Monday, June 28, 2010

Market Produce Bags

We can buy just about anything we need for cheap, cheap, cheap- I know. But still, if you have to get in the car or have it sent in the mail and you have 20 minutes and some muslin, why not get off the computer and just make these? We all know it will be satisfying, and if your sewing machine is working well, it will be easy and fun. Ok, enough of my preaching, since if you are here, then you are the choir.

These muslin produce bags can be whipped up very fast, but if you want to spend an extra 5-10 minutes, you can also make them super cute by doing a little thread drawing.

Here's the tute:

What you'll need:
cotton string or ribbon

1) Cut a piece of muslin to your desired size. I made this bag big for bunches of chard and leeks. It measured 13" x 19".
2) Create the cord case (where the drawstring will be) by folding the top edge over a half inch and pressing.

3) Fold over again and make a case that is at least 1" wide and press with iron.

4) On the right side of one side of the bag, draw a design with chalk. Using a straight stitch, stitch the design on the bag. I went around the design 3 times so it really has a hand drawn look to it.

5) Fold bag so the right sides are together and sew up the 2 sides (one is a fold, which is intentional because it allows for an unbroken cord casing). I used the kind if stitch that is a combination of straight stitch and zig zag. It sews a seam and seals an edge so it won't fray. Look here:

6) Attach a safety pin to the end of your cord and push it through the casing. Knot the ends together. All done!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

the kids love to sew!

Just finished my second week of art camp, this week being "Super Crafty". It was a ton of fun and the kids were truly into the projects, which, of course, makes me easy and happy. The best day was Wednesday, when we did sewing projects. They were unstoppable and didn't even want to take our mid-morning popcorn break. They worked straight through until lunch time on the most adorable and varied collection of stuffies. Some finished more quickly and got busy on hair elastic decorations, bracelets, and even a hat made from a felted sweater that turned out beautifully.

If you are interested in knowing how to make the bracelets, head here- I developed and made these for Family Fun last year and they are so pretty and easy to do.

What you'll need:
felted wool sweaters
paper and pencils
embroidery thread and blunt needles (we used tapestry needles)

1) Draw your design on a piece of paper. I told them to keep everything simple and to avoid small arms and digits since they are tricky to sew and stuff by hand and still have them be the way you meant them to be. I encouraged them to think of their stuffies as really cute pillows. A couple kids chose to add felt arms and legs that weren't stuffed and they looked fantastic. Also, many kids tend to draw things that are smallish when given a regular sheet of paper. Encourage them to use at least half of the sheet- it just makes it easier.
2) Cut 2 pieces of wool that are a little bigger than the cut out pattern. Turn them so the right sides are together and pin the pattern to one side so it doesn't shift. Trace around the pattern with the chalk, remove the pattern piece, re-pin, and cut the pattern.
3) Remove the pins again and use felt and buttons to create the face and other details on one of the pieces- be sure to stitch them to the "right" side (the side you would wear out if wearing the sweater). If adding felt arms and legs, cut them out but don't stitch them on yet. When you sew up the stuffie, they will be sewn into the seam.
4) When you are ready to sew up the body, turn right sides together and pin in place. If you are adding arms and legs, sandwich them in place so they are facing in between the 2 "right" sides. The edges should touch the edges of the body so they will be stitched into the seam. Knot the end of the embroidery thread and use a running stitch all the way around the body, leaving a gap of a few inches for stuffing.
5) Turn right side out and stuff with fluffy filling- polyfill, wool, cotton balls. Stitch the hole up.

Next time, a whole week of sewing projects.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Printmaking- Part 2

Despite my planning and testing, the silk screens were not the most successful things in this printmaking camp so far. I bought cheap embroidery hoops and it was very tricky to get the fabric stretched tight enough. The girls seemed a little discouraged at first by the results but, I swear, they really began to embrace the imperfections and the feeling was contagious. Today we made stencils out of vinyl sheets and then the girls made furoshiki gift wrap on muslin. Now, this was successful and everyone had fun and loved the results.

And they made little cinch sacks too. Cute!

We also printed on muslin with hot beeswax this morning. I used my vinyl stencil to apply the wax and some of the girls used cookie cutters and the cake decorating tips to stamp the hot wax on. I think it worked, but we will see when it comes out of the dye bath tomorrow. The beeswax smelled so good simmering in the double boiler but the tips and cutters sure got hot.

At the end of the morning, one friend headed out the door to California with a pile of handmade postcards to send back this direction. Here are Ava's:

These were made by using the foam stamp cube we made on Monday.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Printmaking- Part 1

It was a good morning. I had 5 girls sitting at a table ready to go, and there is nothing like that. They were eager and willing to try new things. We started off by designing silk screens that they used drawing fluid to create. Each one was totally different from the others and they are all going to be super cool. Tomorrow we will apply screen filler and pull our first prints.
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We moved on from the silk screen to making foam stamp blocks. This was so much fun and I love what the girls did. Pretty much everyone stuck to a theme for their blocks- fruit, shapes, cute animals, etc.

This is what you'll need to make them:
- self-adhesive craft foam
-pencils and paper
-craft knives and scissors
-stamp pads

And, this is how you do it:

1) Design the stamps on paper, with a pencil. When you have something you like, press it pencil drawing to the foam and rub the back so it transfers onto the foam.
2) Cut out the shape with scissors or a craft knife.

3) Peel the paper backing and stick to the block. They stick really well.

4) Stamp away!

Here are the blocks they made and some of the things they did with them:

And, this afternoon, my 5 year old sat right down and got busy too.

Sunday, June 13, 2010


Since my kids are now out of school, it is officially summer around here. I think it is going to mean something a little different this summer, as my work projects have increased 10 fold, but we will be getting a great start tomorrow when I begin teaching an art camp in my barn for some fantastic kids. There are 2 weeks planned- Printmaking this week and a Super Crafty free for all next week. My oldest girl will be attending both, which makes this the best possible thing for me to be doing, and my young feller will be dropping by with his babysitter to have a go with the projects too. We are starting with making silk screens tomorrow and moving on to stamp carving, monoprinting, foam stamp making, stenciling, and sun printing- and applying them all sorts of ways. I think it will be a blast.

And, because they are the picture of summer, I will show you a pair of flip flops I dolled up for Ava for graduation night- the older half of her class was graduating (thank God she isn't leaving elementary school just yet)! I made them to match the dress I made for her, but I don't have a decent picture of it (the dress)so I will post it some other time.

They are made by simply wrapping strips of jersey cotton around gluey flip flop straps. I made the flower by cutting out squares and petal shapes and layer them with the size graduating from small to large, sewed it so it puckered up, then sewed it to the shoe. Really, it took 10 minutes and they were more comfortable and cute than before.

I know I have not been posting lately but I do plan to post all about the upcoming art camp projects- so do stop by soon.