Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Floral Crown Ornaments

Wednesday, November 14, 2018
The fabric for this post was provided by Riley Blake Designs/Penny Rose Fabrics. The project and opinions are my own.
Pinewood Acres is a beautiful woodland themed fabric line that immediately reminded me of the cabin my grandparents built and where I spent many weekends of my childhood. We would spend hours in the trees, looking for treasures, making up games and going on adventures. There were always lots of deer to be seen, and fortunately, never any bears!
I decided to take the animals and tree from the main print of this line, as well as a small set of antlers and make some ornaments for my grandmother, as a thank you for the many wonderful memories I have of the beautiful place they built.
The colors in the fabrics are rich and warm. They would make a wonderful cabin quilt!

I used 2 three inch hoops and 2 four inch hoops as well as one oval hoop to make the ornaments.

I used a combination of woven wheel flowers, french knots and lazy daisy stitches to create the flowers. I also added pine boughs to the flower crowns to give them more of a holiday feel.

 I love wrapping hoops in fabric to finish off the project. To keep the fraying in check on these, I pressed a 1 1/2" strip of fabric in half and then wrapped the hoop leaving the folded edge exposed and the raw edges hidden under the next layer.

I think the tree might be my favorite! I think it just looks so majestic with her lovely sprays of flowers!
I can't wait to give these to my grandma to thank her for the many sacrifices she and my grandpa made for so many years to give us a priceless opportunity!
What does Pinewood Acres make you think of?
Happy Holidays!

Create a DIY Holiday with the Cricut Maker

This past summer we sold our home and moved in with my in-laws. It has been a wonderful opportunity for us, but it means that many of our things, including our holiday decorations have been put into storage. And, since I don't have the main living part of the house to decorate, I decided I could finally get around to making some holiday crafts to decorate my daughters' shared bedroom. This DIY your holiday makeover is brought to you by Cricut, but the projects and opinions about the products I have used are mine. Everything from the ornaments on the tree, the tree skirt, stocking countdown, pillows, stuffed trees and the art were made by me and all used the Cricut Maker in some capacity. Prepare yourself for image overload, I couldn't help but try to capture all the cute details in this room! And, I share the file and steps to make your own felt ornaments- they are super easy and fun!
*this post contains affiliate links
DIY Holiday projects
I had the little wooden houses cut out years ago, but never got around to finishing them. I'm so glad I had them ready to paint and embellish with a few pieces of vinyl to mimic the house ornaments inspired by the fabric, which is Way Up North by Jill Howarth for Riley Blake Designs. The stuffed trees were made just like I shared here. You can find the file in design space for these specific shapes here. One tip to share is don't over fill your trees with batting, it will distort the shape, especially on the points. Put enough in them to give them shape and hold them up, but don't make them too stiff!
You can also find the Spread Christmas cheer, tree shaped word art, and Merry Christmas cut files on Design Space.
felt flowers decorate a Merry Christmas sign
You can find the tutorial for the felt pine boughs on my Instagram page under the highlights!

The tree is by far my girls' favorite thing! They were so excited to have the lights on all night and I love the cozy feeling it gives their room! The felt ornaments are a blast to make using the Cricut Maker and I don't have to worry about them breaking.
A couple of tips for choosing which images to use to make your own felt ornaments- pick simple shapes. The rotary blade can only cut so small, make sure you aren't going to damage your mat! Also, tiny, thin details may be lost when cutting and pulling the image off the mat- you might need to beef up those areas- I had to go back in and make the brims of the snowmen's hats a bit thicker. You can totally make these no-sew by backing the felt with heat n bond first, but personally, I love the added embroidery details! Here's the low-down on how to make your own:

Felt Ornaments with the Cricut Maker
Use your Cricut Maker to make felt ornaments
Select the image you want to cut out. If you want to make the houses I made, you can find the file in Design Space here. You will need one solid shape for the back of your ornament and then the front and any details you want to add. If you are making this a no-sew project, add your heat n bond BEFORE cutting out the shapes- but DO NOT add it to the ornament back.

Cut out your shapes on your maker. I love the rotary blade for felt! I like using wool blend felt, but you can also use Cricut felt or acrylic felt as well.

Arrange the details you are adding to the ornament and stitch them down. Add any additional embroidery details at this stage.
Make a hanger for your ornament using ribbon or twine. I just used a length of embroidery floss and tied the ends together to make a loop.

Place the loop between the back of the ornament and the front (that now has all details sewn on) and stitch around the entire ornament, making sure to secure your hanger well. ** If you are doing the no sew version, place the back on your fusing surface (i.e. the ironing board) arrange the loop where you want it, place the front of the ornament and any details you are adding and THEN Fuse! The Easy Press 2 makes this process super easy- I use the temp set at 305 and then set the times according to the manufacturers instructions on your fusible adhesive.

The tree skirt is one of My favorite parts! I will be sharing a tutorial on how to make it later this week!

