Clearly, it’s been a while since Katie or I have posted anything. To be honest, we kind of burned ourselves out from all of the crafting we did around Christmas – more than we initially even realized. And again, in full disclosure, that’s kinda my (and her) usual mode of operation after the rush from Christmas crafting and gift making. But we got started back up again and have been working on some big projects. Thing is, we were so busy with these projects and our deadlines that we didn’t even get a chance to document any of our processes!
The main thing I worked on kept me busy all through March. I, along with the help of Katie and my mom and my sis-in-law, made a gajillion felt flowers for my brother and SIL’s wedding. I wanted to bless them somehow and knew they were on a tight wedding budget, so I made it my mission to add as many felt flowers as possible which went perfectly with their country-boho-chic themed nuptial decor.
It was at times a little stressful but mostly just a heck of a lot of fun. I was able to try out a lot of new techniques that made a huge impact in the way my flowers turned out and got me all re-inspired on trying new ones. Some of them took FOR-FREAKING-EVER – seriously – and some of them were so quick and easy that we were able to bust out a whole bunch with minimal effort. I’ll get into those techniques and details for each flower in other posts later on…but here are a couple of shots mid-process that I managed to snap:
Since the focus was getting the flowers done for the wedding, I didn’t stress about photographing each step, supplies, etc. I’ll have to re-do some of them another day and provide instructions and templates, but today is not that day. Today I just feel like we have been quiet for too long and need to provide some sort of an update – so here it is! We are still live and well and crafting our butts off.
So, here are literally the ONLY photos I have of these Completed flowers right now. I even missed taking photos at the actual wedding (to be fair, I had to do the bride’s makeup, my niece’s hair, my mom’s makeup, and my hair and makeup, place the flowers for the reception, be in family photos, dance with my hubby and son and daughter, have fun and visit with people I hadn’t seen in forever, etc…so I’m not at all upset about forgetting to take pictures)!
We are a little late in saying this but HAPPY NEW YEAR! Katie and I took some time off during the holidays so we could focus on our families and our holiday plans, so it’s been a minute since we posted anything. I spent a lot of time making felt ornaments for family members…I can’t wait to share how I took the DIY Tree Ornaments to a whole different level with you all (saving that post for next Christmas!). Katie was lucky enough to go to Disneyland and Monterey during our break. And I know she spent a lot of time catching up on crochet orders that she has received (her stuff is AMAZING!!!).
The First Project of the Year
Today I’m sharing my very first experience with the vinyl transfer process just in case you can learn from my trials and errors and final success. 🙂
Step 1: Lettering
I’ve been excited to get into using my Cricut Maker to cut vinyl but hadn’t attempted it yet until this month. My project was simple but detailed: I wanted to turn the quote I digitally hand lettered on my iPad with my Apple Pencil from November into a pretty little framed piece for one of our giveaway winners. This is the file I had to work with:
As an aside, and this is something I plan to post more about another day, I love hand lettering! I have been doing it since high school. I wish I still had copies of the hand lettered pages me and Katie and our girlfriends would make for each other. We would write out a friend’s name in a cute, custom font and add all sorts of doodles around it and then pass them to each other between classes. But I threw out all of my old notes in a fit of purging years ago, knowing as I did it that I’d regret it some day. In the moment I just wanted less clutter and fewer boxes to store! Oh how bummed I am now – especially since I had a sweet little poem from an elementary school “boyfriend” (and my first kiss) who turned out to be famous years later. The only line I remember was something like “I like you so much. Your skin is like smooth Dutch.” Hah! Needless to say, he isn’t famous for being a poet (he is a painter).
But I digress, BIG TIME. Back to talking about cutting this quote out in vinyl….
Step 2: Cutting
So while I wasn’t layering different colors of vinyl, I did have some really detailed bits with small lines to deal with. I was nervous, first of all, that some of my letters were too thin for them to cut properly on the Cricut. Secondly I was nervous that I wouldn’t be able to get them to transfer correctly. Thirdly I was just kinda nervous in general because I didn’t want this project to be a total bust!
Thankfully, the Cricut had ZERO issues cutting all of the letters out. So at this point I breathed a huge sigh of relief. And was all the more impressed with this amazing cutting machine.
