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October 2018

Tutorial Tuesday #9 - No-Sew Santa Bag Pillows - part 1

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I know it's Wednesday when I'm posting this, but I couldn't wait until next week to show you these darling $2 Santa Sacks that I found yesterday at Michael's.

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How cute are these for just $2 each?! (The Christmas decor at Michaels isn't on sale yet but they will probably put everything on sale in the coming weeks). 

They come in three sizes, (this is the smallest, measuring 7.5" X 10.5") four styles and are made from an unbleached osnaburg type fabric for a farmhouse vibe. I thought they would make fun no-sew projects.

Here's how:

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1. Give the bag a good ironing.

2. Above the line that says "recipient", write with a fabric marker or embroider a name. It would be fun to do a family name or a teachers name as I did here.

3. Add about a cup of Poly-Pellets stuffing beads for weight, then stuff the bag full to the top with poly-fill.

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4. Pull the drawstring closed and carefully hot glue it shut.

5. Add any embellishments that you'd like (optional) holly sprigs, jingle bells etc. then add a gift tag.

That's it, a cute personalized gift for under $5 - done in minutes.

Fun, right?

Encourage one another,

Suzanne

 


Tutorial Tuesday #8 - Sewn Silk Velvet Pumpkins

 

A few of you have asked how I made these silk velvet pumpkins so before I move on to Christmas (you know it's coming) I thought I'd do a really quick tutorial here.

First off you guys, I love this silk velvet from prismsilks.com! If you like the luxurious look of these I definitely think this fabric is worth the splurge. Look at their iridescent velvets. So yummy! You will need at least an 18" square of velvet for this size pumpkin so their fat quarters are perfect for a pumpkin like the one below with enough left over for acorns. Get 10% off your order with code "prism16".

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I've learned a lot this fall while making so many pumpkins and wanted to document it here.

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Any size works so use all your scraps and make various sizes. A seven inch round makes those tiny pumpkins like you find in the grocery store.

Using super heavy thread or dental floss, gather 1/4" from the raw edge of your circle. 

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You can fill it completely with pellets if you'd like. Experiment.

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Then finish off with fiberfill.

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Pull your thread tight and sew the opening closed. Knot thread and cut.

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I used a doll needle to sculpt my pumpkin - just pulling the stuffing up toward the top. This is optional since they are cute just as they are.


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Apply hot glue to the dried pumpkin stem and hold it while it dries.

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That's it! It takes about thirty minutes to make one and with the beautiful array of colors of silk velvet that's available, you can make them to match your decor. Because you're using real pumpkin stems, no two will look alike. So fun!

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Don't forget to save your pumpkin stems from this years jack-o-lanterns for next years elegant velvet pumpkins.

Encourage one another,

Suzanne


Tutorial Tuesday #7 Part Two - How to Make No Sew Velvet Pumpkins

Back in 2014 we made fabric covered pumpkins as a make-it take-it at Strawberry Patches during a fall shop hop. We went though cases of toilet paper (yup, that's the secret ingredient) and hundreds of fat quarters. To this day that was probably the most fun free project we ever did. 😍

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This year I decorated our main floor for fall using lots of velvet pumpkins

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but when I needed just a few more and our local gift shop had sold out, I remembered the cotton print pumpkins we made four years ago. Could I use that same technique using velvet?

The answer was yes! But I did learn a few things along the way that I wanted to share with you here just in case you want to make some.

Fabric:

Probably the single most important contributor to the success of your project is your choice of fabric. Because you will be building your pumpkin around a roll of toilet paper, and because you have to tuck the fabric into the opening of the cardboard roll, your fabric cannot be too heavy. If you are having trouble shaping your pumpkin or if you are struggling with getting all the raw edges into the paper core, your fabric is probably too heavy. You'll just need to experiment but go with the lightest weight fabric that you can.

Because I wanted my pumpkins to be in muted decorator colors (not fashion colors) I found the selection to be very limited. I found the pink blush velvet at Joann Fabric in the home decor section as well as the grey/dotted fabric shown in this post. They worked well but not as well as the white crushed velvet below.

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The white crushed velvet is called Panne by Glitterbug also from Joann. Real velvet is expensive and again, colors are limited so the search is on for next year for lightweight velvet with a slight stretch. For now, the Glitterbug Panne was the best choice. 

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Whatever fabric you decide on you will need about a 24" square of fabric (2/3 yard) to cover what I'm calling a large pumpkin. All the fabric that I used for this post was at least 58" wide so I could get two pumpkins from 2/3 yard. 

Stems:

I, by far, prefer natural dried pumpkin stems on my velvet pumpkins. The nice people at our local pumpkin patch just gave them to me. As I stated in the previous blog post I cut the stems from pumpkins that had been accidentally smashed in the field. You could also cut the stems from the pumpkins you purchase this year and store them for use next year. You must use dried stems only because green stems will mold and ruin your fabric. To dry the stems that I gathered this year I simply cut off all the flesh then baked them in a warm oven for a few days until they were totally dry. They will turn light brown and be very light and hollow sounding when tapped once the moisture is removed.

