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April 26, 2011

Slipcovers for Toddler Chairs - with tutorial


I am in love!!!  This project turned out just as I had envisioned it - and I made up the pattern entirely on my own!  I just love it when that happens...I feel so proud:)

So, I will tell you what prompted the making of these slipcovers. 
We have a very tiny kitchen, with no space for a traditional table.  I like to cook though, and it is important to me to be able to have my kids in the kitchen with me.  So, IKEA saved us with this wall mounted dropdown table.  It is WONDERFUL to have!  And it is the perfect height for these perfectly functional child sized chairs that I picked up at a yard sale....
However, no matter how much I scrub them, they always look a little grungy, and let's face it, the bright red and blue are just not my favorite color combination. 
So, I have had it in my head for quite a while that I would like to make little slipcovers for them - and cover that red and blue brightness right up.

When I had a few days off work during spring break last week, I decided that this would be my project for the days off.  I was prepared to spend days figuring this out, and sewing, etc. - but I am happy to say that I came up with a pattern and sewed it all together in just a couple of hours!
These are really not that difficult to make!

Here are the 4 pieces needed to make the cover (pic below).  This tutorial can be used to make a cover for any sized dining chair - as long as it doesn't have arms. 
I made a pattern out of muslin.

To make Piece #1: I laid my chair back onto the fabric and traced around it.
Be sure to account for the depth of the chair back (mine was 2 inchs thick) and account for seam allowance.  Ultimately, I added about 2.5 inches around the entire outside of the chair.
Mark where the height of the seat is (see picture below).
This pattern piece should be symmetrical from left to right.  If it is not, you can fold it in half (long ways) and even things up.  Just don't cut off too much and loose your seam allowance!
Piece #4: Is simply the top part of Piece #1, down to the lines that mark where the seat is. 
So, after cutting out Piece #1, I lined up the seat marks with an edge of the fabric, and cut around the top half to make a match. 

To make Piece #2: Measure around the front 3 sides of the seat and write down the measurement. 
Measure around the bottom of the legs on the same 3 sides and write down the measurement. 
The picture below shows the 2 places you will measure, and how pattern piece #2 fits.
Also, measure the height of the seat from the ground. 

Mark a line in the center of your fabric (see picture below).  Make that line the same length as the height of your seat. 
Take the measurement from around your seat (blue line from pic above), and divide it in half.  For example, if it was 34" around the 3 sides of your seat, half of that is 17".  From the top of the center line, measure 17" to the right, and 17" to the left.  Make sure that the marks are the same height as the center line.  Connect the marks with a line. 

Take the measurement from around the legs (orange line from pic above), and divide it in half.  Measure out from the bottom of the center line half to the right, and half to the left. 

The reason for measuring this way, is so that your top and bottom lines are centered.  That way, when you connect the top line to the bottom line on the left and right side, the angle is the same on both edges. 

The picture below should make this clear:
You can see that you made a trapezoid based on the measurement around the seat, and the measurement around the legs.  If those 2 measurements were the same - this would be a perfect rectangle. 

To make Piece #3: The seat piece has a flat edge along the back side.  This flat edge should be the same length as the flat bottom edge of piece #4.  So, trace around your seat, with overhang for seat width and seam allowance, and make sure the back edge is the same width as the bottom of piece #4.

To begin sewing: take piece #2 (trapezoid leg covering) and piece #3 (seat) and pin them, right sides together.  The shorter top side of the trapezoid #2 piece will line up with 3 sides of the seat piece #3.  The back flat edge of piece #3 will not be pinned.  Again, view the picture below for better explanation. 
You have to be careful pinning, because you are creating a curve.  My advice: use a lot of pins!

Sew these pieces together using 1/2" seam allowance.  When flipped right side out, it will look like the picture below!

