Modern Folksy Bunny + a giveaway

When Virginia of the Gingercake blog + shop emailed to see if we’d be interested in sewing one of her patterns for her Holiday Gifts Sewing Series, it immediately conjured up memories.  Every Christmas, my mother tied wide red velvet ribbons around a few stuffed animals and set them in little wooden chairs on either side of our fireplace.  They only appeared at Christmastime which made them seem extra special, and my favorite one was a small white puma.

I just loved it and every time the boxes ‘o decorations made their way from the attic down to the first floor, I would find it buried somewhere and call it my own- If only for the month of December.

Gingercake Gifts Series

So, when thinking about which pattern in Virginia’s shop that I’d like to sew up, I kept coming back to the Modern Folksy Bunny.  It reminded me of those sweet little stuffed animals that my Mom put out, and something I thought my own children would love to see re-appear at every holiday season…

So this little guy is staying in the family.

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I wonder who will call dibs?

The girl with the matching pants, of course!

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Corinne was pretty taken with this bunny.  She looked at it for a while, but then began to pick at the button eyes and the floppy bow.  She hugged it tightly, threw it on the ground, picked it up, put it in her shopping cart and rolled it around the kitchen… you get the idea.

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(This would be the second bunny I made- I made an ear-error on the first one, but I may finish it up today and show you that one later this week so stay tuned for that…)

This little bunny takes a nice shape thanks to a couple of well-placed darts and a little boxed corner at the toe.  Nice little details that I never would have thought of on my own.

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The body is made of Essex yarn dyed linen in black.  For the ear lining and bow, I used some red tartan that has been burning a hole in my stash for three years.  This might be my new favorite fabric combo, fyi.

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  Those bell-bottoms that Coco is wearing, were made for my older girl back when she was a toddler.  sniff sniff.  I found them the other day in a box of Winter clothes and I knew we had to include them in this photo shoot!

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My favorite part about making this bunny would have to be that cute pom-pom tail.  It was the first one I’ve ever made and I could seriously get hooked!  I used a basic white yarn and wrapped it around my hand old-school style- though I’ve heard there are pom-pom makers out there.

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Would you like to make your own folksy bunny?  Virginia has kindly offered up one Bunny pattern for one of you cool readers.

 Leave me a comment below!

Giveaway will end on Sunday 11/17 at 9 pm and a winner will be chosen at random.

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Be sure to check out all the other great PDF patterns in Virginia’s shop- tons of cute stuff there perfect for a handmade gift!

Happy (Holiday) Sewing!

-Erin

p.s. You can *like* Hungie Gungie on FB now and be up to the millisecond on any breaking news we may decide is important to share.  j/k. you’ll be lucky if we ever remember to post over there.

… hittin’ the big time y’all.

Backyard Patchwork Quilt

I’ve had the itch to make another quilt ever since finsihing the first one I made last year for Ellery.  This time, a quilt to hang out on when we are playing outside- which this time of year is pretty much all afternoon.

I had a few requirements that I wanted to stick to: It had to be a STASHBUSTER, Colorful (enough to hide food and grass stains), Easy, and fast.

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 I perused Pinterest, adding several beauties to my quilt board.  But, I realize I am not a “quilter” and I was putting it off because the whole process was starting to daunt me. Then, I remembered something an old Chef used to tell me in my younger days as a cook… when you get overwhelmed by what’s ahead of you, just use the K.I.S.S. system.  As in, “Keep it simple, stupid.”  And things will magically come together for you.  So I stopped pinning, and started pulling fabrics.

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 I kept going back to the idea of using lots of florals, so I pulled anything I had that jumped out at me.  Also, I had a few Anna Maria Horner prints that I felt were just staring at me everytime I opened my fabric closet.  Like, “DO SOMETHING WITH US, LADY!”.  So, I used a few that I was pretty sure wouldn’t end up into any clothing projects- Coordinates in saffron, and Bubble Burst in Turquoise.  I thought those two would break it all up and add some pizazzzzzz….

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I cut 10 1/2″ squares.  42 in all.  I used my Mom’s square ruler which made the cutting process go super quick and precise.

(Thanks Gee for owning every type of tool I could ever possibly need.  You always come through for me!)

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I used Kona in Slate (i think?) for the binding and didn’t waste my nights hand-stitching it on… It was so fast using the machine and a walking foot really helped (again, thank you Mom for that!).  For the backing, I just pieced together any large pieces I had left, plus that green floral print, and also added a large piece of some eggplant-colored cotton.  When I asked my Mom if it that was okay to do, she laughed and said “I don’t think the Quilt Police will come after you”.  Hey, I don’t know these things!

