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Friday, September 23, 2011

Fall Decorating

I picked up these colored leaf-shaped doilies at Dollar Tree a few weeks ago, and used them in a few banners this year.  I'm telling you, you can make a boatload of cheap crafts with supplies from Dollar Tree!  I got yellow, orange, and red doilies...made two banners and still have a pile of doilies leftover.
I took a long piece of twine and pinned leaf doilies on with mini wood clothespins.  I was going to thread them through initially, but that doilie paper is pretty delicate so I went for clipping them on instead.  Between every few, I tied on a little strip of burlap and a little strip of olive green lace trim.  That's all!
I think they look so pretty draped along the mantel.  This is the first time decorating the mantel in our new house, so that in itself was exciting : )
That spooky tree on the left was an impulse purchase at walmart, because little man seemed to really like it (and it was under $1).  It's black glitter paperboard.  The crow and pumpkins were from Dollar Tree.  I just whipped out some letters on my cricut in a black w/ white spiderweb paper, and mod podge'd them on the fronts.
I have a basket tray on the coffee table with a super-sized red cup and saucer in the middle.  We keep our remotes on the side part.  I put a green placemat underneath, then a large, orange felt leaf (Dollar Tree), and tossed a few fake gourds around the saucer (also Dollar Tree).  Then I splurged on a  pumpkin spice candle for the cup (yes, that's Dollar Tree, too).  I love lighting that candle in the evening!
On our entry table, I put extra leaf garland from the porch around the base of a candle holder, and surrounded the candle with a handful of acorns that I collected outside.  I've been meaning to go back and glitter a few of those acorns ; )  I have a 5x7 photo book with a red cover that has a picture of two of my boys playing in the leaves on the front.  Perfect time of year to display that!  Above these, I hung a mini "Autumn" banner.
The Autumn banner printable was a free find at Penniwigs.  I saved the image and edited it to print in sepia instead of color.  I put bronze scrapbook eyelets in the upper corners of each letter and threaded them onto some twine.  A few days later, I stuck some of the leaf doilies on the backside, and it made a huge difference!  I like it so much better with the leaves behind.  I hung this from the bottom of a framed mirror above the entry table.
All of this was one trip to the Dollar Tree and a few hours of puttering around before company came for dinner.  I also added some glittery sprigs of fake mini pumpkins and wheat to our boring berry wreath on the front door.  And yes, I got those at Dollar Tree, too!  Then someone gave us a "welcome to the neighborhood" fruit basket that had a huge wire-ribbon bow that was the cherry on top for sprucing up my wreath.  Yay!

This is by far my favorite time of year, and I enjoy seeing these little touches of autumn here and there.  I need to get out my TP Roll Pumpkins that my boys have made in preschool...but I'm not sure where they ended up after our move!

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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Denim & Felt Pennant Banner

Here is another project I made for our festival booth.  Although this particular one happened to be for a school, you could easily customize it for a child's name, or as a reusable "Happy Birthday" banner, or leave it plain.

I used this template for a fabric pennant, and instead of cutting on the fold, I cut single triangles out of an old denim skirt from the giveaway pile.  I was able to get twenty and still had some leftover.  I decided to go for a rainbow of felts on the backside, so I purchased sheets of felt from red through purple, to get through twenty.  Then I laid the denim triangle on top, centering the point at the bottom, and cut the two sides even with the denim, leaving the top one long (no picture of this bit, so I hope that makes sense, but you can see in the pic below how the felt goes above the denim).

I sewed right sides together at about 1/4", down to the point and back up, leaving the top edge open.  Then I turned them right side out, pressed well, and top stitched at 1/4" again along the two long sides.
Then I trimmed the tops of the felt straight to 3/4" wide.
I folded this over the front and pinned in place, then snipped the edges even, and sewed about 1/8" from the bottom front edge.  This left an open pocket of felt along the top of each pennant section.

I put twine on a large, plastic needle, and used it to thread through the pocket of each pennant piece.

You could stop here and have a plain denim pennant, with the little edge of colored felt at the top...this one is large, but you could easily adjust the size of your pattern to make it smaller.  I intended for this pennant to be used as decor in our festival booth, so I made it large, as well as quite long at twenty pieces.
I chose to use this to advertise our preschool's web address, so each pennant piece had a character on it.  I was going to try freezer paper stenciling with my cricut, but for some reason ended up buying a set of stencils instead.  I think next time I will do the freezer paper, because it would hold better during the painting phase, and I could just leave it till dry and do two coats (I think).  I ended up going back over each letter and hand painting a second, thicker, coat of fabric paint on each letter.
This was not a difficult project, but it did take a whole afternoon to put together, and then an evening of stenciling and re-painting.  It worked out really well for our booth : )
I made use of the leftover felt pieces by cutting them into smaller triangles and sewing the tops along sections of red grosgrain ribbon.  There was enough to make two shorter rainbow felt pennants for the sides of our festival booth.  These were very quick and easy to whip together!
I still had even more felt leftover, which I then used to make mini pennants on our signs, which were faux chalkboards made of fabric