The stocking countdown was a cute way to show off the fabrics of this darling line! I used chipboard covered with vinyl to make the numbered tags. I'm excited to fill them with little treats, activities and gifts for my girls to build excitement for Christmas!
The last project I made was this darling pillow set. I almost decided not to make them as I was running out of time, but I'm so glad I pushed through! I can just see my girls snuggling up with a blanket and a book next to their tree.
I hope you enjoyed this tour of my daughters' Holiday bedroom makeover! They are delighted with it, which makes it super fun for me! If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to send me an email- and for more details and tutorials, follow me on Instagram- I love hanging out there!
As the pillow says: Stay cozy my friends!
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Cricut. The opinions and text are all mine.
felt house ornament tutorial

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Should I pick the Cricut Maker or the Cricut Explore Air 2

Wednesday, November 7, 2018
Are you in the market for a new cutting machine? Wondering if you should upgrade from the Explore Air 2 to the Maker? Not sure at all what I'm even talking about? Well, this post is for you! Today I'm going to tell you why the Cricut Maker is my new favorite sewing tool and some things you should think about if you're considering a new Cricut. Plus, I'll give you the how-to on these darling stuffed pumpkins- all cut out with my Cricut Maker! *this post contains affiliate links and is sponsored by Cricut. Opinions and patterns are mine.

First, let's talk about the differences between the Cricut Maker and the Cricut Explore. If you've never seen or used an electronic cutting machine- you are missing out! They make crafting so much fun and open up so many creative doors. The Cricut Explore can cut a wide variety of materials, including cardstock, vinyl, iron-on and much more. But, the Cricut Maker can do all of that and much, much more! With the adaptive tool system, the Cricut Maker has a lot more versatility! The added pressure the Maker has allows the machine to cut through materials such as leather, chipboard and balsa wood! But my very most favorite thing about the Cricut Maker is its ability to cut FABRIC!!! I have had a couple of Cricut machines over the years, and used them for lots of projects, but as my creativity turned more and more toward fabric, I found I was pulling out my Cricut less and less. The Cricut Explore technically can cut fabric- but it has to be backed with something, like interfacing or freezer paper, and even then, it's not always a clean cut because the blade drags across the fabric to cut it. You can see the pouf I made with my Explore in my post here. Cutting fabric with the Explore is limited to cotton fabrics and usually I found that it was simply easier to cut out the fabric by hand than to go through the process of backing my fabric and then attempting (and not always succeeding) to cut it.
Enter the Cricut Maker!! You guys, this machine has made me so very, very happy! The rotary blade is a teeny tiny dream come true!

You can see here how cleanly it cut through this embossed upholstery weight velvet fabric!

And this wool fabric was no problem at all! look at the details it can cut! I will say that the rotary blade is not meant to cut curves smaller than 3/4", especially interior curves, it can damage the mat. And, the rotary blade is small, but not that small, so there are limitations to the shapes it will cut, but I have yet to find a fabric this machine won't cut. (you can see the left over fuzzies from the chenille I cut too! Anyone else hate working with chenille because of all the lint??)
I decided to pull out my bin of thick fabric and sew up a bunch of different textured pumpkins- just to test out the Cricut Maker and see if it would tackle them all. And boy did it!

 First, I made the shape for the pumpkin sides in design space (that's the app that runs the Cricut Machine- it's free to download and play with and you don't even need a machine to give it a test run to see if you like it) if you want the file you can find it here. I adjusted the size of the pumpkin sides to make a variety of pumpkins starting with 2.5" (W) X 5" (H) (the small cotton fabric pumpkin) all the way up to 4.125" x 11" (the chenille one). I placed a dot to be marked at each end of the panel so I would know where to start and stop stitching, but if you adjust the size of the piece, you will also need to adjust the placement of the dots. They should be 1/4" away from the ends and centered. Set your machine to cut 6 panels and watch the magic happen!

Once you have all 6 of your pumpkin pieces cut out, you will begin by sewing 2 sets of 2 pieces together on ONE side, from marked dot, to marked dot. Then, take a third piece and sew it to one side of your pair, again sew from dot to dot. Finally you will take your 2 pieces of 3 panels and sew them together around the open edges. Make sure to leave an opening for turning!

Turn your pumpkin right side out and stuff. Once you have it full, add a bit more stuffing! You want your pumpkin really firm! Use a needle and thread to sew the opening shut.

I wanted my pumpkins a bit more tufted, so I took a long needle and some yarn and embroidery floss (depending on the pumpkin) and stitched through the panels pulling it tight to create more ridges in the pumpkin. I finished off my little guys with a wooden knob painted green and the wool leaves I cut out with my maker. (those images are also saved with the project)

I tried chenille, a tapestry thickness upholstery fabric (the gray dot), canvas, and a velvet upholstery weight fabric in addition to cotton and wool. The Cricut Maker cut them all! It is everything I hoped it would be when I first learned about a new cutting machine that could cut fabric!

So, back to our original question, what should you pick, the Cricut Explore Air 2 or the Cricut Maker? If you want versatility, and especially the ability to cut fabric- you have no choice but to get the Cricut Maker. If fabric scares you and you haven't ever touched a sewing machine in your life? Get the Maker anyway and I will teach you to sew! ;) But seriously- with adaptive tools like the knife blade, the scoring wheel and my very best friend- the rotary blade-  you just can't go wrong with the Maker!
So tell me, what's the first thing you're going to sew when you get your Maker?
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Cricut. The opinions and text are all mine.

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