Sewn & Stuffed: Toy Time! (Week 4)

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Giving it away: A challenge

This week has been a roller coaster of emotions for me. Triggers, spinning, highs & lows, over-commitment, lethargy & so on. My unhealthy response in the past has been anger, isolation, & negative self-talk. As I try to adopt “new ways of thinking” and newer, self-affirming (& hopefully other-affirming, too) responses to life, I was inspired and challenged to do this week’s creative project: I made a gift for the frequent object of my triggers, anger, & sadness (my husband). At times during my lows, this was no easy task; but throughout the process, I began to feel excitement and joy about spending time, energy, and thought FOR this meaningful person in my life. This project–a stuffed toy–may seem an odd gift for an adult, but there’s a story for us…so it works! This, of course, is a great craft for the child in your life. Let’s get to it!

Materials:

  • Felt in assorted colors of your choosing (found at most major craft stores, VERY cheap!).
  • Scissors, needle, thread (double up or use thick thread, i.e. upholstery thread).
  • Paper & pen for creating stencil.
  • Buttons/charms/embellishments of your choosing.
  • Cotton batting or other material for stuffing toy.

Step 1

Create a stencil for your toy using paper. (I chose a monster/animal of my own creation.) Trace onto felt for main body of toy. Double-up the felt when cutting to get a precise match for the front & back for your toy.

Step 2

Using other colored felt, cut out items for embellishment (for mine, I added eyes, snout, nose, hearts, & buttons). Pin these in place for ease before sewing. (NOTE: if making toy for a young child, determine what additions are safe! Unsecured buttons can be choking hazard.)

Step 3

Use thread of your choice to begin sewing on embellishments to FRONT of toy. (I added an embellishment to the BACK on his little bum, too!) Now to sew the front & back together… Sandwich the front & back so that you’re looking at the INSIDE (raw stiches facing out). This will give a clean, pillow-like seam. Stitch as you choose, loop thread for messy, visible stitches, like mine. Remember to save an opening to stuff toy! (NOTE: The thicker the thread the better–great visibility & added strength.)

Step 4

5Now for the arduous task of turning your felt toy right-side out! (Since my toy is small, this was a little tricky. I found a capped pen and rounded ruler to be of some help to work the tight areas!) Now STUFF THAT MESS! As you begin stuffing your toy, you’ll start to see it coming to life 🙂 Once fully stuffed, finish off the final stiches & tie tightly off.

Now, you’re finished, feeling super awesome…. AND there’s a cute toy for you to hug!

This week, as I used the creative process as gift for someone who troubles me at times, it became a gift for myself as well. I recommend it 🙂

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Paper Flowers (Week 3)

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Step 4: We made a fearless and searching moral inventory of our lives.

I am in the midst of working my 4th Step in my recovery program. The process is deep, revealing. Making time for moments of light and mercy through Creative Recovery have been key for me. I am so grateful for time, energy, and inspiration. I’m excited to show you what I made this week.

As I was doing a little early Christmas shopping over the weekend, I spied a great decoration in a local shoppe. Paper flowers fixed to a winter wreath. Lovely, simple. For this week’s creative self-care project, I decided to recreate these flowers at home. Instead of seasonal style, I am using decorative paper I have on hand. These flowers are very simple to make and have endless decor uses (some of which I’ll list at the end).

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Materials: decorative paper, small amount of regular paper (card stock is best) for creating stencil, cutting tool (exacto, scissors), writing utensil, ruler, brads (or similar pins), awl (or similar tool to create small holes), optional: bone folder

1. Using card stock or regular paper, create square stencils of multiple sizes (create 1 per size). I suggest these sizes: 1-inch x 1-inch, 1.5-in x 1.5-in, 2-in x 2-in

2. Using decorative paper (I chose multiple patterns), trim into squares of multiple sizes: 4-inch, 5-inch, 6-inch

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3. Take smallest square of paper (4×4) & smallest stencil (1×1), trace stencil into center of paper square. Repeat with other sizes of paper (1.5-inch stencil per 5-inch paper; 2-inch stencil per 6-inch paper) [Note: trace onto BACK side of print, so not visible]

4. Cut 4 petals surrounding stenciled squares. Don’t worry about precision here. Flowers are ORGANIC shapes, a little imperfection works here! Fold each petal at the pen line. [Remember, tracing lines should be on bottom]

5. Layer the flowers (stack bottom to top, large to small). Using an awl, poke a hole through center. Insert brads & clamp.

