Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Grandma's photo album....nostalgia edition!


                                                     "One on on Speed!"

No, we don't do drugs at our house, but this photo kind of makes you wonder, huh? It was taken in 2006 right after Rosie and Katie came home for the first time. We actually just went shopping for one cat, but when we unexpectedly walked in on a "buy one, get one" promotion at the Humane Society, that made it just too easy to say, "Go ahead and add that little freckle-nosed calico to our cart, too!" On the way home, Mary Jo, my cat-shopping-buddy for the day, and I panicked. How would we explain the second cat to dad? Fortunately for us it was early in June, and my daughter wasn't raised by a fool for a mother! She swept triumphantly into the house and declared, "Happy Father's Day!" It was love at first sight between dad and Katie, and Rosie has flown under the radar ever since!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Hoppin' on over to Spring!

Have given up on winter. Not that it's the worst thing that has ever happened to me - after all it is kind of nice to drive on iceless roads and never have to scrape a windshield. But what if you carefully stockpiled black plastic top hats, skinny lengths of felt in a brilliant rainbow of colors and a big fat bag of real carrots -  and never had a single chance to invite your grandkids over to assemble it all into even one mini-sized smiley faced snowman....? (Sigh.)

Okay, let's just forget about that and hop right on over to SPRING!

Top row, left to right: Vonda, Darcie, Sheila, Lily
Bottom row, left to right: Sharon (yes, she KNOWS there is a chicken on her head!), Jackie, Pippa, and Gloria

My only granddaughter is not even two years old, so I am not going to hand her a needle, a hot glue gun and an invitation to join me in a bunny-making party just yet. But I did design this simple little project so I could do exactly that in a future year, hopefully after we are both exhausted from a winter of sculpting snowpeople in her front yard!

But maybe your granddaughter is old enough right now to learn a few basic sewing and crafting skills. Maybe you think this little bunny is the perfect project for the two of you to make together! In quick, easy steps, you can demonstrate pattern drafting, both machine and hand sewing, stuffing, gluing and the best part.....decorating! If you craft with fabric or quilt, you already have everything you need!

Make just one, or make a dozen! Here's what you need for a single bunny: (3" x 5" finished)
  • Fabric scraps, 100% cotton, or muslin for body and pastel colors for clothes
  • Polyester stuffing
  • Fine point black marker, 005 size
  • Pencil or fabric marker
  • Quilting thread, white or natural, for whiskers
  • Acrylic craft paint, pink, for cheeks and ears - brown (optional) for spots
  • Small paint brush
  • Hot glue gun or craft glue
  • Paper for pattern
  • Decorating accents: buttons, tiny flowers, "jewels," beads etc.
  • Miscellaneous sewing supplies such as scissors, needle, thread etc.
Step by step, here's what to do:

1. Cut a 3" x 5" piece of paper.
(Shown in white.)

2. From the top center, draw a curved line
about 1" down to the sides to make
the shape of the head.

3. Draw lines to round off the bottom edges.

4. Cut on the lines to finish your pattern.
 (Shown in brown.)

Note:  For a perfect symmetrical pattern,
draw one side, fold paper in half
and cut both curves together.

5. Cut a piece of body fabric to 6" x 9" and fold in half.
If using a print, be sure to fold to reverse side out.

6. Trace the pattern on fabric. (Shown on print.)

7. Machine sew all around traced line. Do not leave
open for stuffing! (Shown on brown fabric.)

8. Cut body out, allowing 1/4" seam.
(Shown on white fabric.)

Note: The "water erasable" tracing pen used by quilters
is preferred because lines can be removed after sewing.

9. Cut a 3" vertical slash into ONE side
of body. (Shown on brown fabric.)

10. Turn body right side out.
(Shown on white fabric.)

11. Stuff body firmly.
(Shown on printed fabric.)

Note: Use the point of blunt scissors
to push stuffing into bottom corners.

12. Fold down the raw edge on one side of
slash and hand sew the opening closed.

13. Cover the body with a cotton cloth to protect it from scorching, and firmly press a steam iron on top to flatten the body slightly.

Note: The boring part is over! Soon these blobby jelly beans
will become adorable little bunnies - right before your eyes!

14. For ears, cut a 2" x 7.5" strip of fabric
 to match the body.

15. Fold in half and cut the ends into a curve.
(Shown with brown fabric.)

16. Tie a knot at center of strip.
(Shown with print fabric.)

17. Use craft paint to gently stroke
inside of ears with pink.

18. Hot glue, craft glue or sew
ears to center top of head.

Note: Inside ear paint optional on darker colors.

HOLY MOLEY! How many of you ARE there?
Umm...last time I looked there were just TWO!

Oh well, I see they are looking at us!

19. That must mean we drew the eyes on with the
fine tip black marker!

Wow! These little rascals are starting to actually look human!

20. Get the paint out again and color in little pink cheeks
- brown spots, too, if you like! I usually
don't paint on darker color bunnies.

21. For whiskers - everybunny gets those! - pull a double
length of quilting thread through your needle. Knot both
threads together about 3" from the end. Push needle through
one cheek and pull the knot through, into the stuffing. Push needle out through opposite cheek and cut thread at 3" to complete. Repeat once more so each side has 4 whiskers.

This photo also shows the craft acrylic paint I used -
"vivid pink" - and the invaluable Micron pen, size 005.

Now it's time to get dressed!

22. Cut a 3" x 6" piece of fabric for basic dress.

23. Sew on optional trim. (Shown on yellow dress.)

24. Hand gather one long side, 1/4" from top.
Pull gathers to about 3" and knot. The gathered edge (shown in green.) should match width of bunny at neckline.

25. For bodice, cut a 3" square of fabric and then cut it in half diagonally. (Shown in pink.) Or, use a triangle of Battenberg lace.

26. Glue the dress to bunny at gathered neckline and the bodice on top. (Shown in pink.)

From this point, use your collection of lace trims, buttons, tiny flowers, fuzzy little Easter chicks and ribbon to decorate each bunny and give her an individual personality. Use the bunnies on spring wreaths, as napkin rings, or as Easter basket accents. who needs to be out in the cold trying to get a goofy old snowman to stand up straight? Not me!