Saturday, May 30, 2009

Birthday Party Goodie Bags

My oldest son's birthday is this coming week. Ever since his 4th birthday party, I have been making the goodie bags for his party. I really don't like the little plastic goodie bags that go home and go straight into the trash. I wanted to make something that the kids would want to keep and remember the party by. My mom and I made the 1st ones together. His 4th birthday was a Spiderman theme. We bought red and blue felt sheets. On one color we painted a large spider web, and on the other color we painted a large spider. We used the squeezable fabric paint. Then I placed a thin ribbon along the sides and sewed the bag.

His 5th birthday was Elmo. One side was red felt. I painted elmo's face on it. I chose red so that I just needed to outline Elmo's face, and paint the nose and eyes. The other side of the bag was gray fake fur with large google eyes glued to it.

His 6th birthday was a soccer theme. I used white felt (which I bought by the yard). I found a silhouette of a soccer player kicking a ball, and I printed it out and used it as my stencil. I also did the same for a large soccer ball. So one side ow the soccer player and the other side was a large soccer ball. I used a lot of black paint. I also found some glow in the dark paint that I used to highlight the soccer player's clothes, make action lines, and write the child's name on the bag.

I painted the child's name on their bag for a few years. Now I attach a name tag to the handles so that the name can be removed and the bag can be passed on to someone else (kids get older and grow out of things). I would cut a tag out of felt using my die-cut machine, paint the child's name on it, and attach it to the handle before I sewed it on.

His 7th birthday was at a mini golf course. I started with a green piece of felt and then I sewed on red , orange, and yellow felt so that it looked like grass and a sun set. I then painted with black a golf ball and golf club.

His 8th birthday was a pokemon theme. I was pregnant with my 2nd son, and my due date was a month before his party. I started making the goodie bags 5 months early. I finished them the week before the party. One side was yellow felt. I painted Pikachu's head and ears on that side. Again I chose yellow felt so that I just had to paint the outline instead of using up way too much yellow paint. The other side was white felt and I painted a pokeball on it.

Last year he turned 9 and wanted a Webkinz bag. His 1st webkinz was a tiger, so he wanted that to be on his bag. I did not want to paint any more. We picked out some dark green fabric with a leaf print (fern like) on it. I also bought some tiger striped fake fur and some white fake fur. I still had to use felt as a stabilizer. I chose green felt to match. I used fusible webbing to attach the leaf fabric to the felt. Then I cut out a circle and 2 triangles from the tiger striped fur. After pinning in in place, I stitched them down with black thread. I then cut 2 small circles from the white fake fur to use for the tiger's nose. I stitched them in place with white thread. I used a zig zag like stitch that one might use when appliqueing. I glued 2 large google eyes on him. I also sewed a pink button on for a nose. Then using white embrodiery thread, I made 6 wiskers. The back and front of the bag was exactly the same. It took a lot more time making these than painting ever did.

This year his party theme is outdoor water fun. I did not want to make a time consuming bag (times 8 or more) this year. Between other projects and chasing a toddler around, I wanted something simple. So we went to the fabric store and he picked out a printed fabric that looked like pool water (a bright blue with glod lines). I also bought matching fabric later (they didn't have the same print) for the handles. I made 4 out of 9 bags today. The party is in 7 days. No painting, no detailed sewing, just basic sewing. I cut rectangles out of the fabric (to what looked like a good size). I folded the 2 ends (which will be the top of the bag) twice, and pinned them. I then cut 2.5 inch strips for the handles. I ironed them so that the outer edges were folded to the center, then I folded them in half. I sewed the open side closed. Then I measured, cut, and attached the handles with pins. Then I just sewed the tops of the bags down, handles and all. I folded the bag in half, right sides together. Using a zig zag stitch, I sewed the sides together. I then sewed triangles (1.5 inches) on the bottom corners. This is so the bag can have a flat bottom. I turned it inside out and I'm done. I still need to make name tags for the bags. My son likes it, and I was able to make 4 bags from start to finish in one day. I even had my toddler on my lap while I was sewing.

