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71  Baby Birds in Crafty Housewares: Completed Projects: General by Jenxx on: March 02, 2012 10:37:19 PM
I've been wandering about, wondering where to post these.  They aren't toys---just a little shelfy/tabletop decorations.  I assume someone will correct me if I've posted wrong

Baby Birds/Nestlings
The instructions here are for baby cardinals but the colors can be changed to represent different species of birds.

Felt squares in red & yellow.
Polyfil stuffing.
Eyes.  2 sew-on or glue-on wiggle eyes or 2 round black shank buttons.
Small purchased nest OR a grapevine wreath & circle of lightweight cardboard the size of the wreath..  (Size of the nest/wreath will vary depending on the number of birds.)
Small ivy vines & flowers as desired for trim.
Ribbon approximately 12" long in desired width & color.
Small bits of red feather, if desired.

Needle & matching thread
Disappearing marker
Low temp glue gun & sticks

1.  From pattern pieces A & B cut 2 bodies & 2 wings of red felt.  From piece C cut 1 bottom of red felt.  
2.  Use the disappearing marker, Transfer markings.
3.  From pattern pieces D & E cut 2 beaks & 2 pair of feet.
4.  All stitching will be done with a very narrow seam {approximately 1/8").  
5.  Align the felt feet & stitch together.
6.  Align the felt beaks & stitch the 2 straight sides.  Turn the seam to the inside.
7.  Align the 2 felt body pieces, markings to the inside, & stitch around the curved edge leaving the bottom open. Turn the seam to the inside.
8.  Pin the bottom piece to the body matching the marks with the side seams.  
9.  Sew the bottom seam leaving an opening for stuffing.  
10.  Stuff with polyfil & sew the remainder of the seam.
11.  Fold each wing in half according to the dotted line on the pattern & sew along the cut edge.
12.  With the folded edge to the front & the pointed end to the bottom, sew the wing securely over the mark at the shoulders.  Sew only at this point---do not sew the entire wing to the body.
13.  Put a small dab of hot glue inside the sewn beak & pinch it together so the point will stay flat.  Fan the edges back, glue around them & glue it to the bird's face as shown in the photo.
14.  Hot glue the feet to the bottom of the bird.
15.  Sew or glue the eyes at either side of the beak.
16.  If desired, glue a tiny dab of feather to the top of the head.
17.  If using a grapevine wreath, draw around a piece of lightweight cardboard (cereal box) & cut it out slightly smaller than the diameter of the wreath.  Glue it to the bottom of the wreath to make a bottom for the nest.
18.  Glue or sew the ivy & flowers around the top edge of the nest.
19.  Fashion a bow from the ribbon & glue it to the side of the nest. Put your babies in their nest.  Try to keep the nest small so the birds look crowded.

Change colors to make different birds.  Brown for a robin with an orange breast.  Bluebird with an orange breast.  Black with a white breast makes a penguin.   Add a Santa hat & scarf for Christmas.

If desired, weight the bottom with poly pellets.  When I use the pellets, I put them in the  corner of a plastic sandwich bag, tie the corner off loosely, trim the excess plastic & stuff it into the bottom of the bird after I've stuffed most of it with polyfil.
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72  Wedding Hot Air Balloon in Weddings and Bridal Showers by Jenxx on: February 16, 2012 09:01:38 PM
Hot Air Balloon

When my firstborn married she wanted something other than the traditional, mailbox/birdcage type of container to hold gift envelopes so I created a hot air balloon complete with a bridal couple.  I think it stood about 4 ft tall.

I began with a large lampshade that I stripped & had Hubby cut off the smaller ring.  He then extended the vertical wires for me so they'd fit all the way to the bottom of the basket.  (Next time I'd just use a large tomato cage.)   The basket was a recycled one that held a potted plant & was about 12" in diameter.

I spray painted the basket & the wire white & threaded fine floral wire in a triangle several inches below the top edge to hold the false bottom.  You can barely see it in the photo.  I cut a piece of matboard that would fit the top & rest on the wire.  This had a slot at the front to allow for envelopes.