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I hand-tied the quilt with mustard colored floss at each corner where the squares meet.  I like how sort of loose and soft it is without the stitching all over… In fact, I would probably go that route again- it was so fast and easy.

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I’m so happy with the result.  I am excited to throw it out on the lawn, picnic with the kiddos on it, and maybe even take a nap on it someday.  Just kidding.  That will NEVER happen.

But, I do feel like it’s very “Me”…. whatever that means!

-Erin

Sweet Clarice Stocking + tutorial

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This stocking has been a long time coming… it’s been floating around in my head ever since last year’s Abominable Snowman was created.

I know I’m not alone in my love for Clarice…. she is pretty, pure, so kind, and has one of the lovliest voices in show biz.  It’s no question that my favorite scene in the Rudolph movie is when Rudolph and Clarice meet… and then when he flies and says “she said i’m cuuuuuuute!”  and then his fake nose falls off.  It’s classic.  I wanted to pay homage to my favorite leading doe, by making this felt stocking for one of my girls (I think Ellery is calling dibs on this one.  Corinne will have to settle for Hermie next year!  Or the misfit doll maybe?).

Do you love Clarice too?  Or do you know someone who would appreciate their very own Clarice Christmas stocking?

Here’s a step-by-step tutorial for ya…..

First, go here to download and print this little Clarice pattern I drew up.

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You’ll need wool or wool blend felt.  I love the felt I’ve gotten from Ohma in the past- I used it here for Clarice and for the snowy ground… The main part of the stocking is felt from my local fabric shop, Les Fabriques- it’s not quite as high in quality as the Ohma stuff, but it’s perfectly fine for this project, and it came in a large piece.

  I used Oatmeal-colored felt for Clarice and an off-white felt for the snow.  Bright white for the main part of the stocking- but any backround color would be nice here…. I just wanted to keep it mostly white.  I also used some little bits of white velour for the white parts on her chest and belly and ears, and some white fur for the fluff on her tail.  I used a teensy bit of black felt for her nose, but you can also use a little black craft paint ( which is what i used for the hoofs).

Okay, here we go.  Cut your pattern pieces out and trace them onto your felt with a disappearing marker, or just get crazy and use a sharpie like me- just make sure to cut away black away.

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**note: when you are cutting the legs that are in the background, extend the piece at the top by about 1/4″  since you’ll need to tuck those pieces under the body and then glue them.)**

I started putting Clarice’s head together first- I shaped the eye by going back and forth between many photos of her on the iPad. Glue (using basic craft or fabric glue) the white of her eye down to the head piece, and then glue the back part on top of that.  Using a few strands of black thread, hand-stitch around her eye…and then stitch a few long eyelashes at the top corner.  Her lashes are her best feature, don’t you think?

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Okay, next glue the little white part of her mouth to her head, and then using a tiny piece of black felt, glue on a little nose for her (or paint one on).

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I had used her head as a gauge of how big the rest of her body should be… and then made up the rest of my pattern.  I think she’s fairly proportionate.

Okay, next you need to cut the front piece of your stocking.  You can trace a stocking you already have, or draw one up freehand.  Finished, mine is about 15″ tall, 6″ wide at the center (where Clarice’s body will be), and 10″ wide at the foot.  I cut mine slightly larger at first so I had some room to modify the design later on if I wanted to.

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Next you need to make a blanket of snow for Clarice to stand on.  I cut long wavy shapes and just placed them all across the foot of the stocking.  Just use a bit of glue to keep them in place, then topstitch them along the waves.  (You’ll cut the excess off later.)

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I used gold thread, but you can barely see it.  Oh well…We’ll add some bling later.

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Once the snow was on there, I used my disappearing ink marker to re-draw the bottom shape of the stocking.  Now you can start to glue the deer in place wherever you’d like her to be.  Play around with how you want things placed, how you want the head tilted, etc…

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Using some small pieces of white flannel, felt or velour, glue a bit to her neck, and her belly, and both ears.  Just use these pictures as a general guide for that.

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Then, use a small amount of white fur if you have it to make a little fluff at the end of her tail.  You could probably even use a little bit of a cotton ball if you didn’t have fur.

Check out what my kiddos did to my embroidery floss while I was engrossed in my project!!  ARGH!

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Okay, next… use some skinny red ribbon (with white polkda dots if you can find it- i lucked out and found some at Michael’s in the clearance Xmas section) to make a small bow.  Glue it right in between the ears.  Then use a Q-tip and brush on a little blush below her eye…

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Purty….  :)

Next, you can sew in some snowflakes using a few strands of thread- I used metallic gold… yep, you heard me.  Gold snow.  Er…stars?