Hopefully I'll finish some more bags today. I don't want to work on them tomorrow, because thats when my birthday is. My son was a late birthday present.

I will post pictures soon. I will post the pictures that I have of past bags.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Concept drawing & other doodles

Here is my concept drawing for the tv show. I actually did the animation for it today. It was the first time that I had ever made an animation. My husband has a degree in film & animation. He set up the camera and showed me how to use the program. Then I just used a bunch of collage items and moved them around while click (capturing) frames. I think it turned out pretty good.

This drawing I made on Sunday. It is a branch or a vine with a plant growing out of it.

The others I made last night. I'm thinking of turning this one into a t-shirt.

I don't like the vine on this one, but I think the flowers turned out ok.

This one is a work in progress.

Quilt Guild Box Exchange

We got back our box exchange blocks at the last quilt guild meeting. Here is mine. I love it! The top 2 on the right are the ones that I made. The directions were to make your choice of either a crazy quilt block and/or a wonky log cabin block. The person could make one or two blocks. They had to use this brown batik fabric that I included (brown w/ some green, orange, and yellow with branch like patterns). I also included some yellow fabric for them to use if they wanted to. I think everyone used both fabrics. I also asked them to stick to a certain color scheme, and to use fabrics that were nature inspired. I really love it. They really look good together. Now I just need to make a quilt out of them.

Oh, I also won 10 of the 30 block of the month blocks. There were 3 winners (10 blocks each). I was so happy. I really wanted them. I did not win mine back. They are all so different and interesting. You can look on an older post to see the ones that I had made. They were inspired by African quilt blocks (no rulers or rotary cutters were allowed).

Monday, May 18, 2009

Patriotic Plastic Bag Wreath & Recycling Champion

I made this from start to finish today. I bought a wire wreath frame, but you can used recycled material cut into a wreath form. This is a medium size frame. All the plastic bags need to be about the same size in length. The handles and bottom seem need to be cut, then you tie the bag in a knot around the wreath frame. You bunch them together, and then fluff them. The blue bags are newspaper bags. I tied them on first so that I could have them evenly spaced around the wreath. Then I tied on the white bags. One hundred and twenty bags were used to make this wreath. The bow was $1 from The Dollar Tree. I used a twist tie that I had saved from a bread bag to hang it. Some places have red bags, but I did not have enough of them saved to add to this wreath.

You can see a picture of my Christmas plastic bag wreath on my blog as well. Another plastic bag wreath idea is a Halloween one made from gray and/or black bags.

I was also named Chelmsford's recycling champion for the month of May this year. Here is the link to the article.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Block of the month

Last month Opal in my quilt guild showed everyone May's block of the month. It is inspired by African quilts. The drawing on the left was on the instructions for this block. We were not allowed to use any rulers or rotary cutters or templates for this block. We were given fabric that was kind of a white and black plaid with orange, yellow, and green squares in it. We did not have to use it (I did), but we were suppose to base our fabric choices off of it. We were also asked to throw in a crazier looking fabric in the mix. It was a fun challenge, but it was a challenge. The half square triangles were tough.

Scotty Dog quilt block

This is the last block that I have received in my quilt guild's block exchange. It is made with reproduction or close to reproduction 1930's fabric. I think it is really cute. Since we all made one block each, we cut out the fabric using templates. Each colored piece of fabric in the block is different. The original person precut all the background pieces. I would love to make one of these (with different fabric). I think it would be really cute for my youngest son who loves dogs or for my parents. Tomorrow night is the last quilt guild meeting before the fall. We are displaying the box exchange blocks on fabric and returning them to their owner. I am looking forward to seeing mine.

I have googly eyes around my computer desk. Just for fun (kicks and giggles), I glued some on my stapler. I think it looks like a beaver now. if I gave it ears, it could be a bunny. Now I have a little friend to keep me smiling at my desk.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

TV Show prep & quilting

Yesterday I went to the telemedia station to meet the main people who I will be working with. They gave me some things to think about for the show. I also got to see how Town Talk (a local show) was directed. The name of my show will be "Its Easy Being Green." I scheduled the taping of my first three shows for next month. There were scheduling conflicts with taping it this month. However that gives me a few weeks to work on the opening as well as prep for the show. I did the homework that I assigned myself last night (emails, phone call, etc.).