 I edged the wire ring with dangling pearl beads.

With lace fabric, I made a circle as large as I could, folded it into 6 sections & marked the center & the edges.  I used craft thread to run a gathering stitch from the edge toward the center point & gathered up about 12" of the fabric.  The amount gathered was dependent on the size of the balloon.  I had to gather it twice because it wasn't enough the first time.  I then sewed bows & long ribbons at each mark...only 3 show in the photo because I went back & added more.  The ribbons were verrrry long so I had plenty to reach the wire ring & tie into bows before trimming.

Two pieces of satin cord (Two differrent lengths) were tied/wired together, draped around the basket & fastened into place. 

Finally, I twined vines & flowers in the appropriate colors around the basket.

It went to the reception in pieces, where I inflated the balloon, set it atop the wire ring, Laid the lace over the top (centering it) & tied the ribbons to the ring.   

The bridal couple was 2 bears dressed for the occasion.  The Groom's hat & bowtie were purchased.  His bib was a short piece of gathered lace that I folded in half & glued to his front.  I added buttons & a bouteniere.  The bride wore matching lace around her neck trimmed with a small flower.  Her veil was a scrap of the lace fabric that I folded in half, gathered Just below the fold & glued across her head.  Trimmed it with more flowers.  I set the bears at the back of the basket so the slot wasn't covered.

  Finding the giant balloon was the most difficult part.  They're available at Party Stores for about $5 or can be found online.

When time came for her baby shower, I removed the false bottom & substituted a baby doll for the bears.  It's been loaned out several times for different weddings.  The brides simply substituted flowers in their colors & bought a different balloon.

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73  Candy Carrots in Easter by Jenxx on: February 16, 2012 06:55:06 PM
I've made carrots from fabric & filled them with Easter goodies.  They're easy to make & take only minutes.  Orange fabric, tulle, lace & ribbon is all it takes.  They'd be great as a treat for school kids.  I've included instructions & a pattern.


9" x 5" orange fabric (I use cotton/poly)
9" x5"  orange or gold tulle
10" gathered dark green craft lace (2" wide)
      (Or use 30" of 1" wide lace sewn together lengthwise as in the photo.)
12" of 3mm (1/4") wide ribbon or smaller

Finish all raw edges of seams.  (I zigzag the edges of the seams.)

Cut 1 pattern piece of tulle and one of orange fabric. 
Pin the two pieces together and sew one side seam. 
Lay out flat and sew lace to top edge of fabric. 
Fold in half (right sides together) and sew the remaining seam, including the lace.  Turn.
Thread the ribbon through a needle with a large eye. 
Weave the ribbon through the lace right above the seam as shown in the photo.
Fill the carrot with wrapped candy, gather and tie a bow.  (I use one marshmallow bunny for the front and fill the rest with chocolate eggs.
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74  Hee Haw! Felt donkey ornaments. in Winter Holidays by Jenxx on: January 31, 2012 09:48:12 PM
I just finished creating 2 felt donkeys---one for a friend & one to keep.  First I made the patterns, to which I did a bit of minor redesign between the first & second figure.  Are the changes very evident in the photos? 

They're hand sewn from felt & stuffed with polyfil.  They can stand on their hooves but, since they'll be pack animals, I inserted a section of a kabob skewer into each leg for support.  Each stands about 4 & 1/2" tall & carries 2 panniers.  Until I can find a way to make fresh veggies, they'll be filled with "straw" & "cotton bales".  The panniers are small plastic cups about 1 & 1/2" in diameter, covered with woven print paper & glued to a strip of fabric that acts as a harness.   I sewed on beads for eyes & used a short piece of elastic cord for the tail.  The tuft on the tail is the same faux fur as that used for his mane.    His straw hat is trimmed with a bow & feather.

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75  Elephants in Winter Holidays by Jenxx on: January 25, 2012 07:22:03 PM

It's been difficult deciding where to post this craft.  Since mine will be used as a Christmas ornament, I'll put them here.