Next, sew piece #3 to piece #4.  With right sides together, pin the final side of the seat piece #3 (the flat back part) to the flat bottom part of piece #4.  Sew together using 1/2" seam allowance.  When flipped right side out, it will look like the picture below:

The last piece is the back piece #1.  With right sides together, pin this piece all the way around what you have just sewn.
As we discussed, when you made piece #4, it was an exact tracing of part of piece #1.  These parts will match up, right sides together, and be pinned.  Then, the rest of piece #1 will match up with the edges of the trapezoid piece #2.
Sew around all these pinned sides with 1/2" seam allowance.  (The only edges that will not be sewn when you are all done are the bottom flat part of piece #1, and the long bottom edge of trapezoid piece #2.)
When flipped right side out, it will look like the picture below:

All that is left is the hemming!
With the slip cover on your chair, fold under the raw edges as far as you like, and pin. 
Iron the folded edge flat (you could double fold if you want to completely remove the raw edges underneath the slip cover) - and top stitch 1/2" from the edge. 

I tied strips of sheer fabric around the seatback for a decorative element.
I love how they look!  I used offwhite fabric for most of the seat, and colored fabric for the back of the chair, but obviously, you can make these completely colored, or completely white, or any combination.
I have been thinking that it would be fun to applique a design onto the seatback part of the chair - especially for these little kid ones.  Or it would be fun to make some specifically for holidays or birthdays!

This is a picture of the whole setup - with my handpainted signs on the wall above.  It is nice to make small spaces happy and decorative. 
Be sure to ask questions if this tutorial is confusing.  But be assured - that it is not as difficult as it may appear!  You can easily make your own too :)

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April 21, 2011

Holidays Thumbprint Art


I've been trying to include my little one in a few projects lately...she is so darn sweet and helpful, and is so proud when she gets to craft with me.
I saw this cool thumbprint art at Kristy Makes, and I thought it was adorable.
It got me to thinking that it would be fun to have a collage of thumbprint art representing a bunch of holidays!

So, I typed up the names of a few different holidays in a word document, and printed it out onto cardstock.  My daughter and I practiced on scraps of paper, deciding what pictures would go best with each holiday.
Then, she stamped her finger, and I added the pen lines.

If we didnt have ink pads in the correct color, we just used magic markers - and they worked great!  Just be sure to have a baby wipe or paper towel on hand to clean your finger after each color.



I'll probably put it in her room, or hang it on the fridge for a while - I just love it!
These would also make pretty dang cute cards!

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April 19, 2011

Fabric Mini Bunting


A couple of days ago, I got the urge to add a little spring touch to some things in my house.  I don't have many Easter decorations, and otherwise, my house is looking just about the same as it does in the winter:)  But with warmer weather teasing us, I wanted to add some color.
Bunting Banners are very popular - and I have to admit, I like them too:) 
This is a very simple, inexpensive project, that fit my need for spring decor perfectly!

From my bag of fabric scraps, I cut a bunch of tiny triangles.  Each one was about 2" on each side.  I did use a piece of paper that I had cut into a triangle as a guide.  Holding the paper and fabric together, I cut each triangle out quickly, until I had a big pile. 
Using twine to hang the fabric, I put a line of tacky glue onto the back top of each triangle, and stuck them to the string, close together, and let them dry. 
I made two of them in just a couple of minutes, and hung one on the cabinet in the bathroom, and one on the piano...

They are really fun and whimsical.  My daughter is so sweet - and keeps commenting on how much she likes them.  So I will probably make one for her room as well. 
It is nice to use up tiny fabric scraps, and they match my house, since I have used a lot of this fabric for other things.  It sure is nice to welcome springtime!

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April 16, 2011

Vinyl Sayings Wall Plates


So, this project all started because I can never remember what order to put the pizza toppings in:)
We love making home-made pizza!  Sometimes I make my own crust, sometimes we get the dough from the deli section of the grocery store - but we love putting all our own toppings on.
One of my favorite recipes is this one from Rachael Ray
Anyways - when I am making pizza with toppings like pepperoni and ham, I used to spread the sauce, then put the toppings on before all of the cheese. 
Well, I was making pizza for my dad one day, and he said, "What are you doing?!"  I was making a serious pizza stacking mistake!
See, my dad worked in a pizza parlor when he was in college, and the correct way to stack a pizza, is to put the sauce, then the cheese, then the toppings.  Who knew??
Believe it or not, I liked it better!  And when we broil the top of the pizza, it gets just the right kind of crispy.