The first show will be a craft show about what what you can make out of plastic shopping bags. I will focus mainly on making plyarn and fusing the bags. Then I will show some of the things that you can make out of it. If I have time, I'll talk about making wreaths out of the bags as well. However I would like to save that for a holiday themed show.

The second show will be a guest and craft show. My friend Bonnie Rankin will be my guest. We will be making things out of beloved fabric items that we have inhertied. How does this fit into the "green" theme of the show? We are reusing or as Bonnie has said, using the 4th "R," re purposing. Not all eco-crafts are about turning trash into treasure. Bonnie came over to my house this week to talk about what we are going to do for that episode.

Bonnie's visit inspired the third episode. It will be about quilting. Quilting began as a eco-craft. People used scraps of fabric (instead of throwing them away) to make beautiful quilts to keep them warm. The main craft of the show will be a "grandmother's flower garden" quilt pattern. Not only can you use scrap fabric, but you can recycle clean food boxes and used poster board & card stock. This morning I did a google search for hexagons, and I printed out several templates. I then took them to Staples and enlarged them on the copier. I also copied some onto cardstock. I began paper piecing one hexagon pattern that I found. I also cut several hexagons out of food boxes. I would like to sew a few hexagons together using old t-shirts. When making t-shirt yarn, I only use from the material under the sleeve seams. So I have several top half of shirts that I can use for this project.

Another recent project of mine that takes no time at all is making magnets. This started around Valentine's Day when I saw these super cute wood cut outs for about 50 cents each. I bought a pack of nice round magnets and glued them on the back of the wood cut outs. I have made a few more since February. I also attached one of those magnets to the back of a large googly eye. A long time ago I also made magnets using those free business magnets that sometimes come in the mail. I would glue pictures of magazines or wallet size photos of my son to it. The "Fox and the Hound" image came from a children's catalog.

Like I said I would in my last post, I have been trying to quilt a block a day on the "Steps to the Stars" quilt.

Saturday, May 9, 2009


Here is the elephant that I crochet for my mom last March. The pattern is free at I also made one for my toddler. I just need to sew on one ear and I'll be done with his elephant.

I will be going to my family reunion in July, and so I need to have my grandmother's quilt finished by then. I am trying to hand quilt a block a day. Well, actually more like a star block and half of 3 to 4 step blocks. That means that I should be finished quilting it this month, and then I can move on to the binding. When I am finished with it, the next quilt project will be to quilt the 2nd quilt top that I made. I basically learned how to piece different blocks with it. It's a sampler quilt. I have never made a quilt for my bed, and it's about time I did just that.

Monday, May 4, 2009

TV show & quilting

I had a meeting at the telemedia office today to pitch an idea that I had for a show. It was approved (yeah!!!!). The show will be called "It's Easy Being Green." It will be an environmental show. Every odd numbered episode will be about crafting with recycled items. Every even numbered episode will have a guest on it. I hope that everything will go smoothly. I am going in on Wednesday to watch how a show is filmed as well as to meet the people that I'll be working with. Then I will start taping it this month.

In other news I have been working on my Grandmother's Flower Garden quilt. It is hand pieced, and I started it when I was last pregnant over 2 years ago. I have also started hand quilting the Steps To The Stars quilt. That quilt is a gift for my grandma. I'm going to see her in July, and I would love to have it finished by then.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Zine: Recycled Crafts, issue 1, April 2009

I made my 1st zine this month and handed them out during the Earth Day Fair. They are also available at the Chelmsford Main Library. Future issues will be available at the library as well. Here is what was in it (just click on it for the link).

Plastic Bags:
Make a Winter wreath
Make yarn to knit or crochet with
Fused plastic bag tote

Juice Pouches:
Place mats

***There are books available at your local book store that are all about recycling t-shirts.

Ways To Recycle:
Do a Google search to find how to recycle specific materials. Example: "plastic bottle crafts" gave me 319,000 websites.

Find books at the library.