Wednesday, March 18, 2009

DIY Superhero

Everyone loves a superhero. Since seeing "The Incredibles" for the first time a few months back, Cam has become a new hero each day and frequently passes out costumes for each of us to wear along with instructions for how to use our individual super powers. So, I decided to make it official for him and his brothers for his birthday last month. He has made it clear that I and his daddy are to have a shirt as well. Maybe I'll do that next week... Anyway, these shirts were really fun and easy to make and have been the perfect way for me to identify my children quickly on crowded kiddyland play dates away from home.

If you keep your eyes peeled near the end of a season you can pick up some fantastic deals on simple long or short sleeved shirts that are perfect to embellish. I found these for $2.50 each. I bought a shirt for each of the older boys and a long sleeved onsie for the little one.

Here's what you need:

Ready made shirt washed and dried to shrink it (you can do this twice to be sure)
Two contrasting colored shirts to cut up for the applique in the same type of fabric as your ready made shirt (I used a stretch jersey)
Heat N Bond
*Matching thread and a sewing machine
Two pieces of hook and loop tape such as Velcro or snaps
Fabric for cape
Bias tape
Glue stick
Wrapping paper, newspaper or whatever large paper you can find to trace the cape pattern

*If you cannot sew simply applique your shapes with fabric puffy paint available at any craft supply store instead of using thread.

1. Using a computer drawing program or drawing freehand, plan the shape of your emblem and choose your font. The simpler, the better. Lay it out on the shirt to be sure it fits.

2. Trace your shape onto the paper side of the Heat N Bond.

3. Iron the Heat N Bond onto the wrong side of your your emblem applique fabric and the letter applique fabric according to the instructions. Cut the shapes out following your traced line.

4. Now press your letter onto the emblem following the Heat N Bond instructions.

5. Sew around the letter using a zig zag stitch and backstitch at the corners. If you are not using a sewing machine for this project now is the time to break out the fabric puff paint and use it to outline the letter.

6. Here is the back side of the appliqued letter with the paper backing still attached.

7. Peel the paper backing off of the emblem being extra careful to avoid ripping out any of your stitches. Don't worry too much about the small pieces of paper left between the zig zags as these will be be hidden when it is pressed to the shirt.

8. Press the emblem to the front of your ready made shirt. Using the same zig zag stitch sew around the emblem being careful to avoid catching the back of the shirt as you applique. Use puffy paint here if you are not sewing.

9. I used an inexpensive cut of a shiny novelty knit for the cape. There was no need to hem the raw edges- yay!

10. Measure the distance between the shoulders where the cape will be attached and draw a line using this measurement on your pattern paper. Put a dot on the halfway point of this line. Measure how long you want to cape to hang and draw a point that distance down from the halfway dot on the line. Now finish the drawing by adding lines like my pattern above. Cut out the pattern, lay it on the fabric and then cut out the cape.

11. Glue the bias tape onto the top of the cape and then sew it in place. Use a permanent fabric glue if you are not sewing to keep the tape in place.

12. Sew or glue the hook and loop tape or snaps in place on the shoulders and the cape. If you use hook and loop tape be sure to cut the corners off of your squares so they do not scratch or become caught on other clothes in the washer.

Put it on your little one and marvel at your adorable super hero! Then, go ahead, make one for yourself too- everyone wants to be a hero...

Friday, March 6, 2009

Organizing Frenzy and Azie's DIY Jar Of Crunchies

I recently got bit by the decorating bug. Inspired by blogs like this and the recent Better Homes and Gardens special publications magazines, I have set out to create my dream home. The current global financial crisis is the perfect opportunity for me (and all of you creative geniuses) to exercise and test the creative spirit and seek the most cost effective and environmentally friendly methods for sprucing up the pad. I can't wait (insert knuckle cracking here). If only I could blog as fast as I get ideas and implement them. Oh well, stay with me because I have every intent on sharing these tips that I have all lined up in my head. I've been doing a lot of research and here is my intro to the upcoming posts: I've decided that nearly everything that is mass manufactured can be created at home with just a few supplies and a little imagination.

A few weeks back we did a power paint, blasting through our main floor (kitchen, dining, living room and foyer) with a paintbrush and some eco-friendly, fumeless paint. I needed color after looking at the very long, white months of winter looming on the other side of the window. The new color and beauty of the walls spurred on a mass weeding and organizing frenzy that was long overdue. One closet led to another... and all of that led me back to one of my favorite home spots: the kitchen.

I am on a quest to eliminate the particleboard pantry that is hogging up our eating corner. So, my bestest decorator friend in the whole world, Christina, shared her wisdom. Aparently, the latest and greatest kitchen pantry is a simple shelf on the wall where all of the pantry goods are neatly organized in beautiful containers (see here). Luckily, I already had some beautiful containers that I was working on organizing at this time yesterday. Did I mention how very much that I love my Dymo labeler???

I should have taken a before shot of Azure's crunchy jar. I felt sorry that her food was being stored in a plastic, beaten down pretzel container that we had from nearly five years back. I started looking around for options and found this. So I put it on my wish list. And then...

Let me introduce you to our former rice container. In about fifteen minutes upon my arrival home after a lovely walk with the boys I crammed this little project in between snack time and the wee one's nap. It was totally simple and I love the results especially since it didn't cost a cent. Let me show you...
1. Gather your supplies.

Container, plastic or glass, either a recyclable like a peanut butter jar (I have a thing for those don't I?) or something you bought for storage.

Acrylic paint
Marker (I used a Sharpie)
Clear fingernail polish

2. Draw a design on the jar with your marker. I freehanded this one but you can always tape a clipart to the inside of the jar and trace around it.

3. Paint over your tracing. This took two coats of paint. When the paint is dry you can seal it with the clear polish. Tahdah!! A personalized jar for the kitty crunchies. I think Azie knew that I was creating something for her because she spent the duration of my project rolling over and over at my feet. Silly kitty.

You could really go crazy designing jars for all sorts of things. Use any color or pattern you can think of and enjoy the satisfaction of saving a dime and creating something truly unique!