Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Pinterest Pacifier

I saw these on Pinterest, so I can't take any credit for the idea. I did figure out how to do it on my own, mostly because I am lazy and hate following directions!

I opted to use a clear pacifier to add to the illusion that the baby actually has a mustache.

I cut a small rectangle of brown felt. I would like to re-create this craft with fun foam, but I didn't have any. So, I'll have to see how this holds up to washing and I will have to be OK with it just being a prototype.

Next I cut a small notch out of the felt so that it fit the shape of the pacifier better. I then looked at a picture of a mustache and cut the rest of the felt to match. (Hint: get half of it perfect and then fold in half to copy the shape)

Finally, I tested the mustache size on Joshua, making sure it didn't cover his nose.

Now Joshua has a fun new pacifier, I can check one more project off of my Pinterest list, AND I think I have a start on Joshua's Halloween costume!

Monday, July 30, 2012

A Postage Themed Problem; "Special Delivery" Birth Announcements!

Often, I find that having a limit set on my supplies or time forces me to bypass the most obvious way to do something and find a really creative solution to a problem. It's one of the main things that I really like about the show Craft Wars. This week the CW contestants were challenged to make Christmas decorations from mailing supplies. In my attempt to create things referencing the show, I also created something that celebrates a special moment and used stamps and packaging materials to solve a crafting cunundrum. Here's the problem and how I crafted my way out of it.

In a recent post, I shared the story behind this photo and explained what went into creating the props for the photo shoot. I loved the picture so much and I wanted to use it as part of Joshua's birth announcement.

The birth announcement above is NOT Joshua, but it is the starting point for his birth announcements and for my problem. I found these blank announcements months ago at a HUGE discount. (I got a few hundred of these beautiful announcements for $5!) At the time, I figured I would get a good (horizontal) photo of the baby and do a similar layout.....and then I fell in love with this luggage idea (and its vertical orientation) and I had a problem!

Here is the initial picture from the luggage photo shoot. (Can you believe I took it on my PHONE?!? My "big camera" was out of batteries and the light was good and the baby was asleep and my phone apparently has a REALLY good camera on it!) I was aware of the layout issue and tried to take a few in a horizontal format, but they just didn't work for this image.

Before I could figure it all out, I went ahead and ran the photo through photo-shop to add Joshua's name and "special delivery" to the luggage tags. I also cropped the image and bumped up the contrast and saturation of the colors a little.

And then it was time to deal with the layout issue. I would have just flipped the card to be vertical, but there is the round monogram on one side of the card and it was going to show and be in an odd location if I flipped the card to be vertical. I decided that I would need to hide the monogram behind some additional element.

I went looking for fun travel or delivery themed images that could be glued over the monogram area to hide it. When I found these stamps I was SO excited! I also got a new idea for how to handle the odd monogram circle space so that these stamps no longer needed to be glued over the monogram area.

Instead, I placed them in random looking areas on the picture as if it were a postcard being mailed. As long as I was in photo-shop, I also played around with the date on the flag stamp, making it Joshua's birthday!

I still needed to deal with the monogram circle, but the stamps had given me a new idea. Instead of hiding the monogram circle, I re-invented it as a round postal cancelation stamp! This provided the additional oportunity to add the details of Joshua's place of birth, weight, and length where a real postal cancelation would have its own information.

I just used a craft knife to cut half the edge of the circle, so that the photo slid underneath the round shape and my problem was solved!

That's how I went from a problem layout to a postal themed "special delivery" birth announcement! I love how a few limiting factors and the choice of a few postage supplies created a finished product that was so much more creative than the original design!
Several Craft Wars contestants have also been making things inspired by the "Christmas Craftastrophe" episode. Check them out at the links below!

Lisa's Cardstock Christmas Tree

Traci's Craft Wars Inspired Wreath

Nikki's Wine Cork Wreath

Margot's Re-Do of Last Week's Sweater Wreath

Pattye's Up-cycled Christmas Ornaments

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Joshua's J.C. Penney's Portraits

Even though I just orchestrated my own "special delivery" themed photo shoot here at our house, I still wanted some studio photographs of baby Joshua while he was still a tiny baby. I also wanted the opportunity to be in a few photos with him, so I made an appointment at our favorite JC Pennies Portrait Studios yesterday.

