you actually have to put the foot down to engage the tension. Man did I feel real stupid once I figured out that was my only problem. And so I got to quilting!

My first quilted corner!

After reading about a zillion tutorials, I decided to go with just a free-form quilting on this project. I love the way it looks, and I figured it would be much more forgiving than any kind of structured pattern.

Now I’m a little more than 3/4 of the way done with the quilting. It’s a ton of work! It takes forever, but I’ve found that it’s by far my favorite part of this whole process. I’m even thinking about going back and quilting the blanket I made a few years ago! The next time I post on this, I should be completely done with the quilt. I can’t wait to see the finished product on my bed.

Here are a few tutorials that absolutely saved me as I was trying to figure out just how to make this work. These ladies rock!

http://www.ohfransson.com/oh_fransson/2009/03/quilt-along-14-freemotion-quilting.html

http://crazymomquilts.blogspot.com/2008/03/free-motion-quilting.html

http://www.sewinspiredblog.com/2007/09/free-motion-machine-quilting-tutorial.html

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Quilt Part 2

I did it guys!! I totally made progress on this gigantic project!

It was actually really therapeutic, to just sit there and sew row after row of squares together. I hit a groove, sewing a few sets of squares, pressing those seams, then sewing those pieces into a full row before pressing the rest of the seams and moving on to the next. By the time I hit row 16 (!!!) I totally had it down. Then I just had to turn those 16 rows into one giant, queen-sized rectangle.

Prepping the rows on my coffee table. (Woah blurry photo, sorry about that.)

Sewing squares together.

I actually took a break partway through, getting the top half of the quilt sewn together before calling it a night. It helped keep me from going crazy. The photo below is before I stitched the rows together.

First half almost complete!

As you can see, that second row from the bottom is a good amount longer than the one above it. I have no idea how this happened, because I was trying to pay really close attention to my seam allowances. It was really starting to bug me, until I realized that it doesn’t actually matter. I’m making progress, and I just lined up the seams as I stitched the rows together so the excess was barely noticeable.

BUT. I almost drove myself crazy making sure I didn’t screw up the pattern. I think it would have helped me to completely lay out the pattern again before I started sewing the squares together. The problem is that I really don’t have a lot of floor space to work with, so I had to make due with just lining up a few rows at a time on my coffee table.

But as I said, once I got into the groove, I felt a lot better. I had a system, and the process went pretty smoothly. On Monday I went and picked out my fabrics for the border, the backing, and my binding.

New fabrics!

I am totally and completely in love with that argyle print on the right. It is going to be my binding fabric, and–except for maybe those keys in the squares–it is definitely my favorite fabric in this project. The green is going to be the border fabric and those dots will be the back.

My next step will be to cut out and attach the borders and sew the backing fabric together. Right now the backing fabric is a 6-yard long piece, so I just need to fold it in half and sew a seam down the side. Thank goodness it is wide enough to just need two panels. I don’t think my mind is up for the math and geometry required to put together more than two pieces.

After that–quilting and binding. I’ve been reading online tutorials like craaazy. And I’m still terrified. Anyone have any good tutorials to recommend or advice to share? The only finishing I’ve ever done is to sew the wrong sides together and flip the whole thing inside out, so I need all the help I can get!

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I’m Making a Quilt!

I love being crafty. Like, love love it. Even before Pinterest, there was this little thing called StumbleUpon (Does anyone use that anymore?? I kind of miss it.) that led me to all sorts of tutorials and other awesome things to make.

I live in a fairly small apartment. I only have so much wall space and so many flat surfaces to decorate. Unfortunately, that hasn’t stopped me from continuing to churn out projects like I’m decorating a 5,000 square foot mansion. Things have only gotten worse now that I have my very own sewing machine. Let me back up first.

When I was in high school and my cousin would come to town for a visit, we were constantly dreaming up new things to make. Purses, pillows, picture frames (awkward that all those things start with P…), and more were on our to-do list. We would sit on the floor of Michael’s and annoy other shoppers while imagining all of the awesome things we could create. And then one day, we decided to make quilts.

It started off innocently enough, with a trip to a local craft store in my hometown, Ben’s Crafts and Floral. It’s a fantastic store–I cannot recommend it enough. In addition to a full fabric section, they also sold scraps of the fabric bolts that weren’t big enough to cut from anymore. So we dug through the bins and found tons of random patterns that didn’t exactly go together, but we loved them just the same.

We spent hours doing calculations, picking out border and backing fabrics, finding batting, and cutting out dozens of fabric squares. We had sewn things before, but this was a major undertaking for us and we definitely had some lofty goals. All was going well at first, though.

Annnnd then she went home. So the fabric and materials sat in my room for close to two years.

Fast forward to a pretty nasty breakup that caused me to need a major distraction. Enter my parent’s old sewing machine and those almost forgotten fabric scraps from the back of my closet. I didn’t have a pattern or even a real plan. I just knew I needed to do something with my hands. And so I created my first ever quilt!

Sure, the lines necessarily perfectly straight. I guess technically they aren’t straight at all. The angled corners I was going for totally don’t match up with the edges of the blanket. It isn’t even actually quilted. So it’s more of a blanket with quilt batting at the center. But I am in love with that blanket. It’s sitting next to me on my bed as I write this, and I use it almost every night.

So when I was at a Jo Ann’s fabric store a few weeks ago and realized they were having a liquidation sale, I just couldn’t help myself. I found 12 different fabrics, bought a yard of each (only after more floor-sitting and furious calculations), and resolved to make another quilt.

In love with all these fabrics, especially those keys!

This time, it’s going to be queen-sized and big enough for my bed.

Much to my relief, my sewing knowledge has vastly improved since the last time I had to cut fabric squares. I wised up and bought a mat and rotary cutter, which have been a total lifesaver, considering that I cut out 192 squares. I cannot even imagine cutting all those by hand.

My new best friend right here! Plus my pattern for the squares.

Once all the squares were cut, I had to figure out a pattern for them all. In hindsight, I definitely should have done that before I started cutting, but careful planning definitely isn’t my strong suit. So after more than 3 hours of arranging, rearranging, and staring at my living room floor, I finally have a pattern I’m happy with.

Final layout design. (Please excuse the blur on this–I took it at about 2am!)

And now the squares are neatly stacked into a pile and sitting on my dresser. I have the batting for the middle and measurements for the borders and backing, but no idea what fabrics I’m going to choose for those two pieces. The plan this weekend is to get started on sewing my pieces into strips and then actually into a giant rectangle.

I will definitely keep you updated as the project progresses–hopefully it won’t take two years this time!

What about you guys? Do you have any recently completed/in the works craft projects? I’d love to hear about and see them! I’m always looking for more inspiration!

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