Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Christmas Overhaul

This year I've had an overwhelming itch to revamp our Christmas decor, adding personal touches and lots of color (particularly for the kids). The past 5 Christmases have been black, white, and red in our home and I still love it, but the seasons are changing and it feels like an ideal time for our holiday decor to evolve. Our stockings were a step in the right direction . . . So here are my ideas on how to expound upon them:

First, upcycled sweater ornaments. They're totally safe for the kids (stuffed so they can't break), they're green (made entirely with recycled material), and they add a touch of warmth and lots of color. I made this one today, and it took about 5 minutes.

Second, felt ball holly. We currently use a bush of red holly to crown the top of our tree, and branches of holly all over (like the one in the top right of picture above). I have a vision of using floral wire and roving wool to make a colorful version of what we have now.

And lastly, upcycled sweater Advent garland. I stumbled across this idea on another BLOG, and thought it was genius! We've been looking for a way to add spiritual significance to the holidays, and I can completely envision using this to do it! Each pocket would have a verse or some element of the story of our Savior and a treat for the kids. . . We would open one a day until Christmas morning. Something we could use for years and years to come.

Now to find the time to tackle all these projects.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Upcycled Sweater Hat

For my little man. . .

This is quite possibly the easiest project in the world!

Simply take an old sweater, trace around a beanie or free hand a U-shape at the bottom of the sweater. Then lay the fabric pieces front to front, sew around the U and turn right side out. It really is that simple! A 5 minute project MAX! ;)

Quite a handsome model, don't you think?! ;)

My First Pillow Case Dress

Made with love for Adeline! ;)

About a week ago, my mom-in-law gave me a quick tutorial on how to make a pillow case dress and let me borrow one that she made as an example. I decided I would attempt it (after all she made it sounds so simple . . . being the domestic goddess that she is). ;)

After sewing the lining wrong side out and the arm holes closed, then ripping out all the seams, and beginning again at square one, I finally got it right. :)

I would include a step by step, but I'm sure you'd find a better one else where. There are many of them online.

I can't wait to make these for Eve! They're SO much fun! :)

An Upcycle Christmas

I've been dying to post this blog but had to wait until after Christmas, because I gave these as gifts this year. The success I had with the stockings inspired me to continue exploring possibilities with upcycled sweaters. Honestly, I think it's become a new obsession! I have a list of several projects I plan to attempt in the next couple of weeks. I'll post as I complete them. . .

First, a cowl and fingerless gloves I made for my sister-in-law Molly. You can find instructions on how to make the cowl HERE. And the fingerless gloves are quite simple, just cut the lower portion of the sleeves of a sweater, fold, cut a thumb hole, and use anti-frey gel around the edges. . . Then sew buttons as accents if you'd like.

Another pair of fingerless gloves for my brother-in-laws girlfriend, Katherine. . .

And fabric flower hair clips and a headband also for Katherine. I was inspired by Alisa Burke to attempt these. They were SO MucH fun to make, and quite easy. Using strips of fabric or ribbon, simply tie a knot, then begin twisting and turning the fabric, using fabric glue as you go to hold the shape. Let it dry for several hours, then hot glue the flowers to a clip or sew them to a headband. Anyone can do it!! :)

I'm putting the finishing touches on upcycled sweater pants I made for Jonah and Eve from the left over fabric from my stocking project. They are ADORABLE! Can't wait to show them to you and explain how to do it. I'm also finishing a gift for Adeline. My first dress!! I'm quite thrilled about it. Promise to post when I finish! :)

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Upcycled Sweater Stockings

These upcycled sweater stockings stand as a testament to the fact that the essence of Eve is inspiring me deeply in the realm of all things feminine. Perhaps its the overload of estrogen surging through my body these days, or maybe I'm simply making frail and desperate attempts to develop greater strength in areas of perceived weakness in effort to become a woman worthy of imitation. I'm not really sure, but I like what she's surfacing in me.

While searching for days for the perfect stocking for Eve, I stumbled across the designer Bloom and Barnacle on Etsy and absolutely fell in love with her stockings. They were the first I saw that aligned with my vision for Eve's. My initial instinct was to purchase one, and then the thought came to me . . . "Perhaps I have the ability to make one myself! . . . Yes, of course I have the ability! In fact, I'll make 4?!" (Just for the record, I'm one of the least crafty people I know).

A conversation I had with Allen a couple of weeks prior surfaced in my mind. After sharing with him a desire I had to quilt Eve's bedding, he smiled and sweetly yet condescendingly (in my opinion) said, "Sweetheart, if I wanted to exercise my masculinity by becoming more proficient at working on automobiles, I wouldn't start by rebuilding an engine. I'd learn to change the oil."

And so these stockings are my frail attempt at doing just that. . . Changing the oil. :)


First, I purchased sweaters at Goodwill and Southern Thrift (less than $3 a piece).

Then I turned the sweaters upside down so that I could use the bottom bands as the top of my stockings and free handed the shape I desired. I would suggest using a pattern if you want them to be perfect. I was aiming for a more eclectic look, so I didn't use one.

After that, I cut the fabric. Before you cut, make sure you figure in a 1/2 inch seam or so all the way around (something I didn't do being the novice that I am).

Then I laid the two pieces front to front, so that the inside of the sweater was facing out and pinned around the sides that needed to be stitched.

I then sewed around the edges and surged two of them due to the thickness of the fabric (surging is optional). Thanks to my Mom-in-law for the excellent sewing lesson!

I then "blocked" them (another technique I learned from my Mom-in-law) by pinning them to the ironing board in the shape I desired and steaming for several minutes. This locks in their form.

After that I took them to an embroidery shop to have our names added to the top (I'm not daring enough at this point to attempt it myself).

And lastly, I embellished using bells and ribbon for the boys and felt and button flowers for the girls. I made the felt flowers using this video tutorial.

I highly recommend this project!! If I can do it, ANYONE can!! Believe me! ;)