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[Note: another option to brads is to staple layers together & glue a button or small item to cover staple]

6. Using a pen/pencil, curl edges of some/all petals. And you’re done!

Some suggestions for use:

– Attach metal stems to create bouquet
– Add depth to a table center piece
– Adhere magnet to back for fun fridge décor5
– Add to an organic wall hanging
– Use as a Christmas Tree ornament
– Pile in a hurricane glass for interesting art piece
– Use as gift label
– An addition to a decorative wreath
– & many more ideas!

Multi-Media Letters (Week 2)

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Multi-Media Letters

My eyes tired from hours of staring at the computer. My neck and shoulders tensed. Work.

So, when my task was done, I decided to reward myself with some creativity. It’s amazing how, when my spirit and mind are at work to create something tangible, I am lifted up, more grateful, less depressed, and can enjoy my focus on healthy things. Christmas is near, so right now I’m applying my creativity toward gifts for friends and family. Today’s craft: Multi-Media Letters. Who will be receiving these? My best friend’s infant twins, Sam & Jack.

I’d love to share my process with you. This was my first time making something like this. I’m pleased with the outcome, but as I worked with each letter, I found that there are many ways to accomplish this look. You may find yet another way, too!

Materials: paper craft letters, craft glue, craft paint, paint brushes, cutting tool, decorative paper, & patience!photo 1

Step 1: Purchase 3-D paper letters. I got these at a local paper supply & stationary store, but they are available at photo 2major art store chains.

Step 2: Paint portion of letters. I chose to paint only half-way on each letter and will cover the unpainted areas with decorative paper. Allow paint to dry completely. {I chose colors that will compliment the boys’ (Sam & Jack) nursery.}

Step 3: Select decorative paper to cover unpainted areas. {I photo 3chose pages from a used copy of Peter Rabbit, appropriate for a gift for young ones!} Cut papers to fit letters.

Two methods can be adopted here: A) Cut paper with enough overhang to paste over sides (as shown in photo) Last pieces will be cut exactly to size to cover the overhang. B) Cut paper exactly to size and paste to each side (note: there won’t be as clean an edge due to no overlap on edges, but the work is quicker.)new quad

Step 4: Using craft glue, adhere paper to unpainted surfaces. Use bone folder to make surfaces smooth.

Done & done! These will make an fun, personalized addition to anyone’s bookshelf or wall!photo 5

Paper Book Star Ornament (Week 1)

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My eyes float over the assortment. My hands move in, and the uplift begins. Folding the paper. Like leaves. Fingers tacky with glue. Binding two together to make one new whole. Paper is poetry to me.

Paper Book Star Ornaments
Paper Book Star Ornaments

Book making is a special love of mine, so when a program friend (Tina, you know who you are!) showed me a new craft that combines books and origami…I was in. Using simple materials, these Paper Book Star Ornaments make wonderful gifts in minutes. Let’s get our hands moving.

Materials for 1 ornament:

  • Cutting tool (Exacto or precision box cutter)
  • Glue
  • Thin string/ribbon approx. 18-in in length
  • Matte board (two 1.5-inch squares)
  • Decorative paper (just enough to cover matte board squares)
  • Paper for interior of star (five 3-inch squares)
  • Button or like item (through which string/ribbon can slide)

Making the ornament step-by-step:

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1. From scrap matte board, cut two 1.5-inch squares.
2. Choose paper for interior of ornament, cut into five 3-inch squares. (Tip: choose paper that is sturdy enough to be glued & folded)
3. Fold 3-inch paper squares using 3-step fold: a) fold on diagonal, b) fold in half horizontally, c) fold in half vertically. (Tip: press firmly on folds to ensure tightness.) Pinch together center point of square, creating a smaller folded square.

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4. Glue together the folded squares, matching pinched corners & openings. Glue each square, leaving end squares unglued.

5. Choose decorative paper for exterior of ornament. Should be slightly larger in size than matte board squares (enough to fold over sides). Glue matte board to center, trimming corners for cleaner edge.

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6. Cut length of string/ribbon approx. 18 inches long.

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7. Press together glued squares, and glue string/ribbon diagonally across,  matching open ends of string at open ends of fold. (Tip: String should loosely cross closed points of paper squares.)
8. Taking covered matte board squares, glue string side of interior squares to inside of covered matte board.

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9. Slide ends of string through hole(s) of button/charm. Knot end of strings.
10. End product has two appearances. Slide button to lock in book shape. Or, bring matte board pieces back to back and slide button to lock in star shape. Voila!