Spring Birdie Felt Wallhanging

It’s no secret that I love felt and this is a fun little project that you can make as big or little as you want. I used bright spring colors as I am ready for Spring! I was ready January 1st!

I like felt projects too because in the evening I like to do hand projects, Plus as I get older, ahem, my vision is getting crappy, I got my old lady glasses on, no chain yet, but that might be coming! That simple blanket stitch and straight running stitches are just mindless, Plus I put my sizzix to work cutting (affiliate link) but will include the templates for you!

(affiliate links are throughout this post, that means that if you click on them I may earn a small commission. In no way does it change your price but it does help to pay me for my time and continue to offer free ideas, thank you)

This felt is a blend that I’m using, It comes looking like craft felt, but then when you wash it, it gets thicker and softer and bumpy. I hand wash and agitate in hot soapy water and then throw it in the dryer on medium heat. I try really HARD to make sure I get it out still kinda damp and dry flat on my island or on the floor by the gas fireplace (unfortunately that’s an invitation for Lily to lay there) . If you leave it in and dry in a high heat dryer the edges become distorted. They will still be distorted even taking it out early but not as much. It’s just a significantly cheaper form that pure 100% wool felt/fabrics.

 

So here goes, I cut my white rectangle 27-28″ by 16′ my final size was 24″ by 13 1/2″. Remember you can do whatever by doing less birds. Here’s your pattern pieces, trace them on the paper side of freezer paper, don’t trim, you can roughly cut around your tracing, then fuse to your felt , then cut out on the line exactly. I pin my felt pieces to my project, always have, probably always will, I’m sure you can use fabric glues, or applique glues as well.

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I found the center and marked a chalk line. you only need maybe 12 inches so the birds cover the line, Sometimes chalk liner does not wash out well. img_1147

Then I found the center of the birds, pinned it to the pink center line and did blanket stitch around the bird with variegated floss. I continued to stack a bird, stitch around. I started stitching at the bottom of the new bird trying to make sure they stayed nested as I stitched.

Then I mixed up the wings and added them. My original thought was just a simple line of birds, but I couldn’t stop. The rick rack was the same color springy green so I sewed that in place. I marked a line all the way around with my hera marker. (affiliate link) and then sewed the rick rack with matching thread.

With leftover birdie felt I cut out Spring and just kinda arranged it to be fun, stitch again with tiny blanket stitches. I made some felt flowers added buttons in the center and then just stitched them in place with leaves.(affiliate link)

I folded down the upper edge about 1 inch and sewed at the lower edge making room for a dowel, or you could decorate a stick and hang it as well, Then I used my crimper rotary blade (affiliate link) and ruler and just sliced the 2 sides and bottom. That’s the great thing about felt, simple finishing techniques!

I just added hot fix crystals for the eyes. You could just use a thick thread and french knots or buttons as well.IMG_1276

 

I hope you love my little spring inspired project and it inspires you do make it your own!

Happy Soon to be Spring! Colleen

My Lupus Treatment

So I talked about the symptoms and my journey to being diagnosed with lupus but really didn’t talk about what they treated me with. That was 8 years ago and I believe there are many new drugs and hopefully some better options coming out in the future.

In that 1 week hospital stay I got started on steroids and did them with a very gradual decrease for 1 year. I hated them and my rheumatologist knows to not even mention them as I will only take them on my death bed. they gave me such crazy anxiety! I had a hard time being a lone in the house. I couldn’t watch the news because it gave me so much anxiety. Keep in mind in those early days I was extremely sick. I was sleeping 20 hours a day. I would walk upstairs to take a shower and go back to sleep. Everything was exhausting. I was started on cytoxan ( breast cancer drug), and had a treatment every 4 weeks x 6 months. The first couple days were ok, then the nausea, poor appetite hit, I had horrible joint pain for 36 hours from the neulasta injections. I got frequent oral yeast infections that went down my throat, finally I was put on diflucan for a year along with the steroids. I went from 155 lbs to 124 pounds in 3 weeks! Went down to about 95 pounds, even on steroids, I felt like shit quite frankly.My mom and dad came up to care for me and my family and clean the house, help with meals, laundry because I just couldn’t do it.

After the 6 doses of cytoxan were done, I waited 1 month and went on cellcept. That killed my stomach for 1 month and then it was ok. When I moved back to New York, the new rheumatologist put me on plaquenil. By this time it had been around 3 years and honestly felt fairly well, Ate mostly vegan lifestyle, (would eat salmon when we would go out to dinner). Really very little pain, except when the storms came through. The plaquenil helped significantly, I thought I was feeling very well and then went on that and felt great. You need to get your eyes checked yearly if your on that!