But, every time I go to make pizza, I have to sit and think for a minute...Which comes first?  The toppings or the cheese?
To fix this, I decided to make instructions, and hang them right on my wall :)
Now, I'll never forget what order to stack a pizza in!
And, since a single plate on the wall would look lonely, I made another to keep it company. 
I have always thought this saying was kindof funny.
Nice, quick, cheap project.  The plates were just a few dollars at China Fair - a store I recently discovered here in New England.  I have a feeling I will be going back!  Great place to get kitchen crafting paraphernalia. 



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April 13, 2011

My Daughter's Egg Carton Spring Wreath


 This darling little wreath was made almost entirely by my daughter!  She is so proud:)
She is going to be a crafty one - that is for sure!  She always wants to help me with things I am working on, but sometimes that can be hard.  So, the other day, I set her up with some paint, mod podge, paper and buttons, and let her go to town.  It was great!  She was occupied for at least an hour - and we got this adorable art for her bedroom door....

I cut out some cardboard egg carton cups and slit them down 4 sides to open up like flowers.  She painted them with acrylic paint, and when that was dry, mod podged scrapbook paper circles and buttons into the middle of each flower.  
My inspiration came from this post by Krafty Kat. 

I had this plastic frame leftover from a broken clock, and my daughter helped me wind hemp all the way around it (I used the glue gun of course).
Then, we hot glued the flowers on, and a few extra buttons, and looped it through a ribbon to hang from her door. 
I love when my daughter's projects turn into such a cute piece of art - that hardly looks toddler made at all!!  Way to go sweetie!

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April 8, 2011

Vintage Style Washroom Sign



In case you missed it, this is the tutorial I posted over at Lolly Jane Boutique the other day:) 
There are THREE ways to make this sign, depending on your resources and desired look!

I love handmade, personalized painted signs.  I love how distressing them makes each one unique.
I have been starting to decorate a big blank wall in my kitchen, and this is one of the signs that I decided to make for it!  It is very simple, but looks like something you would buy in a boutique or online for buko bucks!

I grabbed a piece of scrap wood that I had around.  You can pick up a piece of pine board like this at the hardware store, and have them cut it for you.  This one measures about 4.5" tall and 22" long. 

I knew that I wanted my sign to be "antique white", and the words to be "tapestry wine".  I have many brands of acrylic paint in my stash - because I usually buy whatever is on sale at the craft store:) 

Start by painting your board the color that you are going to want the words.  In my case, the red color.  This way, when it is distressed, this color peeks through, coordinating with color of the words.

Now is when you have to make some choices.  There are 3 ways to put words on this sign.

Option 1) After this first coat of paint is dry, put down vinyl letters, stickers, or contact paper that you have traced and cut.  This will act as a barrier to your next coat of paint, keeping the words the red color.  Ultimately you will peel them off. 

I did not choose this option, because I wanted to distress the words and have the white coat of paint show through.

Whether or not you choose Option 1, next comes a few coats of white paint (or whatever color you want your finished plaque to be).

Option 2) After painting the plaque the final top color, use vinyl that you cut with a machine, or contact paper that you cut by hand, and create a stencil.  (This is the option that I chose).

Paint inside the stencil, the color that you want the words to be.

Option 3) If you do not have a vinyl cutting machine, or the patience to cut a stencil, you can paint the words over the top by hand.  I have done this many times before!

I have a quick example of this below: Print the words in the size and font you want, trace them onto the wood using chalk or pencil rubbings on the back of the paper, and paint inside your traced lines. 

Whether you use option 1, 2 or 3, you will end up with something nice and crisp, like this!  With option 2 and 3 you will have peeled off any vinyl or stickers, etc. that you used. 

Now comes the fun part!  Distressing it :)  I used an electric sander for the edges, and hand sanded the top.  If you used Option 2 or 3, then white paint will show through when you sand down the words.  As you can see, by painting the red underneath, as the very first coat of paint, red shows through when you sand the edges - and really ties the whole sign together!  Finish it by spraying it with a matte sealer. 


Now, it hangs on the same wall as this sign here!


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