Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Crafting Hope for Romania

One of my favorite charities to craft for is Craft Hope.  Every couple of months they announce a new  project and ask for crafty people (like us!) to donate items that will be distributed to people in need of hope.  The current project is called "Rally for Roma", and they are collecting hand-made hats, scarves, and blankets that will be sent to Romania at the end of summer, to help poor families get through the harsh winter there.

The deadline to send your finished items is May 20th, so there is still plenty of crafting time if you would like to participate. If you can knit, crochet, or sew, you can help! I have a lot of fleece on hand, so I am going to make simple hats and scarves (the picture shows the first set I made).

The scarf is so easy--just cut a piece of fleece 12 x 60", and snip the ends into a 3" fringe--done!

The hat is easy too; I used suggested measurements from this Martha Stewart site (which also has directions for several different hats). Cut fleece 21" x 15" and sew the short sides together. On the bottom, turn under a 3" hem and sew it 1/4 from the raw edge. For the top, cut a 3" fringe, then gather the hat (using heavy thread) just below the fringe, and knot the thread securely.  I then wrapped yarn around the gathered area to be sure the thread didn't come loose.

Visit this post at Craft Hope to read more about the project and to get the mailing address for your finished items.  I hope lots of us will help!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Mini Pinwheel Quilt

For a recent Blythe doll craft swap, with the theme "Spring", I made my partner a quilt for her doll, and used the same fabrics to make a matching outfit.  The quilt could be a bed cover, a wall-hanging, or a picnic blanket--or maybe she will use it for all three!

My partner commented that she had never tried the pinwheel pattern because she didn't feel comfortable working with all those little triangles...but there's a secret to this pattern that I will now reveal:  you don't have to sew any triangles together to make this quilt!  Sounds impossible, right?  But it's true!  They are called "half-square triangles", and you make them like this:

1.  Cut two different fabrics into squares (mine are 2 1/4" square).
2.  Draw a diagonal line down on the wrong side of one of the squares.

3.  Layer the squares, right sides together.  Sew two seams, 1/4" away from the drawn line, one on each side of the line.

4.  Cut along the drawn line, and trim the corners as shown in the triangle on the left.

5.  Iron the fabrics open, and ta-da!  You have made two half-square triangle patches!  Do this again to make four patches, then sew them together to make one pinwheel block.  Easy!

My finished mini quilt is about 12" square.

On a side note, I got some exciting news this week:  I have been accepted as a new moderator on Craftster!!  I have been assigned to the Miscellaneous Topics and Crafting for Good boards.  I am very excited to become more involved in this website, where I have enjoyed spending so much time in the past couple of years.  I hope to see you and your crafty creations there!

Monday, April 8, 2013

Back-Up Bunny

I had a nice surprise last week. It started with this little stuffed bunny I made a while back, for a customer to give to her friend who was having a baby.  The free pattern is from RevoluzZza (the same place you can find the ninni monster pattern). I made just this one bunny, then put the pattern away and forgot all about it.

I got my surprise when I saw this picture, below, on Facebook. That beautiful baby is holding the bunny I made!  Her mother was trying to find out where the bunny came from, because it is her daughter's all-time favorite toy--she carries it around all day and can't go to sleep at night without it.  The mom said she doesn't know what they would do if the bunny was ever lost.  They need a back-up bunny!!

Even though I'm not selling my work any more, there was NO WAY I could say no to this baby! So I made the back-up bunny, below.  At the mother's request, I made it a little different than the first one--can you spot the changes?

If you are ever looking for a simple toy to make for a baby, consider this pattern. You can finish it in an afternoon, and it is baby-approved!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

A Bookcase for Tiny Books

Last month I made some tiny books for my partner Sew Do Something in a Blythe doll swap on Plastic Paradise; then I got her for a partner AGAIN in a Blythe swap on Blythe Kingdom, so I decided to make her a bookcase for the books!

I made it from balsa wood, which is pretty easy to cut using an X-acto knife. I just drew a sketch on paper and then worked out the measurements for each piece.

The theme of the swap was "favorite color", and she chose the combination of gray and yellow as her favorite. After cutting the wood and painting all the pieces yellow, I glued patterned scrapbook paper to the back wall. Then I used a hot glue gun to glue the pieces together.

Using regular acrylic craft paint, I then painted the outside gray.  It needed "something", so I added a chipboard letter "B" (for "Blythe") to the top--you can see that in the first and last pictures.  After it was dry I sprayed it with clear acrylic sealer.

Since my partner is a big Harry Potter fan, I made some more books for her.  I made each of these by reducing an image of the cover of the book on my computer and printing it out.  I glued it to heavy scrapbook paper to make the outside of the book. For the inside, I cut a stack of old dictionary pages to the size I wanted, then dipped the back edges in glue, and pressed them into the cover. This method worked well and was much easier than sewing tiny groups of pages, like I did for the first batch of tiny books!

Here you can see the bookcase with a Blythe doll for size comparison.  The bookcase is about 6" tall.


I'm very pleased with how this came out, and I plan to try making other pieces of doll furniture--as soon as I can get my hands on some more balsa wood!