I've been doing a lot of work with felt lately.  Today I made these poly stuffed felt elephants.  One will be mine & the other is for a dear friend who collects them.  I made the patterns based on a free clip art drawing I copied from the internet.  They're about 3 & 1/2" tall with beads sewn on for eyes & braided embroidery floss for tails.   Everything is hand sewn except for the dabs of glue I used to secure the tails, ears & tusks.  The trunks are raised so they should be lucky elephants.

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76  Candy, anyone? in Valentine's Day by Jenxx on: January 20, 2012 01:18:33 PM
I've been making Valentines for my 2 daughters & 2 grandlings.  I took awhile coming up with the idea but it really wasn't at all difficult to execute---only a bit tedious because I don't do much embroidery.  I made hand sewn, stuffed felt hearts onto which I embroidered names & typical Conversation Heart messages.  They are about 4" across & look nice displayed in an oversized candy dish but I attached them to ribbons suspended  from a large metal ring.  I turned the seam on the topside to the inside but I left the bottom seam exposed because I think it looks more like a molded candy heart.  Some of my lettering is a bit crooked but I doubt they'll mind when each  finds the monetary token in the pocket sewn on the back of one heart.  

Thanks, everyone.  I love your nice comments.
I'm adding the heart pattern that I made it myself.  It's about 4 3/8" across and the side strip is 1 1/4" wide cut from the long edge of a 9x12 square---that determined the overall size of the hearts because I wanted the strip to go all the way round without an extra seam.  I sewed the strip around the edge of one heart, cut off the excess, stitched the ends, turned it & sewed the bottom heart with the seam exposed.   

I googled "conversation Hearts" to see the general shape & colors as well as popular messages.  All I found were printed in red, all caps.  I used a disappearing marker to letter the hearts before embroidering. 

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77  Valentine Hearts in Valentine's Day by Jenxx on: January 05, 2012 08:58:14 PM
I made a Valentine for my daughter last year that was a bit different than usual.  I began with a chipboard heart, topped it with a layer of batting & covered it with a flower print fabric.  I made another smaller one the same way but with a differrent fabric & glued it to the center of the larger one.  Then I glued lace around the edge & ironed on a piece of fusible interfacing to finish the back.  Last, I glued a small fabric pocket onto the back into which I inserted a gift card.

I also made decorative hangings by making 3 similar hearts in different sizes & gluing them together.  I decorated these with ribbons, flowers, buttons & birds and added a ribbon loop for hanging. 

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78  Inexpensive, Giant Valentine/Wedding heart decoration in Valentine's Day by Jenxx on: January 01, 2012 10:45:31 AM
I spend the winter in a retirement community in Florida so I often help with the clubhouse decorations for special occasions.  For several years we've used a huge Valentine heart I've designed.  It was one of those occasions where my hubby said, 'It won't work.".   BET ME!  Isn't it great to prove a guy wrong?

He helped me in the construction but it really wasn't difficult.  It consists of 3 strips of vinyl lattice trim.  After we stacked 2 strips & drilled 2 holes in one end, we used bolts & nuts to fasten them together.  We then drilled two holes in the other end of the 2 strips.  Laying them on edge, we separated the 2 strips & bent them around to make a heart shape.  We used a 90 degree metal bracket to fasten the bottom end---again with nuts & bolts.

This looked great laying down but was too flimsy to hang upright so we fastened a 3rd lattice strip across the top for stability.  I simply wired it on because I wanted it to dismantle easily, altho I could have used more brackets.  We draped & wrapped tulle or nylon netting around the framework & trimmed it with flowers & ribbons.  We've given it a different look for different years.  I printed a banner that taped to the crossbrace to disguise it (Can you see it?).  

It's extremely lightweight so we were able to tie thin wire to the crossbrace (fishing line would work equally well) to hang it from the ceiling.  Since it hangs free, we moved it aside & positioned our couples behind it for a photo op.