You can also use embroidery floss.  Make a cross going one way, then a smaller one going the other way.  Make as many or as few as you want.

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Next up, pin your stocking to your back piece of felt.

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Sew your stocking together, staying close to the edge of your design.  Stitch along the marking on the foot you made, and then cut away the excess….

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Lookin’ good!

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Make a little loop to hang your stocking by sewing 2 rectangular pieces of felt together- finished, you want it about 9″ by 1/2″-3/4″.  Just sew up each side and trim the excess away…

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Bring the ends together and hand stitch them to the back piece of your stocking, at the top right corner.

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You can fancy up your stocking any way you’d like.  Pom pom trim would be super cute…. But I found that icy blue fringe trim at my local shop and knew right away it was meant for Clarice.  I thought it had a little old school charm…

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Hand-sew your trim (beginning at the back somewhere) all around the top edge of your stocking.

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AAAAANNNDDDD… you’re DONE!

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And enjoy having “There’s always tomorrow…. ” stuck in you head for about 3 days after….

Happy Holidays!

-Erin

Lately

There may have been a shortage of blogging last month, but certainly no shortage of things made.

Ellery’s BFF “friend Caroline” and her nothing-short-of-amazing mother, moved all the way to Colorado.  We are so sad they moved away but wish them all the best and promise to skype as much as possible!

I suggested to Ellery that we make Caroline some stationary so she can write letters to us.  It didn’t feel like *enough* though, for such a dear friend… I mean, we’re crafters, aren’t we?  So, we whipped up a little felt case (i get my felt from Ohma) in no time.  We didn’t measure anything, just cut from random pieces in my stash.  Caroline and Ellery loooove princesses, so we made a little crown for the front- stitched with gold thread, and some silver embroidery floss knots for a little bling.

Ellery sat on my lap the entire time and helped me keep my lines straight ;)… I love how this has a 4 year old touch.

On the way to Caroline’s house, we stopped and got some special twistable colored pencils (not shown)- perfect for her…she is a fabulous artiste!

I made some couch pillows….

….and some bed pillows….

…and a super quick and easy “faux” roman shade for my kitchen sink window.  (two tension rods and some fabric. done.)

Finally got around to sewing up some cloth napkins.  I’m 32.  It’s time I stopped using paper towels at every meal.

This ruffle-less Pierrot  with elastic casings in the sleeves (previous pierrots here and here) came off as quickly as it went on.

boo.

I am told that Ellery’s “back-to-school” dress, a purply corduroy jumper, will be worn “When I turn 5.”  Check back with me in 7 months…

I dunno…. maybe the mustard lining threw her off???

And finally, I got this crazy notion to spray paint my fireplace screen yellow, but when I got to Lowe’s, Avocado spoke to me.  So, there you have it… you can spray paint over spray paint, right?

Gotta say I’m a little bummed that E won’t wear my dresses…. So, for a while I’m going to concentrate on sewing for ME!

Next up…. WASHI!

-Erin

Birthday Flags Tutorial

“Baby Sean” turns one in a couple weeks.  And, when our sister Erika said she was going to buy birthday flags on Etsy for $35, I volunteered to whip her up a set at cost. I’m all for supporting Etsy and everything (check out our mom’s new shop!), but when it comes to something this simple, ya might as well make your own. Image

This tutorial is for the beginner seam-sters out there.  Just a few years ago, this was one of my first sewing projects.  It’s a great skill builder, and allows for you to make use of bit pieces of favorite fabric.  Also, if your kids are like mine, they will feel super special each year when their birthday (or week) is recognized with a sweet family tradition.

1. Select your fabrics.  Go crazy!

2. Fold your fabric pieces in half, right sides together, and press.Image

3. Draw and cut an isosceles triangle (2 sides equal length, middle school math anyone?) out of cardboard.  Or, if you have a random, giant, see-through, plastic triangle like mine, by all means use it.  Where did I get this thing?  It just turned up one day and I use it all the time.  Quilters probably have buckets of these. Image

4. Trace your triangle onto your folded fabric, however it fits nicely.  I decided to cut two triangles out of each piece, for an extra set of bunting (now I have a ready-made gift stashed away for future giving).

5. Tip from Mom: Do not cut your triangle out yet. SEW FIRST!  Luckily my mom stopped by while I was starting this project.  This tip was crucial.  I didn’t have to worry about my pointy flag tip getting sucked under like a toga party on an escalator!  Sew along the two equal sides, reinforcing stitches at the tip. Don’t bother sewing across the top of your triangle, as that is where you will turn your fabric. Image

6. Cut out your triangles, about 1/4 of an inch around the stitching. Cut closer to stitching as you near the point. Image

7. Turn your triangles right side out.  Use a knitting needle or chopstick to get at your point.  Children may enjoy helping with this task!

