Friday, April 29, 2011

Mother's Day Floral Topiary: Easy, Beginner's Project, No-Sew

   While browsing floral arrangements online, I saw a beautiful topiary arrangement. The price was less beautiful, as the flowers were fresh. It was, however, something I'd love to give my own mother and grandmother this Mother's Day.

Just between you and me, I got my supplies at the Dollar Store. It's not that I have anything against spending more on a gift... but why, when you can get great quality items for less?

You Will Need:
A Flower Pot

Styrofoam that will fit in said pot

A Styrofoam Ball

 Decorative Twigs

Various Silk Flowers (at least 2 bunches for the top ball, and 2 bunches for the pot)

Dried Moss

Wire Cutters

Ribbon (optional)

***The Size of the flower pot and the foam ball are entirely up to you. For your reference, my pot is 4.75 inches tall, and the foam ball is 4 inches in diameter. The finished product is 16.5 inches tall.***

1.) Place your foam in the pot, and a stick (I used a bamboo skewer (like for kabobs) on mine but you can easily use one of the twigs) in the center for the foam ball.


2.) Use a pencil to mark where the bottom of the ball is. Remove the ball and then cut twigs to surround the skewer, using your mark as reference for length. Stick them into the foam and replace the ball.

3.) Use the moss to cover the foam in the pot.

4.) To make short flower pieces, first take the flowers and greens off of the wire stems.

Then cut the wire stem into short pieces.

Place the individual flowers onto the short wire pieces.

5.) Poke these flower pieces into the pot-foam (through the moss) until you like the fullness.

6.) Using the same process for making individual flower pieces, poke flowers into the ball- alternate with the greens- until you like the fullness.

7.) Dab some hot glue at the base of your twigs and apply the end of your ribbon. Wind the ribbon around the twigs and glue in place at the top. (If you don't want to use ribbon, you can gather your twigs together at the top with a rubber band. Just make sure to cover it with the flowers and greens)

You're finished!

How easy was that!? I made these myself and I'm still looking at them thinking (a' la Stacy on What Not to Wear), "Shut-up!"

These came to about $8 each, but you will have twigs, moss, wire stem, and greens left over.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Quilt in a Weekend: Pinwheel Crib Quilt, or Wall Hanging

    As my siblings, cousins, and I all get a little older there has been a lull in the births in the family, so we were very excited to learn of a new little bundle of joy on the way. One of the things I just love to make is a baby quilt. It's a quick project and when else can you use those cutesy fabrics?

  Since cousin A. is expecting a little lad, I delved into my blues and greens and decided to put together a pinwheel quilt.

Pinwheel blocks are a good way to use up scraps, and they can be whimsical or even kind of posh. I've used this pattern to make a previous baby quilt, as well as a pillow and a couch throw.

   Here is the fabric pallet I chose:

1.) What makes this an easy block is a simple trick to making Half Square Triangles. So to start, cut your squares 7/8 of an inch larger than you want your finished square to be. I am cutting mine 4 7/8 inches, 12 squares each of 4 fabrics.

3.) Lay one square on top of the other (right sides together) and mark the center from corner to corner.

3.) Use this mark as a guideline to sew 1/4 inch away on either side.

By the way, this is a great time to use chain piecing.

4.) When all the pieces are sewn on both sides of the center line, cut on that center line, press open, and you will have two half Square Triangles.

5.) Arrange your pieces in the pinwheel pattern.

(Tun the pieces a little and you could also make the Broken Dishes pattern.)

6.) Sew your pieces together in sets (top, and bottom two) and press.

7.) Then sew these two sets together, press, and trim up the sides. As we learned with the Valentine's Heart Pillow: sloppy sides make for sloppy projects.

8.) Arrange in the order you desire.

9.) Cut the short sashing, 3 inches wide by the length of your blocks (3in.X8in. for mine), and sew to the bottom of the blocks **except for the bottom row**.

10.) Cut long sashing strips to go between the rows, 3in. wide by the length of the row. I like to cut the strips a couple of inches longer than the row just to make sure I have enough.