3 years ago I had to have surgery and had to come off my medications (yuck). And of course I wasn’t healing properly so my restart of my meds kept getting delayed. I finally had to beg them to let me start some of it because I felt horrible, lots of pain and it took a long time to feel reasonable. In fact it never really went back to those days before the surgery.

I had to have a hysterectomy for a grapefruit size mass. I was told that lupus hates estrogen and I would feel better with the hysterectomy. I didn’t. I had already been 12 months without a period but my adrenal glands must have been making some estrogen. I have not been the same since that surgery. I was disappointed quite frankly because for the most part I was pain free up until the surgery. I became pain free about 3 months or so into the cytoxan regimen.

I have a beloved friend who questioned wheat all the time, I kept saying ” NOO, that’s not it” , because remember I was vegan and of course eating bread and grains. After about 6 months after the surgery I started really doing research on the internet what people with autoimmune disease were doing. Keep in mind too , because of my kidney damage I can not and will not take any NSAIDs, no motrin, nothing, and that is what helps my joint pain.

And guess what I found? I found that people who go vegan do really well for about 3 years and then they don’t feel well and that paleo is the answer.It had been about 3 years that I was vegan. Honestly I was craving meat. I think that that craving was my body’s way of getting me to change. Long story short I began to realize that YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT!!! Do I think that everyone should be paleo? I really don’t know. I was sad turning paleo in some ways. I felt that a vegan lifestyle was more ethical, I think that diet is going to be very individual. I think it’s absolutely essential to give up all processed food, If you don’t know an ingredient you should not be eating it.

 

If you have an autoimmune disease I promise you you need to change your diet. First of all I believe that you will have to figure out what you can and can not eat. One diet does not fit all. So even though I closely follow a paleo type diet there are many paleo foods that I can not eat, almonds, oranges. I will tell you that figuring out what you can and can not eat is a brutal process. I never ever believed that I had a problem with bread, until I gave it up and I was dumbfounded what a difference it was that I felt.You must go without a food for at least 3 days, I tell every one 1 week, then eat it and see how you feel. If you get a headache, nausea, constipation, gas bloating, joint pain you have an intolerance and you need to stop eating it! it’s a long process but I figured out I was allergic to soy, rice, almonds ( I rarely eat any nut truthfully), gluten,chocolate, oranges, cauliflower,casava flour, dairy is an issue, do I eat it, yes but I pay the price with joint pain and stiffness for 3 days. I do take digestive enzymes which does help with some of the symptoms, I put my daughter on them and they dramatically helped with her belly issues and her headaches! Go figure right?

So if you are suffering from an autoimmune disease and have symptoms, there are many sources out there to help you figure out a paleo lifestyle and elimination diet. There are many people like me that got significant relief. I am not pain free but I am ok with my pain level. Eating anything other than meat veggies and fruit really isn’t worth it, once in a while I do it but for the most part no.

There will always be more to say about this crazy lupus, until then hang in there! I’m definitely there with you and praying for a better answer for all of us!

 

Sweet and Easy Little Girls Skirt

I’ve been working hard on applying to juried craft shows to sell little girls skirts and t-shirts. I loved buying super cute clothes for my kids and I never cared that they got them dirty. I feel like these little skirts apply that same concept, super cute and go play outside and get dirty! Here’s the directions, you might have to adjust for your child, since I really have no kids at home any more to try these skirts on, plus kids are not one size fits all.

I used these basic measurements:

AGE waist in inches length from waist width x 42″
6-12 months 16 7 11.5″
12-18 months 16.5 8 12.5″
18-24 months 17 9 13.5″
2T 18 10 14.5″
3 years 19 11 15.5″
4 years 20 12 16.5″

So my skirt I cut 1 panel 12.5″ by the whole width of the fabric ( usually around 42″ selvage to selvage).

The skirt has a little high gathered waist . I added about 4 1/2 inches to my skirt length measurement. So if you were making this for an older child measure their waist and then measure just below their natural waist to where you want the skirt length. I did not add seam allowance in as the 4 1/2 inch covers the upper seams that will be made and the little knife pleat ruffle will add some length as well.

Making the waist:

Then I folded down the upper long edge ( making the waist wrong sides together), 2 1/4 – 2 1/2 depending if I was making a smaller size ( 2 1/4″) or a larger size (2 1/2″). Make a nice press and then also press under a narrow seam. Sew the narrow hem first . I used the left side of my quarter inch foot to “ride” along the edge to keep a nice straight sew line. img_1148img_1149img_1152

Then you need to make an elastic casing for your skirt. I used 1 inch wide elastic. I measured about 1 1/4 inch away from the line I just sewed on the narrow hem. Sew all the way down the length. You will make a casing for your elastic and a little upper ruffle will be created when you put your elastic through.