I love that I already have access to small sized preview images and I love, love, love how economical these photos are! You used to need a coupon, but now all their basic, unedited photos are just $4 a sheet! We have always had good results, but I usually put some thought and effort into what we wear and what props to bring.

I always start with a search for poses, themes, and color schemes. For this session I searched the internet for "newborn photography" and "newborn pictures" (examples above). I saved the images I liked to show to the photographer. The newborn wearing a paper hat that I saw on multiple websites was one of my favorites.

If you want to do something similar, here are directions for making a newspaper hat. (directions originally found here from the book This Book Belongs to Aye Aye.)

I wanted a to do a little more with printed paper, so I also made some paper pinwheels and paper pennants in similarly monochromatic neutral colors. I love that now it appears that Joshua has had a little party to explain the hat!

I also brought in several blankets and pieces of fabric that had good texture and colors for the look that I wanted. A higher priced photographer shod have these items for you, but if you ate going the more economical route you may want to bring extra options. Think outside the box! The nubby textured fabric in many of these pictures is one of my sweaters!

I remembered from Lydia's one month portraits that my hands may end up in a few photos, so I did an at home gel manicure that morning.

I was surprised that they encouraged me to strip him completely for these pictures, but since it was my fabric inside their basket, it didn't matter as much if he peed (which he did).

They did have a rule against showing full nudity. Baby bottoms were OK, but we had to strategically place the fabric for this pose.

And that's the story behind Joshua's first JC Pennies portraits!

Friday, July 27, 2012

"Special Delivery" Newborn Photo Props

I have been collecting pieces old blue luggage for storage in my studio. A few weeks ago, I spotted this adorably small white vintage suitcase at a thrift store and something about its size gave me an idea to use the luggage in a newborn photo shoot for baby Joshua.

I needed to do a little prep work to make the old luggage camera ready. I had hoped to get to it BEFORE Joshua arrived so we would be all set for some really early newborn pictures. Joshua had other plans, so once we were both home from the hospital and after I was healed enough to climb the stairs to my studio, little man was in a sling and we were off to create some photo props.

This little box isn't really a suitcase, it's a cardboard box in suitcase style. I bought it at a thrift store to hold Lydia's tea party supplies long ago. I have been meaning to do something to hide the name "Gracie" for a year or two. When I realized it was the perfect size for this photo shoot, i decided it was time to deal with it. I thought about just spray painting the entire thing, but when I set it next to the blue and the white suitcases I LOVED it's pattern and colors. So I just needed to hide the front of the box.

I decided to cover it with scrapbook paper. I used my new Paper Mod Podge and was really happy with the results.

I finished it off with a final small rectangle of plain cream paper and plan on adding Lydia's name or monogram at some point. There was only one more project to complete.

I needed some leather looking luggage tags for my photo shoot. I planned on making them out of paper thinking that I would print the information onto white paper and then glue it to the tags. Unfortunately, I could not decide what information I wanted on the tags. I decided to make blank tags and hoped I could photo-shop in the lettering after I saw the pictures. Apparently, I forgot to take any in-progress pictures of the tags. They are just brown paper with cream paper glued to them. You can see them just behind where Joshua is sleeping in his sling.

I attached the luggage tags with some ribbon and stacked the suitcass outside. You can see all the props for our photo shoot above. Below is a sneak peak of the results of the photo-shoot. I am SO EXCITED about how these turned out and can't wait to share what I turned them into. More soon!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Burpies and Bibs

This picture of Joshua shows a glimpse of one of my favorite baby crafts. When I had Lydia, a friend gave me these super snuggle flannel bibs and burp rags that a friend of hers makes. I loved them so much I wanted to make tons more, for Lydia and anyone else I knew who was having a baby.

The burp rag is just a rectangle of flannel and chenille with some fun ribbon tags attached, but it ends up being a great multi- tasking baby item. I don't leave the house without one. In addition to protecting my shoulder or wiping a little spill, in an emergency I have used them as a small blanket, a breast feeding cover up, and even a diaper changing pad (washing them in between, of course!)