Step 3: Weeding
The next step was what is called weeding – removing all of the tiny bits of vinyl that don’t easily peel off (think of the middle of an “o”, or the little inner semi-circle part of an “e”). This is tedious, but incredibly necessary. I used a Weeding tool from Cricut that reminds me of what dental hygienists use when cleaning your teeth. It’s a metal hook with a sharp point at the end. You stick a corner of vinyl you want removed carefully and pull the piece up/away to get it out without messing everything else up. I got mine in a kit from Hobby Lobby during one of those rare moments when Cricut accessories go on sale (it was all 40% off!!!)
Step 4: Transfer Paper
After taking plenty of time to carefully weed my quote, I was ready to move it to transfer paper so that I could then place it onto the final product (paper in this case). This step is all about taking some clear sticker-paper (think Contact paper, the kind you line shelves and drawers with) and adhering the top of the vinyl, the part you will have showing once all is said and done, to it. Doing so enables you to have your “sticker” of vinyl all in one piece when you apply it to the final product.
For me, this was definitely the trickiest step. First, because I tried to go the cheap route after reading on some forums that others have done so successfully. So I bought actual clear home-use style Contact Paper and tried, with vigor, to get my vinyl to stick to it. No luck, whatsoever. Katie and I took turns pressing as hard as we could, using the scraper tool that came with my kit. It’s like…using a credit card to apply pressure to something…only this scraper tool has a much better and sturdier grip.
While some of the vinyl stuck, not much of it did. I gave up for the night and figured I would get some actual cutting-machine-vinyl-purposed transfer paper the next day.
Upon attempt #2, this time with standard transfer paper (I also bought strong grip transfer paper but haven’t tried it yet) learned a few more things.
If you’re having trouble getting the sticky part to separate from the backing, use the weeding tool and pry up the corner of the transfer paper. This is the quickest method from what I’ve found.
For the really small letters/thinner lines, it’s best to use your scraper tool and follow the boarder of the section in question all the way around. What do I mean by this? For example, on the letter “t”, you would take your scraper and trace around the letters pressing down as you do, to ensure all edges – every square centimeter – adheres to the sticky part of the transfer paper. Tracing the outline of every part ensures things stick much better.
Once you’re sure everything is properly “stuck”, peel the transfer paper off at an angle, but not too sharp of one.
Make sure you’ve paid attention to the lines on your transfer paper and haven’t applied it to your vinyl crooked. These lines are key in centering your piece and making sure it is straight on the final product.
Step 5: Applying the Vinyl
This is the fun, and not too difficult, part! Now that you have a properly aligned and ready to go vinyl “sticker”, line it up accurately to your final product, stick it on, scrape it to get a good adhesion, and then peel off the transfer paper. Voila!!!
As an aside, I read many forums that recommend pulling the transfer paper off at a 45 degree angle from the paper. While this worked, I actually found that my letters remained in place and stuck to my paper if I peeled it off with the transfer paper being pulled back, parallel, to my paper. I’m not sure if this is the case with other materials you’d transfer vinyl to, but I’ll test it out in the future.
I mounted the final product to another paper that was a beautiful dark green and placed it in a frame:
I was pretty pleased with how this project came out and am looking forward to more ways I can use my cutting machine and vinyl! I hope you enjoyed the read….and am very excited to share more projects with you as the year goes on!
Its Halloween time! And who doesn’t like free candy?!? Especially all the cute mini humans. So what better craft for this month than making trick or treat bags? Even if you don’t have your own little ones like myself, they make cute shopping bags for October.
I have to admit this has been my favorite project thus far! These bags just turned out so darn cute I can hardly stand it!!! The best thing about them (besides being this freakin cute) is they are so quick and easy. Now when I say “quick” for crochet, that means you can get it done in a day.
Felt – 1 sheet of black , 1 sheet of yellow, 1 sheet of white
Crochet hook (I used a 5.5mm hook)
Embroidery Thread (I used the thicker Pearl Cotten kind like this)
Needle for sewing
Pattern for “Trick or Treat” bag
This pattern is worked in the round and uses the Half Double Crochet Stitch and assumes you as the maker know general crochet terms. Hook size used it 5.5mm and finished bag is 15″ x 10″.