Making lower knife pleat ruffle:

Cut 3 strips 2″ by fabric width( 42″  usually you are cutting with your fabric on the natural fold) Sew the 3 strips, wrong sides together,  to make 1 long one. Then press the big long strip in half WRONG SIDES together. I made my little pleats quickly, Essentially I just made a pinch and then laid the “pinch” down flat and pinned in place to the right side of the lower skirt, matching all the RAW edges.

It’s difficult to see but the folded edge of the long strip that you made is where all the pin heads are, so the raw edge of your ruffle is aligned with the raw edge of your lower skirt. I try to lay my pleats so they nest next to the pleat that I laid down before it, that’s why you need such a long strip. img_1159

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I serged my lower ruffle to my skirt, I removed 3 pins at a time and just held the pleats in place. If you don’t have a serger I probably would run 2 straight sewing lines to hold it in place. Once your ruffle is attached, press that seam upwards, towards the waist, and then do a narrow line of stitching, It just makes the skirt look more finished.

Then measure your child’s waist, add 1″ extra, cut your elastic. Insert your elastic with a pin to move it through the casing. Secure your edge of your elastic and then continue moving your elastic through the casing until you get to the other side, secure on the opposite side. Your waist will naturally gather up. After your elastic is secured, sew up the back seam, I serged my back seam and secured my threads.

 

 

Sweet Valentine Garland

Happy Valentine’s Day!

OK, OK I missed this Valentine’s day but pin this so that you can make it for next Valentines. This garland is so sweet , not too difficult and combines a few things that I love…these little felt balls, felt  and embroidery.

The longest part is making the little hearts. I made one for my husband and I and each of our kids, I need to add one more for my future daughter in law! I took several reds and pink shades of felt( I didn’t wash the felt like I normally do). I first did each of our names  by printing them in a pretty thin swirly font, onto Fabric Solvy printer product  ( affiliate link). If you are using red floss to do your stitching it will be OK to do it in black ink, however, if you are doing light floss then I would lighten your printer color. When you go to rinse this product after your stitching the black ink came onto the floss and I had to re wash. It never turned bright white/pink.

So, after your print your names on the solvy paper, trim close, remove backing and place on a single layer of felt heart. I just did a simple back stitch for each name. Then I used a blanket stitch to start layering hearts either 2 or 3 layers. After I was done I did a matching large heart to seal in the back and cover my stitching mess. Again sealed with a blanket stitch. After the hearts were together I trimmed excess solvy and washed them in very warm water, agitating them to remove all the solvy product, I threw them in the dryer with other laundry. Set them aside.

For the envelopes:

download pattern, valentine-envelope012

I made 3 envelopes. By trial and error this is how I ended do them.

fold up the lower edge, fold onto that one side flap. I actually found I needed to stitch the envelope to hold it properly. I knotted some red floss and brought in up in the corner from the inside, stitched a couple bottom edge stitches, then brought up my stitching towards the center where the button will be. Repeat for other side and then to secure sides and bottom flap with more stitching and a button in place.

For the top flap, I brought it down over the button and just did a little snip horizontally and slipped over the button. I did press my envelopes to help hold shape as well. On the back I stitched a thin piece of white felt may 3/4 inch x 2 inches to slid the garland twine. I just did running stitches to hold them in place.

 

Gather all your garland items. The envelopes, hearts, felted balls, baker’s twine, large needle. I sorta planned my garland. I had everything centered with my husband and I in the center with equal balls and envelopes.I had 3 kids which makes the heart placement unequal ( that will change when I put my daughter in laws name in there).

Then just start threading. I cut my twine probably 7-8 feet and just loaded all items on the twine. I spaced everything out once I put it on our mantle.

 

TIP: when you thread your heart thread them high so that when they hang up they stay level for you to read. Also use a lot of running stitches. Same for the envelopes.  I just put 2 small white nails in the mantle and tied on the twine. Space out your elements and super cute!

I think you could probably put small love letters to your children in the envelopes or small pieces candy.

 

I hope you enjoy this project! Hang on there for more and follow along!

 

Affiliate link means that I might make a small  commission on this item. In no way does it affect the price that you pay. Your trust and following means everything to me and I only recommend items that have truly worked for me.

Silhouette university

If you love your silhouette cameo and need a little help join Silhouette u , I love it, the benefits are great commercial free designs discounts to expression vinyl and hungry jpg ( I get all my graphics there). I love it for the help and support, plus no ads for members, discounts on her books, need I say more?

 

Silhouetteu.com

 

im afraid to link because it shows my account information check it out!

Upcycled Shutter

Pin this to your Home Decor or DIY boards if you love it!

Like so many, I too love finding great junk and turning it into something really beautiful. I got a bunch of shutters for about $15 each and have had a great time painting them. I was going to sell this but I am so in love with it! What do you think?