I have adjusted my method for making these over the years and gotten it down to a pretty good system, which I will now share with you! Starting with a yard of fabric that is still folded in half like when it comes off the bolt, fold it into 3 (third of a yard) sections.

This will yield six rectangles that are each the size of a burp rag. You can sew two of these rectangles together to create an all flannel burp rag. Or you can cut a matching rectangle shape from chenille to have a thicker more absorbent burp rag. Either way, sew around three sides of the rectangle (with right sides together). Turn so the right side is out. Add ribbon taggies of you like. Top stitch the open end shut and continue top stitching all the way around the square.

I also make my bibs from the same initial third of a yard sections. You can see how one of the initial six rectangles will make two bibs with a little extra fabric left over. The shape I make is basically a rectangle with rounded corners and a hole cut in the center. I also sew one flannel shape to one chenille shape, leaving an opening at the bottom of the bob. Trim, turn, and top stitch the bib adding small pieces of Velcro to the top.

I stock up on flannel whenever JoAnns has snuggle flannel on sale for about $3 a yard. The chenille is around $14 a yard, so I buy larger quantities of it and use a JoAnn's 40% off coupon on it. Lately, however, I have not seen chenille either in a store or online at JoAnn's. I could buy it from other online retailers, but not with a 40%off coupon.

So, I had been searching for a solution when my friend showed me her new towels. They are a quick dry, eco-friendly towel sold at Bed Bath and Beyond. I took one look and instantly thought of my hard to find chenille! In the pictures above and below, the towel is on the left and the chenille is on the right.

The prices are similar for both materials, and the towel ends up being twice as thick as the chenille because it has the texture on both sides, while the chenille has a textured and a flat side.

Finally here are two of the burp tags I made for Joshua. The brown one with tool pattern is all flannel while the blue owls are backed in the chenille.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

From Jeans to Wedding Dreams!

While I was off having a baby, the other Craft Wars contestants have been challenging each other to create something each week that is based on the previous episode of the show. I apparently decided I had something to prove in my first week crafting post baby. I chose to tackle the Master Craft challenge from last week's Altar or Falter episode: making wedding items from old jeans, invitations, baby blankets, and candle sticks.... Or as I chose to think of it "From Jeans to Wedding Dreams!"
Because I only had an hour and baby Joshua wasn't a very good replacement for the crafty assistant you get on the show, I settled on making one bouquet that utilized each of the four challenge materials.
I found a cheap glass candle holder and turned it upside down to create the handle for bouquet. This gave me a larger surface area to attach flowers to.
I used hot glue to attach a foam half ball as a base for the flowers. The paper doily under it helped keep the foam from showing through the bottom and gave a pretty edge to the bouquet.
I spray painted the invitations and cut them into heart shapes to act as petals.
By wrapping the hearts around a center piece, the invitation flower grew until I was happy with the size and shape.
For the denim flowers, I looked at several images and tutorials online. I settled on the following design because it was simple and fast. Of all the parts of this bouquet, I am the least excited about these. The denim was thick and no matter what I did with the paint, the blue affected the hue.
I cut four kidney shaped pieces, a round center, and some leaves.
Each kidney shape will become two petals. To add some texture, fold in half and see near the edge. Do this to all four pieces. When you open it up, lay the pieces across each other to create your flower. (sorry, no pictures, but I show more of this technique later with different fabric)
The leaves get sewn and gathered down the center. I also sprayed them green, but it was a light color so the blue is still visible.
Last should be something made of baby blankets, but my assistant Joshua cried and cried when I tried to cut up his blankets. Instead, I am up cycling one of Lydia's old skirts.
I cut up the skirt and made the same shapes as I did with the jeans. Below you can see 2 petal pieces overlapped and then all four glued together to make the flower.
And finally, here is the finished bouquet!
Want to see what the other Craft Wars competitors came up with based on the same episode? Follow the links below to check out some more Craft Wars inspired creations!

And since I was busy, you know having a baby in the NICU and all, here are the Craft Wars Inspired creations from last week's Toy Box and Pet Mansion Episode.

Margot Potter's Tori Inspired Necklace

Also, Margot Potter is another local (Townsend) gal.  Let's all tune in and cheer her on TONIGHT, at a NEW earlier 8pm (PRIME TIME) time slot!  Go Team Potter!!!