HDC-Half Double Crochet
RD 1: CH 46, working in the back of chain only (see photos below), place HDC in second “bump” from the hook, and repeat until the end of the row – [45 stitches]
To work in the back bumps, simply turn your chain over and look for the “bump” on the back , place your hook under the 2nd bump from the hook and crochet as normal.
When you reach the last ST (ST 45) place two more ST in the same ST for a total of 3 HDC’s in the last ST – [47 stitches]
Instead of turning our work keep working your round by crocheting on the opposite side, placing HDCs in each ST along the row – [92 stitches]
When you reach the last ST place an additional HDC for a total of two ST in the last ST – [93 stitches]
This should give you about 15″ in width.
RD 2-end – Continue placing a HDC in each ST around until your bag reaches 10″ in height. Once height is reached end your row on the side, making sure both sides of your bag are even, and weave in end.
At this point choose which side of the bag you like better, the inside or the current front side. The look is slightly varied and can simply be turned inside out!
Make two – start chain with about a foot of tale for sewing
Row 1 – CH 6, working in back bumps, place HDC in 2nd bump from the hook and across, CH 1, turn [5 stitches]
Row 2-end – HDC in first ST and across row [5 stitches]
Continue until your handle is 12″ in length, leaving 12″ of tail after ending row for sewing.
Count 11 stitches from each end of the bag and place a stitch marker as shown below.
Then from each stitch marker count 5 stitches inward and place another stitch marker. There should be 11 stitches between each end of the handle.
Sew in ends of the handle being sure not to twist the handles during placement.
Sew across the bottom of the handle and top of bag about 2-3 times until secure then weave in the tail and repeat for other end and other side of the bag.
Next cut out your felt letters and candy corn pieces and pin them to your bag, being careful not to pin both sides of your bag together (I may or may not have learned this the hard way…).
Then begin sewing on your letters! This is where all the cuteness happens right before your eyes!
Now theres only one step left… and it’s by far the best step. PUT IN CANDY!
I hope you enjoy making this bag as much as Jen and I did. Even my neighbor’s cat Lily was in love!
Hello my lovely fellow craft-loving friends! I hope your September has been fun and creatively inspired! Ours sure turned out to be. Oh and it’s been busy, and at times hectic, and at others felt chaotic, but that doesn’t change – whether we craft or not – right?!? So might as well carve out a little time for some art therapy :oD The dishes and vacuuming can wait till tomorrow! I find crafting cathartic and the end result once my craft is finished rewarding – usually, anyway. I do totally bomb on an attempt to make something sometimes, but I chalk those up to a learning experience and then give it another go on the next attempt (I do my best to stay focused on the positive rather than wallow in the “what or how I did wrong” so that I don’t get down on myself or my failed attempts at creativity). And that my friends is how I usually stay inspired to keep on making things! Or at least trying to…
And on that note, here is something newly made which luckily didn’t bomb at all in my opinion. I really love the way this felt sunflower cafe out and am pretty pleased with my second attempt at adding bead work details to fabric (my first one was a ribbon belt piece I made for my Aunt to wear at my parent’s vow renewal ceremony which they did for their 40th wedding anniversary! 40 YEARS!!!!!!). Anyways, I digress (because 40 years of marriage isn’t exactly something to gloss over). My point is that I think this flower turned out to be absolutely stunning. Especially when paired with the beautiful crocheted leaves that Katie made to go with it for our 2nd fall wreath!!! I’ll get into the details of how to make the flower, the leaves, and attach them all to the wreath below. As usual, I have added notes on steps you can skip if you aren’t trying to spend as much time as I did in making this flower.
1 piece of felt fabric in yellow (or alternate color of your choice)
1 piece of felt fabric in brown (or alternate color of your choice)
Thread in the same/similar colors as your felt
A needle for sewing everything together (if you’re going to do the beadwork on the center, you need a needle small enough to fit through the smallest beads used)
Optional – for the more detailed look:
Assorted brown beads for the center detail (or alternate color of your choice)
Marker to add petal detail (I used an orange permanent chalk marker)
Also optional – to make the wreath
A wreath to add everything to once it’s finished (I used a birch twig wreath that I already had which you can find at just about any craft store)
Crocheted leaves (or you can make some out of felt if you’d prefer!)
Cutting the Felt
I lucked out in a BIG WAY this time around when it came to cutting my petals! Katie and I got together for a crafting night and invited our other sister-friend over to hang out and help (her name is Christine, and she is absolutely WONDERFUL!). So while I worked on beading the center, Christine cut out ALL of my petals!
