Sunday, November 29, 2015

Festive Forest Friends - A Tutorial

How To Make A Festive Forest Friend!
As the holiday’s approach, Christmas trees are popping up everywhere I turn!

So here is my crafty take on the iconic holiday tree! I call them Festive Forest Friends! They are simple and sweet and probably full of eggnog soaked dreams and hearts in the shape of candy canes.

I used the following list of materials to create my very own Festive Forest Friends,… but you could easily swap out the hand stamped muslin for another print of choice.


1. Fabric - I chose plain muslin for this craft
2. Sewing machine
3. Thread to match your fabric
4. Scissors
5. Eraser or stamp of choice
6. Acrylic paint and paint brush
7. Embroidery floss, pink for mouth, brown for eyes
8. Embroidery ring
9. Embroidery needle
10. The Festive Forest Friend pattern print out

How to:

Step one print out the pattern here!

Then Trace pattern onto a piece of muslin. I’m using blank muslin because it’s sturdy, and yet somehow still airy. You can really use any robust fabric for this, as long as it seems like it will hold it’s cone shape without any stuffing… a chiffon silk is probably NOT what you want here!

Note: Do not cut out yet!

Next step is to create your ‘print’ on the blank muslin. For my two trees I used two very simple stamps. One, a triangle that I cut from an eraser! And the circle was the end of my paint brush! I love finding existing things to use as stamps! Lots of great shapes out there to create beautiful surface design with!

Since my Festive Friends are for only for decorative use I decided to use acrylic paint to stamp them. If you intend to wash them, you probably want to use something more permanent like a fabric paint, fabric ink, or fabric marker.

Next, mix your color of choice out of the paints in a shallow plate. Then begin stamping your pattern in the traced out Festive Friend body shape and base. Remember to do your stamping on a piece of cardboard because the paint will seep through the fabric and mark whatever is underneath. Feel free to got outside of the pattern lines! I also stamped my star. But you could use an alternate fabric here, like a yellow felt. Sky is the limit.

Let the paint dry!

Next step, embroidering the face! This could be done before painting… but I’m a klutz and I would worry I would somehow mess up my embroidery in the stamping process! So it’s really up to you!

To start you will need to mark your face outline onto the muslin, lightly with a pencil.
Next you will embroider on the eyes with the brown embroidery floss and the mouth using the pink embroidery floss. I personally like to have my fabric mounted in an embroidery ring while doing this, which is why you do not cut out the piece first. You want to have enough fabric to fit it into the size of ring you have!

For the embroidery itself, I do a simple satin stitch to create a filled in circle for the eyes and either again a satin stitch to create a half circle or a simple outline stitch to create a half circle line for the mouth. Here is where you can really play around with expression! You can make your tree happy or sad, or have eyebrows or tiny tears. It’s up to you! The face on the pattern is just a general guideline.

Once the face is embroidered on, you can now start to cut! Cut out the body, base and star piece.

Now it’s time to machine sew! Start with the the body piece. Just a straight stitch down the back to the first opening notch marks, back stitch, lift up sewing machine foot, pull fabric through to next notch mark, start sewing again, starting with a quick back stitch to the end of the line. You will use that space between the notches for flipping you Festive Friend inside out! Then sew on the circular base to the bottom of your cone shaped tree.

Once you are done with that, you can carefully flip your Festive Friend right side out!

You will need to hand stitch up that hole you left open. I use a simple whip or chain stitch for this part in a thread color to match fabric.

You could also stuff this little Festive Friend up if you like. I just prefer the light and airy feel of the none stuffed tree friend, and since mine are just for decoration, I’m not too worried about them getting squashed.

Now it’s time to attach the star. I just did a  couple quick stitches in a thread color that was close to the muslin to attache the star to the tip of the Festive Friend.

And voila! Finis! Your very own Festive Friend, and if you make more than one, well then you’ve got yourself one real Festive Forest!

Have fun and make it awesome.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Thanksgiving Table Spirits Tutorial!

I've been really into foraging for pine cones this fall! And I've now amassed a huge pile, that is just sitting in the middle of my kitchen table... calling to me every morning... "Come and craft with us Rhya!"

So I came up with this quick and easy project to decorate my Thanksgiving table this weekend... and it turned out pretty cute, so I thought I would share.

I'm calling these "Thanksgiving Table Spirits". They are meant to live on the table, next to your plate, and every time you touch one, you need to first reflect and then say out loud, one thing you are grateful for this holiday!

Alright onward to the tutorial!
  • Pine Cones! Get as many as you will need to give all your guests one at dinner, plus a couple more for just general fun! Foraging for the pine cones is the most fun part! Nothing like getting outside and enjoying the day while rummaging through nature!
  • Acrylic paint, in any colour you would like. Note, you also don't need to paint your Table Spirits, they will look just as good in their natural colour.
  • Construction paper in any colour you want. I chose mine to match the colour of the paint I was using on my Table Spirits, and also made sure to have a piece of white and brown paper to construct the flag.
  • Medium sized paint brush.
  • Craft glue or glue gun.
  • Fine tipped permanent black marker.
  • Googly eyes or you can do what I did and construct them from scratch using an air dry modeling clay ( I used the Polyform brand, picked it up from Michaels). I sculpted the eyes and then painted on the pupils when the clay had dried. I bet sculpey would work great too!

How to:
  • Step one, paint your pine cones... and there are no rules here, paint them any colour you want! Or multiple colours at once. Or as I mentioned above, leave the pine cones bare! It's up to you.
  • Step two, eyes! Now again, as I indicated previously, you can just use regular old googly eyes, or you can go the crafting route of creating your own eyes from scratch, using a sculpy or air drying clay, and then painting in the pupils. This is what I did, mostly because I like the effect it has, and it allows you to give your pine cones a little more character. Once you have your eyes ready, play around with their placement on the pine cone, till you find just the right position for them. Then glue them on! I used an clear drying craft glue, but I think a glue gun would have been even better! It would set quicker!
  • Step three, the paper bits! In the photo above you can see the pieces that I cut out to make my arms and thank you flag! Again, you can copy those designs or just go rogue and do your own version! Essentially, I cut out two arms, a flag pole, and flag with the word "Thank You" hand written on using a fine tipped black marker. I glues the flag together and then glued it into one of the hands, and then surprise, surprise, I glued the arms and flag onto the pine cone body! As you can see, it's all about the glue! 

And that's it! The last step! Voila! You should now be staring into the eyes of your very own Thanksgiving Tree Spirit... and if you are like me... you are also probably covered in paste! So go wash up and then get your gratitude on!

Thank you for checking out the tutorial!

Monday, August 24, 2015

Potato Stamp City!

The potato stamp is wonderful thing! Am I right?

I love the organic and graphic shapes that you can create by simply carving into a solid spud.

And they are great on fabric too! And there is something so wonderful about the lack of control with this material. It's impossible to guarantee the same result each time. I'm doing a whole series of fruit right now, and loving experimenting with using two shapes to create one image. Next up... Apples!

Monday, August 17, 2015

All The Fuzzy Feels!

How to begin again after so much change... just dive in right! How about I lay down some goals for what remains of this hot and wonderful summer and the coming fall and winter! 

1. In general make more!
2. Craft the heck out of everything!
3. Surface Design... it's time to dive in... oh it's overtime!
4. Poems. Write them!
5. Collect Inspiration!
6. Blog. I miss this process. I just do.

This seems like a good start. 
Hello old friends! Are you all still out there?