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I plan to store my left over stems for next year when I hopefully have a better selection of velvet to work with. One other good source for free natural stems is at the bottom of those big boxes that pumpkins are sold from. Usually merchants will give you broken off stems since they end up throwing them away.

If you don't have access to natural pumpkin stems you can use sticks, cinnamon sticks, twisted craft paper or sculpt stems from air dry paper clay.

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Embellishments:

This is where you can go just as crazy as you like. I've decorated some pumpkins for this post with milliners flowers

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as well as artificial flowers and berries purchased from places like Hobby Lobby and Joann Fabrics. (The stem below was made from air dried clay then painted).

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With the right stem I think they are beautiful just plain.

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One manufacturer sells 6" natural stem velvet pumpkins embellished with feathers for $80 each. Make no mistake about it, they are gorgeous, but way too expensive for my budget so making them myself was definitely the way to go for me.

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The photo above and below is of my mini pumpkin. (Directions below).

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Joann Fabrics has a wonderful selection of inexpensive feathers. My feathered velvet no-sew pumpkins cost less than $5 each to make and took only a few minutes to do.

Here's how:

Cut the corners off your 24" square of fabric. No need to make a circle since the edges will be stuffed into the cardboard core of the toilet paper. You just want to reduce the bulk a bit.

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Prepare your toilet paper roll by unwinding it a bit then re wrapping it loosely with the tissue you unwound. As I rewrapped the roll I twisted the paper every once in awhile to create volume. By adding the tissue back just to the very center of the roll you will be shaping it slightly, taking away the look of flat square sides. 

Sit the roll in the center on the wrong side of your fabric and add a few handfuls of fiberfill. I like to add a little to the bottom of the roll to create a nice round bottom. πŸ˜‚

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Then add more fiberfill to the sides and top, leaving the hole open on top.

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At this point I fill the paper core with stuffing beads to add weight. You could also use rice or beans, but remember we are going to enjoy our velvet pumpkins for years and don't want any critters munching on their insides. 😱

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Now you just start bringing the sides up and into the core. If you pick the roll up just slightly, the stuffing beads will fall to the bottom of the soon to be pumpkin and give you more room to stuff the fabric into the core. Continue poking the fabric into the core, all the way around, shaping as you go.

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Use chop sticks (I used kitchen shears) to poke the fabric into the hole and to shape your pumpkin.

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Once you are happy with the shape add the stem and embellishments.

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Here's and idea for smaller pumpkins. Just cut the height from a nearly empty TP roll. (I won't tell you where I was when this idea came to me). πŸ˜‚Then wrap it with more paper and some stuffing. It makes darling smaller pumpkins. 

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I'll thinking a paper towel roll would work too for a really huge pumpkin, you'll just need lots of fabric.

This technique is perfect for all ages and skill levels because there is absolutely no sewing involved and except for the embellishments, no gluing. I hope I've given you some fresh ideas and that you will share your creations and ideas with us here. Also I'd love for you to comment below if you know where I can find lightweight crushed velvet in home decor colors.

Until next time,

Encourage one another,

Suzanne

 


Tutorial Tuesday #7 Part One - The Tale of the Velveteen Pumpkin

The Tale of the Velveteen Pumpkin

There once was a farmer named Mister Johnson who planted a huge pumpkin patch in hopes that children would come from near and far with their families to pick the perfect fall pumpkin. He planted orange Jack-o-lantern pumpkins, pie pumpkins, some fancy ones called Fairy Tale and Rock Stars. There were white ones, spotted ones, ones with bumps, even black ones and some exotic ones called Heirlooms. Farmer Johnson faithfully watered his pumpkin crop and watched it grow. Soon there were thousands of big beautiful pumpkins and it was time to open the fields to the children. 

The pumpkins were all very competitive, each one thinking they were more beautiful than their neighbor.

Pick me, pick me they each thought.

"I'll make the most delicious pie," the pie pumpkins thought.

"Pick me." thought the big orange ones, "I'll make the scariest Jack-o-lantern."

"Pick me", said the Heirlooms," I'll decorate your front porch for the whole month of October". 

As the children ran through the field searching for the perfect pumpkin to cut and take home, some of the smaller pumpkins got kicked and stepped on. They began to split in the sun. Surely no one would want a pumpkin that was broken and spoiled. The other pumpkins made fun of the broken pumpkins. "Who will want you? Your seeds are showing. You stink!" The broken pumpkins were very sad, knowing what happens to pumpkins that don't find homes.

Then one day a lady came to the pumpkin patch, not looking for big beautiful, colorful pumpkins but for unusual stems. You see she was making velvet pumpkins that would last for years and wanted real pumpkin stems for her unique creations. As she walked through the field she realized that the stems from the pumpkins that had been kicked and stepped on were perfect for her special velvet pumpkins. She didn't care if their seeds were showing because she was going to use the stems for something much more beautiful and lasting than a Jack-o-lantern or porch decoration. Of all the thousands of pumpkins in the field, she chose only the less than perfect ones because they were perfect to her.

 

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The moral of the story is: We don't have to be perfect to be beautiful.

Next time I'll share all I've learned over the years in making no sew fabric pumpkins.

Encourage one another,

Suzanne