Cut 35-40 petals out in the color you want the flower to be
Cut out a medium-ish circle in the same color (this is for the back and won’t be seen)
Cut out a small-ish circle in the color you want the center to be
I didn’t add any waves to these petals – sunflower petals are typically pretty crisp so I just left them as-is.
As I scoured the internet for photos of sunflowers, I knew I wanted to find a way to make the center of mine the focal point. I didn’t want to use embroidery, and I knew I didn’t want to just throw a felt center in there. Thankfully the idea came to me while looking at images to attempt a beaded center that had tons of texture and a circular structure!
As usual, some or all of these steps can be skipped if you want to make your flower much quicker.
Adding Detail to the Petals
To add some depth to the petals, I took my orange marker and swept lines from the base of the petal out toward the tip (just like I did in my last post where there are photos of the process – only this time I didn’t do them fanned out, rather just down the length of the petal, stopping just before reaching the very tip).
Next I stuck the two bottom corners of the petals together (the same way I did with the felt peony post from last month, but this time with thread instead of glue). You can skip this step, but it gives the flower more depth and volume once it’s all put together if you choose to do it.
Making the Pistil
This is where the bulk of the work happens with making this particular sunflower. I started by sewing a larger bead to the very center of the small circle and then went around that with my small beads, sewing each one to the felt individually. The best way to really keep the circular shape is to first sew each bead of the circle to the felt, then take your needle and go back through the whole circle of beads with the thread, then sew back down into the felt and pull somewhat tightly.
You keep doing this, one circle at a time, until you’ve got a beaded circle in the right size. I alternated beads whenever I felt like it but kept the same size of bead at least while sewing each individual circle. Here is what it looked like once I was finished:
Making the Leaves
Katie crocheted the leaves that go with this flower and they look AMAZING! She found and bought a super cute leaf pattern here and used leaf 2, generic leaf. She used “I Love this Cotton” yarn from Hobby Lobby (the pattern calls for thread size 10 but we wanted the leaves to be bigger and sturdier). Since we couldn’t find yarn in the exact color of green we were hoping for, we went ahead and used some green fabric dye. Once the dyed leaves were dry, I starched and ironed them to give them some stiffness.
Don’t you just love them?!
Putting the Flower Together
To put this flower together, I took the medium sized circle of felt and started sewing petals to it, starting with the very back layer of petals and working in towards the center. I used yellow thread and added my first round of petals which had 13 total, and then I placed my next round so that each petal was sewn in between the previous and just a tad closer to the center than the last. I did this over and over until I had all of layers of petals attached with the layer at the center being the topmost one. It looked like the picture below once I was all finished.
Next I attached the beaded center using a brown thread. I went around the outermost layer of beads and sewed the middle to the petals, making sure each stitch landed in between two beads and not over the top of any of them. I started my stitch inside the outermost circle, went up and over it (again, at a point where two of the beads met so my thread ended up hidden) and back down into the circle with the petals attached. I did this all the way around the middle, adding a stitch every 1/4″ or so until it felt securely tacked down.
And this is what my flower looked like when it was all finished!!! I LOVE IT!!!
Putting the Wreath Together
I laid the flower out with the petals in order to get an idea of how it would look once I attached it to the wreath. It wasn’t until I did this with the wreath behind everything that I really figured out how it was going to look and what would be just right for the overall look.
At first I wasn’t sure it was going to look good at all – and then I found that adding some movement to the leaves made ALL THE DIFFERENCE IN THE WORLD!!! So, when placing the leaves on the wreath, I laid them in such a way that the leaves curved with the wreath but also up away from the wreath, then back down toward it. Sewing the leaves onto this wreath took a lot of patience as I had to navigate through all of the sticks and take care not to break any off (ok, so I broke a few, but not so many that it mattered!). While I could have glued the leaves and flower down, since this is going to be outside and possibly in the heat, I felt it was best to stick with sewing in spite of the frustration doing so caused for a short while.
It took a little playing with it to get the overall finished look but it was well worth it, don’t you think?!?
I hope you enjoyed this post! I sure do love my new front door wreath 🙂
I would love to hear from you – your thoughts on the tutorial, questions, or whether you tried making this yourself!