Sorry for pictures, This is in a tiny little hallway that connects to my craft room so kinda difficult to get great full on photos. Doesn’t help that Syracuse is constant gloom! The paint is General Finishes Patina Green. I love this paint and color. I also dry brushed with white and a dirty brush with a touch of black to give pure grays.  I added 4 crystal knobs and bought frames that hang with ribbon. They were cream so they got painted white and I changed the ribbon to a twisted nautical kinds cord to make it feel informal. I made the little bunting out of Art Gallery Fabric Lillybelle. Don’t forget to make some yo yo flower embellishments! I just used heavy duty “D” hooks to hand it. I made sure my screws went into wood to hold the weight.

Hope you love it and it inspires you to go get an ugly shutter and make it something beautiful! This is one of the easiest projects! I honestly didn’t even solidly paint it, you can see some of the original color, so super simple!

Here’s my black upcycled shutter( scroll down for pics)

Here’s how I made my inspiration pics!

Affiliate link, I might make a small commission if you click on the link,at no additional charge to you. Your cost is the same as if you found it yourself. This helps support the blog and the ability to continue offering free projects. Thank you, Colleen

Boho Birdie and Feather Felt Pillow

I love wool and felt. Maybe it’s the influence of living up north and the cold.s. These fabrics are the most forgiving fabrics and so versatile. I have a decent stash, ahem, OK maybe bigger than that. In addition to this fabric I love the look of free motion feathers and normally when I do quilt, that it inevitably my go to pattern.In addition I love having a hand project going.

So I thought I’d combine all 3 loves. I hope this appeals to you as it really is a make it your own kinda project project. My color choices were based on the fact that it is going in my family room and I already have a lot that I made based on the colors from Art Gallery fabrics Lavish collection. I had some hand dyed wool felt blend, some wool and purchased wool felt blend fabrics all used in this pillow.

I used a marble gray for my pillow base, my goal was a 16″ pillow , so I cut this somewhere around 18″. I used my sizzix die for my feathers and then trimmed them to help them all nest. I used some “feathers” as is from the sizzix( included in pattern) but many I trimmed with super sharp scissors(also included).  I used a couple different shades of green, pinks, very light gray and very dark gray. My birdie was made out of light gray wool. He is heavily embroidered with a lazy daisy stitch and french knots.

Download the feather pattern here ( there are some other shapes on there as well)

feather-and-circle010

Trace your shapes onto paper side of freezer paper and cut out, I cut a turn of “feathers” in multiple sizes to audition my design.I used DMC floss in a matching color to the felt. All of the feathers were stitched with a blanket stitch. I tried to get smaller stitches near the fine points. I used 2 strands of threads.

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For this project I did not use a fusible product, I just pin each feather. I honestly just sit there and audition everything. I started with a circle ( use the bottom of a shot glass as a good pattern) and built my feathers around that. I did the bottom of the pillow first, making sure to curl up the row for some interest. Kinda of imagine a center line where all of your feathers are reaching from. For more interest I also added small pieces on top, again randomly. I added a couple of layered circles and of course the birdie.

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This is complete but a good go to picture for how I laid everything out.

The one bad thing that I have run across with a wool felt blend is they tend to curl when you wash them. When you purchase wool/rayon combo felt it looks like craft felt, I wash mine to give it that bumpy, worn look. When you do that sometimes you lose that flatness ( it also shrinks, so always buy more!). I had thought about turning this into a framed picture and doing three but the gray would never lay flat, so a pillow it became. By no means am I unhappy with it, I love it actually! The picture doesn’t do it justice ( I might be bias).

For the birdie:

download the pattern: boho-birdie011

I traced the birdie on the paper side of the freezer paper and cut out with sharp scissors(affliate link) I set it in the corner, pinned and attached with blanket stitch. Then I did a bunch a lazy daisy stitches and french knots making tiny daises all over the bird. I used the same thread as I did to attach him.

Once everything was placed I actually did envelope style backing with wool blend felt, Its cheap and easy because you can use the raw edge. I rotary cut the raw edge first with a krimper blade. My backing was 2 pieces 18 1/2″ by 10 1/2″ layer the pieces to be a square.

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Then lay your finished piece on top, good side up. I sewed with black thread about 1/2 away from edge. Then I used the krimper rotary cutter and went all around. I used my ruler just like I normally do.img_1059

I hope you love this. I can’t say that this is a beginner project, but it is all blanket stitching, once your comfortable with that you will be fine to do this.

Enjoy!

 

affiliate link- I might earn a small commission through the affiliate link listed here and through out the blog. In no way does this affect what you will pay for an item. It is the same cost as if you found the item yourself. However, it does help pay for my time for providing things free on this blog. Thank you as always! Colleen

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