Christmas Gifts (Continued)

Well, Merry Christmas!! I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas. Our Christmas here was awesome! Super relaxing and lots of fun for the kiddos. As promised here is another post showing you more of the gifts that I made this year.

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Fist up, is a blanket I made for my nephew. I saw this blanket on interest, and you can find it HERE. It worked up really quickly, and I love how thick it came out to be. I used another baby blanket I had on hand for measurements, and ended up using a little less than 1 BIG skein of each color for the finished product.

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Pretty colors, right? I coordinated them to match his nursery 🙂

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Next we made a cute apron for our “Official Cake Maker”. One of my husband’s aunts makes all of our kids’ birthday cakes (and she does an amazing job!), so naturally our children refer to her as the “cake maker”. I thought it would be cute to make an official cake maker apron and gift it in a cake themed bag.

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I bought a plain white apron from JoAnne’s and used fabric markers to write on the apron. To make sure everything was lined up and pretty I printed out what I wanted my wording to look like and set it behind the apron so that I could just trace everything out.  Much easier this way!

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When I was all done tracing I had each child leave a cute little hand print on the apron with some black fabric paint. This part didn’t work out as well as I had imagined, so I had to dabble a little more paint over each of their handprints.

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Using a handy-dandy cello bag and some festive ribbon I put all my cake themed goodies and apron together. Pretty isn’t it? 🙂

For this next gift I did not take many pics (and the two I did take aren’t that great, so I apologize).

I made a cookie jar for my mother in law. Well, not really. I BOUGHT a cookie jar from Target and used some sharpie oil based markers to write “grandma’s sweet treats” on it. Again, I “cheated” and printed out what I wanted from the computer so that I could trace it. To properly trace through glass line the paper up on the inside and tape your image in place.

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Because I wanted to make this gift a little more personal I filled the jar with baking goodies (whisk, measuring cups, cookies mix) and had each child decorate some white dish cloths I bought from JoAnne’s. To give the dish cloths a more finished look I crocheted a cute little edge onto them.

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What do you think?? I have one more gift that I made, but I’ve decided to dedicate an entire post to that one. Hopefully I will get it posted by the end of the week. Until then, I would love to hear about the gifts you made this year!

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and are making plans for a great new year!

Alphabet Bean Bags

I originally made these for my kids over the weekend, and they were awesome! I made them using whatever scraps of fabric I had, dry pinto beans from my cupboard, fabric paint and stencils I had in my craft bin. I really liked the way they turned out. Although they were time consuming they were relatively simple. Here’s a pic of what I’ve now dubbed “The Trial Batch”:

Cute, right? And my kids LOVED them! Once I shared my bean bags I had interest from friends, and I thought “Why not?” So my little wheels started turning and I realized that to make these for others I had to make a few improvements.

  1. The letters had to be more legible. My stenciling bled, and although you knew which letter it was supposed to be some of them were pretty messy.
  2. They had to be washable! Some of these were a different color by the time I made the kids put them away.
  3. I had to make sure they didn’t fall apart. My kids were pretty rough with them and I could see them very easily falling apart.

I am happy to say that I have solved all of the above problems! First thing to do was make a trip to JoAnn’s. Once there I went to the fabric crafts isle…You know, the isle that has patches, fabric paint and all that good junk… That’s were I found iron on letters. PERFECT! Problem #1 taken care of.

Now on to #2. Ok, I can’t take credit for coming up with this because well, I didn’t. I explained to an associate what I was trying to make and she led me to poly pellets.  I’m going to quote the product label directly and tell you it is “A weighted stuffing material… easy to use… non-toxic… WASHABLE”. HOORAY!! Problem #2 taken care of. (Oh, I bought two of these to make sure I had enough for all 26 bean bags.) Last thing to do was pick up some fabric…

Once home I set to cutting my fabric. (First, I had 8 colors of fabric so I figured I needed three bean bags in each color with an extra of two colors.) I cut 5″x5″ squares of my fabric (two sqares per bean bag). After I had all my sqares cut I started ironing on letters to half of my sqares.

I kept my two squares per bag together to help keep me straight

Next step was to put my squares together (right side facing in) and sew them together. But NOT completely together! There has to be room to turn them inside out and add stuffing… I forgot to take a picture of this step for my new and improved letters, but I did take a pic of the trial set. So here it is so that you get the idea:

Next step was to turn these little things inside out (or right side out, if you prefer). I then ironed them flat. You don’t have to iron them, but I think it gives them a better finished feel. Here’s what they’ll look like turned right side out and ironed:

Ok… Hard parts are done! The rest is easy… Time consuming, but easy. Fill the bags with poly pellets (I used 1/4 cup per bag), then sew along the edges. I went around once with a simple stitch, then again with a zigzag stitch to take care of problem #3. I figure that being stitched three (once on the inside, and twice out) there’s no way the stuffing is going anywhere 🙂

I also like that the zigzag stitches give my bags a decorative touch.

That’s it! Simple, right? But, again, VERY time consuming. It tooke me 2 1/2 days to get them all done… Having 3 kids probably makes the process longer?… Speaking of three kids my seven year old lost another tooth! She now has no front teeth (LOL) and my little James is getting really big. It makes me sad, I love him so much I want to squish him so tight that he can’t get bigger! I don’t know how I’d justify that to questioning minds though…

But I digress, back to the subject at hand. The possibilities with these bean bags are endless! They can be completely customized and personal, and very educational. Although this set is solid colors in my “trial batch” I tried to coordinate the back of the bags with the letter on the front (apple fabric with ‘A’, butterfly fabric with ‘B’, etc.). The next thing I’d like to try is attaching velcro tabs on the sides so that you can link them to spell words, but I’ll have to try that another day. In the mean time you can purchase this set on my etsy shop at haffpinTreasures.