Friday, January 31, 2014

Tiny Felt Flip Photo Books

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Here is a useful little book you can make as a gift for a Grandma or someone else who likes to carry photos around in their purse to share with absolutely everyone they run into.
I used some nice photos of my kids at the beach last summer and had them printed out as "wallet size." I used typing paper for the inside paper because it is thin and flexible and felt for the exterior. You could use origami paper for the inside pages too because it is really thin but do not use construction paper as it will crack. You can sew up the book in several different ways using either regular sewing thread or embroidery floss.

  • 3 felt pieces measuring 3 x 4 inches
  • Embroidery floss
  • Needles of various sizes
  • Buttons and other felt scraps, trim, etc 
  • 3 pieces of thin paper cut 3 x 8 inches and folded very neatly the long way
  • Pins
  • Scissors
  • Optional- clamp for holding book while you bind it
  1. Decorate the cover of your book. I used felt hearts, buttons, and rickrack. I added my sister-in-law's name to one of the covers. You can sew the pieces onto the cover or glue them.
  2. Make a little book by stacking the folded book pages inside each other.
  3. Lay the bottom piece of felt on a table, put the paper booklet on top of it. Lay your cover on top of everything. Do not worry about the third piece of felt yet. You will use it later on.
  4. After everything is really nicely lined up and square use a bulldog clip or clothepin to hold the pages together.
  5. It is time to bind your book. I employed two diferent methods for my two different books. For one book I used regular sewing thread and a sharp needle and just sewed over the edge and through the paper as neatly as possible. This looks nice, but the paper may rip eventually.
  6. For my second book I used a simple book binding stitch known as the four hole pamphlet stitch. Here are good directions for how to do it from the My Handbound Books site. It is actually not as hard as it sounds, as you only have to poke 4 holes in the edge of your book so is quicker than the first method. If you enjoy embroidery you could use different stitches to hold your pages together, The blanket stitch would look really nice.
  7. After your book is bound you can trim the paper edges so they don't show and trim the threads. 
  8. To hide the sewing on the back of the cover I glued on a backing to it. This is where your third felt rectangle comes into play. You will need to trim it as it will be smaller than the cover since it is not stitched in. We are not stitching it in with the pages because that would add a lot of thickness for the needles to have to through. You ay want to try including in the binding and see what happens.
  9. Glue in your wallet sized photos. I used a glue stick. A scrapbooker would probably use something more elaborate and effective but the glue worked fine for me.
  10. Now, wrap up your little book and mail it someone who will be very happy to have more photos of your adorable kids, or leave the book empty and give it to someone who takes a lot of pictures and likes to share them.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Matchbox Valentine Keepsake

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Here is a fun Valentine you can make with an empty matchbox.
The best part is the surprise inside.

A little diorama of arrows and a lacy Valentine heart.
But that is not all, one of the arrows is on a stick, so you can slide it from side to side to reach the bulls-eye. 

There you go.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Stick Puppet Stage Valentine

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I personally love nothing more than a handmade Valentine, from just about anyone!
Even more, I love to make them for others. So I will share here one idea that is pretty fun.
This will go to one of my children.

Here we set the stage!
Just pull up the curtain flap....
To reveal a sweet couple, and cupid waiting to take aim.
They look 3-d, but there is another surprise...

They are also stick puppets so the recipient can interact
and make their own story.

This is really not to difficult to make, whether you draw your own or not.
Just gather some supplies;
*Thick, card-stock paper
*colored pencils, drawing materials if you choose to draw your own, or magazine clippings and/or photos
if you wish to use that.

The card measures 5 1/2" wide x 3 1/2" tall, closed. (7"open)
The stick figures measure about 2" give or take.
You can easily customize this if you are not using an envelope, and make any size you want.
If using an envelope to mail just check the sizing. Here is an example of some options in standard envelopes.
You can glue or tape the toothpick securely to the back of the puppets. I ended up just
using tape, since they were pretty lightweight.
Once you have decided on your size, time to design the stage!
I drew my own, which I think could be really cute if drawn by a child.
But if you prefer to go the printed image way, here are just some examples 
that can be found with google for stages. Print out, and glue to the inside of the card.
Trace the negative space inside the curtain, for your opening flap-curtain.

As I said, you can draw your own characters, as I did, or use images of people you know, such as
you and your significant other, your kids, your pets! Personalize it, make it your own, because that
is what makes the handmade Valentines so special.

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Monday, January 13, 2014

Fairy Finger Puppets

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While trapped in my house for two days this week, in sub-zero Chicago, I decided to make some finger puppets. With our car fuel line frozen and no way of going to my beloved craft store, I had to work only with materials at hand.  I always thought it would be effective to use a large wooden bead as the head on a finger puppet. Since I had no large beads I wound up using a ball left over from my Ping Pong Ball Thanksgiving Turkey project.  It turns out a ping pong ball makes a perfect head for a little puppet.

  • Ping Pong balls
  • Acrylic craft paint for ping ball ball. I used a "sandstone" color for the flash color.
  • Small paintbrush
  • Paint or markers for mouth, eyes and nose
  • Small scissors. Nail scissors work well.
  • Yarn or embroidery floss for hair
  • Craft glue
  • Fabric
  • Tooth pick
  • Confetti or star sticker for wand
  • White felt for wings
  • Gauzy fabric for wings
  • Needle and thread
  • Optional accessories like beads for headband, necklaces, trim on dress 
  1. Hold the ping pong ball so that the indentation is where the jawline of your face will be. This way it will not show when you add the hair. Poke a hole where the neck will be using something like a knitting needle or nail.
  2. Use tiny, sharp scissors to cut away a neck hole. Make it large enough for a finger to fit inside.
  3. Paint the ping pong ball the skin color of your choosing and let it dry.
  4. Add facial features to your head. I used white paint to make the eyes and permanent markers for the lips, nose, eyebrows and pupils.
  5. Assemble your hair. Lay a long piece of yarn down on a newspaper and put glue all over it. Then cut your hair pieces (longer than you need them to be) and glue them along the center of the main piece.
  6. After the glue is dry you can attach your hair to the top of the ping pong ball. Wait to give your puppet a final haircut until she is all assembled and you can see what length will look best. 
  7. I sketched out a simple wing shape and cut out 2 felt wings and 2 gauzy pieces to go over the felt. Glue them together.
  8. I made a simple dress template that is around 3 inches high and 2 inches wide at the bottom. You want the neck to be long so you can stuff the fabric inside the ping pong ball hole and hold the puppet together.
  9. Pin the template to some fabric and cut out two pieces. If you are using felt and hand stitching you can cut it out along the line of the pattern. Otherwise give yourself 1/4 inch around extra for seam allowance.
  10. Sew the dress pieces together with the front sides pinned together. When you sew you will sew down the neck, down both arms, and down the side. You will leave the bottom, head and sleeves open so that you can add hands later.
  11. Reverse the dress and cut out some little felt hands. Sew them into the sleeves.
  12. Apply glue to the inside rim of the ping pong ball and stuff the neck of the dress into the head using your finger like you will when it is a puppet.
  13. Sew the wings onto the back of the puppet.
  14. Make a wand. I used a toothpick painted gold and some star confetti I had left over from a party. You could also cut out a star from tinfoil or use those star stickers they sell at office stores. The star seems to have fallen off the wand in our photos so you also could just have a plain stick.
  15. Glue the wand into the hand.

Here the fairy joins some of her pirate friends.

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