The lattice strips cost only a few dollars at Home Depot.  The tulle was by far the most expensive part of the project but it was inexpensive for the look we achieved.  

Done in the bride's colors & with a banner giving the couple's names, this would also be great as a wedding decoration---either hung against a wall or across a corner as ours was.  

I'm sorry if I wasn't articulate enough in my description.  I've done a bit of research (Checked with the Boss) & found that I was using the wrong term.  I've corrected it & added photos.  Hopefully, this will explain it more clearly.

The term I should have been using is LATTICE.  These are available at Home Depot, Lowe's, etc. as vinyl lattice trim.  They are vinyl coated strips with a polyresin core.  We bought three 8ft strips that were about 1&1/4 inches wide and 1/4 inch thick.  I'm guessing at that measurement.
I've made a sample of cardstock (not to scale) of what the framework looks like.  The pics are of the front & back.  The black dots represent the nuts & bolts.  The red pieces are the metal brackets.  We used only the one at the bottom & wired the crossbrace in place. The crossbrace extends beyond the edges of the heart but I think we still had to cut off some of the excess.

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79  Painted wooden trays in Crafty Housewares: Completed Projects: General by Jenxx on: December 24, 2011 07:13:00 PM
Last Christmas I found three bargain priced wooden trays in the Wal-Mart clearance aisle.  They had a rather  "Plain Jane" appearance so I used acrylic enamels to paint a veritable flower garden on each of them.   After painting them I was worried that the colors were a bit garish.  I gave them a protective coat of acrylic & I found that the spray somehow reacted with the finish already on the trays & changed the bright colors to lovely muted tones.  All of the recipients seemed pleased with their gifts but neither daughter uses her tray for serving.  The firstborn uses hers to hold items on her bedroom dresser while the lastborn has found a place for hers on the coffee table where it holds a few of the treasures she's collected from her travels.

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80  Felt Christmas ornaments in Winter Holidays by Jenxx on: December 12, 2011 07:44:26 PM

Merry Christmas, Merry Christmas, Merry Christmas!

I just finished making ornaments for a gift exchange with my online friends.  I decided 3 ornaments per person would be a nice gift.  Times 10 participants equals 30 ornaments.  It was a job but I feel it was well worth it....Hopefully, they'll think that way too.

All are my original designs, felt stuffed with poly fil.  All of them measure about 4 to 6 inches either way.

The cupcakes were actually the most difficult because I cut 4 layers (wrapper, cake, icing, cherry) glued them together & then matched them to the opposite side.  The problem was getting them the same size so I could sew the 2 pieces together.  The rest was easy.  A running stitch gives the impression of pleats in the wrapper.  Sewn on beads are colorful sprinkles.

The mittens are a bit more then they appear.  There's a built in pocket that extends about half way down the inside of the mitten.  I can put small candies or gifts inside before hanging. 

The cheeseburger is deceptive in it's simplicity.  It's mostly circles.  I gathered a larger & smaller circle to make the bun halves.  A lightweight cardboard & polyfil help it keep it's shape.  The burger is 2 circles sewn with polyfil.  The cheese is a single square of felt while the tomato slice is a piece of red felt painted with seed chambers.  Lettuce is a strip of tulle  colored with watered down ink or acrylic paint.  I tightly zig zagged one long edge & gathered the other to fashion a rosette.  Gold paint sesame seeds.  I ran a large needle with gold cord thru top to bottom & back to connect everything.  It can still be opened to show the insides but will stay together when hung on the tree.

I've had good reports on all items but my lastborn is unsure about putting a cheeseburger on the Christmas tree.  My thought on it is that they hang pickles & spiders on the tree so "Why not a cheeseburger?".  If necessary, I'll write a fable about it's being a good luck symbol like the spider & pickle.  How about.......The expectant couple stopped by a McD's on the way to Bethlehem where a kindhearted kid there felt sorry for them & used her last coin to buy a quarter pounder & fries for each of them---thus the lucky burger?  Actually, we'll let them split an order of fries & have a cupcake for dessert.  Will that make it appropriate?

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