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8. I forgot to tell you, buy some coordinating double-fold bias tape.  Or make your own, you do not need to cut your fabric on the bias.

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9.  Press your flags, trim the tops so that they are nice and straight and matched up.

10. Order your triangles how you like. Lay them out to see how they will fit along the bias tape. I used 12 flags per 3 yard bias tape.

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11. Open up your bias tape and shove the open end of your triangle to the top of the main fold.  You are welcome to use pins, but I think it is best to just go one flag at a time, holding it in there a bit as you run it through the machine, about 1/8″ from the bottom edge of the tape.

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12. Tidy up your project as necessary.  I added some jute rope to my ends for tying up.  Ribbon would be lovely too.  Voila you are done.  Enjoy inside…

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or out!

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~ Caroline

Fit for a princess

My husband called me one day from work to tell me that they were having an employee furniture sale- (he’s the executive chef of a 48-room hotel here in Charlottesville that was once the home of (now deceased) Sir Bernard Ashley- as in the husband of the late fabric designer Laura Ashley).  When Sir Ashley sold the home in 1999, all of the furniture and decor was included- I’ve heard that at the time it was decked out in Laura Ashley everything… curtains, wallpaper, bedding, you name it. 

So you can imagine, there are lots of treasures tucked away in the attic of hotel today.  Anyway, the hotel decided to clear up some space by selling some furniture that didn’t really have a place anymore.  So Dean called with a few things he thought we’d like, and though it was hard to give the go-ahead without seeing everything, I knew he’d do me proud.  We scored 2 beautiful vintage wooden sleigh beds for $15 each, and a great old white desk for $30 (which has now become my spacious sewing table).  Seriously good deal if you ask me- good job Deano!

  I wonder if they actually belonged to the Ashleys or if that’s something I just like to daydream about since it sounds cool… hmmm. 

We finally set one of the beds up in Ellery’s room yesterday.  She calls it her ‘Princess Bed’ :).  Hey, whatever keeps her in it at night, right?! 

Not! 

Ah… don’t even make me get into it….

So, for such a special bed, I decided this princess deserves a new bedspread… A quilt to be exact.  Made by… a-hem…ME.

Since I started sewing 2 years ago, making a quilt has been the last thing to interest me.  I don’t like busy geometric designs, I am not a pro at math, and between making clothes and having babies, I haven’t really given it much thought.  BUT, I’ve really started to become interested in making one after finding ones I liked on certain sites- my favorite blogs for quilt-spiration are this one and this one.  I love the simple, clean asthetic that they both have.  (go to their sites and then search for quilts to see the many beautiful ones they’ve made.)

So, I’m holding myself to it.  I’ve got a lot of scraps lying around- I’m going to make a Chinese-coin quilt, which I can use lots of little squares and rectangles for…. and then lots of white to break it up and keep it clean looking.  Plus, it’s an easy enough design for me to (hopefully) not screw up.

I’m happy with my color-scheme, especially since it reminds me of springtime- which is when my sweet girl was born.

I’ll post my progress as I go. 

Wish me luck-  I have no idea what I’m doing!

-Erin

Felt Stockings

Thought I’d share the stockings I made last year for Christmas.  I’m an eager beaver and have had my box o’ christmas stuff out for a week now waiting to be rifled through… 

These stockings came together in a couple of mornings.  I stole borrowed the book Fa la la la Felt from my Mom (sorry- i’ll get that back to you soon!) and was inspired immediately to make a couple for the kids.  For Ellery’s, I pretty much copied a design in the book for this white bear holding 3 stacked snowballs…

Felt might be my favorite material to work with.  I bought some good quality felt a couple years ago from OhMa Felt- it’s a big difference working with quality wool felt, and say, the stuff you find at Michael’s… Another book that I LOVE is Kata Golda’s book.   Check it out if you like felt! 

Onto Grant’s stocking… I got so into this project, you have no idea.  I spent some time googling images of my favorite Christmas character, the Abominable Snowman and just went at it piecing together scraps of white felt and some faux fur for his belly.  He’s just the right mix of scary and cute I think!

  I might make a couple more for me and Dean, but I need some suggestions… Rudolph and Clarice maybe?

-Erin

Felt Rosette Wreath

So, I finally caved and joined Pinterest.  It’s cool- I’ve really been meaning to devote more of my life to the internet these days.

So far, the only thing I’ve pinned are wreaths… you can check them out here.  I’m determined to not let the holidays pass me by before I make a couple- there are so many great ideas out there!  I have a stash of felt, so I honed in on the yellow rosebud one , but I also loved this one too. 