One denim skirt (free), a $1 spool of ribbon, and $5 worth of felt went a long way!  And we can use these over and over : )

Monday, September 19, 2011

Back-to-School Plant Stakes

A bit late for more Back-to-School projects, but I made these two plant stakes for our preschool booth at the festival this past weekend.  I thought they turned out pretty cute!

I used:
wood letters A,B,C
wood numbers 1,2,3
two wooden dowels
a variety of ribbons
red, yellow, blue & black paint

I had just a touch of black spray paint leftover from our Front Porch Makeover, so I used that to paint the dowels.  And the letters and numbers I painted with craft paint.  I put a coat of mod podge on them after the paint was dry, but in hindsight, I don't think this was necessary.  In fact, it may have contributed to glue issues, but I was thinking of a possible rainy forecast and being set up outside, so I went with the mod podge.
I selected blue and blue grosgrain ribbon, a cloth tape that had measurements on it, and a yellow ribbon printed with School Days.  I also added a few raggy ties of red plaid fabric leftover from my Fabric Apples.
So - all letters, numbers, and dowels dry, I simply hot glued them together.  However, the A and B kept falling off a few days later.  I ended up sanding the backs a bit and adding more hot glue.  They stayed put for our event after that...and ended up being moved to storage somewhere, so I don't know if it lasted.  Maybe another kind of glue would work better.

I tilted the letters and numbers a tad for more visual interest, and spaced them maybe 2 inches apart on the dowel.

Then I tied ribbons and such in between, secured with a dab of hot glue.  That's it!  Here they are finished on my front porch.

For the festival, I poked these into two big pots of mums by the front corners of our booth.  These were easy and fun to put together.  I can see myself getting carried away with plant stakes for my front porch pots for all seasons ; )

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Fabric Faux Chalk Board

This week, my craft time has been spent thinking up and making items for another preschool event.  Our city has a big festival each September (estimated 40,000 attendees and 200 vendors and booths).  This year, our preschool has its own booth!  We have been working hard to get the word out about our awesome little school, in the hopes of increasing enrollment.  I am passionate about this endeavor and serve on the Preschool Committee through our church.

We have some items from the Preschool Open House that we can use at the booth, and a large photo collage poster...but we needed some signs, banners...and just a special touch that would invite families to come see what we are about!

I sat looking at a plain ol' piece of foam board for the longest time, wondering how to make it more appealing.  I really wanted to do chalkboard paint, but it was not in my stash of supplies.  I decided to try wrapping the whole piece of foam board with black fabric instead.  I didn't know if it would turn out corny, but I gave it a try...and the results were just what I had in my mind!

I cut a piece of black cotton fabric a few inches larger than the board, and used a regular Elmer's glue stick to tack it in place on the front.  Then I flipped it and slowly hot glued around the backside, starting in the center of each side and pulling tight.  Then doing the center of the halves, and so on, so that it was evenly stretched and smooth all around.

For a "frame" around the chalkboard, I used long strips of burlap, about 1 3/4" wide.  I glued the raw edge along the edge of the foam board, and then folded it back on itself and glued again along the edge.  The fold ends up on the outside.  Because it is loose without a crease in it, it creates a sort of frame shape.
I did each side, and then trimmed a diagonal at the corners to create the mitered look of a wood frame.
And that was it for the chalkboard part!  I love how the white of the foam board underneath pokes through the fabric a tad bit.  It makes it look like a real chalkboard : )
This could be embellished and used as a memo board with push pins.  I turned mine into a sign for our festival booth, by cutting letters on my cricut and hot gluing them on.  Then I made mini pennants out of leftover felt across the top for some color (more was used in larger pennants for the booth).  I am pleased as punch with how it came out!  And hopefully we will be able to use it over and over.  I have blocked out the full school name, but here is the finished board...

I liked how this turned out so much that later I went back and made a second fabric faux chalk board in a half-size.  The original foam board is 30" by 20".  I cut one in half and did the same treatment on it to make a sort of backdrop for our game table.
Then I made up this little poem for our game and printed it on cardstock.  I hot glued some centimeter ribbon along the top and bottom, then made a fancy push-pin with a school house charm hot glued to a thumbtack.  Then I just tacked the sign onto the board.
I hope these faux chalkboard signs add a special flair to our preschool booth this weekend!

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