11.) Using the same method, cut and sew 3in.-wide strips to frame in the blocks:

First the top and bottom

Then the long sides

12.) Then layer with your batting and backing, and baste or pin together (more on the layers and basting).

13.) Quilt or Tie

14.) Then finish off with the binding.

View of the back

I can't tell you how much I love this one. I'm not bragging, I just get a kick out of seeing it all come together and imagining the joy and warmth it will bring.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

A Quick Gift Bag Idea

I recently attended the 14th birthday of my nephew. Seriously... what do boys want!? Well cash is pretty much the answer, but I also threw in a package of candy bars and a bottle of his favorite soda. It's not glamorous but he liked it.

However, there was the little problem of presentation. Wrapping paper wasn't really going to cut it, and the gift bags I had on hand were Christmas themed. What's a gal to do?

Fortunately I spotted a bag given to me by a local business, some fun Duct Tape, and the hamster wheels of the mind started turning.
Check out these pretty designs and other colors at

Perhaps you have seen the Duct tape in funky colors and patterns. I found mine at a local craft store. (Really, how can you resist Zebra striped tape?)

The gift bag really couldn't be much easier.

Gifts on the Right, Gift Bag Materials on the Left

Step One: Apply Duct Tape to the outsides of the bag, covering the logo (and beautifying at the same time).

Step Two: Put Gifts in bag.

The end.

This was so fun and quick! I will be on the look out of other items to Ductally Enhance. ;)

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

An Announcement and Link Party Features: MMBCreations & The Crafty Scientist

I really enjoyed seeing the guest room transformation by MMBCreations. I know how hard it is to get all the crafting supplies organized. I loved the pictures of the spool table and floral arrangement. Great way to set a theme!

The Crafty Scientist, gave us a quick and easy way to decorate with her Ribbon Wreath. I think I will keep an eye out for clearance ribbon, now. ;)

And now for the announcement.

I love link parties, and try to get in on the ones I know about. However, 2-4 entries a link party does not make. So I will not be holding them any longer. Perhaps I will bring it back at a later date when I have more followers or participation on the blog.

Suzy's Artsy Craftsy Sitcom has an extensive list of link parties through out the week, so please take a look.

Also, my blogging will not be as frequent as it has been. It takes a large chunk of my time to do all this, and while it has been very fun, time is not something I have an excess of. I will always craft and I will still post, but not on a regular basis. Please "Follow" me to be kept in the know on the blog.

Thanks to all the followers and those that regularly read my blog. I Can't tell you how gratifying it has been so far and I hope to not lose too many of you.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Link Party Monday

You know the drill. Link to something that is your own work of awesomeness, new or old doesn't matter as long as it's yours. Link to the specific post not just your general blog. Then, grab that button on the left and let the whole world know you were seen on Backstitch Baby! :)

Friday, February 11, 2011

Fabric Stained Glass: Faux Stained Glass Wall Hanging

Another project for my Pay it Forward 2011. I love the beautiful Faux Stained Glass Wall Hangings I've seen. My mother has made some beautiful ones the "right" way with the black bias tape leading and everything.

For my first attempt, I thought I would try a pot holder size and I knew just the picture I wanted.

Luckily, I found this great instructional video from Details By Diane. She make is to easy!

1.) So. First things first. I found a free stained glass pattern online (if you would like to make a regular size wall hanging Diane sells patterns on her website). Then I traced my pieces onto the fusible backing.

2.) I cut out the pieces and ironed them onto the fabric. **Hint: If you trace the pieces that will be the same color all in one group you can save time by cutting around the whole group instead of the individual pieces.

3.) Arrange the pieces on the Black Background.

4.) When everything is where it should be peel off the backing paper and iron them down.

5.) For this particular pattern, I cut around the circle and cut a back fabric and batting. I also made a small tube for a hanging loop.

6.) Pin the layers as follows: Batting, then Backing Right-Side Up, then the Stained Glass piece Right-Side Down. Curve the tube and tuck it in between the backing fabric and the stained glass piece, matching the edges.

7.) Stitch around the edge leaving an opening for turning.

8.) Turn right-side out and press.

I know just who I will give this to! It's so fun and easy, you really should make one for yourself.