After a couple of hours, here’s what I ended up with:

Want to make one?  Or just see how to make the rosettes?  Okay. 

So here’s how to make the little rosettes.  First, cut a circle out of felt.  I made my biggest one about 4″ in diameter, and made several smaller than that too.  You can use a cup or a cd to help you draw a perfect circle, but I actually like it not perfect- I think it ends up giving the flowers a little more character once they’re all done.

Next, spiral-cut your circle about 1/2″ thick.

It should look like this when you’re done.

Then, starting on the end that was the center of your circle, begin rolling it upon itself.  Use a glue gun here and there to help keep it all together.

How cute is that!?!  I seriously had so much fun making these felt rosettes, in my head I was going through all the things I want to attach them to- barrettes, a cuff bracelet, headband, shoes…. 

I made a bunch in mustard-orange, heather grey, and a medium brown.

So now, get your wreath ready… I used an 11″ foam circle from Michael’s.  I wrapped it with 2″ wide strips of natural muslin.

I used a few straight pins in the back to keep the muslin nice and tight.

Next, arrange the rosettes on the wreath however you like.  I should’ve stopped here- I love how it looks…

But no.  I kept going….

…And going.  I don’t know what happened, but glitter pom-poms took over for a few minutes.  I took several off but once your hot glue dries, good luck getting anything off!  Just don’t be like me… know when to say no.

Anyway,  I still really like it- it’s hanging in our living room and is the perfect amount of “Fall” to make me feel a little cozy when I walk by.  It’s understated, but still makes a small statement.  Well, I think it does but that could be just because I slaved over it for 2 hours! 

 Hope you’re inspired to create something Fall-ish!

-Erin

DIY wall art

Since we bought our house 3 1/2 years ago, I’ve been staring at these two ugly vents over our fireplace:

I don’t know really what they do exactly… I’ve never felt air coming out of them.  I suppose they help to take air into the chimney when there is a fire in the fireplace?  Anyway… they’re just ugly. 

A couple of years ago I bought two of these Ikea frames- with the intention of finding a couple of cool prints to go in them:

They sat around for a long time, and after many searches on etsy for the perfect print, I kind of gave up and forgot how much I hated the ugly vents.  But, recently the urge hit me to cover them.  STAT! 

So, I took a bit of inspiration from the September cover of Martha  and got to work.

I decided to piece together a bunch of random fabrics in the same (general) color family to make an apple and a pear. 

I started with a shape that I cut from cardstock.  Here’s my pear:

Then, I cut random widths of my fabrics and sewed them together:

I ironed my seams out, and then ironed some lightweight interfacing to the back.  Then, using my cardstock cut-out, I traced the pear onto the back, and cut it out!

 

It was missing something (besides the stem- but we’ll get to that).  So, I topstitched some gold thread on a few of the seams…

Next, I used a little fabric glue on the back of the pear, and placed it on a square of natural muslin.  I had some brown leather on hand and made a stem, and glued that to the muslin as well.

Then, I put it in the frame… and got a couple of nails and a hammer:

And that’s it!

This was an enjoyable project to make that just sort of came together as I sewed. 

I’m not married to these though, and I can see in the winter maybe piecing together a pine cone, or a tree… etc.  It was fun to rifle through my fabric stash and see what I had that inspired me.

  I especially like that the vents are now out of sight!  Goodbye ugly! 

-Erin

**don’t worry, I’ll be removing these frames when we DO have a fire going… because, yeah… the vents probably have a legit purpose.

tweet dreams

 Grant’s crib was really in need for a mobile for a while now.  I finally got my inspiration after receiving this book from Caroline.  In it, Anna Maria Horner makes a really sweet bird mobile out of a large white lampshade.  I liked the idea, but thought the lampshade was a little clunky for my kids’ small room, so I used a 12″ embroidery hoop that I had on hand instead…. I followed her directions for making the hanging birds, using all different fabrics that looked cool together…

I used an invisible marker to draw the bird’s silhouette on the fabric square, and then used embroidery floss to outline the body with a straight stich.  I then stuffed the birds with poly-fil and cut them out. 

I used contrasting fabric for the wings and sewed them onto the birds with more floss. 

Once I had some birds made, I made some random felt circles and leaves, and with a button here and there, I hung them with gold thread. 

What a sweet little flock:

I thought about spray painting the hoop white, but once I had finished hanging everything, I decided it looked nice and natural the way it was…. what do you think?

I must say… it does hold his attention a whole lot longer than the boring old ceiling. 

I hope he likes his new view!

Erin